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Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA is a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties in the USA is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy and could be used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Demexit Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Donald Trump
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Bernie Sanders Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

 

 

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible if three letter agencies like CIA exist?  Probably not as "deep state" sonner or later (usually sooner)  makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.

Does  the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs "Coca Cola"  parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left ot the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy? 

There are also addition questions:

  1. Is existence  of military-industrial complex, and, especially, such part of MIC as huge and essentially uncontrolled intelligence agencies compatible with democracy? Ever since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency America has been battling a force that exists with a written charter to undermine and undo ever single fundamental principle of representational democracy in America and elsewhere replacing it with an ugly cold-skinned changeling covertly overseen by its CIA creators and their sponsors.
  2. Does absence of limits of the term of senators subvert democracy ?  If so what should be the maximum term. Is "gerontocracy" in the US congress  represents positive, or highly negative. Is role of money in elections forces senators to serve effectively as representatives of corporations which reside in the states, not the states themselves  ? 
  3. Is official lobbing including lobbying by organization which are clearly supported by foright  state such as AIPAC ?
  4. Is "money as a free speech" principle compatible with democracy?  Or it means one dollar-one vote regime?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There are always a large part of society (say bottom 80%)  living under the dictatorship (or even neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves")  and thus excluded from the democratic process.  Moreover,  most of the US population spend  their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and  adapted to authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda?  election portait of necon warmonger, staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts and still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance. In case of Trump and Obma this was a complete betrayal (in a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experince  who due to the lack of personal political history  can pretend to be the politician he clearly is not)

What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity) , if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA.  especially the issue of permanent war for permanent peace, that the USA wage (and profit) since 80th using private army (with a large role of contractors, effectively mercenaries) , so that death and carnage does not touch most americans.  This "light footprint" approach to war has relied on thousands of Americans paid to fight — and die — in the shadows. Outside of any official statistics. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. In Iraq in mid 2017, 7,773 contractors support U.S. government operations — and 4,087 U.S. troops. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy).

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR even more efficiently that so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.  

The "first after the post" system "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated.  This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current (neoliberal) ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation".  In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what  a person who like Obama pretended  essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump.  Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way  using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using  1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intencion did not last even half a year.  Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender.  Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.

It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, the ruling elite typically decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). But in this partualr case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of hir election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA).  As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” --  John Kenneth Galbraith

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing  Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver.  The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but  caught Trump absolutely unprepared.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that  as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.  

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which  were practiced from 1980th.  They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations  -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a samll "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism.  Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet  student can get all the  works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynce and other "deviant" economists for univeristy students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from funadmental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which  is used as smoke  screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective.  Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the  USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by  neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts.  Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marxs and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs. neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed?  But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed?  And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation with the Communist Party and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of olitical analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%. 

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite. 

The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder  (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population.  In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”

As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy.  Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement)  shows that all too well.

Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political  and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the the USA "white block" electorate.


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[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Dec 16, 2017] Trump is not so much a threat to our democracy as a test of it

Notable quotes:
"... Amazing how energetically the "democrats" are uniting with the CIA! Exhibit No 1 is Mr. Michael Morell (the former director of the CIA)) who has just confessed his treason in support of H. Clinton ..."
"... Most democrats are very much like their republican counterparts, they take sides, and truth be damned. They don't understand that ousting a president in a soft coup, based on lies, is undemocratic, and would have long term consequences for this country. They don't understand that a press corps who foregoes truth because they are in complicity with pushing the same agenda, ousting Trump, is also unacceptable no matter what one thinks of him. ..."
"... No president has had control of his foreign policy since Kennedy was assassinated when I was 7 years old. There is no hope of ending the forever war and gaining control of the MIC until the intelligence agencies are "broken into 1000 pieces", as JFK wanted. If it takes a buffoon like Trump to be our "Toto" and reveal "the man behind the curtain" so be it. Let us pray for peace. ..."
"... This is an excellent thread but I'm most pleased Anna by your regular mention of the Seth Rich Affair. It is kind of "the bottom line" in all of this DNC discussion and it should not disappear from mention. So again Anna, thank you ..."
"... A populist website refers to "Arkanicides" involving mysterious deaths of people inconvenient to the Clinton power structure. ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Anna , December 14, 2017 at 1:11 am

"You all keep hating on Democracy."

-- Amazing how energetically the "democrats" are uniting with the CIA! Exhibit No 1 is Mr. Michael Morell (the former director of the CIA)) who has just confessed his treason in support of H. Clinton: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_76241.shtml

Your "democracy" was nowhere when Mr. Clinton had been molesting underage girls on Lolita express. Your "democracy on the march," Clinton-Kagan style, has destroyed Libya and Ukraine. Millions of innocent civilians of all ages (including an enormous number of children) died thanks to your Israel-first & oil-first Clinton & Obama policies. Very democratic ("We came, we saw, he died ha, ha, ha" – and the gem of Northern Africa has become a hell for Libyan citizens). One does not need to be Trump apologist to sense the stench of your rotten Clinton-Obama-CIA-FBI "democracy."

Annie , December 14, 2017 at 2:26 am

Good response Anna. Most democrats are very much like their republican counterparts, they take sides, and truth be damned. They don't understand that ousting a president in a soft coup, based on lies, is undemocratic, and would have long term consequences for this country. They don't understand that a press corps who foregoes truth because they are in complicity with pushing the same agenda, ousting Trump, is also unacceptable no matter what one thinks of him.

irina , December 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Exactly. Trump is not so much a 'threat to our democracy' as a test of it.

Skip Scott , December 14, 2017 at 8:25 am

Thank you Anna and Annie. People like tina drive me nuts. They see everything as either/or. Since we won't defend RussiaGate, we must be Trump apologists. My hope is that this whole thing blows wide open enough that there can be a real house-cleaning and reining in of the Intelligence Agencies.

No president has had control of his foreign policy since Kennedy was assassinated when I was 7 years old. There is no hope of ending the forever war and gaining control of the MIC until the intelligence agencies are "broken into 1000 pieces", as JFK wanted. If it takes a buffoon like Trump to be our "Toto" and reveal "the man behind the curtain" so be it. Let us pray for peace.

Bob Van Noy , December 14, 2017 at 9:30 am

This is an excellent thread but I'm most pleased Anna by your regular mention of the Seth Rich Affair. It is kind of "the bottom line" in all of this DNC discussion and it should not disappear from mention. So again Anna, thank you

exiled off mainstreet , December 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Agreed. That is the central issue about the affair. A populist website refers to "Arkanicides" involving mysterious deaths of people inconvenient to the Clinton power structure.

[Dec 16, 2017] President Trump Vindicated...AGAIN! The Media crucified him for months over the Wire Tap claim - YouTube

Dec 16, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Casinoman , 2 months ago

How embarrassing for the Media! hahahaha! I love you Trump!

dirtyharryville , 2 months ago

just as Mark Taylor says.... main stream media is going down... CNN in case you didn't notice.. the ship is sinking... GOD has had enough...

[Dec 15, 2017] Harvard University poll: Robert Mueller has 'conflict of interest'

Notable quotes:
"... The poll found that 54 percent of the voters agreed that "as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey ," Mr. Mueller has a conflict of interest in the proceedings. Of course there is a partisan divide here: 70 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agreed. Among those who voted for President Trump in 2016, it was 73 percent; among Hillary Clinton voters, 34 percent. ..."
"... "Where in the hell is our attorney general? We need Attorney General Sessions to step up, do his job, seize control of the nightmare that is this investigation and let's get some unbiased people involved in looking at the facts and it's time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up. If he's got evidence of collusion let's see it and if he doesn't let's move on and get to the issues can improve quality of life for the American people," Mr. Gaetz observed. ..."
"... 63 percent of voters overall believe that Justice personnel involved in the both the Clinton email and Russian investigations are "resisting providing Congress with information"; 74 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree. ..."
"... 54 percent overall say "independent counsel Robert Mueller has conflicts of interest as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey " in the investigation; 70 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree. ..."
"... 36 percent overall say the special counsel has given President Trump 's aides "harsher treatment" during the investigations than Hillary Clinton 's aides; 56 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.washingtontimes.com

December 14, 2017

Despite the intricacies of the Russian collusion investigation, voters have some clear opinions about the situation, according to a wide-ranging Harvard Center for American Political Studies-Harris survey -- which weighs in at 204 pages. It is a long poll, and a telling one: A majority of American voters say special counsel Robert Mueller has a "conflict of interest" in the investigation.

The poll found that 54 percent of the voters agreed that "as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey ," Mr. Mueller has a conflict of interest in the proceedings. Of course there is a partisan divide here: 70 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agreed. Among those who voted for President Trump in 2016, it was 73 percent; among Hillary Clinton voters, 34 percent.

Has the investigation itself revealed any evidence of collusion? Thirty eight percent of the voters overall said that no evidence of such activities had been found, 35 percent said there was evidence, while 27 percent did not know the answer. Three fourths of the respondents also believe that "the special counsel is trying to make a case for obstruction of justice against the president," the poll found. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column's end.

PAGING MR. SESSIONS

Just a comment from Rep. Matt Gaetz -- Florida Republican and a member of the House Judiciary Committee -- made during a discussion with Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade . The pair were discussing the aforementioned investigation into potential "Russia collusion" and the Trump campaign.

"Where in the hell is our attorney general? We need Attorney General Sessions to step up, do his job, seize control of the nightmare that is this investigation and let's get some unbiased people involved in looking at the facts and it's time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up. If he's got evidence of collusion let's see it and if he doesn't let's move on and get to the issues can improve quality of life for the American people," Mr. Gaetz observed.

... ... ...

POLL DU JOUR

Source: A Harvard CAPS-Harris survey of 1,995 registered U.S. voters conducted between Dec. 8-11.

[Dec 15, 2017] Mueller, Rosenstein, and Comey The Three Amigos from the Deep State by Roger Stone

Notable quotes:
"... James Comey wasn't just some associate of Mueller back then, but rather his protégé. Under the George W. Bush presidency, when Comey was serving as Deputy Attorney General under John Ashcroft, Robert Mueller was Comey's go-to guy when he needed help. ..."
"... Rod Rosenstein, current Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is also a member of the Mueller Gang, having worked directly under Robert Mueller at the Department of Justice as far back as 1990. ..."
"... We look back at Rod's loyal work for Hillary Clinton, when he became a clean-up man for the Clinton Administration as an Associate Independent Counsel from 1995 until 1997. He supervised the investigation that found no basis for criminal prosecution of White House officials who had obtained classified FBI background reports. ..."
"... Enter Lisa Barsoomian, wife of Rod Rosenstein. Lisa is a high-powered attorney in Washington, DC, who specializes in opposing Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of the Deep State, err, I mean, the Intelligence Communities. ..."
"... Deeply disturbing but not surprising. Rosenstein struck me immediately as another one just like Andrew McCabe, who supposedly was investigating Hilary's infamous server--he's married to a Virginia Democrat candidate ..."
Jun 22, 2017 | stonecoldtruth.com

There is a longtime and incestuous relationship between the fixers who have been tasked with taking down President Trump, under the fake narrative of enforcing the law. James Comey worked in the DOJ directly under Mueller until 2005. Rod Rosenstein and Mueller go even further back.

James Comey wasn't just some associate of Mueller back then, but rather his protégé. Under the George W. Bush presidency, when Comey was serving as Deputy Attorney General under John Ashcroft, Robert Mueller was Comey's go-to guy when he needed help. The two men, as it came to light years later, conspired to disobey potential White House orders to leave Ashcroft alone when he was incapacitated in March of 2004. These two men, when together, will not obey orders if they think they know better. Being filled with hubris and almost two decades of doing just about anything they want, they always think they know better.

Rod Rosenstein, current Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is also a member of the Mueller Gang, having worked directly under Robert Mueller at the Department of Justice as far back as 1990. When Comey was still working as the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney's office in New York, Mueller and Rosenstein were becoming thick as thieves.

We look back at Rod's loyal work for Hillary Clinton, when he became a clean-up man for the Clinton Administration as an Associate Independent Counsel from 1995 until 1997. He supervised the investigation that found no basis for criminal prosecution of White House officials who had obtained classified FBI background reports. He did a great job covering for the Team Bill Clinton, including covering for Hillary, as she was one of the people who had access to the reports, and may have even requested them. Convenient for the Clintons, no indictments were filed.

Having proven his loyalty to the powers that be, Rosenstein was appointed to work in the US Office of the Independent Counsel under Ken Starr on the Whitewater Investigation into then President Bill Clinton. By some miracle, or clever work by insiders, the Clintons escaped culpability once again. Rod wasn't alone, he had help from his co-worker James Comey, who was also making sure the Clintons were exonerated during the Whitewater affair.

Here is Robert Mueller, sitting in the middle of his two wunderkinds, making sure the path before them is smooth and obstacle free, and practically shepherding their careers along the way. Is it any wonder that once Jeff Sessions shamelessly recused himself from the Russia Collusion Conspiracy investigation and turned it over to his deputy Rod Rosenstein, that Rosenstein would reach out to his old mentor for help? Who is surprised when three of the top lawman fixers for the Clinton/Bush cabal have axes in their eyes for President Donald J. Trump?

Enter Lisa Barsoomian, wife of Rod Rosenstein. Lisa is a high-powered attorney in Washington, DC, who specializes in opposing Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of the Deep State, err, I mean, the Intelligence Communities.

Lisa Barsoomian works for R. Craig Lawrence, an attorney who has represented Robert Mueller three times, James Comey five times, Barack Obama forty-five times, Kathleen Sebellius fifty-six times, Bill Clinton forty times, and Hillary Clinton seventeen times between 1991 and 2017.

Barsoomian participated in some of this work personally and has herself represented the FBI at least five separate times. It would be great to research the specifics of the cases she worked in, many of the documents from the Court Docket relating to these cases have been removed from the D.C. District and Appeals Court, including her representation for Clinton in 1998's case Hamburg. V. Clinton.

Her loyalties are clearly with the entities that make up the Deep State, as are her husbands.

They are a DC Globalist Power Couple, and they mean to destroy Donald Trump under the bidding of their Globalist Masters. Rod Rosenstein should not have any position in President Trump's administration, let alone one with so much power to harm the Office of the Presidency.

Mueller is also a Deep State lackey, even acting as delivery boy for Hillary's State Department, hand transporting ten grams of highly enriched uranium under the auspices of counter-terror. It must only be coincidence that this happened at the same time as Hillary and her henchman John Podesta were nurturing the Uranium One deal that would see Russia take control over 20% of America's proven uranium reserves. Shortly after the Russia uranium deal closed, the Clinton Foundation was showered with many millions of dollars from Russian donors.

Comey, Rosenstein, and their patron Mueller are truly the Three Amigos of the Deep State. Joined long ago in mutual regard, owing allegiance only to each other and the enshrined bureaucracy that created them. As their actions show, they desire to thwart the will of the people and depose the duly elected President of the United States of America by using all the powers at their disposal.

[Dec 15, 2017] This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election

Notable quotes:
"... "Many agents -- I was one," recalled Sullivan, "worked for days culling FBI files for any fact that could be of use to Dewey." After Dewey secured the nomination, Hoover fed him backgrounders on crime issues and information about Truman's connections to Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast. The FBI also pressured HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas to jump-start its hearings after a grand jury brought no indictments from testimony by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. As Drew Pearson wrote, "Those watching [Assistant Director] Lou Nichols note that he goes in and out of the office of [Thomas] like an animated shuttlecock." ..."
"... In 1960, it was John F. Kennedy's turn. Concerned about JFK's possible plans, Hoover let Kennedy's aides know that the bureau had recordings of JFK's wartime trysts with Inga Arvad, a Danish woman suspected of having Nazi ties. Hoover was told he would be retained. ..."
"... Lyndon Johnson enjoyed Hoover's gossip (he once famously said that it was "better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in"), but the two were on opposing sides in the 1968 race. ..."
"... In 1972, George McGovern became the last candidate to challenge Hoover's supremacy when he announced that if elected he would replace the clearly aging director. Sullivan recalled that agents were again ordered again to collect malicious gossip for leaking to the press. Ironically, many of Nixon's Watergate-era excesses, such as the Huston Plan, were too much even for Hoover. He died anyway that May, six weeks before the break-in. Since his death and until this year, the FBI has mostly stayed on the outside of presidential elections, as the work of disruption and dirty tricks has been usurped by party operatives who can operate with less restraint than even Hoover could. ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.thenation.com
This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election | The Nation This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election Throughout his career, J. Edgar Hoover used the bureau to meddle in presidential politics and secure his own power. By Jeff Kisseloff October 31, 2016

Even the FBI's history of insinuating itself into presidential campaigns, this latest October surprise shouldn't have been any surprise at all.

As early as 1919, Woodrow Wilson's attorney general, the progressive A. Mitchell Palmer, deployed bureau agents in an eponymous operation to round up and deport alleged radical immigrants. The Palmer Raids were ostensibly a response to a series of bombings, but it became apparent that Palmer had had something more in mind when he threw his hat into the ring for the 1920 Democratic presidential nomination and ran on a proto-Trumpian agenda of "undiluted Americanism." Palmer didn't get past the first ballot, however, and ultimately the raids' most lasting impact was Palmer's decision to have his young assistant administer the arrests. The official, whose own youthful ambition earned him the nickname "Speed," was 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover.

Following the Teapot Dome scandal, the seemingly incorruptible Hoover was appointed to head the bureau. If money didn't tempt Hoover, power did. While he managed to survive the Coolidge and Hoover administrations, Roosevelt nearly brought Hoover's career to a premature halt. After his election, FDR announced that Montana Senator Thomas J. Walsh, a fierce opponent of the Palmer raids, would be his attorney general. Walsh told friends that Hoover would be replaced. But that month, Walsh married a Cuban woman in Havana. After flying back to Florida, the couple boarded a train to Washington. While passing through North Carolina, Walsh's wife found him on the floor, dead, the apparent victim of too much honeymooning.

Homer Cummings, who replaced Walsh, retained Hoover. The director quickly realized the way to keep his job was to make himself indispensable to FDR. Wiretapping was a relatively new investigative tool, and as it turned out Roosevelt was eager to use it against his political opponents on the left and right. Up for reelection in 1936, he had Hoover eavesdrop on the leftist members of the Newspaper Guild and other suspected members of the Communist Party, despite the party's attempt to establish a "popular front."

Then, as FDR began to gear up for a third term, Hoover went after Father Charles E. Coughlin, the ultraconservative radio priest who was a major thorn in Roosevelt's side. In January 1940, 17 members of Coughlin's pro-Hitler Christian Front were arrested by the FBI, charged with plotting to kill several congressmen. Whether the charges were accurate or not, the arrests finished Coughlin as an influential political figure.

That same year, the bureau sought to quash the opposition of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans with raids on its offices. But it was in 1948 that Hoover unleashed the FBI for the first time to further his own career. Like everyone who was not a member of the Truman family, Hoover assumed that Thomas Dewey would be the next president. Hoover's former assistant William Sullivan recalled that Hoover believed if he used the bureau's resources on behalf of the Dewey campaign, he would be named attorney General as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court and eventually to becoming Chief Justice.

"Many agents -- I was one," recalled Sullivan, "worked for days culling FBI files for any fact that could be of use to Dewey." After Dewey secured the nomination, Hoover fed him backgrounders on crime issues and information about Truman's connections to Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast. The FBI also pressured HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas to jump-start its hearings after a grand jury brought no indictments from testimony by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. As Drew Pearson wrote, "Those watching [Assistant Director] Lou Nichols note that he goes in and out of the office of [Thomas] like an animated shuttlecock."

At the same time, the bureau was intensely involved in disrupting Henry Wallace's third-party campaign. Wallace had been a target of the FBI when he was still vice president, but in 1948, the bureau stepped up its activities by surveilling and intimidating Wallace staffers and supporters and feeding negative information about Wallace to the press and the Truman campaign, which cooperated with the bureau's efforts. Truman's victory marked an end to Hoover's ambitions. The 1952 election and the subsequent races found the director again in survival mode by making himself useful to his favored candidates.

While most people remember the 1952 campaign for Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech, the FBI's efforts to slander Adlai Stevenson (perhaps for personal, as well as political reasons) as a closeted homosexual gets less attention. According to Hoover's biographer, Curt Gentry, the director was the source of rumors that Stevenson had once been arrested on morals charges. The same rumors were spread in 1956, but only Walter Winchell took the bait, notoriously declaring that a vote for Stevenson was a vote for Christine Jorgensen.

In 1960, it was John F. Kennedy's turn. Concerned about JFK's possible plans, Hoover let Kennedy's aides know that the bureau had recordings of JFK's wartime trysts with Inga Arvad, a Danish woman suspected of having Nazi ties. Hoover was told he would be retained.

Lyndon Johnson enjoyed Hoover's gossip (he once famously said that it was "better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in"), but the two were on opposing sides in the 1968 race. As a last-ditch effort to help the troubled Hubert Humphrey campaign, Johnson announced the resumption of peace talks with North Vietnam. He soon learned, however, that South Vietnam's president Nguyen Van Thieu was sabotaging the effort, convinced he could get a better deal if Nixon won.

Madame Anna Chennault, a GOP leader and a close friend of South Vietnam's ambassador Bui Diem, was the person whispering in Thieu's ear. Gentry writes that when information turned up that she was communicating to Nixon through Spiro Agnew, Johnson thought he had clinched the election for Humphrey, but Agnew's phone records just happened to turn up missing. The investigation was closed and Nixon went on to a narrow victory.

In 1972, George McGovern became the last candidate to challenge Hoover's supremacy when he announced that if elected he would replace the clearly aging director. Sullivan recalled that agents were again ordered again to collect malicious gossip for leaking to the press. Ironically, many of Nixon's Watergate-era excesses, such as the Huston Plan, were too much even for Hoover. He died anyway that May, six weeks before the break-in. Since his death and until this year, the FBI has mostly stayed on the outside of presidential elections, as the work of disruption and dirty tricks has been usurped by party operatives who can operate with less restraint than even Hoover could.

In 1948, Henry Wallace grasped the larger issues stemming from the FBI's actions, declaring, "We Americans have far more to fear from those actions which are intended to suppress political freedom than from the teaching of ideas with which we are in disagreement."

If Hoover were alive today he'd be 121 years old and undoubtedly still running the FBI. Considering Comey's actions, perhaps a séance would be in order to see if he still is.

[Dec 15, 2017] New York Times Turns Out '17 Intelligence Agencies' Was Fake News

Notable quotes:
"... A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community. ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

A previous version of Monday's story by Maggie Haberman, titled "Trump's Deflections and Denials on Russia Frustrate Even His Allies," made reference to the "17 intelligence agencies" that have supposedly all concurred in the assessment of Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential race.

Despite the mainstream media and the political left making constant reference for months to the "17 intelligence agencies" agreeing on Russia's actions during the campaign, this has repeatedly been debunked. The single released report on the matter from the American intelligence community was produced by only three intelligence agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the "17 agencies" line was fake news. While there are 17 American intelligence agencies and none, to his knowledge, objected to the CIA/FBI/NSA report, none of the other 14 agencies have published any independent confirmation of its claims.

The phrase "17 intelligence agencies" seems to have entered the public discourse after Hillary Clinton used it in her second debate with Trump. Despite its demonstrable inaccuracy, it continues to feature in articles from across the mainstream media. For example, an Associated Press wire story that Breitbart News carried last week uncritically uses the 17-agency figure.

For its part, the New York Times felt compelled to issue a correction after using the same phrase. The following was added below Haberman's article:

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

Note: The figure of four agencies is reached by including Clapper's office in addition to the three agencies that compiled the published report.

[Dec 15, 2017] Trump criticizes media over alleged mind-meld of '17 intelligence agencies' over Russia meddling

Notable quotes:
"... Whatever your take on the fact-checks, the media laundered and recycled a Clinton talking point without too much exploration of the intricacies through which the intelligence community reaches its conclusions. Until the New York Times wrote up a correction, that is. ..."
Jun 07, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Trump criticizes media over alleged mind-meld of '17 intelligence agencies' over Russia meddling - The Washington Post As a matter of timing, it was odd: Last week, the New York Times attached a lumpy correction to a story about the political dynamics of President Trump's various proclamations on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election . The story highlighted the president's various "asterisks, wisecracks, caveats or obfuscation" about Russian cyberattacks, and made a reference to the consensus among "17 intelligence agencies" about Russian interference.

Here's the text:

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

News organizations had been repeating that "17 intelligence agencies" line for months and months, with no corrections in sight. Why was the New York Times issuing a correction all of a sudden? And why did the Associated Press add a clarification one day later? Who asked for it? The New York Times declined to comment beyond the correction. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment on the record.

Whatever your take on the fact-checks, the media laundered and recycled a Clinton talking point without too much exploration of the intricacies through which the intelligence community reaches its conclusions. Until the New York Times wrote up a correction, that is.

[Dec 15, 2017] NYT, AP Retract Claim That 17 US Intel Agencies Agree Russia Hacked US Elections

Notable quotes:
"... For nearly a year, the news media in the United States has been completely and utterly dominated by one story above all the rest – Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, also known as "Russiagate." ..."
"... The story has mushroomed in the weeks since, melding with anti-Russian propaganda and accusations against President Donald Trump regarding his campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government. However, the first accusations began to emerge when Clinton's campaign became derailed by the leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and subsequently her campaign chair John Podesta. The Russian government was blamed for the leaks, even though substantial evidence pointed to a DNC insider as the real source of the leaks. ..."
"... The Associated Press followed ..."
"... "In stories published April 6, June 2, June 26 and June 29, The Associated Press reported that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump. That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies -- the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency -- and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment." ..."
Jul 06, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com

For nearly a year, the news media in the United States has been completely and utterly dominated by one story above all the rest – Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, also known as "Russiagate." The firestorm first began when Hillary Clinton – darling of the U.S. intelligence community, the mainstream press, and Wall Street – failed to win the electoral contests that the media had been convinced was her for the taking.

The story has mushroomed in the weeks since, melding with anti-Russian propaganda and accusations against President Donald Trump regarding his campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government. However, the first accusations began to emerge when Clinton's campaign became derailed by the leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and subsequently her campaign chair John Podesta. The Russian government was blamed for the leaks, even though substantial evidence pointed to a DNC insider as the real source of the leaks.

Once the Russian hacker narrative became established, the media began working overtime to connect Trump and his campaign to Russia – creating the illusion of a "bromance" between Trump and Putin despite the fact that the two had never met. Much of the evidence for the so-called "bromance" centered around Trump stating during the campaign that he wanted to improve U.S.-Russia ties, which drastically deteriorated under the Obama administration, and wanted to work with the Russians to defeat Daesh (ISIS).

The bromance and the campaign collusion narrative have been continuously and intensely pushed by several high-ranking politicians of the Democratic Party. In fact, the push has been so intense that it has now backfired for Democrats.

As a result, it has since become a "crime" in the eyes of the mainstream media for any U.S. politician to interact or to have previously interacted with any Russian official. It has also meant that defending Russia's government or its actions could quickly turn you into the laughingstock of the mainstream press

But some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country have been forced to retract a major claim that has stood at the center of the Russia hacking media frenzy: namely that "all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump." Last week, both the New York Times and The Associated Press were forced to retract the claim from several of their articles, as the oft-repeated statement has been proven to be false.

The New York Times was first, adding a correction to a June 25th article which stated:

"A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community."

The Associated Press followed a few days later in a "clarification" stating:

"In stories published April 6, June 2, June 26 and June 29, The Associated Press reported that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Donald Trump. That assessment was based on information collected by three agencies -- the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency -- and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which represents all U.S. intelligence agencies. Not all 17 intelligence agencies were involved in reaching the assessment."

[Dec 15, 2017] The AP and New York Times Both Agree That 17 Intelligence Agencies Did NOT Support the Claim of Russia Helping Trump by streiff

Dec 15, 2017 | www.redstate.com

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html

July 1, 2017

One of the most enduring data points of the whole Trump-colluded-with-Russia fantasy was the idea that there was a unanimity among US intelligence agencies that a) the Russians had intervened in some way, and b) that intervention was calculated to help Trump. The collusion conspiracy theorists have thrown on a third layer which is that members of Trump's campaign were working hand-in-glove with the Russians to do something nefarious. What? Well, we don't know.

This is sort of the genesis of the tale. On October 7, the press office of the director of national intelligence -- that would be the known perjurer , James Clapper -- and the department of homeland security issued a statement titled Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security :

The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

The statement is tailored narrowly and only speaks to encouraging states to seek federal help in securing their voting systems (though, given the federal government's track record in keeping stuff secure, I'm not sure that's a great idea.)

A week later, in the final Clinton-Trump debate, Clinton made this claim

[Dec 15, 2017] James Clapper Corrects Left's Narrative On Russia Election Interference 'Not All 17' Intel Agencies Affirmed

Notable quotes:
"... Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " ..."
"... Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ..."
"... ." Follow him on ..."
"... Twitter @AaronKleinShow. ..."
"... Follow him on ..."
"... With research by Joshua Klein. ..."
May 09, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

During yesterday's Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, put the kibosh on a major anti-Donald Trump talking point that 17 federal intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

That talking point was amplified last October, when Hillary Clinton stated the following at the third presidential debate: "We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing."

Clinton was referring to an October 7, 2016 joint statement from the Homeland Security Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence claiming, "The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations."

The statement was followed by a January 6, 2017 U.S. Intelligence Community report assessing Russian intentions during the presidential election.

While the U.S. Intelligence Community is indeed made up of 17 agencies, Clapper made clear in his testimony yesterday that the community's assessments regarding alleged Russian interference were not the product of all seventeen agencies but of three – the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Referring to the assessments, Clapper stated : "As you know, the I.C. was a coordinated product from three agencies; CIA, NSA and the FBI, not all 17 components of the intelligence community. Those three under the aegis of my former office."

Later in the hearing, Clapper corrected Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) when Franken claimed that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russia attempted to influence the election.

Here is a transcript of that exchange :

FRANKEN: And I want to thank General Clapper and – and Attorney General Yates for – for appearing today. We have – the intelligence communities have concluded all 17 of them that Russia interfered with this election. And we all know how that's right.

CLAPPER: Senator, as I pointed out in my statement Senator Franken, it was there were only three agencies that directly involved in this assessment plus my office

FRANKEN: But all 17 signed on to that?

CLAPPER: Well, we didn't go through that – that process, this was a special situation because of the time limits and my – what I knew to be to who could really contribute to this and the sensitivity of the situation, we decided it was a constant judgment to restrict it to those three. I'm not aware of anyone who dissented or – or disagreed when it came out.

The January 6 U.S. intelligence community report is titled, "Background to 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections': The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution."

The report makes clear it is a product of three intelligence agencies and not 17.

The opening states: "This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies."

Following Clinton's presidential debate claim about "17 intelligence agencies," PolitiFact rated her statement as "true."

However, within its ruling, PolitiFact conceded:

We don't know how many separate investigations into the attacks there were. But the Director of National Intelligence, which speaks for the country's 17 federal intelligence agencies, released a joint statement saying the intelligence community at large is confident that Russia is behind recent hacks into political organizations' emails.

PolitiFact's "true" judgement was the basis for a USA Today piece titled, "Yes, 17 intelligence agencies really did say Russia was behind hacking."

Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ." Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

[Dec 15, 2017] A new type of democracy -- i by intelligence agencies.

Notable quotes:
"... How about Hillary telling her banker friends in her highly paid speeches that she needed to have "public views" different from her "private views"? You really think her "platform" had any credibility at all after a disclosure like that? ..."
"... Obama allowed Citigroup to pick his cabinet for him in 2008, and confessed to being "really good" at killing people. ..."
"... We must learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world. We can survive Trump just like we survived W, but we will not survive continued control of our foreign policy by the PNAC inspired "Deep State". ..."
"... Guided by who? Saudis Arabia, Qatar, The Muslim Brotherhood, Goldman Sachs, George Soros, The CIA, Israel, General Petraues, Citigroup, The Clinton "Foundation" ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Skip Scott , December 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

Wow, you really have drunk the kool-aid! Didn't you read any of the leaked emails?

How about Hillary telling her banker friends in her highly paid speeches that she needed to have "public views" different from her "private views"? You really think her "platform" had any credibility at all after a disclosure like that?

And Obama allowed Citigroup to pick his cabinet for him in 2008, and confessed to being "really good" at killing people.

The only thing you are right about is our Democracy is broken (in fact, it never existed in the USA). Willful blindness will not make us "Stronger Together", only dismantling the "Deep State" will do that.

We must learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world. We can survive Trump just like we survived W, but we will not survive continued control of our foreign policy by the PNAC inspired "Deep State".

turk 151 , December 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Guided by who? Saudis Arabia, Qatar, The Muslim Brotherhood, Goldman Sachs, George Soros, The CIA, Israel, General Petraues, Citigroup, The Clinton "Foundation"

No thanks.

[Dec 15, 2017] FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information." ..."
"... It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...." ..."
"... One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 ) ..."
"... That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed. ..."
"... And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked. ..."
"... Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here. ..."
"... Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets. ..."
"... They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? ..."
"... Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did. ..."
"... And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Tyler Durden Dec 15, 2017 10:10 AM 0 SHARES detailed in a Thursday letter from committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok

The letter reveals specific edits made by senior FBI agents when Deputy Director Andrew McCabe exchanged drafts of Comey's statement with senior FBI officials , including Peter Strzok, Strzok's direct supervisor , E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an unnamed employee from the Office of General Counsel (identified by Newsweek as DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson) - in what was a coordinated conspiracy among top FBI brass to decriminalize Clinton's conduct by changing legal terms and phrases, omitting key information, and minimizing the role of the Intelligence Community in the email investigation. Doing so virtually assured that then-candidate Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted.

Heather Samuelson and Heather Mills

Also mentioned in the letter are the immunity agreements granted by the FBI in June 2016 to top Obama advisor Cheryl Mills and aide Heather Samuelson - who helped decide which Clinton emails were destroyed before turning over the remaining 30,000 records to the State Department. Of note, the FBI agreed to destroy evidence on devices owned by Mills and Samuelson which were turned over in the investigation.

Sen. Johnson's letter reads:

According to documents produced by the FBI, FBI employees exchanged proposed edits to the draft statement. On May 6, Deputy Director McCabe forwarded the draft statement to other senior FBI employees, including Peter Strzok, E.W. Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an employee on the Office of General Counsel whose name has been redacted. While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey's statement in at least three respects .

It was already known that Strzok - who was demoted to the FBI's HR department after anti-Trump text messages to his mistress were uncovered by an internal FBI watchdog - was responsible for downgrading the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information."

Also removed from Comey's statement were all references to the Intelligence Community's involvement in investigating Clinton's private email server.

Director Comey's original statement acknowledged the FBI had worked with its partners in the Intelligence Community to assess potential damage from Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server. The original statement read:

[W]e have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation.

The edited version removed the references to the intelligence community:

[W]e have done extensive work [removed] to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

Furthermore, the FBI edited Comey's statement to downgrade the probability that Clinton's server was hacked by hostile actors, changing their language from "reasonably likely" to "possible" - an edit which eliminated yet another justification for the phrase "Gross negligence." To put it another way, "reasonably likely" means the probability of a hack due to Clinton's negligence is above 50 percent, whereas the hack simply being "possible" is any probability above zero.

It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

The original draft read:

Given the combination of factors, we assess it is reasonably likely that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account."

The edited version from Director Comey's July 5 statement read:

Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.

Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...."

One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 )

Transcript , James Comey Testimony to House Intel Committee, March 20, 2016

The letter from the Senate Committee concludes; "the edits to Director Comey's public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI's public evaluation of the implications of her actions . This effort, seen in the light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an "insurance policy" against Mr. Trump's election, raise profound questions about the FBI's role and possible interference in the 2016y presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of President Trump ."

Johnson then asks the FBI to answer six questions:

  1. Please provide the names of the Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who comprised the "mid-year review team" during the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server.
  2. Please identify all FBI, DOJ, or other federal employees who edited or reviewed Director Comey's July 5, 2016 statement . Please identify which individual made the marked changes in the documents produced to the Committee.
  3. Please identify which FBI employee repeatedly changed the language in the final draft statement that described Secretary Clinton's behavior as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless. " What evidence supported these changes?
  4. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to remove the reference to the Intelligence Community . On what basis was this change made?
  5. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to downgrade the FBI's assessment that it was "reasonably likely" that hostile actors had gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account to merely that than [sic] intrusion was "possible." What evidence supported these changes?
  6. Please provide unredacted copies of the drafts of Director Comey's statement, including comment bubbles , and explain the basis for the redactions produced to date.

We are increasingly faced with the fact that the FBI's top ranks have been filled with political ideologues who helped Hillary Clinton while pursuing the Russian influence narrative against Trump (perhaps as the "insurance" Strzok spoke of). Meanwhile, "hands off" recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein don't seem very excited to explore the issues with a second Special Counsel. As such, we are now almost entirely reliant on the various Committees of congress to pursue justice in this matter. Perhaps when their investigations have concluded, President Trump will feel he has the political and legal ammunition to truly clean house at the nation's swampiest agencies.

swmnguy -> 11b40 , Dec 15, 2017 4:42 PM

All I see in this story is that the FBI edits their work to make sure the terminology is consistent throughout. This is not a smoking gun of anything, except bureaucratic procedure one would find anywhere any legal documents are prepared.

That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed.

Now, if Hillary hadn't been such an arrogant bitch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If she had just take the locked-down Android of iOS phone they issued her, instead of having to forward everything to herself so she could use her stupid Blackberry (which can't be locked down to State Dep't. specs), everything would have been both hunky and dory.

And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked.

Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here.

youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 8:59 AM

What did Obozo know and when did he know it

E.F. Mutton -> youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 9:04 AM

False Flag time - distraction needed ASAP

Bigly -> E.F. Mutton , Dec 15, 2017 9:14 AM

We need to look for this as there are a LOT of people who need to be indicted and boobus americanus needs distraction.

My concern is that there are not enough non-corrupts there to handle and process the swamp as Trump did not fire and replace them 10 months ago.

shitshitshit -> Bigly , Dec 15, 2017 9:16 AM

I wonder how high will this little game go...

That obongo of all crooks is involved is a sure fact, but I'd like to see how many remaining defenders of the cause are still motivated to lose everything for this thing...

In other terms, what are the defection rates in the dem party, because now this must be an avalanche.

cheka -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 9:45 AM

applied neo-bolshevism

macholatte -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 10:23 AM

I am tired of this shit. Aren't you?

Please, EVERYONE with a Twitter account send this message Every Day (tell your friends on facebook):

Mr. President, the time to purge the Obama-Clinton holdovers has long passed. Please get rid of them at once. Make your base happy. Fire 100+ from DOJ - State - FBI. Hire William K. Black as Special Prosecutor

send it to:

@realDonaldTrump
@PressSec
@KellyannePolls
@WhiteHouse


Does anybody know how to start an online petition?
Let's make some NOISE!!

Bay of Pigs -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 12:02 PM

Sadly, I don't see this story being reported anywhere this morning. Only the biggest scandal in American history. WTF?

11b40 -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:22 PM

Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets.

Of course, they may all be related, since Debbie Wasserman-Shits brought them in and set them up, then intertwined their work in Congress with their work for the DNC.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM

They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? It's just like slick willy. Deny. Deny. Deny.

ThePhantom -> grizfish , Dec 15, 2017 3:35 PM

The Media is "in on it" and just as culpabale.... everyone's fighting for their lives.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 4:29 PM

Just more theater. Throwing a bone to the few citizens who think for themselves. Giving us false hope the US legal system isn't corrupt. This will never be prosecuted, because the deep state remains in control. They've had a year to destroy the incriminating evidence.

Lanka -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 2:27 PM

Tillerson is extremely incompetent in housecleaning. He needs to be replaced by Fred Kruger, Esq.

TerminalDebt -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

I guess we know now who the leaker was at the FBI and on the Mule's team

Joe Davola -> TerminalDebt , Dec 15, 2017 1:27 PM

I'm guessing the number of leakers is bigger than 1

eclectic syncretist -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:01 AM

What's next? The FBI had Seth Rich killed? Is that why Sessions and everyone else appears paralyzed? How deep does this rabbit hole go?

Overfed -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:58 AM

I'm sure that Chaffets and Gowdy will hand down some very stern reprimands.

Mr. Universe -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 11:24 AM

Ryan and his buddies in Congress will make strained faces (as if taking a dump) and wring their hands saying they must hire a "Special" Investigator to cover up this mess.

Duane Norman -> Mr. Universe , Dec 15, 2017 11:31 AM

http://fmshooter.com/claiming-fbis-reputation-integrity-not-tatters-comp...

Yeah, but it won't make a difference.

Gardentoolnumber5 -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 3:12 PM

Chaffets left Congress because he couldn't get any more help from Trump's DOJ than he did from Obama's. Sad, as he was one of the good guys. imo

ThePhantom -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 3:38 PM

did you notice the story yesterday about "Russian hacker admits putin ordered him to steal dnc emials" ? someones worried about it....

grizfish -> ThePhantom , Dec 15, 2017 4:38 PM

They tweet that crap all the time. Usually just a repeat with different names, but always blaming a Ruskie. About every 6 months they hit on a twist in the wording that causes it to go viral.

Bush Baby -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 11:37 AM

Before Trump was elected , I thought the only way to get our country back was through a Military Coup, but it appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

eclectic syncretist -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 11:57 AM

I wonder if that light is coming from the soon to be gaping hole in the FBI's asshole when the extent of this political activism by the agency eventually seeps into the public conciousness.

rccalhoun -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

you can't clean up a mess of this magnitude. fire everyone in washington---senator, representative, fbi, cia, nsa ,etc and start over---has NO chance of happenning

the only hope for a non violent solution is that a true leader emerges that every decent person can rally behind and respect, honor and dignity become the norm. unfortunately, corruption has become a culture and i don't know if it can be eradicated

Lanka -> rccalhoun , Dec 15, 2017 2:31 PM

Just expose the Congress, McCabe, Lindsey, McCabe, Clinton, all Dem judges, Media, Hollywood, local government dems as pedos; that will half-drain the swamp.

shankster -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 4:11 PM

Does the US public have a consciousness?

lew1024 -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 2:54 PM

If Trump gets the swamp cleaned without a military coup, he will be one of our greatest Presidents. There will be people who hate that more than they hate being in jail.

checkessential -> BennyBoy , Dec 15, 2017 1:00 PM

And they say President Trump obstructed justice for simply asking Comey if he could drop the Michael Flynn matter. Wow.

TommyD88 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 1:09 PM

Alinsky 101: Accuse your opponent of that which you yourself are doing.

Overfed -> redmudhooch , Dec 15, 2017 2:47 PM

Getting rid of the FBI (and all other FLEAs) would be a good thing for all of us.

A Sentinel -> TommyD88 , Dec 15, 2017 2:13 PM

Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did.

lurker since 2012 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 4:09 PM

And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS.

Ramesees -> BaBaBouy , Dec 15, 2017 9:31 AM

I have - it's was NBC Nightly News - they spent time on the damning emails from Strozk. Maybe 2-3 minutes. Normal news segment time. Surprised the hell out of me.

A Sentinel -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 2:14 PM

Someone probably got fired for that.

ThePhantom -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 3:41 PM

the "MSM" needs to cover their own asses ...like "an insurance policy" just in case the truth comes out... best to be seen reporting on the REAL issue at least for a couple minutes..

[Dec 14, 2017] Mr. Michael Morell (the former director of the CIA)) who has just confessed his treason in support of H. Clinton

If "our plan" exist, then Michael Morell should be persecuted.
Notable quotes:
"... Politico's interview with a somewhat repentant Trump hater Mike Morell now saying 'maybe our plan wasn't that well thought out' , and now these MSM Russia Gate screwups coupled with a discovery of FBI Trump haters, is a result of Trump's recognizing Jerusalem as it being Israel's capital? Just say'n. ..."
"... Amazing how energetically the "democrats" are uniting with the CIA! Exhibit No 1 is Mr. Michael Morell (the former director of the CIA)) who has just confessed his treason in support of H. Clinton: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_76241.shtml ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
Joe Tedesky , December 13, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Philip Giraldi writes about a shift occurring over at the CIA in Trump's favor, Politico's interview with a somewhat repentant Trump hater Mike Morell now saying 'maybe our plan wasn't that well thought out' , and now these MSM Russia Gate screwups coupled with a discovery of FBI Trump haters, is a result of Trump's recognizing Jerusalem as it being Israel's capital? Just say'n.

Anna , December 14, 2017 at 1:11 am

"You all keep hating on Democracy."

-- Amazing how energetically the "democrats" are uniting with the CIA! Exhibit No 1 is Mr. Michael Morell (the former director of the CIA)) who has just confessed his treason in support of H. Clinton: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_76241.shtml

Your "democracy" was nowhere when Mr. Clinton had been molesting underage girls on Lolita express. Your "democracy on the march," Clinton-Kagan style, has destroyed Libya and Ukraine. Millions of innocent civilians of all ages (including an enormous number of children) died thanks to your Israel-first & oil-first Clinton & Obama policies.

Very democratic ("We came, we saw, he died ha, ha, ha" – and the gem of Northern Africa has become a hell for Libyan citizens). One does not need to be Trump apologist to sense the stench of your rotten Clinton-Obama-CIA-FBI "democracy."

[Dec 13, 2017] Rosenstein's only good choice name a special prosecutor (opinion)

Dec 13, 2017 | www.cnn.com

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the words "special prosecutor" over the past week, I would have enough money to qualify for a cabinet position in the Trump Administration. Various Democratic senators have been calling for a special prosecutor whenever they can get close enough to a microphone. Last week, a number of state attorneys general wrote a joint letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein urging him to appoint an independent special prosecutor. The New York Times Editorial Board joined the chorus a few days ago. Page Pate

The idea of appointing a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation is not new. In March, a public opinion poll suggested that two-thirds of Americans supported the appointment of a special prosecutor. That was before Comey was fired, and before the competing excuses for firing him that came from the White House and President Trump himself.

A few months ago, I predicted that Trump might fire Comey. (I'm not happy I was right, and the writing on the wall was clear enough for anyone who cared to look.) I thought back then that the only way to move forward with a credible investigation into Russia's involvement with the last election would be to appoint a special counsel. What was a good idea then is a necessity now. It's not just because Trump pulled the trigger on firing Comey. Although it's unusual, it's not illegal for a President to fire an FBI Director. A President can hire and fire executive branch officials as he sees fit. Read More close dialog

close dialog And that's the problem. Trump can remove anyone and everyone holding a top position at the Justice Department who may be involved in this investigation. Clearly, he's not been shy about sacking Justice Department officials. Just ask Sally Yates and Preet Bahrara , or the other 46 US Attorneys who were told to vacate their offices before sundown earlier this year. Views on Comey's firing

Let's imagine for a minute that the people in charge decided that appointing a special prosecutor was the right thing to do. This is how it would work . The attorney general (or the deputy attorney general in a case like this one, where the attorney general recuses himself) has the discretion to appoint a "special counsel" when: (1) a criminal investigation is warranted; (2) there is a potential conflict of interest if the Justice Department conducted the investigation, or there are "extraordinary circumstances" present; and (3) it would be in the public interest to appoint a special counsel. The decision by the deputy attorney general to appoint (or not appoint) a special counsel is not be reviewable.

Although political and public pressure can certainly influence the decision, it's entirely up to Rosenstein to do it or not. I know that, according to sources cited by CNN, Rosenstein doesn't see the need for a special counsel at this point. He's wrong. It doesn't really matter if there is nothing to the allegations of Russia's meddling in the election or collusion with the Trump team. At this point, there is so much distrust and skepticism about the process itself that there needs to be an independent prosecutor looking into these allegations just to assure the country that the President and his associates did not commit a crime. Rosenstein shouldn't get any friction from his boss.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has publicly recused himself from any investigation dealing with Russian meddling, and Sessions had no problem with the idea of a special prosecutor when the potential target was Hillary Clinton. I recognize that there are legitimate arguments against the appointment of a special counsel. The process can be expensive, lack clear direction, last for a year or more, and is not guaranteed to reach any meaningful conclusions. But the benefits of appointing a special counsel in this case greatly outweigh the potential downsides. Although no one has asked me (and no one probably will), I know just the person for the job: Larry Thompson, a former deputy attorney general and former US attorney in Republican administrations.

He has extensive private sector experience, and is currently trusted by a federal court to oversee Volkswagen's compliance with criminal sanctions related to its emissions scandal. He is a loyal Republican and a supporter of Sessions , so the GOP couldn't credibly claim he's politically biased. More importantly, he's well-respected, extremely competent, and experienced in complex criminal investigations.

Whether it's Larry Thompson or someone else, a special prosecutor should be appointed to take over this investigation. If Rosenstein is the man everyone says he is , I believe he will appoint a qualified, independent prosecutor to take over this mess of an investigation. Mr. Rosenstein, the ball is in your court. Don't let America down.

[Dec 13, 2017] Meet Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general tied to Comey s firing

Notable quotes:
"... At his Senate confirmation hearing March 7, Rosenstein refused to say whether he would be willing to bring in a special counsel, saying he wouldn't make judgments in advance. ..."
"... Rosenstein has spent 27 years at Justice, getting an early job as a senior aide to a deputy attorney general. As a U.S. attorney, he supervised a broad range of criminal prosecution. ..."
"... In the 1990s, Rosenstein worked on the independent counsel investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton for their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater. ..."
"... Rosenstein was involved in separate questioning of both Clintons, who never were charged with a crime. More than a dozen others were charged and convicted, including the governor of Arkansas. ..."
May 11, 2017 | LA Times
James Comey , Rod J. Rosenstein knew his job would be different.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March after news reports revealed he had failed to tell his Senate confirmation hearing about his meetings last year with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

Rosenstein, a veteran prosecutor who had been serving as the U.S. attorney for Maryland, was confirmed as the No. 2 by the Senate the following month.

That put him in charge of the investigation into whether current or former aides to President Trump coordinated with Russia during the 2016 campaign.


What is Rosenstein's role in the Russia probe?

It will fall to Rosenstein to decide whether to file criminal charges against any of Trump's aides, to drop the case entirely or to hand it off to an independent prosecutor.

At his Senate confirmation hearing March 7, Rosenstein refused to say whether he would be willing to bring in a special counsel, saying he wouldn't make judgments in advance.

But he said he had "no reason to doubt" the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian authorities sought to influence the presidential race. He also said he believed the Justice Department could handle the most politically complicated cases without fear of compromise.

Feinstein: Rosenstein's memo on Comey reads like a 'hastily assembled' political document "

What was his role in the Comey firing?

Rosenstein laid out the case for Comey to be removed in a three-page memo that the White House released Tuesday.

In firing Comey, Trump had said he acted on Rosenstein's recommendation.

In a memorandum to Sessions, Rosenstein harshly criticized Comey for actions going back to last July, when he held a news conference to announce that the FBI would not seek charges against presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the email investigation but denounced her conduct.

That was a serious misjudgment, Rosenstein wrote, adding, "The goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference."

He went on to say that Comey had made the problems worse with his decision to disclose in late October -- 11 days before the election -- that the FBI had reopened its investigation of Clinton after finding State Department emails on a computer belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner , the estranged husband of Clinton's aide Huma Abedin .

Reports have since come out that Rosenstein threatened to resign over the way the Comey dismissal was attributed in part to the memo.

Read his letter here.

What else does Rosenstein do?

As Sessions' top deputy, Rosenstein is responsible for using Justice Department resources to step up enforcement of immigration laws, a Trump administration priority.

Sessions already has instructed all U.S. attorney's offices to be more aggressive about filing criminal charges against people who cross the border illegally, and he has threatened to cut off department grants to so-called sanctuary cities unless they cooperate with immigration agents.

[Sessions] picked someone who grew up in the department and knows how cases are decided, and should be decided.

-- Jamie Gorelick, deputy attorney general from 1994-1997

How did he become deputy attorney general?

The Senate voted overwhelmingly last month to confirm Rod J. Rosenstein as the No. 2 official at the Justice Department.

Rosenstein, 52, won unusual bipartisan support on the strength of his crime-fighting efforts as the U.S. attorney for Maryland for the last 12 years. He was confirmed as deputy attorney general by a vote of 94 to 6.

Where did he get his start?

Rosenstein has spent 27 years at Justice, getting an early job as a senior aide to a deputy attorney general. As a U.S. attorney, he supervised a broad range of criminal prosecution.

He first was nominated to the post by President George W. Bush. President Obama kept him on after the Senate did not move on Bush's previous nomination of Rosenstein for a seat on a federal appeals court.

In the 1990s, Rosenstein worked on the independent counsel investigation of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton for their investments in a failed real estate company known as Whitewater.

Rosenstein was involved in separate questioning of both Clintons, who never were charged with a crime. More than a dozen others were charged and convicted, including the governor of Arkansas.

Jamie Gorelick, who served as deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997 under the Clinton administration, praised Rosenstein at a recent ethics conference.

She said the department would remain in experienced hands. Sessions "picked someone who grew up in the department and knows how cases are decided, and should be decided," she said.

[Dec 13, 2017] The Precedent For Hillary A Special Prosecutor by Ben Domenech

Special prosecutor was appointed. But not the one that Ben Domenech expected. Still a very interesting detail is this article is that Comey seems to be very well informed about this mechanism and used it himself. So "special prosecutor gambit" was played by an experienced chess player with full support from intelligence agencies and within certain circle of high level officials within FBI and Justice department.
Notable quotes:
"... This was, of course, the Valerie Plame/CIA affair which ensnared top White House official Scooter Libby, who was later charged by the special prosecutor and convicted by a jury. And who was the individual at the DOJ who appointed the special prosecutor? James Comey, the current director of the FBI. ..."
Jun 09, 2016 | thefederalist.com

We deserve a justice system that actually delivers justice. The current system that is so obviously rigged in favor of certain politicians cannot. With the race for the Democratic nomination effectively concluded, Hillary Clinton now awaits the endorsement of President Obama , which they expect to come within the next few weeks. Obama is poised to play a big role in Clinton's campaign against Donald Trump, acting as an emissary to groups and audiences that have been more reluctant to support Clinton in the past. But this creates its own set of problems: namely, that the FBI under the auspices of Obama's administration is also actively investigating Clinton's email server and her mishandling of classified information.

It's hard to see any way that a conclusion reached under people like Loretta Lynch, serving at the pleasure of a president advocating vociferously for Clinton's election, would be seen as treating the candidate fairly. Even if Clinton is cleared, a dark cloud will hang over the process. And Clinton herself should not be comfortable with the prospect of a process Trump will certainly denounce as crooked, especially considering that many Americans would likely agree with him.

Rather than deal with the typical rhetorical battles over this issue that have played out on cable television over the past year, Republicans in Washington should cite historical precedent in this context. Back in 2003, when a top presidential appointee was suspected of mishandling classified information, that president's attorney general recused himself from the matter. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the allegations and determine if prosecution was warranted. That prosecutor investigated the case, brought charges, and obtained a conviction.

This was, of course, the Valerie Plame/CIA affair which ensnared top White House official Scooter Libby, who was later charged by the special prosecutor and convicted by a jury. And who was the individual at the DOJ who appointed the special prosecutor? James Comey, the current director of the FBI.

John Aschroft, the attorney general under George W. Bush, had the good sense to recuse himself from the matter and appoint Comey to make the decision about how the case ought to proceed. Ashcroft knew his own involvement would only taint whatever decision was finally made. So he removed entirely the possibility of political interference by recusing himself. As a Senator, Barack Obama hailed the verdict in that case and the process that led to it.

Republicans ought to demand that Loretta Lynch do the same thing Obama's current FBI director did when he worked at the Department of Justice in 2003: appoint a special prosecutor.

If Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong, if no laws were broken, no classified information was mishandled, and no American men and women were put at risk as a result of her actions, then she has nothing to fear from an independent investigation of her activities. Where she stands right now is the worst of all worlds: she could still be prosecuted by FBI/DOJ, but if she's not, everyone will assume that political interference saved her. She can never get out from under that cloud, no matter what happens.

An independent prosecutor, however, can put all of that to rest. If he or she finds evidence of any crimes, then the case will be prosecuted. And if the prosecutor decides not to charge, we'll know that it wasn't a political decision.

This is actually the best of all worlds for Hillary, because it actually gives her the opportunity to clear her name, if she's innocent. It also happens to be the best solution for the American public. We deserve a justice system that actually delivers justice. We deserve a law enforcement system that actually enforces the law. A special prosecutor can deliver it. The current system that is so obviously rigged in favor of certain politicians cannot. Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist. Sign up for a free trial of his daily newsletter, The Transom.

[Dec 13, 2017] Brennan Officials should refuse Trump if he fires Mueller by Nikki Schwab

Highly recommended!
It's interesting that here Brennan might defend the prosecutor he was instrumental in appointing as a part of "color revolution" against Trump driven by intelligence agencies and controlled by them MSM. And we do not know how close he was with Strzok.
That's probably as close to sedition as one can get but such powerful players are above the law under neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Brennan was speaking last week at the Aspen Institute's Security Forum, alongside the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 'I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out,' Brennan said. ..."
"... Brennan brought up an executive branch revolt when Blitzer asked him how he'd like to see Congress handle the situation. The ex-CIA chief suggested he'd want a response from them both – the executive branch and Capitol Hill. ..."
"... Brennan, along with Clapper, had full confidence in Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take over the FBI's Russia probe, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey's firing. ..."
"... Comey testified that he believed he was fired because of said probe. 'Absolutely, it was an inspired choice,' said Brennan of the Mueller pick. Mueller had headed the FBI before Comey took his place. 'They don't come any better,' Brennan added. ..."
Jul 25, 2017 | dailymail.co.uk

CIA's former boss calls on government officials to refuse to obey Trump if he fires Mueller. The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, said last week that he thought executive branch officials should revolt if President Trump fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller

The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, suggested that executive branch officials should refuse to obey President Trump if he fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Brennan was speaking last week at the Aspen Institute's Security Forum, alongside the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 'I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out,' Brennan said.

John Brennan said he also hoped that Republicans and Democrats would push back if President Trump tried to use his power that way

'I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue,' he continued. 'That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future.'

Brennan brought up an executive branch revolt when Blitzer asked him how he'd like to see Congress handle the situation. The ex-CIA chief suggested he'd want a response from them both – the executive branch and Capitol Hill.

'If he's fired by Mr. Trump or attempted to be fired by Mr. Trump, I hope, I really hope that our members of Congress, elected representatives are going to stand up and say enough is enough and stop making apologies and excuses for things that are happening that really flout, I think, our system of laws and government.'

Brennan, along with Clapper, had full confidence in Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take over the FBI's Russia probe, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey's firing.

Comey testified that he believed he was fired because of said probe. 'Absolutely, it was an inspired choice,' said Brennan of the Mueller pick. Mueller had headed the FBI before Comey took his place. 'They don't come any better,' Brennan added.

President Trump has repeatedly called the various investigations surrounding Russia's meddling in the 2016 election a 'witch hunt,' including the one helmed by Mueller.

While Trump can't fire the lawmakers looking into collusion claims in the House and in the Senate, the president does have the power to tell Rosenstein to boot Mueller.

Last week Trump told the New York Times that Mueller will have crossed a 'red line' by looking into his family's finances.

'I think that's a violation,' Trump said. 'Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company,' the president pivoted.

Trump also expressed doubt that he would actually fire Mueller.

'I can't, I can't answer that question because I don't think it's going to happen,' Trump said.

du Vallon , East Coast, United States, 4 months ago

Whos_watching, Anywhere;... "Brennan is nothing but a traitor"... Just hilarious coming from a Republican. What do you call it when Trump's son, his Top Advisor and Son in Law, and his actual Campaign Manager are meeting with an actual RUssian spy, a policy operative, and a Billionaire Moscov bag man after receiving an email that they had illegally obtained Hillary correspondence and wanted to help Trump get elected??? That is a sell out to our most dangerous enemies, with nuclear missiles pointed at our cities, for getting their help jacking an election for President of the United States of America... and you're calling someone ELSE as "traitor". That's rich. You Republicans have no business calling ANYONE that name.

Magdalen student , Oxford, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

This is a very evil man. He belongs in prison for the things he's done to America.

David Breitbart_ , London, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

Don't forget, the reason EYE-SIS exists? is because Obama, Hillary, and Brennan were playing "topple the gov't" all across the mid east and libya.

MiniMoto Squad Z125 , St Louis suburbs F the city, United States, 4 months ago

How about we disband the CIA for supporting terrorists in Syria. We the people have the power to burn Langley to the ground. Never forget that

MiniMoto Squad Z125 , St Louis suburbs F the city, United States, 4 months ago

Okay and how about a Iynch mob shows up to your house and beats your old ass to death you ex CIA POS

Casualobserver , Swansea, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

I think his peers will care and take note. You don't care obviously, but then you're not his peer lol.

Daily Texan , Houston, United States, 4 months ago

This guy is nothing but a treasonous mus!im clown.

Murf , Charlotte NC, 4 months ago

Really don't understand the 'arrows'.... Yesterday, all the latte' lovin' low-information Libs were on spewing their half-truths and outright lies.. Today, the Libs are outnumbered big time. Are they out collecting their government checks today or are they still in bed??

NoReally , BackBayNJ, United States, 4 months ago

This isn't treason. It isn't even sedition. He's speaking freely. He's not trying to overthrow Trump. He'd like to see another Saturday Night Massacre.

[Dec 13, 2017] Rod Rosenstein s Revenge -- and What Comes Next by Chris Smith

Looks like pressure from the "intelligence community" was the decisive factor in appointment of the special procecutor.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times, ..."
May 18, 2017 | www.vanityfair.com

In an impossible position, the deputy attorney general played the only card he had. But the game between the White House and the Justice Department and intelligence community will only get more complicated.

You remember Rod Rosenstein. Way back on May 9, Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was thrust from bureaucratic obscurity when the White House cited his three-page memo as the basis for the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey.

Rosenstein, after a day or so, then receded from the headlines, thanks to the cyclonic chaos machine that is the Trump administration: Oval Office leaks to the Russians! Israeli spies! Angry tweets! But the bespectacled, seemingly mild-mannered lawyer just got very interesting again.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Rosenstein suddenly announced the appointment of a special prosecutor, former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III, to take charge of the investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

It was a stunning reversal for Rosenstein, who for weeks had been fending off congressional calls for just such a move. It was also -- if the details are true -- a stunning vote of no-confidence in President Donald Trump : Department of Justice sources say the White House was given only 30-minutes notice before the public announcement, and that Rosenstein had already signed the order at that point. It may also be a sign of Rosenstein's anger at being bullied by Trump last week -- when the White House, amid the uproar over Comey's firing, tried to pin the blame on Rosenstein.

There were also pragmatic procedural reasons. "President Trump basically forced a special counsel to be appointed the minute he made Rosenstein a witness to Comey's firing -- by saying that he'd accepted the recommendation of Rosenstein to fire Comey," says Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor. "Trump disqualified Rosenstein as an impartial prosecutor and made this appointment all but inevitable."

It's probably not coincidental that the latest twist came less than 24 hours before Rosenstein is scheduled to brief a meeting of all 100 U.S senators in a secure room of the subterranean Capitol Visitors Center. He will still be quizzed Thursday afternoon. The Democrats, led by New York's Chuck Schumer, will ask about the roles of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the abrupt dismissal of Comey. Did Rosenstein tailor his case, which focused entirely on the F.B.I. director's handling of the 2016 probe into Hillary Clinton's e-mail habits, at the behest of the president and the A.G.?

Rosenstein will also be grilled about the underlying mess: Was the president trying to slow down or scuttle the Russia inquiry by firing the F.B.I. director? "We are very curious about that," a Senate source says.

The appointment of a special counsel makes it easier for Rosenstein to deflect those questions. The 52-year-old has spent 27 years as a government lawyer. Hired straight out of Harvard, in 1990, to work in President George H.W. Bush's Justice Department, Rosenstein stayed on into President Bill Clinton's term. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated him to be U.S. attorney for Maryland, a job Rosenstein held for 12 years, making him the only U.S. attorney appointed under the previous regime to last through both of President Barack Obama's terms -- which means he's either highly competent or blandly unexceptional.

In January, Sessions, himself a former U.S. attorney, chose Rosenstein as his top deputy.

"A lot of people, like me, who were really troubled by the Sessions appointment as attorney general thought Rod would be the person who would stand up for D.O.J.'s independence in a pinch," says Matthew Miller, who was Attorney General Eric Holder's spokesman. "And that did not prove to be the case last week. Rod wrote that memo, and it was a farce. It was a cover story so Trump could fire Comey over the Russia investigation. That was the moment for Rod to stand up and say no, and not only did he not do that, he helped load the gun for Trump."

The truth could be more complex, of course: Rosenstein may have genuinely believed Comey should be fired, and he also may have been an unwitting tool for Trump and Sessions. Appointing a special counsel "is an admission by Rosenstein that he messed up badly last week," Miller says. "He still needs to explain himself to Congress."

Attorneys on both sides of the political aisle who know Rosenstein don't question his impartiality when it comes to evaluating facts and legal issues. They wonder, however, whether Rosenstein has been out of his political depth as deputy attorney general -- and whether he wrote the Comey memo without sufficient concern as to how it might be used. "The skills needed to be an effective U.S. attorney are significantly different from the ones needed as deputy attorney general," one D.O.J. veteran says. "Being a straight shooter is great, but you have a lot of other considerations in those top leadership positions."

Even with Mueller now overseeing the Russia investigation, Rosenstein's impact should be felt on two other crucial fronts.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested that Justice turn over any memos written by Comey about his conversations with Trump, including the now-famous notes, first reported in The New York Times, where Comey says the president asked him to drop the F.B.I. inquiry into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. Sessions -- in consultation with Rosenstein -- could refuse the Senate's request, forcing a subpoena and a possible constitutional confrontation.

Then there's the larger, murkier subject of leaks. After Trump apparently blabbed confidential, Israeli-developed intelligence about the fight against ISIS to the Russians, conservative media outlets have been loudly calling for whoever tipped reporters to the story be hunted down. As Maryland U.S. attorney, Rosenstein's highest-profile case was the prosecution of James "Hoss" Cartwright, a retired four-star Marine general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cartwright was accused of disclosing information about covert anti-Iranian operations to reporters; he was charged with lying about his conversations to F.B.I. investigators. Rosenstein extracted a guilty plea from Cartwright and pushed for a two-year jail term.

Trump apparently told Comey he wanted reporters who'd received leaks locked up. And now the White House and Sessions are prioritizing the pursuit of leakers. "It's almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it," Sessions told Bill O'Reilly on Fox in March. Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Justice Department's day-to-day operations, may be the one tasked with implementing a crackdown.

But the Trump-inflicted turmoil inside U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies is also having ramifications in external, more corrosive ways. "What happened with the president and the Russians the other day makes counterterrorism work even more difficult," says Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent who pursued the 9/11 attackers and now runs an international security firm. "Early on, the Israeli intelligence and military establishment warned the government about sharing intelligence with the White House for fear that Trump would share it with the Russians, and that the Russians will share it with the Iranians. And then we've proved them right. What I hear from people around the world, and from people who work for the U.S. overseas, is that the situation is chaotic. It's becoming increasingly difficult for people in nati

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

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

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specifically:

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

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

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

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

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

Why then is the investigation still continuing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During that hearing Jordan said to Wray the following

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a question, if someone could answer.

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

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

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

MissCellany , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

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

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

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

lester1 , Dec 10, 2017 1:33 PM

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

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

Hopefully Trump fires Mueller over the Christmas weekend!

Reaper , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

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

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

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

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

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! A+++

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

It makes perfect sense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will make a prediction:

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

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

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

Expect to see Soros mobs in the streets.

Either Mueller goes, or Trump goes.

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

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

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

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

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:40 PM

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

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

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

We now enter the neutralization and mop-up phase.

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

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

ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 1:51 PM

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

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

EXACTLY!

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

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

Mzhen , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

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

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

Angelo Misterioso , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

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

Nunyadambizness , Dec 10, 2017 2:34 PM

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

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

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

[Dec 10, 2017] Neoliberals from "Democratic Club" under Obama did thier best to put Hillary into Office. All the activities like RussiaPhobia, rigging of the Democratic National Committee, etc. were all part of the plot. Just remember that Obama was highly skilled in the totally corrupted politics of Chicago and The State of Illinois. He did a good job at the same thing in Washington D.C., brought in with the help of the CIA (who he used to work for in Chicago)

Being totally controlled by intelligence agencies is probably the wildest nightmare now... And the lie about Russian collusion has sired truths beyond such a nightmare.
Oct 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Thought Processor -> Pollygotacracker , Oct 24, 2017 1:59 PM

Any JFK files still classified have been totally scrubbed by this point. Anything damaging was likely destroyed long ago. Anything left is there for a purpose.

As such they they likely contain more disinformation than information at this point and it'll be hard to tell the difference between the two.

Herdee , Oct 24, 2017 1:24 PM

They all had their little so-called "Democratic Club" under Obama where they all thought that'd prepare the way for more of their corrupt agenda by putting Hillary into Office. They know now that all the activities like RussiaPhobia, rigging of the Democratic National Committee, etc. were all part of the plot. Just remember that Obama was highly skilled in the totally corrupted politics of Chicago and The State of Illinois that he helped to bancrupt. He did a good job at the same thing in Washington D.C., brought in with the help of the CIA (who he used to work for in Chicago) and run the deficit to levels every politician agreed to where deficits don't matter, we can print as much as we want mentality. This is why you see China, Russia and many other countries now looking at the warmongering corruption in Washington D.C. and saying that federal politicians if you give them enough time will implode the U.S. from within if you give them enough rope. Now you see the current CIA Director meeting with James Rickards because he understands that economic implosion will hit their agenda.

FoggyWorld -> Dickweed Wang , Oct 24, 2017 2:22 PM

Boy are you right. A Republican run Congress and Senate in 2015 when the book, _Clinton Cash_ made the best seller list. Apparently none of them read it and just now are getting around to looking what has to be one of the largest criminal rackets ever run within that City.

TheLastTrump , Oct 24, 2017 2:18 PM

https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/23/investigating-the-investigators/

"as the Trump investigators -- in Congress, in the Justice Department, and the legions in the media -- begin to grow strangely silent about the entire collusion charge" "America is in a radical state of flux, or rather in a great accounting and recalibration, ranging from government to popular culture. Hollywood lived a lie and now is not what it was just three weeks ago. The NFL was based on known but ignored hypocrisies and is no longer the league it was in September. The media has put rank partisanship before truth and lost ideologically and morally. And the lie about Russian collusion has sired truths beyond our wildest nightmares. "

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare.

[Dec 10, 2017] Closing In on the Corruption in the FBI www.independentsentinel.com

Notable quotes:
"... Pete Strzok is the agent who caught Flynn lying. Set up? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.independentsentinel.com

December 4, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey, who has lied, leaked and who wrote the Hillary report weeks before any key players, including Hillary, were interviewed, wants us to know the FBI is "honest", "strong", and "independent". The man who leaked and connived to get a special prosecutor wants to convince us of that.

Jim Comey is the one who had no problem with Andrew McCabe's conflicts of interest. He is the one who disgraced his own agency. He is the one who obstructed justice by declaring Hillary Clinton innocent which he is not permitted to do in his role. The former director is the one who lamented not being a "stronger" man.

Comey is sanctimonious, arrogant, supercilious, and narcissistic and he's not an agent, he's a lawyer.

... ... ...

Does anyone doubt that Mueller, who has hired Hillary donors and activist Democrats to investigate Trump, knew about Strzok's leanings? A top spy and he didn't know?

They are simply trying to silence us with their usual diversions. Don't fall for it. We don't have to be blindly obedient to these people.

Pete Strzok is the agent who caught Flynn lying. Set up?

[Dec 10, 2017] Russia-gate s Reach into Journalism by Dennis J Bernstein

Highly recommended!
When national security establishment is trying to undermine sitting President this is iether color revolution or coup d'état. In the USa it looks more like color revolution.
"Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized."
Notable quotes:
"... The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview. ..."
"... Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy. ..."
"... In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize. ..."
"... In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring. ..."
"... From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult. ..."
"... Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority." ..."
"... Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater. ..."
"... What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves? ..."
"... Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag. ..."
"... How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in! ..."
"... Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter. ..."
"... Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief. ..."
"... One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US. ..."
"... In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary. ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.facebook.com

The investigation to somehow blame Russia for Donald Trump's election has now merged with another establishment goal of isolating and intimidating whistleblowers and other dissidents, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

The Russia-gate investigation has reached into the ranks of journalism with the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena of Randy Credico, who produced a series about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for Pacifica Radio and apparently is suspected of having passed on early word about leaked Democratic emails to Donald Trump's supporter Roger Stone.

The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview.

Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize.

I interviewed Drake about the significance of Credico's subpoena, which Credico believes resulted from his journalism about the persecution of Julian Assange for releasing information that powerful people would prefer kept hidden from the public. (I had a small role in Credico's 14-part radio series, Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom . It was broadcast first as part of his Live on the Fly Series, over WBAI and later on KPFA and across the country on community radio.)

Credico got his start as a satirist and became a political candidate for mayor of New York City and later governor of New York, making mainstream politicians deal with issues they would rather not deal with.

I spoke to Thomas Drake by telephone on Nov. 30, 2017.

Dennis Bernstein: How do you look at Russiagate, based on what you know about what has already transpired in terms of the movement of information? How do you see Credico's role in this?

Thomas Drake: Information is the coin of the realm. It is the currency of power. Anyone who questions authority or is perceived as mocking authority -- as hanging out with "State enemies" -- had better be careful. But this latest development is quite troubling, I must say. This is the normalization of everything that has been going on since 9/11. Randy is a sort of 21st century Diogenes who is confronting authority and pointing out corruption. This subpoena sends a chilling message. It's a double whammy for Randy because, in the eyes of the US government, he is a media figure hanging out with the wrong media figure [Julian Assange].

Dennis Bernstein: Could you say a little bit about what your work was and what you tried to do with your expose?

Thomas Drake: My experience was quite telling, in terms of how far the government will go to try to destroy someone's life. The attempt by the government to silence me was extraordinary. They threw everything they had at me, all because I spoke the truth. I spoke up about abuse of power, I spoke up about the mass surveillance regime. My crime was that I made the choice to go to the media. And the government was not just coming after me, they were sending a really chilling message to the media: If you print this, you are also under the gun.

Dennis Bernstein: We have heard the charges again and again, that this was a Russian hack. What was the source? Let's trace it back as best we can.

Thomas Drake: In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring.

From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult.

The advantage that intelligence has is that they can hide behind what they are doing. They don't actually have to tell the truth, they can shade it, they can influence it and shape it. This is where information can be politicized and used as a weapon. Randy has found himself caught up in these investigations by virtue of being a media figure and hanging out with "the wrong people."

Dennis Bernstein: It looks like the Russiagaters in Congress are trying to corner Randy. All his life he has spoken truth to power. But what do you think the role of the press should be?

Thomas Drake: The press amplifies just about everything they focus on, especially with today's 24-hour, in-your-face social media. Even the mainstream media is publishing directly to their webpages. You have to get behind the cacophony of all that noise and ask, "Why?" What are the intentions here?

I believe there are still enough independent journalists who are looking further and deeper. But clearly there are those who are hell-bent on making life as difficult as possible for the current president and those who are going to defend him to the hilt. I was not surprised at all that Trump won. A significant percentage of the American electorate were looking for something different.

Dennis Bernstein : Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders.

Thomas Drake: That would have been an interesting race, to have Bernie vs. Trump. Sanders was appealing, especially to young audiences. He was raising legitimate issues.

Dennis Bernstein: In Clinton, they had a known quantity who supported the national security state.

Thomas Drake: The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority."

Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater.

What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves?

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

orwell

"Raw Executive Authority" means Totalitarianism/Fascism.

exiled off mainstreet , December 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag.

Jerry Alatalo , December 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm

It is highly encouraging to know that a great many good and decent men and women Americans are 100% supportive of Mr, Randy Credico as he prepares for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Remember all those standing right there beside you, speak what rightly needs to be spoken, and make history Mr. Credico!

jaycee , December 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

The intensification of panic/hysteria was obviously triggered by the shock election of Trump. Where this is all heading is on display in Australia, as the government is writing legislation to "criminalise covert and deceptive activities of foreign actors that fall short of espionage but are intended to interfere with our democratic systems and processes or support the intelligence activities of a foreign government." The legislation will apparently be accompanied by new requirements of public registration of those deemed "foreign agents". (see http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/07/auch-d07.html ).

This will be an attack on free speech, free thought, and political freedoms, justified by an orchestrated hysteria which ridiculously assumes a "pure" political realm (i.e. the "homeland") under assault by impure foreign agents and their dirty ideas. Yes, that is a fascist construct and the liberal establishment will see it through, not the alt-right blowhards.

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in!

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:48 am

Actually Mike, the book was a prophesy but you aren't seen nothing yet. You me and the rest of the posters here may well find ourselves going for a visit to room 101 yet.

fudmier , December 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Those who govern (527 of them) at the pleasure of the constitution are about to breach the contract that entitles them to govern. Limiting the scope of information allowed to those who are the governed, silencing the voices of those with concerns and serious doubts, policing every word uttered by those who are the governed, as well as abusing the constitutional privilege of force and judicial authority, to deny peaceful protests of the innocents is approaching the final straw.

The governors and their corporate sponsors have imposed on those the governors govern much concern. Exactly the condition that existed prior to July 4, 1776, which elicited the following:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the Political bands which connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the laws of nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I submit the actions and intentions of those who govern that are revealed and discussed in this article https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/07/russia-gates-reach-into-journalism/ should be among the list of impels that support the next declaration.

Al Pinto , December 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Those who govern (527 of them and the puppet master oligarch behind them) will make certain that there's no support for the next declaration. There's no respect to the opinions of the mankind, what matters is keeping the current status quo in place and further advance it by silencing the independent media.

Maybe when the next "Mother of all bubbles" come, there's an opportunity for the mankind to be heard, but it's doubtful. What has taken place during the last bubble is that the rich has gotten richer and the poor, well, you know the routine.

https://usawatchdog.com/mother-of-all-bubbles-too-big-to-pop-peter-schiff/

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter.

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:44 am

Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief.

Trump's election has also shown us in vivid technicolour, just what is really going on in the deep state. Absolutely none of this stuff would have come out had Clinton won and anything there was would have been covered up as though under the concrete foundation of a tower block. However, Trump still has four years left and as a British prime minister once said, "a week is a long time in politics". Well four more years of Trump is a hell of a lot longer so who knows what might happen in that time.

One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US.

Christene Bartels , December 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary.

Apparently, Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice this year. He's going to have to share the limelight with Karma.

[Dec 09, 2017] The rot of the US politicla elite

Notable quotes:
"... neoconservatism still is the conservative establishment. If you want a 'fellow' of some institute to represent the 'conservative' point of view you are going to get someone who is more or less a neocon. ..."
"... Trump has not changed a thing about who the establishment is: but he threatens change which is one reason why they hate him. It's not that they have gone away but that they have been discredited and won't go away because they have the infrastructure. ..."
"... On the contrary, nationalist conservative intellectuals display far, far, far, far more intellectual excellence than the liberals, the neoconservatives, or the milquetoast moderates. ..."
"... In the past, when one or two parties became rotten, new parties emerged to challenge them. But in the early 20th century, the Dems and the GOP agreed to revise election laws to create prohibitively steep requirements for any party that had not gotten a certain percentage of the vote the previous election, thereby creating the myth of the "major parties" and the "two party system." ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

John December 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

The entire political culture is at the bottom of the swamp. Neither the Democrat nor the Republican side has a pristine character. We are always voting for the least objectionable side.

The Democrats brought us abortion, pushed same sex marriage and imposed an enormous public debt on us, why would any sane person even consider voting for any of them unless that person is a direct beneficiary of the afore mentioned policies of abomination.

The culture in general encourages bad behavior. I do not see much prospect for improvement in the new future. As far as I know Trump stays out of the Xerox room and is willing to tackle real problems facing this country. The Republican party is casting off its governing elite. They failed us. The populous wants a change. It not rotting its fertilizing that smells. Get a grip man!

MikeCLT , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm
David Brooks is part of the intellectual elite that led us into Iraq and the Great Recession. Buckley, Baker and Kirkpatrick were part of the Republican elite but of a different branch than Brooks.
theMann , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm
Every word of this alternates between arrant nonsense and outright intellectual cowardice.

The problem is not that Politicians are scummy people, they have always been scummy people. (Perhaps even the slightest familiarity with Greece and Rome would help illustrate the point?). The problem is that that Participatory Democracy rapidly falls to the lowest common denominator of human vileness, compounded by inevitable Race and Religious factionalism. You want to blame the Politicians? Blame the Voter at the 50% percentile, where the blame belongs.

The fact is, when we threw away our limited vote Republic during the "Progressive" Era, we set ourselves on the course to this destination. This Government has not another twenty years of life on its current course. Most of us should live to see what arises from its ashes.

Ben H , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm
No, neoconservatism still is the conservative establishment. If you want a 'fellow' of some institute to represent the 'conservative' point of view you are going to get someone who is more or less a neocon.

Trump has not changed a thing about who the establishment is: but he threatens change which is one reason why they hate him. It's not that they have gone away but that they have been discredited and won't go away because they have the infrastructure.

Kent , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm
"More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: "I'm homeless. I'm politically homeless."

Sheepishly raises hand. I was always a Republican not because of any of a thousand issues, but because I believed Republicans knew how to run an efficient, financially prudent government. It was the party of conservative values like work and integrity.

Democrats were the party of budget deficits, handouts, war and favored constituencies. The Republicans have become the Democrats of old, just tweaking who gets the handouts.

GWB's second term was the first time I ever voted for a democrats across the line. Not because I care about their policies (they're basically Republican anyway), but just because its the only way I have to slap the GOP in my small way.

The GOP has become the party of radical incompetence. An embarrassment. I see little difference between Trump and Hillary. And most Republicans I know think there is an ocean between them. That's how small their world has become.

DBN , says: December 8, 2017 at 12:57 pm
The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive -- moral, intellectual, political and reputational. More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: "I'm homeless. I'm politically homeless."

Cry me a river. A lot of Americans have felt this way way for decades. Pew Research Center polling has consistently shown that the largest group of Americans tilts socially to the right but economically to the left. There has not been a party since FDRs Democrats that felt like a home for these people.

Given that we have a two-party system, and that's unlikely to change, I would rather that at least one party begin represent a significant portion of the population again.

Silouan , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Brooks should replace "populism" with "elitism". Republican elitism along with Republican RINOS are what led to the rise of Republican populism. The rot began with the elites and the Rinos.

[NFR: By this point, "RINO" is an empty term. -- RD]

Bob Taylor , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm
I disagree with Brooks' view of what populism is.

If you see populism as tending toward the triumph of the demagogic, then I suppose you would tend to see Trump as a populist. Although I haven't read Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" since I was 17, the Berzelius Windrip character, a demagogue who manages to bulls**t his way into the Presidency, reminds me of Trump. He isn't really a populist ideologue anymore than Trump is. He is, like Trump, just a bad man and a slob.

I don't know the history of American populism as well as I wish I did, but if you expel the rancid racism which tended to infect the Southern strain, but which the master 1930s Southern populist ( and crook and tyrant ) of them all, Huey Long, had contempt for and didn't exploit, then populism is strictly an economic force.

It sought always to batter away at the laws and the conditions which enabled "economic royalists" to exploit most of their countrymen. Damned right it sought to be a leveling force, and good for that.

Were the early populists, Bryan, LaFollette, Theodore Roosevelt to an extent, unlettered men, men fond of the idea of keeping the electorate educationally downtrodden, and therefore marks to be worked with clever slogans? Were FDR and the New Dealers like that? Harry Truman? Lyndon Johnson? Hubert Humphrey? Bobby Kennedy? George McGovern?

Weren't these men and so many others about the elevation of people without means, the protection and enhancement of their dignity? The middle class' very existence was in large part a triumph of populistic governance over a 75 year period, at least as I've always understood American history.

Guys like Brooks don't understand what this country was not so long ago.

EarlyBird , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm
I was already feeling queasy about my Republicanism by the time W showed up, but indeed, the Republican was finally beaten out of me by the Iraq War, the (ongoing) denial by Republicans that it was a catastrophe, their policy and celebration of torture, their incapability of offering anything but warmed over Reaganism, and Sarah Palin.

Palin was our canary in the coal mine for the Trump age. She was as shallow and base as any demagogue could be, whose political "ideas" were untethered to any meaningful philosophy whatsoever, entirely the expression of cultural resentment over those darned liberal eggheads pushing around "real Americans." That McCain chose her as a potential president was reckless. And the Establishment and rank and file Republicans just lapped it up because she bumped up McCain's numbers in the final stretch of the election.

kgasmart , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm
My problem with Donald Trump is not so much that he's a populist rebuke to the GOP elites (who deserve it) but that he's a loudmouth incompetent who's so bad at it -- and his most ardent supporters let him get away with it.

Because who else is available?

If in fact you're a Republican who believes the GOP elite have failed the party and failed the country – what was your choice? Ted Cruz? Rick Perry?

Edsall's column is prescient but liberals won't change. If there's a reflexive hostility to workaday conservatism, there's an intolerable smugness to liberalism – even those Edsall quote assume that "cosmopolitanism," for example, is superior to parochialism, not just in practical ways – but morally.

He's right in saying a whooooole lot of Americans believe this view was imposed upon them, and they're right – it was.

Fran Macadam , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm
The people Brooks cites as his preferred brand are precisely the sorts we deplorables cannot stand. He's an elitist. I mean, you can't blame him, he's conservative in that he likes the status quo that gives him his influence, his income, his way of life. But he mistakes his own bubble for the greater good for all of us – who are just important as ourselves is Brooks to himself – and there are orders of magnitude more of us, than him. We're conservative too – we haven't enjoyed having our way of life taken away from us, while his remains intact.
John Gruskos , says: December 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm
On the contrary, nationalist conservative intellectuals display far, far, far, far more intellectual excellence than the liberals, the neoconservatives, or the milquetoast moderates.

Honesty and moral courage are prerequisites for intellectual excellence.

The right wing writers featured at unz.com, for instance, have both qualities in abundance – unlike the liberal, neocon and moderate apologists for the establishment.

Sam M , says: December 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Well, I know you always say that you don't think there was a golden age, but when you say it's "putrefying" you indicate that you do. That it was not always putrid. Or that it was less so. But this from Brooks is absurd:

"The Republican Party I grew up with admired excellence. It admired intellectual excellence (Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley), moral excellence (John Paul II, Natan Sharansky) and excellent leaders (James Baker, Jeane Kirkpatrick)"

Well, yes. I suppose. But Bob Packwood first elected to the Senate in 1969. Not 2009. Oliver North is an actual historical figure. Congressman Joseph McDade was as much a part of the GOP during Brooks' youth as Reagan was.

To say there is rot is to assume that there was once a solid tree. But was there?

The GOP of Brook's youth was Kissinger and Nixon. G. Gordon Liddy. Etc.

That's no defense of the goons now in charge. But to assume they are there because of rot is to assume that the swamp you are in was once a lovely mid-century modern home in the Village.

It wasn't. It was always a swamp. It always smelled bad. But Brooks was too young to notice. Or too blinded by youthful admiration to see that all people are human. Especially politicians.

[NFR: I don't think there was ever a time in history when Congressmen were choirboys. Does anybody? These guys are dirtbags, and they get very little good done, far as I can tell. Brooks's point is not (or not entirely) that they are immoral, but that they are unprincipled and guided by very little that is smart or good. I am sure that Brooks and I disagree on what constitutes "good," but we both agree that what we have now is bad. -- RD]

Gaius Gracchus , says: December 8, 2017 at 3:16 pm
Populism isn't intellectually inept and populists are not just the people who Brooks despises.

They just hold to a different intellectual framework.

Nationalist vs. Globalist-most of the GOPe is globalist. They do not prioritize the people of America first, but put their idelogical worldwide goals ahead of the interests of the American people as a whole.

In foreign policy, Tlthe Republican Party has long been a bastion of America 1st foreign policy until the Wilson, FDR, and Truman pushed America into the position of globalist hegemon.

America 1st policy has a deep intellectual tradition and recalls Washington's farewell address.

In trade policy, America 1st economic nationalism harks back to Alexander Hamilton and continues to the American System of Henry Clay and on the core of the Republican Party economics from Lincoln onward.

I could go on.

Either one prioritizes the interests of the people as a whole or the interests of the few. Conservative Inc. cares about the rich and powerful and their fellow approved thinkers. If the general welfare is the focus, then conservatism would resemble the work of Pat Buchanan and not what is currently pushed by National Review and the so-called conservatives in the NYT opinion pages.

True American conservatism is populist and nationalist. It aims to help all the people by restoring power to the people. It does not believe that the "elites" are the answer, but that people having freedom is the answer.

I have more degrees and credentials than most of the GOPe elites. I know a number of them personally and do not see them as being "better".

Bush 41 kicked out the Reagan folks as soon as they took over, restoring the GOPe to its position of dominance after Reagan brought in a much more populist and nationalist conservatism to Washington.

Trump has governed (by action) more conservatively than I ever anticipated. The economy is booming. Regulations are disappearing. And he isn't declining American foreign policy, but is ditching the failed NWO and the Neocons behind it.

And he has thrown away the failed ideology and structures of the bipartisan Washington establishment.

The people fearful of Trump are Democrats and NeverTrumpers who will lose power and wealth by reducing the size and scope of the establishment.

And Trump's tweets are part his repertoire to disrupt the media driven narratives and allow him to shake up the world.

Sometimes entrenched interests need to be knocked off their pedestals. Populism arises when the elites lose connection with the people.

Reagan was a populist revolutionary as well. He attacked sacred cows. He was a better speaker, but his opposition wasn't nearly as vile. Bureaucrats still mostly cared about doing a good job and serving the country, instead of secretly resisting democracy. And 40% of the country still hated Reagan as president ..

Siarlys Jenkins , says: December 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm
In the past, when one or two parties became rotten, new parties emerged to challenge them. But in the early 20th century, the Dems and the GOP agreed to revise election laws to create prohibitively steep requirements for any party that had not gotten a certain percentage of the vote the previous election, thereby creating the myth of the "major parties" and the "two party system."

There should be about three new parties emerging now, of which one would probably start to fade, along with the two former majors, although one of the majors might reform itself under competitive pressure, or merge with one of the up and coming parties.

Joe the Plutocrat , says: December 8, 2017 at 5:18 pm
So which is it? " he's a loudmouth incompetent who's so bad at it -- and his most ardent supporters let him get away with it. This tax bill, which he embraces, gives lie to any substantive claim that Trump is a populist." Or, A lot of us will end up voting for them by default, because we decide for whatever reason voting for a Democrat could be worse, but that doesn't change the fact that the Republicans are incapable of responsible government."? Rhetorical question, of course.

Americans who have volunteered to serve as combatants in the (oligarch-designed) culture war have essentially assumed George Carlin's view of American elections (see: 1996 rant on YouTube). while You the People were ringing hands and gnashing teeth over who can marry whom (and who bakes the wedding cake?), or who gets to use which (public) restroom or locker room?, or does the government or an individual have the authority to make choices regarding healthcare and/or a person's body (male and female); the patsy-in-chief has been stepped on the accelerator in terms of the environment, the economy, and the Middle East (not to mention Korea). by endorsing the GOP political strategy of "weaponizing" individual behavior/choice (aka morality), and enthusiastically volunteering to participate in the culture war, have sold short – "chosing" to be political cannon fodder, as opposed an engaged and critically thinking electorate. kudo's to the individual who chose the image of a pack of jackals feasting on carrion. oligarchs are shameless scavengers, and yet Americans continue to debate morality and ethics, while the carcass is picked clean.

b. , says: December 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm
"My problem with Donald Trump is not so much that he's a populist rebuke to the GOP elites (who deserve it) but that he's a loudmouth incompetent who's so bad at it.."

Fair enough. Problem is, the Founders sort of started with the assumption that there are no "elites" – that the "best and brightest" of us need checks and balances even worse than the rest of us.

The gloriously competent elites of the past are a mirage, another "good ole times" fallacy. Given the performance of Congress this century (and a good chunk of last), we might as well appoint Senators and Representatives by lottery, similar to jury duty, and mandate that all lobbyists participating in legislatives drafts have to comply with FOIA requirements.

There is certainly rot, but it has nothing to do with incompetence, "expertise", or hierarchy. We have a system of government that has tailored its institutions to those that excel at expertly gaming the system to extract personal profit, primarily from that most rotten of ventures, war. Brooks is just another camp follower of that endless train of criminality and greed.

Kronsteen1963 , says: December 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm
David Brooks just doesn't get it. What kind of bubble is he like bing in?

With Bush 43, we were promised a Dream Team of advisors: Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Howard Baker, Donald Rumsfeld – smart, experienced, sober men who were going to provide "excellence" in leadership. What we got wasn't "excellence" – we got a disastrous war and a ruined economy. They failed this country. Unlike some conspiracy mongers, I don't claim "Bush lied" – he just made a wrong decision based on the bad advice of his "Dream Team." But, to this day, none of them will admit that it was wrong decision. What does that say about their judgment or character? I'm not angry that they made the wrong decision – I supported the war myself. But, I was wrong and I am angry that they still claim it was the right decision when no rational person could honestly think that. And I have no idea how their failure would translate into any reasonable definition of "excellence."

Succeeding Bush was Obama, who by all news accounts was one of the smartest men ever to occupy the White House. He ooozed "excellence." The result? He promised to unite the country and ended up dividing it. He criticized Bush for invading Iraq, but decided to "double down" and destabilize Syria and Lybia, unleashing ISIS on the region. His economic stimulus plan failed and the economy did not recover. His health care plan wrecked the private insurance industry and cost tens of thousands of workers their health care plan. And, oh yeah, he lied when he claimed that "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

I did not vote for Trump and do not particularly like him. But, for Brooks to say that "excellence requires and talent" and "populism doesn't demand the effort required to understand the best has been thought out and said" is to be completely oblivious to the reality of the past 16 years. What does he think has been happening in this country the past 16 years? For 16 years, we have had the "excellence" that Brooks advocates and we got a wrecked economy, jobs sent overseas, and our sons and daughters dying in Middle Eastern hell holes. If this is "excellence," Mr. Brooks can have it.

AB , says: December 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm
FEMA's top three leaders -- Director Michael D. Brown, Chief of Staff Patrick J. Rhode and Deputy Chief of Staff Brooks D. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to the agency. Two other senior operational jobs are filled by a former Republican lieutenant governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Chamber of Commerce official who was once a political operative.

This is really just Cosimanian Orthodoxy in action: If a very large sum of money is to be disbursed suddenly and quickly with loose accounting and no accountability then it is a very good idea to have your hard-core political loyalists in charge to make sure it gets where it is supposed to go.

Remember Whitefish Energy, the two-man firm that received a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's power system? Somebody was too greedy but thought he could get away with it -- and almost did. How much of that money was ever going to reach Puerto Rico?

An immense sum of money was appropriated by Congress to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There was more than one low-key report to the effect that the rebuilding was a shadow of what might be expected for the sum appropriated. So, where did the money go?

A number of years ago there was a very severe earthquake in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. One of the largest and best know American charities raised several billion dollars for relief. A few years later a reporter went down to see how well they did. He could only find about $20 million is aid disbursed. So, where did the money go?

George W. Bush, who oversaw rebuilding after Katrina, and Bill Clinton, who's probity is well known, oversaw relief operations in Haiti to make sure they were clean and well run; so, nothing to see here, move along.

There are whole volumes of things in Washington that the press doesn't think we need to know. As Iowahawk wrote, "The job of the media is to cover important issues. With a pillow. Until they stop moving.

[NFR: Four years after 9/11, it is incredible and indefensible that President Bush had cronies running the Federal Emergency Management Agency. -- RD]

[Dec 08, 2017] What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

Notable quotes:
"... What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China. ..."
"... He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen); ..."
"... he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well. ..."
"... He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

WJ , 05 December 2017 at 08:16 PM

Sir,

What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China.

He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen);

he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well.

The dude has also no internet presence. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

He screwed up, and a lawyer, sent texts, and now is gone. Does he strike you as fishy at all, or is this kind of stuff pretty common for people in his field and position.

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 09:36 PM
WJ

I know nothing of him other than what is in the press but his partisan interference in investigations appears to be a blot on the honor of the FBI but then I am old fashioned. pl

fanto said in reply to WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 10:51 PM
WJ,
I first learned about this man from a comment of David Habakkuk (in an earlier post) and was curious to learn more about him. As you point out, ´internet is not your friend´ in his case. Your comment gives so far the most information about his doings. Thank you. According to David Habakkuk that surname is polish, but it possibly be other slavic origin as well ( possibly Jidish ?)
The Twisted Genius -> WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 11:27 PM
WJ,

Given Strzok's career, I wouldn't expect to find much, if anything, about him on the internet. If he spent his career working "in the shadows," he rightly would have stayed off the internet. He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. Anyone actively working in a classified environment would be grossly negligent to allow himself to be plastered all over the internet. Why do you think I still use a light cover of TTG just to post here years after retiring? It's just force of habit.

I was glad to hear that Mueller banished him to HR as soon as his anti-Trump emails were discovered. If he stayed, he would have cast an ugly shadow over the Mueller investigation. It's much like the partisan shadow extending over much of the NY FBI office. Their pro-Trump/anti-Clinton stance was notorious. I also think the FBI should review the entire Clinton email server file in light of this.

rjj said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:20 PM
Don't know how bureaucracies work in DC. Remembering how placement in HR was a goal for activists. HR is obscure and unglamorous - how is it banishment for someone with an agenda who works in the shadows?

[Dec 08, 2017] Did the FBI, CIA and NSA "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump?

Notable quotes:
"... You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that th information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous. ..."
"... This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Publius Tacitus -> sbjonez... , 06 December 2017 at 10:35 AM

You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that th information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous.

Sylvia 1 , 06 December 2017 at 12:48 PM

This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment.

What I fail to understand is why Democrats are sitting back and cheering as these agencies work together to destroy a duly elected President of the USA. Does anyone really believe that if these agencies get away with it this time they will stop with Trump?
All these agencies are out of control and are completely unaccountable.

blue peacock , 07 December 2017 at 12:18 AM
Publius Tacitus
The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump.

How can this conspiracy be investigated? Who could do it? Clearly not anyone from the DoJ, FBI, CIA and NSA as they are fully compromised.

[Dec 08, 2017] Republican 'Deficit Hawks'

Dec 08, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Republican way of governing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Release the BLUE-HAIRS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are so screwed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dec 05, 2017] The revival of American populism Will there be blood

Nice illustration of criminality of private equity
Mar 29, 2009 | The Economist

jomellon wrote: March 29, 2009 12:02

The Problem that The Economist wants to talk about? Public Outrage a.k.a. Populism.

The other less important problem that a magazine called The Economist might want to address, but which it doesn't want to talk about: the economy is bust, and why.

Typical scenario for the last 18 years:

This happens 100 times so the banks are bust too, but get bailed out by the taxpayer (that's those guys who lost their jobs and pensions at Widgets)

PEI lives happily in The Bahamas with the 550 million which he 'earned' in a fabulous year of 'value creation' made possible by the power of free and light touch regulated markets.

Sadly, due to the complexity of all this the bright chaps at The Economist can not quite see why this is a slightly problematic way to run an economy... Honi suit qui mal y pense.

[Dec 05, 2017] Further sabotage of the Iran deal would not bring success -- only embarrassment

This is two years old article. Not much changed... Comments sound as written yesterday. Check it out !
The key incentive to Iran deal is using Iran as a Trojan horse against Russia in oil market -- the force which helps to keep oil prices low, benefitting the USA and other G7 members and hurting Russia and other oil-producing nations. Iran might also serve as a replacement market for EU goods as Russian market is partially lost. Due to sanctions EU now lost (and probably irrevocably) Russian market for food, and have difficulties in maintaining their share in other sectors (cars, machinery) as Asian tigers come in.
Notable quotes:
"... The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. AIPAC's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where AIPAC can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions AIPAC spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic. ..."
"... Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to AIPAC and the Republicans. ..."
"... The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently. ..."
"... Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development). ..."
"... Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble. ..."
"... AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is. ..."
"... Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region ..."
"... With the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation. ..."
"... Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community. ..."
"... The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious. ..."
"... As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent. ..."
"... AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. ..."
"... Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support. ..."
"... No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him. ..."
"... It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry. ..."
"... The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer. ..."
"... Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk. ..."
"... And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out? Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally. ..."
"... I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing. ..."
"... Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one. ..."
"... Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal. ..."
"... American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites. ..."
"... The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power." ..."
"... AIPAC is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with AIPAC is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people. ..."
Sep 14, 2015 | The Guardian

The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. AIPAC's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where AIPAC can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions AIPAC spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic.

We may not look back at this as a sea change – some Senate Democrats who held firm against opposition to the deal are working with AIPAC to pass subsequent legislation that contains poison pills designed to kill it – but rather as a rising tide eroding the once sturdy bipartisan pro-Israeli government consensus on Capitol Hill. Some relationships have been frayed; previously stalwart allies of the Israel's interests, such as Vice President Joe Biden, have reportedly said the Iran deal fight soured them on AIPAC.

Even with the boundaries of its abilities on display, however, AIPAC will continue its efforts. "We urge those who have blocked a vote today to reconsider," the group said in a spin-heavy statement casting a pretty objective defeat as victory with the headline, "Bipartisan Senate Majority Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal." The group's allies in the Senate Republican Party have already promised to rehash the procedural vote next week, and its lobbyists are still rallying for support in the House. But the Senate's refusal to halt US support for the deal means that Senate Democrats are unlikely to reconsider, especially after witnessing Thursday's Republican hijinx in the House. These ploys look like little more than efforts to embarrass Obama into needing to cast a veto.

If Republicans' rhetoric leading up to to their flop in the Senate – Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to AIPAC and the Republicans.

Opponents of the deal want to say the Democrats played politics instead of evaluating the deal honestly. That charge is ironic, to say the least, since most experts agree the nuclear deal is sound and the best agreement diplomacy could achieve. But there were politics at play: rather than siding with Obama, Congressional Democrats lined up against the Republican/Netanyahu alliance. The adamance of AIPAC ended up working against its stated interests.

Groups like AIPAC will go on touting their bipartisan bona fides without considering that their adoption of Netanyahu's own partisanship doomed them to a partisan result. Meanwhile, the ensuing fight, which will no doubt bring more of the legislative chaos we saw this week, won't be a cakewalk, so to speak, but will put the lie to AIPAC's claims it has a bipartisan consensus behind it. Despite their best efforts, Obama won't be the one embarrassed by the scrambling on the horizon.

TiredOldDog 13 Sep 2015 21:47

a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes

I guess this may mean Israel. If it does, how about we compare Assad's Syria, Iran and Israel. How many war crimes per day in the last 4 years and, maybe, some forecasts. Otherwise it's the usual gratuitous use of bad words at Israel. It has a purpose. To denigrate and dehumanize Israel or, at least, Zionism.

ID7612455 13 Sep 2015 18:04

The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently.

winemaster2 13 Sep 2015 17:01

Put a Brush Mustache on the control freak, greed creed, Nentanhayu the SOB not only looks like but has the same mentality as Hitler and his Nazism crap.

Martin Hutton -> mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 23:50

I wondered when someone was going to bring up that "forgotten" fact. Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development).

mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 20:51

Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble.

ByThePeople -> Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 20:27

Is pitiful how for months and months, certain individuals blathered on and on and on when it was fairly clear from the get go that this was a done deal and no one was about cater to the war criminal. I suppose it was good for them, sucking every last dime they could out of the AICPA & Co. while they acted like there was 'a chance'. Nope, only chance is that at the end of the day, a politician is a politician and he'll suck you dry as long as you let 'em.

What a pleasure it is to see the United States Congress finally not pimp themselves out completely to a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes. A once off I suppose, but it's one small step for Americans.

ByThePeople 12 Sep 2015 20:15

AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is.

ambushinthenight -> Greg Zeglen 12 Sep 2015 18:18

Seems that it makes a lot of sense to most everyone else in the world, it is now at the point where it really makes no difference whether the U.S. ratifies the deal or not. Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region. Politicians here object for one of two reasons. They are Israeli first and foremost not American or for political expediency and a chance to try undo another of this President's achievements. Been a futile effort so far I'd say.

hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 12 Sep 2015 16:42

With the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation.

nardone -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 14:12

Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community.

The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious.

Greg Zeglen -> Glenn Gang 12 Sep 2015 13:51

good point which is found almost nowhere else...it is still necessary to understand that the whole line of diplomacy regarding the west on the part of Iran has been for generations one of deceit...and people are intensely jealous of what they hold dear - especially safety and liberty with in their country....

EarthyByNature -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 13:45

I do trust your on salary with a decent benefits package with the Israeli government or one of it's slavish US lobbyists. Let's face it, got to be hard work pouring out such hateful drivel.

BrianGriffin -> imipak 12 Sep 2015 12:53

The USA took about six years to build a bomb from scratch. The UK took almost six years to build a bomb. Russia was able to build a bomb in only four years (1945-1949). France took four years to build a bomb. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

The Chinese only took four years. http://www.china.org.cn/english/congress/228244.htm

steelhead 12 Sep 2015 12:48

As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent.

BrianGriffin -> HauptmannGurski 12 Sep 2015 12:35

"Europe needs business desperately."

Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 12:32

In other words, once again, Obama out-played and out-thought both the GOP and AIPAC. He was playing multidimensional chess while they were playing checkers. The democrats kept their party discipline while the republicans ran around like a schoolyard full of sugared-up children. This is what happens when you have grownups competing with adolescents. The republican party, to put it very bluntly, can't get it together long enough to whistle 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' in unison.

They lost. Again. And worse than being losers, they're sore, whining, sniveling, blubbering losers. Even when they've been spanked - hard - they swear it's not over and they're gonna get even, just you wait and see! Get over it. They lost - badly - and the simple fact that their party is coming apart at the seams before our very eyes means they're going to be losing a lot more, too.

AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. All the way around, a glorious victory for Obama, and an ignominious defeat for the republicans. And most especially, Israel. Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support.

Their worst loss, however, was losing the support of the American jews. Older, orthodox jews are Israel-firsters. The younger, less observant jews are Americans first. Netanhayu's behavior has driven a wedge between the US and Israel that is only going to deepen over time. And on top of that, Iran is re-entering the community of nations, and soon their economy will dominate the region. Bibi overplayed his hand very, very stupidly, and the real price that Israel will pay for his bungling will unfold over the next few decades.

BrianGriffin -> TiredOldDog 12 Sep 2015 12:18

"The Constitution provides that the president 'shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur'"

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Treaties.htm

Hardly a done deal. If Obama releases funds to Iran he probably would be committing an impeachable crime under US law. Even many Democrats would vote to impeach Obama for providing billions to a sworn enemy of Israel.

Glenn Gang -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 12:07

"...institutionally Iranclad(sic) HATRED towards the west..." Since you like all-caps so much, try this: "B.S."

The American propel(sic) actually figured out something else---that hardline haters like yourself are desperate to keep the cycle of Islamophobic mistrust and suspicion alive, and blind themselves to the fact that the rest of us have left you behind.

FACT: More than half of the population of Iran today was NOT EVEN BORN when radical students captured the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979.

People like you, Bruce, conveniently ignore the fact that Ahmedinejad and his hardline followers were voted out of power in 2013, and that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei further marginalized them by allowing the election of new President Hassan Rouhani to stand, though he was and is an outspoken reformer advocating rapprochement with the west. While his outward rhetoric still has stern warnings about anticipated treachery by the 'Great Satan', Khamenei has allowed the Vienna agreement to go forward, and shows no sign of interfering with its implementation.

He is an old man, but he is neither stupid nor senile, and has clearly seen the crippling effects the international sanctions have had on his country and his people. Haters like you, Bruce, will insist that he ALWAYS has evil motives, just as Iranian hardliners (like Ahmedinejad) will ALWAYS believe that the U.S. has sinister motives and cannot EVER be trusted to uphold our end of any agreement. You ascribe HATRED in all caps to Iran, the whole country, while not acknowledging your own simmering hatred.

People like you will always find a 'boogeyman,' someone else to blame for your problems, real or imagined. You should get some help.

beenheretoolong 12 Sep 2015 10:57

No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him.

geneob 12 Sep 2015 10:12

It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry.

Jack Hughes 12 Sep 2015 08:38

The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer.

To reject the agreement is to accept the status quo, which is unacceptable, leaving an immediate and unprovoked American-led bombing campaign as the only other option.

Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk.

American politicians opposed to the agreement are serving their short-term partisan political interests and, under America's system of legalized bribery, their Israeli and Saudi paymasters -- not America's long-term policy interests.

ID293404 -> Jeremiah2000 12 Sep 2015 05:01

And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out? Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally.

He then has pictures taken of himself in a jet pilot's uniform on a US aircraft carrier with a huge sign saying Mission Accomplished. He attacks Afghanistan to capture Osama, lets him get away, and then attacks Iraq instead, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and no ties with Al Qaeda.

So then we have two interminable wars going on, thanks to brilliant Republican foreign policy, and spend gazillions of dollars while creating a mess that may never be straightened out. Never mind all the friends we won in the middle east and the enhanced reputation of our country through torture, the use of mercenaries, and the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Yeah, we really need those bright Republicans running the show over in the Middle East!

HauptmannGurski -> lazman 12 Sep 2015 02:31

That is a very difficult point to understand, just look at this sentence "not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans" ... too much emperor thinking for me. We have this conversation with regard to Putin everywhere now, so we disrespect all 143 million Russians? There's not a lot of disrespect around for Japanese PM Abe and Chinese Xi - does this now mean we respect them and all Japanese and Chinese? Election campaigns create such enormous personality cults that people seem to lose perspective.

On the Iran deal, if the US had dropped out of it it would have caused quite a rift because many countries would have just done what they wanted anyway. The international Atomic Energy Organisation or what it is would have done their inspections. Siemens would have sold medical machines. Countries would grow up as it were. But as cooperation is always better than confrontation it is nice the US have stayed in the agreement that was apparently 10 years in the making. It couldn't have gone on like that. With Europe needing gazillions to finance Greece, Ukraine, and millions of refugees (the next waves will roll on with the next spring and summer from April), Europe needs business desparately. Israel was happy to buy oil through Marc Rich under sanctions, now it's Europe's turn to snatch some business.

imipak -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 21:56

Iran lacks weapons-grade uranium and the means to produce it. Iran has made no efforts towards nuclear weapons technology for over a decade. Iran is a signatory of the NPT and is entitled to the rights enshrined therein. If Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran over Iran having a medical reactor (needed to produce isotopes for medicine, isotopes America can barely produce enough of for itself) that poses no security threat to anyone, then Israel will have transgressed so many international laws that if it survives the radioactive fallout (unlikely), it won't survive the political fallout.

It is a crime of the highest order to use weapons of mass destruction (although that didn't stop the Israelis using them against Palestinian civilians) and pre-emtive self-defence is why most believe Bush and Blair should be on trial at the ICJ, or (given the severity of their crimes) Nuremberg.

Israel's right to self-defense is questionable, I'm not sure any such right exists for anyone, but even allowing for it, Israel has no right to wage unprovoked war on another nation on the grounds of a potential threat discovered through divination using tea leaves.

imipak -> Jeremiah2000 11 Sep 2015 21:43

Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is of no concern. Such acts do not determine its competency to handle nuclear material at the 5% level (which you can find naturally). There are only three questions that matter - can Iran produce the 90-95% purity needed to build a bomb (no), can Iran produce such purity clandestinely (no), and can Iran use its nuclear technology to threaten Israel (no).

Israel also supports international terrorism, has used chemical weapons against civilians, has directly indulged in terrorism, actually has nuclear weapons and is paranoid enough that it may use them against other nations without cause.

I respect Israel's right to exist and the intelligence of most Israelis. But I neither respect nor tolerate unreasoned fear nor delusions of Godhood.

imipak -> commish 11 Sep 2015 21:33

I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing.

Until such time as Israel implements the Oslo Accords, withdraws to its internationally recognized boundary and provides the International Court of Justice a full accounting of state-enacted and state-sponsored terrorism, it gets no claims on sainthood and gets no free rides.

Iran has its own crimes to answer, but directly threatening Israel in words or deeds has not been one of them within this past decade. Its actual crimes are substantial and cannot be ignored, but it is guilty only of those and not fictional works claimed by psychotic paranoid ultra-nationalists.

imipak -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 21:18

Domestic politics. Of no real consequence, it's just a way of controlling a populace through fear and a never-ending pseudo-war. It's how Iran actually feels that is important.

For the last decade, they've backed off any nuclear weapons research and you can't make a bomb with centrifuges that can only manage 20% enriched uranium. You need something like 90% enrichment, which requires centrifuges many, many times more advanced. It'd be hard to smuggle something like that in and the Iranians lack the skills, technology and science to make them.

Iran's conventional forces are busy fighting ISIS. What they do afterwards is a concern, but Israel has a sizable military presence on the Golan Heights. The most likely outcome is for Iran to install puppet regimes (or directly control) Syria and ISIS' caliphate.

I could see those two regions plus Iraq being fully absorbed into Iran, that would make some sense given the new geopolitical situation. But that would tie up Iran for decades. Which would not be a bad thing and America would be better off encouraging it rather than sabre-rattling.

(These are areas that contribute a lot to global warming and political instability elsewhere. Merging the lot and encouraging nuclear energy will do a lot for the planet. The inherent instability of large empires will reduce mischief-making elsewhere to more acceptable levels - they'll be too busy. It's idle hands that you need to be scared of.)

Israelis worry too much. If they spent less time fretting and more time developing, they'd be impervious to any natural or unnatural threat by now. Their teaching of Roman history needs work, but basically Israel has a combined intellect vastly superior to that of any nearby nation.

That matters. If you throw away fear and focus only on problems, you can stop and even defeat armies and empires vastly greater than your own. History is replete with examples, so is the mythologicized history of the Israeli people. Israel's fear is Israel's only threat.

mostfree 11 Sep 2015 21:10

Warmongers on all sides would had loved another round of fear and hysteria. Those dark military industrial complexes on all sides are dissipating in the face of the high rising light of peace for now . Please let it shine.

bishoppeter4 11 Sep 2015 20:09

The rabid Republicans working for a foreign power against the interest of the United States -- US citizens will know just what to do.

Jeremiah2000 -> Carolyn Walas Libbey 11 Sep 2015 19:21

"Netanyahu has no right to dictate what the US does."

But he has every right to point out how Obama is a weak fool. How's Obama's red line working in Syria? How is his toppling of Qadaffi in Libya working? How about his completely inept dealings with Egypt, throwing support behind the Muslim Brotherhood leaders? The leftists cheer Obama's weakening of American influence abroad. But they don't talk much about its replacement with Russian and Chinese influence. Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran's Quds Force leader. Obama and Kerry are sending a strongly worded message.

Susan Dechancey -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 19:05

Incredible to see someone prefer war to diplomacy - guess you are an armchair General not a real one.

Susan Dechancey -> commish 11 Sep 2015 19:04

Except all its neighbours ... not only threatened but entered military conflict and stole land ... murdered Iranian Scientists but apart from that just a kitten

Susan Dechancey -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 19:00

Israel has nukes so why are they afraid ?? Iran will never use nukes against Israel and even Mossad told nuttyyahoo sabre rattling

Susan Dechancey 11 Sep 2015 18:57

Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one.

To be honest the USA can do what it likes now .. UK has set up an embassy - trade missions are landing Tehran from Europe. So if Israel and US congress want war - they will be alone and maybe if US keeps up the Nuttyahoo rhetoric European firms can win contracts to help us pay for the last US regime change Iraq / Isis / Refugees...

lswingly -> commish 11 Sep 2015 16:58

Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal.

It's no different from how when you run a poll on who's in favor "Obamacare" the results will be majority negative. But if you poll on whether you are in favor of "The Affordable Care Act" most people are in favor of it and if you break it down and poll on the individual planks of "Obamacare" people overwhelming approve of the things that "Obamacare does". The disapproval is based on the fact that Republican's have successfully turned "Obamacare" into a pejorative and has almost no reflection of people feelings on actual policy.

To illustrate how meaningless those poll numbers are a Jewish poll (supposedly the people who have the most to lose if this deal is bad) found that a narrow majority of Jews approve of the deal. You're numbers are essentially meaningless.

The alternative to this plan is essentially war if not now, in the very near future, according to almost all non-partisan policy wonks. Go run a poll on whether we should go to war with Iran and see how that turns out. Last time we destabilized the region we removed a secular dictator who was enemies with Al Queda and created a power vacuum that led to increased religious extremism and the rise of Isis. You want to double down on that strategy?

MadManMark -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 16:34

You need to reread this article. It's exactly this attitude of yours (and AIPAC and Netanyahu) that this deal is not 100% perfect, but then subsequently failed to suggest ANY way to get something better -- other than war, which I'm sorry most people don't want another Republican "preemptive" war -- caused a lot people originally uncertain about this deal (like me) to conclude there may not be a better alternative. Again, read the article: What you think about me, I now think about deal critics like you ("It seems people will endorse anything to justify their political views.)

USfan 11 Sep 2015 15:34

American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites.

Interesting times. We'll see how this plays out. My family is Jewish and I have not been shy in telling them that alliances with the GOP for short-term gains for Israel is not a wise policy. The GOP establishment are not antiSemtic but the base often is, and if Trump's candidacy shows anything it's that the base is in control of the Republicans.

But we'll see.

niyiakinlabu 11 Sep 2015 15:29

Central question: how come nobody talks about Israel's nukes?

hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 14:02

Iran will not accept being forced into dependence on outside powers. We may dislike their government but they have as much right as anyone else to enrich their own fuel.

JackHep 11 Sep 2015 13:30

Netanyahu is an example of all that is bad about the Israeli political, hence military industrial, establishment. Why Cameron's government allowed him on British soil is beyond belief. Surely the PM's treatment of other "hate preachers" would not have been lost on Netanyahu? Sadly our PM seems to miss the point with Israel.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10692563/David-Cameron-tells-Israelis-about-his-Jewish-ancestors.html

talenttruth 11 Sep 2015 13:12

The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power."

And let's be treasonous against the United States by trying to undermine U.S. Foreign Policy FOR OUR OWN PROFIT. We are LONG overdue for serious jail time for these sociopaths, who already have our country "brainwashed" into 53% of our budget going to the War Profiteers and to pretending to be a 19th century Neo-Colonial Power -- in an Endless State of Eternal War. These people are INSANE. Time to simply say so.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:58

At the rally to end the Iran deal in the Capitol on Wednesday, one of the AIPAC worshipping attendees had this to say to Jim Newell of Slate:

""Obama is a black, Jew-hating, jihadist putting America and Israel and the rest of the planet in grave danger," said Bob Kunst of Miami. Kunst-pairing a Hillary Clinton rubber mask with a blue T-shirt reading "INFIDEL"-was holding one sign that accused Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry of "Fulfilling Hitler's Dreams" and another that queried, "DIDN'T WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM 1938?"

His only reassurance was that, when Iran launches its attack on the mainland, it'll be stopped quickly by America's heavily armed citizenry."

That is indicative of the mindset of those opposed to the agreement.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:47

AIPAC is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with AIPAC is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people.

tunejunky 11 Sep 2015 12:47

AIPAC, its constituent republicans, and the government of Israel all made the same mistake in a common episode of hubris. by not understanding the American public, war, and without the deference shown from a proxy to its hegemon, Israel's right wing has flown the Israeli cause into a wall. not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans, the Israeli government acted as a spoiled first-born - while to American eyes it was a greedy, ungrateful ward foisted upon barely willing hands. it presumed far too much and is receiving the much deserved rebuke.

impartial12 11 Sep 2015 12:37

This deal is the best thing that happened in the region in a while. We tried war and death. It didn't work out. Why not try this?

[Dec 04, 2017] Brainwashing as a key component of the US social system by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. ..."
"... The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth? ..."
"... The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character." ..."
"... The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush. ..."
"... The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world? ..."
"... Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it. ..."
"... For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term. ..."
"... Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. ..."
"... When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative. ..."
"... ... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ... ..."
"... No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them. ..."
"... "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." -- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda ..."
"... "Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." ..."
"... "When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility." ..."
"... In todays information age, ignorance is a choice. ..."
"... Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." ..."
"... He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them. ..."
"... Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda. ..."
"... "... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..." ..."
"... Cognitive Dissonance ..."
"... "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." ..."
"... The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ... ..."
Jul 25, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Original title: The Eroding Character Of The American People

Paul Craig Roberts

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.-Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"

Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don't all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?

I wonder how many of Bob Dylan's fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor's conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book (2000, 2008) there is no justice in America. We titled our book, "How the Law Was Lost." It is a description of how the protective features in law that made law a shield of the innocent was transformed over time into a weapon in the hands of the government, a weapon used against the people. The loss of law as a shield occurred prior to 9/11, which "our representative government" used to construct a police state.

The marketing department of our publisher did not appreciate our title and instead came up with "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." We asked what this title meant. The marketing department answered that we showed that the war on crime, which gave us the abuses of RICO, the war on child abusers, which gave us show trials of total innocents that bested Joseph Stalin's show trials of the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the war on drugs, which gave "Freedom and Democracy America" broken families and by far the highest incarceration rate in the world all resulted from good intentions to combat crime, to combat drugs, and to combat child abuse. The publisher's title apparently succeeded, because 15 years later the book is still in print. It has sold enough copies over these years that, had the sales occurred upon publication would have made the book a "best seller." The book, had it been a best seller, would have gained more attention, and perhaps law schools and bar associations could have used it to hold the police state at bay.

Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor's pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. Jurors even convicted the few survivors of the Clinton regime's assault on the Branch Davidians of Waco, the few who were not gassed, shot, or burned to death by US federal forces. This religious sect was demonized by Washington and the presstitute media as child abusers who were manufacturing automatic weapons while they raped children. The charges proved to be false, like Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," and so forth, but only after all of the innocents were dead or in prison.

The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe "official sources" despite the proven fact that "official sources" lie repeatedly and never tell the truth?

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the "American character."

Was the American character present in the torture prisons of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and hidden CIA torture dungeons where US military and CIA personnel provided photographic evidence of their delight in torturing and abusing prisoners? Official reports have concluded that along with torture went rape, sodomy, and murder. All of this was presided over by American psychologists with Ph.D. degrees.

We see the same inhumanity in the American police who respond to women children, the elderly, the physically and mentally handicapped, with gratuitous violence. For no reason whatsoever, police murder, taser, beat, and abuse US citizens. Every day there are more reports, and despite the reports the violence goes on and on and on. Clearly, the police enjoy inflicting pain and death on citizens whom the police are supposed to serve and protect. There have always been bullies in the police force, but the wanton police violence of our time indicates a complete collapse of the American character.

The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought "freedom and democracy" to Iraq. "Mission accomplished," declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush.

The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world?

Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it.

For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington's evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as "domestic extremists" who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano's statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term.

Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. As John Whitehead makes clear, the American people cannot even prevent "their police," paid by their tax payments, from murdering 3 Americans each day, and this is only the officially reported murders. The actual account is likely higher.

What Whitehead describes and what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples. Americans accept no sense of responsibility for the millions of peoples that Washington has exterminated over the past two decades dating back to the second term of Clinton. Every one of the millions of deaths is based on a Washington lie.

When Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton's regime's sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative.

Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise.

benb

The American people have been scientifically mis-educated, propagandized, and beaten down. A disproportionate number of the under 30's are societal DOAs thanks to ... weaponized TV. But I am being too optimistic...

PrayingMantis

... Americans are "intentionally ignorant" of other countries' rights and sovereignty while other countries had been well-informed of America's malicious intents of destroying other countries' rights and sovereignty ...

BarnacleBill

No, I don't think Americans are intentionally ignorant, any more than other nationalities. What they are tribal. Tribal peoples don't care whether their policies are right or wrong; they are instinctively loyal to them and to those who formulate them.

Also, I have to say that I believe the US empire is a long, long, way from collapse. It is still expanding, for goodness sake. Empires collapse only when the shrinking process is well under way. (The recent Soviet Empire was exceptional, in this regard.) It will take several more generations before the darkness lifts, I'm afraid.

macholatte

The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed.

It's now official, PCR is a complete dipshit.

Hey Paul, how about you get your head out of the clouds and stop looking down your nose at everyone long enough to read a couple of books about brainwashing and then get back to us. Maybe you start with this: http://edward-bernays.soup.io/post/19658768/Edward-Bernays-Propaganda-19...

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
-- Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

OldPhart

"Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I think that happened August 13, 1971, but didn't get fully organized (as in Mafia) until 2000.

PT

The majority have their nose to the grind stone and as such can not see past the grind stone. They rely on "official sources" to put the rest of the world in order for them, but have no time to audit the "official sources". Would public education suffer if mothers and fathers were monitoring what the children were learning? But who has got time for that when both parents are working? How many non-work organizations were your parents and grand-parents involved in (both the wage-earner and the housekeeper)? How many organizations are you involved in?

Do you constantly hassle your local politicians or do you just say, "I'll vote 'em out in four years time"? (Yes, I know, you just don't vote. Fair enough, this question is for the voters.)

Yes, some of us are guilty of not fighting back. We had "Shut up and do as you're told" and "Well, if you're not happy with what you've got then work harder" beaten into us. Some of us are a little awake because, despite all our efforts, the grind stone was removed from us and then we got to see the larger picture of what lies behind the grind stone. Others are still busy, nose to the wheel, and all they see is the wheel.

And that is before we even consider HypnoToad on the Idiot Box. Some "need" the idiot box to help them wind down. Some can no longer enjoy the silence. (Remember Brave New World? It's true. Many people can no longer stand to be around silence, with nothing but their own thoughts.) I tell everyone that TV is crap. Radio is crap. Newspapers are crap. Turn that shit off for six months to a year, then go back to it and see what you really think of it. But they can't handle the thought of being away from "the background noise".

Ever spoken to grandparents who remember wars and depressions? And even amongst the rations and the hardships they still find positive memories? Time to talk to them again. Or not. I guess we'll get first-hand experience soon enough.

AlaricBalth

Allow me for a moment to share a brief anecdote about the new "American Character".

Last Sunday I was at the local supermarket. I was at the bakery counter, when suddenly a nicely dressed, Sunday best, non-Caucasian woman barrels into my cart riding a fat scooter. She rudely demands from the counter person a single cinnamon bun and then wheels off towards the front. Curious, I follow her up the aisle as she scarfs down the pastry in three bites. She then proceeds to stuff the empty bag between some soda bottles and scooters through the checkout without paying for her item. In the parking lot she then disembarks from her scooter, easily lifts it into the trunk of her Cadillac and walks to the drivers side, gets in and speeds off with her kids, who were in the back seat.

Amazed at what I had just witnessed, I went back into the store, retrieved the empty bag, included it in my few items at checkout and then went to the manager to share this story with him. He laughed and said there was nothing he could do.

The new "American Character" is that of a sense of entitlement and apathy.
I weep for the future.

Headbanger

Having character is not politically correct. Plus there's no need to develop character anymore because there's no jobs requiring any!

Consumption is the ONLY value of the inDUHvidual today.

And the less character they have, the more shit they'll consume to feel fulfilled cause they can't get that from themselves.

clymer Sat, 07/25/2015 - 07:34

Macholatte, i don't think PCR is writing from a point of view that is haughty and contemptful of the American people, per se, but rather from a perspective that is hopeless and thoroughly depressed after contemplating what the American people of many generations ago has taken for themselves as natural rights from a tyrranical government, only to see the nation slowly morph into something even worse than what was rejected by the founders.

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within...
He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist."

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.

It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.

If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.

The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.

...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO.

Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.

The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.

It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

El Vaquero

The US will collapse within the next decade if some serious new technology is not developed and the infrastructure to use it is put in. There is too much debt and not enough material resources to continue growing the ponzi scheme that is our monetary system at an exponential rate without something breaking. The question is, will it be at the end of this boom-bust cycle, or the next? And if you look at what is being done on the financial front, which is the backbone of our neo-empire, that is shrinking.

The USD is slowly falling out of favor. There will come a point where that rapidly accelerates. We've been in a state of collapse for 15 years.


Abitdodgie

ignorance is choice these days and Americans love it.

AetosAeros

Not only a choice, but the ONLY choice they are prepared to accept. Cognitive Dissonance at it's finest. And to make matters worse, in only the best American fashion, we've asked if if it can be Supersized to go along with the Freedom Lies we feed ourselves.

I've seen the enemy, and....

But only if I'm willing to look in the mirror. Today's American doesn't look for what's right there in front of him/her, we look for all the new 'Social Norms' that we aren't living up to. This article is completely on target, and I hope Roberts hasn't decided to do any remodeling, cause too many idle nails guns make for a great Evening News sidebar mention.

Damnit all to hell.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts's picture

Rubicon727

We educators began seeing this shift towards "me-ism" around 1995-6. Students from low to middle income families became either apathetic towards "education" or followed their parent's sense of "entitlement." Simultaneously, the tech age captured both population's attention. Respecting "an education" dwindled.

Fast forward to the present: following the 2007-8 crash, we noted clear divisions between low income vs middle/upper class students based on their school behavior. Low to slightly middle income students brought to school family tensions and the turmoil of parents losing their jobs. A rise in non-functioning students increase for teachers while the few well performing students decline significantly.

Significant societal, financial shifts in America can always be observed in the student population.

reader2010

Mission Accomplished.

"When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility."

- Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 1985

Lea

"The American people have been scientifically mis-educated".

You've got the answer there. The education system is the root cause of the problem. I'm from Europe, but if I've understood correctly, the US education policy is to teach as little as possible to children, and expect them to fill in the gaps in the Universities, past a certain age.

Only, it can't work. Children WILL learn, as childhood is the time when most informations are stored. If the schools don't provide the knowledge, they will get it from the television, movies or games, with the consequences we can see: ignorance, obsession with TV and movies stars, inability to differentiate life from movies, and over-simplistic reasoning (if any).

In Europe, we knew full well children learn fast and a lot, and that was why the schools focused on teaching them as much general knowldge as possible before 18 years old, which is when - it is scientifically proved - the human brain learns best.

Recently, the EU leading countries have understood that having educated masses doesn't pay if you want to lead them like sheep, so they are perfidiously trying to lower the standards... to the dismay of parents.

My advice, if I may presume to give any, would be to you USA people: teach your children what they won't learn at school, history, geography, literature (US, European and even Asian, why not), a foreign language if you can, arts, music, etc; and keep them away from the TV, movies and games.

And please adapt what you teach them to their age.

Refuse-Resist

Bang on! One anecdotal example: insisting that all 3rd graders use calculators "to learn" their multiplication tables. If I didn't do flashcards at home with my kids they wouldn't know them.

As somebody who majored in engineering and took many many advanced math courses, I always felt that knowing your 'times tables' was essential to being successful in math.

What better way to dumb down otherwise intelligent children by creating a situation where the kid can't divide 32 by 4 without a calculator.

Trigonometry? Calculus? Linear Algebra? Fuggedaboudit.

doctor10

The CB's and MIC have Americans right where they want them.

the consequences of 3-4 generations of force feeding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

ThroxxOfVron

Some of US were never fucking asleep. Some of us were born with our eyes and minds open.

We were, and are: hated, and reviled, and marginalized, and disowned for it.

The intellectual repression was, and is, fucking insane and brutal.

Words such as ethics and logic exist for what purpose?

What are these expressions of? A bygone time? Abstractions?

Those that have tried to preserve their self awareness, empathy, and rationality have been ruthlessly systematically demeaned and condemed for confronting our families, our culture and institutions.

We all have a right to be angry and disgusted and distrustful of the people and institutions around us.

I am very fucking angry, and disgusted, and distrustful of the people and institutions around me.

But I still have hope.

Nothing lasts forever..

This self-righteous nation called The United States, this twisted fraud of a culture called America, is most dangerously overdue for receipt of chastisment and retribution.

It would be best if the citizenry of the United States taught themselves a lesson in stead of inviting Other nations and cultures to educate them.

A serious self education may be tedious and imperfect; but, it would be far far cheaper than forcing someone to come all the way over those oceans to educate Americans at the price they will be demanding for those lessons...

I do not require representation. I will speak my own mind and act of my own accord.

Every time other so-called Americans take a shit on me for thinking and speaking and acting differently it is a badge of honor and a confirmation of my spiritual and intellectual liberty. They don't know it but they are all gonna run out of shit before I run out of being free.

ThroxxOfVron

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise. "

"I think that happened August 13, 1971 "

The entirety of the Western Hemisphere, not just 'The United States', was seized by invaders from Europe.

It is not an 'American' disease: it is a European disease and always was.

The indiginous populations of the Western Hemisphere were suystemaically and with forethought expropriated, ensalved, and slaughtered. The indiginous persons that dwelled within the geographical domain that presently comprise the USA were still being margialized, forcibly relocated, and murdered, long after the so-called 'American Civil War' had been decided.

...& As much as it is fashionable and/or politically expedient to vilify and blame the 'white' Europeans both for this history and extenuate that history to inform the present state of affairs, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spanish ( most eggregiously IMHO) were brutal and savage.

Look at the demographics of the Western Hemisphere.

If you have a shred of honesty you just can't hang the blame on 'whites', put it on a bumper sticker or a #shittyhashtagmeme and go back to fucking off.

The disgusting fraud of Manifest Destiny was a fig leaf to hide the enormity of these crimes; but, they are most obviously European crimes.

...& has Europe changed since the West was settled? Did Europeans even stop their warring amonsgst themselves?

See for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

That would be: Hell NO.

Neither in Europe itself, nor in the settled West.

The Pacific Ocean wasn't named for calm waters.

It was named thusly because it is the natural geographic boundary where the mayhem and brutality and genocide ceased, if only because the greedy and ruthless Europeans had run out of land in the Western Hemisphere with people upon it to plunder and murder...

Mini-Me

"The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise."

I agree with the first part. As for the latter, "government," by definition, is a criminal enterprise. It doesn't start out pure as the driven snow and then change into something nefarious over time. Its very essence requires the initiation of violence or its threat. Government without the gun in the ribs is a contradiction.

The fact that those in power got more votes than the losing criminals does not magically morph these people into paragons of virtue. They are almost without exception thoroughly deranged human beings. Lying is second nature to them. Looting is part of the job description. Killing is an end to their means: the acquisition and aggrandizement of power over others, no matter how much death and destruction results.

These people are sick bastards. To expect something virtuous from them after an endless string of wanton slaughter, theft and abuse, is simply wishful thinking.

Jack Burton

I agree with Paul Craig Roberts. He asks "Why" and "How." Well, Paul, here is my answer. Decades of Public Education and over 50 years of mass media monopoly. In an age where FOX is the top rated News station and CNN is considered liberal? Where kids in Public school are offered Chocolate milk and frozen pizza for school breakfast before going to class rooms with 30-40 kids. When Texas political appointees chose school text book content for the nation? A nation where service has ended, replaced with volunteer soldiers signing up for pay and benefits, instead of just serving as service, like we did in the 70's?

Paul Craig Roberts points out the police war against the people. That comes right from the very top, orders filter down to street cops. Street Cops are recruited from groups of young men our fathers generation would have labeled mental! But now they are hired across the board, shaved heads, tatoos, and a code of silence and Cops Above Justice.

The people have allowed the elites to rule in their place, never bothering to question the two fake candidates we are allowed to vote for.

Jtrillian

There is a difference between IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY. As Ron White said, "YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID".

In todays information age, ignorance is a choice.

Part of the problem that no one is talking about or addressing is the population explosion. And it's not linear. Those who are the least educated, fully dependent others for their survival (welfare), the most complacent, and often with violent criminal records are breeding the fastest.

Evolution is not guaranteed. It can be argued that the apathy we experience today is a sign of the human race de-evolving. It takes a certain amount of cognitive ability to observe and question what is going on.

Further, the society we have created where "60 is the new 40" creates very little time to pay attention to what is going on in the world. Many people rely on mainstream media which is not really news any more. When six corporations control more than 90% of the news, it's the message of the corporate elite that we are fed. This becomes painfully obvious when you start turning to other sources for information like social media and independent news. Mainstream media today is full of opinion bias - injecting opinion as though it were fact. They also appeal to the lowest commmon denominator by focusing on emotionally charged topics and words rather than boring facts. Finally, the mainstream media is extremely guilty of propaganda by omission, ignoring important events altogether or only presenting one side of the story as is being done with regard to ISIS, Syria, and Ukraine today. People who watch the mainstream media have no idea that the US played a significant role in arming ISIS and aided in their rise to power. They have no idea that it was likely ISIS that used chemical weapons in Syria. They have no idea that the US has propped up real life neo nazis in high government positions in Ukraine. And they have ignored the continuing Fukushima disaster that is STILL dumping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean every single day.

To sum up, democracies only work when people pay attention and participate. People are either too stupid, too overworked, are are looking to the wrong sources for information.

Until we break up mainstream media, remove incentives for those who cannot even care for themselves to stop breeding, and make fundamental changes to our society that affords people the time to focus on what is happening in the world, it will only get worse.

Much worse.

serotonindumptruck

A dying empire is like a wounded, cornered animal.

It will lash out uncontrollably and without remorse in a futile effort to save itself from certain death.

Enough Already

The problem is that we have no "Constitution." That is a fable. The constitution of the separation of powers has been undermined from almost day one. Witness the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

In the centuries since then, there has been no "separation of powers." Marbury v Madison (1803) gave the Supreme Court the right to "decide" what the "law" was. Although, only in the 20th century did the "Supreme" court really start "legislating" from the bench.

We're just peons to the Overall Federal Power; the three "separate" parts of the federal government have been in collusion from the first.

But like all empires, this one is in the final stage of collapse; it has just gotten too big.

gswifty

Yes sir. Globalization has failed us. The infinite growth paradigm has failed us, as we knew it would. Castro's Cuba, based in a localized agrarian economy, is looking pretty good about now. Localization is the only way back to sustainability.

napples

Books? Who said books? You mean reading books? Let me throw a couple out there:

I read 'The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America' last year, it was published 50+ years ago by a very recommended writer and accomplished historian. Boorstin's observations are truer today and even more concerning thanks to our modern, ubiquitous "connectivity".

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/159979.The_Image

Another by Boorstin, The Discoverers was my fav, like Bryson's 'Short History' on steroids:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Boorstin

I'm currently trying to fathom all of the historical implications of the claims Menzies is making in his book '1434', where apparently everything I learned about history is a lie. While he's making a lot of claims(hoping some sticks?) I'm not truly convinced. It is a very good, believable thought experiment. It almost makes perfect sense given the anglo/euro history of deceit & dishonesty, but I digress:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavin_Menzies

This one took a long time to grok, Dr Mandelbrot tried to warn us:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/665134.The_Mis_Behavior_of_Markets#

Benoit's friend & protege tried to warn us too:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Swan_%282007_book%29

Put them together and you get the financial meltdown's 'Don't say we didn't warn you' manifesto from 2006(not a book, but a compelling read):
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5372968a-ba82-11da-980d-0000779e2340.html

OK, I'm tired. Time to unplug.

reader2010

Adorno famously pointed out in 1940 that the "Mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse." It takes 75 years for someone such as PCR to reiterate. He doesn't blame the masses because he simply points out the fact that Americans are completely ignorant and blindly believe anything MSM spoon-fed to them.

George Orwell once remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we believe in the authority of what Adorno called Culture Industry and MSM, no matter what. Today we are indeed in another Dark Age


PoasterToaster

"Americans" are not one person. Individuals are not fungible. Reasoning from the "average American" leads to false conclusions.

reader2010

Jacques Derrida says, "The individualism of technological civilization relies precisely on a misunderstanding of the unique self. It is the individualism of a role and not of a person. In other words it might be called the individualism of a masque or persona, a character [personnage] and not a person." There are many Americans but they all play the same role in the Pursuit of Happiness, aka wage slaves, career slaves, debt slaves, information junkies, and passive consumers.

Moccasin

Paul Craig Roberts believe that the people are capable of creating a better and more just society. Instead the people have voted against their own best interest and overwhelmingly believe the propaganda.

When do the people or the society take responsibility for its greater good or own the crimes of those they put into power?

Blaming the aristocracy or the oligarchs seems like a scapegoat when the people have never stood up to the corruption in a cohesive or concerted way. imho, After a few generations of abuse and corruption the people need to take responsibility for their future. I expect that most will just buy into the charade and live the lie, on that basis as a society we are doomed to live in a corporatocracy fascist state.

Aldous Huxley called it a scientific dictatorship, Edward Bernays referred to us as a herd.

Moccasin

In the USA being white, monied and having the capacity to afford a good education is privileged. To his credit he speaks to the greater population, the 'average citizen' and not the plutocratic class.

MSorciere

What we have is the result of conditioning and commoditizing a population. The country is filled with consumers, not citizens. Teach the acquisition of money and goods as the main goal and individualism as the only acceptable social unit. We end up with a nation of insatiable sociopaths, ruled by power-hungry psychopaths.

Divisive politics, jackbooted authority from the DC scumpond down to the cop on the beat, the constant preaching of the cult of the individual as a sustitute for true liberty... all of these have served to destroy a sense of community and decentness between Americans.

The ONLY thing that could threaten the ruling class is a banding together of the people - in large numbers. 'They' have purposefully and effectively quashed that.

Chupacabra1977

When you let jews run your society this is what happens. Go Goy go!!!!!

TrulyStupid

Shifting responsibility to the usual suspects is simply a manifestation of the American moral collapse. Man up and do some self evaluation.

T-NUTZ

"what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples"

Unfortunately, Paul, the American people have lost any sense of mercy and justice for their own people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXRDq9nKJ0U

Phillyguy

Painful as it may be, we need to rationally look at US history/society. The nascent US was formed by stealing land from the native population and using human capital (read African Slaves) to generate wealth (it took a civil war with circa 500K casualties to stop this- one could argue the US "civil war" never ended). More recently, the US has been almost continuously at war since 1940, we dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Currently, the US/NATO war theater extends from the Levant, to Caspian Basin, Persian Gulf, China Sea, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa (Saudi/US war on Yemen), the Maghreb and E Europe and Russian Border.

Radical Marijuana

"... the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise ..."

Governments were created by the history of warfare, which was always organized crime developing on larger and larger scales. In the context, the greater problem is that people like Paul Craig Roberts are reactionary revolutionaries, who provide relatively good analysis, followed by bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals.

The "American People" are the victims of the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy. As Cognitive Dissonance has previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled."

It is practically impossible to exaggerate the degree to which that is so, on such profound levels, because of the ways that most people want to continue to believe that false fundamental dichotomies and impossible ideals are valid, and should be applied to their problems, despite that those mistaken ideas cause the opposite to happen in the real world, because those who promote those kinds of false fundamental dichotomies and their related impossible ideals, ARE "controlled opposition."

Rather, the place to begin would be by recognizing that all human beings and civilizations must necessarily operate as entropic pumps of energy flows, which necessarily are systems of organized lies operating robberies. Everyone has some power to rob, and power to kill to back that up. Governments assembled and channeled those powers. There was never a time when governments were not organized crime. There could never be any time when governments were not organized crime. The only things that exist are the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those dynamic equilibria have become extremely unbalanced due the degree that the best organized gangs of criminals were able to control their opposition.

Paul Craig Roberts, as well as pretty well all of the rest of the content published on Zero Hedge, are presentations of various kinds of controlled opposition groups, most of which do not recognize that they are being controlled by the language that they use, and the philosophy of science that they take for granted. THAT is the greatest failure of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people everywhere else. They believe in false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals, and therefore, their bogus "solutions" always necessarily backfire badly, and cause the opposite to happen in the real world.

After all, the overwhelming vast majority of the American People operate as the controlled opposition to the best organized gangs of criminals that most control the government of the USA. Therefore, the FAILURES of the American People are far more profound and problematic than what is superficially presented by guys like Paul Craig Roberts, and also, of course, his suggested bogus "solutions" are similarly superficial.

The ONLY things which can actually exist are the dynamic equilibrium between different systems of organized lies operating robberies. The degree to which the American People, as well as most of the rest of the people in the world, FAIL to understand that is the degree to which they enable the best organized gangs of criminals to control them, due to the vast majority of people being members of various controlled opposition groups. Controlled opposition always presents relatively superficial analysis of the political problems, which are superficially correct. However, they then follow that up with similarly superficial "solutions." Therefore, magical words are bandied about, that express their dualities, through false fundamental dichotomies, and the related impossible ideals.

Governments must exist because organized crime must exist. Better governments could be achieved through better organized crime. However, mostly what get presented in the public places are the utter bullshit of the biggest bullies, who dominate the society because they were the best organized gangs of criminals, who were also able to dominate their apparent opposition. Therefore, instead of more realistic, better balancing of the dynamic equilibria between different systems of organized lies operating robberies, we get runaway developments of the best organized gangs of criminals being able to control governments, whose only apparent opposition is controlled to stay within the same bullshit frame of reference regarding everything that was actually happening.

The mainline of the FAILURES of the American People have been the ways that the international bankers were able to recapture control over the American public "money" supply. After that, everything else was leveraged up, through the funding of the political processes, schools, and mass media, etc., being more and more dominated by that fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting system. Of course, that FAILURE has now become more than 99% ... Therefore, no political possible ways appear to exist to pull out of that flaming spiral nose dive, since we have already gone beyond the event horizon into that social black hole.

Most of the content on Zero Hedge which is based upon recognizing that set of problems still acts as controlled opposition in that regard too. Therefore, the bogus "solutions" here continue to deliberately ignore that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder. Instead of accepting that, the controlled opposition groups like to promote various kinds of "monetary reforms." However, meanwhile, we are actually already headed towards the established debt slavery systems having generated debt insanities, which are going to provoke death insanities.

In that context, the only realistic resolutions to the real problems would necessarily have to be monetary revolutions, that may emerge out of the future situations, after the runaway debt insanities have provoked death insanities. Indeed, the only genuine solutions to the problems are to develop different death control systems, to back up different debt control systems, which must necessarily be done within the context that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals.

The various controlled opposition groups do not want to face those social facts. Rather, they continue to want to believe in the dualities expressed as false fundamental dichotomies and the related impossible ideals, which is their greatest overall FAILURE. In my view, the article above by Roberts contained a lot of nostalgic nonsense. There was never a time when there were any governments which were not based on the applications of the principles and methods of organized crime, and there could never be any time in the future when that could be stopped from being the case.

The greatest FAILURE of the American People, as well as most of the rest of the world's people, has been to become so brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, that there is no significant opposition that is not controlled by thinking inside of the box of that bullshit. The government did NOT transform into a criminal enterprise. The government was necessarily ALWAYS a criminal enterprise. That criminal enterprise has become more and more severely UNBALANCED due to the FAILURE of the people to understand that they were actually members of an organized crime gang, called their country. Instead, they were more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about everything, including their country.

The ONLY connection between human laws and the laws of nature is the ability to back up lies with violence. The development of the government of the USA has been the developed of integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Those systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS have been able to become more extremely unbalanced because there is almost nothing which is publicly significant surrounding that core of organized crime but various controlled opposition groups.

Of course, it seems politically impossible for my recommendations to actually happen within the foreseeable future, as the current systems of debt slavery drive through debt insanities to become death insanities, but nevertheless, the only theoretically valid ideas to raise to respond to the real problems would have to based upon a series of intellectual scientific revolutions. However, since we have apparently run out of time to go through those sorts of paradigm shifts sufficiently, we are stuck in the deepening ruts of political problems which guys like Roberts correctly present to be the case

... HOWEVER, ROBERTS, LIKE ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE, CONTINUE TO PRESUME UPON DUALITIES, AND THEREFORE, HAVE THEIR MECHANISMS REGARDING "SOLUTIONS" ABSURDLY BACKWARDS.

Rather, we should start with the concept of SUBTRACTION, which then leads to robbery. We should start with the recognition that governments are necessarily, by definition, the biggest forms of organized crime. Governments did NOT transform into being that. Governments were always that. The political problems we have now are due to the best organized gangs of criminals, which currently are primarily the biggest gangsters, which can rightly be referred to as the banksters, having dominated all aspects of the funding of politics, enough to capture control over all sociopolitical institutions, so that the American People would more and more be subjected to the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, which was built on top of thousands of years of previous history of Neolithic Civilizations being based on backing up lies with violence.

The runaway systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS, or the integrated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, that more and more dominate the lives of the American People are due to the applications of the methods of organized crime, and could not be effectively counter-balanced in any other ways. However, the standing social situation is that there is no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled to stay within the same frame of reference of the biggest bullies, which is now primarily the frame of reference of the banksters. Indeed, to the degree to which people's lives are controlled by the monetary system, they are debt slaves. Moreover, the degree to which they do not understand, and do not want to understand, that money is necessarily measurement backed by murder, then they think like controlled opposition groups, who have their mechanisms absurdly backwards, when they turn from their superficial analysis of what the political problems, to then promote their superficial solutions of those problems.

I AGREE that "Americans need to face the facts." However, those facts are that citizens are members of an organized crime gang, called their country. "Their" country is currently controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals. However, there are no genuine resolutions for those problems other than to develop better organized crime. Since the controlled opposition groups that are publicly significant do not admit any of the deeper levels of the scientific facts regarding human beings and civilizations operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, but rather, continue to perceive all of that in the most absurdly backward ways possible, the current dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies continue to become more and more extremely UNBALANCED.

In the case of the article above, Roberts does NOT "face the facts" that governments were always forms of organized crime, and must necessarily be so, because human beings must live as entropic pumps of energy flows. Rather, Roberts tends to illustrate how the controlled opposition takes for granted certain magical words and phrases, such as "Liberty" or "Constitution," that have no adequate operational definitions to connect them to the material world.

We are living inside of an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, which has applied the progress in science primarily to become better at backing up lies with violence, while refusing to allow scientific methods to admit and address how and why that has been what has actually happened. Therefore, almost all of the language that we use to communicate, as well as almost all of the philosophy of science that we take for granted, was based on the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is now primarily manifested as the banksters' bullshit, as that bullshit developed in America to become ENFORCED FRAUDS.

ALL of the various churches, corporations, and countries are necessarily various systems of organized lies operating robberies. Those which are the biggest now were historically the ones that were the best at doing that. The INTENSE PARADOXES are due to human systems necessarily being organized lies operating robberies, wherein the greatest social successfulness has been achieved by those who were the best professional liars and immaculate hypocrites. That flows throughout ALL of the established systems, which are a core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups.

The degree to which the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, have been more and more scientifically brainwashed to believe in bullshit about governments in particular, and human beings and civilizations in general, is the degree to which the established systems based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS are headed towards some series of psychotic breakdowns. For all practical purposes, it is politically impossible to get enough people to stop acting like incompetent political idiots, and instead start acting more like competent citizens, because they do not understand, and moreover have been conditioned to not want to understand that governments are necessarily organized crime.

Roberts ironically illustrated the deeper nature of the political problems that he also shares, when he perceives that governments have somehow transformed into being criminal enterprise, when governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises. Similarly, with those who recognize that, but then promote the impossible solutions based upon somehow stopping that from being the case, which is as absurdly backwards as stopping human beings from operating as entropic pumps of energy flows, which then also presumes that it would be possible to stop human civilizations from being entropic pumps of energy flows.

Rather, the deeper sorts of intellectual scientific revolutions that we should go through require becoming much more critical of the language that we use to communicate with, and more critical about the philosophy of science that we presumed was correct. Actually, we were collectively brainwashed to believe in the biggest bullies' bullshit, which is as absurdly backwards as it could possibly be. However, due to the collective FAILURES of people to understand that, as reflected by the ways that the core of organized crime is surrounded by nothing which is publicly significant than layers of controlled opposition, there are no reasonable ways to doubt that the established debt slavery systems will continue to drive even worse debt insanities, which will provoke much worse death insanities. Therefore, to be more realistic about the foreseeable future, the development of new death control systems will emerge out of the context of crazy collapses into chaos, wherein the runaway death insanities provide the possible opportunities for new death controls to emerge out of that situation.

Of course, the about 99% FAILURE of the American People to want to understand anything that I have outlined above indicates that the foreseeable future for subsequent generations shall not too likely be catalyzed transformations towards enough people better understanding their political problems, in order to better resolve those problems. Rather, what I mostly expect is for the psychotic breakdowns of the previous systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS to give opportunities to some possible groups of controlled opposition to take advantage of that, to perhaps emerge as the new version of professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who will be able to operate some new version of organized lies, operating robberies, who may mostly still get away with being some modified versions of still oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, due to social success still being based upon the best available professional liars and immaculate hypocrites, who were able to survive through those transformations, so that the new systems arise from some of the seeds of the old systems.

At the present time, it is extremely difficult to imagine how the human species could possibly reconcile progress in physical science by surpassing that with progress in political science. Rather, what mostly exists now is the core of organized crime, which gets away with spouting the bullshit about itself, such as how the banksters dominate the mass media, and the lives of everyone else who depend upon the established monetary system (which is dominated by the current ways that governments ENFORCE FRAUDS by privately controlled banks), while that core of organized crime has no publicly significant opposition that is not controlled by the ways that they think, which ways stay within the basic bullshit world view, as promoted by the biggest bullies for thousands of years, and as more and more scientifically promoted to brainwash the vast majority of people to believe in that kind of bullshit so completely that it mostly does not occur to them that they are doing that, and certainly almost never occurs to them that they are doing that in the most profoundly absurd and backward ways possible.

That is how and why it is possible for an author like Roberts to correctly point out the ways in which the government of the USA is transforming into being more blatantly based on organized crime ... HOWEVER, Roberts is not willing and able to go through deeper levels of intellectual scientific revolutions, in order to recognize how and why governments were always necessarily manifestations of organized crime. Therefore, as is typically the case, Roberts does not recognize how ironically he recommends that Americans should "face the facts," while he himself does not fully do so.

The whole history of Neolithic Civilizations was social pyramid systems based on being able to back up lies with violence, becoming more sophisticated systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which currently manifest as the globalized electronic frauds of the banksters, were are backed up by the governments (that those banksters effectively control) having atomic bombs. Those are the astronomically amplified magnitudes of the currently existing combined money/murder systems. Therefore, it appears to be politically impossible at the present time to develop better governments, due to the degree that almost everyone is either a member of the core groups of organized crime, or members of the surrounding layers of groups of controlled opposition, both of which want to stay within the same overall bullshit frame of reference, because, so far, their lives have been socially successful by being professional liars and immaculate hypocrites.

Ironically, I doubt that someone like Roberts, or pretty well everyone else whose material is published on Zero Hedge is able and willing to recognize the degree to which they are actually controlled opposition. Indeed, even more ironically, as I have repeated before, even Cognitive Dissonance, when he previously stated on Zero Hedge: "The absolute best controlled opposition is one that doesn't know they are controlled." DOES NOT "GET IT" regarding the degree to which he too is controlled opposition, even while superficially attempting to recognize and struggle with that situation. (Indeed, of course, that includes me too, since I am still communicating using the English language, which was the natural language that most developed to express the biggest bullies' bullshit world view.)

Overall, I REPEAT, the deeper problems are due to progress in physical science, NOT being surpassed by progress in political science. Instead, while there EXIST globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the ways of thinking that made that science and those technologies possible has found any significant expression through political science, because political science would have to go through even more profound paradigm shifts within itself in order to do that.

The INTENSE PARADOXES continue to be the manifestation of the oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that deliberately refuses to become any more genuinely scientific about itself. Therefore, the banksters have been able to pay for the best scientific brainwashing that money could buy, for generation after generation, in order to more and more brainwash most of the American People to believe in the banksters' bullshit world view. While there exist electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs, practically nothing regarding the physical science paradigm shifts that made that possible have even the slightest degree of public appreciation within the realms of politics today, which are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, despite that being as absurdly backwards as possible, while the controlled opposition groups, mostly in the form of old-fashioned religions and ideologies, continue to stay within that same bullshit world view, and adamantly refuse to change their perceptual paradigms regarding political problems.

However, I REPEAT, the issues we face are NOT that governments have transformed to become criminal enterprises, but that governments were always necessarily criminal enterprises, which had the power to legalized their own lies, and then back those lies up with legalized violence. Thereby, the best organized criminals, the international bankers, as the biggest gangsters, or the banksters, were able to apply the methods of organized crime through the political processes. Meanwhile, the only "opposition" that was allowed to be publicly significant was controlled, to basically stay within the same bullshit world view, which is what Roberts has done in his series of articles, as well as what is almost always presented in the content published on Zero Hedge.

The NEXT LEVEL of "the need to face the facts" is to recognize that the political economy is based upon ENFORCED FRAUDS, or systems of debt slavery backed by wars based on deceits. However, the NEXT LEVEL "the need to face the facts" is the that the only possible changes are to change the dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, i.e., change those ENFORCED FRAUDS, in ways which CAN NOT STOP THOSE FROM STILL BEING ENFORCED FRAUDS, because of the degree to which money is necessarily measurement backed by murder.

For the American People, as well as the rest of the world's people, to stop being such dismal FAILURES would require them to become more competent citizens. However, at the present time they appear to be totally unable to do that, because they are unwilling to go through the profound paradigm shifts that it would take them to become more competent citizens inside of world where there exist globalized electronic frauds, backed by atomic bombs. The vast majority of the American People would not like to go through the severe cognitive dissonance that would be required, to not only recognize that "their" government was a criminal enterprise, but that it also must be, and that they too must necessarily be members of that organized crime gang. However, without that degree of perceptual paradigm shifts of the political problems, then enough of the American People could not become more competent citizens.

Somehow, most people continue to count on themselves never having to think about how and why progress was achieved in physical science, by going through series of profound paradigm shifts in the ways that we perceived the world. Most people continue to presume that it is not necessary for their perception of politics to go through profound paradigm shifts, that surpass those which have already been achieved in physical science. We continue to live in an oxymoronic scientific dictatorship, that employs science and technology to become better at being dishonest and violent, but does not apply science and technology to "face the facts" about that scientific dictatorship as a whole.

At the present time, technologies which have become trillions of times more capable and powerful are primarily used as special effects within the context of repeating the same old-fashioned, stupid social stories, such as promoted by the biggest bullies, and their surrounding controlled opposition groups. Ironically, especially when it comes to politics, that tends to manifest the most atavistic throwbacks to old-fashioned religions and ideologies being relied upon to propose bogus "solutions," despite that those kinds of social stories adamantly refuse to change their paradigms in light of the profound paradigms shifts which have been achieved in physical science.

The article above was another illustration of the ways that the typical reactionary revolutionaries, Black Sheeple, or controlled opposition groups, respond to recognizing the more and more blatant degrees to which there has been an accelerating "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise." THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO STAY WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BULLSHIT-BASED FRAME OF REFERENCE, INSTEAD, AROUND AND AROUND WE GO, STUCK IN THE SAME DEEPENING RUTS, since they do NOT more fully "face the facts" regarding how and why the only realistic solutions to the real problems would require developing better organized crime. INSTEAD, they continue to promote the same dualities based upon false fundamental dichotomies, and the associate bogus "solutions" based upon impossible ideals ...

Given that overall situation, that there there almost nothing which is publicly significant than the core of organized crime, surrounded by controlled opposition groups, I see no reasonable hopes for the foreseeable material future of a civilization controlled by ENFORCED FRAUDS, since there is no publicly possible ways to develop better dynamic equilibria between the different systems of organized lies operating robberies, since the biggest forms of doing that were most able to get away with pretending that they are not doing that, which was facilitated by their controlled opposition promoting the opinions that nobody should do that, while actually everyone must be doing that.

Roberts' article above, to me, was another typical example of superficially correct analysis, which implies some bogus "solutions" because those are based upon the same superficiality. It is NOT good enough to recognize "transformation of government into a criminal enterprise," unless one goes through deeper levels of analysis regarding how and why that is what actually exists, and then, one should continue to be consistent with that deeper analysis when one turns to proposing genuine solutions to those problems, namely, I REPEAT THAT the only realistic resolutions to the real political problems requires the transformation of government into a better organized criminal enterprise, which ideally should be based upon enough citizens who are competent enough to understand that they are members of an organized crime gang, which should assert themselves to make sure that their country becomes better organized crime.

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

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

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

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

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

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

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

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

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

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

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

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

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

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

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

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

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

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

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

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

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

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

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

> a military takeover could be viable

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

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

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

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

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

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

Then Brooks goes on to explain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

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

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

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

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

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

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

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Doomed?

Project Much?

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

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Dec 03, 2017] Both Democrats and Republicans are happy to screw the other 80 percent of the population

Notable quotes:
"... This is not simply a tax bill: It is the last stage of a corporate coup that has been slow-walking its intentions for decades. ..."
"... non quid pro quo, non problemo. ..."
"... Observing from abroad and therefore at a loss. Did this tax bill sink in with those Trump voters who supported him 12 months ago because of his anti-establishment rants? Or is the situation already past flipping the table? ..."
"... They're thoroughly brainwashed by right wing media, and tend to be low information voters who rail against fake news. They want to "give Trump a chance". They make decisions based on what they see in their personal lives. It will take them a couple years to notice things have gotten a lot worse, and by then who knows what they'll blame (besides blacks and women and poor people of course, those are a given). ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Sluggeaux , December 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

I blame the Clintonites for this. Nearly half of eligible voters didn't cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election -- mid-term turnouts are even lower. If you count ineligible people -- recent immigrants, people convicted of felonies or whose voting rights are suspended, and children, the DNC Dems and the GOP have decided that they only need to appeal to fewer than 20 percent of the population to stay in office. They are HAPPY to screw the other 80 percent of the population.

This my friends, is despotism masquerading as democracy.

L , December 2, 2017 at 10:39 am

I agree with you about blame for the Clintonites. They hollowed out any meaningful core of the Democratic party and went out of their way to out-plutocrat the plutocrats.

I also blame Senate Dems. I notice that for all their bluster the Senate Dems did not actually leave the senate to criticize this. Only Sanders did.

But I have to disagree with your last point. There was no masquerade. This was knifework in broad daylight. The Republicans were so desperate to get this over the line (and to quite literally pay themselves off) that they no longer care to pretend. But for people like McConnell and Ryan that does not matter. Their investors get paid.

RWood , December 2, 2017 at 10:50 am

This seems appropriate: 'what's passed is prolegomena of any future malevolence'

If reconciled and signed by Trump, this legislation will leave tens of millions of people beaten, baffled and bereft. With this bill, they establish a permanent inheritor class whose wealth will be so vast and untouchable that they can buy every election -- local, state and federal -- from here on out. This is not simply a tax bill: It is the last stage of a corporate coup that has been slow-walking its intentions for decades.

For generations?

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/calamity-now/

RWood , December 2, 2017 at 11:11 am

Such a notion:

Whether you trace a grand narrative change in that mass psyche back to the worldwide countercultural uprising of the `60s and `70s which as Derrida was to phrase it deconstructed a mythology of a grounding reason transparently expressed in language, or to a relentless undermining of governmental authority launched by Conservative think tanks, attitudes changed drastically.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/97906/

voteforno6 , December 2, 2017 at 11:47 am

"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich."

– Rosseau

nonclassical , December 2, 2017 at 2:33 pm

not "for decades" "follow the $$$$" to Wall Street bank trillions allowed placed under FDIC, by totally disempowered government, following 2007 $600 trillion largest theft-crime in human history:

"JPM is the world's largest purveyor of derivatives. Its total contracts have a notional value of $72 trillion -- and 99 percent of them are booked at its FDIC-insured bank. Citigroup has nearly all of its $53 trillion in derivatives in its FDIC-insured bank; Goldman Sachs has $44 trillion parked at an FDIC-backed institution. After Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch, BofA began transferring the securities firm's derivatives to the FDIC-insured bank, which now holds $47 trillion in contracts. When Senators Sherrod Brown and Carl Levin, among others, complained that regulators' acquiescence in these transfers contradicted Congressional instructions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank reform law, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency refused to answer their objections. This matter involves "confidential supervisory" and "proprietary business information," the three agencies responded in unison."

(Yves, others, having already shown how crime was perpetrated)

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-fdic-insuring-jamie-dimons-mistakes/

Kokuanani , December 2, 2017 at 11:22 am

In terms of "blaming the Clintonites," it's useful to look at the Senate seats that the Dems lost in 2016 because of the loser at the top of the ticket, the failure to campaign in places like Wisconsin, the failure to do voter registration & GOTV, and the failure to deal with voter "purges" and other suppression tactics.

The very good Russ Feingold ran in Wisconsin again the dreadful Ron Johnson -- and lost. There's a vote the Dems could have used to fight this disaster.

Go on back through the 2016 list and see how Clinton and her enablers did this to what used to be the Democratic party. I'm too depressed to do so right now.

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Yes. Especially yes on Feingold.

I'm reading Brazile's book. It's humorous and interesting (much more interesting than I expected from the excerpt in politico), but reinforces your point for sure.

Altandmain , December 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

The GOP and the Democrats are playing bad cop-good cop. Both serve the rich. They've used culture war issues to split the nation, while the rich loot and pillage society.

The GOP is horrible, but the Establishment Democrats enabled their policies. Bill Clinton did that to Reagan and Obama to Bush 2.

It's a disgrace. Both parties serve the same rich donors. It's a party, and you are not invited. You will be forced to pay the bill though.

wendy davis , December 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

as he isn't on your 'bloggers' list, yves, you and your commentariat may or may not find jack rasmus credible. but he weighed in at length on the house version of the gang rape of the rabble classes on nov. 13. the senate seems to have mooted a few of the items, but what will come out of reconciliation will be a set-up for destroying what's left of the social safety net. how many ill die, how many will bleed, go hungry, lose their houses, their minds

'The Trump-US House $4.6 TrillionTax Cut–Who Pays?', by Jack Rasmus, Nov. 13

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/the-trump-us-house-4-6-trilliontax-cut-who-pays/

lyman alpha blob , December 2, 2017 at 9:25 am

That's in a way, good news for the progressives, in the November 2018 election, because I think what we can try to ensure, is that this is the last time the Republican Party is ever able to do this to the American people.

Really? And which "progressives" would those be? The ones who can't seem to keep their John Thomases from jumping out of their knickers to say "Hello!" to every passing nubile young fleshpot? Does he mean the Democrat party which today largely consists of Republicans who can just mange not to drool on themselves while speaking? These are the people voters are going to flock to the polls to elect? Funny, I thought 2006, or maybe 2008 was the "last time" the Republican party would be able to do this to the American people.

And when those "progressives" fail to deliver just like the last time they had the majority, we can start the whole charade all over again. Yippee.

Kurtismayfield , December 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

I am sure that the DNC is partying over this. They can run all their blue dogs in 2018, and when this all takes effect the people will vote for anyone with a D next to their name.

wendy davis , December 2, 2017 at 10:02 am

this is from wsws.org this a.m., although before the final vote: 'The US Senate tax bill: The financial oligarchy on the rampage'. holy hell.

""For Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted against Obamacare repeal, the price of her vote was incorporating into the tax bill an unrelated provision opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. For Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, the price was another $60 billion in tax breaks for "S-corporations," the mid-sized, multi-million-dollar enterprises that were treated less advantageously in the original bill than giant corporations. (the 'pass-throughs') The families of both senators own such companies. Senator Susan Collins of Maine extracted a promise from Trump to support increased financial subsidies for big insurance companies participating in Obamacare.

"The money-grabbing is so reckless that the tax bill does not provide even a fig leaf of "fairness." In 2027, for example, according to figures provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office (both Republican-controlled), the bill raises the taxes of people making $40,000 to $50,000 a year by $5.3 billion and cuts the taxes of those making $1 million a year or more by $5.8 billion."

"Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer was not in the group [15 or so Ds' press conference], but he has repeatedly indicated his support for the main goals of the tax bill, which are to slash the corporate income tax rate, now 35 percent, and to allow giant companies holding trillions in cash overseas to "repatriate" the funds and pay only a nominal tax. He closed out the Senate debate with unctuous praise for Republicans, "many of whom I admire," and an appeal for them to reconsider and reach a bipartisan deal with the Democrats.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/02/pers-d02.html

allan , December 2, 2017 at 10:17 am

Retaining Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax Could Undercut Research, Housing Credits [WSJ]

A late decision by Republicans could severely limit companies' ability to use tax credits for research and low-income housing.

"For many companies, they will find that they will be unable to use the research credit because of that minimum tax constraint," said Drew Lyon of PwC LLP.

In the previous version of the Senate bill, repealing the corporate AMT reduced revenue by $40 billion over a decade. That suggests that retaining it would raise that much money. Mr. Lyon said he was surprised that the estimate was that low and that the change would affect many companies.

Who needs research. That's just fancy fake news for credentialed 20%ers. And who needs low income housing when incomes of real Americans will be soaring. Just as form follows function, policy follows process. Writing a multi-trillion dollar tax bill in real time has consequences.

Matt , December 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

Now that it's passed, how long before Democrats and Republicans "come together in a spirit of bipartisanship" to make the "hard decisions" to privatize Social Security and Medicare in order to ensure "fiscal responsibility?" This country's cruelty and hatred of poor people is shocking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJeFrqBJF6E

m , December 2, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I wonder if more Medicaid is used to house the elderly, than pay for health care for the poor. Most of these for profit long term care places will close. All the better, never put mom & dad there. Very costly with little care.

Jim Haygood , December 2, 2017 at 10:28 am

Vignettes from a farce:

" You really don't read this kind of legislation ," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told home-state reporters, asked why the Senate was approving a bill some senators hadn't read.

Democrats took to the Senate floor and social media to mock one page that included changes scrawled in barely legible handwriting.

https://apnews.com/6a409d3266be46dcaa2f1267fd947a12/Senate-OKs-tax-bill-as-Trump,-GOP-near-big-legislative-win

Nothing wrong with scribbling dramatic changes to the tax code on cocktail napkins, as ol' Wilbur Mills (chair, Wayz 'n Means) used to do when he was cruising the boîtes of Foggy Bottom with the Argentine Firecracker Fanne Fox. It's considered poor form, though, if the lipstick smudges remain visible.

ambrit , December 2, 2017 at 10:50 am

It may be poor form, but I was under the impression that a contract signed in soy sauce using a swizzle stick still had the force of law behind it.
The other big problem with this is that "what happens inside the Beltway" don't stay inside the Beltway. That other casino resort, Las Vegas at least pays lip service to decorum.

James Cole , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 am

Regarding the sequence in this interview where Maté briefly challenges Henry on "full employment" and then lets him dismiss it blithely and concludes "So, I don't think anyone denies that the economy's operating at a pretty tight rate. We don't see inflation rising yet but no one's making the case we need tax cuts in order to stimulate economic growth except these Republican donors."

This is exactly what is wrong with mainstream economics and Democratic Party rhetoric. While everyone knows tax cuts –especially these tax cuts–are a poor way to stimulate growth, both this very site and the more intellectually coherent parts of the populist alt-right are arguing quite the opposite: that we're not "tight" and deindustrialization and US trade policy are to blame.

Rhetoric like this is one reason for the white-hot fury in the Rustbelt that got us Trump and also why Sanders was far more appealing than Clinton to so many voters.

eudora welty , December 2, 2017 at 1:20 pm

+1000. I noticed the same thing.

m , December 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm

David Stockman is telling it like it is & that is why Fox/CNBC cut him off. Plain and straight any Fox viewer can understand, When I listen to C-span many immigrant callers (basing this on accents) they understand it is a scam. Greatest caller comment (sounded like midwest), " this bill is like the story my grandpa told us about the cow & the sparrow, Feed the cows enough oats & it passes through the alimentary canal, then some gets sprayed out on the grass for the sparrows. They cut him off. HA!

Chauncey Gardiner , December 2, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Peak Plutocracy as "K Street" lobbyists rewrite the tax code for the benefit of large corporations, Wall Street and a few wealthy families, and their legislators obfuscate the contents of the legislation and remain deaf to the desires of the majority of the American people. Seems to me there was a political event about 240 years ago against just this type of behavior.

WobblyTelomeres , December 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Er, 100 years ago.

m , December 2, 2017 at 11:11 pm

K street has been writing our laws for some time, not sure why these people even need staff. We need to figure out a way to create a new economic system and not become a part of this, like the so called unbaked that these companies are chasing.

JEHR , December 2, 2017 at 12:23 pm

It seems to me that this tax bill is just the kind of effort that millionaires and billionaires would want from themselves. They need never think of anyone else because they run the WHOLE show. No one should be surprised.

L , December 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Ryan Grim over at The Intercept has done some of the math. The scary awful results are nicely summed up in the title: The GOP Plan Is the Biggest Tax Increase in American History, By Far The net upshot of the accounting is that it is a 6 trillion dollar benefit for the very very rich at the expense of everyone else.

allan , December 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm

The Dem messaging on this was terrible, whether due to incompetence or collusion. Two charts which should have been plastered over the airwaves and online are about two thirds of the way down this Vox article based on Tax Policy Center data, labeled "How much the Republican tax bill cuts taxes for Americans in each income group by 2019"
and " by 2025".

Better that the Dems had spent $30 million putting these charts in front of GOP constituents' eyeballs, rather than flushing it down the drain in GA-06.

James Cole , December 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

My money's on collusion.

Bobby Gladd , December 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

A staple of legislation involves regulatory discretion accorded "the Secretary" of the lead department -- in this case Treasury and Mnuchin. Phrases such as this appear 71 times in the pdf copy of the passed bill I just opened:

"The Secretary shall issue regulations to carry out the purposes of this section " "the Secretary may waive part or all of the tax imposed by subsection (a) "

This kind of language turned out to be an achilles heel in Obama's ACA, once "the Secretary" became (the now-departed) Tom Price. As this GOP POS language is finalized, discretionary authorities granted "the Secretary" will be very important. Mnuchin. Isn't that comforting?

justsayknow , December 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Heard Chris Mathews say the dems did not really fight this because it is a win-win for them. Their donors receive huge sums in tax breaks to in turn funnel some crumbs back to the Democratic Party owners and of course they get to run against it in '18. WBF we be f .

MichaelSF , December 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

It would be interesting to know how the Pelosi and Blum/Feinstein fortunes will be affected by the tax bill.

UserFriendly , December 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I read a book as a kid where all the adults died of some mysterious disease. I seriously hope someone is using CRISPR to make a virus that kills every single millionaire. I hope it is a miserable painful death too.

allan , December 2, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Trump's third fundraising event of the day, at 740 Park Avenue, was at the home of Steve Schwarzman.

From yesterday:

Blackstone, Carlyle, KKR, Apollo just got their own little loophole in the tax bill. Cornyn amendment 1715 (to be included in manager's amendment). PTP [publicly traded partnership] income, but not other financial services income, gets 23% passthrough deduction.

As Steve Schwartzman would say, it's like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.

And as SCOTUS would say, non quid pro quo, non problemo.

TedHunter , December 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Observing from abroad and therefore at a loss. Did this tax bill sink in with those Trump voters who supported him 12 months ago because of his anti-establishment rants? Or is the situation already past flipping the table?

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm

They're thoroughly brainwashed by right wing media, and tend to be low information voters who rail against fake news. They want to "give Trump a chance". They make decisions based on what they see in their personal lives. It will take them a couple years to notice things have gotten a lot worse, and by then who knows what they'll blame (besides blacks and women and poor people of course, those are a given).

Chauncey Gardiner , December 2, 2017 at 5:02 pm

The Hill today reported that 6,000 lobbyists worked on this tax legislation. Funny, don't recall voting for any of them. Also didn't realize there were anywhere near that many in the Swamp. Wonder who even decides how to organize them on a project like this?

Link: http://hill.cm/fdUr3jy

So in summary, the GOP tax bill was written in secret by donors' lobbyists, with last minute handwritten amendments and "pork" revisions in exchange for individual senators' votes, then passed in the middle of the night without time for a full reading or analysis by senators.

Begs the question: "Taxation without representation"?

Bobby Gladd , December 2, 2017 at 9:16 pm

BTW, my friends, on page 97 of the Senate bill is a provision enacting "Personhood at Conception," according certain tax "designated beneficiary" rights to the "unborn."

I'm not making that up.

[Dec 03, 2017] Well, we always have the option to surrender, be captured and interned in the death camps of austerity, shredded safety nets, crapified jobs and debt peonage. Our choice.

Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Eclair , December 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Not liking where we are and pulling up stakes whether from Ireland during the Hunger, or from the German states after the 1848 revolution, or from Sweden when 'land reform' left you with a sliver of land that wouldn't support a family of squirrels, or from the violence and social chaos of southern Italy . and leaving for a 'better' country, has gotten us to this point. We are, effectively, out of room on this Planet; there is no 'new world,' no 'empty' continent.

We have run and retreated, beaten down by kings, barons, petty aristocrats, mean landlords, occupying armies and, sometimes, simply lusting for a new landscape to scrape and burn.

We have run and run, sometimes mounting a desultory rear guard action, but now, we have no option but to turn and fight.

Well, we always have the option to surrender, be captured and interned in the death camps of austerity, shredded safety nets, crapified jobs and debt peonage. Our choice.

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

Notable quotes:
"... Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history. ..."
"... An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. ..."
"... One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise. ..."
"... The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women). ..."
"... McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights. ..."
"... Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. ..."
"... Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer, July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Dec 01, 2017] JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty, Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura

Highly recommended!
The most important part of power elite in neoliberal society might not be financial oligarchy, but intelligence agencies elite. If you look at the role of Brennan in "Purple color revolution" against Trump that became clear that heads of the agencies are powerful political players with resources at hand, that are not available to other politicians.
Notable quotes:
"... Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses. ..."
"... This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers." ..."
"... This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs. ..."
"... This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment. ..."
"... Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders. ..."
"... The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world. ..."
"... Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist. ..."
"... Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3 ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

True existence of these multimegaton hydrogen bombs has so drastically changed the Grand Strategy of world powers that, today and for the future, that strategy is being carried out by the invisible forces of the CIA, what remains of the KGB, and their lesser counterparts around the world.

Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses.

This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers."

The power elite is not a group from one nation or even of one alliance of nations. It operates throughout the world and no doubt has done so for many, many centuries.

... ... ...

From this point ot view, warfare, and the preparation tor war, is an absolute necessity for the welfare of the state and for control of population masses, as has been so ably documented in that remarkable novel by Leonard Lewin Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace and attributed by Lewin to "the Special Study Group in 1966," an organization whose existence was so highly classified that there is no record, to this day, of who the men in the group were or with what sectors of the government or private life they were connected.

This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs.

Not long after that great war, the world leaders were faced suddenly with the reality of a great dilemma. At the root of this dilemma was the new fission-fusion-fission H-bomb. Is it some uncontrollable Manichean device, or is it truly a weapon of war?

... ... ...

Such knowledge is sufficient. The dilemma is now fact. There can no longer be a classic or traditional war, at least not the all-out, go-for-broke-type warfare there has been down through the ages, a war that leads to a meaningful victory for one side and abject defeat for the other.

Witness what has been called warfare in Korea, and Vietnam, and the later, more limited experiment with new weaponry called the Gulf War in Iraq.

... ... ...

This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment.

One objective of this book is to discuss these new forces. It will present an insider's view of the CIA story and provide comparisons with the intelligence organizations -- those invisible forces -- of other countries. To be more realistic with the priorities of these agencies themselves, more will be said about operational matters than about actual intelligence gathering as a profession.

This subject cannot be explored fully without a discussion of assassination. Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders.

The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world.

It is essential to note that there are two principal categories of intelligence organizations and that their functions are determined generally by the characteristics of the type of government they serve -- not by the citizens of the government, but by its leaders.

Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union.

The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist.

Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3

[Nov 30, 2017] State Department Condemns Designation Of Media As Foreign Agents (only applies to Russia)

State Department is actually has dual function -- one is to be an intelligence agency. And as such it is fully responsible for the current anti-Russian witch hunt. So the level of hypocrisy is simply staggering. But not surprising: way too many neocons infiltrated the agency under Hillary Clinton and her predecessor.
The problem with responding to this move is that the USA is still the global superpower and technological leader in many areas, including semiconductors. So Russians need to be very careful not to overstep the boundaries and slip into tip for tat mode.
The huge advantage of the USA is that it conducts its propaganda campaign against Russia mostly via private newspapers that have foreign correspondents in Russia as well as fifth column of Russian neoliberals and their news outlets. Which are closely working with the US sponsored NGO. Same is true for GB. Actually after reading Guardian correspondents coverage from Russia it is unclear whether Guardian is a branch on MI6 or not ;-). I don not remember the name of a person who was expelled from Russia for collecting information from the transmitter masked as a "stone" in Moscow park.
Some minor measures directly against "foreign financed" domestic new outlets actually could be more effective that sweeping registration of (mostly ineffective and unpopular) US government channels as "foreign agents".
Notable quotes:
"... Today the U.S. State Department hit the ball of hypocrisy out of the park. It remarked that "legislation that allows .. to label media outlets as 'foreign agents' ... presents yet another threat to free media". It noted that "freedom of expression -- including speech and media ... is a universal human rights obligation". ..."
"... The whole issue started with the notable liar James Clapper under the Obama administration. He and other 'intelligence' people found that RT ..."
"... The Russian government had warned several times that the application of FARA against RT ..."
"... "We could do with having a USIA on steroids to fight this information war [with Russia] a lot more aggressively than we're doing right now," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. ..."
"... "[Russia Today] was very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights," he said. "Whatever crack, fissure they could find in our tapestry, they would exploit it," via the state-owned news network. ..."
"... Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jan 6 2017 - Annex I, originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center ..."
"... RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against "the ruling class" and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations. ..."
"... RT's reports often characterize the United States as a "surveillance state" and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use. ..."
"... RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt. ..."
"... RT is a leading media voice opposing Western intervention in the Syrian conflict and blaming the West for waging "information wars" against the Syrian Government. ..."
"... It is so embarrassing to live in a country where the government issues nothing but lies and hypocrisy. I realize that to the players it's all a game and maybe funny but to this citizen and probably others this game is putting our lives in danger,,, and we don't find that 'funny'. ..."
"... "And at that moment, we will have to repeat that the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Lebanese people, all the elites and all the leaders and peoples of the region should reflect, weigh and return to the question of the identity of the creators, supporters, advocates and promoters of ISIS, that enabled them to commit these terrorist massacres [US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar ], and the identity of those who have stood against ISIS, fought them, offered martyrs in this fight [Iran, Syria, Irak, Hezbollah, Russia] and inflicted a defeat on ISIS and all those who stand behind them. This is a discussion to be held with depth and strength so that the (Muslim) believers do not become victims twice of the same ills." ..."
"... After I have been writing about the fact that the Western hemisphere as a whole is no longer democratic and that the CIA and the NSA dictate the policies of the US regime and its vassals, my cell phone started to turn itself off and on frequently and now my Mac is turning itself on in the middle of the night and the hard drive indicator lights turn red - what they have never done before. Every option to "wake up on call" is disabled. For WiFi (turned off - no Wifi here) and Bluetooth. The Mac is only connected to the power outlet. ..."
"... The so called 'State Department' that has already a disturbing history of cooperation with Fascists throughout its existence, is now totally unhinged. It's actions make it clear beyond any doubt that the US is no longer and has likely not been since 2000 (or 1964, depending on view point) what goes for a 'democratic republic'. ..."
"... Illegal wars and toppling of democratically elected socialist governments for the Safety and Happiness of the American people? That must be it. ..."
"... Behind the persona, Trump may be far smarter than Obama or Clinton, and perhaps more dangerous as far as keeping the US empire alive, depending on which way he goes. I am starting think he won't create any new wars though, just let the neo-con establishment do their thing within a limit, to build up leverage and pressure against countries that he may well try and strike some sort of deal with in the future. ..."
"... Trump is difficult to fathom but has too much morgue to be a good leader. When compared to Putin or even Rouhani, he is far too impulsive. ..."
"... RT is reporting that US Congressional authorities have withdrawn RT Network accreditaton. RT correspondents have been directed to turn in their credentials to the Congressional authorities. This effectively blacklists RT reporters from covering Congress; without credentials, they can't attend hearings, press conferences, etc. ..."
"... Trump's persona is like an inversion layer in air or water. An inversion layer in air can create mirages, and in water, submarines can, or used to be able to hide under inversion layers. Pat Lang put in a comment at his blog, of a study of Trump that showed him change, or his public image change over the years, starting back in the eighties, as he developed the persona. He mentions Stallone in his book as somebody he respects as Stallone had the ability to deliver a product that a large percentage of Americans liked and wanted. I think the persona is somewhat based on Stallone's fictional characters. ..."
"... Maybe even worse, the US PTB seem to have ZERO faith/confidence/belief in the "rightness" and resilience of our own system (certainly with cause), which makes them twitchy (re unstable) as a whole. Like a loaded gun in a shaky hand pointed at humanity. ..."
"... To think there are so many people that watch TV for fake intrigue and ignore the real world machinations all around them.....sigh ..."
"... To be honest, with Americans I prefer the conservatives, red necks and all the other nutjobs over Clintonists because while some of the former are hypocrites, none of them are as sickeningly hypocritical as the Clintonists and their führer. ..."
"... Best analysis of USA policy since WW2. Monetary Imperialism by Michael Hudson If you think it is just about military weapons and bombings then you are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. There is a reason USA is initiating all those wars and coups. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/29/monetary-imperialism/ ..."
"... US and most of the west is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be. A good word for this is Orwellian. ..."
"... Truth has been sacrificed for Propaganda since Bernay showed in WWI that Americans are helpless against it. Some combination of Fear, Nationalism and a Calvinistic God is all you need to get support for War, as well as some way to control the MSM to stay online with the message ..."
"... It strikes me that Calvinism is not much different than Zionism and Islamism in terms of violence, intolerance and basically an unloving God so War Propaganda is just as effective in Israel and the Islamic world as in the West. ..."
"... I'm calling them the Worst Generation. Too early? Too late? Thanks b and all. Carthage must be rebuilt. ..."
"... i would think the land of the free and brave weren't such chicken shits when it came to info, but obviously i am wrong here and thus the chicken shit designation of the crumbling us empire... ..."
"... 1. US perfected propaganda to the extent Goebbels would be proud of them. Thousands of PhDs/psychologists craft fake news presentation and masses manipulation, and it works. Just ask most of the Westerners, who believe that Assad or Iranians are evil, that Russia is a threat to the Worlds Peace, etc. ..."
"... 2. If Russia doesn't respond, US thinks they got away without repercussions and escalate, and then escalate some more. They will do that anyway now, but at the same time harming their own interests. ..."
"... An anecdote I read one time. A Soviet journalist in the cold war era goes to the US for a while to work with US journalists. The actual story is a bit longer, but the ending is along these lines. The Soviet journalist says to the US journalists "It is very good. Americans believe your propaganda, whereas our people don't believe ours. ..."
"... Now the situation is reversed, where US propaganda is not believed, and all Russia has to do is print the facts or ensure US propaganda gets broadcast within Russia. Russia seems to be doing both and it is driving the US nuts. ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
State Department Condemns* Designation Of Media As Foreign Agents (*only applies to Russia)

UPDATED below
---

Today the U.S. State Department hit the ball of hypocrisy out of the park. It remarked that "legislation that allows .. to label media outlets as 'foreign agents' ... presents yet another threat to free media". It noted that "freedom of expression -- including speech and media ... is a universal human rights obligation".

The remark came after the U.S. Department of Justice required the Russian outlet RT America to register as a 'foreign agent' under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). RT registered as ordered on November 13.

But the State Department statement was NOT in response to the DOJ requirement against RT . The State Department reacted to a new Russian law that was issued in response to the demand against RT . The new Russian law is a mirror to the U.S. FARA law. It demands that foreign media which are active in Russia register as 'foreign agents'. The EU poodles followed the State Department nonsense with an equally dumb statement.)

With its criticism of the Russian version of the FARA law while ignoring the U.S. FARA action against RT, the State Department confirmed the allegations of hypocrisy RT and other media have raised against the U.S. government.

The whole issue started with the notable liar James Clapper under the Obama administration. He and other 'intelligence' people found that RT was too truthful in its reporting to be allowed to inform the U.S. public. Publication of criticism of the U.S. government based on verifiable facts is seen as an unfriendly act which must be punished.

Congress and the U.S. Justice Department under the Trump administration followed up on that. FARA is originally NOT directed against foreign media. The Trump Justice Department circumvented the spirit of the law to apply it to RT .

The Russian government had warned several times that the application of FARA against RT would be followed up on with a similar requirement against U.S. media in Russia. The Trump administration ignored those warnings. It now condemns the Russian move.

Here is timeline of the relevant events:

Clapper calls for U.S. Information Agency 'on steroids' to counter Russian propaganda - Washington Times, Jan 5 2017

"We could do with having a USIA on steroids to fight this information war [with Russia] a lot more aggressively than we're doing right now," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
...
"[Russia Today] was very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights," he said. "Whatever crack, fissure they could find in our tapestry, they would exploit it," via the state-owned news network.

Intelligence Report on Russian Hacking - Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Jan 6 2017 - Annex I, originally published on 11 December 2012 by the Open Source Center

RT America TV , a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties
...
RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against "the ruling class" and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations.
...
RT's reports often characterize the United States as a "surveillance state" and allege widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use.
...
RT has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt.
...
RT is a leading media voice opposing Western intervention in the Syrian conflict and blaming the West for waging "information wars" against the Syrian Government.

Cicilline Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Close Russia Today Loophole - Congress, June 7 2017

U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who serves as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), and U.S. Congressman Matthew Gaetz (R-FL) today introduced legislation to close a loophole in foreign agent registration requirements that Russia Today exploited extensively during last year's presidential election.

Justice Dept Asks Russia's RT to Register as Foreign Agent - Newsmax, September 13 2017

RT said late Monday that the company that supplies all the services for its RT America channel was told by the DOJ in a letter that it is obligated to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act , an act aimed at lobbyists and lawyers representing foreign political interests.

...

FARA specifically exempts US and foreign news organizations, and the DOJ focus on the company that supplies services for RT might be a way around that stipulation.

Russia to amend law to classify U.S. media 'foreign agents' - Reuters, Nov 10 2017

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament warned on Friday some U.S. and other foreign media could be declared "foreign agents" and obliged to regularly declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing.
...
Russian lawmakers said the move was retaliation for a demand by the U.S. Department of Justice that Kremlin-backed TV station RT register in the United States as a "foreign agent", something Moscow has said it regards as an unfriendly act.

Russia's RT America registers as 'foreign agent' in U.S. - Reuters, Nov 13 2017

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Kremlin-backed television station RT America registered Monday with the U.S. Department of Justice as a "foreign agent" in the United States, the outlet's editor in chief said and the Department of Justice confirmed later in the day.

Russia warns U.S. media of possible foreign agent status - AP, Nov 16 2017

MOSCOW – Russia's Justice Ministry has warned several U.S. government-funded news outlets they could be designated as foreign agents under a new bill that has yet to be fully approved.

The bill , endorsed by Russia's lower house on Wednesday, comes in response to U.S. demands that Russian state-funded RT TV register as a foreign agent. It needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

Russian president Putin signs foreign agent media law to match U.S. action - USA Today, Nov 25 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law Saturday a new bill designating international media outlets as foreign agents in retaliation for a similar measure taken by the U.S. Department of Justice against the state-funded RT television

EU Criticizes Russia's 'Foreign Agents' Media Law - RFLRF, Nov 26 2017

BRUSSELS -- The European Union has criticized legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin that empowers Russia's government to designate media outlets receiving funding from abroad as "foreign agents" and impose sanctions against them.

...

Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson of the European Commission for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said in a November 26 statement that the "legislation goes against Russia's human rights obligations and commitments."

Russia's Restrictive Media-Focused Legislation - U.S. State Department - Nov 28 2017

New Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as "foreign agents" and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to free media in Russia. Freedom of expression -- including speech and media which a government may find inconvenient -- is a universal human rights obligation Russia has pledged to uphold.


link

With a few words less the statement by the State Department would have gained universality. It would have made perfect sense. See here for a corrected version:


bigger

Unfortunately the State Department's spokesperson added some verbose lamenting about one specific country. It thereby exposed itself to the very criticism the U.S. government strives to suppress.

---
UPDATE - Nov 30 0:50am

As consequence of the FARA designation of RT 's U.S. production company RT is now losing access to the Congressional Gallery. Congress Gallery access is in turn required to get White House press credentials. RT is now likely to lose those too.

Meanwhile a consultative Congress commission is pressing to designate the Chinese news-agency XINHUA as 'foreign agent'. It also wants all staff of XINHUA to register as such. That would make it nearly impossible for freelancer and others who work for multiple media to continue with their XINHUA gigs.

Posted by b on November 29, 2017 at 01:27 PM | Permalink

NewYorker | Nov 29, 2017 1:44:58 PM | 1

Yeah. Whatever. This is how Russia is supposed to respond. If the US does something, Russia is should respond immediately. Not several months or a year down the road. Stop waiting for the spoiled brat to get it. They never will.
ken | Nov 29, 2017 2:30:17 PM | 2
It is so embarrassing to live in a country where the government issues nothing but lies and hypocrisy. I realize that to the players it's all a game and maybe funny but to this citizen and probably others this game is putting our lives in danger,,, and we don't find that 'funny'.
james | Nov 29, 2017 2:32:14 PM | 3
thanks b... well, once again american hypocrisy is on public display... i guess someone is hoping that ignorance and a short memory will rule the day..
karlof1 | Nov 29, 2017 2:42:13 PM | 4
Ditto ken @2.

Speaking of hypocrisy, on 20 Nov 2017, one day after the Arab League Confab--which now ought to become known as the Zionist-Arab League -- Nasrallah gave a speech calling out all those nations that supported Daesh, particularly the Outlaw US Empire. Video of the speech in French with English subs and a very partial transcript are here, http://sayed7asan.blogspot.com/ with a longer partial transcript available at The Saker's blog.

Excerpt:

"Of course, we will also need real festivities to celebrate the victory because it will be a great victory, a victory against the organization representing the greatest danger (for all) that soiled more than anyone the religion of Muhammad b. Abdillah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, since 1,400 years. This will be the victory of humanistic and moral values against horrific bestiality, cruelty and violence. A victory that will have a huge impact on the cultural, religious, humanitarian, military, security, political levels, as well as on the very image (of Islam and Muslims) and at all levels.

"And at that moment, we will have to repeat that the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Lebanese people, all the elites and all the leaders and peoples of the region should reflect, weigh and return to the question of the identity of the creators, supporters, advocates and promoters of ISIS, that enabled them to commit these terrorist massacres [US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar ], and the identity of those who have stood against ISIS, fought them, offered martyrs in this fight [Iran, Syria, Irak, Hezbollah, Russia] and inflicted a defeat on ISIS and all those who stand behind them. This is a discussion to be held with depth and strength so that the (Muslim) believers do not become victims twice of the same ills."

notheonly1 | Nov 29, 2017 3:08:39 PM | 5
Once again, how much longer will people deny that what was formerly know as US government has turned into a Fascist regime - with the dictating done by Plutocrats whose names are not even known, in spite of everybody being surveilled. Just not the owners of the Nazi Sicherheits Agentur.

After I have been writing about the fact that the Western hemisphere as a whole is no longer democratic and that the CIA and the NSA dictate the policies of the US regime and its vassals, my cell phone started to turn itself off and on frequently and now my Mac is turning itself on in the middle of the night and the hard drive indicator lights turn red - what they have never done before. Every option to "wake up on call" is disabled. For WiFi (turned off - no Wifi here) and Bluetooth. The Mac is only connected to the power outlet.

Please let me know if anybody else has the same experience with their hardware. Also, I can no longer send emails on all accounts, but I do receive junk.

------

The so called 'State Department' that has already a disturbing history of cooperation with Fascists throughout its existence, is now totally unhinged. It's actions make it clear beyond any doubt that the US is no longer and has likely not been since 2000 (or 1964, depending on view point) what goes for a 'democratic republic'.

The paymasters don't even bother any longer that the public is waking up based on their Fascist activities and actions. They don't give the proverbial F about people finding out and understanding what is actually happening in the Nazi High Five regimes. What are people going to do? Demonstrate against Fascism? Concerting a total consumer boycott - the antonym of 'go shopping'? Writing letters to misrepresentatives?

It certainly looks like the shit has piled up behind the fan like never before and the so called "happy holidays" seem to be the perfect time to flip the switch to "ON".

Sad, that through the incessant propaganda and Nationalism force fed to the lesser mentally gifted part of the population for centuries now, the people are no longer capable to do what the Declaration of Independence provides them to do (theoretically):

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The authors of these 'goddamn pieces of papers' must have already used Orwellian lingo, since it appears that this paragraph only refers to regime change in other Nations, just not in the US.

Illegal wars and toppling of democratically elected socialist governments for the Safety and Happiness of the American people? That must be it.

Maybe one can call in at the regime department and tell them about psychological projection? The number is 1-800-FUC-KYOU. Yes, it's almost the same number Obama had chosen for criticism of the ACA - 1-800-381-2596. That is what these parasites think about "the people".

Now what? Following the advice of some people to not only see the negative shit on Earth? Sure, the genocide on the Palestinians and the Yemenis (plus countless other 'obstacles') is actually a good thing, correct? Because those who are exterminated now, won't have to experience worse down the line.

Apologies for the sarcasm, but this is getting out of public hands faster than the Ludicrous Speed of the "We Brake For Nobody"-Imperial Starship.

karlof1 | Nov 29, 2017 3:13:20 PM | 6
Trump's as naked as the ape he actually is. Weird way to go about cultivating better relations with Russia. As with Obama previously, much of what Trump campaigned on is being reversed, the opposite of his orated intent being implemented instead. A commentator at Sputnik was shocked that I lumped Trump together with the criminals Clinton and Obama, wanting an explanation why I did so. Obviously, that person isn't paying attention, and I told him so.

Even supposedly impartial international organizations continue to abet the Outlaw US Empire's Big Lies: "A press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has asked the Swiss Press Club to cancel a panel discussion on the 'true agenda' of the controversial White Helmets group. But the club's director won't budge, noting that such demands are typically made by oppressive regimes." Kudos for foreign agent RT for providing the report, https://www.rt.com/news/411116-reporters-white-helmets-censorship/ Activist Post tells us that the presentation's by Vanessa Beeley, with Bradon Turbeville adding this observation: "Rather than attend the event to ask questions and present its side of the argument, RWB responded with insults and hid away under the guise of boycotting the panel. Pouting in the corner and refusing to take part in the discussion, however, did not stop the discussion from taking place." Lots of additional info and many links here, https://www.activistpost.com/2017/11/despite-western-funded-ngos-boycott-vanessa-beeley-exposes-white-helmets-at-swiss-press-club.html

Peter AU 1 | Nov 29, 2017 3:56:48 PM | 7
karlof1 @6

Behind the persona, Trump may be far smarter than Obama or Clinton, and perhaps more dangerous as far as keeping the US empire alive, depending on which way he goes. I am starting think he won't create any new wars though, just let the neo-con establishment do their thing within a limit, to build up leverage and pressure against countries that he may well try and strike some sort of deal with in the future.

Tony B. | Nov 29, 2017 4:19:07 PM | 8
The state dept. is in its usual snit because Russia has just exposed the major CIA spy and pot stirring organs in Russia.
Perimetr | Nov 29, 2017 4:30:48 PM | 10
I don't give a damn what the Federal government wants me to see or hear, but obviously this is being done for the "benefit" of the majority of the public who will not look very far to get "informed" about current/world events. I don't see any end to this fascist process here in the "land of the free"; how long before they just shut down the net or limit it to approved websites?

Obviously this won't be one of them.

CarlD | Nov 29, 2017 4:39:12 PM | 11
@7

Beyond the personae and the relative intelligence of Clinton vs Obama vs Trump, one must admit that times are different. Both China and Russia are on the rise. China is now a formidable rival in economic terms and is rising militarily. And fast. Russia is recuperating from Gorbachev's treason and getting stronger by the day and is nowa World player to be reckoned with.

There is one thing that must be solved and that is the money exchange system through which gates most countries must pass to obtain their dues. China and Russia are working on it. Once this is complete, US sanctions will work no more. Even new internets are being created that will bypass the US controlled one.

There is not much anybody can do against the realignment of the globe. The Unipolar model is gone because the US could not manage it. Greed, U.S. greed, and exceptionalism killed it.

North Korea just proves that the US power and influence have limits. I presume, I may be wrong, that once KJU has a good enough number of warheads and rockets, he will want the US to vacate South Korea. Both the Russians and Chinese will love that. He will want sanctions lifted and see normal relations resume between NOKO and China and Russia.

There is no point for him to rock the boat if he does not pursue greater aims.

Trump is difficult to fathom but has too much morgue to be a good leader. When compared to Putin or even Rouhani, he is far too impulsive. But I guess deep down we would like the outcome to be better than the circumstances would lead us to expect. The US will remain a Zionist puppet for as long as Israel exists. If it is down to Israel's will, America will pass, but Zion will prevail. Jared is now the transmission belt in the Saudi, Israel, US triad. Which means that Israel has a personal ambassador to Trump. Because of the internal opposition to Trump, he must look for an external happening that will remove him from public scrutiny. He wont tackle Kim but he might believe Iran is gamer as he has allies in the endeavor.

Nobody will win this war but Israel may lose more than expected.

Ort | Nov 29, 2017 4:43:37 PM | 12
Another line just got crossed. I dislike the phrase "breaking news"-- it's a fraternal twin to "breaking wind"-- but RT is reporting that US Congressional authorities have withdrawn RT Network accreditaton. RT correspondents have been directed to turn in their credentials to the Congressional authorities. This effectively blacklists RT reporters from covering Congress; without credentials, they can't attend hearings, press conferences, etc.

Sorry to not provide a link, but this is so recent it isn't even on YouTube yet. It will be interesting to see whether the Western civil-liberties and "media-watchdog" organizations, including the ACLU, react to this draconian development, much less vociferously protest it. In any case, I doubt if we'll see the rest of the Congressional press corps stage a walkout in sympathy and solidarity with their silenced and censored RT colleagues.

Peter AU 1 | Nov 29, 2017 5:01:38 PM | 13
CarlD 11

Agree on China Russia ect, though I am starting to believe Trump is not impulsive, rather, he runs very well thought out stratagies. The impulsiveness is part of the persona. I run onto an analysis of how Trump opertes the persona within a narrow band, and he uses it to gain attention and then direct attention to where he wants it.
I think this video is worth watching - the first half deals mainly with Trump's persona. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWA5pOmSDgQ

Trump's persona is like an inversion layer in air or water. An inversion layer in air can create mirages, and in water, submarines can, or used to be able to hide under inversion layers. Pat Lang put in a comment at his blog, of a study of Trump that showed him change, or his public image change over the years, starting back in the eighties, as he developed the persona. He mentions Stallone in his book as somebody he respects as Stallone had the ability to deliver a product that a large percentage of Americans liked and wanted. I think the persona is somewhat based on Stallone's fictional characters.

james | Nov 29, 2017 5:11:42 PM | 17
rt reporting it now - https://www.rt.com/usa/411361-rt-congress-credentials-withdrawal/ the usa apparatus must be really freaking out that their is an alternative view on all of their bullshit~!
SlapHappy | Nov 29, 2017 5:19:49 PM | 18
Perimetr: Censoring the Internet is what the Net Neutrality debate is all about. If they repeal Net Neutrality, we can expect sites like Moon of Alabama to just spool and spool but never load, whereas CNN and Fox will load immediately.
Perimetr | Nov 29, 2017 5:59:24 PM | 19
RE SlapHappy. That makes sense. I already see that happening with RT on my iPhone. So now we will need Radio Free Russia to be set up in where, Mexico?
SPYRIDON POLITIS | Nov 29, 2017 6:29:44 PM | 20
There is not much new in the heavy-handed methods employed by the Empire - they have always employed intimidation, false flags, fake news, bribery and corruption, even assassination -but up till now went to some pains to cloak their actions in a mantle of morality. They usually attempted to swing public opinion behind their endeavours. What is frightening lately, is their brashness and total disregard for the public's opinion. Because they know that short of armed revolt, they have little to fear. The presstitute media shall whitewash their hypocrisy and all their crimes, and at election time they will once more own all the candidates.
notheonly1 | Nov 29, 2017 7:37:23 PM | 22
SlapHappy | Nov 29, 2017 5:19:49 PM | 18

Happening on google/youtube excessively. Stuff like the Jimmy Dore show, or any other critical outlet does not load, or takes forever respectively. Doggie videos and those showing stupid people doing stupid stuff - load instantly. It will be interesting to see, whence net neutrality is neutered, how the owners of the country will deal with the backlash of billions in lost revenue from online commerce.

Because people that can't get what they want when they don't shop, are unlikely to shop online any longer. The stench of censorship will keep those online consumers away - if not alone for endless loading times due to not being able to pay $ 800 per month for high speed internet.

khudre | Nov 29, 2017 7:47:01 PM | 24
First time US legalized targeting of media as "terrorists" thanks to neocon John Bolton and his zionist cohorts. Being labeled foreign agent is getting off easy http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/07/168921.html
ritzl | Nov 29, 2017 8:16:26 PM | 26
Are shortwave radios going to make a comeback? RT World Service?

It's tough to make out what the US endgame is in all this. It's probably even tougher to make out if the PTB in the US know what the endgame is. Open-ended, freestyle, ante-upping (by the US) devolution of any and all rational forms of coexistence, imo, with zero good outcomes.

Maybe even worse, the US PTB seem to have ZERO faith/confidence/belief in the "rightness" and resilience of our own system (certainly with cause), which makes them twitchy (re unstable) as a whole. Like a loaded gun in a shaky hand pointed at humanity.

Aw hell...

psychohistorian | Nov 29, 2017 8:48:23 PM | 29
@ b for his opening line

Today the U.S. State Department hit the ball of hypocrisy out of the park. After the park come the state/region/nation/world/universe. See how far yet they have to expand their hypocrisy.....why they are just getting warmed up......is China news next? To think there are so many people that watch TV for fake intrigue and ignore the real world machinations all around them.....sigh

Yeah, Right | Nov 29, 2017 9:08:25 PM | 31
Would be interesting to read the transcript of the next State Department Press Briefing, which the State spokesmodel must be dreading - talk about being handed an impossible brief......

Those briefings normally start with Matt Lee from Associated Press asking the first question, but I suspect that this time he'll start by turning to the RT reporter who is sitting in the back of the room and saying something along the lines of "No, please, you go first.....".

Ghost Ship | Nov 29, 2017 9:47:59 PM | 32
OT

While people are distracted by what is happening between Washington and Moscow, an election is being stolen and Clintonists will do nothing about it because Clinton and Obama made the thief, Juan Orlando Hernández, president of Honduras.

Back in 2009:

a cadre of military officers, businessmen, and right-wing politicians, including Hernández, overthrew the leftist President Manuel Zelaya
with encouragement and assistance from Hillary Clinton and the State Department.

Contrary to what the New Yorker goes on to say " after he vowed to run for re-election" Zelaya tried to organise a referendum to change the constitution to allow him to run a second time which many Clintonists attacked as being anti-democratic. Juan Orlando Hernández then packed the Supreme Court with his own supporters and had the constitution changed without a word of complaint from the State Department under Obama or any of the Clintonists who'd accused Zelaya of being anti-democratic.

Over the next few days I expect to see those same Clintonists accusing Trump of being anti-democratic for failing to object to Juan Orlando Hernández stealing the election but ignoring or excusing the responsibility Hillary Clinton has for what has happened just like they claim that Hillary Clinton has no responsibility for restoring slavery to Libya.

To be honest, with Americans I prefer the conservatives, red necks and all the other nutjobs over Clintonists because while some of the former are hypocrites, none of them are as sickeningly hypocritical as the Clintonists and their führer.

mauisurfer | Nov 29, 2017 10:49:48 PM | 39
Best analysis of USA policy since WW2. Monetary Imperialism by Michael Hudson If you think it is just about military weapons and bombings then you are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. There is a reason USA is initiating all those wars and coups. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/29/monetary-imperialism/
Pft | Nov 29, 2017 10:53:32 PM | 40
US and most of the west is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be. A good word for this is Orwellian.

Truth has been sacrificed for Propaganda since Bernay showed in WWI that Americans are helpless against it. Some combination of Fear, Nationalism and a Calvinistic God is all you need to get support for War, as well as some way to control the MSM to stay online with the message

It strikes me that Calvinism is not much different than Zionism and Islamism in terms of violence, intolerance and basically an unloving God so War Propaganda is just as effective in Israel and the Islamic world as in the West.

failure of imagination | Nov 29, 2017 11:03:32 PM | 42
Full Spectrum Quicksand. Grasping for national interests and not looking too confident. When I watch it on TV at other's places ( I just don't get TV...) I noticed it next to PornPerPay in the guide for a reason , tho not a fair one. They've had a CFR member on staff, so my Mockingbird tinfoil strainer gets going finer. I don't hear them being accused of wrong stories so, it's sour gripes. The couple of times RT came into a conversation was about Redacted Tonite.

I'm calling them the Worst Generation. Too early? Too late? Thanks b and all. Carthage must be rebuilt.

james | Nov 29, 2017 11:15:00 PM | 44
@41 forest.. thanks.. if that is what toivo thinks, then all i got to say to that is fascinating! i see it exactly the opposite.. it is the usa that is constantly lying... i would think the land of the free and brave weren't such chicken shits when it came to info, but obviously i am wrong here and thus the chicken shit designation of the crumbling us empire...
james | Nov 29, 2017 11:28:27 PM | 45
cluborlov - always fun! - why kremlin trolls always win!
http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2017/11/why-kremlin-trolls-always-win.html
b | Nov 30, 2017 1:01:45 AM | 51
@all - I updated the post with RT's loss of Congress Gallery credentials because it has now been put under FARA. Following from that RT will also lose White House credentials. Additionally a congress commission now wants to put The Chinese Xinhua agency under FARA and also all individually staff that works for Xinhua.
Anon | Nov 30, 2017 3:00:47 AM | 60
The hypocrisy is disgusting, meanwhhile the real censorship against media in Russia gets attacked in a campaing in the US. Russia Hysteria: US Congress Revokes RT's Capitol Hill Press Credentials https://www.reddit.com/r/TheNewsFeed/comments/7gh9eu/russia_hysteria_us_congress_revokes_rts_capitol/
Harry | Nov 30, 2017 3:37:25 AM | 62
Interesting times of the media war. US removed RT credentials to access Congress, I'm sure they will follow up with banning RT from the White House too. Russia will probably ban US media from Kremlin and other institutions in the mirror law. Whats next? US ban on Russian-linked media from US networks/satellites like they did with Iran? Will they dare to apply similar treatment to China? Interesting times indeed.

@ ToivoS | 34

why ban US propagated bullshit

Two reasons:

1. US perfected propaganda to the extent Goebbels would be proud of them. Thousands of PhDs/psychologists craft fake news presentation and masses manipulation, and it works. Just ask most of the Westerners, who believe that Assad or Iranians are evil, that Russia is a threat to the Worlds Peace, etc.

2. If Russia doesn't respond, US thinks they got away without repercussions and escalate, and then escalate some more. They will do that anyway now, but at the same time harming their own interests. How they will affect Russia's presidential elections, etc. if they are as confined as RT, but are losing even more because they have many more channels? They shot one bullet at Russia and got a ricochet of 10 bullets :)

Peter AU 1 | Nov 30, 2017 4:29:35 AM | 65
Harry | Nov 30, 2017 3:37:25 AM | 62

An anecdote I read one time. A Soviet journalist in the cold war era goes to the US for a while to work with US journalists. The actual story is a bit longer, but the ending is along these lines. The Soviet journalist says to the US journalists "It is very good. Americans believe your propaganda, whereas our people don't believe ours.

Now the situation is reversed, where US propaganda is not believed, and all Russia has to do is print the facts or ensure US propaganda gets broadcast within Russia. Russia seems to be doing both and it is driving the US nuts.

[Nov 29, 2017] Brennan and Clapper Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators by Mike Whitney

Brennan is probably one of the key figures in color revolution against Trump that was launched after the elections...
Looks like both Brennan and Clapper suffer from the acute case of Anti-Russian paranoia along with Full Spectrum Dominance hallucinations.
Notable quotes:
"... In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign. ..."
"... The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations ..."
"... So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions? ..."
"... There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact." ..."
"... Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria. ..."
"... In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." . ..."
"... Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News) ..."
"... So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it? ..."
"... Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program ..."
"... So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA Brennan's CIA ..."
"... As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say. ..."
"... From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper. ..."
"... Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen. ..."
"... What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons. ..."
"... Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. ..."
"... Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it. ..."
"... Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this? ..."
"... As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. ..."
Nov 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mike Whitney November 17, 2017

On Sunday, Former CIA Director John Brennan and Former National Intelligence Director (NID) James Clapper appeared on CNN's morning talk show, State of the Union, to discuss Donald Trump's brief meeting with Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. The two ex-Intel chiefs were sharply critical of Trump and wondered why the president did not "not acknowledge and embrace" the idea that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. According to Brennan, Russia not only "poses a national security problem" for the US, but also "Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our whole process."

Naturally, CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, never challenged Brennan or Clapper on any of the many claims they made regarding Russia nor did he interrupt either man while they made, what appeared to be, carefully scripted remarks about Trump, Putin and the ongoing investigation.

There were no surprise announcements during the interview and neither Brennan or Clapper added anything new to the list of allegations that have been repeated ad nauseam in the media for the last year. The only time Tapper veered off course at all was when he asked Brennan whether he thought "any laws were broken by the Trump campaign? Here's what Brennan said:

I'm just a former intelligence officer. I never had the responsibility for determining whether or not criminal actions were taken. But, since leaving office on the 20th of January, I think more and more of this iceberg is emerging above the surface of the water, some of the things that I knew about, but some of the things I didn't know about, in terms of some of the social media efforts that Russia employed. So, I think what Bob Mueller, who, again, is another quintessential public servant, is doing is trying to get to the bottom of this. And I think we're going to find out how large this iceberg really is.

In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign.

The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations. Here's the money-quote from the report:

Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.

So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions?

Here's Brennan again on Sunday:

I think Mr. Trump knows that the intelligence agencies, specifically CIA, NSA and FBI, the ones that really have responsibility for counterintelligence and looking at what Russia does, it's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election. And it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it, and also push back hard against Mr. Putin. The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real.

There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact."

Why is it so hard for Brennan to wrap his mind around that simple, unambiguous statement? The reason Brennan's intelligence analysts admit that they have no proof, is because they have no proof. That might sound obvious, but we have to assume that it isn't given that both Houses of Congress and a Special Counsel are still bogged down in an investigation that has yet to provide even a solid lead let alone any compelling evidence.

We also have to assume that most people do not understand that there is not sufficient evidence to justify the massive investigations that are currently underway. (What probable cause?) Adds placed in Facebook do not constitute hard evidence of foreign espionage or election rigging. They indicate the desperation of the people who are leading the investigation. The fact that serious people are even talking about social media just underscores the fact that the search for proof has produced nothing.

These investigations are taking place because powerful elites want to vilify an emerging geopolitical rival (Russia) and prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Moscow, not because there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. As the Intel analysts themselves acknowledge, there is no proof of criminal wrongdoing or any other wrongdoing for that matter. What there is, is a political agenda to discredit Trump and demonize Russia. That's the fuel that is driving the present campaign.

Russia-gate is not about 'meddling', it's about politics. And Brennan and Clapper are critical players in the current drama. They're supposed to be the elder statesmen who selflessly defend the country from foreign threats. But are they or is this just role-playing that doesn't square with what we already know about the two men? Here's thumbnail sketch of Clapper written by former-CIA officer Ray McGovern that will help to clarify the point:

Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria.

In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." .

Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News)

So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it?

He also lied about spying on the American people. Why? Why would he do that? And why should we trust someone who not only spied on us but also paved the way to war in Iraq?

And the rap-sheet on Brennan is even worse than Clapper's. Check out this blurb from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:

"Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program

Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser . In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama's drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year .

Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama's most controversial and radical policies, including "signature strikes" in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency .." ("John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination", Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA Brennan's CIA

These radical militias have been defeated largely due to Russian military intervention. Do you think that this defeat at the hands of Putin may have shaped Brennan's attitude towards Russia?

Of course, it has. Brennan never makes any attempt to conceal his hatred for Putin or Russia.

As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say.

Which is why the Russia-gate narrative is beginning to unravel.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

Curmudgeon , November 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT

What!!!! Someone from the management of an intelligence agency lying? I'm shocked!
Dan Hayes , November 25, 2017 at 7:51 am GMT
From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper.
m___ , November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am GMT
Fake news, and stale news. By when an algorithm of Goolag to "clean" the internet of current house-hold garbage?
Carroll Price , November 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen.
Che Guava , November 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons.

Chris Bridges , November 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT
Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. He is an extreme leftist and there should be an investigation into how this wacko was allowed to join the CIA – he openly admits voting for CPUSA chief Gus Hall in 1976. Brennan is, besides, a resentful CIA failure.

He was denied entry to the elite Directorate of Operations (or couldn't cut the mustard and was banished from it) and spent his career stewing away in anger as a despised analyst at CIA headquarters.

Brennan spent his time at CIA attempting to undermine the organization.

Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it.

Michael Kenny , November 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
The umpteenth version of a now standard article.

We all know that the Russiagate narrative isn't starting to unravel and this and other (wholly untrustworthy) internet authors' claims are not proved by simply repeating them over and over again (to borrow a phrase!). In fact, Russiagate is expanding. It has gone from mere Russian interference in the election to dubious financial transactions between wealthy Americans, including Trump, and, to put it very politely, "dubious" Russians. It has also expanded to Europe.

What is emerging, therefore, is a collusion between wealthy Americans, no doubt with major investments in Russia, US internet sites, probably financed by the aforementioned wealthy Americans, dubious Russian financiers, Putin, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and no doubt others to manipulate, perhaps rig, elections and referenda in the US and Europe. It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

We also get the now standard argument that Trump is just dying to "normalize" relations with Russia but is being held back by some dastardly group or other. As we all know, of course, "normalizing relations with Moscow" in Orwellian translates into English as "capitulating to Putin in Ukraine". Putin's frantic attempts to get Trump to let him win in Syria is why this old line is suddenly back on the table.

Finally, the idea of the Russian Federation as an emerging geopolitical rival is amusing. That country has existed as a sovereign state only for about 25 years and is merely the largest piece of wreckage from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a world that is slowly being dominated by China, Russia is a very minor player.

Beefcake the Mighty , November 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm GMT
Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this?
DESERT FOX , November 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT
Brennan and Clapper are agent provocateurs for the Zionists who control the U.S. government and the 17 gestapo agencies which in fact are controlled by dual citizen Zionists ie ISRAEL.

Brennan and Clapper are under Zionist control and thus are traitors to the constitution of America and should be tried and sent to prison for life.

jacques sheete , November 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

And since when are the three not related?

It's too bad that good people, like MW, need to waste their time and energy investigating and publishing what's obviously state sponsored utter rubbish designed to support some of the money bag crowd in one way or another.

Why does it even need to be stated that most of what's supposed to be a big deal to us prols, peasants and piss ants is nothing but propaganda, and of a particularly transparent and low grade variety,even?

Clyde , November 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm GMT
@Chris Bridges

Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister.

Clapper told some whoppers while he was head of all our intelligence agencies under Obama. But you are correct that Brennan is far more toxic. He was this way under Obama and post-Obama. He has been one of the biggest Trump saboteurs. And most effective. One ugly customer!

Colleen Pater , November 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

Why should we care if the russians spent billions on trying to exert their influence on us, we do it we have an alphabet soup of projects to do exactly that and god knows what else to every nation on earth.In fact we do it to our own people these social websites and "news" sites universities media etc are nothing but one huge propaganda machine intended to render democracy nothing more than a distraction so elites can go about doing what they want.

jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
Long ago, when car radio's still had antennae long enough to receive long wave transmissions, I often listened to BBCW radio, 848 Mhz.
I still remember the statement 'you can always tell when a politician lies, he then moves his lips'.
jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Capitulating to Putin in Ukraine. The assertion is that the CIA spent five billion dollar in Ukraine in order to overthrow the legitimate democratic government. Of course nobody can prove the assertion. What is crystal clear is that the members of EU parliament Verhofstadt, Van Baalen and Timmermans held speeches in Kiev urging the people to overthrow the government.
Their speeches could be seen live on tv, or were rebroadcast.

Timmermans held the crocodile tears speech at the UN about the MH17 victims. How, why, and through whom over 300 people were killed in Ukraine airspace we do not know until now. All there is is vague insinuations towards Russia, the country for which the disaster was a disaster, EU sanctions all of a sudden were possible.

That the political annexation by the west failed is best seen in E Ukraine, where the wealth is, in gas and oil. A son, and a son in law, of Biden, and Kerry were promised well paid jobs as CEO's of companies who were to exploit the E Ukrainian wealth, they are still waiting for the jobs.

Roger n Me , November 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
I remember when they actually prosecuted for someone for lying to Congress. Unfortunately, it was a former baseball player named Roger Clemons over the vitally important question of whether or not he had taken steroids. Obviously a vital question that every sports tabloid wants to know.
Cyrano , November 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm GMT
I just hope that the Russians realize that with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. I hope that they'll choose the next US president wisely.

There is real danger there is -- now that we know that the Russians can elect pretty much anyone in the US – that come the next elections, some charismatic, possibly independent candidate, might seduce the Russians with promises of improved ties, and after they elect him, he might turn to be a real wacko job who might end up not only worsening the ties between the superpowers, but he might end up destroying the world. Be cautious, Russians.

I.F. Stoned , November 25, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT
If we want to talk about meddling in the election ..

Lets compare CNN giving hours and hours of free and very favorable air time to the Hillary campaign?

versus

A news website paying for a handful of thousand dollar adds on Twitter?

I remember studies that showed that during the crooked, corrupt and rigged Democratic Primaries, that there was a large disparity in favorable stories about Hillary versus the number that were favorable for Bernie. And CNN happily seemed to give lots of airtime to any Hillary surrogate who wanted to red bait and smear Bernie as a socialist.

We saw the same sort of disparity in the amount of favorable coverage of Trump vs Hillary. Likewise, any Hillary surrogate who wanted to spread the official campaign message that Trump was a racist, was a fascist, and said some rude things about women was always welcome on the CNN airwaves.

And, just recently, we had the web page editor for the NYT state publicly that they deliberately tilted their web page stories to convince voters to vote against Trump.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg if we want to talk about how the American corporate (aka mainstream) media tried very hard to tilt the whole election towards putting the Crooked Clintons back into the White House.

But, OMG, the story in the same corrupt media is that awful and evil RT spend a whole thousand dollars on an ad trying to promote their website.

Vikki , November 25, 2017 at 7:44 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine.

Bottom , November 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm GMT
@Colleen Pater

Hillary is the one who spend BILLIONS trying to become President. The only thing that so far has been traced to Russia is a few hundred thousand in Twitter Ads that otherwise served the legitimate purpose of trying to promote the web news sites. And most of those ads didn't concern political stories, but instead stories about cute puppies to draw clicks.

Adrian E. , November 25, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
The interesting development is that, after no proof for the "Russian hacking" allegations could be found, they turned to simple ads (for amounts that are extremely small compared to what the campaigns spent) and social media postings. This was accompanied by loosening the criteria, they did not even pretend any more that they had indications that these social media activities were connected to the Russian state, they just had to be "Russia-linked". In the case of Twitter, this includes anyone who has ever logged in from Russia, uses Cyrillic signs in the account metadata (that could also be connected with a number of other countries), logged in from a Russian IP address, paid something with a Russian credit card etc., and only one condition had to be fulfilled for an account to be counted as "Russia-linked".

Of course, with such a large country, there are certainly some social media activities that are "linked" with it. There can be many reasons – people who travel, migrants in both directions, or simply Russians with an interest in US politics. From what is known, the ads and postings were so diverse – some right-wing and pro-Trump, some leftwing or critical of Trump, and many not directly linked to the elections – and distributed over a large time with many after the elections that it does not seem too unlikely as a result of social media activities of random people who have some connection with Russia.

Of course, we may speculate in each case, why someone posted something or bought an ad. But before speculating, it would be necessary to have data about ads and social media postings linked to other countries. For example, it could be determined with the same criteria which ads and postings were Brazile-linked, Germany-linked, and Philippines-linked. Probably, there, a similar random collection would emerge. Only if there is something special about the Russia-linked ads and postings, it would even make sense to speculate about the reasons.

We don't know whether these "Russia-linked" ads and social media positings were just random activities by people related to Russia (e.g. about 2% of the US population have Russian as their native language, some may not have many contacts with Russia any more and don't travel there regularly, but others do) or whether a part of them was the result of an organized campaign, but in any case, from what was written in the media, the volume of these social media activities does not seem to be very large (but in order to judge that, social media activities linked to other countries with the same criteria would be needed).

What I find hilarious is how people sometimes try to insert a collusion angle even if it is not about hacking, but about social media ads and postings. This becomes completely absurd. Then, the idea is that Russians contacted the Trump campaign in order to find out which ads they should buy and what they should post on social media. Why should they do so? If the Trump campaign had ideas about what to post and what kind of ads to buy, why didn't they just do it themselves or via an American company? What would be the point of the Trump campaign spending $564 million on the campaign, but then do a small part of the campaign via Russians who then spent a few thousand dollars for buying ads and posting messages the Trump campaign had advised them to via "collusion"? After all, if they had done it themselves or via an American intermediary, there would be nothing nefarious or suspicious about this, this idea that for a very small part of their campaign, they colluded with Russians and told them what to post and which ads to buy almost sounds as if they deliberately wanted to behave in a strange way that could then fit a preconceived collusion narrative. And even if they had outsourced some small part of their campaign to a Russian company for some odd reasons, would that make it nefarious?

I think the Russiagate theorists should at least make sure that their theories don't violate basic principles of common sense. If they want to use the hacking story, the involvement of Russian secret services might theoretically make sense – it might not be so easy for the Trump campaign to hack servers themselves (though phishing is hardly something so sophisticated that only secret services can do it, we're not talking about something like Stuxnet), and something illegal would be involved. That is a theory that could in principle make sense, the only problem is, that no evidence for this is available (and the Russians are certainly not the only ones who might have had an interest in these mails, another plausible theory is that it was an insider who disliked how the Clinton campaign took over the DNC early on and created better conditions for Clinton than for Sanders, and it could have been any hacker who, for some reason disliked Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and Podesta). If the Russiagate theorists switch over to simple social media activity because there is no evidence for Russian secret services being responsible for giving e-mails to Wikileaks, they also have to sacrifice the whole "collusion" part of the story. It might be that some Russians used social media in an organized way, but to invent a story that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russians for a small part of their social media election campaign hardly makes sense.

The only condition under which it might somehow make sense would be if someone thought Russians are intellectually vastly superior to Americans and know much better what potential voters care about, and their capabilities are even vastly above Cambridge Analytics. Then, it might somehow make sense for the Trump campaign to hand over a part of the social media activities to Russians, and this might somehow be seen as an unfair advantage – but again, if, with that assumption, the Russians are intellectually so vastly superior that can have a significant influence with very small amounts of money and works while the Trump and Clinton campaigns spend billions, why would they have to "collude" with the Trump campaign, people who would be intellectually so much below them according to that assumption? Maybe real genius for targeting potential voters only emerges when Americans and Russians with complementary abilities collaborate? In any case, it is already very difficult just to construct a version of that theory that does not violate basic principles of common sense.

Fred D , November 26, 2017 at 12:24 am GMT
Mind controlled Moron
WHAT , November 26, 2017 at 2:19 am GMT
@Michael Kenny

"Let him win in Syria"?

Dude, it`s like the first legit amusing line from you. Now bring another!

robt , November 26, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sarcasm is probably the only way to deal with it. I find myself all the time asking people if they are serious or joking. Sadly, many claim they are serious.
Currently it seems that peaceful and productive relations with a foreign power are Bad Things.
Mr Putin did amusingly say one time to a ditzy US 'journalist':
"Have you all lost your minds over there?"

Cyrano , November 26, 2017 at 3:54 am GMT
@robt

I really truly believe that the only way to force the stupids who came up with that ridiculous story about "Russia influencing the elections" – to drop it – is to make incessantly fun of them until they finally realize how really truly stupid they are.

exiled off mainstreet , November 26, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@DESERT FOX

The facts support this viewpoint, including the dual citizen element of it. By the way, I oppose the death penalty except if it is applied to major serial war criminals. I recognize that all legal systems are too corrupt to be given the power of life and death, and that this is particularly true of the US system, which sets the benchmark for corruption. The corruption of the US political system, meanwhile, is revealed by the fact that this absurd Russiagate story is still being peddled and is accepted as received wisdom despite the manifold evidence proving its absurd falsity. What the article shows is that Clapper and Brennan are serial war criminals and that their latest gambit threatens our very existence. We would be better off if the utopia of a legal system incorruptible enough to allow for the death penalty did exist in the US rather than the corrupt system allowing somebody like Mueller to act extra-legally on this absurd basis was continuing in operation. By the way, the Canadian satellite media is still publishing stories trying to resuscitate the Steele dossier paid by the DNC and the yankee government as factual. The whole thing would be comical if it were not deadly serious. Those still backing the story publicly are either dangerously deluded or criminal themselves.

Sarah Toga , November 26, 2017 at 5:10 am GMT
Does Brennan have that dark calloused spot on his forehead yet from use of his "prayer rug" ?
DESERT FOX , November 26, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

The U.S. gov is a criminal organization ran by criminal for criminals and sexual perverts and pedophiles , if interested, read these two books , THE FRANKLIN COVERUP by the late John DeCamp and THE TRANCE FORMATIO of AMERICA by Cathy Obrien and see their interviews on YouTube, the books can be had on amazon.com.

The books reveal a shocking look at the top ones in the demonrat and republicon parties, and I do mean shocking.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

The US, Russian Federation, and the Nuland-Kagan revolution in Kiev in 2014:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hidden-truth-about-ukraine-italian-documentary-bombshell-evidence-kiev-euromaidan-snipers-kill-demonstrators/5619684

"The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program) last week, still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media.

The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers They claim that on Jan 15, 2014 they landed in Kiev equipped with fake documents Having received 1000 USD each one and being promised to be paid 5000 USD after the "job is done", they were tasked to prepare sniper positions inside the buildings of Hotel Ukraine and Conservatory, dominant over the Maidan Square. Along with other snipers (some of them were Lithuanians) they were put under command of an American military operative Brian Christopher Boyenger. The coordinating team also included Mamulashvili and infamous Segrey Pashinsky, who was detained by protesters on Feb 18, 2017 with a sniper rifle in the boot of his car The weapons came on stage on February 18 and were distributed to the various Georgian and Lithuanian groups. "There were three or four weapons in each bag, there were Makarov guns, AKM guns, rifles, and a lot of cartridges." – witnesses Nergadze.

The following day, Mamulashvili and Pashinsky explained to snipers that they should shoot at the square and sow chaos.
"I listened to the screams," recalls Revazishvili. "There were many dead and injured downstairs. My first and only thought was to leave in a hurry before they caught up with me. Otherwise, they would tear me apart."

Four years later, Revazishvili and his two companions report they have not yet received the promised 5000 USD bills as a payment and have decided to tell the truth about those who "used and abandoned" them."

Well that was a clear picture of a sausage-making during the US-sponsored regime change in Ukraine. The neo-Nazi in the US-supported "government" in Kiev came about naturally.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

An addition to the previous post.
The Maidan revolution and its neo-Nazi consequence makes an amazing monument to the Kagans' clan:

"Thousands of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists marched in Kiev, Thursday, celebrating the 106th birthday of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) leader Stepan Bandera [famous Nazis collaborator]. Among the main organisers were representatives of Right Sector and Svoboda." https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6a7_1420142767#gDHooVSL6b0yQ1SG.99

"Members of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov volunteer battalion and their ultranationalist civilian sympathizers have conducted a torchlit procession in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, held under the slogan "coming after you!" http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_72571.shtml

"A leader of Ukrainian Jewry condemned the hosting in Lviv of a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city's Jews." http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Ukraine-city-to-hold-festival-in-honor-of-Nazi-collaborator-498159

The wide-spread desecration of Jewish cemetries by Ukrainian thugs (a post-Maidan phenomenon) has spilled to Poland: "Yet another case of vandalism by Ukrainian nationalists is on the record in Poland. This time, an old Jewish cemetery in Kraków became the target of thugs from the neighboring state. The graves of Polish Jews who died over a century ago were destroyed by those hot-blood Ukrainians." https://www.reddit.com/r/antisemitism/comments/5npnj5/ukrainian_nationalists_stand_behind_desecration/

"Vandals desecrated the Korinovskaya Jewish Cemetery in Kiev. They destroyed two entire sections: 27 and 28. These acts of vandalism are very systematic: every night they destroy one or two headstones. According to the elderly women who look after the place, these vandals are usually drunken youths who come there to wreak destruction. The Zaddik of Chernobyl is buried in this cemetery. These vandals destroyed his gravestone, smearing Satanic Cult symbols on it."

http://antisemitism.org.il/article/58386/ukraine-8211-desecration-jewish-cemetery-kiev

[Nov 15, 2017] Hand-Marked Paper Ballots and Virginia's 2017 Elections

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... there should be no digital determination or intermediation of voter intent whatever ..."
Nov 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

As readers know, I'm a big fan of paper ballots[1], and the recent Election in Virginia gives me a chance to explain why. (The "recount" phase -- erroneously named, as what's been happening is resolving absentee and provisional ballots -- seems to have culminated with the Republicans keeping control of the Virginia House by a whisker, 49-51 .) First, I'll do that, and set up two requirements that any system for counting votes in a democracy should meet. Then, I'll look at Virginia's "Back to the Future" transition from digital voting to paper ballots.

From Brad Friedman's essay on " Democracy's Gold Standard" (with numbering added), a set of requirements for voting systems suitable for a democracy:

Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding :

"No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts." There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count." "[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we'd probably call an 'audit' is no substitute at all for public observation." "A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards. "As a result of these principles, 'all independent observers' conclude that 'electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany' because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of being both 'observable' and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.

If you go through this set of requirements, you'll see that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, meet every one of them. You will also see that digital voting systems, no matter how designed or implemented, cannot. They cannot, especially, meet requirements #1 ("no specialized technical knowledge to monitor") and #2 ("a publicly observed count"). The first requirement ensures that the voting process is not riggable by insiders with technical expertise (native, or hired); the second ensures that the actual voting is not rigged on election day. These are important requirements for a functioning democracy.

And that is how Germany conducts its voting today, from Deutsche Welle ( "German election: Volunteers organize the voting and count the ballots") .

Public observation:

On September 24, hundreds of thousands of volunteers will be handing out ballots, checking voters' names against lists, and counting votes once the polling station closes. The entire process is open to the public Every citizen is allowed to watch and monitor the entire counting process; and in effect, the volunteers monitor each other.

No specialized technical knowledge

[T]he volunteers open the ballot box, take out the envelopes and remove the ballot slips. They sort the ballots according to a pre-arranged system, decide on whether the votes are valid or invalid, and count the votes – reading out each vote aloud, which is noted in writing in a log.

At the end, the number of ballots is compared with the number of people who voted in that particular polling station.

Does that sound technical to you? The United Kingdom and Canada [3] also use handmarked paper ballots, counted in public, as do most [4] other countries. Many nations have -- I don't want to use the word "reverted" -- come home to paper ballots after experimenting with digital systems and finding them wanting; so have some states in this country.

Now, let's turn to Virginia. It's worth noting that Virginia's move back to paper is being applauded across the political spectrum . From the centrist Daily Banter , a summary of the history:

It wasn't until 2014, when the state experienced a myriad of problems on Election Day, that Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed an overhaul of the state voting system. By 2015, the Virginia Board of Elections decertified the use of WINVote, but they were still stuck with other DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) systems. This past summer, at a DefCon conference in Las Vegas, computer scientists staged a "Voting Machine Hacking Village" to prove the instabilities of DRE, which included a single password for all machines, physical ports to insert malware, and reliance on outdated software that had not been updated since the mid-2000s.

(Kudos, amazingly enough, to McAuliffe, who also managed to restore the franchise to felons .) The Richmond Times-Dispatch explains the Board of Elections' reasoning:

In emergency meeting, Virginia elections board votes to scrap all touch-screen voting machines

The Virginia State Board of Elections voted Friday to discontinue use of all touch-screen voting machines throughout the state because of potential security vulnerabilities, forcing 22 cities and counties to scramble to find new equipment just weeks before voting begins for the November gubernatorial election.

Behind closed doors at an emergency meeting in Richmond on Friday afternoon, the board heard about specific vulnerabilities identified after a cybersecurity conference this summer in Las Vegas, where hackers showed they could break into voting machines with relative ease.

In an interview, Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés acknowledged that the short time frame could put localities under the gun. However, 10 of the 22 localities that still use touch screens, either as their primary voting method or for more limited uses, have already begun buying new equipment, Cortés said. That leaves 12 that will have to start from scratch, but Cortés said the rapid swap is "doable" and worth the "hiccups" that may come with new equipment.

(The Banter points to "Russian targeting of last year's presidential election" (whatever that means) as do others , but if the threat of Russia hacking was a necessary cause for the Board's decisionl, it was certainly the DefCon that was the proximate one).[2] In any case, the Board's decision was taken September 8, and by Election Day, November 7, the transition was complete with no reported problems, which shows you the advantages of adopting simple, rugged, and proven systems. Here is how the system works, as described in a press release from Albemarle County :

The Albemarle County Department of Voter Registration and Elections wants to alert voters that a new, digital scan voting system will be used in all County voting precincts in the upcoming November 3, 2015 general election. The previously used "touchscreen" voting machines have been replaced by the new voting systems as a result of the Commonwealth of Virginia's mandate which requires jurisdictions move toward the use of digital scan technology.

With the new system, voters will mark paper ballots at marking booths, and then deposit the marked paper ballots into a digital ballot scanning machine, which will read the ballots, and drop them into a secure ballot storage bin. When the polls close on Election Day, at 7 PM, the election officers at the voting precincts will obtain the tabulated totals of votes from a results report that will be printed by the digital scanning machine. After the election, the paper ballots will be kept in secure storage for a period of one year, to ensure a voter-verified paper trail in the event of a recount.

Recall our two requirements. Can the Virginia System be said to meet them?

1) Public observation. Yes and no. Yes, because the ballot is handmarked, and dropped in the box in public. No, because the ballots are counted in the innards of the optical scanner. (This can be mitigated by storing the ballots for recounts later, if needed.) And no, because the actual running of the count from the scanners does not take place in public, nor (AFAIK) the integration into the totals of provisional and absentee ballots.

2) No specialized technical knowledge. Yes and no. Yes, because clearly paper ballots are an improvement in every way from the horrid touch screens. No, in the same that once again, the innards of the optical scanner must be relied upon. (This could be mitigated, depending on the choice of vendor, by dealing with an actual scanner industry, as opposed to a bunch of tiny, sketchy outfits purveying custom, proprietary software.)

In summary, and IMNSHO, there should be no digital determination or intermediation of voter intent whatever ; why should we trust the scanner software engineers, or those who run them? There's no reason to, any more than there's reason to trust the engineers or operators of mechanical voting machines.) Virginia's ballots are indeed hand-marked, but they are not hand-counted in public.[5]

With these strong caveats, Virginia's hand-marked paper ballots were well-received by the public, and that's progress. WAVY :

At a voting precinct at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, voters said they had no issues going back to pen and paper.

"It goes back to the old days, you know, we've been voting a long time, so we remember when they didn't have anything but paper ballots," said voter Winston Whitehurst.

Voter Kevin Rafferty said he enjoyed the switch.

"It works. I understand. At least if we're having to spend some time on it, we're the only ones in control, perhaps is the idea. Nobody else hacking on in I guess is their theory so hopefully it's safe," he said.

And WTVR :

"You can't hack paper," a man training a group of Hopewell poll workers on the new [optical scanning] machines said.

(But you can hack the scanners -- using "specialized technical knowledge" --
and you can social engineer any process where the ballots are not hand-counted in public.)

Conclusion

Of the two requirements, the ability to monitor election results without technical expertise is needed to prevent chicanery by those who structure the voting process. And the public count is needed to prevent chicanery on election day by those who inspect and count the ballots. Paper ballots can and do meet these requirements. That's why most Western countries use them, and why many other countries have returned to them, after experimenting with digital systems. Virginia's re-adoption of hand-marked paper ballots is a step forward, not backward.

NOTES

[1] For those who are concerned that paper ballots prevent ranked choice voting, Maine advocates disagree : "Ranked choice voting is designed to work with paper ballots."

[2] The idea that "foreign invaders" (as the Christian Science Monitor puts it) are the main threat for election theft seems very odd to me. Surely domestic operatives are, or at least should be, the main concern?

[3] I vividly recall a Quebec referendum where the Quebec "scrutineers" rejected a seemingly overlarge number of "No" ballots. But because the process was public, and not part of an algorithmic black box, the scrutineers could be called out. Although Canada does use electronic voting at the municipal level, the stakes are lower.

[4] Hilariously, a Google search on "How many countries use paper ballots" directs me to a WikiPedia page on "Electronic voting by country." 26 are listed. There are 195 countries.

[5] The convenience of election officials seems to bulk large in these disucussions; they don't want to be "up all night counting paper." Well, if the Germans (and the Canadians (and the Brits)) can make that investment in democracy, why can't we?

PlutoniumKun , November 15, 2017 at 6:50 am

Just an added note here to say that in Ireland, which uses Single Transferable Vote, the law states that the election candidates can appoint Counting Agents , known as Tallymen during the vote. They observe the opening of voting boxes and keep a tally during the count. As this allows them to get a good feel for voting patterns, it eliminates another potential source of fraud, box stuffing during or after the vote.

The Tallymen are so skilled they can often provide a very accurate result hours before the final result (vote counting is much more complex for STV). There is no interest at all from political parties for electronic voting because tally information is more fine grained than final totals (as it is box by box rather than district by district) and so provides each party with very valuable statistical information.

Anonymized , November 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Same in Canada but we call them "scrutineers" or monitors (at least in Ontario). I worked as an election official a while back (I think it was at the last provincial election) and one of the scrutineers raised a big stink because the number of votes were not the same as the number of people who voted. I left around 10 pm and I heard they were there until midnight trying to resolve this. It was pure schadenfreude for me because I wasn't selected as one of the vote-counting electoral officials but was just a lower-paid electoral assistant who barred people from entering the building from the wrong door and gave directions to the correct entrance. "Serves those idiots right for not picking me" was what I was thinking when I left.

Frenchguy , November 15, 2017 at 6:51 am

In France, the process is basically the same as in Germany. An interesting note, that I don't see mentionned, is that once the public count is done and the number of votes matches the number of voters, ballots are destroyed (except blank votes). A very sensible step as the whole process is fraud-proof and ballots could be tampered with afterwards.

In this sense, there are no recounts (except the basic maths check). You can only report to the courts irregularities in the process and there will be a new election if enough polling station were affected to swing the election.

And the process is generally not too long. The average seems to be between one and three hours so it's almost always done way before midnight (British seems to take a very long time, if anyone cares to explain to me why ?). Of course, it helps a lot that we don't elect a whole bunch of people on the same night (no lieutnant-governor, judges, sheriffs ), it's always one election at a time with a dozen choices at most (and half the time it's only two because of the two-round system).

Jim A. , November 15, 2017 at 8:12 am

Having used a number of different systems as I moved around the state of Maryland*, my favorite system was hand marked ballots that were scanned by machine at the voting place. My observations follow.

Old fashioned lever machines: They haven't made them for years, so there was always a shortage of machines which led to long lines. Despite the fact that people are familiar with them, they are an un-auditable black box like electronic voting machines.

Punched card machines. They always seemed physically a little difficult to operate and a slight misalignment could result in a miscast vote. But there is a recountable paper trail and only one or two scanners is required for each polling place.

Electronic voting machines. They're a completey un-auditable black box. They DO have the advantage of being easier to adjust for people with limited vision and other handicaps. Each voting station requires a separate machine, which means either greater expense or longer lines compared to other systems. My guess is that programming the ballots into them probably costs almost as much printing ballots and is more difficult to spot errors or fraud.

Hand counted ballots: The difficulty with hand counting ballots is that it is error-prone and slow.

Paper ballots and digital scanners would seem to be the best system that I have used with several caveats. You have to manually recount a random sampling of polling places to check for systemic fraud in the setup of the scanning machines. You have to have a good system to deal with errors and complications. How do you void ballots that have been mis-marked by accident? You have to make SURE that they aren't added to the tallys. You have to have a system for contested/contingent voting, a way to segregate and maintain those ballots until the eligibility of the voters is determined.

*It used to be that every county chose the vote system separately

lyman alpha blob , November 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm

You have to manually recount a random sampling of polling places to check for systemic fraud in the setup of the scanning machines.

That is an excellent suggestion however getting officials on board is not so easy. Our state got new optical scan machines in all larger precincts a few years ago and since they had never been used I made the same suggestion you did to our city council and asked for a random audit. They refused and told me that by state law the city was not allowed to do an audit just because they felt like it and the only way a recount could be done was if an election was close enough to be within the mandated threshold needed to trigger one. If they were correct about our state law, the state has actually made it illegal for cities to check the accuracy of the machines they use. That would need to be changed in order for your proposal to work.

I do still prefer handcounted paper ballots – I did get to participate in a hand recount eventually and it was a LOT quicker than you might expect.

The other issue is cost – it would be a LOT cheaper to pay people to count by hand than to replace millions of large pieces of aging machinery every decade or so.

lyman alpha blob , November 15, 2017 at 8:13 am

"You can't hack paper"

Maybe, but machines can't determine voter intent on paper ballots nearly as well as humans can. Our city uses these optical scanners and as noted last election season, we had a close race that triggered a recount that I participated in. The human beings actually counted more ballots than the machines did, as the machines didn't count those that were filled out improperly (circles not completely filled out, or checked rather than filled in, etc). Rough estimate, we were able to count approximately 2% more votes then the scanner did.

If we're going to keep pretending we still have a democracy here in the US, everybody's vote deserves to be counted in every election. The only way to do that is count paper ballots by hand.

Barry Fay , November 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

The FIRST TIME I heard that they were going to use IT technology for voting I thought they must be kidding. It is so obviously wrong ON THE FACE OF IT that I have always suspected the motives of those making that decision (although I suppose I should´t be too surprised at human laziness being a motivating force!). Anyway, it is to me just another sign of the dumbing down of America that this whole topic needs any discussion at all!!

nonclassical , November 15, 2017 at 11:55 am

Voltaire would have loved political position that the machines were perfect and unable be hacked until Chavez-Venezuela bought voting machine manufacturer

suddenly voting machines were suspect

Tom , November 15, 2017 at 9:15 am

Clinton conflates Virginia's switch to paper ballots with her claims that Russia hacked into voter rolls and possibly went even further. This is Clinton speaking about it on Monday at the Atlanta stop on her book tour.

Vatch , November 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

So maybe we're finally getting some benefit from the claims that the Russians were able to manipulate the election results in the United States! In reality, it's Republicans and Democrats who manipulate election results in the U.S., but I'll accept a victory, even if it's for the wrong reasons.

Tom , November 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Exactly! Clinton applauds the reduced risk of paper ballots, but of course has to muddle it all up with the dreaded Russian threat. I swear, Clinton can't help but link almost everything to Russia now -- listening to her is like plaing a constant game of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, except it's 3 degrees and its Russia.

wilroncanada , November 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

She'll continue to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon for the rest of her life–with egg on her face the whole time.

EoH , November 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

One would think that governments would require that any software to be used in a public election must be open source – not proprietary – and that it and its application be open to public audit.

Vendors unwilling to comply can take their sales people elsewhere. If vendors are hard to find, governments could join together in providing seed money for any number of parties to develop and maintain the necessary code.

This is the sort of change that should be part of any elections improvement commissions, not that the likes of Kris Kobach and his commission have in mind anything but voter suppression. The use of proprietary software in a public election is as appropriate as a cordon of watch dogs, lighted torches, or police cars outside a voting center.

PaulHarvey0swald , November 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

This. And why don't we turn the students at state run universities loose on it?

XXYY , November 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Long time software engineer here.

"Making the source code available" for a critical system makes a good sound bite, but in reality has a number of substantial problems:

o There is no guarantee that the compiled code in the box is the same as the purported source code made public. Even technical experts would have a very hard time confirming this, since the code in the box has been compiled down to machine instructions whereas the source code is normally in a high level language.

o The process of building (compiling and linking) the code introduces myriad opportunities for bad actors. E.g., code can include conditional sections or definitions that can be built in various ways. The build process itself invokes other programs that themselves can be hacked. Building also normally brings in third-party libraries of uncertain provenance, and for which the source is typically unavailable.

o Inspecting realistic industrial software for *inadvertent* problems, called a code review, is a big effort (many man weeks) and requires people with the requisite skills (often arcane) and expertise in the problem domain. Inspecting code for *deliberate hacks* would be much harder, and could well miss hacks anyway depending on the skill of the hacker.

Relying on public source code for security is a very weak reed and should be avoided altogether if at all possible.

PaulHarv3y0swald , November 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Fair enough. But why would proprietary code be better? I mean what stops a private vendor from doing this, but without public oversight? I mean to say "public code" in what ever form could be a start.

Synoia , November 15, 2017 at 5:19 pm

XXYY was not supporting proprietary code. I believe he was pointing out that "open source" does not have sufficient integrity for e;ections, thus closed source (proprietary code) is worse.

bsg , November 15, 2017 at 10:46 am

After the 2000 election, congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Among the provisions of the bill, money was given to states and counties to upgrade their voting systems. Most of these new systems came online in the mid 00's.

Now that it has been around a decade, the generation of machines purchased with the help of federal money are getting long in the tooth. The average person changes their cell phone every 2-3 years, so a touch screen machine machine over a decade old feels especially ancient to a technophile.

There will be a trend toward paper ballots with this next generation. More states have added tougher paper trail requirements on DRE (touch screen) voting machines. and there is a lack of federal HAVA money available to states and counties to buy top-of-the-line DRE machines with paper trails. Vendors for this generation are pushing hybrid systems that allow a voter to input their choices onto a touch screen, then the machine prints out a paper ballot which (theoretically) removes ambiguous choices and allows disabled people to vote without assistance. But ultimately, if a jurisdiction is going to a paper system anyway, why spend more money on expensive hybrid machines that will break down in another ten years? I anticipate a push to paper ballots with optical scanning tabulation machines in the medium future.

nonclassical , November 15, 2017 at 11:52 am

and states can – do take away driver licenses – I.D. "legally" determining who gets to vote, by the hundreds of thousands, even over issues having nothing to do with driving, and primarily affecting the poor:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/10/22/4935/?utm_term=.604ea869bedb

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/10/america-punish-poor-debtors-drivers-license-suspension

http://www.jwj.org/these-two-states-will-revoke-your-license-if-you-cant-pay-back-your-student-loans

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/license-restrictions-for-failure-to-pay-child-support.aspx

UserFriendly , November 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Minneapolis uses ranked choice with hand marked paper ballots that get scanned just like VA. But as I've said a million times ranked choice voting is bad for 3rd parties . Approval, range, or 3-2-1 are all much better options.
http://electology.github.io/vse-sim/VSEbasic/

ken , November 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

The convenience of election officials seems to bulk large in these disucussions; they don't want to be "up all night counting paper."

What is the rush? Why not start counting at 8 am the next morning? The all night vote count thing serves no functional purpose. Get some sleep.

Joel , November 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm

What is the rush?

In my town, we have big election night parties at the downtown bars while volunteers go to the polling stations and phone back the preliminary results which are posted in the front windows or on the front doors.

A lot of politically connected people would have trouble sleeping the night of the election if they didn't have the results.

Grebo , November 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm

That was my initial reaction too. Then I wondered: who will be guarding the ballot boxes overnight?

Joel , November 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm

In my town's municipal election last week, it seems almost a tenth of voters were confused by the design of the ballot and circled their choice rather than filling in the bubble.

Since we're in Massachusetts and all elections use Scantron ballots and tabulating machines, any circled ballot was marked "blank" the same as ballots where no notation was made.

A lot of people, including quite a few first-time and infrequent voters, and voters with eyesight issues, were disillusioned by the fact that their votes would not be counted. Some were shocked the ballots are not in fact counted by hand.

[Nov 12, 2017] The US election system is designed to prevent populists from winning. Populists who allowed to be elected (like Obama) are faux populists that actually serve the establishment

When people are blinded by ideology, a great deal of intelligence is lost. People are the same all over, but in the US, the ideology of exceptionalism - and capitalism, has been pumped into them for many generations.
Notable quotes:
"... Despite being so flawed she was allowed to win the nomination over Bernie because Obama-Clinton control of the party was absolute. ..."
"... The US election system is designed to prevent populists from winning. Populists who allowed to be elected (like Obama) are faux populists that actually serve the establishment. ..."
"... Trump had supported Clinton against Obama and took up her "birther" nonsense to weaken him. During the election he actually said that it originated with Clinton and that he (now) accepted that Obama was qualified to be President. ..."
"... Hillary had made it clear that she preferred that Trump be the Republican nominee (her supposed reasoning: as a billionaire and political neophyte, he would be easy to beat) ..."
"... After assuming office, Trump has acted in ways that betrayed promises to his 'base' and/or created tension that allowed his political enemies to constrain his choices ..."
"... When people are blinded by ideology, a great deal of intelligence is lost. People are the same all over, but in the US, the ideology of exceptionalism - and capitalism, has been pumped into them for many generations. ..."
"... Have a run around the social media and check how many people believe Russia meddled in US "democracy" because of whats been pumped into them over the last year. One side believes Russia interfered on Trumps behalf and the other side believes Russia interfered on Clintons behalf, but they also know Russia interfered with their precious virgin democracy. Mencken is right. ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit, Nov 11, 2017 10:27:14 PM | 39

Somebody:
Americans seem to do what they always do to defend themselves - vote the opposition party in to limit power.
Wrong.
1) Clinton actually won a majority of the votes.

2) Clinton lost because she was such a flawed candidate who ran a flawed campaign.

3) Despite being so flawed she was allowed to win the nomination over Bernie because Obama-Clinton control of the party was absolute.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

All of the above are valid "facts" about the 2016 race. But there are several disturbing realities that cause the entire 2016 race to be suspect.

1) The US election system is designed to prevent populists from winning. Populists who allowed to be elected (like Obama) are faux populists that actually serve the establishment.

2) Bernie was a sheepdog who had (apparently) pledged to a) not attack Hillary on character issues, and b) support the party nominee.

3) Trump had supported Clinton against Obama and took up her "birther" nonsense to weaken him. During the election he actually said that it originated with Clinton and that he (now) accepted that Obama was qualified to be President.

4) Hillary had made it clear that she preferred that Trump be the Republican nominee (her supposed reasoning: as a billionaire and political neophyte, he would be easy to beat) .

5) Chelsea Clinton (the Clinton's ONLY child) and Ivanka Trump (Trump's only daughter whom he dotes over) are close friends.

6) Despite the apparently bitter contest, within days of winning the Presidency, Trump announced that he wouldn't pursue prosecution of Hillary saying that the Clinton's were "good people".

7) After assuming office, Trump has acted in ways that betrayed promises to his 'base' and/or created tension that allowed his political enemies to constrain his choices. Examples:

- keeping Comey on and then hinting that he had taped a conversation with Comey;

- a pre-mature missile attack on Syria;

- not explaining why he didn't denounce the alt-Right march in Charlottesville (they had a legal permit to march) which led to charges that he supported white supremacists.

Don Bacon, Nov 11, 2017 9:22:05 PM | 33
@chet380

Mencken was wrong and so are you. There is nothing wrong with the intelligence of the American people. Half of them are above average, as a matter of fact. Which half are you in?

Peter AU 1, Nov 11, 2017 9:42:41 PM | 36
@Don Bacon, Nov 11, 2017 9:22:05 PM | 33

When people are blinded by ideology, a great deal of intelligence is lost. People are the same all over, but in the US, the ideology of exceptionalism - and capitalism, has been pumped into them for many generations.

Have a run around the social media and check how many people believe Russia meddled in US "democracy" because of whats been pumped into them over the last year. One side believes Russia interfered on Trumps behalf and the other side believes Russia interfered on Clintons behalf, but they also know Russia interfered with their precious virgin democracy. Mencken is right.

[Nov 12, 2017] Trump says Putin sincere in denial of Russian meddling by Karen DeYoung, Ashley Parker and David Nakamura

One useful criteria to distinguish propaganda from honest analyst is to check if the Intelligence assessment is called the product of "intelligence community" or group of handpicked by Brennan and Clipper analysts from just three agencies (NSA, CIA, and FBI). This is very similar to the test if some Western news out let call Magnitsky "a lawyer" or "an accountant".
T he question why intelligence agencies used Steele dossier remain unanswered. and the answer to this question if the key.
The forces against rapprochement with Russia are way too strong and include "foright policy establishment", large part of Pentagon, defense contractors, intelligence agencies and their contractors. Like any bureaucracies they want to expand much like cancel cells -- uncontrollably. In this sense the intelligence agencies were dangerous for the US democracy from the moment of their creation and remain so. The question that arise is " Is democracy compatible with the existence of hypertrophied, almost out of control by "civic" government intelligence agency, protected by secrecy of their operations? .
The main reason for their creation and existence in hypertrophied state was the existence of the USSR. But in less twenty years from its creation CIA became dangerous for the US democracy (in 1963 to be exact). And it probably remains dangerous now -- agency protected by secrecy and having huge among of money in their disposal.
It is clear that the bet of intelligence agencies (at least NSA, CIA and FBI) in the last lection was Hillary. Although it looks like FBI waved a bit. What they did to "help" her now needs to be investigated using something like Church commission.
Notable quotes:
"... On Saturday, in his Air Force One remarks, Trump suggested that what he called the "artificial Democratic hit job" of investigations of possible collusion between his campaign and Russia were somehow preventing U.S.-Russia cooperation on a range of issues, including North Korea. "It's a shame," he said, "because people will die because of it." ..."
"... Putin, in his own news conference after speaking with Trump, said he knew "absolutely nothing" about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials, and called reports that a campaign official met with his niece "bollocks," according to an interpreter. "They can do what they want, looking for some sensation," Putin said of the investigations. "But there are no sensations." ..."
"... On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place -- including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan -- as "political hacks." He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign's connections to Russian officials, a "liar" and a "leaker." ..."
"... Pompeo said last month that intelligence agencies had determined that Russian interference had not altered the electoral outcome ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

President Trump said that President Vladi­mir Putin had assured him again Saturday that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign, and indicated that he believed Putin's sincerity, drawing immediate criticism from lawmakers and former intelligence officials who assessed that the meddling took place.

"I asked him again," Trump said after what he described as several brief, informal chats with Putin in Danang, Vietnam, where they were attending a regional conference. "You can only ask so many times . . . He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.

"I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it . . . I think he's very insulted, if you want to know the truth," Trump told reporters traveling with him aboard Air Force One from Danang to Hanoi, on the ninth day of a long Asia tour. Trump voiced similar conclusions after his only previous meeting with Putin, last July in Germany.

Trump's response to questions about his conversations with ­Putin was a jarring return to the more insular preoccupations of Washington after more than a week of what has been a trip filled with pageantry and pledges of mutual admiration, but few substantive outcomes, between Trump and Asian leaders.

Later, in a news conference Sunday in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Trump appeared to be trying to parse his earlier remarks, saying, "What I said is that I believe [Putin] believes that.

"As to whether I believe it or not," he said, "I'm with our [intelligence] agencies, especially as currently constituted.

"I want to be able . . . to get along with Russia," Trump said. "I'm not looking to stand and argue with somebody when there are reporters standing all around."

Reporters were not permitted inside the hall where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference was held in Danang.

... ... ...

On Saturday, in his Air Force One remarks, Trump suggested that what he called the "artificial Democratic hit job" of investigations of possible collusion between his campaign and Russia were somehow preventing U.S.-Russia cooperation on a range of issues, including North Korea. "It's a shame," he said, "because people will die because of it."

Putin, in his own news conference after speaking with Trump, said he knew "absolutely nothing" about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials, and called reports that a campaign official met with his niece "bollocks," according to an interpreter. "They can do what they want, looking for some sensation," Putin said of the investigations. "But there are no sensations."

On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place -- including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan -- as "political hacks." He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign's connections to Russian officials, a "liar" and a "leaker."

Clapper said in a statement that "the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election. His own DNI and CIA director have confirmed the finding in the intelligence community assessment. The fact that he would take Putin at his word over the intelligence community is unconscionable."

Brennan declined to comment.

In a statement, the CIA said that Director Mike Pompeo "stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community assessment . . . with regard to Russian election meddling." That position, it said, "has not changed." The assessment also concluded that Russia had acted to promote Trump's victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Although Pompeo said last month that intelligence agencies had determined that Russian interference had not altered the electoral outcome , the assessment did not address that question.

[Nov 12, 2017] You can't half pregnant. If it was not Russia then who? Seth Rish? Brennan people? NSA?

The question of exploiting Steele dossier by US intelligence services remains unanswered. But many people suspect the real culprit.
www.theguardian.com

US President Donald Trump said he had "good discussions" with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when they met briefly at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

On Twitter, he blasted "haters and fools", who, he said, do not encourage good relations between the countries.

Earlier he said Mr Putin told him he was insulted by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The US intelligence community has previously concluded that Russia tried to sway the poll in Mr Trump's favour.

"He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election," the US president said.

However, after intense criticism, Mr Trump clarified hat he supported US intelligence agencies in their conclusion. "As to whether or not I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies. I believe in our... intelligence agencies," he said.

"What he believes, he believes," he added, of Mr Putin's belief that Russia did not meddle.

The two leaders had no formal bilateral talks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) event, but meet in passing on three occasions. They spoke about the Syria crisis and the election allegations, according to Mr Trump.

[Nov 12, 2017] Trump believes Putin on Russia meddling, says Mueller may cost lives by Julian Borger & Oliver Holmes

Does this means that Trump now believes that this was Brenna's false flag operation? And why intelligence agencies exploited Steele dossier against him?
Notable quotes:
"... "I mean, give me a break," Trump said. "So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker." ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The president disparaged officials who worked for Barack Obama, saying former CIA chief John Brennan, ex-director of national intelligence James Clapper and James Comey, the FBI director he fired in May , were "political hacks".

"I mean, give me a break," Trump said. "So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker."

He suggested he put more faith in Putin's word.

"Every time he sees me he says 'I didn't do that' and I really believe that when he tells me that," Trump said. "He really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn't do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn't do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he has nothing to do with that."

[Nov 11, 2017] Trump Points To Falsehoods In Russian Hacking Claims - Media Still Ignore Them

Possibly all of the Russia-gate allegations, which have been taken on faith by Democratic partisans and members of the anti-Trump Resistance, trace back to claims paid for or generated by Democrats. If for a moment one could remove the often justified hatred many people feel toward Trump, it would be impossible to avoid the impression that the scandal may have been devised by the DNC and the Clinton camp in league with Obama's intelligence chiefs to serve political and geopolitical aims. In other words this is a sophisticated false flag operation.
Even more alarmingly (what really smells like a part on intelligence agencies coup d'état against Trump ) is the basis for much of the Jan. 6 intelligence "assessment" by those "hand-picked" analysts from three U.S. intelligence agencies - the CIA, the FBI and the NSA - not all 17 agencies that Hillary Clinton continues to insist were involved. (Obama's intelligence chiefs, DNI Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, publicly admitted that only three agencies took part and The New York Times printed a correction saving so.)
Notable quotes:
"... Well its three . And one is Brennan . And one is whatever. I mean, give me a break. They're political hacks . So you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey . Comey's proven now to be a liar and he's proven to be a leaker. So you look at that. ..."
"... Trump gets it. He knows the weak points of the propaganda claims of "Russian hacking": Podesta and the fake Steele dossier, the DNC server, the lack of any FBI investigation of the alleged hack, the NYT's long false insistence on the '17 agencies' assessment, the "political hacks" who fitted their claims to the Obama/Clinton narrative. ..."
"... But neither the Washington Post nor the NY Times or others mention the crucial points Trump spelled out in their write-ups of the gaggle. There is no word on the DNC servers in them. Instead they create a claim of "Putin says and Trump just believes him". The do not name the facts and questions Trump listed to support his position. Taking up the valid questions Trump asked would of course require the news outlets to finally delve into them. We can't have that. ..."
"... Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies. But he understands that the "Russian hacking" narrative is false and is carried by lunatic political hacks who want to push the U.S. back into a cold, or maybe even hot war with Russia, China, Iran and probably everyone else. ..."
"... I guess it could be that the DNC really was hacked, but maybe they faked the hack story, fed the story to Crowdstrike, then paid Crowdstrike a lot of money to fabricate a fairytale about Russian hacking... ..."
"... This Russian fairytale would be the bedrock of Hillary's campaign, and it gave her a reason to badmouth trump who intended to get along with Putin, which deeply offended the neocon Bolsheviks who've been running things since 9/11 ..."
"... If the hacking really happened, it's maybe more likely to have been the US NSA that did the hacking... that might explain why the DNC and Hillary were not alarmed by the hacking --if it happened-- and did nothing about it, and continued to write incriminating emails... ..."
"... Russia gate is Really Hillary Gate... And that's just the beginning as we consider the DNC lid coming off via Donna Brazile and the Uranium scandal. Mueller has been gatekeeper for the Deep State for OKC bombing, 911,...other False Flag...and now today's Intrigues. ..."
"... Back when Trump looked like he was in the running in the US presidential election, I wondered how one man, even if he was genuine, could without the backing of US intelligence, take down the deepstate/borg/whatever. Putin pulled Russia out of the nineties with key backing from patriotic intelligence and military leadership, but Trump even if genuine would be on his own. Just ordered 'Art of the deal' to try and understand Trump a bit more. Looks like he has just destroyed a big chunk of deep state financing so will be interesting to see how long he can stay alive. ..."
"... well, Mueller declined to find 9/11 evidence against bin laden... or maybe we should say, "he declined to manufacture evidence"... for some unkown reason... ..."
"... Can we just face the facts here that there is a coordinated effort by these elite to get Trump dethroned? What reason for this? Simple...he's a threat. ..."
"... Mike Whitney posted a great piece this week suggesting Brennan, Obama's political 'hack', is behind this mess - "Brennan spearheaded the anti-Russia campaign from the get-go. As early as August 2016, Brennan was providing classified briefings to ranking members of Congress expressing his conviction that Moscow was helping Trump to win the election. The former Director offered no proof to back up his claims nor has he since then. It was also Brennan who gradually persuaded Clapper, Comey and Morrell to join his anti-Russia jihad, although all were reluctant participants at first. Were they won over by compelling secret evidence that has been been withheld from the public?" - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48172.htm ..."
"... These are but a few sources digging and reporting on these bogus charges against Putin. I'd like to believe the majority of the U.S. electorate isn't being fooled by the nonsense. I can't speak for those who choose to remain inside the brainwashing corporate media bubble, but for those of us who divorced ourselves from their propaganda long ago ain't buying nor ever did buy into the muh Russia crap. ..."
"... Meanwhile, USG declares RT and Sputnik to be foreign agents and must register as such -- and Trump had nothing to do with that?!? ..."
"... The media is now now in permanent psy op mode, colonizing the public's mind and jamming people's ability to reason, think critically and even tell fact from fiction. It is only a matter of time before overt repression becomes widespread (to protect our freedoms of course) and the last remnants of democracy give way to an Orwellian/Huxleyite dystopia. ..."
"... CNN covers the Binney/Pompeo meeting, and describes Binney in the headline as a "conspiracy theorist": http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/07/politics/mike-pompeo-william-binney-meeting/index.html ..."
Nov 11, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump Points To Falsehoods In "Russian Hacking" Claims - Media Still Ignore Them

During the flight of his recent Asia tour U.S. President Donal Trump held a press gaggle on board of the plane. Part of it were questions and answers about the alleged "Russian hacking" of the U.S. election.

There is no public transcript available yet but the Washington Post's Mark Berman provided a screenshot of some relevant parts:

Mark Berman @markberman - 6:20 AM - 11 Nov 2017

Full comment from @realDonaldTrump again questioning the US intel community conclusion that Russia meddled last year

In the attached transcript Trump talks about his very short encounter with the Russian President Putin in Hanoi:

Q: When did you bring up the issue of election meddling? Did you ask him a question?

A: Every time he sees me he says he didn't do that and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, I didn't do that. I think he is very insulted by it, ...
...
He says that very strongly and he really seems to be insulted by it he says he didn't do it.

Q: Even if he didn't bring it up one-on-one, do you believe him?

A: I think that he is very, very strong on the fact that didn't do it. And then you look and you look what's going on with Podesta , and you look at what's going on with the server from the DNC and why didn't the FBI take it ? Why did they leave it? Why did a third party look at the server and not the FBI ? You look at all of this stuff, and you say, what's going on here? And you hear it's 17 agencies. Well its three . And one is Brennan . And one is whatever. I mean, give me a break. They're political hacks . So you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey . Comey's proven now to be a liar and he's proven to be a leaker. So you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently say he has nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.

Trump gets it. He knows the weak points of the propaganda claims of "Russian hacking": Podesta and the fake Steele dossier, the DNC server, the lack of any FBI investigation of the alleged hack, the NYT's long false insistence on the '17 agencies' assessment, the "political hacks" who fitted their claims to the Obama/Clinton narrative.

But neither the Washington Post nor the NY Times or others mention the crucial points Trump spelled out in their write-ups of the gaggle. There is no word on the DNC servers in them. Instead they create a claim of "Putin says and Trump just believes him". The do not name the facts and questions Trump listed to support his position. Taking up the valid questions Trump asked would of course require the news outlets to finally delve into them. We can't have that.

Instead we get more "Russian influence" claptrap. Like this from the once honorable Wired which headlines:

Here's the first evidence Russia used Twitter to influence Brexit

Russian interference in Brexit through targeted social media propaganda can be revealed for the first time. A cache of posts from 2016, seen by WIRED, shows how a coordinated network of Russian-based Twitter accounts spread racial hatred in an attempt to disrupt politics in the UK and Europe.

Interesting, enthralling, complicate and sensational ...
... until you get down to paragraph 14(!):

Surprisingly, all the posts around Brexit in this small snapshot were posted after the June vote

"Russian agents" influenced the U.S. election by buying mostly irrelevant Facebook ads - 25% of which were never seen by anyone and 56% of which were posted AFTER the election

"Russian-based Twitter accounts" influenced the Brexit vote in the UK by tweeting affirmative AFTER the vote happened

Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies. But he understands that the "Russian hacking" narrative is false and is carried by lunatic political hacks who want to push the U.S. back into a cold, or maybe even hot war with Russia, China, Iran and probably everyone else.

Tannenhouser | Nov 11, 2017 2:15:01 PM | 1

"Trump is not the brightest bulb and he is not well informed. I dislike nearly all of his policies. But he understands that the "Russian hacking" narrative is false and is carried by lunatic political hacks who want to push the U.S. back into a cold, or maybe even hot war with Russia, China, Iran and probably everyone else."

I couldn't agree more B. The distraction to cover up the DNC crimes and the 'pay to play' antics during HRC's tenure at SECState are part of this nonsense as well.

james | Nov 11, 2017 2:21:31 PM | 2
thanks b.. i 2nd @1 tannenhousers comment above..
wadosy | Nov 11, 2017 2:31:10 PM | 3
the term "hacked" implies that someone came in on the internet, right?

I guess it could be that the DNC really was hacked, but maybe they faked the hack story, fed the story to Crowdstrike, then paid Crowdstrike a lot of money to fabricate a fairytale about Russian hacking...

This Russian fairytale would be the bedrock of Hillary's campaign, and it gave her a reason to badmouth trump who intended to get along with Putin, which deeply offended the neocon Bolsheviks who've been running things since 9/11

If the hacking really happened, it's maybe more likely to have been the US NSA that did the hacking... that might explain why the DNC and Hillary were not alarmed by the hacking --if it happened-- and did nothing about it, and continued to write incriminating emails...

...they assumed the hackers were on their side

OK, then, if the hacking was a fairytale, made up by Debbie and Hillary, and reinforced by Crowdstrike, then what? Maybe it doesn't make any difference in the long run, if the DNC was hacked or not

Whatever happened, the emails got out, Assange strongly hints that Seth Rich was the leak, Seth Rich was murdered, and his murder was intended to be a warning to people like Donna Brazile, who, after Seth was murdered, started drawing her office blinds because she didn't want to be sniped... presumably by the people who murdered Seth Rich

broders | Nov 11, 2017 2:33:17 PM | 4
the real question is : what is j.sessions doing ? and if nothing , why trump doesn't fire him ?
Brad | Nov 11, 2017 2:55:42 PM | 5
Russia gate is Really Hillary Gate... And that's just the beginning as we consider the DNC lid coming off via Donna Brazile and the Uranium scandal. Mueller has been gatekeeper for the Deep State for OKC bombing, 911,...other False Flag...and now today's Intrigues.

Will Podesta and Hillary escape?...or get Prison? John McCain with ISIS and photo opp,.. Evil in your face 24. If certain people are not in Prison....Mueller could wear the label Satan's guardian. ..and it wouldn't be exaggeration

Peter AU 1 | Nov 11, 2017 3:00:44 PM | 6
Back when Trump looked like he was in the running in the US presidential election, I wondered how one man, even if he was genuine, could without the backing of US intelligence, take down the deepstate/borg/whatever. Putin pulled Russia out of the nineties with key backing from patriotic intelligence and military leadership, but Trump even if genuine would be on his own. Just ordered 'Art of the deal' to try and understand Trump a bit more. Looks like he has just destroyed a big chunk of deep state financing so will be interesting to see how long he can stay alive.
wadosy | Nov 11, 2017 3:05:39 PM | 7

well, Mueller declined to find 9/11 evidence against bin laden... or maybe we should say, "he declined to manufacture evidence"... for some unkown reason...

whatever, if seth rich's murder was an attempt to terrorize politicians and the media into parroting the party line --like the anthrax letters did after 9/11-- it worked

donna is still saying, "the Russians dun it".

NemesisCalling | Nov 11, 2017 3:07:36 PM | 8
b, it is so funny that everytime you allude to Trump being in the right against the teeming hordes or globalist, anti-Russia elites, you always offer the caveat: "but...he's a bastard and I hate him."

Can we just face the facts here that there is a coordinated effort by these elite to get Trump dethroned? What reason for this? Simple...he's a threat.

Enemy of my enemy anyone?

P.s. I view him as an opportunist. a chameleon. At the very least, perhaps he realizes the absolute absurdity of trying to keep the house of cards aloft in the ME. So far, no wars, and a de-escalation in Syria. Pundits are talking about 3+% growth in US for first time in decade. I dont't know...perhaps Donald can cut and run in time to salvage some of the US prosperity.

PavewayIV | Nov 11, 2017 3:22:45 PM | 9
I'm almost inclined to think Trump is letting this Russian hack thing play out on purpose despite his Tweets to the contrary. Preventing the feds from 'investigating' it wouldn't make it go away, it would just cement the notion of guilt and a cover-up into the anti-Trump, anti-Russian segment of the public. More importantly, the similarly-inclined political/government leaders (pro-Hillary, DNC, politicized FBI and intel, neocons, deep state, whatever...) and MSM slowly expose themselves for what they are. They get too confident in the big lie actually working and go into a feeding frenzy. Trump trolls them on Twitter and they go insane.

When you want to catch sharks, you don't chase them around the ocean to hunt them. You chum the waters and wait for them to come to you. Trump isn't the one chumming the waters here - he's letting the sharks do that themselves.

I scratched my head like everyone else trying to figure out Trump's earlier incomprehensible hiring/firing volley his first few months. Maybe that was just a bit of theatre. Trump might not understand the 'little people' too much, but he does understand his opponent psychopaths (corporate, banking or government/intel) and how to use their basic flaws against them. 'Draining the swamp' sells well, but letting his opponents stick their necks out far enough before Trump's own Night of the Long Knives would (to me) be a far more effective strategy towards his ends. And probably much safer for him than Kennedy's approach.

Kind of worrying that one has to rely on outsider psychopaths to cull other psychopath's well-entrenched herds within the US government. Does that ever turn out well?

Laguerre | Nov 11, 2017 3:30:12 PM | 10
Was anything Trump did really illegal? It hasn't been demonstrated yet. The US does much the same in Russia.
h | Nov 11, 2017 3:31:16 PM | 11
Only the most strident partisans hold tightly to the Russian interference nonsense.

Those who simply want to deal in facts bother ourselves to self inform using multiple sources who have been trying to make sense of the dastardly twists and turns in this muh Russia whodunit scandal. The DNC emails, dossier, collusion the whole escapade, from the beginning, could be seen as being built on nothing more than quicksand.

Mike Whitney posted a great piece this week suggesting Brennan, Obama's political 'hack', is behind this mess - "Brennan spearheaded the anti-Russia campaign from the get-go. As early as August 2016, Brennan was providing classified briefings to ranking members of Congress expressing his conviction that Moscow was helping Trump to win the election. The former Director offered no proof to back up his claims nor has he since then. It was also Brennan who gradually persuaded Clapper, Comey and Morrell to join his anti-Russia jihad, although all were reluctant participants at first. Were they won over by compelling secret evidence that has been been withheld from the public?" - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48172.htm

Then you have Joe Lauria's outstanding piece which lived less than 24 hours at HuffPo before being disappeared - http://raymcgovern.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/CLEANOn-The-Origins-of-Russia-gate-_-HuffPost.pdf

And then you have the Intercept's piece on Binney's meeting with CIA's Pompeo with Ray McGovern providing a lot more detail and an interview with his favorite news outlet RT - http://raymcgovern.com/

Oh, and about Binney's meeting with Pompeo? Trump requested Pompeo meet with him. He did. But Pompeo, as of today, remains steadfast in supporting the ICA crap report Obama's political intel hacks put out.

These are but a few sources digging and reporting on these bogus charges against Putin. I'd like to believe the majority of the U.S. electorate isn't being fooled by the nonsense. I can't speak for those who choose to remain inside the brainwashing corporate media bubble, but for those of us who divorced ourselves from their propaganda long ago ain't buying nor ever did buy into the muh Russia crap.

wadosy | Nov 11, 2017 3:36:47 PM | 12
we got to wonder why donna brazile made such a fuss about Seth Rich. She's being way too cagey for comfort but even if we leave seth rich out of it, none of it make any sense

... ... ...

Muslim Dude | Nov 11, 2017 3:42:36 PM | 13
According to journalist, Liz Crokin and others online, Trump is pulling the biggest sting operation in history.

https://www.lizcrokin.com/hillaryclinton/mueller-president-trump-pulling-biggest-sting-history/

Also from a Youtube video I saw earlier there are claims this is what is happening.

1. Obama regime was chronically corrupt including sell of Uranium to Russia for bribes. Elements of the US military and intelligence were disgusted by this and approached Trump BEFORE the elections as a figure who could help them.

2. Trump decided to work with them and during his election campaign he deliberately made constant exaggerated claims of his supposed friendship with Putin, this was bait for the Democrats to smear him as a Putin-lover, Putin puppet.

3. Once elected, the whole "Trump is a Putin puppet" was allowed to run so that a huge demand for some sort of investigation in to Trump and his Russia links could be built. Only this investigation would in fact be used to target the Democrats and Clinton including for their corruption over the Uranium sales with the Russians.

4. This was apparently (according to these claims) the game plan from the beginning and Mueller is apparently going to work to convict Hillary Clinton and other senior Democrats.

I don't know how true this is, but it does answer a lot of questions and anomalies and also ties in with B's thesis that we are essentially seeing a quasi-military government in D.C. under Trump.

psychohistorian | Nov 11, 2017 3:49:19 PM | 14
@ PavewayIV who ended his comment with: "Kind of worrying that one has to rely on outsider psychopaths to cull other psychopath's well-entrenched herds within the US government. Does that ever turn out well? "

Yep! And we add our textual white noise to the rearranging of the deck chairs on the top deck of the good ship Humanity as it careens over the falls/into the shoals/pick-your-metaphor

PavewayIV | Nov 11, 2017 4:30:10 PM | 15
psychohistorian@14 - Captain to crew: "I will not have this ship go down looking like a garbage scow. Deck chairs will be arranged in a neat and orderly manner at all times!"
Augustin L | Nov 11, 2017 4:32:46 PM | 16
The orange Chump is using diversionary tactics. Will the mafia Front goy thief disclose his extensive exposure/links to Russian and foreign banks ?

The same media you're decrying here is also ignoring this week's paradise papers revelations about Wilbur Ross, Trump's commerce secretary and business links with Russian Israeli mobsters and oligarchs like Mogilevich. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMhzkvWuXEM

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true. Can't fix stupid sociopathy. I pity deplorable goyims, They deserve their plight...

renfro | Nov 11, 2017 5:10:26 PM | 17
Please someone end this idiot circus! Russia hacked THE ELECTION ...hacked THE ELECTION ??? For the love of gawd..the ELECTION, meaning the voting was hacked.....it was NOT. Nothing has focused on Russian 'hacking' of VOTES. Russia 'if' they hacked, at best hacked some emails and info used to expose Hillary. And posted negative info on the net. So, so what? How many leakers weren't doing that?

I have had it with the Dems, they have IQs somewhere below that of cabbages. But I guess there are a certain number of citizens that will believe anything if it is repeated enough by their herd leaders.

notheonly1 | Nov 11, 2017 5:31:12 PM | 18
All this pathetic, lousy street theater resembling staging can only serve one important reason: Distraction. What is it that people need to be distracted from? That the US has turned openly into a military dictatorship? That the extermination proceedings are speeding up?

Hitler used gas chambers, as did the US after the war. While the first was a psychopathic dictator, the latter is a psychopathic society. It has spend trillions in research and design of lethal weapons and systems to exterminate any 'enemy'.

With all the technological progress, people do no longer need to be dragged to a gas chamber. The gas chamber will come to them. Sprayed into the atmosphere and making its way into earth's life systems.

Trump, Dump, Busch, Koch, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon - plutocratic hand puppets. It is not the people who decide where and when the ship sinks. It will be sunken for them - with all the useless eaters on board.

Jack Oliver | Nov 11, 2017 6:03:23 PM | 19
Trump is too stupid to realize that the very reason the election was rigged in his favour was - the derailment of ANY ZIO/US/Russia relations !! Their top priority ( as always) has been to keep Russia and Germany apart ! Russia's 'resources' and German 'innovation' is a match made in heaven - would spell the end of the US economy !
karlof1 | Nov 11, 2017 6:27:43 PM | 20
Not only did the Propaganda System refuse to correctly report as b details, but nowhere has it mentioned the defeat of Daesh, as Pepe Escobar discloses: "This is History in the making.

"And right on cue, VIRTUALLY NOTHING about this REAL ON THE GROUND VICTORY OF A REAL WAR ON TERROR is being covered by Western corporate media.

"No wonder. Because this was the work of Damascus, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran advisers, Baghdad and the PMUs – actually the "4+1" - and not the US-led "coalition" that includes Wahhabi mongrels House of Saud and UAE - that totally smashes to bits the monochord Washington narrative.

"So History in the making must be silenced." [Emphasis in original.] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48186.htm

Meanwhile, USG declares RT and Sputnik to be foreign agents and must register as such -- and Trump had nothing to do with that?!?

Temporarily Sane | Nov 11, 2017 6:30:23 PM | 21
The war on Syria and the Russian "hacking" debacle has corrupted the entire western media. Not that it was ever squeaky clean - far from it - but it was at least somewhat independent from the dominant establishment. There were pauses between the outrageous lies and blatant fact twisting and it did not overtly shill for neoliberal political parties and work overtime pushing massive amounts of propaganda on the public 24/7/365 and relentlessly demonize, in the most crude fashion imaginable, the leaders of some of the the world's most powerful countries and any sovereign nation that values its independence and freedom from Western exploitation.

The media is now now in permanent psy op mode, colonizing the public's mind and jamming people's ability to reason, think critically and even tell fact from fiction. It is only a matter of time before overt repression becomes widespread (to protect our freedoms of course) and the last remnants of democracy give way to an Orwellian/Huxleyite dystopia.

jayc | Nov 11, 2017 6:32:58 PM | 22
CNN covers the Binney/Pompeo meeting, and describes Binney in the headline as a "conspiracy theorist": http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/07/politics/mike-pompeo-william-binney-meeting/index.html
Peter AU 1 | Nov 11, 2017 6:37:08 PM | 23
karlof1 20

If by chance Trump or anyone is genuine about taking down the deep state, they cannot do it by running around in a pathetic attempt trying to fix small issues. They would have to leave the machine to carry on as normal and go for its foundations. I thought about this months ago, and now looking at the latest events, this could be what is happening.

gut bugs galore | Nov 11, 2017 6:52:35 PM | 24
Meanwhile a revolution threatening the federation of Australia is taking place in Canberra utilizing a formless and compliant press corps and a fake issue of dual citizenship. Chaos is a disease agent which has jumped out of the Middle Eastern laboratory into all western nations.
Krollchem | Nov 11, 2017 7:13:34 PM | 25
Educational Youtube videos on how the world works at "Rules for rulers"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig_qpNfXHIU

[Nov 11, 2017] Saudi Deep State Prince Bandar Among Those Arrested In Purge Report Zero Hedge

Can Prince Bandar provide compromising information on Brennan to Trump Justice Department ?
Nov 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
While no doubt Bandar's very well-known role in Saudi "oil for arms" programs which have come to define Saudi relations with the West over the past decades is a trumped up and "selective" charge (insofar as the highest levels of the state have overseen such shady dealing) the al-Yamamah deal in particular - which goes back to the mid-1980's - has been an historical embarrassment to both the UK and Saudi governments (BAE Systems was the prime British contractor involved) for the astounding level of fraudulent accounting exposed in UK courts.

Concerning Prince Bandar's role in the al-Yamamah deal, Middle East Eye continues :

Bandar bought an entire village in the Cotswolds, a picturesque area of central England, and a 2,000-acre sporting estate with part of the proceeds from kickbacks he received in the al-Yamamah arms deal, which netted British manufacturer BAE £43bn ($56.5bn) in contracts for fighter aircraft.

As much as $30m (£15m) is alleged to have been paid into Bandar's dollar account at Riggs Bank in Washington and the affair led to corruption probes in the US and UK, although the case was dropped in the UK in 2006 after an intervention by then-prime minister Tony Blair.

But more likely is that Bandar has been caught up in this week's MBS dragnet for his closeness to Western heads of state and foreign intelligence services. With MBS' aggressive consolidation of power which could result in ascension to the throne at any moment, and with fate of multiple princes and officials still unknown -- not the least of which is now ex-PM of Lebanon Saad Hariri - a shroud of secrecy has resulted in myriad theories concerning what is really happening behind the scenes.

Meanwhile news of Bandar's possible arrest and detention hasn't spread very widely in international media reports as of this writing, but it will be interesting to see the response in the West should the news be confirmed. Will Bandar's friends in Washington and London go to bat for him? Or will Prince Bandar quietly recede into the background of a permanent forced retirement from public life?

Most likely the latter will be the case. Regardless, for friends of the former powerful Saudi intelligence director on either side of the Atlantic and within Saudi Arabia itself, Bandar no doubt knows where all the skeletons are buried, and this alone makes him a worrisome, volatile and unpredictable figure in the midst of a transfer of power.

MK13 -> ludwigvmises , Nov 10, 2017 2:37 PM Yet somehow close connection to Clinton escaped detection, huh? http://www.americanlibertyreport.com/articles/the-clintons-saudi-connect...

This is a Bush/Obama/uniparty/alphabet agencies guy.

JakeSphinx -> ludwigvmises, Nov 10, 2017 5:26 PM

Bandar was the Bush's inside man in Saudi........if he goes down, he might be willing to tell all....about the crooked deals with the Bush Boys....lol......so much to gain, and yet look at the price.......his life!

STP -> MK13 , Nov 10, 2017 5:24 PM

If what they're doing in Saudi Arabia is any indication, it might be a prelude to what's going to happen here. There is no 'draining' the swamp and DJT knows it. They're going to have to use dynamite and lots of it. There's a whole bunch of sealed indictments sitting at the US District Court in DC and we know the Podesta's are just part of it. Imagine the huge snowflake outcry if HRC was among them? Remember, they were screaming at the sky last night! HRC would claim a coup and try to energize that group of idiots to rise up and it may take the National Guard to quell them and jail them. From what I hear, that's exactly the plan...

ludwigvmises , Nov 10, 2017 2:17 PM

Bandar was the piece of shit who lobbied the Bush administration to fly out the entire Bin Laden family from the US without questioning them after 9/11.

hedgeless_horseman -> ludwigvmises , Nov 10, 2017 2:20 PM

Yes, but supposedly it was Chertoff released the Five Dancing Israelis.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-08/do-you-remember-five-men-being-...

pot_and_kettle -> hedgeless_horseman , Nov 10, 2017 2:20 PM

That's the cocksucker who threatened Putin and Sochi 2014 and Putin ended throwing him out of his office ;-)

BaBaBouy -> pot_and_kettle , Nov 10, 2017 2:29 PM

What happens Next ?

Will they all be publicly executed House Of Saud Style ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Silenced Forever

evoila -> BaBaBouy , Nov 10, 2017 2:33 PM

Might as well look into Tom Barrack at Colony Capital....

BaBaBouy -> evoila , Nov 10, 2017 2:45 PM

I'll never get that picture of Thump doing the Woar "Sword Dance" with the Sheiks ...

I think we only have 5% of the actual story thats going on Here ...

"FatFinger" had to hit GOLD hard today for some reason.

wee-weed up -> BaBaBouy , Nov 10, 2017 2:46 PM

Bandar Bush!

BaBaBouy -> wee-weed up , Nov 10, 2017 2:51 PM

Heres The Clue ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4IXm7sEoPo

mc888 -> BaBaBouy , Nov 10, 2017 3:04 PM

I like the drums. But I could do without the soccer chanting.

Pinto Currency -> mc888 , Nov 10, 2017 3:12 PM

Trump and Putin both big smiles today.

Far from over though.

House of Saud's control of Saudi Arabia is in play.

[Nov 11, 2017] Is Hillary Just the "Fall Guy" for the Intel Agencies and their Moneybags Bosses by Mike Whitney

See Wikipedia article CIA influence on public opinion . The role on Brennan probably deserves a special prosecutor and/or a Congressional commettee similar to Church Committee
The question arise: "Was hacking DNC another CIA false flag operation with the specific goal to poison US-Russian relations and using Hillary Clinton as a patsy?"
According fo church committee report: "Approximately 50 of the [Agency] assets are individual American journalists or employees of U.S. media organizations. Of these, fewer than half are "accredited" by U.S. media organizations ... The remaining individuals are non-accredited freelance contributors and media representatives abroad ... More than a dozen United States news organizations and commercial publishing houses formerly provided cover for CIA agents abroad. A few of these organizations were unaware that they provided this cover. [7] "
"Journalist Carl Bernstein , writing in an October 1977 article in the magazine Rolling Stone , claims that the Church Committee report "covered up" CIA relations with news media, and names a number of journalists whom he says worked with the CIA [10] Like the Church Committee report, however, Bernstein does not refer to any Operation Mockingbird."
Notable quotes:
"... "Russian meddling" became the perfect rallying cry for the CIA's broader information operation (IO) that was designed to poison public opinion against "Russian aggression" and to reign in Trump's plans to normalize relations with Moscow. ..."
"... Clinton became the "fall guy" in a darker, deep-state propaganda campaign for which she is only partially responsible. ..."
"... the Steele dossier was shared with the FBI at some point in the summer of 2016 and apparently became the basis for the FBI to seek Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against members of Trump's campaign. ..."
"... More alarmingly, it may have formed the basis for much of the Jan. 6 intelligence "assessment" by those "hand-picked" analysts from three U.S. intelligence agencies -- the CIA, the FBI and the NSA -- not all 17 agencies that Hillary Clinton continues to insist were involved ..."
"... The article proves that the nation's premier law enforcement agency was using parts of a discredited "raw intelligence" report that was paid for by the DNC and was clearly commissioned as a part of a smear campaign -- to spy on members of the opposition party. Clearly, one could easily make the case that the FBI was abusing its extraordinary police-state powers to subvert the democratic process. ..."
"... The FBI, under James Comey, also attempted to use agent Steele for future research but abandoned the idea after parts of the dossier began to surface in the media making it politically impossible to maintain the relationship. ..."
"... The fact that the FBI was willing to build its investigation on the sensational and unverified claims in the DNC-bought-and-paid-for dossier, suggests that the real motive was not to reveal collusion between Trump and Moscow or even to uncover evidence related to the hacking claims. The real goal was to vilify Russia and derail Trump's efforts at détente. ..."
"... Steele's July report helped to prop up the threadbare "hacking" storyline that was further reinforced by the dubious cyber-forensic analysis of DNC servers performed by CrowdStrike, "a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian." ..."
"... Russia-gate is entirely a Democratic Party invention. Both sources of information (Crowdstrike and Steele) were chosen by members of the Democratic hierarchy (through their intermediaries) to create stories that coincided with their political objectives. Due to the obvious bias of the people who funded the operations, neither the methods nor the information can be trusted. But that's just part of the story. The bigger story relates to the role played by the nation's premier intelligence and law enforcement agencies. And that's where we see signs of institutional corruption on a truly colossal scale. ..."
"... Nov. 18: Arizona Sen. John McCain and a former assistant, David Kramer, are told about the existence of the dossier by an associate of Steele's, former British diplomat Sir Andrew Wood. Kramer travels to London later that month to meet with Steele and find out more about the dossier. Steele forwards a copy of the dossier to Fusion, Kramer and McCain. ..."
"... This is a damning admission that the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that was released on January 6, and was supposed to provide rock-solid proof of Russia hacking and collusion, was built (at least, in part) on the thin gruel and specious allegations found in the sketchy "Trump dossier". Former CIA Director John Brennan has refuted this claim, but there's significant circumstantial evidence to suggest that it is true. ..."
"... On December 9, 2016, The Washington Post reported that the CIA determined that Russian hacking was conducted to boost Trump and hurt Clinton during the presidential campaign. This same theory that was propounded in the ICA report just a month later. It appears that Brennan and his "hand-picked" intelligence analysts decided to carefully comb the dossier cherry-picking the most credible allegations to weave into their dubious intelligence Assessment. So even though large sections of the dossier were scrapped, the report itself was used as the foundation for the ICA. ..."
"... It's clear that Brennan had no "information or intelligence" that would lead a reasonable man to think that anyone in Trump's entourage was colluding with Russian officials or agents. The whole story is spun from whole cloth. The disturbing implication however is that Brennan, who was an outspoken supporter of Hillary and equally harsh critic of Trump, was using the CIA's intrusive surveillance powers to spy on a rival political party in the heat of a presidential campaign. If that is not a flagrant example of subverting democracy, then what is? ..."
"... It all started with Brennan, he's the ringleader in this dodgy caper. But Brennan was not operating as a free agent pursuing his own malign political agenda, but as a strong-arm facilitator for the powerful foreign policy establishment which includes leaders from Big Oil, Wall Street, and the giant weapons manufacturers. These are the corporate mandarins who pull Brennan's chain and give Brennan his marching orders. This is how power trickles down in America. ..."
"... So while the moneytrail may lead back to the DNC and Hillary's Campaign, the roots of Russia-gate extend far beyond the politicians to the highest-ranking members of the permanent state. ..."
Nov 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

For nearly a year, Hillary Clinton failed to admit that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee had provided funding for the notorious dossier that alleged Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Then, two weeks ago, the Washington Post published a blockbuster article that proved that Clinton had been misleading the public about her Campaign's role in producing the report.

Following the article's publication, Clinton went into hiding for more than a week during which time she huddled with her political advisors to settle on a strategy for dealing with the crisis.

"Russian meddling" became the perfect rallying cry for the CIA's broader information operation (IO) that was designed to poison public opinion against "Russian aggression" and to reign in Trump's plans to normalize relations with Moscow.

The fact that the CIA had essentially extracted a credible narrative from sections of the notorious dossier, left Hillary with no other option except to play-along even after the votes had been counted. As a result, Clinton became the "fall guy" in a darker, deep-state propaganda campaign for which she is only partially responsible. Here's a little background from Joe Lauria's "must read" article "The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate":

" the Steele dossier was shared with the FBI at some point in the summer of 2016 and apparently became the basis for the FBI to seek Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against members of Trump's campaign.

More alarmingly, it may have formed the basis for much of the Jan. 6 intelligence "assessment" by those "hand-picked" analysts from three U.S. intelligence agencies -- the CIA, the FBI and the NSA -- not all 17 agencies that Hillary Clinton continues to insist were involved .

If in fact the Steele memos were a primary basis for the Russia collusion allegations against Trump, then there may be no credible evidence at all." (Consortium News)

So, were "the Steele memos the primary basis for the Russia collusion allegations against Trump"? This is the pivotal question that still remains largely unanswered. As Lauria notes, the FBI did in fact use the "salacious and unverified" dossier to obtain at least one FISA warrant. This is from The Hill:

"The FBI used the dossier alleging Russian ties to President Trump's campaign associates to help convince a judge to grant a warrant to secretly monitor former campaign aide Carter Page, CNN reports.

FBI Director James Comey has cited the dossier in some of his briefings with lawmakers in recent weeks as one of the information sources used by his bureau to bolster its probe, U.S. officials briefed on the investigation told CNN." ("FBI used Trump dossier to help get warrant to monitor ex-aide: report", The Hill)

The article proves that the nation's premier law enforcement agency was using parts of a discredited "raw intelligence" report that was paid for by the DNC and was clearly commissioned as a part of a smear campaign -- to spy on members of the opposition party. Clearly, one could easily make the case that the FBI was abusing its extraordinary police-state powers to subvert the democratic process.

The FBI, under James Comey, also attempted to use agent Steele for future research but abandoned the idea after parts of the dossier began to surface in the media making it politically impossible to maintain the relationship. This is from a February article in the Washington Post:

"The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump's political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement. The agreement to compensate former MI6 agent Christopher Steele came as U.S. intelligence agencies reached a consensus that the Russians had interfered in the presidential election by orchestrating hacks of Democratic Party email accounts ..

Ultimately, the FBI did not pay Steele. Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele's now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials, according to the people familiar with the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter." ("FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier", Washington Post)

The fact that the FBI was willing to build its investigation on the sensational and unverified claims in the DNC-bought-and-paid-for dossier, suggests that the real motive was not to reveal collusion between Trump and Moscow or even to uncover evidence related to the hacking claims. The real goal was to vilify Russia and derail Trump's efforts at détente.

It's also worth noting , that Steele's earliest report implausibly alleges that the "Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US presidential candidate Trump for at least 5 years." (No one had any idea that Trump would run for president 5 years ago.) The report also details perverted sexual acts involving Trump and urinating prostitutes in a hotel in Moscow. (All fake, of course) The point we are trying to make, is that Steele's first report focused on corruption, perversion and blackmail, whereas, his second installment completely changed direction to cyber-espionage operations on foreign targets.

Why?

It was because, on July 22, 2016, just days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks published 20,000 emails hacked from DNC computers revealing the corrupt inner-workings of the Democratic establishment. In response, Steele decided to craft a story that would support the Dems plan to blame the Russians for the moral cesspit they-alone had created. In other words, his report was a way of "passing the buck".

Steele's July report helped to prop up the threadbare "hacking" storyline that was further reinforced by the dubious cyber-forensic analysis of DNC servers performed by CrowdStrike, "a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian."

The hacking theme was also aided by the deluge of unsourced, evidence-lite articles cropping up in the media, like this gem in the Washington Post:

"Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.

The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC's system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.

The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies " ("Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump", Washington Post)

What's remarkable about the above excerpt is that it follows the same basic approach to propaganda as nearly all the other pieces on the topic. Unlike the lead-up to the Iraq War, where journalists at the New York Times made every effort to create a believable storyline that included references to aluminum tubes, Niger uranium, mobile weapons labs, etc. The media no longer tries to support their narrative with evidence or eyewitnesses. The major media now simply tells people what they want them to think and leave it at that. Even so, it doesn't require much critical thinking to see the holes in the Russia hacking story. One merely needs to suspend judgment long enough to see that main claims all emerge from (Democratic) sources who have every reason to mislead the public. Here's an excerpt from Joe Lauria's article that sums it up perfectly:

"The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: the Steele dossier and the CrowdStrike analysis of the DNC servers.

Think about that for a minute .

In other words, possibly all of the Russia-gate allegations, which have been taken on faith by Democratic partisans and members of the anti-Trump Resistance, trace back to claims paid for or generated by Democrats.

If for a moment one could remove the sometimes justified hatred that many people feel toward Trump, it would be impossible to avoid the impression that the scandal may have been cooked up by the DNC and the Clinton camp in league with Obama's intelligence chiefs to serve political and geopolitical aims." ("The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate", Consortium News)

Russia-gate is entirely a Democratic Party invention. Both sources of information (Crowdstrike and Steele) were chosen by members of the Democratic hierarchy (through their intermediaries) to create stories that coincided with their political objectives. Due to the obvious bias of the people who funded the operations, neither the methods nor the information can be trusted. But that's just part of the story. The bigger story relates to the role played by the nation's premier intelligence and law enforcement agencies. And that's where we see signs of institutional corruption on a truly colossal scale.

As we noted earlier, the Clinton smear campaign would probably have ended after the votes were counted had not the intel agencies, particularly the CIA, decided the hacking story could be used to inflict more damage on Russia. It wasn't Clinton's decision to gather more information for the dossier, but others whose motives have remained largely concealed. Who are they?

According to a timeline in the Daily Caller:

November: The contract between the Democrats, Fusion and Steele ends along with the presidential campaign.

Nov. 18: Arizona Sen. John McCain and a former assistant, David Kramer, are told about the existence of the dossier by an associate of Steele's, former British diplomat Sir Andrew Wood. Kramer travels to London later that month to meet with Steele and find out more about the dossier. Steele forwards a copy of the dossier to Fusion, Kramer and McCain.

Dec. 9: McCain provides a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey during a meeting at the latter's office.

Dec. 13: Steele writes the final memo of the dossier. It alleges that a Russian tech executive used his companies to hack into the DNC's email systems. The executive, Aleksej Gubarev, denied the allegations after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed on Jan. 10, 2017. He is suing both BuzzFeed and Steele.

Jan. 6: Comey and other intelligence community officials brief then-President-elect Trump on some of the allegations made in the dossier.

Jan. 10: CNN reports that the briefing of Trump took place four days earlier. Citing that reporting as justification, BuzzFeed publishes the dossier. (The Daily Mail)

John McCain? Is that who we're talking about? Was it McCain who paid former M16 agent Christopher Steele to add another report to the dossier? Why?

Is it that hard to imagine that a Russophobic foreign policy wonk like McCain -- who has expressed his vehement hatred for Vladimir Putin on the floor of the senate -- would hire a mud-slinging free agent like Steele to craft a story that would further demonize Russia, discourage Trump from normalizing relations with Moscow, and reinforce the theory that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 elections?

Does that mean that McCain may have told Steele (or his intermediaries) precisely what he wanted the final draft to say? It certainly seems probable. And here's something else to mull over. This is from the Business Insider:

Steele gave the dossier to Republican Sen. John McCain. McCain then gave it to the FBI director at the time, James Comey. Comey, along with the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, briefed both President Barack Obama and then-President elect Trump on the dossier's allegations in January.

Intelligence officials purposefully omitted the dossier from the public intelligence report they released in January about Russia's election interference because they didn't want to reveal which details they had corroborated, according to CNN." ("Mueller reportedly interviewed the author of the Trump-Russia dossier -- here's what it alleges, and how it aligned with reality", Business Insider)

This is a damning admission that the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that was released on January 6, and was supposed to provide rock-solid proof of Russia hacking and collusion, was built (at least, in part) on the thin gruel and specious allegations found in the sketchy "Trump dossier". Former CIA Director John Brennan has refuted this claim, but there's significant circumstantial evidence to suggest that it is true.

On December 9, 2016, The Washington Post reported that the CIA determined that Russian hacking was conducted to boost Trump and hurt Clinton during the presidential campaign. This same theory that was propounded in the ICA report just a month later. It appears that Brennan and his "hand-picked" intelligence analysts decided to carefully comb the dossier cherry-picking the most credible allegations to weave into their dubious intelligence Assessment. So even though large sections of the dossier were scrapped, the report itself was used as the foundation for the ICA.

Brennan spearheaded the anti-Russia campaign from the get-go. As early as August 2016, Brennan was providing classified briefings to ranking members of Congress expressing his conviction that Moscow was helping Trump to win the election. The former Director offered no proof to back up his claims nor has he since then. It was also Brennan who gradually persuaded Clapper, Comey and Morrell to join his anti-Russia jihad, although all were reluctant participants at first. Were they won over by compelling secret evidence that has been been withheld from the public?

Not likely. It's more probable that Brennan was merely able to convince them that the powerful foreign policy establishment required their cooperation on an issue that would have grave impact on Washington's imperial plan for Syria, Ukraine, Central Asia and beyond?

Some readers might remember when Brennan testified before Congress way-back on May 23 and boldly stated:

BRENNAN: "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals and it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals."

It's clear that Brennan had no "information or intelligence" that would lead a reasonable man to think that anyone in Trump's entourage was colluding with Russian officials or agents. The whole story is spun from whole cloth. The disturbing implication however is that Brennan, who was an outspoken supporter of Hillary and equally harsh critic of Trump, was using the CIA's intrusive surveillance powers to spy on a rival political party in the heat of a presidential campaign. If that is not a flagrant example of subverting democracy, then what is? Here's a clip from the Washington Times:

"It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama's, who provided the information -- what he termed the "basis" -- for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer .Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians

But he said he believed the contacts were numerous enough to alert the FBI, which began its probe into Trump associates that same July, according to previous congressional testimony from then-FBI director James B. Comey." (The Washington Times)

It all started with Brennan, he's the ringleader in this dodgy caper. But Brennan was not operating as a free agent pursuing his own malign political agenda, but as a strong-arm facilitator for the powerful foreign policy establishment which includes leaders from Big Oil, Wall Street, and the giant weapons manufacturers. These are the corporate mandarins who pull Brennan's chain and give Brennan his marching orders. This is how power trickles down in America.

So while the moneytrail may lead back to the DNC and Hillary's Campaign, the roots of Russia-gate extend far beyond the politicians to the highest-ranking members of the permanent state.

[Nov 10, 2017] Do Virginia and New Jersey Signal Trumps Undoing

"Empire lobby" -- people wellbeing of whom depends of enlargement and maintenance of the global US empire )and that includ employees of large Us tech companies, which all have global reach)-- now votes democratic. Democratic Party became the part of neoliberal globalization.
Nov 10, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fran Macadam , , November 9, 2017 at 2:33 am

Too bad we always get either Democrats or Republicans.

A Hobson's Choice.

George W , , November 9, 2017 at 7:36 am
Virginia was once a red state, then a purple one. But it has been solidly blue for at least 10-15 years. This is because of the huge growth of the federal government in Washington, DC. A large percentage of them live in Northern Virginia.
Mario Diana , says: November 9, 2017 at 9:25 am
The Republicans may be facing trouble ahead, but I would say that the coming troubles have less to do with the president and more to do with the fact that the Republican Congress cannot get its act together. Establishment Republicans still don't get it, as most clearly evidenced with the issue of healthcare. The failure to institute reform and repeal "Obamacare" -- after years of grandstanding about how they were going to do just that -- paints the Republican Congress as a bunch of incompetent boobies.

Reform failed in Congress because the Republican leaders fancied being able to cook up a bill in their backrooms and then strong-arm their "underlings" in the party. Representative government isn't supposed to work that way -- and it clearly isn't working that way now.

The Republicans in Congress better start working with one another, and it's up to Republican leadership to change what it's doing. They are making a laughingstock of the party in a way that will never be matched by silly tweets.

collin , says: November 9, 2017 at 9:43 am
Lessons of Tuesday elections:

1) Republicans should be concerned for 2018 but it is still far enough to draw big conclusions.

... ... ...

ADC Wonk , says: November 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm
Those that are "blaming" the Dem victory on continual growth in federal employment are living in a bubble.

News flash: the number of civilian federal employees is lower than it was all throughout the 1980's. The so-called Dulles Technology Corridor is full of tech businesses, entrepreneurs, etc. Measured by percentage of college degrees, it's one of most highly educated areas in the Nation.

Gillespie lost college educated whites.

MM , says: November 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm
"Of course it is still possible that republicans will continue to vote to subsidize rich folks "

If by rich, you mean those households that currently pay ALL net federal taxes, and by subsidize, you mean letting said households keep more of their own income, then I hope so!

They don't even get a thank you from the Democratic Party, just slogans claiming they don't pay their fair share, even though about 1/3 of those households lean Left.

Hound of Ulster , says: November 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm
Suburbia the base of the GOP since Eisenhower, just delivered a crushing shot across the bow to the Trumpian GOP. If the D.C. Republicans, much less the GOP leadership in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa (all the states where the GOP legislative majorities are dependent on middle-class college educated white voters of the sort who rejected the Republicans across the country on Tuesday), do not heed this warning on taxes and health care, next year could see an electoral beatdown of historic proportions.
Thaomas , says: November 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm
I think this shows that Republicans should move to the center, embrace expanding ACA, advance making the tax system more progressive as they try to make it less economically distorting. get behind comprehensive immigration reform, etc.
MM , says: November 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm
"Those that are 'blaming' the Dem victory on continual growth in federal employment are living in a bubble."

Not entirely. Virginia has the 3rd highest share (about 8%) of civilian federal employees in the country.

And from 2006-2014, total federal employees and *federal retirees* living in Virginia increased by 20%, or about 50,000 people.

JeffK , says: November 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm
I am a 60 year old former Republican. The party left me when George Bush #2 listened to Dick Cheney and the rest of the neo-cons and started the 2nd war in Iraq. Probably the worst mistake in the last 100 years. The middle east is a total mess from this horrendous decision. Let me say that I think GB2 was a decent man, but he was overwhelmed by 9/11,Cheney, and the neocons.

I grew up in New Castle, PA in the 1970's. It was a thriving mill town north of Pittsburgh and east of Youngstown OH. I worked at the Rockwell International Axle plant and paid for my Penn State education with those earnings, working a good but physically demanding union job (7 days a week). That was one plant among many in NC that no longer exist or is a shadow of it's former self (Shenango China, Johnson Bronze, Conn Welding, Universal Rundle, Rockwell Spring Division, etc).

I am now a semi-retired independent computer systems consultant. Lucky enough to have worked hard enough and long enough, and lived frugally, to not worry financially. I should be a natural constituent of the Republican party. But I am no longer a member. The Republican party is now dead to me.

I believe that Trump has destroyed the Republican party. Dead men (and women) walking. And many people I know feel that way. But I understand why people that live in places like New Castle and Johnstown and Youngstown voted for the man. But I also believe that they know, in their hearts, that those jobs are not coming back. Which is shameful. Both political parties allowed those jobs to go overseas.

Voters have seen through the Republicans charade. They are not happy. Without the 2nd worst political candidate in history (Hillary Clinton) to run against (although they continue to try), the Republican party is in real trouble. Trickle down tax cuts that benefit the 1% donor class will not fly with the voters. Destroying the ACA and not providing a better replacement will be dealt with harshly. Figuring out ways to make abortions impossible to maintain will enrage a significant percent of women.

The Republicans are bankrupt of ideas. And they have elected a President (Trump) that is hated by 95% of the Democrats, 80% of the Independents, and 20% of the Republicans. And the Independents are the key to who gets elected. In general, from what I can see, the independents are very dissatisfied with Trump.

Damn right the votes on Tuesday are a reflection of the will of the voters. They are voting against Trump in particular, and against the Republicans in general. Many of the people I are friends with despise Trump, and have become Independents instead of Republicans.

The current Republican policies on Healthcare, Tax Reform, International Relations, the Environment, Abortion, Gun Rights, etc will stain the Republicans for at least a generation.

Now if the Democrats can only find candidates that are moderate and acceptable to the general public. Which VA, WA, and the local races in PA seem to indicate they are capable of.

EliteCommInc. , says: November 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm
"Surely, this is cause for deep worry among Republicans as they enter the 2018 midterm elections."

I agree with the overall advance here. It's not as telling as it was touted. But the more the admin. and the President himself looks, smells and behave like Sec Clinton or other 'run of the mill democrats,' the more likely those who voted for him simply will not turn out to vote.

It becomes increasingly difficult to support someone who is leaving the reasons you voted for in first place. I other word it is beginning too look like there were absolutely no Republican candidates who actually support its member's desires.

grumpy realist , says: November 9, 2017 at 3:46 pm
George W–so I guess that based on your comments we shouldn't have Federal Government employees at all?

Good luck running the country, then.

(If you do an actual comparison of the salaries government employees get vs. what they could get in the private sector, you'll note that they are in fact getting much less than what they could demand. Many of them exchange the stingier salaries for the higher pensions and the higher stability of the job. Are you saying that there is a problem with that?)

KSW , says: November 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm
The real news is that Dems may have also taken the Virginia state house of delegates, which has been solidly Republican in large part due to careful gerrymandering. As a result, It looks like the Dems will be in charge of redistricting after the 2020 census. I expect that after the next cycle or two, Dems will have supermajorities in both state legislative bodies, and will dominate the Congressional delegation as well.
Thomas Hobbes , says: November 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm
Fran Macadam

Too bad we always get either Democrats or Republicans.

Awe, sometimes we get Jesse Venturas or Donald Trumps. Usually even worse, but more entertaining.

Thaomas

I think this shows that Republicans should move to the center, embrace expanding ACA, advance making the tax system more progressive as they try to make it less economically distorting. get behind comprehensive immigration reform, etc.

But this goes against pretty much everything congressional Republicans want and a lot of what their constituents want.

One Guy , says: November 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm
JeffK could be writing my posts. I'm still a Republican because I believe in Republican (historical) ideas, not because I think present Republicans care about the country. I'm considering renouncing my membership in the party because of Trump, or rather, because of GOP politicians' worship of him. I would become an Independent.
EliteCommInc. , says: November 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm
" I guess that based on your comments we shouldn't have Federal Government employees at all?"

I found this n odd take away from the comments. I think it explains the predictable election results. Less to do with Pres Trump and more to do with the employment demographics and poor selections of campaign issues.

MM , says: November 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm
"If you do an actual comparison of the salaries government employees get vs. what they could get in the private sector, you'll note that they are in fact getting much less than what they could demand."

According to the CBO, that's only a true statement statement for the 9% of federal employees with a professional degree or doctorate.

For the 91% of federal employees with a high school degree, some college, or a bachelor's/master's degree, their average salaries are not "much less" than the average salaries for private sector employees with the same education.

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52637-federalprivatepay.pdf

Do you have a better source for your claim?

morganB , says: November 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm
The Democratic victories did not signal the demise of the GOP Trump's stupidity did!
Back Home , says: November 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm
@JeffK

You and I share a demographic, except I'm a hundred some miles further south. And I also left the Republicans because of Iraq and other stupid decisions made in the Middle East. I patiently await a candidate who will pull us out of the Middle East and start focusing on America. Trump obviously isn't that guy, certainly not with all those Israel-owned Republicans in the Congress.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: November 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm
Pundits usually read too much into the results of off-year state and local elections.

True. There is nothing so transitory as the Newest Trend.

Exit polling indicates that healthcare -- not jobs, guns, taxes, immigration, Confederate monuments or abortion -- was the top voting issue in Virginia. Nearly two out of five voters picked it as their first concern.

This may be of greater significance. Republicans seized the initiative in 2010 with horror stories of how the Affordable Care Act was GOING to work, when it went into effect about four years in the future. Now, between the fact that it actually did a fair amount of good, and that neither the GOP establishment nor President Trump have turned out "something really terrific" to replace it, people are drawing sensible conclusions, and it may be for the Dems in 2018 what it was for the GOP in 2010. Ironic, but true.

Still, I agree with Fran Macadam that its a Hobson's choice. For the past ten years or so, polls have consistently reported that about ten percent of Americans trust Republicans in congress, and about fifteen percent trust Democrats in congress. The latter is 50 percent better than their rivals, but its that is a very low bar.

For the 91% of federal employees with a high school degree, some college, or a bachelor's/master's degree, their average salaries are not "much less" than the average salaries for private sector employees with the same education.

So, pay the Ph.D's better, and cut the wages of the maintenance staff?

This is because of the huge growth of the federal government in Washington, DC. A large percentage of them live in Northern Virginia.

Perhaps, but those people voting Democratic in northern Virginia are no longer voting Democratic in Utah or Idaho.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, from the current DNC chair, Tom Perez :

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

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

Second, from 2005-9 DNC chair Howard Dean:

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

Third, from Elizabeth Warren. CNN :

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

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

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

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

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

Were the Agreements "the Same" for Each Campaign?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can We Say that the 2016 Democratic Primary Was Rigged?

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

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

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

to manipulate fraudulently

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

Conclusion

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016