Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Libertarian Philosophy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism
National Security State Key Myths of Neoliberalism Big Uncle is Watching You The Iron Law of Oligarchy Color revolutions Cold War II Two Party System as Polyarchy
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Predator state Corporatism Elite Theory Neo-conservatism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Demonization of Putin Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Fuck the EU Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Neoliberalism and Christianity
Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Neoliberal corruption DNC emails leak Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Disaster capitalism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism American Exceptionalism The Deep State Obama: a yet another Neocon
Neoliberal war on reality In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers War and Peace Quotes
Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

Neoliberalism -- the current social system in the USA and most European countries, Japan, Russia and China (with some minor variations) -- is a very interesting ideology, one that does not dare to speak its name ;-). After a triumphal march of neoliberalism in late 80th and early 90th (with the collapse of the USSR as the high point), neoliberalism entered a crisis in 2008.

This site is slightly skeptical as for long-term viability of Neoliberalism as a social system. After the "triumphal march" over the globe in the late seventies and 80th with the collapse of the USSR (which elite simply changed sides) as the final crescendo of this march neoliberalism might already enter the phase of decline after the crisis of 2008.  The neoliberal ideology  which is, essentially, can  be called "market fundamentalism" is now discredited.  Much like communism was after WWII when it became clear that it can't secure the standard of living for its population superior to the standard of living of common people in Western European countries which remained under the capitalism. Paradoxically this was possible only because communism existed , as it served as a powerful deterrent against the restoration of financial oligarchy. So it's not surprising that the New Deal Capitalism was dismantled after the USSR collapse. Moor did its duty, moor can go ;-). From this point the standard of living of poor and lower middle class in the West start to slide, the slide which was masked by tremendous technological progress on the last 30 years in computers and communications. Still outside top 10-20% of population, the slide of the standard of living and the income is a fact.  The existence of the USSR served as a powerful inhibitor of cannibalistic instincts of the elite in the USA and Western countries. It was communism that secured the dominance of the New Deal capitalism till late 80th.

While neoliberal think tanks try to contain damage, the fatal flaws of neoliberal ideology after 2008 financial collapse also are now apparent and can't be hidden. The key neoliberal country and the key enforcer of neoliberalism over the globe -- the USA -- entered "secular stagnation" period in economics. It is also is trying to fend off the challenge that China economic growth presents to its world dominance. Brexit and the election of Trump mean that the protest against neoliberal globalization entered  the mainstream in the USA in 2016:  Hillary Clinton suffered her electoral fiasco because she was the proponent of status quo, the proponent  of neoliberal globalization and the wars for expansion of neoliberal empire, the candidate who promised to kick the neoliberal can down the road. 

In this sense Trump should probably be viewed as a new stage of this decline, the phase in which financial oligarchy not only failed to put the desired puppet into White House and was forced to unleash a witch hunt (aka Russiagate or "purple revolution") to put Trump into the line, or depose him via "color revolution" mechanisms (During elections Trump used to have anti-globalization inclinations -- anathema to neoliberals -- and that's why he was so viciously attacked after he has won; but those inclinations almost completely disappeared after the election).

As currently, I see no viable new alternative to neoliberalism, our analysis of neoliberalism has distinct New Deal capitalism bias. Although the restoration of the New Deal capitalism looks impossible because the social base of it -- the alliance of corporate management and trade union leaders, was destroyed due to the defection of corporate managers to the side of capital owners. This realignment of political power makes possible the restoration of the rule of the financial oligarchy, which happened in late 1980th.

And yes, my friends, like Moliθre's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it., you are living under neoliberal regime at least since 1980, most probably without knowing it.  Current events are much easier to analyze if you use the framework proposed in those pages. On interesting nuance is that being some kind of "Trotskyism for rich" this regime is almost as far from real democracy as the USSR one party system. It is something Sheldon Volin called "inverted totalitarism". In certain aspects it is even more anti-democratic than the capitalism of the Gilded Age with which it  has some uncanny similarities.  

Another interesting aspect of neoliberalism is the existence of so-called "neoliberal rationality" (compare with the "proletarian mindset" of Bolshevism ). As well as the extent of brainwashing into this rationality, especially at the university level (via neoclassical economics). As well as  the level and the sophistication of the use of propaganda -- especially for propagating a set of neoliberal myths very similar to what were created by Bolshevism. For example, the neoliberal myths of "Free trade", "free market" (why not "fair" in both cases?) , "labor market", "human capital", etc.  In reality, the key idea behind this Potemkin Village-style ideological facade is the redistribution of wealth up toward top 1%  (or even more to the top 0.01%).  Exactly like was the case with Bolshevism, which while proclaiming the false facade of "dictatorship of proletariat" mercilessly suppressed unions and kept 90% of population at the standard of living much lower than in Western and even Eastern Europe. Although not close to starvation which is the ideal of neoliberal "plantation economy" (implemented, for example, by Wal-Mart, with its below subsistence wages), with atomized and isolated from each other "debt slaves."

In other words, there are some striking similarities between Soviet nomenklatura and neoliberal oligarchy, similarities that no objective scholar studying neoliberalism  can ignore. See also Two-Party System as Polyarchy -- "the first after the post system" proved to be ideal for neoliberal regime as it allows financial oligarchy preselect  candidates from both Parties. Effectively  turning the election into expensive staged event -- a grandiose political spectacle, if you wish. but with predicted outcome as stage directors who perform casting are members of a close circle of neoliberal elite -- mostly financial oligarchy.  It could have been adopted by Soviet nomenklatura as well, as it very effectively prevents any real challenges to the existing political regime by pre-selection of two candidates running to the given position and two parties, which are essentially a "soft" and "hard" factions of a single party of financial oligarchy. 

The level of "synchronicity" in coverage of foreign events by neoliberal MSM also reminds me the level typical for Soviet Union. With all MSM repeating the State Department talking points and in general going out their skin be politically correct stooges of the neoliberal regime.

Yet another very interesting aspect of neoliberal regime is the level of public apathy, limited  public discourse and even vocabulary (try to find the word "neoliberal" in WaPo ;-)  as well as epidemic of narco-addition (especially in Rust Belt, which is more severely hit by neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing). Which is not that dissimilar to the epidemic of alcoholism under Bolshevism. When common people see no future for themselves and their children they tend to engage in self-destructing behaviour.   Sheldon Wolin called this approach to suppressing of dissent "inverted totalitarism."

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-). the intent of this set of pages intent is to fight this trend and present a "slightly skeptical" view of this important social phenomenon.  

It is also important to understand that the level of hostility to Trump by the "deep state" is directly connected with three main (and very quickly betrayed) promises that Trump made during elections:

  1. No more neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and industries;
  2. No more wars for expansion of neoliberal empire;
  3. Jobs for all Americans

All three were the direct revision of neoliberal ideology postulates, as well as departure from the "neoliberal rationality".  That's why the counter-attack of both the "Deep State" and neoliberal MSM on Trump was so vicious, with well coordinated set of leaks, appointment of Special Prosecutor (on fake pretext), re-launch of McCarthyism, and campaign of demonization of Trump and his administration in media.  In the level of outrage that writers of Pravda during Stalin "Show Trials" would find  completely in line with their own writings -- they so vividly resembles the attacks on "revisionists" in the USSR during Stalinism, that you may wish to revisit books devoted to those trials  ;-).

What is new is that elements of color revolutions technology, which were used against Trump and his administration by "neoliberal nomenklatura" to preserve power. The ultimate goal is to remove Trump from power, and if this is not possible to emasculate his for the next four years. This technology was used probably for second time in the USA history. Nixon's case was somewhat similar and also involves decisive intelligence agencies role (the core of the Deep State) in removal the President, JFK is first such case but without any color revolution elements. It was more like Chilean style coup d'ιtat.  Initially those technologies were designed  to topple "unfriendly" to neoliberalism regimes in xUSSR space and "resource nationalists" in the Middle East (as well as against China in Hong Cong). That suggests that after the election of 2016 neoliberals felt a real threat from Trump "revisionism".

Deployment of those technologies does not spell well with the social stability because delegitimization of elected government has lasting effects. Just look at Ukraine which was the victim of the most recent "color revolution" experiment. They have now two breakaway regions and the drop of the standard of living of population around 200% or more.  the country also now is a debt slave. In other words when the gin of color revolution is out of the bottle it is not that easy to put it back and the events can turn in the direction not anticipated by the originators of such a color revolution.

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Who Rules America


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

-- Shota Rustavelli(1172–1216)

[Dec 18, 2017] Strangelove impersonations

Dec 18, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

MakeBeerNotWar -> Smallworld5 , 4 Dec 2014 03:17

'MEIN FUHRER!! - I CAN WALK!!!!'

LOL Oh, yes- same here. My late father loved Peter Sellers and to my mother's annoyance would sometimes do Strangelove impersonations w jerking arm. His WWII convoy officer veteran half German (and fully German fluent) father also thought the film was funny as hell and few German Americans hated the Nazis as much as my grandfather did.

I saw the film for the very first time as a US Marine PFC stationed in Okinawa Autumn 1981 during of all things, a big typhoon which kept us confined to some scattered barracks up at then remote- and beautiful- Camp Schwab. Two bored captains touring my deserted barracks I stood duty in noticed in one cubicle a Beta video player and copy of the film and- kid you not- when I confessed I had never seen the film, ordered me to watch it with them and I was hooked. The two officers laughed hysterically like naughty little school boys on the bunk they sat on as I pulled up a wooden footlocker. Utterly brilliant and imo has aged well- a masterpiece.

Making of docu:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ6BiRtGTAk

'I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.' - Sellers' creepy chuckle in response to Sterling Hayden's deranged rant alone still has me howling.

I grew up during the "hottest" part of the Cold War with my family living literally next to a Nike nuclear SAM site(w armed sentries and scary dogs inside the barbed wire) in San Pedro, CA. - we never lost any sleep over it even tho my '50s conscript Army vet dad quipped we were a high priority target in any war w the Soviets.

http://www.ftmac.org/lanike1.htm

http://www.coldwarla.com/missile-sites.html

- I find myself missing the Cold War sometimes- the moral certainties were better defined.

[Dec 18, 2017] Who is Ashton Carter

This was three years ago. nothing changed...
Notable quotes:
"... Along the way, he was one of only two senior people openly advocated for a pre-emptive attack on N. Korea. Even Bush thought that was too much, and even Cheney did not support it, but Carter pushed it. ..."
"... One can wonder how a neocon, wife of a leading neocon, came to be in charge in Ukraine, to declaim "f-the-EU" and boast of spending billions to promote this second color revolution, giving cookies to open Nazis along the way. ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
MakeBeerNotWar -> Smallworld5 , 3 Dec 2014 20:23
- Dr Strangelove would approve.
MakeBeerNotWar , 3 Dec 2014 20:21
I heard earlier today on the radio Carter is Obama's nom- I laughed as I called it here last week- Obama's Deep State masters' top pick as a very smooth below radar Trojan Horse neo con who will fly through confirmation and has doubtless has big plans. The GOP and the MIC will love him, new wars will be cooked up for Americans to die in and I'm sure he has less than democratic views on Americans who will protest their govt for this. The Soviets' crushing of the 1968 Prague Spring makes for a nice blueprint on how to silence dissent if the anti Occupy tactics don't work and a dialed down version of martial law could be here to stay.
MarkThomason , 3 Dec 2014 18:41
Ashton Carter was one of the most extreme of the neocon hawks in the upper levels of the Bush Admin. His specific assignment was to ensure there could never be a "peer competitor" by throwing money at the bleeding cutting edge of weapons technology.

Along the way, he was one of only two senior people openly advocated for a pre-emptive attack on N. Korea. Even Bush thought that was too much, and even Cheney did not support it, but Carter pushed it.

One can wonder how a neocon, wife of a leading neocon, came to be in charge in Ukraine, to declaim "f-the-EU" and boast of spending billions to promote this second color revolution, giving cookies to open Nazis along the way.

However, now with Carter we see that the neocons have captured the policy part of the Obama Admin -- it wasn't an accident, it was design that we did that, and now will go back into Iraq, attack Syria, and attack Iran.

midnightschild10 , 3 Dec 2014 18:03
What could go wrong with someone advocating bombing North Korea? Just the type of person the job requires. The only criteria for the job was: must love war. So, while we are bombing Iraq, Syria, Yemen, occasionally Pakistan, we can figure out how much we will pay contractors for armament to take care of Iran and North Korea as well. He will certainly fit into Obama's cabinet as another yes man. Just like so many who have no military experience outside of watching war movies and video games, he is exactly what Obama wants. Someone who agrees how easy it is to start wars. He probably won't face much opposition since Obama has become an official member of the neocons now running the country. Anyone who would caution that the unending wars are taking the country down the road that destroyed the Soviet Union need not apply. The US doesn't feel that domestic issues are a priority, why put money into fixing the failing infrastructure when you can buy more drones. He'll do fine as long as he takes his orders from Nuland, Psaki and Harf.
zelazny , 3 Dec 2014 17:51
Another sociopath willing to do the biding of the sociopaths who run the USA. The rich profit immensely from the department of war, as this article intimates. Every dead Muslim child means profits for rich Americans.
Micheal Cairagan , 3 Dec 2014 17:25
Don't know about secretary of war, but he was great in "The Butterfly Effect".
MBDifani , 3 Dec 2014 16:05
I wonder if Mr. Carter will last as long as the late Sec. of Defense McNamara who served from early '61 to early 1968 when Pres. Johnson moved him to the head of the UN World Bank. A former secretary was William Cohen, a Republican, who served under Clinton. Leon Panetta and Robert Gates did well, but both wrote critical books about Obama after leaving. A complex job, dealing with the White House and the four star hawks in the Pentagon. Oh, a few doves too.

[Dec 18, 2017] Kellyanne Conway Says Fix Was In Against Trump In Fox News Interview That Alleged FBI Texts Evidence Of Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Watters' World, ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | www.yahoo.com

Conway appeared on Jesse Watters program, Watters' World, to talk about the newly revealed content of text messages sent between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

When asked what she thought they meant when they said "they need to protect America from Trump and need to have an insurance policy against his presidency," Conway tore into the investigation's credibility.

Trending: Trump and Putin Keep Calling Each Other for Praise, Discuss North Korea and Terrorism

"The fix was in against Donald Trump from the beginning, and they were pro-Hillary. We understand that people have political views but they are expressing theirs with such animus and such venom towards the now president of the United States they can't possibly be seen as objective or transparent or even-handed or fair," she said.

As she spoke, the banner below Conway and Watters screamed "A COUP IN AMERICA?"

Watters proceeded to ask "how dangerous" Conway thought it was that people were "plotting what appears to be some sort of subversion campaign" against Trump.

"It's toxic, it's lethal, and it may be fatal to the continuation of people arguing that that matter is since behind us, he won he's the president, and the Mueller investigation is something separate," she answered.

Conway then slammed critics for defending the integrity of the probe by alleging that Trump is against the FBI, repeating the claim that he isn't under investigation, "we're told."

Released on Tuesday, Strzok and Page's messages referred to Trump as an "idiot" and "douche. At one point, Strzok told Page he was considering "an insurance policy" if Trump were elected. Page had also told Strzok that maybe he was meant to "protect the country from that menace," according to records reviewed by Politico.

Watters assessed the texts as evidence of a coup, or sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from the government, in America.

"The investigation into Donald Trump's campaign has been crooked from the jump. But the scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now, if that's true, we have a coup on our hands in America," he said.

[Dec 18, 2017] Moon of Alabama -- Crooked Timber

Dec 18, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

Sandwichman 12.16.17 at 6:56 pm (no link)

Who is this "left" that "can't let go of the voters who remain committed to Trumpism"? Sounds like something one might read in the New York Times (if one still read the New York Times ).

Electoral "victories" don't mean a thing if they are not backed up with direct action -- the readiness and willingness to exercise extra-parliamentary power. The only decisive power that "the left" could have is the withholding of labour power. As long as the political discourse is confined to palaver about popularity polls, there can be no challenge to a status quo that only progressively gets worse.

What people who want positive change need to realize is that a GENERAL STRIKE doesn't need to be "won" like a voting contest to have leverage. All that is needed is a demonstration of a credible threat to the uninterrupted accumulation of surplus value.

Why have "social democratic" governments been such shit for the last 40 years or so? Because finance has threatened them with the withdrawal of credit. Withholding capital is the substantive power of the political right; withholding labour power is the substantive power of the political left. Voting is only meaningful to the extent it represents something substantive. Otherwise it is a hollow symbol.

Omega Centauri 12.16.17 at 8:29 pm ( 3 )
My understanding is that there wasn't much change in voter turnout by group, but roughly 20% of white voters who normally vote Republican voted against Moore.
At least that was my takeaway from this:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/12/alabamas-white-voters-abandoned-roy-moore-in-large-numbers/

So rather than 10%ish of whites voting D, we had roughly 30%, a pretty substantial swing.

Layman 12.16.17 at 9:17 pm ( 4 )
"My understanding is that there wasn't much change in voter turnout by group "

Voter turnout was dramatically different when you compare with the last year there was no President on the ballot, e.g. 2014. Turnout in the cities was up 31%, turnout in white suburbs was up 18%, and turnout in college towns up 24%. Turnout in white rural counties was down 5%, while turnout in black rural counties was up 10%.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/13/us/politics/alabama-senate-election-roy-moore.html

Heliopause 12.16.17 at 9:56 pm ( 5 )
"On election day, the left needs to convince the right – not through voter suppression or intimidation but through rhetoric and speech – that their movement is going nowhere, so they shouldn't either."

Thing is, crabby old conservative white people are the most reliable voting bloc.

"That's exactly what happened in Alabama"

What happened in Alabama was a sustained, weeks-long campaign of negative publicity, virtually 100% directed at Moore (who by the way was an extremely controversial character long before these sex allegations), which was unprecedented in scope for a Senate race. Even so he just barely lost. If you think you can replicate this hundreds of times over across the country, hey, go for it.

More realistically, what the left needs to do is give the tens of millions of non-voters something to vote FOR, rather than praying that all your opponents will be extremist theocrat sex fiends.

ph 12.16.17 at 10:38 pm ( 6 )
Interesting. Moore's primary win was itself a rejection of GOP cronyism. The president and the national party supported the candidate of the establishment. Moore's victory then was touted as a 'defeat' for Trump, and now his 'defeat' is also a 'defeat' for Trump. The GOP establishment rejected Trump and Moore, so if it was a victory for anybody I'd say they have grounds for celebration. Moore added nothing for Trump other than headaches, so I'm certain he's utterly indifferent to the success, or failure, of anyone but himself.

Yes, GOP voters stayed home, as you point out in the article, but offer scant evidence that they did because they are 'dis-spirited' or see their ideas 'going nowhere.' GOP voters are winning across the board with the tax cut of their dreams arriving in time to celebrate Christmas. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, climate change is no longer a national threat, and the better informed understand that the GOP is remaking the judiciary.

Congress has never been popular among GOP voters and it's probably a mistake to read too much into one atypical election. I do think that there's a good chance that GOP success and loathing of the president and the congress, combined, could depress turnout in 2018.

alfredlordbleep 12.16.17 at 11:13 pm ( 7 )
ph@6: GOP voters are winning across the board with the tax cut of their dreams arriving in time to celebrate Christmas. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, climate change is no longer a national threat, and the better informed understand that the GOP is remaking the judiciary.

Omits the savaging of healthcare of the neediest*. It's amazing that the no. 1 issue for Va voters (exit? poll) was healthcare, but reporters/analysts rather write about anything else.
Rightwing fell a vote short of cutting Medicaid by $800B/10yrs, but they get an estimate of, say, $300B/10yrs for tax cut numbers game by killing ACA's mandate, eh?

*Oh, yes, ask the White Christians' Party how they square it. . . Once again, it's a White Christmas.

John Quiggin 12.17.17 at 2:40 am ( 8 )
There was a big shift among non-evangelical white voters. Self-described evangelicals had slightly lower turnout but voted 80 per cent for Moore when they turned out. The response to the outcome certainly seems to have included a shift towards a much more negative treatment of evangelicals as a group. Most notably, it's now being routinely observed that, for white people, evangelicalism isn't Christian at all, but a cultural label attached to a mixture of white nationalism and the prosperity gospel. This piece in the NY Times hits most of the main points.
rogergathmann 12.17.17 at 9:20 am (no link)
2. Sandwichman, you are so right!

However, to go out of the question of political power for a moment, I don't see the question about Trump voters as one of "how can we convert them." Rather, the question is about the existential conditions in the U.S. that have not only produced this reactionary class, but endowed it with such enormous power. Personally, I would say that their power stems from the enormous failure of American liberalism to pursue, after the 60s, its promises – a failure that can be measured by the enormous disparity between white and black household wealth, the destruction of unions, the advent of law and order policies that were thinly disguised apartheid gestures, and the takeover of the two parties by a managerial class completely connected to the patterns in capitalism traced by Piketty and Saenz – a class that has succeeded in creating the acceptance of corporations as vessels for looting by upper management, with all its consequences. To my mind, these are all consequences of the way mid-century American liberalism fell victim to its own contradictions, and its collapse has left a vast vacuum.

Heliopause 12.17.17 at 5:44 pm ( 13 )
@11
"If we could replicate that, across the country, the Republican Party would be wiped off the electoral map."

Let's do it. I look forward to every election henceforth being decided on the basis of whether one of the candidates groped teenagers or not. Might want to mix in some different sex acts, though, just to keep people from getting bored.

bruce wilder 12.17.17 at 7:32 pm ( 14 )
I read your Guardian piece, again and backwards or from the bottom up -- a method consonant with its themes -- and liked it better.

That "addled white upper-middle class", self-satisfied that racism is something impolite and unattractive that other people do, obsessed with CNN's daily attempts to rhyme russiagate with Watergate and Mueller with Starr, stumbles on in its media-driven fog. The mercenary consultants who have the apparatus of the Democratic Party firmly in their neoliberal deathgrip will read the exit polls and send silent lovenotes to the suburban white Republican women voters, not desperately poor blacks (who mostly do not vote and have nothing to gain from voting). I cannot say I feel "the left" won; it looks like the Right won, in an intramural tussle in which "the left" participated only in cheering from the bleachers, not playing on the field. The "mild centrist" will go to Washington and do as he is bid, when the bid is high enough.

The Marshall Project dutifully tends to my cognitive dissonance, assuring me Doug Jones's election is a victory for sentencing reform. The waiter is assuring me that the dish being served was a great choice from a menu written by people completely disinterested in my views, tastes or welfare.

Who is rightly convinced here that his cause is a loser?

The targets are many and multifarious. The poor blacks? I suspect the hopelessness of democracy in Alabama from their viewpoint remains undisturbed. (At least they got thank you's on Facebook!)

The ones I would like to convince of the hopelessness of politics are not the rebellious populists in the Republican electorate who rejected Luther Strange, but the ones who proposed Luther Strange. Or, who put forward Doug Jones, "mild centrist". Neither group is likely to read reasons to give up into these results. And both constitute "the Right" in a practical, pro-plutocracy sense.

Pessimism on the left has many flavors, but seems to me to be appropriate to the political climate. Doug Jones's election is evidence that "the system works" -- at least it can be interpreted that way by people who really need to be disabused of their complacency that the system is working and their conviction that the only people who think otherwise are either irredeemable racists and fools or silly impractical idealistic socialists.

The American political drama takes place on a stage, where the abundant evidence that the political system as a whole is failing to properly govern or enable fundamental reform is ignored. The outcries of those alarmed are ignored and muffled, channeled away from anything to do with electoral politics. The echo chamber of the Media silences with its noise.

I get the reasons why the impulse among the authoritarian followers of the Right to see demolition done is alarming. Also, why handing the nitro to Trump, Bannon or Moore might compound the reasons for alarm. But, the Right figuring out how to handle this rebellion does not help "our" rebellion on the left.

Pavel A 12.17.17 at 10:08 pm ( 15 )
Doug Jones, while being a decent, boring guy, is not in any way representative of the kinds of races that are going to be run in 2018. Most GOPers know how to dog whistle and keep their dicks in their pants. Meanwhile, Jones is already listing slowly to the right, with his bullshit overtures to bipartisanship, voting in line with the senate Republicans and putting all that sexual harassment stuff behind us (also see Northam in VA). The corporate Dems' new holy incantation is "Ich bin ein centrist!" and it's not likely to get them a lot of wins against racists and kleptocapitalist looters, particularly in states with a lower proportion of PoC voters.

[Dec 18, 2017] Russia-Gate Is State-Sponsored Paranoia by Gilbert Doctorow

It's pretty interesting fact: "Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID."
Notable quotes:
"... The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia that is called Russia-gate. Obnoxious and dangerous as this officially encouraged madness may be, it is, alas, nothing new. As from 9/11, the same kind of group hypnosis was administered from the Nation's Capital on the body politic to serve the then agenda of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, turning back civil liberties that had accrued over generations without so much as a whimper from Congress, our political elites and the country at large. ..."
"... Foreign policy issues are instrumentalized for domestic political objectives. In 2001 it was the threat of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world attacking the American homeland. Today it is the alleged manipulation of our open political system by our enemies in the Kremlin. ..."
"... There is in the United States a significant minority of journalists and experts who have been setting out the facts on why the Russia-gate story is deeply flawed if not a fabrication from the get-go. In this small but authoritative and responsible field, Consortium News ..."
"... Perhaps the most significant challenge to the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking released on January 6, 2017 was the forensic evidence assembled by a group of former intelligence officers with relevant technical expertise known as VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). Their work, arguing that the attack on the DNC computers was an inside job by someone with access to the hardware rather than a remote operation by persons outside the Democratic Party hierarchy and possibly outside the United States, was published in Consortium News ..."
"... The final word on Russia's electoral preferences during the October 20 show was given by the moderator, Vladimir Soloviev: "There can be no illusions. Both Trump and Clinton have a very bad attitude to Russia. What Trump said about us and Syria was no compliment at all. The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria." ..."
"... Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID. ..."
"... And for those Americans who do travel abroad, the world outside US borders is all too often just an object of prestige tourism, a divertissement, where the lives of local people, their concerns and their interests ..."
"... JFK murder was about replacing the president elected by the people. Russia-gate has the same goal. ..."
"... The current cycle of fake news about Russia is definitely not a new phenomenon in the United States. ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | russia-insider.com

"The two (Trump and Clinton) cannot greet one another on stage, cannot say goodbye to one another at the end. They barely can get out the texts that have been prepared for them by their respective staffs. Repeating on stage what one may have said in the locker room."

"Billions of people around the world conclude with one word: Disgrace!"

- Vladimir Zhirinovsky - prominent Russian politician, leader of a major party in parliament.

The American public is now experiencing mass paranoia that is called Russia-gate. Obnoxious and dangerous as this officially encouraged madness may be, it is, alas, nothing new. As from 9/11, the same kind of group hypnosis was administered from the Nation's Capital on the body politic to serve the then agenda of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, turning back civil liberties that had accrued over generations without so much as a whimper from Congress, our political elites and the country at large.

This time the generalized paranoia started under the nominally left of center administration of Barack Obama in the closing months of his presidency. It has been fanned ever since by the centrists in both Democratic and Republican parties who want to either remove from office or politically cripple Donald Trump and his administration, that is to say, to overturn the results at the ballot box on November 8, 2016.

Foreign policy issues are instrumentalized for domestic political objectives. In 2001 it was the threat of Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world attacking the American homeland. Today it is the alleged manipulation of our open political system by our enemies in the Kremlin.

Americans are wont to forget that there is a world outside the borders of the USA and that others follow closely what is said and written in our media, especially by our political leadership and policy elites. They forget or do not care how the accusations and threats we direct at other countries in our domestic political squabbling, and still more the sanctions we impose on our ever changing list of authoritarians and other real or imagined enemies abroad might be interpreted there and what preparations or actions might be taken by those same enemies in self-defense, threatening not merely American interests but America's physical survival.

In no case is this more relevant than with respect to Russia, which, I remind readers, is the only country on earth capable of turning the entire Continental United States into ashes within a day. In point of fact, if Russia has prepared itself for war, as the latest issue of Newsweek magazine tells us, we have no one but our political leadership to blame for that state of affairs. They are tone deaf to what is said in Russia. We have no concern for Russian national interests and "red lines" as the Russians themselves define them. Our Senators and Congressmen listen only to what our home grown pundits and academics think the Russian interests should be if they are to fit in a world run by us. That is why the Senate can vote 98-2 in favor of making the sanctions against Russia laid down by executive order of Barack Obama into sanctions under federal legislation as happened this past summer.

There is in the United States a significant minority of journalists and experts who have been setting out the facts on why the Russia-gate story is deeply flawed if not a fabrication from the get-go. In this small but authoritative and responsible field, Consortium News stands out for its courage and dogged fact-checking and logic-checks. Others on the side of the angels include TruthDig.com and Antiwar.com .

The Russia-gate story has permutated over time as one or another element of the investigation into Donald Trump's alleged collusion with the Kremlin has become more or less promising. But the core issue has always been the allegation of Russian hacking of DNC computers on July 5, 2016 and the hand-over of thousands of compromising documents to Wikileaks for the purpose of discrediting putative Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and throwing the election to Donald Trump, who had at that time nearly clinched the Republican nomination.

Perhaps the most significant challenge to the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking released on January 6, 2017 was the forensic evidence assembled by a group of former intelligence officers with relevant technical expertise known as VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). Their work, arguing that the attack on the DNC computers was an inside job by someone with access to the hardware rather than a remote operation by persons outside the Democratic Party hierarchy and possibly outside the United States, was published in Consortium News ("Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence") on July 24, 2017.

The VIPS material was largely ignored by mainstream media, as might be expected. An editorial entitled "The unchecked threat from Russia" published by The Washington Post yesterday is a prime example of how our media bosses continue to whip up public fury against collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin even when, by their own admission, "no conclusive proof has surfaced."

The VIPS piece last July was based on the laws of physics, demonstrating that speed limitations on transfer of data over the internet at the time when the crime is alleged to have taken place rendered impossible the CIA, NSA and FBI scenario of Russian hacking In what follows, I will introduce a very different type of evidence challenging the official US intelligence story of Russian hacking and meddling in general, what I would call circumstantial evidence that goes to the core issue of what the Kremlin really wanted. Let us consider whether Mr. Putin had a motive to put his thumb on the scales in the American presidential election.

In the U.S., that is a slam-dunk question. But that comes from our talking to ourselves in the mirror. My evidence comes precisely from the other side of the issue: what the Kremlin elites were saying about the US elections and their preferred candidate to win while the campaign was still going on. I present it on a privileged basis because it is what I gathered on my several visits to Moscow and talks with a variety of insiders close to Vladimir Putin from September through the start of November, 2016. Moreover, there is no tampering with this evidence on my part, because the key elements were published at the time I gathered them, well before the US election. They appeared as incidental observations in lengthy essays dealing with a number of subjects and would not have attracted the attention they merit today.

* * * *

Political talk shows are a very popular component of Russian television programming on all channels, both state-run and commercial channels. They are mostly carried on prime time in the evening but also are showing in mid-afternoon, where they have displaced soap operas and cooking lessons as entertainment for housewives and pensioners. They are broadcast live either to the Moscow time zone or to the Far East time zone. Given the fact that Russia extends over 9 time zones, they are also video recorded and reshown locally at prime time. In the case of the highest quality and most watched programs produced by Vesti 24 for the Rossiya One channel, they also are posted in their entirety and in the original Russian on youtube, and they are accessible worldwide by anyone with a computer or tablet phone using a downloadable free app.

I underline the importance of accessibility of these programs globally via live streaming or podcasts on simple handheld gadgets. Russian speaking professionals in the States had every opportunity to observe much of what I report below, except, of course, for my private conversations with producers and panelists. But the gist of the mood in Moscow with respect to the US elections was accessible to anyone with an interest. As you know, no one reported on it at the time. American media simply were not interested in knowing what Russians were thinking since that might get in the way of their construction of what Russians should be thinking.

The panelists appearing on these different channels come from a rather small pool of Russian legislators, including chairmen of the relevant committees of the Duma (lower house) and Federation Council (upper house), leading journalists, think tank professors, retired military brass. The politicians are drawn from among the most visible and colorful personalities in the Duma parties, but also extend to Liberal parties such as Yabloko, which failed to cross the threshold of 5% in legislative elections and received no seats in parliament.

Then there are very often a number of foreigners among panelists. In the past and at the present, they are typically known for anti-Kremlin positions and so give the predominantly patriotic Russian panelists an opportunity to cross swords, send off sparks and keep the audience awake. These hostile foreigners coming from Ukraine or Poland are Russian speakers from their childhood. The Americans or Israelis who appear are generally former Soviet citizens who emigrated, whether before or after the fall of Communism, and speak native Russian.

"Freshness" is an especially valued commodity in this case, because there is a considerable overlap in the names and faces appearing on these talks whatever the channel. For this there is an objective reason: nearly all the Russian and even foreign guests live in Moscow and are available to be invited or disinvited on short notice given that these talk programs can change their programming if there is breaking news about which their audiences will want to hear commentary. In my own case, I was flown in especially by the various channels who paid airfare and hotel accommodation in Moscow as necessary on the condition that I appear only on their shows during my stay in the city. That is to say, my expenses were covered but there was no honorarium. I make this explicit to rebut in advance any notion that I/we outside panelists were in any way "paid by the Kremlin" or restricted in our freedom of speech on air.

During the period under review, I appeared on both state channels, Rossiya-1 and Pervy Kanal, as well as on the major commercial television channel, NTV. The dates and venues of my participation in these talk shows are as follows:

For purposes of this essay, the pertinent appearances were on September 11 and 26. To this I add the Sixty Minutes show of October 20 which I watched on television but which aired content that I believe is important to this discussion.

My debut on the number one talk show in Russia, Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, on September 11 was invaluable not so much for what was said on air but for the exchange I had with the program's host, Vladimir Soloviev, in a five minute tête-à-tête in the guests' lounge before the program went on air.

Soloviev obviously had not yet read his guest list, did not know who I am and stood ready to respond to me when I walked up to him and unceremoniously put to him the question that interested me the most: whom did he want to see win the US presidential election. He did not hesitate, told me in no uncertain terms that he did not want to see Trump win because the man is volatile, unpredictable and weak. Soloviev added that he and others do not expect anything good in relations with the United States in general whoever won. He rejected the notion that Trump's turning the Neocons out of government would be a great thing in and of itself.

As I now understand, Soloviev's resistance to the idea that Trump could be a good thing was not just an example of Russians' prioritizing stability, the principle "better the devil you know," meaning Hillary. During a recent chat with a Russian ambassador, someone also close to power, I heard the conviction that the United States is like a big steamship which has its own inertia and cannot be turned around, that presidents come and go but American foreign policy remains the same. This view may be called cynical or realistic, depending on your taste, but it is reflective of the thinking that comes out from many of the panelists in the talk shows as you will find below in my quotations from the to-and-fro on air. It may also explain Soloviev's negativism.

To appreciate what weight the opinions of Vladimir Soloviev carry, you have to consider just who he is. That his talk show is the most professional from among numerous rival shows, that it attracts the most important politicians and expert guests is only part of the story. What is more to the point is that he is as close to Vladimir Putin as journalists can get.

In April, 2015 Vladimir Soloviev conducted a two hour interview with Putin that was aired on Rossiya 1 under the title "The President." In early January 2016, the television documentary "World Order," co-written and directed by Soloviev, set out in forceful terms Vladimir Putin's views on American and Western attempts to stamp out Russian sovereignty that first were spoken at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007 and have evolved and become ever more frank since.

Soloviev has a Ph.D. in economics from the Institute of World Economics and International Relations of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was an active entrepreneur in the 1990s and spent some time back then in the USA, where his activities included teaching economics at the University of Alabama. He is fluent in English and has been an unofficial emissary of the Kremlin to the USA at various times.

For all of these reasons, I believe it is safe to say that Vladimir Soloviev represents the thinking of Russian elites close to their president, if not the views of Putin himself.

On September 27 , I took part in the Sixty Minutes talk show that was presented as a post mortem of the first Trump-Clinton debate the day before. I direct attention to this show because it demonstrates the sophistication and discernment of commentary about the United States and its electoral process. All of this runs against the "slam-dunk" scenario based on a cartoon-like representation of Russia and its decision makers.

The show's hosts tried hard to convey the essence of American political culture to their audience and they did some effective research to this end. Whereas French and other Western media devoted coverage on the day after the debates to the appearance of the American presidential candidates and especially to Hillary (what else attracts comment from the male world of journalism if not a lady's hair styling and sartorial choices), 'Sixty Minutes' tweaked this aspect of the debates to find politically relevant commentary.

To make their point, presenter Yevgeny Popov came on stage in a blue suit and blue tie very similar in coloring to Trump's, while his wife and co-presenter Olga Skabeyeva was wearing a garment in the same red hue as Hillary. They proceeded to note that these color choices of the candidates represented an inversion of the traditional colors of the Democratic and Republican parties in American political tradition. And they took this a step further by declaring it to be in line with the inversion of policies in the electoral platforms of the candidates. Hillary had taken over the hawkish foreign policy positions of the Republicans and their Neoconservative wing. Donald had taken over the dovish foreign policy positions normally associated with Democrats. Moreover, Donald also had gone up against the free trade policies that were an engrained part of Republican ideology up until now and were often rejected by Democrats with their traditional financial backers from among labor unions. All of these observations were essentially correct and astute as far as the campaigns went. It is curious to hear them coming from precisely Russian journalists, when they were largely missed by West European and American commentators.

As mentioned above, foreigners are often important to the Russian talk shows to add pepper and salt. In this case, we were largely decorative. The lion's share of the program was shared between the Russian politicians and journalists on the panel who very ably demonstrated in their own persona that Russian elites were split down the middle on whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton was their preferred next occupant of the Oval Office

The reasons given were not what you heard within the USA: that Trump is vulgar, that Trump is a bigot and misogynist. Instead the Russian Trump-skeptics were saying that he is impulsive and cannot be trusted to act with prudence if there is some mishap, some accidental event occurring between US and Russian forces in the field, for example. They gave expression to the cynical view that the positions occupied by Trump in the pre-election period are purely tactical, to differentiate himself from all competitors first in his own party during the primaries and now from Hillary. Thus, Trump could turn out to be no friend of Russia on the day after the elections.

A direct answer to these changes came from the pro-Trump members of the panel. It was best enunciated by the senior politician in the room, Vyacheslav Nikonov. Nikonov is a Duma member from Putin's United Russia party, the chair of the Education Committee in the 6th Duma. He is also chair of a government sponsored organization of Russian civil society, Russian World, which looks after the interests of Russians and Russian culture in the diaspora abroad.

Nikonov pointed to Trump's courage and determination which scarcely suggest merely tactical considerations driving his campaign. Said Nikonov, Trump had gone up against the entire US political establishment, against the whole of corporate mainstream media and was winning. Nikonov pointed to the surge in Trump poll statistics in the couple of weeks preceding the debate. And he ticked off the 4 swing states which Trump needed to win and where his fortunes were rising fast. Clearly his presentation was carefully prepared, not something casual and off-the-cuff.

During the exchange of doubters and backers of Trump among the Russians, one doubter spoke of Trump as a "non-systemic" politician. This may be loosely interpreted a meaning he is anti-establishment. But in the Russian context it had an odious connotation, being applied to Alexei Navalny and certain members of the American- and EU-backed Parnas political movement, and suggesting seditious intent.

In this connection, Nikonov put an entirely different spin on who Trump is and what he represents as an anti-establishment figure. But then again, maybe such partiality runs in the family. Nikonov is the grandson of Molotov, one of the leading figures who staged the Russian Revolution and governed the young Soviet state.

Who won the first Trump-Clinton debate? Here the producers of Sixty Minutes gave the final verdict to a Vesti news analyst from a remote location whose image was projected on a wall-sized screen. We were told that the debate was a draw: Trump had to demonstrate that he is presidential, which he did. Clinton had to demonstrate she had the stamina to resist the onslaught of 90 minutes with Trump and she also succeeded.

The October 20 program Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, which I watched on television from abroad, was devoted to the third Clinton-Trump debate. My single most important conclusion from the show was that, notwithstanding the very diverse panel, there was a bemused unanimity among them regarding the US presidential electoral campaign: that it was deplorable. They found both candidates to be disgraceful due to their flagrant weaknesses of character and/or records in office, but they were also disturbed by the whole political culture. Particular attention was devoted to the very one-sided position of the American mass media and the centrist establishments of both parties in favor of one candidate, Hillary Clinton. When Russians and former Russians use the terms "McCarthyism" and "managed democracy" to describe the American political process as they did on the show, they know acutely well whereof they speak.

Though flamboyant in his language the nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR Party, touched on a number of core concerns that bear repeating extensively, if not in full:

"The debates were weak. The two cannot greet one another on stage, cannot say goodbye to one another at the end. They barely can get out the texts that have been prepared for them by their respective staffs. Repeating on stage what one may have said in the locker room.

Billions of people around the world conclude with one word: disgrace! This is the worst electoral campaign ever. And mostly what we see is the style of the campaign. However much people criticize the USSR – the old fogies who ran it, one and the same, supposedly the conscience of the world.

Now we see the same thing in the USA: the exceptional country – the country that has bases everywhere, soldiers everywhere, is bombing everywhere in some city or other. They are making their 'experiments.' The next experiment is to have a woman in the White House. It will end badly.

Hillary has some kind of dependency. A passion for power – and that is dangerous for the person who will have her finger on the nuclear button. If she wins, on November 9th the world will be at the brink of a big war "

Zhirinovsky made no secret of his partiality for Trump, calling him "clean" and "a good man" whereas Hillary has "blood on her hands" for the deaths of hundreds of thousands due to her policies as Secretary of State. But then again, Zhirinovsky has made his political career over more than 30 years precisely by making outrageous statements that run up against what the Russian political establishment says aloud. Before Trump came along, Zhirinovsky had been the loudest voice in Russian politics in favor of Turkey and its president Erdogan, a position which he came to regret when the Turks shot down a Russian jet at the Syrian border, causing a great rupture in bilateral relations.

The final word on Russia's electoral preferences during the October 20 show was given by the moderator, Vladimir Soloviev: "There can be no illusions. Both Trump and Clinton have a very bad attitude to Russia. What Trump said about us and Syria was no compliment at all. The main theme of American political life right now is McCarthyism and anti-Russian hysteria."

This being Russia, one might assume that the deeply negative views of the ongoing presidential election reflected a general hostility to the USA on the part of the presenter and panelists. But nothing of the sort came out from their discussion. To be sure, there was the odd outburst from Zhirinovsky, who repeated a catchy line that he has delivered at other talk shows: essentially that the USA is eating Russia and the world's lunch given that it consumes the best 40% of what the world produces while it itself accounts for just 20% of world GDP. But otherwise the panelists, including Zhirinovsky, displayed informed respect and even admiration for what the United States has achieved and represents.

The following snippets of their conversation convey this very well and do not require attribution to one or another participant:

"America has the strongest economy, which is why people want to go there and there is a lot for us to borrow from it. We have to learn from them, and not be shy about it."

"Yes, they created the conditions for business. In the morning you file your application. After lunch you can open your business."

"America is a very complex country. It does not pay to demonize it. We have to understand precisely what we like and do not like. On this planet there is no way to avoid them. Whoever becomes president of the USA, the nuclear parity forces us to negotiate and reach agreement."

"The US has opened its doors to the most intelligent people of the world, made it attractive for them. Of course, this builds their exceptionalism. All directors, engineers, composers head there. Our problem is that we got rid of our tsar, our commissars but people are still hired hands. The top people go to the States because the pay is higher."

How are we to understand the discrepancy between the very low marks the panelists gave the US presidential race and their favorable marks for the US as an economic and military powerhouse. It appears to result from their understanding that there is a disconnect between Washington, the presidency and what makes the economy turn over. The panelists concluded that the USA has a political leadership at the national level that is unworthy and inappropriate to its position in the world. On this point, I expect that many American readers of this essay will concur.

* * * *

Ever since his candidacy took off in the spring of 2016, both Liberal Interventionists and Neoconservatives have been warning that a Donald Trump presidency would mean abandonment of US global leadership. They equated Donald's "America First" with isolationism. After all, it was in the openly "isolationist period" of American political history just before the outbreak of WWII that the original America First slogan first appeared.

However, isolationism never left us, even as the United States became engaged in and eventually dominated the world after the end of the Cold War. Even today more than half of the US Senators do not possess passports, meaning they have never been abroad, barring possible trips to Canada using their driver's licenses as ID.

And for those Americans who do travel abroad, the world outside US borders is all too often just an object of prestige tourism, a divertissement, where the lives of local people, their concerns and their interests do not exist on the same high plateau as American lives, concerns and interests. It is not that we are all Ugly Americans, but we are too well insulated from the travails of others and too puffed up with our own exceptionalism.

It is not surprising that in the US foreign policy is not a self-standing intellectual pursuit on a chessboard of its own but is strictly a subset of domestic policy calculations, and in particular of partisan electoral considerations. Indeed, that is very often the case in other countries, as well. The distinction is that the US footprint in the world is vastly greater than that of other countries and policy decisions taken in Washington, especially in the past 20 years of militarized foreign-policy making, spell war or peace, order or chaos in the territories under consideration.

As regards the Russian Federation, the ongoing hysteria over Russia-gate in particular, and over the perceived threat Russia poses to US national interests in general, risks tilting the world into nuclear war.

It is a luxury we manifestly cannot afford to indulge ourselves.

TONY LANE , December 17, 2017 9:59 AM

But we all have to agree that the USA is the more infantile of all The Nations, and since the end of the last war they have made no effort to grow up. They have created Russia Gate where no other nation would Dream up such Trivia.

Kjell Hasthi -> TONY LANE , December 17, 2017 1:50 PM

JFK murder was about replacing the president elected by the people. Russia-gate has the same goal. When the American president is enemy, you are not American

Jimmy Robertson , December 17, 2017 9:22 AM

As shown in this article, the American media has a long track record of misreporting key news items:

https://viableopposition.bl...

The current cycle of fake news about Russia is definitely not a new phenomenon in the United States.

tom -> Jimmy Robertson , December 17, 2017 9:23 AM

"Remember the Maine!"

GKW -> tom , December 17, 2017 2:13 PM

Don't forget the Turner Joy and the gulf of Tonkin.

John Tosh , December 17, 2017 9:47 AM

Can someone tell the big fat cowards exercising around North Korea to please shut the hell up? Cowards make a lot of noise. When Libya was invaded there were no exercises, when Iraq was invaded there were no exercises...... when Vietnam was invaded there were no exercises....

It is obvious to the world that the fat cowards cannot attack a nuclear armed country. They are too yellow bellied to do anything but beat their chest like some stupid gorilla in an African jungle.

Please cut out the announcements of exercises after exercises, it is clogging the airwaves. We are all tired of your stupid exercises... if you want to attack go ahead and get your fat asses whipped like a slave running away from its masters.

Shameless cowards are now becoming highly annoying... it can be called Propaganda terrorism. Cut that nonsense out. You cannot beat North Korea, you know it, the rest of the world knows it. You cannot fight China or Russia, the rest of the world knows it ... so please shut up once and for all.

You are terrorizing the airwaves with your exercise after exercise after exercise. Practice control of the ships that are becoming a maritime hazzard to commercial ships. That is what you need to practice.

Nobody is impressed with your over-bloated expensive war equipment which fail under war conditions. Cut out the exercises before we start turning off our ears for your propaganda.

YELLOW BELIED COWARDS!!!!! Go poison an innocent person or kill a child....it may make you feel better... Big fat cowards.!

Guy John Tosh , December 17, 2017 1:16 PM

I am also very tired of the bluster . They flap their gums and taunt. Enough already . You have made fools of yourselves in the eyes of the world .

All the while the real diplomacy is going on between South Korea and China with North Korea paying close attention, I am sure.The Russian / Chinese proposal of a rail system from South Korea through North Korea and into China connecting to the connection grid of all of Asia is a far greater prospect for the peace initiative than the saber rattling presently outwardly being displayed.

ALTERNATE HISTORY John Tosh , December 17, 2017 6:15 PM

They keep raising the ante, and the North Koreans keep calling their bluff. They are made to look ridiculous as they don't have a winnable hand and the North Koreans know it.

tom , December 17, 2017 9:39 AM

"American media simply were not interested in knowing what Russians were thinking since that might get in the way of their construction of what Russians should be thinking".

Reminds me of the classic American boss's remark:

"Any time I want your opinion, I'll tell you it".

Emmet Sweeney , December 17, 2017 4:31 PM

The whole thing is orchestrated by the Zionist state within a state which controls not only America but most of the West - and own the entire mainstream media. They cannot forgive Trump for wanting to make peace with Russia. Their hatred of Christian Russia is visceral and unhinged.

tom , December 17, 2017 9:20 AM

'...by their own admission, "no conclusive proof has surfaced."'

This is actually quite a neat and elegant example of the kind of deceptive language routinely used by politicians and the media.

It is, of course, entirely true that no conclusive proof has surfaced. Indeed, that must follow from the equally true and indisputable fact that no proof of any kind has surfaced. Actually, nothing even vaguely resembling proof has surfaced. There is no evidence at all - not the slightest scrap.

But by slipping in that little adjective "conclusive" the journalist manages to convey quite a strong impression that there is proof - only not quite conclusive proof.

It is just as dishonest and cynical as Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign remark, "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience".

CaperAsh tom , December 17, 2017 4:17 PM

Yes, but R's comment was delightfully witty, and a great 'high ground manoeuvre.'

John C Carleton , December 17, 2017 7:20 AM

Russiangate is concocted BS, to keep the ignorant American sheep , from understanding Israel picked the "president of the USA".
That American children are murdering innocent children in foreign lands, for the benefit of, not Israel, it is just a figment of the imagination, as the USSR was, and the USA is, but the owners of Israel, City of London, Usury bankers.
Pedophile scum!

Kjell Hasthi John C Carleton , December 17, 2017 1:43 PM

- understanding Israel picked the "president of the USA".

The fraud is in every election district. Israel cannot afford the bussing of Liberals. This is too large for some poor nation like Israel. You are making up "Israel", just like Gordon Duff. It tells me you are the same as Gordon Duff.

rosemerry , December 17, 2017 3:29 PM

What an excellent article. If only people who have a very small knowledge of Russia/USA relations would bother to read this and reflect upon it, a lot of misconceptions could be cleared up if goodwill is part of the picture.

thomas malthaus , December 17, 2017 2:11 PM

http://www.foxnews.com/poli...

It appears Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump are cooperating on terrorism. Specifically, the threats regarding St. Petersberg, Russia.

A liberal nutcase might call this collusiion; others would describe it as cooperation.

Common sense or reason triumphs!

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch thomas malthaus , December 17, 2017 2:56 PM

Sure is "interesting" that the CIA knows exactly where the "terrorists" are in Russia.

So "nice" of them to inform their "partner" right before the attack.

How "pragmatic" of the Russians to enthuse thanks and offer support to Daddy.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what really went down, although the numpty RF leadership can't seem to stop falling over itself thanking Uncle Sham.

thomas malthaus Nationalist Globalist Oligarch , December 17, 2017 4:08 PM

I think at times the CIA is actually assisting the Russian security services with terror operations. I realize it doesn't make sense with Langley assisting ISIS in Syria, but that's the world we appear to have: selective cooperation.

I don't know if the FSB has the levels of electronics signals intelligence the US has, I do know the US and Russia may have cooperated in raids resulting in deaths of two Caucaus Emirates leaders in 2014-2015. I believe that group has since disbanded and members probably blended into other terror groups.

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch thomas malthaus , December 18, 2017 12:18 AM

Stupid is as stupid does.

rosewood11 , December 17, 2017 2:03 PM

The thing that is absolutely ridiculous is that the American media and Deep State are what is causing this trouble. I don't know why they want to have a World War so badly, but the only thing keeping our two countries from destruction is Vladimir Putin's hard work and good nature, and Trump's defiance of his "staff." These Deep State actors in the US have hidey-holes they can run to in case of the unthinkable, but they couldn't care less about the people of the US--let alone Russia. Their day is coming, and they'll be praying for their mountains to fall on them when it does. Anyone in the US that's paying any attention at all knows the real story on this, and none of those who do are blaming anyone in Russia. If the day ever comes that the US Deep State takes to their bunkers, they better be prepared to stay in there--Balrogs or no Balrogs--because those of us who manage to survive above will be looking for their sorry azzes when they come out!!!

You can call me Al rosewood11 , December 17, 2017 5:59 PM

I think that is a great comment.

Just to take your comment a little further ;- get to know every plumber and builder in your area as I am, get on a friendly basis and ask about these "Deep State actors in the US have hidey-holes" over a pint or two.

Then I am starting a crowdfunding fund to bring in "hundreds of thousands" to pay them to screw up their sewage facilities in their hidey-holes SO THEY CAN down in their own BS.

Mahmood Mandhrani , December 18, 2017 12:56 AM

Hy Friends I am Khan.All Famous news Paper columns,editorials and Blogs in my Blog pleez come and read many Things.
http://kingt20.blogspot.com

Stop Bush and Clinton , December 17, 2017 8:41 PM

After Uranium One, it would make sense to assume Russia would have preferred Hitlery in the White House - Uranium One gives Russia something they know all the details of and something they know the US public won't take lightly, so they could easily have blackmailed Hitlery with leaking those details.

Of course they also know Hitlery is a massive warmongering Nazi terrorist, but then again, looks like Trump doesn't differ very much from her on that.

Kjell Hasthi Stop Bush and Clinton , December 17, 2017 10:29 PM

Trump is doing something that scares the elite more than another bloody war. If Trump succeed US public will be brought into shock, and go nuts (we will all be scared to death if we see some alien sitting beside News anchor. The children will go pale)

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch , December 17, 2017 2:54 PM

No need for paranoia, it is a veritable American love fest at the Kremlin, RIA, etc., ever since the CIA informed Moscow that they had "information" on an imminent attack in Russia.

Funny how the CIA has better intel on terrorism in Russia than the Russians do, even stranger than the RF leadership doesn't seem to question the situation what so ever.

Got to hand it to the Americans, a couple of months ago Putin joked about RF "cells" in the USA and now the CIA hands the RF a real cell all ready to go murder some Russians.

Some people talk a good game while some people actually take action.

MJM , December 17, 2017 2:41 PM

Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a great politician.

Guy , December 17, 2017 1:07 PM

For those of you that have some video viewing time available , you will probably enjoy the lecture at the National Press Club , not nearly well attended I might add for this quality venue, of Gilbert Doctoro.
http://www.informationclear...
I would highly recommend his latest book also .I am approx half way already and well worth the read.

Superior Europe , December 17, 2017 11:12 AM

New legatum prosperity index is up: Europeans enjoy the greatest quality of life worldwide, Russians fall into more impoverishment and low quality of life.

Its no secret that, for the past 150 years, Russian's wealth, quality of life and life expectancy is unacceptably low for European standards</strong).>Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden Netherlands and Denmark occupying the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 7th and 8th places respectively.

View Hide
Kjell Hasthi Superior Europe , December 17, 2017 1:37 PM

- low for European standards ... </strong)> .... Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden Netherlands and Denmark

When you do copyworks, include your source. RI is not for illiterate globalist bots who cannot read an answer. The quality of trolls is now too low. The globalists are now hiring junk?

"German media reported on Saturday that BND covertly provided a number of journalists with information containing criticism of Russia before the data were disclosed by the agency."

Superior Europe is employed by Zionist BND?

You can call me Al Kjell Hasthi , December 17, 2017 6:03 PM

I have him/it blocked, but I have never heard of that name before, so him/it has changed it.

I am glad and amazed you saw it with more knowledge than me it seems - HTF do you do that ?.

Superior Europe Superior Europe , December 17, 2017 11:15 AM

Of course what you can expect from the morally and politically bankrupted Russia where:

--First moral bankruptcy: Hunting down journalists
--Second moral bankruptcy: Hunting down LGBT people
--Third moral bankruptcy: Unacceptably low life expectancy (for the western standards) due to alcoholism and street violence
--Fourth moral bankruptcy: Poverty and impoverishment, with lowest income being BELOW the poverty line
--Fifth moral bankruptcy: So many Russian women exercising the "world's oldest profession" in Europe...

According to the index:

View Hide

[Dec 18, 2017] Prepare! Pursue!! Prevail!!! by Brian Cloughley

Dec 15, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The waves, the artificial tides of anti-Russian propaganda continue to beat upon the ears and eyes of Western citizens, spurred by US politicians, bureaucrats and tycoons whose motives vary from duplicitous to blatantly commercial. It is no coincidence that there has been vastly increased expenditure on US weaponry by Eastern European countries.

Complementing the weapons' build-up, which is so sustaining and lucrative for the US industrial-military complex, the naval, air and ground forces of the US-NATO military alliance continue operations ever closer to Russia's borders.

Shares and dividends in US arms manufacturing companies have rocketed, in a most satisfactory spinoff from Washington's policy of global confrontation, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) records that "arms sales are recognized widely as an important instrument of state power. States have many incentives to export arms. These include enhancing the security of allies or partners; constraining the behavior of adversaries; using the prospect of arms transfers as leverage on governments' internal or external behavior; and creating the economics of scale necessary to support a domestic arms industry."

The CRS notes that arms deals "are often a key component in Congress's approach to advancing US foreign policy objectives," which is especially notable around the Baltic and throughout the Middle East, where US wars have created a bonanza for US weapons makers -- and for the politicians whom the manufacturers reward so generously for their support. (Additionally, in 2017 arms manufacturers spent $93,937,493 on lobbying Congress.)

Some countries, however, do not wish to purchase US weaponry, and they are automatically categorized as being influenced by Russia, which is blamed for all that has gone wrong in America over the past couple of years. This classification is especially notable in the Central Asian Republics.

The US military's Central Command (Centcom) states that its "area of responsibility spans more than 4 million square miles and is populated by more than 550 million people from 22 ethnic groups, speaking 18 languages . . . and confessing [ sic; probably 'professing'] multiple religions which transect national borders. The demographics create opportunities for tension and rivalry." Centcom is deeply engaged in the US wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, while supporting Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen, and the extent of its influence in the Pentagon's self-allotted geographical Area of Responsibility is intriguing, to say the least. Some of its priorities were revealed in March 2017 by the Commander of this enormous military realm, General Joseph Votel, in testimony to the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington.

General Votel's description of US "responsibilities" was astonishing in its imperialistic arrogance.

As Commander of Centcom, General Votel gave the Armed Services Committee a colorful tour of his territory, describing nations in terms ranging from condescendingly supportive to patently insolent, and he devoted much time to describing relations with countries abutting Russia, Iran and China, which nations, he declared , are trying "to limit US influence in the sub-region." That "sub-region" includes many countries immediately on the borders of Russia, Iran and China, and averaging 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) from Washington.

First he dealt with Kazakhstan with which the US has its "most advanced military relationship in Central Asia" in furtherance of which Washington is "making notable progress . . . despite enduring Russian influence." It is obviously unacceptable to the Pentagon that Russia wishes to maintain cordial relations with a country with which it has a border of 6,800 kilometers. Then General Votel went into fantasyland by claiming that "Kazakhstan remains the most significant regional contributor to Afghan stability . . ." which even the members of the Congressional Committee would have realized is spurious nonsense.

But more nonsense was to follow, with General Votel referring to Kyrgyzstan in patronizing terms usually associated with a Viceroy or other colonial master of a region that Votel describes as "widely characterized by pervasive instability and conflict," which he failed to note were caused by the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He told the Committee that Kyrgyzstan "sees political pressure from its larger, more powerful neighbors, including Russia, hosting a small Russian airbase outside the capital, Bishkek. Despite ongoing challenges in our bilateral and security cooperation, we continue to seek opportunities to improve our mil-to-mil relationship." He did not explain why Kyrgyzstan should be expected to embrace a military alliance with United States Central Command, but Viceroys don't have to provide explanations.

Votel then moved to describe Tajikistan with which "our mil-to-mil relationship is deepening despite Moscow's enduring ties and the presence of the military base near Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe, Russia's largest military base outside of its borders." Not only this, says Votel, but China (having a 400 kilometer border with Tajikistan) has had the temerity to have "initiated a much stronger military cooperation partnership with Tajikistan, adding further complexity to Tajikistan's multi-faceted approach to security cooperation."

No : China hasn't added any complexity to Tajikistan's circumstances. What has complicated their relations is the fact that Afghanistan is in a state of chaos, following the US invasion of 2001, and drugs and terrorists cross the border (1,300 kilometers long) from Afghanistan into Tajikistan, which is trying to protect itself. During its sixteen years of war in Afghanistan there has been no attempt by the United States to secure that border.

None of these countries wants to be forced into a military pact with the United States, and Turkmenistan (border with Afghanistan 750 kilometers) has made it clear it doesn't want to be aligned with anyone. But General Votel states that its "UN-recognized policy of 'positive neutrality' presents a challenge with respect to US engagement." No matter what is desired by Turkmenistan, it seems, there must always be a way for the United States Central Command to establish military relations and, as General Votel told the Defence Committee, "we are encouraged somewhat by Turkmenistan's expressed interest in increased mil-to-mil engagement with the US within the limits of their 'positive neutrality' policy."

In the minds (to use the word loosely) of General Votel and his kind, it doesn't matter if a country wants nothing whatever to do with the United States' military machine, and wants very much to be left alone to get on with its affairs without interference. Adoption of such a policy by any nation presents a "challenge" and the United States, which in this region is overseen by General Votel's Central Command, is determined to seek military "engagement" irrespective of what is desired by governments. Arms sales would swiftly follow.

Votel's tour of his area of responsibility covered Afghanistan, about which his most absurd assertion was "I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world. I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there."

There was not a shred of evidence provided, but the Committee accepted his pronouncement without question. If an allegation is made about Russia it doesn't matter if it is false. It must be believed. But unfortunately for the imperial Votel and his deferential audience, a person with some sense of truth and balance came up two months later with a statement rubbishing Votel's unfounded and provocative accusation. In May the Director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency told a Senate Committee that "We have seen indication that [Russia] offered some level of support [to the Taliban], but I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred." The mainstream media gave no publicity to the truth, and continue to blame Russia for all the ills that befall the US Empire, at home and overseas.

The state of affairs was summed up admirably by Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation on December 4 when he wrote that "Central to any national-security state is the need for official enemies, ones that are used to frighten and agitate the citizenry. If there are no official enemies, the American citizenry might begin asking some discomforting questions: What do we need a national-security state for? Why not abolish the CIA and dismantle the military-industrial complex and the NSA. Why can't we have our limited-government, constitutional republic back?"

The Motto of the Pentagon's Central Command is "Prepare, Pursue, Prevail." and the Central Asian Republics would be well-advised to bear in mind these threats and think hard about the underlying motif of the US military-industrial complex which is "Propagandize, Provoke, Profit."

[Dec 17, 2017] Congress hearing reveal t>he attempt to defeat and then depose Trump by employers of FBI, CIA and the Department of Justice

Set of YouTube video on the subject. Some exchanges (especially the first two) are very interesting indeed. Although Rosenstein mostly ignored the questions.
There are several facts which suggest that employees of CIA, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the neoliberal/globalist wing of Democrat Party (Clinton wing), used the power of their offices and (with the assistance of foreign nationals) tried to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump, to collect "insurance" -- compromising materials on him in case he win, and after his surprise win, to provide a basis for his impeachment and removal from the Office by forcing on his administration the Special Prosecutor.
From the Congressional investigations involving the Department of Justice and the FBI it looks like that those institutions are protecting themselves at the expense of transparency and accountability to the American people.
In other words, the government employees involved consider the survival of the Deep State more important than the survival of the Constitution. That is the definition of national security state.
Dec 16, 2017 | youtube.com

[Dec 17, 2017] Matt Bruenig What Actually Happened in Alabama

In no way this victory means endocement of clinton wing of DemoRats.
Dec 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , December 16, 2017 at 5:27 am

My own personal take, from 16,000 kilometers away, is not that it was a matter of black and white voters or rich and poor voters but something that is a bit more simpler and it is this. If you stand a reasonable, moderate candidate against a raging nut job, then the majority of the times the moderate will win. If you stand a vile, corrupt candidate up against a raging nut job, then there is an even chance that the raging nut job will win. Alabama is an example of the former and the US itself in 2016 an example of the later.

WobblyTelomeres , December 16, 2017 at 7:10 am

You are too kind. Truthfully, if Roy Moore hadn't (allegedly) molested underage girls, he would have won. He would still be a raging nut job (or as Lambert describes him, a swivel-eyed loon).

I think that the future of Alabama politics is controlled by white millennials, though. I certainly would like to see how Moore fared among that segment. From conversations with my sons and their friends, it appears the Republican party is widely recognized as a confederacy of contemptible dunces.

digi_owl , December 16, 2017 at 9:47 am

While i am glad to see sanity prevail, it worries me that allegations of a sexual nature is what it takes to get people to sit up and take notice.

Even worse in that we are talking allegations, not a court delivered verdict of guilt.

All this suggests that witch hunts still work in the modern day.

Samuel Conner , December 16, 2017 at 7:35 am

A sad irony is that in 2016, many establishment Ds, including IIRC the Clintons themselves, were hoping for a DJT primary win on the theory that they would get the kind of result that Jones

mpalomar , December 16, 2017 at 8:38 am

Yes that sums it up. There is not much consolation in Moore's narrow loss for those hoping the deep south in particular but the country in general might having shaken off its hallucinatory vision of what American governance should look like.

How would a regional Bernie Sanders type candidate have done in Alabama in a general election against Moore? The NPR barber interview linked a few days ago raises the question by suggesting Jones was largely silent on the issues that mattered (to that man) and therefore how a more vocal advocate for the poor, public education, universal health care would have fared against Moore.

MDS , December 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

I'm not sure if that's entirely fair, he was very vocal on access to healthcare (especially for lower income citizens) and made it really the core policy piece of his campaign. One of his other major policy pieces (job retraining) also for into that mold pretty nicely. He didn't frame things as starkly as rich v poor, but had a pretty traditional (I.e., not neoliberal) democratic message.

mpalomar , December 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm

That's interesting and hopeful that a candidate might even try to push issues like single payer, pro union, anti right-to-work, $15 minimum wage and do even better against Moore.

The NC story on Jones' win put it this way, "Admittedly, this was more a vote against the horrorshow of Roy Moore than a strong endorsement for Jones, who didn't stand for much beyond being the other guy."
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/12/doug-jones-scores-upset-alabama-senate-race.html

I am likely unfairly judging Alabama and the deep south from another country and without the context of cable news and the MSM reporting, just assuming the standard Democratic Party line of saying little concrete on issues while inflating a giant, empty promise balloon of hope and change.

Potato Guy , December 16, 2017 at 8:44 am

Rev Kev: is your information about the "nut job" solely based on the reports from the media? Or have you met the man, lived in Alabama, experienced the culture or measured the degree of commitment to their cultural beliefs?

Having run for state level office, I understand the vitriol of the opposition. And having lived in Alabama, I understand the culture.

Consider that a politician is a slippery character trying to appease many sides and influences. Whereas a fundamentalist Christian stands for something specific and that belief system is attacked.

Perhaps the white voters didn't want Alabama to be judged by the media and they chose the easiest path.

The Rev Kev , December 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

Hi. Even in the Antipodes we get news reports from places like Alabama as that election was so newsworthy. My take is what I have personally seen of clips of this bloke in action and most people here were singularly unimpressed. That man should really swap that pony he rides on for a thoroughbred or something that size by the way. And yes, I have horses here.
And if an Aussie politician pulled out a gun in the middle of a rally here like More did there, the cops would probably arrest him after crash-tackling him. Granted politicians can take on the style of the people that they want to serve but I am willing to bet that the bulk majority of Alabamans are decent people that have never been accused of dealings with underage girls to the point that they have found themselves banned from a shopping mall. Alabama deserves better. Your Republicans there should have gone with a better candidate who would have almost certainly won that election in your state IMHO.

FluffytheObeseCat , December 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

And then there is Moore's "charitable foundation", through which he has been paying himself and family a decent salary for a few years, courtesy of politically like-minded donors. Most of whom are from Alabama, and who don't themselves have anywhere near such nice salaries.

Even by the standards of Deep South politics, the man is a skank, and many down there know it. The chickenhawk allegations were the cherry on top.

John Zelnicker , December 16, 2017 at 9:27 am

@Nick – Rumors of Roy Moore's peccadilloes have been floating around for years, but none of the women were ready or willing to speak out. The #MeToo movement, I think, has allowed many women, all over the country, to finally feel that they might get a fair shake from speaking out, rather than being put through the wringer of disbelief and further harassment. It was only with the victim's disclosures that this story could be exposed.

Biph , December 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I have a couple of takeaways, first Moore was running well behind a typical Republican before the sexual misconduct allegations 6-10% ahead of Jones rather than the 15-20% one would expect. Second that this really does show a path for Dems to be competitive and even win in the deep south by carrying 1/4-1/3 of the white vote and holding on to 90% plus of the AA vote. A pro-life (with a sane position on birth control), pro-gun (though not necessarily pro-NRA) economic leftest could rack up a lot of votes in places like MS, AL, LA and SC. I doubt the DNC are smart enough to see this or even want to if they did, but maybe some qualified people with such a belief set will see it and run in Dem primaries for local, State and Federal offices.

Mattski , December 16, 2017 at 11:23 pm

This, like the Clinton loss, is perhaps too close an election to lay to any single factor. So while I find this analysis salutary, I don't necessarily buy it as THE answer. Two others that I would suggest are crucial: the degree of the white vote that was dampened by the ugly news about a candidate it might otherwise have turned out for; and Shelby's call for write-in. As I went to bed on the night, the number of write-in votes outweighed Jones's margin.

A side note: this article suggests that Moore's church, and a number of Baptist churches, urge older men to cultivate very young brides: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-brightbill-roy-moore-evangelical-culture-20171110-story.html

Altandmain , December 17, 2017 at 11:44 am

The key takeaways are:

1. Had the GOP elected someone slightly less awful, they would have defeated Doug Jones – the vote the GOP was reliant on usually simply stayed home
2. The Democrats are taking the wrong lessons from this
3. They may very well end up dangerously complacent in 2018 for the midterms and perhaps in 2020 as well
4. The GOP never truly backed Moore at all – they were hesitant to do so
5. Unless they deliver tangible economic benefits for white and black Alabama residents alike, the Democrats have little to offer
6. There seems to be frustration and well justified anger, in my opinion, at both parties
7. The mainstream media will spin this the way the plutocrats want
8. It's likely the Democrats will double down on identity politics as it is what what their donors want them to do

It"s a sad situation. I think NC posted a few days ago the appalling situation African Americans faced.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/05/hookworm-lowndes-county-alabama-water-waste-treatment-poverty
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/many-areas-appalachia-mississippi-delta-lower-life-expectancy-bangladesh.html

It's hard not to compare the politics of America to the corruption that exists in much of the developing world, the massive inequality, the failing infrastructure, and the brutal police forces. Sadly both parties are in bed with the plutocracy and will make it all worse.

Most people are taking the wrong lessons from this. Moore was barely defeated despite everything. It's sad and infuriating because all of this corrupt politics has a dramatic impact on the living standards of society.

Paul Hirschman , December 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm

So voters in Alabama have given the hapless Dems another chance to say–may even do– something meaningful. Any betting folks on this website?

[Dec 17, 2017] President Trump: I'm Not Considering Firing Robert Mueller, But It's Not Looking Good

This is a political battle between two faction of oligarchy. Mueller represents Clinton wing: neoliberal globalists and neocons.
Dec 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
rumors , denials, whistleblowers , backlash , demands, threats, lies , bias, and anti-bias surrounding Robert Mueller and his investigation, President Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing the Special Counsel.

"No, I'm not," Trump told reporters, when asked if he intended to fire Mueller, according to Politico .

The president was returning to the White House from a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Trump's allies complained this weekend about the way Mueller's team went about obtaining from the presidential transition. Mueller's spokesman Peter Carr said Sunday that the office had followed appropriate steps to obtain the transition emails. Pro-Trump lawmakers and pundits also have accused the special counsel's office of bias after it was revealed that two FBI officials who previously served on Mueller's team had exchanged anti-Trump text messages.

And while Trump said "I'm not," Axios notes that he did criticize the fact that Mueller accessed "many tens of thousands" of emails from the presidential transition, saying it was "not looking good."

Son of Loki -> DingleBarryObummer , Dec 17, 2017 6:46 PM

Who is Seth Rich?

jeff montanye -> Son of Loki , Dec 17, 2017 8:45 PM

seth? he was the guy that stole the dnc and podesta emails (well at least the dnc emails) and got them to julian assange. after he was murdered (well at least shot twice) on the streets of d.c. (he actually died in a hospital; probably bears some looking into), julian offered a reward for info on it, making many believe he was wiki's source.

seymour hersh, who followed the case closely, thinks the same, but agrees with the d.c. police that he was just mugged, not shot by say hillary and podesta using imran awan or something. http://archive.is/lD4BV if so, for a lucky lady that hillary clinton has some real bad luck. but it is poetically fitting that someone who actually killed dozens of people as a private citizen (and maybe a million as a public servant), would be convicted in the public's eye of the one she didn't really do.

first as tragedy, then as farce.

azusgm -> shitshitshit , Dec 17, 2017 8:47 PM

YO!!! TYLERS!! OVER HERE.

Looks like Andrew McCabe may be a double agent!!!!!

https://truepundit.com/comey-mueller-ignored-mccabes-ties-to-russian-cri...

grunk , Dec 17, 2017 6:16 PM

Mueller WANTS Trump to fire him.

It's Mueller's only face-saving way out of this cluster fuck.

Kayman -> grunk , Dec 17, 2017 6:17 PM

Mueller has painted himself into a cesspool that is exploding. If he had an ounce of sense or honor he would get the eff out before he has to start covering his own tracks. But don't bet on Mueller doing the right thing. His pals in politics and the press have made him out to be some kind of saint when he really is all t'aint, no saint (don't ask me what t'aint is, ask someone else.)

Don't fire Mueller now- the cesspool is bursting at the seems and Mueller is standing right under it.

grunk , Dec 17, 2017 6:14 PM

Robert Mueller is D.C.'s Tomás de Torquemada.

Mzhen , Dec 17, 2017 8:04 PM

It makes little sense to me that if Seth Rich was an idealistic young man, standing on principle and conviction, who along with his brother contacted WikiLeaks and arranged to give it evidence of Hillary's and Debbie's treachery against Sanders, why he would then have been reported to be looking forward to joining the Hillary campaign staff in the Brooklyn headquarters.

CrowdStrike (run by Shawn Henry, who is a former FBI official, promoted by Mueller), which provided the narrative to the DNC that the "Russians did it," has never been independently verified in their conclusions by the FBI. Or Mueller. Pull that thread and the sweater starts to unravel.

Kelley , Dec 17, 2017 9:26 PM

Mueller doesn't have it in him to step aside. Therefore he needs to be indicted for prosecutorial abuse. Slap his ass down hard. Handcuffs would be a nice touch.

Mueller didn't oppose the raid of Paul Manafort at 5 a.m. in the morning with guns drawn. Sounds like a good law enforcement technique for the buzzard.

[Dec 17, 2017] The FBI Is Not Your Friend by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... ask that Russia not escalate tensions ..."
"... Russia not vote to condemn Israel ..."
"... What about the Logan Act ? The Act, enacted in 1799, around the time of the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, prohibits private citizens from unauthorized "correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." ..."
"... Right off the bat, the Act appears to violate freedom of speech. And as Parry writes, "That law was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period between elected presidential administrations." ..."
"... I hold no brief for Flynn, whose conduct while working for Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, his dubious efforts on behalf of Turkey's strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his apparent financial conflicts of interest are enough to make anyone cringe. But that cannot justify what the FBI did in this plea case. ..."
"... Government law-enforcement agencies should not be allowed to administer credibility tests to Americans or others. If they have evidence of real ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
One of the unfortunate ironies of the manufactured "Russiagate" controversy is the perception of the FBI as a friend of liberty and justice. But the FBI has never been a friend of liberty and justice. Rather, as James Bovard writes , it "has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago, Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that 'the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.' This has practically been the Bureau's motif since its creation in 1908 . The FBI has always used its 'good guy' image to keep a lid on its crimes."

Bovard has made a vocation of cataloging the FBI's many offenses against liberty and justice, for which we are forever in his debt.

Things are certainly not different today. Take the case of Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who spent less than a month as Donald Trump's national-security adviser. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with conversations he had with Russia's then-ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, between Trump's election and inauguration. One need not be an admirer of Flynn – and for many reasons I certainly am not – to be disturbed by how the FBI has handled this case.

One ought to be immediately suspicious whenever someone is charged with or pleads guilty to lying to the FBI without any underlying crime being charged. Former assistant U.S. attorney Andrew C. McCarthy points out :

When a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation.

That is not happening in Flynn's situation. Instead, like [former Trump foreign-policy "adviser" George] Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime.

When the FBI questioned Flynn about his conversations with Kislyak, it already had the transcripts of those conversations – the government eavesdrops on the representatives of foreign governments, among others, and Flynn had been identified, or "unmasked," as the ambassador's conversation partner. The FBI could have simply told Flynn the transcripts contained evidence of a crime (assuming for the sake of argument they did) and charged him with violating the Logan Act or whatever else the FBI had in mind.

But that's not what happened. Instead, the FBI asked Flynn about his conversations with Kislyak, apparently to test him. If he lied (which would mean he's pretty stupid since he once ran the Defense Intelligence Agency and must have known about the transcripts!) or had a bad memory, he could have been charged with lying to the FBI.

As investigative reporter Robert Parry explains :

What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn's recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.

In other words, the Justice Department wasn't seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.

For Americans who worry about how the pervasive surveillance powers of the US government could be put to use criminalizing otherwise constitutionally protected speech and political associations, Flynn's prosecution represents a troubling precedent.

Why didn't the FBI charge Flynn with an underlying crime? It might be because his conversations with Kislyak were not criminal. McCarthy writes:

A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians – initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a "collusion" case arising out of Russia's election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime – he'd be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

David Stockman shows that the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller themselves indicate the Flynn-Kislyak conversations contained no evidence of criminal behavior.

Flynn spoke to Kislyak to ask that Russia not escalate tensions after President Obama imposed sanctions last December for the alleged election meddling and to ask that Russia not vote to condemn Israel , via a UN Security Council resolution, for its illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. In other words, not only were Flynn's discussions with Kislyak unexceptional – presidential transition-team foreign-policy officials have spoken with representatives of other governments in the past – but the content of those discussions should have raised no suspicions. Would non-escalation of the sanctions controversy or a UN veto have undermined Obama's foreign policy? I don't see how. (True, the Obama administration abstained on the resolution, but would Obama have objected had Russia vetoed it? By the way, Russia voted for it, and the resolution passed, as it should have.)

The Flynn plea certainly does nothing to indicate "collusion" with the Russians. For one thing, the conversations were after the election. And perhaps more important, Kislyak was not looking for favors from Flynn; on the contrary, Flynn was lobbying the Russians (successfully on the sanctions – Vladimir Putin did not retaliate – and unsuccessfully on the UN resolution.) Where's the evidence of Russian influence on the Trump team? There was foreign influence, but it was from Israel, a regular meddler in the American political process . All indications are that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Trump son-in-law and special envoy to everywhere Jared Kushner to lobby the world to defeat the UN resolution. Kushner, who has helped finance illegal Israeli settlements , then directed Flynn to call every Security Council member, not just Russia.

What about the Logan Act ? The Act, enacted in 1799, around the time of the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts, prohibits private citizens from unauthorized "correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

Right off the bat, the Act appears to violate freedom of speech. And as Parry writes, "That law was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period between elected presidential administrations."

Note also that only two indictments have been brought in 218 years: in 1803 and 1852. Both cases were dropped. Far more serious contacts with foreign governments have occurred. In 1968 Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon (with help from Henry Kissinger who was working in the Johnson administration) had a representative persuade the president of South Vietnam to boycott the peace talks President Lyndon Johnson had been arranging with North Vietnam. That decision most likely prolonged the Vietnam war and resulted in combat deaths that would not have occurred. Unlike the Flynn case, Nixon's action undercut the sitting president's policy and, more important, the interests of the American people.

I hold no brief for Flynn, whose conduct while working for Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, his dubious efforts on behalf of Turkey's strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his apparent financial conflicts of interest are enough to make anyone cringe. But that cannot justify what the FBI did in this plea case.

Government law-enforcement agencies should not be allowed to administer credibility tests to Americans or others. If they have evidence of real offenses against persons and property, bring charges. Otherwise, leave us all alone.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman , published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited .

[Dec 17, 2017] Mission Creep Mueller Grand Jury Fishing for Evidence Unrelated to Russian Interference Probe

As "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation" does not have time frame they are not limited to election campaign and allow fishing expedition into Trump business dealings.
Notable quotes:
"... any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; ..."
"... any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

After this striking admission, in effect acknowledging the weakness of the "Russian collusion" narrative more than year into the investigation and media hysteria, CNN goes on to report that these claimed grand jury subpoenas extend completely outside the scope of the supposed "Russia" investigation. CNN describes some subpoenas as "unconnected to the 2016 elections" and gives examples, including the tenant lists of Trump Organization properties and documents related to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

For the record, according to his order of appointment , Mueller's independent investigation was to be limited to:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).

Regulation 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a) is part of the federal regulations authorizing special counsels. It expands a special counsel's jurisdiction to crimes, such as perjury or obstruction of justice, that interfere with his original named responsibility.

[Dec 17, 2017] Senator John Cornyn Questions Legitimacy of Robert Mueller Probe

Notable quotes:
"... Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) caused a stir late Friday when he questioned the legitimacy of the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) caused a stir late Friday when he questioned the legitimacy of the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Cornyn spoke out via Twitter, in response to a tweet by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who defended Mueller against criticism and against efforts to urge the president to remove him from his post.

Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, Republicans in Congress be forewarned:any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated.These are BS attacks on him/his staff that are blatantly political-designed to hide the real wrongdoing. Country not party

-- Eric Holder (@EricHolder) December 14, 2017

In response, Cornyn tweeted to Holder, "You don't" (referring to Holder's claim to be speaking "on behalf of the vast majority of the American people."

He added later that "Mueller needs to clean house of partisans," referring to reports that FBI agent Peter Strzok had been removed from the investigation due to anti-Trump texts, and that other lawyers on the Mueller team have expressed strongly anti-Trump feelings or supported the campaign of his 2016 opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Later, asked by the Washington Post 's in-house liberal columnist, Greg Sargent, whether he would accept the legitimacy of Mueller's investigation, Cornyn suggested that would depend on the outcome:

Makes sense to me to wait to see what they are first https://t.co/9lCqpYujKN

-- Senator JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) December 16, 2017

The left-wing HuffPost translated that remark as meaning that Cornyn would only consider the probe legitimate if "if Republicans like his findings."

However, a more generous interpretation would be that Cornyn would wait to see if Mueller remained within his mandate, or used his sweeping powers to investigated unrelated matters.

[Dec 17, 2017] Rosenstein watches as Mueller's witch hunt veers out of control by Sean Hannity

Dec 17, 2017 | www.foxnews.com

The Russia investigation being overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is beyond corrupt, beyond political and has now turned into an open-ended fishing expedition.

Rosenstein, who like Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has glaring, inexcusable conflicts of interest in the case, insisted to Fox News' Chris Wallace that he will keep Mueller from expanding his s not on a witch hunt.

"If he finds evidence of a crime that's within in the scope of what Director Mueller and I have agreed is the appropriate scope of this investigation, then he can," Rosenstein said on "Fox News Sunday." "If it's something outside that scope, he needs to come to the acting attorney general, at this time me, for permission to expand his investigation."

Rosenstein says he won't let the special counsel turn into a fishing expedition? It already has. The whole investigation was supposed to be about President Trump's campaign supposedly colluding with the Russians. This has gone on 11 months, no smoking gun proving it ever surfaced.

Yet, instead of ending it there, Mueller is reportedly now looking into the finances of President Trump and the Trump Organization and associates of President Trump. He has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., where the president got a little over four percent of the vote.

What Rosenstein really said was that he has now given Mueller the green light to do whatever he wants. Even respected legal scholar Jonathan Turley, a Democrat, has said Rosenstein needs to recuse himself.

After all, Rosenstein is likely going to be a witness in the investigation that he himself caused because he took the lead in writing the letter to President Trump on why former FBI Director James Comey should be fired. Mueller reportedly regards that as possible obstruction of justice.

Rosenstein is also the guy who appointed Robert Mueller and apparently either didn't know or didn't care about the fact that the day before he was named special counsel, Mueller interviewed with President Trump for the FBI director's job. You can't make this up.

Rosenstein has sat by while Mueller, with an unlimited budget, has assembled a team of 16 lawyers. Half have made political donations, shockingly, all to Democrats. How is that OK? If the tables were turned, would a Democrat allow a special counsel to only appoint Republican donors?

It all comes down to this: Does Rod Rosenstein know what is going to happen if Mueller's mission creep continues to go unchecked? How does he think voters are going to feel? How many Trump supporters will feel robbed of their right and their vote in the free election of the president of the United States?

That would be bad for the country. It would be bad for the system of justice. And it would be bad for anyone who believes in a constitutional republic.

Adapted from Sean Hannity's monologue on "Hannity," Aug. 7, 2017

Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 9-10PM/ET) . He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Sean

[Dec 17, 2017] Fox News' Jesse Watters We May Have an Anti-Trump 'Coup on Our Hands in America'

Robert Mueller does have massive conflict of interest -- Strzok-gate proves his inability to run a dispassionate investigation
Notable quotes:
"... we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now, if that's true, we have a coup on our hands in America." ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

Waters said, "The investigation into Donald Trump's campaign has been crooked from the jump. But the scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now, if that's true, we have a coup on our hands in America."

[Dec 17, 2017] Unlike Nixon, Trump will not go quietly

Notable quotes:
"... Flynn asked Kislyak for help in blocking or postponing a Security Council resolution denouncing Israel, and to tell Vladimir Putin not to go ballistic over President Obama's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. This is what security advisers do. Why Flynn let himself be ensnared in a perjury trap, when he had to know his calls were recorded, is puzzling. ..."
"... Second, it is said Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to cut slack for Flynn. But even Comey admits Trump acted within his authority. And Comey had usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors when he announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton ought not to be prosecuted for having been "extremely careless" in transmitting security secrets over her private email server. We now know that the first draft of Comey's statement described Clinton as "grossly negligent," the precise statute language for an indictment. ..."
"... Comey has also admitted he leaked to The New York Times details of a one-on-one with Trump to trigger the naming of a special counsel -- to go after Trump. And that assignment somehow fell to Comey's predecessor, friend, and confidant Robert Mueller. Mueller swiftly hired half a dozen prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors, and Andrew Weinstein, a Trump hater who had congratulated Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out Trump's travel ban. FBI official Peter Strzok had to be been removed from the Mueller probe for hatred of Trump manifest in emails to his FBI lady friend. Strzok was also involved in the investigation of Clinton's email server and is said to have been the one who persuaded Comey to tone down his language about her misconduct, and let Hillary walk. ..."
"... There are other reasons to believe Trump may survive the deep state-media conspiracy to break his presidency, overturn his mandate, and reinstate a discredited establishment. Trump has Fox News and fighting congressmen behind him and the mainstream media is deeply distrusted and widely detested. And there is no Democratic House to impeach him or Democratic Senate to convict him. Moreover, Trump is not Nixon, who, like Charles I, accepted his fate and let the executioner's sword fall with dignity. If Trump goes, one imagines, he will not go quietly. ..."
"... I think the surprise is the degree and extent to which he is surrounded by hostile elements pretending to be disloyal and even when revealed like Comey and Sessions and Rosenstein they cannot be dislodged without great cost. ..."
"... The balance of evidence does not fall on Trump. The preponderance of evidence from Wasserman Schultz and her Pakistani technicians, from rigging the DNC against Sanders, from the McCain/FBI Dossier to justify wiretapping the RNC candidate, the pay for play Clinton Foundation and Clinton bankrolling the DNC in exchange for full control of the party, murdered members of the DNC like Seth Rich, the collusion between the CIA, FBI, DOJ, IRS, State Department and White House, etc etc etc. ..."
"... Beyond the Mueller investigation is the character assassination which has also backfired proving there are far more democrats and democratic donors engaged in rape, pedophilia and sexual harassment which is more of the same type of character assassination Hillary used by calling Trump and his base deplorables. ..."
"... People in the DNC and the Federal Govt were scared of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Obama but I truly think the DNC is under-estimating the degree they should be afraid of Trump. ..."
"... Of course, in reality there was NO hack. The emails were LEAKED by someone within the DNC who was utterly disgusted with the corruption and the sabotaging of Sanders nomination campaign to prevent any threat to the coronation of Empress Shrillary. ..."
"... IMHO its very likely that the leaker was indeed Seth Rich. Does anyone really believe in a "botched robbery" were the thief didn't steal his wallet or phone or watch? ..."
"... At this point there is an ocean of evidence that says Russia did NOTHING at all. More and more the revelations are that the Clinton slime machine moved on from Bernie Sanders to Trump without breaking stride. ..."
"... The Mueller shenanigans have for months been laid out for all to see by Andrew C. McCarthy, who ironically is a confirmed Putin-hater. More recently Victor Davis Hanson weighed in at long last, and it was a doozy. ..."
"... The Muller team is loaded with rabid Trump haters, which implies he either biased and out to get Trump, or just dumb. It has been very obvious from the moment Trump won the election that a large contingent of the government establishment has been determined to find a way to force him from office. ..."
"... My primary complaint with Trump is that in foreign policy, he has done nothing but endorse and continue the murderous and shameful policies of his predecessors: back Israel unequivocally, in spite of their record of aggression, back Saudi Arabia, ignoring the absolute evil of their country, pretend that Russia and Iran are the greatest evil in the world, with no evidence to support it. If there is a behind the scenes deep state, it consists of those who manage to continue this pattern, no matter if the president is an Evangelical or a Marxist. Foreign policy aside, he does have the interests of the common man at heart, and a very enthusiastic backing from "Joe six-pack" America, the America the left loathes. ..."
"... Listen to the speakers at political rallies, if they are only demonizing the other side in an unfocussed and vague way, this is what they are doing. It is a strategy of "divide and conquer." ..."
"... Those, who vote for one party or the other above all else, no matter whom the party nominates or what the party does, lawful or not, are engaging in the same political factionalism, about which Washington warned. Both parties have to be made to protect the Constitution and respect the rule of law. That is much more important than which party wins. At this point, neither party gives much of a damn about the Constitution or the law. The only goal is to win at any cost, vying for the attention of their globalist string-pullers. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Flynn asked Kislyak for help in blocking or postponing a Security Council resolution denouncing Israel, and to tell Vladimir Putin not to go ballistic over President Obama's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. This is what security advisers do. Why Flynn let himself be ensnared in a perjury trap, when he had to know his calls were recorded, is puzzling.

Second, it is said Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey for refusing to cut slack for Flynn. But even Comey admits Trump acted within his authority. And Comey had usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors when he announced in July 2016 that Hillary Clinton ought not to be prosecuted for having been "extremely careless" in transmitting security secrets over her private email server. We now know that the first draft of Comey's statement described Clinton as "grossly negligent," the precise statute language for an indictment.

We also now know that helping to edit Comey's first draft to soften its impact was Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. His wife, Jill McCabe, a candidate for state senate in Virginia, received $467,000 in campaign contributions from the PAC of Clinton bundler Terry McAuliffe.

Comey has also admitted he leaked to The New York Times details of a one-on-one with Trump to trigger the naming of a special counsel -- to go after Trump. And that assignment somehow fell to Comey's predecessor, friend, and confidant Robert Mueller. Mueller swiftly hired half a dozen prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors, and Andrew Weinstein, a Trump hater who had congratulated Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to carry out Trump's travel ban. FBI official Peter Strzok had to be been removed from the Mueller probe for hatred of Trump manifest in emails to his FBI lady friend. Strzok was also involved in the investigation of Clinton's email server and is said to have been the one who persuaded Comey to tone down his language about her misconduct, and let Hillary walk.

In Mueller's tenure, still no Trump tie to the hacking of the DNC has been found. But a connection between Hillary's campaign and Russian spies -- to find dirt to smear and destroy Trump and his campaign -- has been fairly well established.

By June 2016, the Clinton campaign and DNC had begun shoveling millions of dollars to the Perkins Coie law firm, which had hired the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, to go dirt-diving on Trump. Fusion contacted ex-British MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who had ties to former KGB and FSB intelligence agents in Russia. They began to feed Steele, who fed Fusion, which fed the U.S. anti-Trump media with the alleged dirty deeds of Trump in Moscow hotels. While the truth of the dirty dossier has never been established, Comey's FBI rose like a hungry trout on learning of its contents. There are credible allegations Comey's FBI sought to hire Steele and used the dirt in his dossier to broaden the investigation of Trump -- and that its contents were also used to justify FISA warrants on Trump and his people.

This week, we learned that the Justice Department's Bruce Ohr had contacts with Fusion during the campaign, while his wife actually worked at Fusion investigating Trump. This thing is starting to stink.

Is the Trump investigation the rotten fruit of a poisoned tree? Is Mueller's Dump Trump team investigating the wrong campaign?

There are other reasons to believe Trump may survive the deep state-media conspiracy to break his presidency, overturn his mandate, and reinstate a discredited establishment. Trump has Fox News and fighting congressmen behind him and the mainstream media is deeply distrusted and widely detested. And there is no Democratic House to impeach him or Democratic Senate to convict him. Moreover, Trump is not Nixon, who, like Charles I, accepted his fate and let the executioner's sword fall with dignity. If Trump goes, one imagines, he will not go quietly.

In the words of the great Jerry Lee Lewis, there's gonna be a "whole lotta shakin' goin' on."

LouisM December 14, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Trump has had to work with corrupt officials in govt, overwhelming bureaucracy, unions, media and criminal elements. All present in anti-Trump DC.

I think the surprise is the degree and extent to which he is surrounded by hostile elements pretending to be disloyal and even when revealed like Comey and Sessions and Rosenstein they cannot be dislodged without great cost.

The balance of evidence does not fall on Trump. The preponderance of evidence from Wasserman Schultz and her Pakistani technicians, from rigging the DNC against Sanders, from the McCain/FBI Dossier to justify wiretapping the RNC candidate, the pay for play Clinton Foundation and Clinton bankrolling the DNC in exchange for full control of the party, murdered members of the DNC like Seth Rich, the collusion between the CIA, FBI, DOJ, IRS, State Department and White House, etc etc etc.

There is no equivalent trail of collusion, corruption, fraud, slander, sedition etc from Trump, the GOP or the Conservative Party while the DNC and the Mueller investigation reeks.

Beyond the Mueller investigation is the character assassination which has also backfired proving there are far more democrats and democratic donors engaged in rape, pedophilia and sexual harassment which is more of the same type of character assassination Hillary used by calling Trump and his base deplorables.

I think Trump is playing nice and being patient. He is fighting back but with great restraint. I don't think Trump has pulled out all guns. My guess, if and when this does not work, then Sessions and Rosenstein will be fired and replaced with people who will have special prosecutors investigate the Mueller investigation, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Obama, the FBI and the DOJ. Imagine how devastating it would be to release information proving Bill Clintons rapes and murders. Hillary may be a master at deflection and obfuscation but Trump will scorch and burn. Of this I have no doubt. Infact, it would not surprise me if Trump has someone in the intelligence community reporting directly to him and covertly performing these investigations so Trump can either scorch and burn in the media, in the press room or to appoint special counsels for what I cited above.

People in the DNC and the Federal Govt were scared of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Obama but I truly think the DNC is under-estimating the degree they should be afraid of Trump.

Gazza , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:27 am
"In Mueller's tenure, still no Trump tie to the hacking of the DNC has been found."

Of course, in reality there was NO hack. The emails were LEAKED by someone within the DNC who was utterly disgusted with the corruption and the sabotaging of Sanders nomination campaign to prevent any threat to the coronation of Empress Shrillary.

IMHO its very likely that the leaker was indeed Seth Rich. Does anyone really believe in a "botched robbery" were the thief didn't steal his wallet or phone or watch?

Dan Green , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:18 am
The media tells us this administrations support is waning, so impeachment is a hot topic. I am not convinced the American people en mass will support the process.
SteveK9 , says: December 15, 2017 at 2:28 pm
Most of these comments are almost as ridiculous as 'RussiaGate' itself. One must have a very strong bias to believe any of this (I am a lifelong Democrat, but I'm still able to think).

At this point there is an ocean of evidence that says Russia did NOTHING at all. More and more the revelations are that the Clinton slime machine moved on from Bernie Sanders to Trump without breaking stride.

Ken Zaretzke , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm
"Unfortunately, your nay-sayers seem confined to calling you a "Do-Do Head" and other remarks more suited to a preschool classroom."

Amen to that. They might be willfully ignorant. The Mueller shenanigans have for months been laid out for all to see by Andrew C. McCarthy, who ironically is a confirmed Putin-hater. More recently Victor Davis Hanson weighed in at long last, and it was a doozy.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454543/mueller-investigation-too-many-anti-trump-coincidences

Saying Robert Mueller is a pillar of integrity is like saying George Will is a brilliant thinker–it's Beltway bushwa.

Honorable Shark , says: December 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm
The neocons forgot that Richard Nixon saved Israel in the 1973 war. He emptied the NATO reserves to replenish their lost weapons. Had he not done this, maybe a negotiated peace based on a fair fight would have negated many of the problems we face today? Then Ford came along and they realized Oops! A mistake has been made. Carter stopped drinking the neocon KoolAide when the facts became irrefutable. Comparing Nixon to Trump is a non-starter. Nixon had an incredibly high-IQ and he was pro-America first, second, .nth.
EliteCommInc. , says: December 15, 2017 at 11:10 pm
I remain a huge fan of Pres Nixon. I often think he should have fought it out. Having chosen not to do so – he did indeed go quietly. And he did so for reasons unrelated to Watergate.

He also remains one of the most astute and intelligent men we have ever had in the WH. Had he been an insider, he would not have had faced the storm that came by way a lot of hyperbolic nonsense. It easy to forget how much he and his admin accomplished despite the period.

I remain supportive of Pres. Trump and despite areas of disagreement, I have yet to see any evidence that would even hint that he should resign. I don't think there's any evidence that the country is uniquely on a path to destruction from Pres Trump admin.

-- -- -- -- -- --

"4 indictment and or guilt pleas. Nothing there you say?"

I don't think you grasp the breadth that a SP has. It is virtually limitless. That means one can indicted for something that is accused years before and totally unrelated to the original purposes of the appointment. It was that breadth that bothered Pres. Nixon. And as it turned out he was concerned with good reason.

-- -- -- -- -- -

"Middle East was causing a huge recession that led to Democratic wave in 1974."

The die were cast, despite all of the issues, Pres Nixon out maneuvered and outsmarted his critics on the issues and they bit one card, charges of misbehavior on the heels of a very contentious foreign policy. He could have only survived had he just chosen to readily give on the plotters and moved on. Pardoning them later.

His choice to protect his legacy in its entirety -- led to bad decisions, that fed the appearance of guilt -- when the tapes came out --

it was done, despite little of anything incriminating on them. He chose to depart quietly. And in the end, so nil was his accusations that he has had his tenure revived and I suspect with time, that will continue.

Molière , says: December 16, 2017 at 10:10 am
Here's a list of confirmed fake news concerning the "russiagate" (of course all going in the same direction):
  1. Trump team received access to DNC WikiLeaks files before they were released (CNN).
  2. Russia hacked into the U.S. electric grid to deprive Americans of heat during winter (Wash Post).
  3. An anonymous group (PropOrNot) documented how major U.S. political sites are Kremlin agents (Wash Post).
  4. WikiLeaks has a long, documented relationship with Putin (Guardian).
  5. A secret server between Trump and a Russian bank has been discovered (Slate).
  6. RT hacked C-SPAN and caused disruption in its broadcast (Fortune).
  7. Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app (Crowdstrike).
  8. Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states (multiple news outlets, echoing Homeland Security).
  9. Links have been found between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian investment fund under investigation (CNN).

Glenn Greenwald made an article about it. When we dig deep into the Russiagate it's not trump that we find but Brzezinski doctrine.

Peace from France

Stephen , says: December 16, 2017 at 10:13 am
The Muller team is loaded with rabid Trump haters, which implies he either biased and out to get Trump, or just dumb. It has been very obvious from the moment Trump won the election that a large contingent of the government establishment has been determined to find a way to force him from office.

This is an obvious truth, whether you want to call it a deep state conspiracy or something else. Trump is an imperfect man, but he has good ideas and plans for improving the life of the ordinary citizen.

One of the ways I know he is essentially decent is the hysterical hatred the left has for him. The left is the true enemy of this country, not Russia or radical Islam. In the past 50 years they have done great harm to this country.

The Conservative establishment has been utterly ineffective at stopping the destructive onslaght of the left, and in matters of foreign policy, have proven to be thoroughly corrupt and dishonest.

My primary complaint with Trump is that in foreign policy, he has done nothing but endorse and continue the murderous and shameful policies of his predecessors: back Israel unequivocally, in spite of their record of aggression, back Saudi Arabia, ignoring the absolute evil of their country, pretend that Russia and Iran are the greatest evil in the world, with no evidence to support it. If there is a behind the scenes deep state, it consists of those who manage to continue this pattern, no matter if the president is an Evangelical or a Marxist. Foreign policy aside, he does have the interests of the common man at heart, and a very enthusiastic backing from "Joe six-pack" America, the America the left loathes.

If Trump is successfully removed from office, I predict a breakout of serious unrest from the people.

DB , says: December 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm
Mr. Buchanan,

Do you have multiple personalities? One moment you are defending true conservatism and the next you seem to be supporting somebody because they have an R next to their name. Trump is a serious danger to our country. Far more than ISIS or any Muslim terrorists.

George Washington wrote a letter of farewell to the American People in 1796, in which he warned against the corruption of self-interested political parties. He called them political factions, but he is referring to the corruption and treasonous tendencies of the Democrat and Republican Parties of today, who are much more interested in the advancement of their party than the well-being of the Country, the protection of the Constitution or the rule of law.

Both of these now treasonous parties are funded and controlled by much the same global financial interests and are currently more loyal to their foreign paymasters -- which includes many foreign despots -- than they are to our country. The corruption of each of the two major political parties feeds on that of the other. Both parties have grown into foreign-controlled monsters. Individual Congressmen take orders from the party leadership, the lapdogs of their party bosses, instead of serving the interests of the nation.

The extreme partisanship and generalized demonization of members of the other party is a form of brainwashing that keeps Democrats and Republicans voting for their respective parties, no matter how corrupt the politicians of their own party have become. Listen to the speakers at political rallies, if they are only demonizing the other side in an unfocussed and vague way, this is what they are doing. It is a strategy of "divide and conquer." People should concentrate on specific misdeeds of individuals and not just be the cheerleaders of their own party. Both parties are parasitical entities feeding on the rotting carcass of America, which they have created.

Those, who vote for one party or the other above all else, no matter whom the party nominates or what the party does, lawful or not, are engaging in the same political factionalism, about which Washington warned. Both parties have to be made to protect the Constitution and respect the rule of law. That is much more important than which party wins. At this point, neither party gives much of a damn about the Constitution or the law. The only goal is to win at any cost, vying for the attention of their globalist string-pullers.

https://stop-obama-now.net/washingtons-farewell/

[Dec 17, 2017] Whither the Anti-war Movement by Daniel Martin

Notable quotes:
"... The antiwar movement could not survive the end of the draft. One most Americans did not have to worry about their kids being sent in harm's way, when minorities became soldiers for the pay, the enthusiasm waned. It was other people's kids that did the fighting and the dying. None of your concern. ..."
"... Initiatives of the Military-Industrial-Complex are well-planned, well-funded, and have paid staff to keep the interests of the corporate sector healthy and powerful. ..."
"... The Pentagon knows that as long as we have a volunteer army and outsource much of the nasty side of conflict to contractors, the volunteer peace activists don't stand a chance against their wealthy corporate allies. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The duopoly succumbed to the war machine, while organized resistance got pushed to the fringe

Veterans For Peace rally in Washington, less than a month after 9/11. Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

"Imagine there's no heaven and no religion too."

A more useful line when it comes to our current wars may be "Imagine there's no duopoly." It's hard to fault John Lennon for his idealism, of course. In his day, many blamed religion on the wars of history. But a much bigger obstacle right now, at least in the U.S., is partisanship. The two major political parties, in power and out, have been so co-opted by the war machine that any modern anti-war movement has been completely subsumed and marginalized -- even as American troops and killer drones continue to operate in or near combat zones all over the world.

Aside from the very early days of the Iraq war, the anti-war movement has been a small, ineffectual pinprick on the post-9/11 landscape. A less generous assessment is that it's been a bust. After liberals helped elect the "anti-war" Barack Obama, the movement all but disappeared, even though the wars did not. By putting a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Democratic face on his inherited wars, Obama expanded into new conflicts (Libya, Syria, Yemen) with little resistance, ultimately bombing seven different countries during his tenure. By 2013, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin lamented , "We've been protesting Obama's foreign policy for years now, but we can't get the same numbers because the people who would've been yelling and screaming about this stuff under Bush are quiet under Obama."

It's easy to blame the military-industrial complex, the corporate media, and the greed and malleability of politicians. But what about the anti-war movement itself? Why has it failed so miserably, and can it revive as President Donald Trump continues the wars of his predecessors and threatens new ones?

The rallies and protests in the early 2000s attracted significant numbers but they were weighed down by far-left organizations like the World Workers Party, which brought with them myriad other issues beyond war like global warming and poverty. There was also long-held and fairly broad skepticism about the intentions of United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which organized most of the big protests over the last 17 years. This was due to the "big tent" affiliations of some of their steering committee members, which critics say led to a dilution of the message and drove the anti-war movement further from the mainstream.

Perhaps the movement's biggest weakness was that it shied away from directly attacking its own -- the liberal Democrats who voted for the war in Congress.

In a sense, Democrats did emerge as the de facto anti-war party during the Iraq war, but that was only because a Republican -- George W. Bush -- was commander-in-chief. And what of the Democrats who voted for the war and continued to fund it? Out of 77 senators who supported the resolution authorizing military force against Iraq in 2002, 20 are still in office and roughly half are Democrats, while out of the 296 votes in favor in the House, 90 are still in office and 57 of them are Democrats. Some of them, like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, went on to become party leaders. Two others, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, went on to become secretaries of state and their party's nominees for president in 2004 and 2016 respectively. All went on to support new military interventions and regime changes, albeit under a new, liberal interventionist, Democratic banner.

Conversely, steadfast non-interventionist Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who voted against the resolution, failed badly in both his 2004 and 2008 attempts at his party's presidential nomination. Bottom line: Support for the war was hardly a deal-breaker for voters, any more than opposition to it was a dealmaker.

Reaction to war is just a microcosm of the political landscape, a manifestation of partisan-driven, short-term memory. Sure there might have been momentary disapproval, but when it came time to decide whether supporters of the war stayed or went, the sins of one's party leaders meant very little in the zero-sum game of electoral politics. Parties outside the duopoly be damned.

The same thing happened to the anti-war right, as the Ron Paul movement took off in 2008 with an immense level of grassroots energy. One of the singular successes of his movement was the ability to reach people on an intellectual and practical level about the folly of our foreign interventions and the waste, fraud, and abuse of tax dollars. Paul didn't shy from criticizing his own party's leaders and actions. He explained the Federal Reserve's relationship to the monetary costs of war.

Ultimately, media blackouts and distortion of Paul's message (for example, conflating his non-interventionist foreign policy views with "isolationism") helped kill his campaign. After Paul's 2008 defeat, conservative political activists seized upon the Texas congressman's libertarian-leaning revolutionary momentum and channeled it into the Tea Party -- while leaving the non-interventionist impulses behind. By 2011, national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin acknowledged , "On foreign policy probably the majority [of Tea Party Patriots] are more like [hawks] Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich."

And don't underestimate how the escalation of drone warfare during the Obama presidency muted the anti-war effort. Drone attacks made fewer headlines because they supposedly caused less collateral damage and kept U.S. troops out of harm's way, which was portrayed by administration officials and the war establishment in Washington as progress.

What the drone program did, in essence, was to create the illusion of "less war." Nevertheless, studies showing an increase of terrorism since the beginning of the "war on terror" indicate precisely the opposite: Civilian drone deaths (not always reported) create more enemies, meaning more of our troops will be put in harm's way eventually.

So where should the anti-war movement go from here? Perhaps it should begin by tempering its far-left impulses and embracing its allies on the right who have been made to feel unwelcome. They could take a lesson from right-leaning places like Antiwar.com and TAC that have long been open to writers and activists on the left.

Meanwhile, flying "Resist Trump" signs at rallies not only misses the mark by suggesting that our needless wars aren't a bipartisan, systemic problem, but creates a non-inclusive atmosphere for anti-war Trump voters. Ironically, not much "resistance" was heard when Democrats recently helped pass Trump's $700 billion 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and failed to repeal the original post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, as was advocated for by Senator Rand Paul this year.

In addition, the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution. Most people are willing to accept that there's a big difference between that and the terrible waste and tragedy that comes with waging unnecessary wars overseas.

They are also averse to their lawmakers doing favors for special interests. Focusing on the money and influence that giant defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have on Capitol Hill -- essentially making war a business -- makes the anti-war point by raising the issue of crony capitalism and the cozy relationship between politicians and big business, which increasingly leaves the American public out of the equation.

These corporations, along with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, have accounted for $42 million in contributions to congressional candidates since 2009, with $12 million in the 2016 cycle alone. The majority of these funds have targeted Armed Services Committee members, such as perennial war hawk John McCain. In addition, influential neoconservative think tanks have received millions in grants over the years from "philanthropic" organizations such as the Bradley Foundation and the Olin Foundation, which have corporate backgrounds in the defense industry. The conservative Heritage Foundation is reportedly considering the vice president of Lockheed as its new president.

Furthermore, mantras and slogans like, "you're either with us or against us" and "support our troops" have been used as powerful psy-ops to create a false dichotomy: you either support the war policy or you're not patriotic. Debunking this by pointing out how these wars profit the elite while serving as a pipeline that puts more American military servicemembers -- often from working-class backgrounds -- into harm's way should appeal to the current populist spirit on both sides of the political fence. In fact, it could begin to draw new, disenchanted voters into the movement.

Americans today are tired of war, which is good, for now. Unfortunately, without a strong anti-war movement, there won't be much resistance when the next "big threat" comes along. The two major parties have proven to be false friends when it comes to opposing war -- they only do it when it suits them politically. Moving beyond them and becoming stronger with allies and numbers -- imagine, there's no parties -- is the best way to build a real opposition.

Daniel Martin is an anti-war activist, musician, and rock journalist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @MartysInvasion .

Youknowho December 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

The antiwar movement could not survive the end of the draft. One most Americans did not have to worry about their kids being sent in harm's way, when minorities became soldiers for the pay, the enthusiasm waned. It was other people's kids that did the fighting and the dying. None of your concern.
Whine Merchant , says: December 14, 2017 at 10:47 pm
The so-called 'anti-war' or 'peace' movement is mostly a genuine grass roots phenomenon that relies upon volunteers and ordinary people taking time out of their busy lives to become active. The energy and drive are hard to sustain on a volunteer basis.

To a great extent, motivation for activism is a reaction to something egregious, not a planned and sustained response to an on-going situation. Despite the power of social media, reactively movements lead by well-intentioned amateurs cannot martial prolonged support.

Initiatives of the Military-Industrial-Complex are well-planned, well-funded, and have paid staff to keep the interests of the corporate sector healthy and powerful. The activism that pulled the US out of SE Asia in the 70s took 10 years to build strength against a what was less organised and planned war machine than we see today. The Pentagon knows that as long as we have a volunteer army and outsource much of the nasty side of conflict to contractors, the volunteer peace activists don't stand a chance against their wealthy corporate allies.

Thank you –

Fran Macadam , says: December 14, 2017 at 11:19 pm
The tragedy yet to be is that the business of war and its boosterism only ends when the suffering of war comes upon the nation whose leaders make it. It might be different if the population were inclined against it, but there is a widespread belief in U.S. Exceptionalism and a belief that it is America's birthright to rule the world by military force if required. And ruling peoples against their wills does require force.

The consistency of human nature does not promise any respite from the propensity to make war, as has occurred throughout all known history. Those wars will be waged with ever greater and even world-ending technology – there never has been a weapon created that was not used, and every one of them has proliferated.

Donald ( the left leaning one) , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:20 am
This makes sense to me. There has to be a coalition of anti interventionists across the political spectrum because the two parties are dominated by warmongers. On foreign policy I am closer to many of the conservatives here than to many or most liberals I know in real life or online. I have never heard a liberal in my real life mention Yemen or drones unless I bring it up. Syria was never seen as a place where our support for " moderate" rebels kept the killing going. A friend of mine has become outraged when I tell him our support for the Saudis in Yemen is much more important than Russiagate. So Russiagate matters more than our complicity in a crime against humanity.

Mainstream liberals simply don't care about our stupid wars unless there is a large American death toll and it can be blamed solely on a Republican. I am not saying conservatives are better. The ones here are better.

Zebesian , says: December 15, 2017 at 2:43 am
I hope that the anti-war movement grows again, and persists throughout the probable Democratic Presidency in 2020. There's such little a single person can do, though.

Maybe Trump will keep his anti-war promises?

collin , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:03 am
There is probably a multiple issues here but:

1) Most military is below the headlines and it is hard to protest here. There several thousands troops in Africa and hardly anybody knows it.
2) The last 7 Prez elections, 6 doves (2004 exception and yes Bush pretended to the dove in 2000.) won and yet the dovish winner is more hawkish in the White House. So it is hard not to use the military and it would wise to answer that question,
3) Anti-War conservatives only had modest support when Obama signed the nuclear deal or avoided bombing in Syria. Where were the 'Ron Paul' voters there to support the President making dovish choices? Sure Syria was handled poorly but if we heard more support it might change things.
4) And it is true the hard left is very-war but focused on other agenda. Witness Bernie Sanders was unable to beat HRC because he is dove complaining about Cold War battles that is past history. And watch out Matt Duss is writing his speeches and Bernie is taking them seriously.

Robert E. , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:25 am
I'm a liberal democrat and certainly would agree that President Obama was culpable for destroying our anti-war movement. It was one of my grievances with him from the very beginning, as nothing about his rhetoric was ever about peace. It was only till the very end of his last term that he ever learned any lessons on caution in intervention (But never about the folly of drone striking civilians), and by then, it was too late.

Neo-militarism, which is where the costs of war are separated from engagement with it in order to reduce civil unrest over military actions, wasn't something Obama created though. It was a reaction to the Vietnam War that was thoroughly ingrained in the conscience of both parties. The only lesson they learned from that war is that if Americans see and hear of the suffering of their soldiers, they won't be supportive of military pork and intervention.

And so we live in a really weird culture now where most people don't even know a soldier, where our soldiers are off to forever war and in the system they are in is so distant that they don't understand civilian society either, and where the costs of war are hidden. There is a political problem certainly, but the root of it is a cultural problem. We are fed patriotic myths of American invincibility and Spartanism, and militarism has become one of the only unifying threads in being an "American", even though most Americans have not even the faintest clue of how the military operates or what soldiers are like.

You can gather up all the anti-war activists across the political spectrum, and you still aren't going to find enough people for a successful movement. And I'm not entirely sure how you can change the culture on this issue, as it would require undoing a lifetime worth of programming and propaganda in every citizen.

It may take another cultural trauma from a war so disastrous that even the worst chicken hawks have to say, "Wow, we really ruined everything here" for Americans to finally learn a lesson beyond how to sweep the nasty parts of war under the rug so the public doesn't see them. I suppose North Korea is looking promising on that front.

EliteCommInc. , says: December 15, 2017 at 9:49 am
I dislike the term anti-war. It sounds too much akin to a pacifists pose. I don't have any issues with people who are sincerely pacifists. But there are times when war is required. And sometimes in my view, that includes the use of force for humanitarian purposes.

I rest on the views that push the "clear and present danger" as old as it may be. And I do so without being ignorant of my own concerns about the strategic threats that abound or potentially abound in the future, near and far.

Where's the anti-war movement -- they are in think tanks, congress, and CEO corporate positions seeking to atone for the mess they made of our communities, country and veterans since the the misguided anti-war slogans of the late '60's and early '70's.

The consequence of an all volunteer military separates the community from a national sense of risk. I will dare utter, the unspoken, Vietnam was not about some just cause or care about the Vietnamese or the national conscience. It was the basic fear of personal sacrifice – period.

Ohh it was nicely clothed in all kinds of rhetorical discourse about war, peace loving Vietnamese, peace-love and understanding, free speech, anti-colonialism . . . blah and blah.

As Dr. King would soon discover, lending his intellect to young white kids fears, sabotaged the real retrenchment of the consequence of the nation's hypocrisy.

It takes a moral courage that has been bled out because there is in my view essentially no risk individual national investment. If x hundred thousand are willing to sign-up for defense --

that is a choice of no account to citizens who don't.

There is a war going on and its right here at home.

Myles Hagar , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm
If we want the freedom to comfortably drive to the convenience store to buy more plastic products from China, we must have war to secure the oil, flow of foreign goods and exploitation of foreign labour necessary to maintain our predatory and non-productive way of life. Peace requires a transformation of consciousness with the resultant total rejection of consumerism. The personal sacrifice required for peace is the missing element.
Kent , says: December 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm
"a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution."

I take strong exception to this. The second amendment

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Unlike what most people think, the "free State" mentioned here represents the 13 original states. Their "well regulated Militia"'s could not be disarmed because that would allow the federal military to take away their sovereign freedom. The federal government was never intended to be more powerful than the individual state's militias.

And Section 8 Clause 12 of the Constitution when describing Congress' responsibilities:

"To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years"

The Constitution assumed that Congress would only raise an army when at war, and it would be dismantled almost immediately, hence the "two Years" limit on funding the military.

The Constitution assumes a very weak defensive posture, and the continued massive military system of the USA is the most unconstitutional thing we do. By a million miles.

john , says: December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm
As long a there is a volunteer military there will not be a strong anti war movement. Remember, the sixties and that so called anti war movement which turned out to be nothing more that an anti draft movement. As soon as the military draft stopped those so called activists shaved their beards, got a haircut, took a bath, and along with those who came back from Canada went on to join daddy's business or law firm, with many migrating to wall street, eventually becoming the chicken hawks of the current era.There would never have been an invasion of Iraq or the perpetual war if every family shared the burden of sending one of their sons or daughters to act as cannon fodder. With the poverty draft only five percent of the younger generation are doing the fighting and dying. Americans will not even give up attending football games where disrespect for the military takes the form of disrespecting the flag, let alone join the military or put one of their children in harms way.
EliteCommInc. , says: December 15, 2017 at 3:19 pm
"The Constitution assumes a very weak defensive posture, and the continued massive military system of the USA is the most unconstitutional thing we do. By a million miles."

I guess if one skips the preamble one might come to that conclusion. But the Purpose of the Constitution establishing a nation spells out in very clear terms --

" . . . provide for the common defense . . ."

That is not a weak posture in any sense of the word. And no founder of government not those that followed understood that said union was to be weak. Avoiding unnecessary wars or conflicts does not mean a weak defense. What they pressed was a weak federal systems that would subvert internal freedoms for states and individuals.

It's hard to argue that no established international defense was sought -- when it states in very clear terms -- the nation is created for the very purpose of defending it's existence.

A strong defense does not require a an over aggressive posture, but existence requires an ability to defend it. And right now nothing more threatens our existence as much as weak immigration enforcement.

And I think the evidence for that is overwhelming. Most poignantly demonstrated by the events of 9/11. And there christians of many brands are a threat to the US by aiding and abetting the violations of that sovereignty and using Christ as the excuse to do so, even as that defense undermines their fellow citizens. That breed of christian ethos is certainly not new nor are its tentacles of hypocrisy.

What I object to among both interventionists is that they both don't mind giving people in the country illegally a pass despite their mutual claims of legal moral high bround.

David Swanson , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm
Biggest sign of how weak we are in this article is the assumption built into this: "In addition, the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution." I mean the assumption that one cannot oppose the whole institution for the overwhelming secular empirical reasons that it endangers us, destroys our environment, impoverishes us, erodes our liberties, militarizes our localities, degrades our culture, poisons our politics. See the case made at World Beyond War's website.
Glenn , says: December 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm
Superb article by Daniel Martin. The first step out of this mess is to fully acknowledge the scope of the mess: Democrats and Republicans -- who squabble about many things -- unite to give bipartisan support for American militarism.
Honorable Shark , says: December 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm
The anti-war movement is not listened to. In SF during a bombardment of Gaza, there were hundreds of anti-war protesters at City Hall. The most liberal deliberative body in the US looked stone-faced and emotionless. When they finished, if on a cue, a Jewish member of the Board tabled the agenda item, and it was never heard from again. Not one of these eleven lawmakers even asked a question. Who said you cannot fight City Hall? They were right.
balconesfault , says: December 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm
A lot of Dems stepped forward to oppose the Iraq War and they got plowed over for it politically.

I fully expect the same to happen to any Dems who divert their attention from stopping the other budget busting, middle-class harming, anti-environmental, anti-women measures the GOP is currently pushing to make a futile attempt to stop whatever Trump decides to do with our military.

You guys elected Donald J. Trump. You own him.

cka2nd , says: December 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm
The argument that there can be no anti-war movement without a draft to drive it is belied by the fact that no war in our history generated more protests than the Bush Administration's build-up towards the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Where the mass base of any anti-war movement seems to draw the line is not specifically at their kids but at the possibility of significant American casualties, period. Hence, the absence of mass protest against drone warfare on the one hand, and the immediate and decisive push back by the public against Congress authorizing Obama to "put boots on the ground" in Syria on the other.

My friends in the International Bolshevik Tendency ( http://bolshevik.org/ ) argue for the classic united front in their anti-war organizing. Everyone opposed to War X should march together but retain their right to free speech at the march and on the podium. So the official call for the march is not a laundry list, but marchers and speakers are not subject to censorship or being shut down if they want to make connections that discomfit some Democratic politician or movement hack. It makes more sense to me than either the single-issue, "we must ALL stay ON point" model or the multi-issue, excessively intersectional and virtue-signaling one that arose in reaction to it.

MKBrussel , says: December 16, 2017 at 12:19 am
No one seems to mention the power and importance of the mainstream, corporatized, media, which has supported all our wars and associated aggressions in recent times, and which ignores and suppresses antiwar sentiments and opinion writers, as well as inconvenient facts. This holds for the NYT, the WP, the WSJ and client newspapers as well as the TV news channels. The internet is evidently not powerful enough to offset this national bias. Antiwar periodicals tend to be on the fringe in terms of mass circulation.
It also takes money in this society to get things done, and the anti-war "left"(or right) , in addition to having organizational problems, lacks those resources. An antiwar super billionaire, if that is not a contradiction in terms, might make a dent by creating/promoting TV and news channels.

A usefull discussion.

Fran Macadam , says: December 16, 2017 at 4:26 am
EliteCommInc., be assured you will get your wars. Also be assured that they won't accomplish the aims they will be sold to accomplish. Some of those who know the real reasons may well accomplish their private goals for a season. One day, the real cost to be paid will come due, and it may not be a rude awakening, but nuclear death. So by all means, continue not to be against war, against all the evidence. We are predisposed to war because our fallen nature leads us to dream of it.
balconesfault , says: December 16, 2017 at 6:02 am
@Glenn

Democrats and Republicans -- who squabble about many things -- unite to give bipartisan support for American militarism.

That is because, sadly, American voters demand it.

As I've observed before – if you place a candidates militarism on a spectrum of 0 (Ghandi) to 100 (Hitler) American voters are conditioned to prefer a candidate with a score 20 points higher than theirs to a candidate 5 points lower.

Fear is a powerful tool.

Dieter Heymann , says: December 16, 2017 at 7:26 am
Kent makes a very good point. Yet this baby nation was somewhat torn between a Scylla and Charybdis of military readiness. The Scylla was the fear of a "European" track that is to say the evolution into a Monarchy anchored on a powerful national army. The Charybdis was the potential invasions by the powerful European states of Great Britain and Spain.
Dave Sullivan , says: December 16, 2017 at 8:14 am
The opinion that anti-war people, particularly from the Vietnam era, did so because they didn't want to sacrifice is ludicrous. It displays an ignorance of the sacrifices made, and the success of the war party to paint them in this manor. Veterans are appointed a myriad of benefits, a plethora of memorials,holidays, endless honorable mentions. For the war resistors, nothing, unless one could count the kind of scorn I see here, on an antiwar site ! It is not "selfish" to look both ways before crossing the street, and perhaps choosing not to if it appears the risk is not worth the reward. In fact, this behavior defines "conservative". Militant societies require centralization. The key to modern centralized militant power, is nuclear war. The existence of these weapons produces a huge secrecy, and internal security state. They produce an insane populace whom believe the state is protecting them from annihilation. Know this, our militant masters love that North Korea has the bomb. Sleep tight.

[Dec 17, 2017] Newly-Declassified Documents Show Western Leaders Promised Gorbachev that NATO Would Not Move One Inch Closer to Russia by George Washington

Notable quotes:
"... By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog ..."
"... When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30) ..."
"... Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO ..."
"... IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes? ..."
"... Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin. ..."
"... History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-( ..."
"... first draft of history ..."
"... Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power. ..."
"... Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do ..."
"... The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout? ..."
"... the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1). ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade. ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic ..."
"... "Russia is finished" ..."
"... WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort.. ..."
"... Gentlemen prefer jackboots ? ..."
"... The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's. ..."
"... The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances. ..."
"... A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty". ..."
"... Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. ..."
"... Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that. ..."
"... Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand. ..."
"... except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor. ..."
"... the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly ..."
"... In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence? ..."
"... By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine. ..."
"... tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage. ..."
"... Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions. ..."
"... I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation. ..."
"... The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a more purely geopolitical piece than we normally run. The reason for featuring it is that this bit of history is vital to understanding current US/Russian relations.

Even though experts have acknowledged that Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Western powers would not move NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they claimed that the Russians were naive to have taken this promise as meaningful. The argument went that the US regarded only obligations committed to writing as binding, while the Soviets regarded firm, unambiguous statement by parties authorized to negotiate as commitments.

As the post below describes in detail, the Russians have more basis for feeling abused by the US and its allies than the US defense above indicates. Not only did Baker repeat his "not one inch eastward" declaration on three separate occasions, many national leaders and top-level diplomats in NATO countries, such as Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, both affirmed that they would respect the security interests of the former USSR and would also involve it in European "security structures."

And as we've said repeatedly, when the Clinton Administration broke these commitments by moving NATO eastward in 1997, cold warrior George Kennan predicted that it would be the worst geopolitical mistake the US ever made.

By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog

The U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time it broke up and many other experts have said that the West promised Gorbachev that – if the USSR allowed German re-unification – NATO wouldn't move "one inch closer" to Russia.

While Western leaders have long denied the promise, newly-declassified documents now prove this.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University reported Tuesday:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University ( http://nsarchive.gwu.edu ).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of "pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen."

***

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear "that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'" The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about "closer to the Soviet borders" is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures . The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The "Tutzing formula" immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east

***

The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, "The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next ." (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6).

Here are two relevant excerpts from Document 6 :

***

The National Security Archive report continues:

Baker reported: "And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [ .] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'" Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, "By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable." ( See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: "We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity." (See Document 9).

Here is a related excerpt from Document 9 :

The National Security Archives report concludes:

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990.

***

Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly "recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity." (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: "I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive." (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his "nine points," which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, "Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you." (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must "create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole." (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a " cher George " letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that "we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security." (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR : "Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well." (See Document 21)

The "Iron Lady" also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance . She said to Gorbachev: "We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured . CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe." (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment.

***

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: "We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well," referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: "So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO ; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe." (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances , and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued , a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave "the door ajar" for East European membership in NATO . (See Document 27)

***

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, "We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO ." Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, " Nothing of the sort will happen ." (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO

Anti-Schmoo , December 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes?

Jim Haygood , December 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

Nice timing for the release of these archives on Dec 12th. Yesterday the WaPo posted an article "based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" titled "Doubting the Intelligence: Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

Axiomatic to the WaPo hacks authors is that NATO ranks right up there with the 1776 Declaration and the Constitution as a bedrock US principle. Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin.

Naturally the new archives released by GWU play no part in the WaPo story two days later, since they aren't "fitted to the narrative."

History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-(

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Any time you hear or read a Russian conspiracy theory in the MSM or elsewhere, substitute the words "Jews" for "Russians" and the words "International Jewry" for "Russia". Then re-read the sentence.

See how ugly that sentence now looks?

So why should we rightfully decry such racism against Jews or others, but applaud the same sort of racism when it is directed against Russians?

Jfree , December 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

Interesting to see these first draft of history discussions come out. At roughly the same time, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an article directed more to a public discussion that the end of the 40-year Cold War could lead to America once again becoming a normal country in normal times . With its implication that NATO's very existence might not even be necessary anymore.

Gotta say the thing that most disappoints me is that none of these conversations ever actually occurred in any public – anywhere. There was absolutely zero public discussion about what a post-Cold War world and its mutual obligations might look like.

Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power.

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Yeah, but then the Deep State might actually have to get *jobs*.

skippy , December 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ask the Afghani Mujaheddin

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

You cannot read this alone – I said so before, and will again.

Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do.

It was a symbol, more than anything else. You need to remember that all of those countries had Soviet troops (and nuclear weapons), some since WW2, and ALL of them had their citizens killed by Soviet troops (Czechoslovakia 1968, Hungary 1956, Poland pre-and post WW2) within living memory.

Clinton resisted this (for a time, and I believe on advice of his security advisors), but in the end was won over. I have actually talked to a few people from V4 who were involved in this at a quite high level, so feel like I can comment.

Ignoring the above is to me just a sort of different American bubble that says "everything (for one group good, for another bad) that happens in the world is because America wishes so". It entirely ignores the history and the political situation in the area at the time.

That's not to say US couldn't have played it better – but it was not "America wake up and said "let's extend NATO for the kicks of it"" either.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

Did you read the post? The commitments weren't just from the US. They were also from the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK.

The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?

Quentin , December 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe Poland has more clout because the rest of Europe and the US see Poland as part of their world. Not so much Turkey, which didn't get into any European 'game' plan until the end of the Ottoman empire, especially beginning with Ataturk. Before that, it was more an enemy if anything. And Russia then? Well Russia has always been seen as the big, bad freak who refuses to comply and conform, submit, to the West's deepest wishes.

Carolinian , December 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

I'm reading a book about the Crimean War and even in the middle of the 19th cent. there was widespread sentiment in England that the Russians were Slavic barbarians threatening the rest of Europe with their size, expansionist ambitions and different version of Christianity. So perhaps the current Russophobia has deeper roots than we realize and may center on Old Blightey with the cousins along for the ride. In this scenario Poland became the buffer zone against the Russians and was much quarreled over by the great powers.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

I can't answer that – but the reality is, that US was giving V4 "No" answer when they were lobbying for it, and it took them years to get there.

If US was so keen to do it, it would have been done by Bush, not Clinton towards the end of hist first term. Clinton told Havel (and I have it from a person who was in the room at the time) that his military/security advisors were telling him "No".

Donald , December 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

What difference would it make to the Russians if Clinton was told not to do it and then did it anyway? You are arguing in effect that the US had good intentions and didn't want to break its word, but that is a secondary issue. The issue here is that not only did the US break its word, but we have been misled about it.

I was thinking about this in connection with a story about Yemen in the Intercept a couple of days ago. It seems that our ambassador to Yemen was more hawkish than some others in the Obama Administration. I think we should know as much as possible about how such decisions ar made and I thought the story was useful, but I can imagine how it would be spun if the mainstream press were ever pressured into covering our horrific role in Yemen with as much energy as they pour into Russiagate. They would look for a scapegoat like the ambassador and do everything they could to show that overall the US had good intentions.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

My point is not the Russian grievance – that stands. I'd even agree with that it was a dumb move – but the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1).

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade.

TBH, I also suspect that the first expansion Russia could have lived with – but the second expansion, especially taking in Baltics, and any suggestion of having NATO expand more towards Russia's borders was, is and will be seen as a provocation and a direct threat by Russia. Russia feels safe only when it has a nice plump buffer, preferrably of aligned states.

hemeantwell , December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

The "wider picture" is that the US was the preeminent military power at that time. That is a reality that could have been leveraged into a transition in the terms of competition between Russia and the West. Your suggestion that four small countries should bear any responsibility for US' failure to follow through on its assurances and to use this opening to put an end to militarized competition and brinksmanship is impossible to take seriously. It ignores major players, e.g. the good old military-industrial complex (which here needs to be thought of in international terms), that were seriously threatened by the possibility of a wind-down in tensions.

timbers , December 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

Trump came into office promising better relations w/Russia and look how that turned out. It "wasn't that Trump was rushing into" worse relations w/Russia, but it still happened and in a very big hurry or "rush.".

I'd say the "Deep State" agenda was very much in a rush to start aggression against Russia.

Was Trump? Bill Clinton? Bush? Certainly Hillary was. But maybe they were/are just puppets of the Deep State.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic

The general view of Russia as a goner was actually a post-1998 phenomenon because of the financial crash, bank failures, currency depreciation, state bankruptcy -- and the realization of how corrupt, destitute and rotten the "new democratic Russia" was. The (in)famous article "Russia is finished" by Jeffrey Tayler was published in 2001 -- at a time when Putin had just started taking control of things.

Wukchumni , December 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

My parents knew the Korbels in Denver in the 50's, as an interesting aside to the conversation.

I'm on the phone with my mom right now, and she relates that the idea that Madeleine didn't know she was Jewish until 1997 is a bit preposterous as her mother looked very much the part, but it was a different era way back when, and anti-semitism was such that you might have been turned away on a hotel room when they asked your surname, in some quarters.

MisterMr , December 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

"The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?"

In my opinion, there is some sort of European nationalism, by which I mean the idea that Europe should be a single big nation state, in most of Europe. This view is not as strong and obvious as single nation state nationalism, but it exists: for example Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the "founding fathers" of Italy, created two secret societies: the "giovine Italia" [young Italy] for the unification of Italy, and the "giovine Europa" [young Europe] for the unification of Europe, already in the 19th century before Italian unification.

The whole idea of a "united Europe" is part of the reason of the EU, so it's natural that Poland, which was already perceived as an European country, was welcome in the EU; Turkey on the other hand is not generally perceived as European so it's less welcome (you can see this as racism, or as sense of identity, the difference is quite blurry IMHO).

Russia too would have been welcome into the EU (in my opinion), but I don't think the Russians would have accepted the loss of sovereignity that this entail.

I think that this has to do with the fact that many (most) European countries were beaten quite hard in WW2, and even the two european "winners" of WW2 won only in the sense that the USA and the USSR won and they happened to be on the right side of the war at that time.

So nationalistic identity and pride in most of Europe is, IMHO, a more complex thing than it is in the USA, and Europeans mostly welcomed the idea of a United Europe.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the ones who appear to be the less attached to the idea of a "United Europe" are the British, who are the one who still may think they won WW2.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort..

Alex Morfesis , December 15, 2017 at 7:10 am

A bit confused on this viceguard suggestion of nostalgia for the wehrmacht and pure hate for Moscow

is it the food, the wine, or the women (kiss me muti) on the west side of the oder-neisse line ?

Gentlemen prefer jackboots ?

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

Where do you see nostalgia for Wehrmacht?

In 1990s, Soviets were the leaving occupants, who were there for 20+ years. They were thorougly despised – that's a fact. Soviets in 1950s were still often seen as liberators by a majority of the population, but managed to squander that away with bloody suppression of Hungarians in 50s, and less bloody, but not less jackbooted supression of Prague Spring in 68 (in a way more, since Hungarians actually fought, while in Prague Spring the killed were unarmed civilians)

whiteylockmandoubled , December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

Yes, the Soviets were hated occupiers, but so what? The stakes on this are and were enormous, both in traditional Great Power terms, and with the added dimension of nuclear confrontation.

There were many steps that the US, UK, Germany and France could have taken to provide reassurances and security to the Eastern European states during the ensuing 20 years short of expanding NATO membership, beginning, of course, with economic integration. EU membership doesn't necessarily require NATO membership.

Yes, there were domestic "Captive Nations" political pressures in the U.S., but they could have been finessed with smart policy short of NATO expansion, and in fact, they were. I know it was a terrible strain, but US politicians heroically resisted that pressure for a full decade -- the first expansion didn't happen until 1999, more than half-way through Clinton's second term.

The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's.

America really did this one.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Interestingly, Eastern Europeans detest each other as well: Romanians vs. Hungarians, Poles vs. Ukrainians, Bulgarians vs. Serbs, etc. Their execration of the historically dominating and boorish Russians is what brings them together -- as well as their wariness of the overbearing and historically dominating Germany.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Detest is a very strong word and not accurate in this case. There are historical grievances (such as Hungarians wanting to scrap the Trianon treaty), but most sane people have moved on Same goes for "boorish" Russians – have you ever met a Russian or read a bit of history about Eastern Europe? And yes, the struggle against German domination dates back to 800-900AD.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances.

Yes, I did meet Russians. Actually, I worked with them. In fact, I hired some. Very nice guys and fun lads, very intelligent, conscientious and imaginative (my branch is IT -- I view Russians as the elite there). Not boorish at all (but a bit cynical).

On the other hand, the anecdotes they kept telling about how things were going with police, "businessmen" and politicians back home made it very clear that those are extremely boorish -- and they were mostly the ones Eastern Europeans had to deal with. Those stories also explain why my Russian colleagues were so reserved initially, and opened up when they realized how different the interactions were in Western Europe.

I also had Hungarians and Romanians working with me and the Russians -- and there was absolutely no problem. All young generation though, they were schoolboys when the Eastern bloc collapsed. Time frame: early 2000s.

A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty".

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

Want to induce a spitting mad Donald Duck meltdown in a Polish person?

Simply remind them that the only reason that there are Polish people alive in Poland today is because of the Red Army. Anyone who thinks that the Germans were going to stop at Jews is not familiar with Mein Kampf or Generalplan Ost.

This is not to excuse anything else that the Soviets did in Eastern Europe, but at the same time, it is the only reason those Polish people are alive to nurse their russophobia.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

For example, in some parts of Ukraine

JerseyJeffersonian , December 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Vlade,

Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. If you think that the losses in life and property caused directly by the invading Hungarian fascists to the Russian and Soviet peoples, both military and civilian, and the war crimes with which they were likely liberally festooned were not remembered, well, think again. And when the uprising began, those memories probably informed the severity of the Soviet response.

The Hungarians took up arms and participated in a brutal and genocidal attack against the USSR during the Third Reich's invasion. This was only slightly more than 10 years before the Hungarian uprising. Realistically, what did you expect the Soviets' reaction to be to the uprising? Soviet intelligence was surely aware of the Gladio program, and this would only be seen as part and parcel of this western-guided and sponsored program.

Were the deaths and repression that followed regrettable? Of course they were; I am not maintaining otherwise. But times were what they were largely due to what had gone before, and to elide that from the account is unbalanced.

The Rev Kev , December 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

I am wondering what would have happened if NATO had not only expanded east but had also let the Russian Federation itself become part of NATO. Of course countries like Estonia and Lithuania would have squawked about that but they could have been simply told to have a large cup of shut the **** up. Either that or they would have been neutral countries with NATO to the west as well as the east (Russia). Can you imagine?

Instead of NATO merely being the military wing of the western powers it would be one that stretched from Vladivostok right through to the Atlantic. Such an entity would have made it its job to stabilize all the Stans to the south of it as well as Afghanistan itself. There would never be the scenario, as is the case now, where China and Russia have been forced into a defensive alliance. Perhaps Russia would have become part of the EU. Imagine the trade possibilities.

Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that.

Chaos is the goal , December 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union.

UK even insisted that they needed their nuclear submarines to fight islam.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

There's be no need for MICC – can't have that, can we

andyb , December 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand.

jfleni , December 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

Blowback: Kim Jong-Un, China, Russia, etc, etc, "We'll never believe you again, you lying Yankee [obscenities], a pox on you! And who can blame them?

Joel , December 15, 2017 at 10:34 am

When are historians going to start saying that the Clinton presidency was one of the most disastrous in American history?

The more we know, the more it seems much bad and little good came out of it, except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

In so far as the major consequences of the policies and decisions taken by Clinton actually occurred during GWB's presidency, there is little to choose between them.

Extraordinary renditions? Clinton. Military interventions without UNO resolutions? Clinton. Complete dismantling of the financial sector leading to untrammeled speculation? Clinton. Bombing of foreign countries as a standard policy? Clinton (though with old-fashioned aeroplanes and long-range missiles, not drones, so there was innovation with Bush).

Amfortas the Hippie , December 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

At the time(clinton era), I was leery of Billary, but I couldn't put my finger on it I was too busy being young and wild and crazy, as well as keeping body and soul together.

and it was preinternet.

so one had to find alternative narratives regarding the shape of the world where one could people on street corners in the Montrose(Houston) handing out Lyndon Larouche newsletters, later street people on the Drag in Austin handing out Zines from Zendik Farms, still wet with ink, or the odd John Bircher at the aa meeting, the closet Klansman at the beer joint as well as more respectable outlets(William Greider comes to mind).

More to the point of this story, growing up listening to my Half Cherokee Grandad talk about perfidy on the part of the US, I guess I have always been immune to the usual flagwaving superpatriotism the US gov is not to be trusted. Ever.

It's only since I finally got on the Web, circa 1999, that I've been able to sift through all the chaff, and look at things like the foreign press and FOIA Docs, that that Feeling has hardened into Certainty.

The more I learn, the more I find that I loathe my country.(see: history of the CIA, for just one egregious crime spree in our name)
That sucks especially since expressing such dislike is the quickest way to getting lynched in the places I've spent my life(Texas and the South).

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:57 am

you're right, now it seems we shoulda kept papa bush for another term.

urdsama , December 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

That is not what Joel said.

There has been a steady stream of articles and government disclosures that have shown the Clinton years were less than the rosy picture commonly painted.

This just adds to that narrative. Nothing is being said that we should have had more Bush the elder. But perhaps Clinton wasn't the answer either.

Louis Fyne , December 15, 2017 at 11:37 am

the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly

P Fitzsimon , December 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence?

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I do remember reading about this group – someone wrote a lengthy article on this. Will look.

RWood , December 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Olga, you mention the MICC, while to others, it's the MIC. What discourse or determination leads you to that difference? I'm asking because I agree, and want further documentation, and the elimination of the last "C" is constant, and a great misperception.

David , December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I was there. I've never believed that western leaders were being deliberately deceitful about NATO expansion – they were as much victims of events as anything else, and the situation was moving incredibly fast. Remember that the conversation with Gorbachev (Document 9) dates from February 1990, barely three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when western capitals were in shock, and the priority was a peaceful reunification of Germany and the exit of Soviet forces stationed there. At that stage, as the situation changed almost daily, nobody much was thinking about NATO expansion. Indeed, many were wondering if NATO would go on at all.

Vlade is quite right that there was pressure from the V3 (later 4) for closer ties with the West, and this eventually turned into membership, but this was not being discussed in early 1990, when the V3 themselves did not want to move from one military bloc to another, and when it would have been seen as a gratuitous insult to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, there was a lot of worry about the stability of some of the ex Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet successor states.

The real issue was the future of NATO itself. NATO had all sorts of pragmatic political advantages for all sorts of nations, including many in Europe, and it was necessary to find something for it to do. In the absence of a threat, enlargement was more or less all it could do, and so that was what it spent a long time doing.

By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:47 pm

tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage.

Alex , December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I'm grinding my teeth when I think about that time when it was possible to effect a genuine reset of relations between Russia and the West.\

Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions.

Anarcissie , December 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation.

RBHoughton , December 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

The article notes dishonesty originated in the Department of Defense. Why am I not surprised?

One the most attractive features of NATO is that it emasculates all its members before the most powerful one. The strongman gets to know what the others can do militarily and adjusts for that. Its like a secret society – once in, you can't leave even if you want to. So joining the NATO gang for security actually brings submission. Should the strongest one withdraw into domestic contemplation the others will just wither away. Horror of horrors, peace might break out. Doubtful? What did we see in Serbia and Bosnia? Remind me.

wilroncanada , December 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

NATO was formed in 1948 response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from the Eastern European nations it continued to occupy with Soviet troops and control with puppet governments after WWll. The Soviet response was to form the Warsaw Pact- consisting of those very same nations: (East) Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The only time Warsaw Pact troops were used militarily was to put down rebellions by its own members: Hungary in 1956; Czechoslavakia in 1968.

The collapse of the Soviet empire- its Eastern European "sphere of influence"- began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and culminated in the collapse of the Soviet "union" in 1991. In subsequent years, all of the Warsaw Pact members, plus the illegally annexed and occupied Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having reclaimed their sovereignty, also made a point of joining NATO- to ensure that a reawakened Russian bear did not return to do even more damage.

Western leaders in 1990, seeking to reassure Gorbachev regarding German unification, had no standing to negotiate away the future foreign policies of those nations which had endured half a century of the failed Soviet experiment and were still within the Soviet "sphere of influence". In any case, how do you keep a "promise" to a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists?

The nations of Eastern Europe chose to join NATO; they were not coerced into doing so. Russian actions in Ukraine have validated their pragmatism in joining NATO. Although Putin described the demise of the USSR as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century", Russia does not have some sort of divine right to rebuild the Soviet empire and it "sphere of influence". NATO is not a threat to Russia; it is only a threat to those who would seek to rebuild its lost empire.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Sorry, NATO is a club, just like the EU, which has refused entry to Turkey. NATO decides who to let in. Outsiders don't have any rights, any more than Quebec could demand to join France.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm

"NATO decides who to let in". Precisely! All of the former Warsaw Pact members, plus the Baltic states, asked to join NATO, and were granted membership. Don't the nations of Eastern Europe- after fifty years of Soviet (Russian) domination, have the right to decide their own future, and to decide which alliances to join?

Considering the post WWll history of Eastern Europe -- the Soviet domination until the Soviet collapse -- Russia complaining about NATO expansion is tantamout to a burglar complaining that his victims have installed a burglar alarm.

[Dec 16, 2017] Former US attorney says FBI wants to frame the President

Highly recommended!
Pretty interesting and revealing video of the interview...
There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the assistance of foreign nationals to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump or to provide a basis for his impeachment should he win.
From the Congressional investigations involving the Department of Justice and the FBI it looks like that those institutions protecting themselves at the expense of transparency and accountability to the American people.
In other words, the government employees involved consider the survival of the Deep State more important than the survival of the Constitution. That is the definition of tyranny.
Dec 16, 2017 | www.youtube.com

William Branstetter , 9 hours ago

Treason is exactly what these people have committed! They should be tried, if convicted hung by the neck until dead or firing squad their choice!

Scott SonofJohn , 9 hours ago

"Comey sold his soul to the devil."

[Dec 16, 2017] Sessions Balks At Second Special Counsel Says Recent FBI Bombshell May Have Innocent Explanation Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... House and Senate Committees are also trying to get to the bottom of a report last Monday by Fox News which revealed that recently demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS - the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier. It was also later uncovered by internet sleuths that Nellie Ohr represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group at a 2010 working group on organized crime, which she participated in along with her husband Bruce and Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS. ..."
"... Last Tuesday, FBI Deputy Director McCabe unexpectedly cancelled a scheduled testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee -- thought to be related to the Fox report on Bruce and Nellie Ohr. Text messages between Strzok and Page were released the same day . ..."
"... Of course he won't, yet those who still support Trump will continue to perform mental gymnastics to explain why. Trump picked Sessions, just like he picked Cohn, Munchkin, Pence, etc. ..."
"... I've always been very uncomfortable with the nearly unlimited mandate afforded Special Prosecutors. Arguments that Mueller has exceeded his mandate and is now on a fishing expedition show a complete disregard for the law. Mueller is allowed to do that, just as Ken Starr was. That's the problem. Mueller hasn't done anything unlawful and nobody has seriously alleged that he has. The problem is that the law allows him to do whatever he wants. ..."
"... If by "insurance policy" Strzok meant the dossier, which was the basis for a FISA warrant, I'd say they were outside the law. ..."
"... Have you noticed that everyone with these impeccable, beyond reproach, do it by the book reputations are all really nothing more than reptilian scumbags? Comey, Mueller, McCain, Sessions....... ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

In November. Sessions pushed back on the need for a special counsel to investigate a salacious anti-Trump dossier paid for in part by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, and whether or not the FBI used the largely unverified dossier to launch the Russia investigation. Sessions told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that it would take "a factual basis that meets the standard of a special counsel," adding "You can have your idea but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires. I would say, 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel "

http://players.brightcove.net/1077863425/HyenjoxZ3b_default/index.html?videoId=5646148989001

A flood of GOP lawmakers along with President Trump's outside counsel Jay Sekulow have renewed calls for a separate special counsel investigation of the Department of Justice and the FBI amid revelations that top FBI officials conspired to tone down former FBI Director James Comey's statement exonerating Hillary Clinton - altering or removing key language which effectively "decriminalized" Clinton's beahvior. The officials implicated are former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Strzok's supervisor E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson .

Also under recent scrutiny are a trove of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page showing extreme bias against then-candidate Trump, while both of them were actively engaged in the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation. GOP lawmakers claim the FBI launched its investigation into Russian collusion based on the 34-page dossier created by opposition research firm Fusion GPS - which hired the CIA wife of a senior DOJ official to assist in digging up damaging information on 5then-candidate Trump .

A particularly disturbing text message between Strzok and Page was leaked to the press last week referencing an " insurance policy " in case Trump were to be elected President. Strzok wrote to Page: " 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.... "

House and Senate Committees are also trying to get to the bottom of a report last Monday by Fox News which revealed that recently demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS - the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier. It was also later uncovered by internet sleuths that Nellie Ohr represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group at a 2010 working group on organized crime, which she participated in along with her husband Bruce and Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS.

Bruce and Nellie Ohr

Last Tuesday, FBI Deputy Director McCabe unexpectedly cancelled a scheduled testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee -- thought to be related to the Fox report on Bruce and Nellie Ohr. Text messages between Strzok and Page were released the same day .

So with Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying things may have "more innocent explanations" here are some specific questions for the AG to answer:

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.

The list goes on and on, but hey: sometimes things that might appear to be bad in the press have more innocent explanations...

So Close -> Automatic Choke , Dec 16, 2017 6:31 PM

No! The true explanation cuts across the grain of the existing miasma currently being perpetrated as truth by the senior management at the FBI. One being ignored and covered up by the mainstream media. We have senior management at the top federal law enforcement agency that has willfully chosen to elevate their personal political opinion and beliefs above their sworn duty to uphold constitutional law. And this "explanation" is just the latest attempt to reinforce a violently shaking house of cards. The question that presents itself is whether we have the moral backbone as a country to correct our course. The outcome is questionable. And yet there is room for hope.

SWRichmond -> So Close , Dec 16, 2017 6:43 PM

Is Sessions the insurance policy?

Buckaroo Banzai -> Muddy1 , Dec 16, 2017 7:06 PM

"Never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake" Appointing a second Special Counsel could be interpreted as an interruption. I'm not defending Sessions here, he simply might be doing exactly what his boss is asking him to do.

LetThemEatRand -> chunga , Dec 16, 2017 7:05 PM

Of course he won't, yet those who still support Trump will continue to perform mental gymnastics to explain why. Trump picked Sessions, just like he picked Cohn, Munchkin, Pence, etc.

veritas semper ... -> fx , Dec 16, 2017 7:35 PM

"The AAZ Empire the Judiciary domain is like central banking and media a goy-free zone. All lawyers, attorneys, judges, etc. are members of the BAR association, a private, Zion controlled monopoly, whose internal rules and regulations, that all BAR members are sworn to, supersedes the constitutions and laws of all nation states."

This quote is not mine,but it reflects exactly what I think. If you do not believe this,do a search about BAR association.

Look at this judge : https://fair.org/home/judge-tells-jury-informing-public-may-be-criminal-...

Look at her picture. You know she's a "chosen",even without knowing her name

Sessions is a gatekeeper. Like the Donald.

The simple fact that Hillary Clinton is not in jail, with the OVERWHELMING evidence we have against her, that the Weiner lap top has disappeared with all 650 000 incriminating e-mails, that all the Clinton dead pool is OVERFLOWING, including with the recent death of Dr. Dean Lorich, who had knowledge about the Clinton Foundation doings in Haiti, Seth Rich's death, etc. ALL THESE are proofs that we do not have a DOJ, an AG(which are named by the EXECUTIVE branch) .

This leads to only one conclusion=there is one party, having two wings ,to create an illusion of "democracy" and that voting matters.

stocktivity -> Everybodys All American , Dec 16, 2017 6:36 PM

I can't stand Sessions but in this one instance, he is correct.

swmnguy -> stocktivity , Dec 16, 2017 6:59 PM

Yes, the full-court press is on to end the Special Prosecutor investigation, and maybe even the entire law authorizing it. There appear to be no legal grounds for any of this. This seems to be pure politics and PR manipulation attempts.

I've always been very uncomfortable with the nearly unlimited mandate afforded Special Prosecutors. Arguments that Mueller has exceeded his mandate and is now on a fishing expedition show a complete disregard for the law. Mueller is allowed to do that, just as Ken Starr was. That's the problem. Mueller hasn't done anything unlawful and nobody has seriously alleged that he has. The problem is that the law allows him to do whatever he wants.

And investigators are allowed to communicate with each other. They shouldn't have affairs with each other, but they do. Nobody serious, in a position to say or do anything that counts, alleges that they did anything unlawful, or anything that should be handled any other way than the way it was handled, which is a job reassignment and possible termination. Prosecutors are biased against the people they investigate. That's their job. I don't like that either, but that's the deal.

I'd have a lot more respect for Sessions if he didn't blather on about the Constitution and State's Rights and Freedom, and then cheerlead enthusiastically for a violent police state and suspension of the rule of law for profit. But as you say, in this situation, he is indeed correct.

And the fatuousness of the campaign to discredit Mueller, which assiduously avoids any legitimate political argument, is a very bad sign. President Trump's attorneys are in way over their head and they're panicking. Perhaps with good reason. But it would be better for America if Trump could have retained any competent representation. Clearly all the good lawyers decided they wanted no part of him as a client.

lew1024 -> swmnguy , Dec 16, 2017 7:07 PM

No, you are wrong about a full-court press to end the special prosecutor.

He is ending himself just fine. Also, the IG's work is not yet done, how dirty are the other lawyers working for Mueller?

Note that all of the Clinton's oppo research didn't find anything serious enough to use on Trump? No matter how much they paid?

Akzed -> swmnguy , Dec 16, 2017 7:20 PM

Nobody serious, in a position to say or do anything that counts, alleges that they did anything unlawful

If by "insurance policy" Strzok meant the dossier, which was the basis for a FISA warrant, I'd say they were outside the law.

wcole225 -> Everybodys All American , Dec 16, 2017 6:43 PM

Have you noticed that everyone with these impeccable, beyond reproach, do it by the book reputations are all really nothing more than reptilian scumbags? Comey, Mueller, McCain, Sessions.......

ZH Snob -> Everybodys All American , Dec 16, 2017 6:48 PM

all benefit of the doubt has been exhausted. they obviously have something on Sessions, or he's been a deep stater all along.

[Dec 16, 2017] Mueller Improperly Obtained Tens of Thousands Of Trump Transition Emails

And the coup attempt continues...
Notable quotes:
"... And the coup attempt continues... ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

SILVERGEDDON , Dec 16, 2017 5:35 PM

Wake me up when Mueller starts working with Wiener's 600,000 strong kiddie porn email collection.

He might want to look at the Cankles erasure collection, as well as the Huma / Aswan Back Up Collection of dirty laundry as well.

just the tip -> SILVERGEDDON , Dec 16, 2017 5:39 PM

don't say that. we won't ever wake you.

Hal n back -> just the tip , Dec 16, 2017 6:44 PM

I have been Ill the last several weeks: who are the criminals?

toady -> Hal n back , Dec 16, 2017 7:32 PM

It's SO important to have all the supeanas in place before collecting any documents. I'm in the middle of a suit and people keep trying to rush... "I'm just gonna go over there and get a copy...."

"No, not until the lawyer says so!"

Apparently D.C. works by a different set of rules.... and they're blaming the idiots who gave up the documents, not the ones who are, and continue, to use them illegally. Alternate universe!

The Management -> toady , Dec 16, 2017 7:35 PM

At this point Jeff Sessions is going to go down as literally the biggest fucking douche bag in history if he doesnt do something - i mean ANYTHING - shuffle his feet / look busy ... get the group coffee & doughnuts - i'd settle for anything really...

Chuck Walla -> Hal n back , Dec 16, 2017 7:35 PM

"Cooperating"? I bet they were fucking gleeful in their wet dreams to remove Trump.

GUS100CORRINA -> SILVERGEDDON , Dec 16, 2017 5:43 PM

Observation: RULE OF LAW is under assault.

R USSIAN COLLUSION has been proven false. Therefore, Mueller's job is DONE!!!

END this charade and this witchhunt!!! Open all sealed indictments and proceed forward with arrests.

Chupacabra-322 -> GUS100CORRINA , Dec 16, 2017 5:48 PM

@ GUS,

"Rule of Law under assault?"

Check the scoreboard. Their currently isn't any rule of law among Criminals. We're

Tyrannically Lawless.

Chupacabra-322 -> kellys_eye , Dec 16, 2017 7:38 PM

Here's the short list of Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Hillary Clinton's Crimes.

As a reminder, all the data to date suggests that Hillary broke the following 11 US CODES. I provided the links for your convenience. HRC needs to STAND DOWN.

CEO aka "President" TRUMP was indeed correct when he said: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!"

18 U.S. Code § 1905 - Disclosure of confidential information generally
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1905

18 U.S. Code § 1924 - Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1924

18 U.S. Code § 2071 - Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2071

26 U.S. Code § 7201 - Attempt to evade or defeat tax
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7201

26 U.S. Code § 7212 - Attempts to interfere with administration of internal revenue laws
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7212

18 U.S. Code § 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1343

18 U.S. Code § 1349 – Attempt and Conspiracy
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1349

18 U.S. Code § 1505 - Obstruction of Proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1505

18 U.S. Code § 1621 - Perjury generally (including documents signed under penalty of perjury)
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1621

18 USC Sec. 2384?TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE?PART I - CRIMES?CHAPTER 115 - TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
http://trac.syr.edu/laws/18/18USC02384.html

18 U.S. Code § 2381 - Treason
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2381

The Preponderance of Evidence suggests that she broke these Laws, Knowingly, Willfully and Repeatedly. This pattern indicates a habitual/career Criminal, who belongs in Federal Prison.

If Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Hillary Clinton would have been elected. Many if not all of the High Crimes, Crimes & sexual perversion's we see coming to Light never would have been known off.

The Tyrannical Lawlessness we see before our eyes never would have seen the light of day.

And, here's the Dark Humor in this. I'm not an Agent / Esq. Attorney from The City of London. This is common knowledge anyone could Investigate for themselves.

Americans have always been fascinated with the Law. It's the reason some of the highest rated Tee Vee shows we're all based on Law or the presumption of it. Show such as "Law & Order" & CSI. Christ Sakes, look at the OJ Trail ratings.

We're now a Nation of Men, not Law. Thus, to my point.

We're now absolutely, completely, open in your Face

Tyrannically Lawless.

Everybodys All ... -> SILVERGEDDON , Dec 16, 2017 6:13 PM

Mueller is doing more harm to the fbis already terrible reputation every day this sham is extended another day. When Mueller is done with this he better watch his backside is all I can say because many people are pissed at what he has put this country through.

bh2 , Dec 16, 2017 5:43 PM

Curious. Whatever transpired during the transition about "contact" with "Russians" would have been within the authority of the president-elect or his staff.

Why then would emails during transition be subject to review by Congress (or anyone else) with respect to alleged "collusion" between the campaign and foreign government officials? And why did not Trump just assert privilege and tell Congress to pound sand?

This is beginning to look like a snipe hunt which is being extended to provide political eyewash to blind the public to the reality there was no "there" there.

Kayman , Dec 16, 2017 5:40 PM

Mueller is dirty. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not the dirt we see on the surface, it is the dirty hidden below the cesspool of the Washington Mob.

Stan Smith , Dec 16, 2017 5:41 PM

It really is a soft coup by the FBI, CIA, DNC, among others. What a disgrace. These are the same people who want to be taken seriously. We'll take them seriously once they become serious. Which is likely no time soon.

chunga -> Stan Smith , Dec 16, 2017 5:58 PM

All these agencies are wacked right out. What we need is one moar... the Bureau of Pissed Off Citizens With Pitchforks. The Imperial City is out of control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fyr0zbaFyE

MuffDiver69 , Dec 16, 2017 5:50 PM

Yep...Now the Fake News has all the Trump transition emails and gossip. This entire operation was a data mining expedition for the DNC and democrats. If you want to know a mans motives look at who he hires and Mueller has 3/4 partisan left wing hacks working for him. The fact they think this is ok and no big deal tells you all one needs to know and if it's proven they have been leaked, then shut this shit show down..This country is a disgrace.

RussianSniper , Dec 16, 2017 6:08 PM

The left and right establishment of DC, the Intelligence agencies, the fake news, and the Department of Justice have undertaken an overthrow of the constitutionally elected President of the United States.

This is treason.
This is sedition.

People need to answer for their crimes and should be punished severely.

Justice in the USA is not a thing of the past....

No matter what the previous criminal administrations wish you to believe.

Manaze , Dec 16, 2017 6:09 PM

This article never did say what the unlawful conduct was in obtaining the emails. GSA has no choice in cooperating with Mueller. He has been given broad authority.

I wish there was more objectivity on zerohedge. Mostly it is right extremist hate mongers who are besotted with one-sided cool aid. They just decide who to hate then lambast them without looking at all the facts. Nobody would call that smart.

Irish Yoga , Dec 16, 2017 6:12 PM

No mention of Bill, Hillary, Awans, Debbie, Seth, Huma, Carlos (perv husband of Huma the Hummer), Chelsea, and many other things too long to list. Hmmm... maybe the FBI should be chasing real criminals. But they are merely guardians of the old guard these days. Investigation was long ago deleted from their mandate.

"Rebellion to t... , Dec 16, 2017 6:20 PM

The sad fact of the matter is that all those involved in this overthrow, fully understand, their actions and behavior up to and including the spying on, the unmasking, the leaking of classified information, the slanderous and disinformation shit out by the fake news, etc., would eventually be exposed.

Those complicit did not care!

They'd rather destroy the nation than relinquish their unchecked power and ill gotten wealth.

We are on the verge of the fight of our lives.

US patriots will soon be in the field of battle with the deep state/shadow government/evil empire.

When the dust settles, no Bush, Clinton, or Obama family member or administration team should walk free.

The intelligence agencies need to be broken down.

Traitors need to answer for their crimes.

Those convicted must pay the ultimate price.

Pigeon -> "Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God."-ThomasJefferson , Dec 16, 2017 6:30 PM

"would eventually be exposed."

No, they did not. Because Hillary was rigged to win.

Honest John , Dec 16, 2017 7:05 PM

But they still can't get Hillary's e mails. Mueller is obviously a Clinton stooge.

ErostheDog , Dec 16, 2017 7:06 PM

And the coup attempt continues...

I Write Code , Dec 16, 2017 7:15 PM

Of course if anybody put anything sensitive in any email - without serious extra encryption - then they deserve whatever comes.

Neochrome , Dec 16, 2017 7:21 PM

This whole thing started out of nothing, or rather from a planted lie, as losers refused to accept the outcome of the election they thought they have sufficiently gamed. Meanwhile we have DNC testifying that they don't give a shit about democracy as they can do as they please as a "private" organization, including sabotaging their own candidates, but yawn to that. We have a testimony that connects DNC to the murder of Seth Rich, testimony obstructed from proper investigation by the highest law enforcement agency in the country itself. We have bureaucrat insurrection, from lowest clerks and judges to highest government officials, aimed at undermining the duly elected POTUS. This is a revolution in reverse, where ruling class is trying to overthrow the will of the people. And who is in the forefront of this fascist takeover and trampling of democracy: exactly the agencies that suppose to protect the country from that scenario - CIA and FBI. Finally the veil of "democracy has slipped and we can all see the ugly truth behind it...

[Dec 16, 2017] Strzok and Ohr as two new important players in Steele dossier saga

Notable quotes:
"... 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 in July 2016, shortly before the Russiagate investigation was launched. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 involved in the election campaign of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 FBI and the Justice Department to comply with Congressman Nunes's subpoenas. ..."
"... 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 provided with the Trump Dossier ..."
"... 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 narrative when questioning witnesses about their 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 the surveillance warrants it obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards. ..."
"... Given Strzok's central role in the Russiagate investigation going back all the way to its start in July 2016, there has also 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. ..."
"... 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 Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton's opponent ..."
"... 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 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 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. ..."
"... Congressman Jordan has now correctly identified the surveillance of US citizens by the US national security bureaucracy during the election as the focus of the proposed investigation to be conducted by the second Special Counsel. ..."
"... 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 during the election by the US national security bureaucracy on the basis of the Trump Dossier. ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | The Duran

... ... ...

Extracted from Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up by Alexander Mercouris

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 in 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 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 involved in the election campaign 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 whether or not the Trump Dossier played any role in the FBI obtaining the FISA warrants, even though it was previously disclosed that it did. This is despite the fact that this information is not classified and ought already to have been provided 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 FBI and the Justice Department 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 supervised the FBI's questioning of Michael Flynn. It is not clear whether this covers to the FBI's interview with Flynn on 24th January 2017 during which Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russian ambassador. However it is likely that it does.

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

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 provided with 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 however only disclosed his sacking now five months later 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 Congressman Jordan was thinking during his angry exchanges with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Recently the FBI 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.

The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of the 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 alleging 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 narrative when questioning witnesses about their 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 the surveillance warrants it 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 amongst those senior FBI and US intelligence officials who gave the Trump Dossier 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 has also 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 Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton's opponent .

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 almost certainly was – and if he was responsible for some of the leaks – as he likely also was – was sacked and exiled to human resources when the utter falsity of the Trump Dossier could no longer be denied.

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 to grind on.

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 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 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 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 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.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2017 DRN MEDIA PLC.

[Dec 16, 2017] Brexit, Trump, and the Dangers of Global 'Jihad' HuffPost by Ben Railton

For 1995 the book Jihad vs. McWorld was really groundbreaking.
Also the concept of "Neoliberal jihad is valid, but it is better to call it Neoliberal World revolution as it was borrowed from Trotskyism
Notable quotes:
"... Jihad vs. McWorld ..."
"... In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. ..."
"... Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. ..."
"... Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.huffingtonpost.com

In his ground-breaking 1995 book Jihad vs. McWorld , political scientist Benjamin Barber posits that the global conflicts of the early 21st century would be driven by two opposing but equally undemocratic forces: neoliberal corporate globalization (which he dubbed "McWorld") and reactionary tribal nationalisms (which he dubbed "Jihad"). Although distinct in many ways, both of these forces, Barber persuasively argues, succeed by denying the possibilities for democratic consensus and action, and so both must be opposed by civic engagement and activism on a broad scale.

In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. Case in pitch-perfect point: the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet despite his use of the Arabic word Jihad, Barber is clear that reactionary tribalism is a worldwide phenomenon -- and in 2016 we're seeing particularly striking examples of that tribalism in Western nations such as Great Britain and the United States.

Britain's vote this week in favor of leaving the European Union was driven entirely by such reactionary tribal nationalism. The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage led the charge in favor of Leave , as exemplified by a recent UKIP poster featuring a photo of Syrian refugees with the caption " Breaking point: the EU has failed us ." Farage and his allies like to point to demographic statistics about how much the UK has changed in the last few decades , and more exactly how the nation's white majority has been somewhat shifted over that time by the arrival of sizeable African and Asian immigrant communities.

It's impossible not to link the UKIP's emphases on such issues of immigration and demography to the presidential campaign of the one prominent U.S. politician who is cheering for the Brexit vote : presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. From his campaign-launching speech about Mexican immigrant "criminals and rapists" to his proposal to ban Muslim immigration and his "Make American Great Again" slogan, Trump has relied on reactionary tribal nationalism at every stage of his campaign, and has received the enthusiastic endorsement of white supremacist and far-right organizations as a result. For such American tribal nationalists, the 1965 Immigration Act is the chief bogeyman, the origin point of continuing demographic shifts that have placed white America in a precarious position.

The only problem with that narrative is that it's entirely inaccurate. What the 1965 Act did was reverse a recent, exclusionary trend in American immigration law and policy, returning the nation to the more inclusive and welcoming stance it had taken throughout the rest of its history. Moreover, while the numbers of Americans from Latin American, Asian, and Muslim cultures have increased in recent decades, all of those communities have been part of o ur national community from its origin points . Which is to say, this right-wing tribal nationalism isn't just opposed to fundamental realities of 21st century American identity -- it also depends on historical and national narratives that are as mythic as they are exclusionary.

Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. Although Trump rallies have featured troubling instances of violence, and although the murderer of British politican Jo Cox was an avowed white supremacist and Leave supporter, the right-wing Islamic extremism of groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram rely far more consistently and centrally on violence and terrorism in support of their worldview and goals. Such specific contexts and nuances are important and shouldn't be elided.

Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. From ISIS to UKIP, Trump to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, such reactionary forces have become and remain dominant players across the world, influencing local and international politics, economics, and culture. Benjamin Barber called this trend two decades ago, and we would do well to read and remember his analyses -- as well as his call for civic engagement and activism to resist these forces and fight for democracy.

Ben Railton Professor & public scholar of American Studies, Follow Ben Railton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmericanStudier

[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] The Real Crimes of Russiagate by Patrick J. Buchanan

In five month is is clear how wrong Pat Buchanan was. I expected from him a much better analysis with less prejudies. But he is absolutely right about leaks. Actually now it is clear that one of the requests from Trump team to Russian ambassador was about help Israel in UN, so this not a Russiagate. There is also suspection that Strzok was the person who had thrown Flynn under the bus and propagated Steele dossier within FBI. May be acting as Brennan agent inside FBI.
Notable quotes:
"... Just days into Trump's presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador forced the firing of Flynn. ..."
"... Is it not monumental hypocrisy to denounce Russia's hacking of the computers of Democratic political leaders and institutions, while splashing the contents of the theft all over Page 1 ..."
"... Not only do our Beltway media traffic in stolen secrets and stolen goods, but the knowledge that they will publish secrets and protect those who leak them is an incentive for bureaucratic disloyalty and criminality. ..."
"... Our mainstream media are like the fellow who avoids the risk of stealing cars, but wants to fence them once stolen and repainted. ..."
"... Do the American people not have a "right to know" who are the leakers within the government who are daily spilling secrets to destroy their president? Are the identities of the saboteurs not a legitimate subject of investigation? Ought they not be exposed and rooted out? ..."
"... Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic? ..."
"... Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck. ..."
"... People inside the executive branch are daily providing fresh meat to feed the scandal. Anti-Trump media are transfixed by it. It is the Watergate of their generation. They can smell the blood in the water. The Pulitzers are calling. And they love it, for they loathe Donald Trump both for who he is and what he stands for. ..."
"... Sure, the media today are more deranged than ever. Media are also more cynical and in the control of globalists. But they got nothing on Russia. They have the cry of Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, but unless they can provide solid evidence, this is nothing. ..."
"... Pat Buchanan does his best – but apparently he just can't bring himself to doubt the integrity of America's "intelligence" services – even after their epic failure &/or deception when it came to Iraq's non-existent WMD's. "Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks." What reason do we have to believe this, other than the worthless word of these perpetually lying creeps? ..."
"... No it's not. The Republic died a long time ago: The Empire is in that rough middle period where the Praetorians choose the leader who suits them most, but occasionally have an unsuitable one slip past them. This ends with the barbarians moving in to assume all the trappings of being a Roman but lead the empire to a final crushing defeat at the hands of worse barbarians. ..."
"... There's still no need, unless Buchanan knows something a lot more significant than what he covers here, to give any credence whatsoever to the "Russia influencing the US election" black propaganda campaign. It should still be laughed at, rather than given the slightest credibility, whilst, as Buchanan does indeed do repeatedly, turning the issue upon the true criminals – those in US government circles leaking US security information to try to influence US politics. ..."
"... If there was any attempt by Russia to "influence" the US election it was trivial, and should be put into context whenever it is mentioned. That context includes the longstanding and ongoing efforts by the US to interfere massively in other countries' (including Russia's) elections and governments, and the routine acceptance of foreign interference in US politics by Israel in particular. ..."
"... If Trump and his backers really wanted to put a halt to this laughable nonsense about foreign influence, he should start a high profile investigation of the nefarious "influencing" of US politics by foreign "agents of influence" in general, specifically including Israel and staffed by men who are not sympathetic to that country. ..."
Jul 18, 2017 | www.unz.com

For a year, the big question of Russiagate has boiled down to this: Did Donald Trump's campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC? And until last week, the answer was "no."

As ex-CIA director Mike Morell said in March, "On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark."

Well, last week, it appeared there had been a fire in Trump Tower. On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with Russians -- in anticipation of promised dirt on Hillary Clinton's campaign. While not a crime, this was a blunder. For Donald Jr. had long insisted there had been no collusion with the Russians. Caught in flagrante, he went full Pinocchio for four days.

And as the details of that June 9 meeting spilled out, Trump defenders were left with egg on their faces, while anti-Trump media were able to keep the spotlight laser-focused on where they want it -- Russiagate.

This reality underscores a truth of our time. In the 19th century, power meant control of the means of production; today, power lies in control of the means of communication.

Who controls the media spotlight controls what people talk about and think about. And mainstream media are determined to keep that spotlight on Trump-Russia, and as far away as possible from their agenda -- breaking the Trump presidency and bringing him down.

Almost daily, there are leaks from the investigative and security arms of the U.S. government designed to damage this president.

Just days into Trump's presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador forced the firing of Flynn.

An Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister in which Trump disclosed that Israeli intelligence had ferreted out evidence that ISIS was developing computer bombs to explode on airliners was leaked. This alerted ISIS, damaged the president, and imperiled Israeli intelligence sources and methods.

Some of the leaks from national security and investigative agencies are felonies, not only violations of the leaker's solemn oath to protect secrets, but of federal law.

Yet the press is happy to collude with these leakers and to pay them in the coin they seek. First, by publishing the secrets the leakers want revealed. Second, by protecting them from exposure to arrest and prosecution for the crimes they are committing.

The mutual agendas of the deep-state leakers and the mainstream media mesh perfectly.

Consider the original Russiagate offense.

Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. And who was the third and indispensable party in this "Tinker to Evers to Chance" double-play combination?

The media itself. While deploring Russian hacking as an "act of war" against "our democracy," the media published the fruits of the hacking. It was the media that revealed what Podesta wrote and how the DNC tilted the tables against Bernie Sanders.

If the media believed Russian hacking was a crime against our democracy, why did they publish the fruits of that crime?

Is it not monumental hypocrisy to denounce Russia's hacking of the computers of Democratic political leaders and institutions, while splashing the contents of the theft all over Page 1?

Not only do our Beltway media traffic in stolen secrets and stolen goods, but the knowledge that they will publish secrets and protect those who leak them is an incentive for bureaucratic disloyalty and criminality.

Our mainstream media are like the fellow who avoids the risk of stealing cars, but wants to fence them once stolen and repainted.

Some journalists know exactly who is leaking against Trump, but they are as protective of their colleagues' "sources" as of their own. Thus, the public is left in the dark as to what the real agenda is here, and who is sabotaging a president in whom they placed so much hope.

And thus does democracy die in darkness.

Do the American people not have a "right to know" who are the leakers within the government who are daily spilling secrets to destroy their president? Are the identities of the saboteurs not a legitimate subject of investigation? Ought they not be exposed and rooted out?

Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic?

Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.

People inside the executive branch are daily providing fresh meat to feed the scandal. Anti-Trump media are transfixed by it. It is the Watergate of their generation. They can smell the blood in the water. The Pulitzers are calling. And they love it, for they loathe Donald Trump both for who he is and what he stands for.

It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Copyright 2017 Creators.com. ← Russia Baiters and Putin Haters Category: Ideology Tags: American Media , Donald Trump , Russia

NoseytheDuke , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 5:27 am GMT

Pat, you are again presenting yourself to be a disinformation asset and are truly undermining your credibility here. The DNC and Podesta emails were leaked not hacked. Please write this out in full a hundred times on the blackboard or whiteboard of your choice. Maybe then it will sink in.
Priss Factor , Website Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 5:57 am GMT
There is nothing there. Let the media cry Russia Russia Russia forever. Trump can do other things. People will lose interest in this. This is different from Watergate because there really was a burglary and a coverup. There's nothing remotely like this here.

1. If Russians really did it, they did it on their own. Trump team had nothing to do with it.

2. If Russians didn't do it, this is just the media wasting its resources and energy on nothing.

Let the media keep digging and digging and digging where they is no gold. Let them be distracted by Trump does something real. Because Buchanan lived through Watergate, I think he's over-thinking this. It's like dejavu to him. Sure, the media today are more deranged than ever. Media are also more cynical and in the control of globalists. But they got nothing on Russia. They have the cry of Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, but unless they can provide solid evidence, this is nothing.

vinteuil , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 8:43 am GMT
Pat Buchanan does his best – but apparently he just can't bring himself to doubt the integrity of America's "intelligence" services – even after their epic failure &/or deception when it came to Iraq's non-existent WMD's. "Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks." What reason do we have to believe this, other than the worthless word of these perpetually lying creeps?
The Alarmist , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 9:37 am GMT

It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.

No it's not. The Republic died a long time ago: The Empire is in that rough middle period where the Praetorians choose the leader who suits them most, but occasionally have an unsuitable one slip past them. This ends with the barbarians moving in to assume all the trappings of being a Roman but lead the empire to a final crushing defeat at the hands of worse barbarians.

Randal , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT
Buchanan still being too reasonable towards the enemies of US democracy (the Democrats and their neocon Republican allies trying to undermine and overthrow the elected US President), imo.

There's still no need, unless Buchanan knows something a lot more significant than what he covers here, to give any credence whatsoever to the "Russia influencing the US election" black propaganda campaign. It should still be laughed at, rather than given the slightest credibility, whilst, as Buchanan does indeed do repeatedly, turning the issue upon the true criminals – those in US government circles leaking US security information to try to influence US politics.

Did Donald Trump's campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC?

Clearly not, as far as anybody knows based upon information in the public domain. There's no evidence Russia's government hacked anything anyway. A meeting by campaign representatives with Russians claiming to have dirt on Trump's rival is not evidence of collusion in hacking.

Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks.

Again, Buchanan seems to be needlessly conceding ground to known liars and deluded zealots.

If there was any attempt by Russia to "influence" the US election it was trivial, and should be put into context whenever it is mentioned. That context includes the longstanding and ongoing efforts by the US to interfere massively in other countries' (including Russia's) elections and governments, and the routine acceptance of foreign interference in US politics by Israel in particular.

If Trump and his backers really wanted to put a halt to this laughable nonsense about foreign influence, he should start a high profile investigation of the nefarious "influencing" of US politics by foreign "agents of influence" in general, specifically including Israel and staffed by men who are not sympathetic to that country.

That would quickly result in the shutting down of mainstream media complaints about foreign influence.

Gg Mo , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

Yup, His name was Seth Rich . (and let us never forget Michael Hastings and the Smith Mundt Modernization Act put in place for a Hillary win/steal.)

Gg Mo , Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT
Yipes -- What is the matter with Buchanan? Is he taking weird prescription drugs for Alzheimers ?

He seems to be a bit of an apologist for KNOWN liars and he doesn't seem to understand that the MSM is absolutely the mouthpiece for these agencies, populated with agents like Cooper and Mika etc etc etc

Andrei Martyanov , Website Show Comment Next New Comment July 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm GMT

It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.

It already didn't end well and it pains me to say this. What it may become only is worse. At this stage I don's see any "better" scenarios. The truth has been revealed.

[Dec 16, 2017] Seth Rich murder: The facts so far by Kit

Aug 11, 2016 | OffGuardian

Last month Seth Rich, a data analyst who worked for the DNC, was shot near his home in Washington DC. He was on the phone to his girlfriend when it happened. Police were called to the scene and discovered the young man's body at roughly 4.20am. It was reported that Rich was "covered in bruises", shot "several times" and "at least once in the back".

The New York Daily News reported:

" police have found little information to explain his death. At this time, there are no suspects, no motive and no witnesses in Rich's murder.

While initial theories were that the killing was robbery or mugging gone wrong, the Washington Post said:

" There is no immediate indication that robbery was a motive in the attack but it has not been ruled out as a possibility."

Rich's family have also reported that nothing was taken:

" [Rich's] hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything."

On August 9th Julian Assange gave an interview on Dutch television in which he seemed to imply that Rich's death was politically motivated, and perhaps suggest he had been a source for the DNC e-mail leak:

That same day wikileaks tweeted that they were offering a $20,000 dollar reward for information on the killing of Mr Rich.

These are the facts of the case, so far. And they are undisputed.

I'm not going to take a position on the motive for Mr Rich's killing, or possible suspects. But I do want to point out the general level of media silence. Take these facts and change the names – imagine Trump's email had been hacked, and then a staffer with possible ties to wikileaks was inexplicably shot dead. Imagine this poor young man had been a Kremlin whistleblower, or a Chinese hacker, or an Iranian blogger.

If this, as yet unsolved, murder had ties to anyone other than Hillary Clinton, would it be being so ritually and rigourously ignored by the MSM?

[Dec 16, 2017] Canada takes initiative among NATO countries in deciding to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine

Dec 16, 2017 | www.newcoldwar.org

Canada has taken a lead among NATO countries in approving heavy weapons sales to the government and armed forces of Ukraine. The Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision on December 13.

The U.S. government is poised to make a similar decision .

The decision by Washington's junior partner in Ottawa is a blow to human rights organizations and others in the U.S. and internationally who argue that increasing the arms flow to the regime in Kyiv will only escalate Ukraine's violence against the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine was compelled to sign the 'Minsk-2' ceasefire and peace agreement on Feb 12, 2015. Germany and France endorsed the agreement and have pretended to stand by it. But Ukraine has violated Minsk-2 ( text here ) ever since its signing, with impunity from Kyiv's allies in western Europe and North America.

Minsk-2 was endorsed by the UN Security Council on Feb 17, 2015. That shows the regard which NATO members such as the U.S. and Canada attach to the world body -- the UN it is a useful tool when it can be manipulated to serve their interests, otherwise it is an annoyance to be ignored. Witness their boycotting of the UN General Assembly discussion (and eventual adoption) on July 7, 2017 of the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons .

[Dec 16, 2017] The Trump team definitely colluded with a foreign power Just not the one you think by Aaron Maté

Notable quotes:
"... Published in The Nation on Dec 5, 2017 ..."
"... ccording to the charge sheet , Flynn first made contact with Kislyak to discuss the Israel vote. We found out this weekend his reason for doing so. "[Special counsel Robert] Mueller's investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel," ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... In short, the first known contact between the Trump campaign and Russia after the election occurred in the service of a different foreign power, Israel, and was ultimately fruitless. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... * Aaron Maté is a host/producer for The Real News Network. ..."
"... Published in www.newcoldwar.org (New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond) ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Published in The Nation on Dec 5, 2017

Why are the media paying scant attention to Michael Flynn's admissions about Israel?

The indictment of former national-security adviser Michael Flynn on December 1 has confirmed that Donald Trump's inner circle colluded with a foreign power before entering the White House -- just not the foreign power that has been the subject of our national fixation for the past year. To be sure, the jury is still out on Russia, though there are new grounds for questioning the case for a plot tying the Kremlin to Trump Tower. But with Flynn's plea, we can now say for certain that the Trump team did collude -- with Israel.

To recap, Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with then–Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the period after Trump's November 2016 victory. As Foreign Policy previously reported , Flynn reached out to Kislyak as part of "a vigorous diplomatic bid" to undermine President Obama's decision to allow a December 2016 Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlement building in the Occupied Territories. The indictment fills in some details.

According to the charge sheet , Flynn first made contact with Kislyak to discuss the Israel vote. We found out this weekend his reason for doing so. "[Special counsel Robert] Mueller's investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel,"

The New York Times reported after Flynn's court appearance on Friday. "Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and [Trump son-in-law Jared] Kushner took the lead in those efforts" -- efforts which failed to change a single vote, including Russia's, which backed the measure in defiance of the Trump-Netanyahu subversion attempt.

In short, the first known contact between the Trump campaign and Russia after the election occurred in the service of a different foreign power, Israel, and was ultimately fruitless.

The next contact between Flynn and Kislyak was more productive. In late December, Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 election. A day later, Flynn called the Russian ambassador to request that the Kremlin, according to the plea document, "only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner." Flynn's overture came after a Trump transition colleague told him that the incoming administration "did not want Russia to escalate the situation." By all accounts, Russia complied.

Read also: Turkish Fears

Whatever one thinks about this covert attempt to reduce tensions with a nuclear-armed power, it demonstrates an effort by the Trump transition, as with the Israel vote, to undermine the outgoing administration's policy. Trump critics have seized on that as a violation of the Logan Act, which bars citizens from having unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments in a dispute with the United States. But the Logan Act has seldom been used except as a partisan talking point , not a prosecutable offense. More importantly, there's the question as to whether Flynn's overture on sanctions prove a quid pro quo [a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something].

Notwithstanding the post-election contact with Flynn, not only has Russia failed to gain a reduction in sanctions but its relations with Washington have deteriorated. In early August, Trump signed new sanctions on Russia overwhelmingly approved by Congress. The administration recently presented lawmakers with a list of targets that "reads like a who's who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors," The New York Times noted. In September, Trump shut down the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two annexes in New York City and Washington, DC. Just last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced Russia's "malicious tactics" against the West and vowed that sanctions imposed over Russian's role in Ukraine "will remain in place until Russia reverses the actions that triggered them."

Meanwhile, Trump has enlarged NATO over Russia's objections, carried out the "biggest military exercise in Eastern Europe since the Cold War" on Russia's border, appointed several anti-Russia hawks to key posts, and continues to deliberate over whether to supply Ukraine with a weapons package that Obama himself rejected out of fear it would worsen the country's civil war.

In the latest flare-up, Russia has ordered international media outlets to register as foreign agents in retaliation for the Justice Department first doing so to Washington-based RT America .

It is, of course, possible that all of this is an elaborate ruse to mask the secret, as yet unproven, conspiracy that many insist will lead to Trump's downfall. The fact that Flynn is now a cooperating witness has refueled hopes that this day is finally approaching. After all, why would Flynn lie about his contacts with Russia if he did not have something to hide? And why would Mueller offer him a plea deal if Flynn wasn't offering him a bigger fish to fry? (One plausible motive, as Buzzfeed notes , is that Flynn may have lied to hide his potential Logan Act violation.)

Read also: Trump and the Terrorists Support Le Pen

Only time will tell whether Flynn has something to offer Mueller, or whether Mueller has gotten from him what he can. In the meantime, more than a year after the election, we still have exactly zero evidence of any cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government -- nor, it must be repeated, any evidence to back up U.S. intelligence officials' claims that the Russian government meddled in the election. We do have instances of Trump campaign figures' -- namely, Donald Trump Jr. and low-level adviser George Papadopoulos -- making contact with people that they thought were Russian government intermediaries. But whatever they were told or believed, there is still no proof that their contacts led to an actual Kremlin connection.

What we do have is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Israel to subvert the U.S. government's official position at the United Nations Security Council. Yet reaction to that news has been quite a departure from the standards of Russiagate when it comes to foreign meddling.

The contrast was put on stark display on Sunday, when Jared Kushner appeared with billionaire Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban at the latter's annual forum on U.S.-Israel relations. Saban took a moment to thank Kushner for his role in the subversion effort that Flynn admitted to have undertaken on Israel's behalf. "To be honest with you, as far as I know there's nothing illegal there," Saban told his stage companion. "But I think that this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort, so thank you very much."

For all of the fears of Russian oligarchs' having influence over Trump, the comment from this American oligarch reveals a great deal about who really influences practically everyone in Washington, Republican or Democrat. Saban was not a Trump donor. He is, in fact, Bill and Hillary Clinton's top all-time financial supporter, to the tune of more than $25 million ; a benefactor whose generosity has helped build not just the Clinton Library but also the Democratic National Committee's headquarters.

Read also: The real Marine Le Pen: Α Warrior against Islam, like the "Fake pacifist" Trump?

But there has been no outrage from democracy-defending #Resistance stalwarts over Saban's comments (and the Israeli subversion effort he endorsed). The same for news of Kushner's failure to disclose his leadership of a group that funded the illegal Israeli settlements that he tried to protect at the United Nations. And now we await to see how those who agonize over foreign influence on Trump will respond to his reported plans to move the American embassy to Jerusalem -- "a decision that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East," as Haaretz notes .

It is unlikely that Trump will be challenged on Israel, because his approach is harmonic with a bipartisan consensus cemented in large part by the financial contributions of billionaires like Saban and his Republican pro-Israeli government counterpart, Sheldon Adelson. Hence, there are no editorials or opinion pieces denouncing Israel's ' Plot Against America ' or ' War on America ', or warnings that ' Odds Are, Israel Owns Trump ', or explorations of ' What Israel Did to Control the American Mind '. Likewise, there will be no new groups forming dubbed the ' Committee to Investigate Israel ' or the ' Tel Aviv Project '. In fact it is more than likely that, going forward, the media will give Israelgate the same treatment as cable's top Russiagate sleuth, MSNBC 's Rachel Maddow, gave during her exhaustive Flynn coverage so far, which is to not even mention it.

This weekend furnished us with another important contrast. Flynn's indictment was followed hours later by the passage of the Senate Republican tax bill, which stands to be one of the largest upward transfers of wealth in U.S. history. If protecting democracy is our goal, we may want to tune out the Russia-obsessed pundits and look closer to home.

* Aaron Maté is a host/producer for The Real News Network.

Published in www.newcoldwar.org
(New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond)

[Dec 15, 2017] Rise and Decline of the Welfare State, by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Petras did not mention that it was Carter who started neoliberalization of the USA. The subsequent election of Reagan signified the victory of neoliberalism in this country or "quite coup". The death of New Deal from this point was just a matter of time. Labor relations drastically changes and war on union and atomization of workforce are a norm.
Welfare state still exists but only for corporation and MIC. Otherwise the New Deal society is almost completely dismanted.
It is true that "The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives." But the key factor in this compromise was the existence of the USSR as a threat to the power of capitalists in the USA. when the USSR disappeared cannibalistic instincts of the US elite prevailed over caution.
Notable quotes:
"... The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health. ..."
"... modern welfare state' ..."
"... Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility. ..."
"... Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions. ..."
"... World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war. ..."
"... So-called ' right to work' ..."
"... Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay ..."
"... Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined ..."
"... With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation. ..."
"... Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations. ..."
"... The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income. ..."
"... The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy ..."
"... Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home. ..."
"... President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff. ..."
"... Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities. ..."
"... President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven. ..."
"... Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' . ..."
"... Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe. ..."
"... Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump ..."
"... Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block. ..."
"... The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave. ..."
"... Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump. ..."
"... Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century. ..."
"... The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history ..."
"... "The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class." ..."
"... Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up ..."
"... Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers. ..."
"... The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy. ..."
"... Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. ' Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

What started as incremental reversals during the 1990's under Clinton has snowballed over the last two decades decimating welfare legislation and institutions.

The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East.

In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health.

New Deals and Big Wars

The 1930's witnessed the advent of social legislation and action, which laid the foundations of what is called the ' modern welfare state' .

Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility.

Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions.

World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war.

The post-war period witnessed a contradictory process: wages and salaries increased while legislation curtailed union rights via the Taft Hartley Act and the McCarthyist purge of leftwing trade union activists. So-called ' right to work' laws effectively outlawed unionization mostly in southern states, which drove industries to relocate to the anti-union states.

Welfare reforms, in the form of the GI bill, provided educational opportunities for working class and rural veterans, while federal-subsidized low interest mortgages encourage home-ownership, especially for veterans.

The New Deal created concrete improvements but did not consolidate labor influence at any level. Capitalists and management still retained control over capital, the workplace and plant location of production.

Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay "). Dissident local unions were seized and gutted by the trade union bosses – sometimes through violence.

Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined.

While a new wave of social welfare legislation and programs began in the 1960's and early 1970's it was no longer a result of a mass trade union or workers' "class struggle". Moreover, trade union collaboration with the capitalist regional war policies led to the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of workers in two wars – the Korean and Vietnamese wars.

Much of social legislation resulted from the civil and welfare rights movements. While specific programs were helpful, none of them addressed structural racism and poverty.

The Last Wave of Social Welfarism

The 1960'a witnessed the greatest racial war in modern US history: Mass movements in the South and North rocked state and federal governments, while advancing the cause of civil, social and political rights. Millions of black citizens, joined by white activists and, in many cases, led by African American Viet Nam War veterans, confronted the state. At the same time, millions of students and young workers, threatened by military conscription, challenged the military and social order.

Energized by mass movements, a new wave of social welfare legislation was launched by the federal government to pacify mass opposition among blacks, students, community organizers and middle class Americans. Despite this mass popular movement, the union bosses at the AFL-CIO openly supported the war, police repression and the military, or at best, were passive impotent spectators of the drama unfolding in the nation's streets. Dissident union members and activists were the exception, as many had multiple identities to represent: African American, Hispanic, draft resisters, etc.

Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, the EPA and multiple poverty programs were implemented. A national health program, expanding Medicare for all Americans, was introduced by President Nixon and sabotaged by the Kennedy Democrats and the AFL-CIO. Overall, social and economic inequalities diminished during this period.

The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the American militarist empire. This coincided with the beginning of the end of social welfare as we knew it – as the bill for militarism placed even greater demands on the public treasury.

With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation.

Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations.

The Debacle of Welfarism

Private sector trade union membership declined from a post-world war peak of 30% falling to 12% in the 1990's. Today it has sunk to 7%. Capitalists embarked on a massive program of closing thousands of factories in the unionized North which were then relocated to the non-unionized low wage southern states and then overseas to Mexico and Asia. Millions of stable jobs disappeared.

Following the election of 'Jimmy Carter', neither Democratic nor Republican Presidents felt any need to support labor organizations. On the contrary, they facilitated contracts dictated by management, which reduced wages, job security, benefits and social welfare.

The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income.

The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy.

The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives.

The Second World War secured the economic recovery for capital and subordinated labor through a federally mandated no strike production agreement. There were a few notable exceptions: The coal miners' union organized strikes in strategic sectors and some leftist leaders and organizers encouraged slow-downs, work to rule and other in-plant actions when employers ran roughshod with special brutality over the workers. The recovery of capital was the prelude to a post-war offensive against independent labor-based political organizations. The quality of labor organization declined even as the quantity of trade union membership increased.

Labor union officials consolidated internal control in collaboration with the capitalist elite. Capitalist class-labor official collaboration was extended overseas with strategic consequences.

The post-war corporate alliance between the state and capital led to a global offensive – the replacement of European-Japanese colonial control and exploitation by US business and bankers. Imperialism was later 're-branded' as ' globalization' . It pried open markets, secured cheap docile labor and pillaged resources for US manufacturers and importers.

US labor unions played a major role by sabotaging militant unions abroad in cooperation with the US security apparatus: They worked to coopt and bribe nationalist and leftist labor leaders and supported police-state regime repression and assassination of recalcitrant militants.

' Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home.

Labor union officials had laid the groundwork for the demise of stable jobs and social benefits for American workers. Their collaboration increased the rate of capitalist profit and overall power in the political system. Their complicity in the brutal purges of militants, activists and leftist union members and leaders at home and abroad put an end to labor's capacity to sustain and expand the welfare state.

Trade unions in the US did not use their collaboration with empire in its bloody regional wars to win social benefits for the rank and file workers. The time of social-imperialism, where workers within the empire benefited from imperialism's pillage, was over. Gains in social welfare henceforth could result only from mass struggles led by the urban poor, especially Afro-Americans, community-based working poor and militant youth organizers.

The last significant social welfare reforms were implemented in the early 1970's – coinciding with the end of the Vietnam War (and victory for the Vietnamese people) and ended with the absorption of the urban and anti-war movements into the Democratic Party.

Henceforward the US corporate state advanced through the overseas expansion of the multi-national corporations and via large-scale, non-unionized production at home.

The technological changes of this period did not benefit labor. The belief, common in the 1950's, that science and technology would increase leisure, decrease work and improve living standards for the working class, was shattered. Instead technological changes displaced well-paid industrial labor while increasing the number of mind-numbing, poorly paid, and politically impotent jobs in the so-called 'service sector' – a rapidly growing section of unorganized and vulnerable workers – especially including women and minorities.

Labor union membership declined precipitously. The demise of the USSR and China's turn to capitalism had a dual effect: It eliminated collectivist (socialist) pressure for social welfare and opened their labor markets with cheap, disciplined workers for foreign manufacturers. Labor as a political force disappeared on every count. The US Federal Reserve and President 'Bill' Clinton deregulated financial capital leading to a frenzy of speculation. Congress wrote laws, which permitted overseas tax evasion – especially in Caribbean tax havens. Regional free-trade agreements, like NAFTA, spurred the relocation of jobs abroad. De-industrialization accompanied the decline of wages, living standards and social benefits for millions of American workers.

The New Abolitionists: Trillionaires

The New Deal, the Great Society, trade unions, and the anti-war and urban movements were in retreat and primed for abolition.

Wars without welfare (or guns without butter) replaced earlier 'social imperialism' with a huge growth of poverty and homelessness. Domestic labor was now exploited to finance overseas wars not vice versa. The fruits of imperial plunder were not shared.

As the working and middle classes drifted downward, they were used up, abandoned and deceived on all sides – especially by the Democratic Party. They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff.

Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities.

Provoked by an act of terrorism (9/11) President G.W. Bush Jr. launched the 'endless' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and deepened the police state (Patriot Act). Wages for American workers and profits for American capitalist moved in opposite directions.

The Great Financial Crash of 2008-2011 shook the paper economy to its roots and led to the greatest shakedown of any national treasury in history directed by the First Black American President. Trillions of public wealth were funneled into the criminal banks on Wall Street – which were ' just too big to fail .' Millions of American workers and homeowners, however, were ' just too small to matter' .

The Age of Demagogues

President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven.

Obama's electoral 'donor-owners' stashed away two trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and looked forward to global free trade pacts – pushed by the eloquent African American President.

Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' .

Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe.

'Obamacare' , his imitation of an earlier Republican governor's health plan, was formulated by the private corporate health industry (private insurance, Big Pharma and the for-profit hospitals), to mandate enrollment and ensure triple digit profits with double digit increases in premiums. By the 2016 Presidential elections, ' Obama-care' was opposed by a 45%-43% margin of the American people. Obama's propagandists could not show any improvement of life expectancy or decrease in infant and maternal mortality as a result of his 'health care reform'. Indeed the opposite occurred among the marginalized working class in the old 'rust belt' and in the rural areas. This failure to show any significant health improvement for the masses of Americans is in stark contrast to LBJ's Medicare program of the 1960's, which continues to receive massive popular support.

Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump

Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block.

The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave.

Conclusion

Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump.

Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century.

The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history. The first trillionaire and multi-billionaire tax evaders rose on the backs of a miserable standing army of tens of millions of low-wage workers, stripped of rights and representation. State subsidies eliminate virtually all risk to capital. The end of social welfare coerced labor (including young mother with children) to seek insecure low-income employment while slashing education and health – cementing the feet of generations into poverty. Regional wars abroad have depleted the Treasury and robbed the country of productive investment. Economic imperialism exports profits, reversing the historic relation of the past.

Labor is left without compass or direction; it flails in all directions and falls deeper in the web of deception and demagogy. To escape from Reagan and the strike breakers, labor embraced the cheap-labor predator Clinton; black and white workers united to elect Obama who expelled millions of immigrant workers, pursued 7 wars, abandoned black workers and enriched the already filthy rich. Deception and demagogy of the labor-

Issac , December 11, 2017 at 11:01 pm GMT

"The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations."

"The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class."

A mirage so real, it even has you convinced.

whyamihere , December 12, 2017 at 4:24 am GMT
If the welfare state in America was abolished, major American cities would burn to the ground. Anarchy would ensue, it would be magnitudes bigger than anything that happened in Ferguson or Baltimore. It would likely be simultaneous.

I think that's one of the only situations where preppers would actually live out what they've been prepping for (except for a natural disaster).

I've been thinking about this a little over the past few years after seeing the race riots. What exactly is the line between our society being civilized and breaking out into chaos. It's probably a lot thinner than most people think.

I don't know who said it but someone long ago said something along the lines of, "Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury." We are definitely in this situation today. I wonder how long it can last.

Disordered , December 13, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT
While I agree with Petras's intent (notwithstanding several exaggerations and unnecessary conflations with, for example, racism), I don't agree so much with the method he proposes. I don't mind welfare and unions to a certain extent, but they are not going to save us unless there is full employment and large corporations that can afford to pay an all-union workforce. That happened during WW2, as only wartime demand and those pesky wage freezes solved the Depression, regardless of all the public works programs; while the postwar era benefited from the US becoming the world's creditor, meaning that capital could expand while labor participation did as well.

From then on, it is quite hard to achieve the same success after outsourcing and mechanization have happened all over the world. Both of these phenomena not only create displaced workers, but also displaced industries, meaning that it makes more sense to develop individual workfare (and even then, do it well, not the shoddy way it is done now) rather than giving away checks that probably will not be cashed for entrepreneurial purposes, and rather than giving away money to corrupt unions who depend on trusts to be able to pay for their benefits, while raising the cost of hiring that only encourages more outsourcing.

The amount of welfare given is not necessarily the main problem, the problem is doing it right for the people who truly need it, and efficiently – that is, with the least amount of waste lost between the chain of distribution, which should reach intended targets and not moochers.

Which inevitably means a sound tax system that targets unearned wealth and (to a lesser degree) foreign competition instead of national production, coupled with strict, yet devolved and simple government processes that benefit both business and individuals tired of bureaucracy, while keeping budgets balanced. Best of both worlds, and no military-industrial complex needed to drive up demand.

Wally , Website December 13, 2017 at 8:57 am GMT
"President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street " That's twice the amount that Bush gave them.
jacques sheete , December 13, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Wrong wrong wrong.

Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up, and welfare for them started before 1935. In fact, it started in America before there was a USA. I do not have time to elaborate, but what were the various companies such as the British East India Company and the Dutch West India Companies but state pampered, welfare based entities? ~200 years ago, Herbert Spencer, if memory serves, pointed out that the British East India Company couldn't make a profit even with all the special, government granted favors showered upon it.

Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers.

Den Lille Abe , December 13, 2017 at 11:09 am GMT
Well, the author kind of nails it. I remember from my childhood in the 50-60 ties in Scandinavia that the US was the ultimate goal in welfare. The country where you could make a good living with your two hands, get you kids to UNI, have a house, a telly ECT. It was not consumerism, it was the American dream, a chicken in every pot; we chewed imported American gum and dreamed.

In the 70-80 ties Scandinavia had a tremendous social and economic growth, EQUALLY distributed, an immense leap forward. In the middle of the 80 ties we were equal to the US in standards of living.

Since we have not looked at the US, unless in pity, as we have seen the decline of the general income, social wealth fall way behind our own.
The average US workers income has not increased since 90 figures adjusted for inflation. The Scandinavian workers income in the same period has almost quadrupled. And so has our societies.

The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy.

wayfarer , December 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm GMT

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. 'Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

source: http://www.unz.com/jpetras/rise-and-decline-of-the-welfare-state/

What does Hollywood "elite" JAP and wannabe hack-stand-up-comic Sarah Silverman think about the class struggle and problems facing destitute Americans? "Qu'ils mangent de la bagels!", source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

... ... ...

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm GMT
@Greg Fraser

Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 2:43 pm GMT
As other commenters have pointed out, it's Petras curious choice of words that sometimes don't make too much sense. We can probably blame the maleable English language for that, but here it's too obvious. If you don't define a union, people might assume you're only talking about a bunch of meat cutters at Safeway.

The welfare state is alive and well for corporate America. Unions are still here – but they are defined by access and secrecy, you're either in the club or not.

The war on unions was successful first by co-option but mostly by the media. But what kind of analysis leaves out the role of the media in the American transformation? The success is mind blowing.

America has barely literate (white) middle aged males trained to spout incoherent Calvinistic weirdness: unabased hatred for the poor (or whoever they're told to hate) and a glorification of hedge fund managers as they get laid off, fired and foreclosed on, with a side of opiates.

There is hardly anything more tragic then seeing a web filled with progressives (management consultants) dedicated to disempowering, disabling and deligitimizing victims by claiming they are victims of biology, disease or a lack of an education rather than a system that issues violence while portending (with the best media money can buy) that they claim the higher ground.

animalogic , December 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm GMT
@Wally

""Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury." We are definitely in this situation today."

Quite right: the 0.01% have worked it out & US democracy is a Theatre for the masses.

Reg Cζsar , December 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

Wilson and FDR were much more militarist and demagogic than those that followed.

Reg Cζsar , December 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@whyamihere

I don't know who said it but someone long ago said something along the lines of, "Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury."

Some French aristocrat put it as, once the gates to the treasury have been breached, they can only be closed again with gunpowder. Anyone recognize the author?

phil , December 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
The author doesn't get it. What we have now IS the welfare state in an intensely diverse society. We have more transfer spending than ever before and Obamacare represents another huge entitlement.

Intellectuals continue to fantasize about the US becoming a Big Sweden, but Sweden has only been successful insofar as it has been a modest nation-state populated by ethnic Swedes. Intense diversity in a huge country with only the remnants of federalism results in massive non-consensual decision-making, fragmentation, increased inequality, and corruption.

HallParvey , December 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm GMT
@Anonymous

The welfare state is alive and well for corporate America. Unions are still here – but they are defined by access and secrecy, you're either in the club or not.

They are largely defined as Doctors, Lawyers, and University Professors who teach the first two. Of course they are not called unions. Access is via credentialing and licensing. Good Day

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm GMT
@Linda Green

Bernie Sanders, speaking on behalf of the MIC's welfare bird: "It is the airplane of the United States Air Force, Navy, and of NATO."

Elizabeth Warren, referring to Mossad's Estes Rockets: "The Israeli military has the right to attack Palestinian hospitals and schools in self defense"

Barack Obama, yukking it up with pop stars: "Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming."

It's not the agitprop that confuses the sheep, it's whose blowhole it's coming out of (labled D or R for convenience) that gets them to bare their teeth and speak of poo.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT
@HallParvey

What came first, the credentialing or the idea that it is a necessary part of education? It certainly isn't an accurate indication of what people know or their general intelligence – although that myth has flourished. Good afternoon.

Logan , December 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
@Realist

For an interesting projection of what might happen in total civilizational collapse, I recommend the Dies the Fire series of novels by SM Stirling.

It has a science-fictiony setup in that all high-energy system (gunpowder, electricity, explosives, internal combustion, even high-energy steam engines) suddenly stop working. But I think it does a good job of extrapolating what would happen if suddenly the cities did not have food, water, power, etc.

Spoiler alert: It ain't pretty. Those who dream of a world without guns have not really thought it through.

Logan , December 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT
@phil

It has been pointed out repeatedly that Sweden does very well relative to the USA. It has also been noted that people of Swedish ancestry in the USA do pretty well also. In fact considerably better than Swedes in Sweden

[Dec 15, 2017] Neoliberalism undermines workers health not only via the financial consequences of un/under employment and low wages, but also through chronic exposure to stress due to insecurity

Neoliberalism as "Die-now economics." "Embodiment into lower class" or "the representation as a member the lower class" if often fatal and upper mobility mobility is artificially limited (despite all MSM hype it is lower then in Europe). So just being a member of lower class noticeably and negatively affects your life expectancy and other social metrics. Job insecurity is the hazard reserved for lower and lower middle classes destructivly effect both physical and mental health. Too much stress is not good for humans. Neoliberalism with its manta of competition uber alles and atomization of the workforce is a real killer. also the fact that such article was published and the comments below is a clear sign that the days of neoliberalism are numbered. It should go.
Notable quotes:
"... In our new book , we draw on an extensive body of scientific literature to assess the health effects of three decades of neoliberal policies. Focusing on the social determinants of health -- the conditions of life and work that make it relatively easy for some people to lead long and healthy lives, while it is all but impossible for others -- we show that there are four interconnected neoliberal epidemics: austerity, obesity, stress, and inequality. They are neoliberal because they are associated with or worsened by neoliberal policies. ..."
"... Neoliberalism operates through labor markets to undermine health not only by way of the financial consequences of unemployment, inadequate employment, or low wages, as important as these are, but also through chronic exposure to stress that 'gets under your skin' by way of multiple mechanisms. Quite simply, the effects of chronic insecurity wear people out over the life course in biologically measurable ways . ..."
"... Oh, and "beyond class" because for social beings embodiment involves "social production; social consumption; and social reproduction." In the most reductive definition of class -- the one I used in my crude 1% + 10% + 90% formulation -- class is determined by wage work (or not), hence is a part of production (of capital), not social consumption (eating, etc.) or social reproduction (children, families, household work ). So, even if class in our political economy is the driver, it's not everything. ..."
"... "Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve." ..."
"... As opposed to being champions of "self-actualization/identity" and "absolute relativism", I always got the impression that they were both offering stark warnings about diving too deeply into the self, vis-a-vis, identity. As if, they both understood the terrifying world that it could/would create, devoid of common cause, community, and ultimately empathy. A world where "we" are not possible because we have all become "I". ..."
"... Wonks like Yglesias love to mock working class concerns as "economic anxiety," which is at once belittling (it's all about f-e-e-e-lings ..."
"... "we have measurable health outcomes from political choices" So True!!! ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

...Neoliberal epidemics are particular pathways of embodiment. From Ted Schrecker and Clare Bambra in The Conversation :

In our new book , we draw on an extensive body of scientific literature to assess the health effects of three decades of neoliberal policies. Focusing on the social determinants of health -- the conditions of life and work that make it relatively easy for some people to lead long and healthy lives, while it is all but impossible for others -- we show that there are four interconnected neoliberal epidemics: austerity, obesity, stress, and inequality. They are neoliberal because they are associated with or worsened by neoliberal policies. They are epidemics because they are observable on such an international scale and have been transmitted so quickly across time and space that if they were biological contagions they would be seen as of epidemic proportions.

(The Case-Deaton study provides an obvious fifth: Deaths of despair. There are doubtless others.) Case in point for one of the unluckier members of the 90%:

On the morning of 25 August 2014 a young New Jersey woman, Maria Fernandes, died from inhaling gasoline fumes as she slept in her 13-year-old car. She often slept in the car while shuttling between her three, low-wage jobs in food service; she kept a can of gasoline in the car because she often slept with the engine running, and was worried about running out of gasoline. Apparently, the can accidentally tipped over and the vapours from spilled gasoline cost her life. Ms Fernandes was one of the more obvious casualties of the zero-hours culture of stress and insecurity that pervades the contemporary labour market under neoliberalism.

And Schrecker and Bambra conclude:

Neoliberalism operates through labor markets to undermine health not only by way of the financial consequences of unemployment, inadequate employment, or low wages, as important as these are, but also through chronic exposure to stress that 'gets under your skin' by way of multiple mechanisms. Quite simply, the effects of chronic insecurity wear people out over the life course in biologically measurable ways .

... ... ...

Oh, and "beyond class" because for social beings embodiment involves "social production; social consumption; and social reproduction." In the most reductive definition of class -- the one I used in my crude 1% + 10% + 90% formulation -- class is determined by wage work (or not), hence is a part of production (of capital), not social consumption (eating, etc.) or social reproduction (children, families, household work ). So, even if class in our political economy is the driver, it's not everything.

nonclassical , December 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm

L.S. reminiscent of Ernst Becker's, "The Structure of Evil" – "Escape from Evil"? (..not to indicate good vs. evil dichotomy) A great amount of perspective must be agreed upon to achieve "change" intoned. Divide and conquer are complicit, as noted .otherwise (and as indicated by U.S. economic history) change arrives only when all have lost all and can therefore agree begin again.

There is however, Naomi Klein perspective, "Shock Doctrine", whereby influence contributes to destabilization, plan in hand leading to agenda driven ("neoliberal"=market fundamentalism) outcome, not at all spontaneous in nature:

"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve."

Amfortas the Hippie , December 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Well done, as usual.

On Case-Deason: Sounds like home. I keep the scanner on(local news) ems and fire only since 2006(sheriff got a homeland security grant). The incidence of suicide, overdose and "intoxication psychosis" are markedly increased in the last 10+ years out here in the wilderness(5K folks in whole county, last I looked). Our local economy went into near depression after the late 90's farm bill killed the peanut program then 911 meant no hunting season that year(and it's been noticeably less busy ever since) then drought and the real estate crash(we had 30 some realtors at peak..old family land being sold off, mostly). So the local Bourgeoisie have had less money to spend, which "trickles down" onto the rest of us.:less construction, less eating out even at the cheap places, less buying of gas, and on and on means fewer employees are needed, thus fewer jobs. To boot, there is a habit among many employers out here of not paying attention to labor laws(it is Texas ) the last minwage rise took 2 years to filter out here, and one must scrutinize one's pay stub to ensure that the boss isn't getting squirrelly with overtime and witholding.
Geography plays into all this, too 100 miles to any largish city.

... ... ...

Rosario , December 11, 2017 at 10:55 pm

I'm not well versed in Foucault or Lacan but I've read some of both and in reading between the lines of their writing (the phantom philosophy?) I saw a very different message than that often delivered by post-modern theorists.

As opposed to being champions of "self-actualization/identity" and "absolute relativism", I always got the impression that they were both offering stark warnings about diving too deeply into the self, vis-a-vis, identity. As if, they both understood the terrifying world that it could/would create, devoid of common cause, community, and ultimately empathy. A world where "we" are not possible because we have all become "I".

Considering what both their philosophies claimed, if identity is a lie, and the subject is always generated relative to the other, then how the hell can there be any security or well being in self-actualization? It is like trying to hit a target that does not exist.

All potentially oppressive cultural categorizations are examples of this (black, latino, gay, trans, etc.). If the identity is a moving target, both to the oppressor and the oppressed, then how can it ever be a singular source of political action? You can't hit what isn't there. This is not to say that these groups (in whatever determined category) are not oppressed, just that formulating political action based strictly on the identity (often as an essential category) is impossible because it does not actually exist materially. It is an amalgamation of subjects who's subjectivity is always relative to some other whether ally or oppressor. Only the manifestations of oppression on bodies (as brought up in Lambert's post) can be utilized as metrics for political action.

... ... ...

Lambert Strether Post author , December 11, 2017 at 11:20 pm

I thought of a couple of other advantages of the "embodiment" paradigm:

Better Framing . Wonks like Yglesias love to mock working class concerns as "economic anxiety," which is at once belittling (it's all about f-e-e-e-lings *) and disempowering (solutions are individual, like therapy or drugs). Embodiment by contrast insists that neoliberalism (the neoliberal labor market (class warfare)) has real, material, physiological effects that can be measured and tracked, as with any epidemic.

... ... ...

oaf , December 12, 2017 at 7:11 am

"we have measurable health outcomes from political choices" So True!!!

Thank you for posting this.

[Dec 15, 2017] Sic Semper Tyrannis Watergate Deja Vu and Fake News by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. Hardly anyone in the media, mainstream or fringe, are writing about this fact and trying to rally public support for action. What is one to say when confronted with the fact that the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump that was initially commissioned by the Clinton campaign. And who is the FBI Agent paying for the dossier? Why a fellow now revealed as a Clinton partisan. ..."
"... How much of what we see is the real DJT and how much is a projected public persona? ..."
"... DJT's threat to "drain the swamp" has created fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the swamp folk. They naturally fight back. By definition, all swamp critters must toe the neocon line else they would have been fired by previous incumbents. They are all therefore fair game for DJT. ..."
"... I admire your persistence and agree with the points you make in this and your other posts on the topic of Trump. This is an extremely important subject matter. A President was elected, lawfully, and a bunch of stupid ninnies got their panties in a knot over that and are therefore more or less willing to support a Borgist ("deep state", if you prefer) coup d'ιtat. Said ninnies are immune to the rational arguments you present because they are not intelligent, they are hyper emotional and many of them belong to a cult called "[neo]liberalism" (or the "progressive movement", if you prefer). ..."
"... You mention briefly the Steele affair. I still find it difficult to believe that an ex-UK Intelligence Officer can get mixed up in American politics to this extent and scarcely an eyebrow raised. Surely someone's asking questions somewhere about this? The facts are clear enough, for once. ..."
"... And, off stage, a slow but powerful campaign exposing many of Trumnp's enemies as corrupt, perverted hypocrites. And, from time to time, unexpected presents like Brazile's book. But faster please ..."
"... I agree about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has afflicted the media. I think they are suffering from O.C.T.D.: Obsessive Compulsive Trump Disorder. There are some in the media who are of the opinion that this may not be working with most Americans. ..."
"... The crucial point is not about respect for the man. It is respect for the office. All men are flawed, and high position exposes additional flaws. It is evident, to this outside observer, that Trump won "fair and square" according to the established procedures. The variety of "dirty tricks" used against him, both before the election and after, is astounding. There was a "back room" negotiation on election eve, visible in public as the long delay in final over-the-top results, and Trump's apology to his supporters for the delay, "it was complicated". ..."
"... He was smart enough to get elected, defeating a dozen professional republicans and the Democratic machinery along with the MSM. "In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations." I thought he was a boor and a mediocre showman. In that regard he's exceeded mine by surviving this long. ..."
"... 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 the 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. ..."
"... Hillary, Bush, Obama and "the establishment" knew unconsciously not to "rock the boat". Trump was seen as too independent and uneducated in the ways of The Borg to be trusted. He had un-borg-like views like "..what the hell are we doing supporting Al Quida?" "...grab her in the pussy.." "..lets make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.." "lets get along with Russia.." "..the Media is fake and biased.." all very un-PC and un-borg-like positions. Too disruptive of the status quo. Might actually solve some problems and reduce the importance of government. ..."
"... I think the Borg determined he was N.O.K. (Not Our Kind). And he has royally pissed off the Media and he is in a death fight with the Media. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Are you aware that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating politicization of the FBI and DOJ for 11 months now? The investigation was brought about at the recommendation of certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe. Among the allegations being looked into is that DOJ/FBI have highly political agents that should have at least recused themselves from certain investigations and that their politics may have influenced the course of the investigations. ..."
"... Given the revelations around Strzok, Rhee and Weissman, on Mueller's team, you'd think we'd be hearing more about OIG case. IMO, we are about to though. ..."
"... I'm also stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. Any liberal who believes the intelligence agencies is a fool. They've just shown us their true nature by blocking the release of several thousand pages of records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. ..."
"... If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would in 2017 consider Fox News to be the most reliable MSM news outlet, I would have rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically. Yet it is true. I am not quite sure what I should deduce from this but I think it is something along the lines of "one cannot be too cynical about the news media". ..."
"... He certainly gives them plenty of ammunition. However, I believe a great deal of the vituperative outrage directed at him has much (possibly primarily) to do with exactly whom he bested in the general election. Not to pile on, but see David E. Solomon's comments on this thread. ..."
"... One can't underestimate the cult of personality that was so carefully crafted around Hillary Clinton for the past two decades. Their chosen strategy of identity politics only kicked it into hyper-drive over the past eight years. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

That sure sounds a lot like the current state of the media. We have witnessed this type of hysteria ourselves in just the last two days. First there was the Brian Ross debacle, which entailed Ross peddling the lie that Trump ordered Flynn to contact the Russians. That "fake news" elicited an emotional orgasm from Joy Behar on The View. She was on the verge of writhing on the floor as she prematurely celebrated what she thought would seal the impeachment of Donald Trump. Whoops. Ross had to retract that story.

... ... ...

Watergate and "Russiagate" do share a common trope. During Watergate the Washington Post was mostly a lone voice covering the story. Washington Post publisher at the time, Kate Graham, reportedly remarked that she was worried that none of the other papers were covering the story. And it was an important story. It exposed political corruption and abuse of power and a threat to our democracy.

How is that in common with Russiagate? The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. Hardly anyone in the media, mainstream or fringe, are writing about this fact and trying to rally public support for action. What is one to say when confronted with the fact that the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump that was initially commissioned by the Clinton campaign. And who is the FBI Agent paying for the dossier? Why a fellow now revealed as a Clinton partisan.

Publius Tacitus , 05 December 2017 at 11:52 PM
It is a shame you wanted to start the discussion with such a stupid comment. I have made no representation whatsoever about the intelligence or lack of intelligence of Trump. I have expressed nothing regarding "my expectations" for him or his policies. I get it. You don't like the man and want to grind a meaningless axe.
EEngineer said in reply to David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 01:12 AM

How much of what we see is the real DJT and how much is a projected public persona?

There's truth and lies, but then there's just plain old bullshit which has nothing to do with either. He seems to throw a ton of it around as a diversionary tactic. I understand the technique, but I can't see through the smoke screen to divine what he's up to or who he really is. So I continue to dispassionately observe.

walrus , 06 December 2017 at 01:49 AM
DJT's threat to "drain the swamp" has created fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the swamp folk. They naturally fight back. By definition, all swamp critters must toe the neocon line else they would have been fired by previous incumbents. They are all therefore fair game for DJT.
sbjonez , 06 December 2017 at 02:36 AM
Maybe a citation could be offered here, but there does not appear to be any support for the assertion made by the author of this piece that "...the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump...".There were reports that the FBI 'considered' paying Steele to continue his work, ( a not altogether uncommon practice), yet within the more responsibly researched reports it was also clearly stated that in the end the FBI did not in fact pay Steele anything for any work at all.
Dr. George W. Oprisko , 06 December 2017 at 03:32 AM
As it happens the FBI and most probably the others were created by executive order.

Perhaps it's time to end them by executive order.......

INDY

Eric Newhill said in reply to Publius Tacitus ... , 06 December 2017 at 03:32 AM
PT,
I admire your persistence and agree with the points you make in this and your other posts on the topic of Trump. This is an extremely important subject matter. A President was elected, lawfully, and a bunch of stupid ninnies got their panties in a knot over that and are therefore more or less willing to support a Borgist ("deep state", if you prefer) coup d'ιtat. Said ninnies are immune to the rational arguments you present because they are not intelligent, they are hyper emotional and many of them belong to a cult called "[neo]liberalism" (or the "progressive movement", if you prefer).

When you belong to a cult, you must suspend reason; make it subordinate to the hive mind. You lose all perspective. They believe all kids of ridiculous notions that fail to withstand the most basic rational scrutiny; like Islam and feminism can be allies, socialism would work if only it were applied correctly, if a man puts on a dress he has actually become a woman and that such a person would make a good 11 series in the military, low skill/low IQ immigrants - legal or otherwise - are actually good for the country......so of course they believe that a coup d'ιtat is appropriate when the target is Trump. In their madness they have convinced themselves that Trump is uniquely dangerous. He is going to destroy the world via ignoring global warming, tax cuts, immigration reform, pushing the nuclear button just for fun; all of the above and maybe more. You know this, of course. You did mention "Trump Derangement Syndrome".

As for the rest of the subject matter, personally, I feel that what with all that has been revealed about the FBI, CIA and NSA, someone should be bringing the involved members of these agencies up on charges related to treason, sedition or whatever legal terms are correct. Actually, these people should have their doors kicked down and be brought out in hand cuffs. Death sentences should be on the table and should be applied when legally possible.

This is no more Watergate than a man in a dress is a woman.

The depths to which the govt, populace and values of this country have degenerated have never been more on display than in this witch hunt. We are in very bad shape. The media is thoroughly scurrilous. Officials in bureaucracies are treasonous and have no respect for the rule of law. Half of the citizens are insane and support the media and the traitors.

If someone doesn't at least just pull the plug on this "investigation", it's going to ruin what's left of this country. It may be too late. A lot of ninnies are going to wake up to a very harsh reality.

Peter Reichard , 06 December 2017 at 05:21 AM
From day one the Republicans were trying to impeach Bill Clinton by investigating every dark corner of the Clintons' past and present until they could find something that would stick. Same thing with Trump except this time it goes far beyond the opposition party to include elements of the government, most of the media and even leading members of his own party. Elections be damned, we have an empire to maintain and he is seen by the establishment as too impulsive, unstable and so far uncontrollable to be allowed to stay in power. While no threat to the sacred cows of Wall Street and Israel or even to drain the swamp they are terrified of his unpredictability, hence the full court press unprecedented in American history to remove him from office. My very low opinion of Trump doesn't blind me to the dangers inherent in this effort. \
English Outsider -> Publius Tacitus ... , 06 December 2017 at 05:45 AM
PT - Isn't the point you've just made central? The issues here are far more important than the personalities?

I like what I've seen of our PM, Mrs May. Nice person, to my outsider's way of thinking. Doesn't alter the fact that I consider her policies and philosophy to be hopeless. And since we're never going to meet her in the pub that's what counts. Would it not be possible to separate things out in the same way with Trump? Set on one side the partisan arguments about his personality - politics is not a TV show - and consider him on the basis of what he may or may not do or be able to do?

You mention briefly the Steele affair. I still find it difficult to believe that an ex-UK Intelligence Officer can get mixed up in American politics to this extent and scarcely an eyebrow raised. Surely someone's asking questions somewhere about this? The facts are clear enough, for once.

JMH said in reply to David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 07:29 AM
Actually, I think he shares many of Bismark's qualities: "a political genius of a very unusual kind [whose success] rested on several sets of conflicting characteristics among which brutal, disarming honesty mingled with the wiles and deceits of a confidence man. He played his parts with perfect self-confidence, yet mixed them with rage, anxiety, illness, hypochrondria, and irrationality. ... He used democracy when it suited him, negotiated with revolutionaries and the dangerous Ferdinand Lassalle, the socialist who might have contested his authority. He utterly dominated his cabinet ministers with a sovereign contempt and blackened their reputations as soon as he no longer needed them. He outwitted the parliamentary parties, even the strongest of them, and betrayed all those ... who had put him into power. By 1870 even his closest friends ... realized that they had helped put a demonic figure into power.[6]"-wiki

Bernie can be Lasalle.

Patrick Armstrong , 06 December 2017 at 07:55 AM
I think, I hope, I believe, I persuade myself that all is unfolding as it should. Mueller turns up nothing but further examples of officials pimping themselves out to foreign governments; meanwhile revelations of bias on his team; meanwhile chewing away at the Fusion GPS thing (one of the key pillars); meanwhile investigation of the FBI. And, off stage, a slow but powerful campaign exposing many of Trumnp's enemies as corrupt, perverted hypocrites. And, from time to time, unexpected presents like Brazile's book. But faster please
Martin Oline , 06 December 2017 at 08:02 AM
I agree about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has afflicted the media. I think they are suffering from O.C.T.D.: Obsessive Compulsive Trump Disorder. There are some in the media who are of the opinion that this may not be working with most Americans. I saw two pieces this morning from BBC and The New York Times:

Perhaps this is the start of a change or a recognition that the MSM's habitual crying wolf behavior is not resonating with Main Street. I can only hope, but I stopped watching the national news long ago.

Ken Roberts , 06 December 2017 at 08:30 AM
The crucial point is not about respect for the man. It is respect for the office. All men are flawed, and high position exposes additional flaws. It is evident, to this outside observer, that Trump won "fair and square" according to the established procedures. The variety of "dirty tricks" used against him, both before the election and after, is astounding. There was a "back room" negotiation on election eve, visible in public as the long delay in final over-the-top results, and Trump's apology to his supporters for the delay, "it was complicated".

That truly is water under the bridge, and at least must be so, if you wish to preserve your republic. You all have the right to withhold consent and trash what you and your fathers and grandfathers have achieved. Most will not like the outcome. But I sincerely hope that you, each and collectively, instead will choose the positive aspects of this model:

"... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Best wishes,
kr

Greco , 06 December 2017 at 08:56 AM
The ABC story had to be "clarified" given they originally reported Flynn had contacted the Russians DURING the election when in fact it was AFTER the election. The story had consequences on the stock market: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4129355-cost-fake-news-s-and-p-500 This all happened on the eve of the passage of Trump's tax cuts and it seemed timed to hurt the stock market. It may even possibly have torpedoed the tax cuts by putting into question Trump's legal standing as president.
jdledell , 06 December 2017 at 10:04 AM
I detest Trump as a person but still acknowledge that he is our current President. I will continue to fight against the implementation of his policies and work hard to to try to insure he does not win a second term. Other than that in 3 more years the American people will have an opportunity to judge his performance and make a decision on his worthiness to continue as President. That is as it should be.

Trump has taken some hard shots, some deserved and some not. That is the nature of our current political system. When Trump traveled the nation proclaiming Obama was not American born and thus an illegitimate President is also an example of "all is fair in War and politics".

Fred -> David E. Solomon... , 06 December 2017 at 10:20 AM
David,

He was smart enough to get elected, defeating a dozen professional republicans and the Democratic machinery along with the MSM. "In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations." I thought he was a boor and a mediocre showman. In that regard he's exceeded mine by surviving this long.

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 the 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.
rjj said in reply to JMH... , 06 December 2017 at 11:19 AM
is this doom-and-gloom or hope-assaulting-experience? Am guessing that the only thing he has shares with Old Otto is a preference for the classic method of donning trousers.

OOPS! there's this (was reminded of it by the hyperventilatory "breaking news" about Blackwater/Erik Prince):

Bismarck held von Holstein in high esteem, and when the latter went to him with his plan for establishing a vast organization of almost universal spying, the Chancellor of the new German Empire immediately grasped the advantages he could obtain from it. ....

Von Holstein ... had one great ambition; that of knowing everything about everybody and of ruling everybody through fear of the disclosures he could make were he at any time tempted to do so. ....

The German Foreign Office knew everything and made use of everything .... In the Prussian Intelligence Department as Holstein organized it there was hardly a person of note or consequence in Europe about whom everything was not known, including, of course, his weaknesses and cupboard skeletons. And this knowledge was used when necessary without any compunction or remorse. ....

His first care, whenever an individual capable at a given moment of playing a part, no matter how humble, in the great drama attracted his attention, was to ferret out all that could be learned about him or her. With few exceptions he contrived to lay his finger on a hidden secret. Once this preliminary step had been performed to his satisfaction, the rest was easy. The unfortunate victim was given to understand that he would be shamed publicly at any time, unless . . . unless . . .

https://archive.org/details/firebrandofbolsh00radz

As this has been the SOP of Karl Rove (presumably), of Jedgar, and before that [__fill in the blanks___], the only thing unprecedented about the Prince/Blackwater story is the disregard for omerta.

DISCLAIMER: The Princess Radziwill who published the passage on von Holstein was an opportunistic swashbucklereuse type and [guessing] would have been so even in less horrifically interesting times.

walter , 06 December 2017 at 12:06 PM
My humble opinion on what is going on. "The Borg" are individuals whose self-interest is tied to perpetuating "business as usual" in Washington DC. FBI agents, CIA, NSA need domestic and foreign conflict to aggrandize and justify their positions. They do not want our national problems solved...god forbid, budgets, salaries, bonuses, future contracting and consulting jobs might be reduced or eliminated.

Hillary, Bush, Obama and "the establishment" knew unconsciously not to "rock the boat". Trump was seen as too independent and uneducated in the ways of The Borg to be trusted. He had un-borg-like views like "..what the hell are we doing supporting Al Quida?" "...grab her in the pussy.." "..lets make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.." "lets get along with Russia.." "..the Media is fake and biased.." all very un-PC and un-borg-like positions. Too disruptive of the status quo. Might actually solve some problems and reduce the importance of government.

I think the Borg determined he was N.O.K. (Not Our Kind). And he has royally pissed off the Media and he is in a death fight with the Media.

Sid Finster , 06 December 2017 at 12:16 PM
I find the whole idea that "Deutsche Bank has branches in Russia and lends money to Russian borrowers, therefore Russians control Deutsche Bank" idea to be comical.

I have clients who also regularly borrow money from Deutsche Bank. Are they now Russians? Are they controlled now by Russians? Do Russians control them? What role does DB play in all this web of control?

If I have my mortgage at the same bank as a slum lord/toxic waste generator/adult bookstore owner/CIA operative, am I now his puppet?

Asking for a friend.

Does nobody understand how banking law works? (in Germany and the US, banks are forbidden to lend to any client or client group in an amount that would give the borrower de facto control over the operations of the bank). Of course the smarter conspiracy theorists understand this. Any stick to beat a dog.

Sid Finster said in reply to English Outsider ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:18 PM
The difference is that the establishment/Deep State/Borg/whatever you want to call it approves of Steele's activities.
Dr. Puck said in reply to Dr. George W. Oprisko ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:27 PM
FYI History of the FBI. www.fbi.gov/history/brief-history
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.

Eric Newhill , 06 December 2017 at 12:51 PM
PT,

Are you aware that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating politicization of the FBI and DOJ for 11 months now? The investigation was brought about at the recommendation of certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe. Among the allegations being looked into is that DOJ/FBI have highly political agents that should have at least recused themselves from certain investigations and that their politics may have influenced the course of the investigations.

Given the revelations around Strzok, Rhee and Weissman, on Mueller's team, you'd think we'd be hearing more about OIG case. IMO, we are about to though.

Peter VE said in reply to Sylvia 1... , 06 December 2017 at 05:05 PM
I'm also stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. Any liberal who believes the intelligence agencies is a fool. They've just shown us their true nature by blocking the release of several thousand pages of records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. If they can't allow the truth to come out after 54 years, they surely can't be trusted to be truthful about today's information.
Cvillereader said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 06 December 2017 at 06:54 PM
Fox News, which has been fairly reliable of late, reported last night that the FBI OIG report will be finalized and made public sometime in the next 4-5 weeks.
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.

JamesT -> Cvillereader... , 07 December 2017 at 12:48 AM
If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would in 2017 consider Fox News to be the most reliable MSM news outlet, I would have rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically. Yet it is true. I am not quite sure what I should deduce from this but I think it is something along the lines of "one cannot be too cynical about the news media".
Imagine , 07 December 2017 at 12:50 AM
Real News: Outstanding official independent post-mortem of Charlottesville. Includes maneuver tactics, I think y'all will like it.

http://www.charlottesville.org/home/showdocument?id=59615

AK said in reply to English Outsider ... , 07 December 2017 at 04:06 AM
English Outsider,

"Any idea why?"

He certainly gives them plenty of ammunition. However, I believe a great deal of the vituperative outrage directed at him has much (possibly primarily) to do with exactly whom he bested in the general election. Not to pile on, but see David E. Solomon's comments on this thread.

One can't underestimate the cult of personality that was so carefully crafted around Hillary Clinton for the past two decades. Their chosen strategy of identity politics only kicked it into hyper-drive over the past eight years.

Still, this phenomenon existed long before Trump, The Politician, and even before Obama and his own cult. Many of these people were able to put their expectations on hold for eight long years. Obama was a result they could at least live with temporarily - " Just eight more years, and then they owe her. "

They had their very structures of reality built around a certain outcome, which didn't come to pass. So, the disappointment was all the more bitter when they realized that their waiting was in vain. That's a tidal wave of cognitive dissonance unleashed by that unimaginable (for some) occurrence of her defeat. He didn't put paid to Martin O'Malley or even Bernie Sanders. He vanquished The Queen. That sort of thing never goes down lightly.

AK said in reply to Richardstevenhack ... , 07 December 2017 at 04:23 AM
Richardstevenhack,

" As I've said before, I think Trump only ran for President for 1) ego, and 2) he knows he will have access to billions of dollars of business deals once he leaves office, with the cachet of having been President.

You might as well assert that lions only hang out around watering holes because 1) there's water there, and 2) gazelles and zebras have to drink water. Can you point me to one President from living memory who did not 1) run for the Office at least partially out of ego, and 2) take advantage in his subsequent "private life" of these exact perks of having held the Office? I ask seriously, because it seems you are pining for a nobility in presidential politics which to my recollection hasn't existed for at least three generations. Cincinnatus, they ain't. Maybe Ike, but anyone else is a real stretch.

[Dec 15, 2017] Andrew Weissmann, Mueller's Legal Pit Bull

Notable quotes:
"... But many defense lawyers have chafed at what they see as a scorched-earth approach, forged in Brooklyn while facing down Mafia members and refined on the government's unit of Enron superprosecutors, which left a mixed legacy of high-profile successes, overturned convictions and one unanimous defeat at the Supreme Court. ..."
"... Then came the shock-and-awe raid of Mr. Manafort's home - a Weissmann special, both admirers and critics recognized - the Zorro "Z" to announce his presence in the case. ..."
nytimes.com

top lieutenant to Robert S. Mueller III on the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. Significantly, Mr. Weissmann is an expert in converting defendants into collaborators - with either tactical brilliance or overzealousness, depending on one's perspective.

If Mr. Mueller is the stern-eyed public face of the investigation, Mr. Weissmann, 59, is its pounding heart, a bookish, legal pit bull with two Ivy League degrees, a weakness for gin martinis and classical music and a list of past enemies that includes professional killers and white-collar criminals.

... ... ...

But many defense lawyers have chafed at what they see as a scorched-earth approach, forged in Brooklyn while facing down Mafia members and refined on the government's unit of Enron superprosecutors, which left a mixed legacy of high-profile successes, overturned convictions and one unanimous defeat at the Supreme Court.

... thousands of dollars in past donations from Mr. Weissmann to Democrats, including former President Barack Obama.

...Then came the shock-and-awe raid of Mr. Manafort's home - a Weissmann special, both admirers and critics recognized - the Zorro "Z" to announce his presence in the case.

"There's a name," the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh warned listeners last week, recapping the "intimidating technique" afoot. "Weissmann."

... ... ...

whose work has been taken up by Trump allies like Newt Gingrich. (In 2015, Ms. Powell criticized Mr. Weissmann in an article for The New York Observer - which was owned by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law - after Mr. Weissmann was named to lead the Justice Department's criminal fraud section.)

[Dec 15, 2017] Wikileaks has offered a reward to speed up a search for the Seth Rich murderers, whereas DNC did nothing. Nothing! But the DNC was very active when certain Mr. Awan needed legal protection

Notable quotes:
"... How is your Debbie Wasserman doing -- did not she threatened the DC police investigator for doing his job of investigating the Awan affair? Debbie has been a major protector of the Awan family that accomplished the greatest breach of the US cybersecurity. And how is your Nobel Peace Laureate doing -- collecting nice fees from banksters for his betrayal of democracy in the US? ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Anna , December 14, 2017 at 1:27 am

Are you shocked about Seth Rich murder? Wikileaks has offered a reward to speed up a search for the murderers, whereas DNC did nothing. Nothing! But the DNC was very active when certain Mr. Awan needed legal protection.

How is your Debbie Wasserman doing -- did not she threatened the DC police investigator for doing his job of investigating the Awan affair? Debbie has been a major protector of the Awan family that accomplished the greatest breach of the US cybersecurity. And how is your Nobel Peace Laureate doing -- collecting nice fees from banksters for his betrayal of democracy in the US?

[Dec 15, 2017] The underlying problem of Trump vs. Hillary choice is the problem of the degradation of the US elite, a slide to gerontocracy which reminds me the deterioration of Soviet elite. At this point people do not respect their leaders. Much like was the case in the USSR after 1960

Dec 09, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Internet-is-Beast -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 3:25 AM

I acknowledge what you are saying. However, I have learned that when one is in the midst of a pessimistic scenario, one tends to develop tunnel vision and assume that the future will be like the present, only worse. Though I despise psychology as a science, this is a very psychological phenomenon. Granting what you say about Trump and the false optimism he generated, I voted for him not because I hated Trump less, but that I hated Hillary more.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding, in spite of all this, I do have a certain optimism about the American people, as a rayon de lumiθre in a gloomy prospect.

Davidduke2000 -> Internet-is-Beast , Dec 9, 2017 3:05 AM

keep the blinders on, even better yet wear the virtual reality goggles of MAGA while the country is living off a never ending fraud.

Every part of the us government is a fraud, the money is a fraud, wall street is a fraud, 99% of the food you eat is kosher fraud and you pension is fraud as the money is not there to allow you to collect your pension yet most people are paying dearly for their pension and the money goes to either israel or the profiteers of the war machine.

Clock Crasher -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 12:57 AM

They are toast. The leaks are not going to stop. Once the baby boom generation dies off completely the next generations will clean up their mess. The baby boom can't see past their own prosperity. But everyone else is ready for reform.

(trying to throw a little optimism into the mix)

Think about it.. when you look at the electoral map by county HRC was thoroughly crushed. Is DJT a SomaSalesMan aka Mega Psyop.. who the fuck knows. The awakening is happen Chinese water torture style.

This is a lot like being a Gold perma Bull. We want to come into the forums every day and write about how hopeless the situation is (a lot like what I do here everyday).

Just remember this.. Even Mao's wife had to stand trial for crimes against the populace. In 20 years the babyboomers will be out of the way and we can get onto bigger and better things.

Davidduke2000 -> Clock Crasher , Dec 9, 2017 2:58 AM

the biggest problems come from the millennial who grew up with bullshit, baby boomers lived threw a lot of american bullshit and they are the ones like PCR are warning the youngs that america's days are numbered . even Deagel.com predict that the us population in 2025 will dwindle from 325 million to only 55 millions, where do you think the 275 million will go? nuclear war will take care of them.

http://www.deagel.com/country/forecast.aspx

the corruption is so great that every single new weapon does not work and all these weapons are built at a great cost. The bulk of the left activists are millennials , the same with the super left, yet on the right the millennials are busy filing their nails, surfing and buying bitcoin for a quick profit.

I am Canadian, I am an outsider and see clearly as I am not part of the system, I see a country where the leaders convinced the population that they are exceptional but the people took it as a compliment, it was meant to fool them into a sense of being above the rest of the world, yet most americans do not know the capital of florida, california, mississippi, alabama yet they are in their own country.

This exceptionalism is preventing them from understanding the danger they are in.

For the first time I see a consensus on zerohedge that PCR is 100% right and the posters are worried what will become of america if israel is left with a huge hold on all us presidents and on the political infrastructure of the us and they agree with PCR on the list of propaganda the us have been telling the citizens to keep them distracted from knowing that their days are numbered when the Russians might attack thinking america wants to annihilate them.

FredFlintstone -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 5:55 AM

Damnit! I just wanted to retire quietly to a golf course.

veritas semper ... , Dec 9, 2017 12:27 AM

Pax Britannica<< Pax Americana<< Pax Judaica.

We are in the late stages of Pax Judaica. They, through their money magic,usury,fiat printing,and the bought/paid for/bribed/blackmailed sycophants,rule almost the whole world.The West entirely.

They have push so much,on all aspects of the society,that the recoil is going to be devastating.We started seeing this with the Jerusalem f*ck up.

US can not be saved at this point. It is at the Event Horizon already. I don't know what will be left of it: a few 4th world small countries ,where warlords kill each other? Americans love violence.

I absolutely sure IS...RA...EL is NOT going to survive. Neither Saudi Barbaria. Especially after this last blunder.

Will they go into the dustbin of history gracefully,without destroying the whole world in the process?

I don't think so,they are psychopaths.They do not like to lose or to be exposed for what they really are.

PCR makes a valid point. The Russians are patient ,balanced, intelligent people,but if they sense they are dealing with irrational ones ,they will not take a chance. The Russians have already said that US is not agreement capable, a great insult in their view.

Internet-is-Beast -> veritas semper vinces , Dec 9, 2017 2:46 AM

Referencing your first line, there's also "army intelligence" "Long Island expressway" to cite a couple of other examples of the same wordplay.

HRClinton -> veritas semper vinces , Dec 9, 2017 3:44 AM

Pax Iudaea. Delenda est.

Hostis humani generis. Delenda est.

roddy6667 -> JibjeResearch , Dec 9, 2017 1:06 AM

In America everybody has their labels (businessman, Libertarian, Democrat, Republican) so they can all fight with each other better. The country is so Balkanized that cannot function as a whole any more. I guess that was the plan all along.

IDESofMARCH , Dec 9, 2017 1:07 AM

Peace and truth are not welcome at the Whitehouse which should be painted BLOOD RED. Politicians are a greedy bloodthirsty criminals, That includes Trump. If you want to save the world from WW3 which we are watching incubate. ALL current crop of politicians have to be thrown out of government. YOU NEED A BLOODY REVOLUTION and throw these criminals into maximum security with the killers and molestors to do as they wish with them.

Without public revolt we'll just keep seeing, hearing and swallowing fake news after fake news brain wash and send our children to kill the innocent in WAR after WAR.

Walt , Dec 9, 2017 1:28 AM

Private interests and agendas have control over the US government. As in (((Private interests and agendas))) have control over the US government.

Seasmoke , Dec 9, 2017 1:34 AM

Don't forget the biggest lie. Even bigger than 9/11. That in the mid 2000s millions of deadbeats all decided to buy houses that they could not afford. What a joke of a country. Land of the fee. Home of the Slave.

Moe Howard , Dec 9, 2017 1:46 AM

"What Mueller is doing is so corrupt that he really should be arrested and renditioned to Egypt." Best line of the whole piece. Love it. We are not, however, "Walking Into Armageddon" Rather, we are "Slouching into the Apocolypse"

I am ENTERTAINED.

Ivan de beers , Dec 9, 2017 2:05 AM

Trump handing Jerusalem to israel is just the first step in setting up the rise of Israel and the fall of America. It is a symbolic transfer of power. All is left is world war 3 and the financial system collapse.

GardenWeasel , Dec 9, 2017 2:57 AM

PCR is way off this time. Flynn is acting as bait, and the swamp critters went for it. Trump and Bannon are playing the ol' rope-a-dope rather well. After the Dems and Deep Staters wear themselves out throwing all of these ineffective punches they will take them out.

ProsperD9 -> GardenWeasel , Dec 9, 2017 3:56 AM

You might be on to something...as the Dems and Deep State reveal themselves for what they really are, it makes it easier for Trump to go in for the kill....! They are getting more and more careless and their corruption and stupidity revealed more and more each day. I hope Trump be able to pave the way to cleaning up America and getting it back on its feet....we will see...!

jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 3:01 AM

As many of you either know or have heard...

"THE" controllers of the puppet politicans, bankers and world leaders "WANT YOU TO LIVE IN FEAR." All the reasons stated by PCR are valid but not one of them is a reason to go out and get drunk tomorrow. Either you believe in your own fate and the actions which control the fate which you harvest "OR YOU DON'T."

Why would I worry about things I have zero control over, especially when I "KNOW" "THEY" live off of that fear? I will live every moment of my life in the joy and happiness which is this blessing to be alive "AND" will live in fear of no one. If you live your life this way they lose and you get to appreciate a gift which is greater then any material object on the planet.

The worse which they can do when you decide to refuse to live in fear of "THEM" is to take your life which they have no power to do either.. Put up your middle finger to all of them, smile and move on and enjoy what time you have here to make it the best you can do.

Choose not to live in fear of them..

We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence. ... Ernest Hemingway

slicktroutman -> jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 8:40 AM

And then he killed himself.....l...

Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 3:08 AM

Two interesting pieces of news out of moonofalabama.org

First b says the real buyer of the fake $450M fake DaVinci is MbS, the KSA crown prince. Second, MbS just fired his Zino-friendly, Jared-friendly foreign minister.

jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 3:23 AM

As for Flynn...

The rumors early on were that Flynn knew who all the pedophiles were in Washington, wanted to go after them "AND" would not back down. Trump's VP was included on that list and played a part in the decision to move him out of the public eye and into the position he currently occupies behind the scenes.

Interestingly enough it was supposedly this stupid explanation of him not telling Pence about his meeting with the Russian Ambassador which was the excuse as to why he had to be removed. On face value, think about how ridiculous this is. A decorated General who answers to the President withheld information on a meeting which is fairly typical military procedure.

"IT'S CALLED THE NEED TO KNOW." HELLO....

Trump could have simply stated that Flynn was not under orders from Pence and was acting under a protocol common to members within the Military but not common to politicians. If Pence wanted to know anything about what people within my Administration are doing he is always welcome to discuss it with me. PERIOD...

THE ENTIRE EXCUSE IS TOTAL BS AND THE WEAKNESS OF THAT EXCUSE GIVES ME SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THAT THE ORIGIONAL RUMORS WERE ACCURATE.

JailBanksters , Dec 9, 2017 3:29 AM

America Isn't "Walking Into Armageddon", America Is "Pushing for Armageddon"

Conscious Reviver -> JailBanksters , Dec 9, 2017 4:46 AM

The Fascist Tom Cotton with his hair on fire leading the charge. Metaphorically leading the charge to our own destruction. He would never get himself involved in any genuine battle charge. Russia is not my enemy or adversary.

JailBanksters -> Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 5:11 AM

Has Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea ever done any physical harm to the USA ? No ... How about the reverse ? Mmm, it appears the only ones that have attacked the USA are Saudi Arabia and Israel. But America does not attack them, instead it only attacks the countries that have never attacked the USA.

Is that wierd or what ?, it's almost as if there is another agenda at play.

slipreedip , Dec 9, 2017 4:57 AM

US foreign Policy in a nutshell. Its war...one way or another.

Stan Derdissue -> Tellthetruth , Dec 9, 2017 6:25 AM

You mean the Islam that allows grandads to marry and abuse 10 year olds. Husbands to beat up their wives, hang gay teenage boys off cranes in public squares. Whip 12 year old girls in public for wearing western tight jeans ( underneath their hijab may I add). Satan would approve of this sadistic protocol.

free corn , Dec 9, 2017 5:59 AM

it's amazing to see so much naivety here. People seems to believe that America/Russia are bad/good. But people it's not just imperialism anymore it's globalism. Therefore it's not about interests of countries but rather the ones of oligarchs. And oligarchs interests are international, so why would they be interested in Armageddon? Earth belong to them, why would they want to damage their wealth so much? i think we'll see busyness as usual - small wars, removing obstacles for transnationals, concentration of wealth and power and social engineering on global scale.

Conscious Reviver -> free corn , Dec 9, 2017 7:00 AM

The NWO globalism program failed already. Now we are on to something else.

slicktroutman -> Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 8:30 AM

Can you explain how it failed already? Be specific.

WTFUD -> free corn , Dec 9, 2017 7:23 AM

Naive, ha ha! Take a look at Libya, the War Crimes & Genocide, overseen by the US & Vassals and talk about Good/Bad, NO SON, we're talking Class A EVIL here, and in the other Regime Change Neocon Playbook. How many Foreign Bases/Entanglements are Russia involved in, outside of Russia? In their Only ME base/port in Syria the US tried to fuck them over. Now Russia has half a dozen strategic Bases ( including a meeting of minds with Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Turkey, Sudan ) to eliminate DAESH/al-CIAd'uh (US Constructs).

Lastly, Only through Threat and Intimidation can the US keep these Vassals on board. Have you not noticed how the Geopolitical Landmark is changing with Sovereigns flocking far and wide to Moscow, for an ALTERNATIVE to the Vassal Prisoner Status offered up by Vichy DC.

Naive Son? Z/Hedgers will call out Russia if they deviate from the Path of Righteousness.

No Russia didn't displace, maim, murder, tens of millions of citizens in the ME, VICHY DC did.

Dark star , Dec 9, 2017 6:46 AM

I read somewhere that the Ukrainian Army has changed its rule book to allow soldiers to wear beards. The inference from this is that those ISIS members rescued by the Americans are being shipped to Ukraine to fight with the Nazis against those in the East who object to Kiev's desire to genocide ethnic Russians. It would appear that, not content with arming Nazis and putting them in Ukraine's Government, the US is now putting an armed ISIS into Eastern Europe. Does anybody have more detail?

WTFUD -> Dark star , Dec 9, 2017 6:59 AM

Airlifting them from Der el Zor ( and inevitable destruction at the hands of Syrian/Hezbollah Bravehearts ) onto the demarcation line in the Donbass? Good luck with that Chestnut! What are the Jihadi's wearing, 3 SETS OF THERMALS? Let's put it this way, no matter how many Jihadi proxy scum/Advisers they airlift into Donbass there will be 10 times more FOREIGN FREEDOM-FIGHTERS (ok mainly Russian, but from Everywhere ) ready to join that gig, me included.

Death to ZATO!

WTFUD , Dec 9, 2017 6:47 AM

How convenient that Trump gets to play the Good Guy, supposedly fingers tied at every turn by Deep State, preventing him from reaching out.

There's not a shred of evidence that he's intervened to mend relations with Russia and if there is can someone shed light on this?

First up he has a filthy Neocon POS in Nikki Haley in the UN, the Only one on the Security Council who's a War Hawk (including the Palestinian fiasco ).

Did he intervene in the ILLEGAL eviction of Russian Diplomatic Quarters? Has he worked diligently with China & Russia to resolve DPRK or contributed to the Neocon war-drum beat with more bluster? Has he increased or defused tension in the ME by withdrawing US Troops or has he added to Obama's clandestine proxy jihadi recruitment programme by sending moar ADVISERS?

They say Tillerson's on his way out, to be replaced by a Neocon war-hawk in Mike Pompeo who's current charge of al-CIAd'uh covert operations is a continuation of the Obama failings.

Unlike Obama ( one of his few credits in 8 years ) Trump's Encouraging Netanyahu's Deviancy?

I've read over at the Saker/Other that behind the scenes Vichy DC could step up the supply of WMD's/Advisers to Kiev.

The US Coalition Forces in Syria (minus the US, lol), like their Iraqi counterparts (the Kurds in the main ) are at least talking with Russia/Government to thwart, long-term US Military Bases on Syrian soil. Obviously the US is unhappy about this with their Partition ambitions.

FUCK VICHY DC & EVERYONE IN IT!

Conscious Reviver -> WTFUD , Dec 9, 2017 7:05 AM

When Vicky Nuland's relatives ran Russia. https://youtube.com/watch?v=pRfY8CwjXvY

Able Ape , Dec 9, 2017 8:15 AM

The US suffers from MIC Induced Psychosis - the only cure is stop funding the military!...

"Rebellion to t... , Dec 9, 2017 8:33 AM

Pope John Paul II, Gorbachev, and Reagan, together, ended the Cold War. HW Bush is the architect on how the USA kept its military industrial complex intact. The USA no longer had an existential threat, and no longer a reason to maintain a multiple tens of billions annual defense budget. So HW Bush picked an enemy and started a global war, that continues to this day. The British military map makers, redrew much of the middle east, after WWI.

The state of Israel was already in the works, long before the story of the holocaust, some 20 years later. Anyway, Sadaam Hussein, leader of Iraq, and US ally, spoke to the Bush administration about Kuwait; and taking back for Iraq, what Sadaam believed the British map makers took away in 1917. Saddam was fooled, and the Bush administration had a reason to keep the military industrial complex intact. The globalism/new world order, that US and EU government officials speak of, is simply another way of saying that no one has any civil liberties and everyone is being monitored.

This dangerous game was effective and working for quite a while. A great deal of wealth and power transferred to a select few. The strategy went sideways when Mr Putin said enough is enough, in roughly 2011.

Now, freedom fighters have joined Mr Putin, such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Barrett Brown, Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Sarah Carter,and many other, to restore freedom and honor back to the people of the world by shining light on all of the corruption.

It will take Trump and Sessions some time to restore trust and to root out the corruption.

The bottom line is that there are good people out there, who will never let this criminal behavior and corruption to be hidden from the unwashed masses.

Sudden Debt , Dec 9, 2017 9:01 AM

America is just looking for an excuse to send their young kids to war to get shot to pieces and get mentally fucked up so the drug industry can profit, the war industry can profit, the banks can profit...

in all...

It's clear that it's the patriotic thing to do.

[Dec 15, 2017] Republican Rep. Jim Jordan Get a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton right now by Chris Pandolfo

Fusion GPs is an interesting part of the whole puzzle.
Notable quotes:
"... On Wednesday morning, Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, responded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' unclear position on appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's ties to Fusion GPS and Russia and the Uranium One deal orchestrated by the Clinton State Department during the Obama administration. ..."
"... "It needs to be about everything, including Mr. Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation in 2016," Jordan said. "The inspector general is looking into that right now. We're going to look into it as a congressional committee, but it needs to be the full gambit because frankly it's all tied together, and we think in many ways Mr. Rosenstein and many ways Mr. Mueller is compromised; they're not going to look at some of these issues." ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.conservativereview.com

On Wednesday morning, Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, responded to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' unclear position on appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's ties to Fusion GPS and Russia and the Uranium One deal orchestrated by the Clinton State Department during the Obama administration.

Jordan, appearing on "Fox & Friends," said the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the full breadth of Clinton's potentially illegal activities "needs to happen."

"It needs to be about everything, including Mr. Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation in 2016," Jordan said. "The inspector general is looking into that right now. We're going to look into it as a congressional committee, but it needs to be the full gambit because frankly it's all tied together, and we think in many ways Mr. Rosenstein and many ways Mr. Mueller is compromised; they're not going to look at some of these issues."

"But the biggest part, I do believe, is the dossier," Jordan stressed. "The fact, as I said yesterday, the fact that a major political party can finance this dossier at the same time it looks like Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, was being paid by the FBI."

"So are they complicit in putting together this dossier, which was National Enquirer baloney, turning it into an intelligence document, getting a warrant, and spying on Americans? If that happened in this great country, that is just so wrong. That's why it warrants a special examination of this whole issue."

Asked by Ainsley Earhardt why the Department of Justice hasn't asked for a special counsel yet, Jordan said he thinks it's because "some of the career people at the Justice Department just don't want to go there." Jordan also said that Attorney General Sessions, who is "a good man," may feel compromised by his recusal from some aspects of the Russia investigation and therefore unwilling to push hard against those who don't want to go after Clinton.

On Tuesday, the attorney general testified before the House Judiciary Committee. When asked by Rep. Jordan if he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Clinton, Sessions demurred.

[Dec 15, 2017] Was Steele dossier the "insurance policy" to derail Trump the Strzok mentioned

Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

In a recently released Aug. 15, 2016 text message from Peter Strzok, a senior FBI counterintelligence official, to his reputed lover, senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Strzok referenced an apparent plan to keep Trump from getting elected before suggesting the need for "an insurance policy" just in case he did.

A serious investigation into Russia-gate might want to know what these senior FBI officials had in mind.

[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 15, 2017] With US forces on the borders of North Korea, China, and Russia on a hair-trigger, the continuous assertion of ever greater war-making powers to the military brass massively increases the danger that a miscalculation, misunderstanding, or accident could quickly lead to full-scale nuclear war.

Notable quotes:
"... "Meanwhile, figures posted by the Pentagon last month -- with little media attention -- revealed that the number of US troops deployed in the Middle East as a whole had soared by 33 percent over the previous four months, with the sharpest increases taking place in a number of Persian Gulf countries, indicating advanced preparations for a new US war against Iran. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , December 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

The Russia-gate 'scandal' sideshow provided a very useful diversion while military preparations were advanced:

"While still on the books, the War Powers Act has long ago been turned into a dead letter by the quarter century of US wars of aggression that have followed the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union, all waged without a declaration of war by Congress.

"Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have willingly acquiesced in the de facto concentration of dictatorial power in the hands of the 'commander in chief' in the all-important matter of the waging of foreign wars.

"The latest letter from the Trump administration, however, represents another qualitative step in this protracted degeneration of American democracy and the elimination of the last pretenses of civilian control over the military. [ ]

"The Trump White House has removed caps imposed on troop levels under the Obama administration, leaving it up to the military commanders to escalate US deployments at will. Obama's caps themselves were routinely circumvented through so-called temporary deployments that saw far more troops sent into US wars than were officially on the books.

"The secrecy surrounding troop deployments has been highlighted in recent months [ ] the so-called slip of the tongue by the commander of US special operations forces in Iraq and Syria who told a Pentagon press conference that 4,000 US troops were on the ground in Syria. He quickly caught himself and repeated the official figure of 500. Subsequently, the Pentagon allowed that the real number was over 2,000.

"Meanwhile, figures posted by the Pentagon last month -- with little media attention -- revealed that the number of US troops deployed in the Middle East as a whole had soared by 33 percent over the previous four months, with the sharpest increases taking place in a number of Persian Gulf countries, indicating advanced preparations for a new US war against Iran.

"These deployments are kept secret or effectively concealed not out of any concern about 'tipping off the enemy,' which in virtually every case is well aware of the level of US military aggression against their countries. Rather, it is aimed at keeping the information from the American people, which has no interest in continuing the ongoing military interventions in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa, much less launching new and potentially world catastrophic wars against Iran, North Korea and even China and Russia.

"In terms of the waging of semi-secret wars abroad, as with attacks on democratic rights and the social conditions of the working class at home, Trump represents not an aberration, but rather the culmination of protracted processes that have unfolded under both Democratic and Republican administrations, which have ceded ever greater power over US foreign policy to US military commanders. This trend has only deepened under Trump, with an active duty general serving as national security advisor, and two recently retired Marine generals filling the posts of defense secretary and White House chief of staff.

"With US forces on the borders of North Korea, China, and Russia on a hair-trigger, the continuous assertion of ever greater war-making powers to the military brass massively increases the danger that a miscalculation, misunderstanding, or accident could quickly lead to full-scale nuclear war.

"Trump's further assault on the War Powers Act has elicited no protest from the Democrats in Congress. They are not opposed to the government's domination by the military or the drive to war. Their differences are merely of a tactical character, expressed in a campaign of anti-Russia hysteria waged in collaboration with sections of the US military and intelligence apparatus in preparation for a new and far more terrible conflagration."

Washington's secret wars
By Bill Van Auken
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/13/pers-d13.html

[Dec 15, 2017] Possible MI6 links to Strzokgate and Steele dossier

Notable quotes:
"... Sir Andrew Wood is a close friend of Christopher Steele (of the Steele Dossier) and an associate of Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., which is Steele's private spy agency. [Does Steele still work for the British SIS, MI6?] "Before the election Steele had gone to Wood and shown him the dossier." (p.38). Wood is wired into the arch-NWO Chatham House, which is home to The Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), the companion organization of which is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (q.v. "Tragedy and Hope" by Carrol Quigley; "The Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations & United States foreign Policy" by Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter; "Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2104" by Laurence H. Shoup). ..."
"... I am starting to wonder if Luke Harding might be MI6 with journalism for a cover. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Dunno , December 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Lately, I have been reading Luke Harding's "Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win." Harding is a journalist who works as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian newspaper. His book draws heavily upon the "Steele Dossier." (q.v. Wikipedia: Donald Trump-Russian Dossier) Harding's Wikipedia page is also very interesting, as is some of the information that he generously supplies in "Collusion." For example, on pp.37-38, Harding describes a three-day event in November of 2016 that was sponsored by the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, N.S. Harding describes the objective of the gathered international group as making sense of the world in the aftermath of Trump's stunning victory. Interestingly, Senator John McCain was one of the delegates; however, the participation of Sir Andrew Wood, a former Ambassador to Russia from 1995-2000 is perhaps even more interesting. Wood and McCain were participants in the Ukraine panel.

Sir Andrew Wood is a close friend of Christopher Steele (of the Steele Dossier) and an associate of Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., which is Steele's private spy agency. [Does Steele still work for the British SIS, MI6?] "Before the election Steele had gone to Wood and shown him the dossier." (p.38). Wood is wired into the arch-NWO Chatham House, which is home to The Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), the companion organization of which is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (q.v. "Tragedy and Hope" by Carrol Quigley; "The Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations & United States foreign Policy" by Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter; "Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2104" by Laurence H. Shoup).

At this conference in Halifax, Harding reports that Wood briefed McCain about the contents of the Steele Dossier [rattle-tat-tattle-tale MI6's "ScuttleTrump" operation seems to proceeding swimmingly at this point]. The senile senator from Arizona evidently decided that " the implications [of the dossier] were sufficiently alarming to dispatch a former senior U.S. official to meet with Steele and find out more." The emissary, David Kramer, is currently a senior director at the McCain institute for International Leadership: Kramer was formerly the President of the highly questionable Freedom House, a nest of NWO neocons and neoliberals. (q.v. Wikipedia article, Freedom House, especially the section on Criticism/Relationship with the U.S. Government.) Please, recall McCain's role in the coup d'ιtat in Ukraine in 2014.

I am starting to wonder if Luke Harding might be MI6 with journalism for a cover. Then there is the bizarre case of Carter Page, the former U.S. Marine intelligence officer and purported lover of all things Russian and of Putin. This obsessive enthusiast is beginning to remind me of another obsessive Russian enthusiast, U.S. Marine, and defector to the soviet Union; Patsy Oswald. I am starting to look at this Trump-Russia fraud as more than a takedown of the crooked Don. It seems to be an ingenious way of further demonizing Putin and the Russians, and, if so, it is working like a charm. The MSM echo chamber cannot get enough of it. and neither can the NWO.

[Dec 14, 2017] Was Peter Strzok the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director John Brennan?

Highly recommended!
That question arise during recent senate session of Rosenstein
It's been suggested that Strzok's job as counterintelligence deputy would have made him the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director Brennan.
Notable quotes:
"... Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post paid any price for their promotion of the invasion and destruction of Iraq. They might not get off as easy this time. One can hope. ..."
"... I can add one more. It's been suggested that Strzok's job as counterintelligence deputy would have made him the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director Brennan. At least this point was made explicitly in a recent LarouchePAC Live broadcast on Youtube (perhaps Will Wertz's presentation at last Saturday's Manhattan Project event) though I don't know what their evidence is. So we can ask: Was Peter Strzok the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director John Brennan? ..."
consortiumnews.com

Zachary Smith , December 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm

I've been seeing all sorts of places where this fellow Strzok's name pops up. Things like a FISA judge recusing himself. Things like him possibly arranging things so Hillary was able to continue her run for President. At a super-right-wing site I found these "questions".

  1. Did Peter Strzok receive the Steele Dossier from Hillary Clinton on July 4th when he interviewed her?
  2. If Hillary didn't give Strzok the dossier, who did?
  3. Did Peter Strzok put together the FISA Court material, which included the Steele Dossier?
  4. Did Peter Strzok go to the FISA Court and ask for the surveillance of the Trump team based on the Steele Dossier?
  5. Did James Comey assign Peter Strzok to the Clinton email case?
  6. Did James Comey assign Peter Strzok to the Trump surveillance case?
  7. Did James Comey know that Peter Strzok was compromised when he sent him to interview Michael Flynn (where surveillance was used to interview him based on the Steele Dossier that was presented to the FISA Court that Strzok put together?)

Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post paid any price for their promotion of the invasion and destruction of Iraq. They might not get off as easy this time. One can hope.

Steven A , December 14, 2017 at 8:36 am

I can add one more. It's been suggested that Strzok's job as counterintelligence deputy would have made him the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director Brennan. At least this point was made explicitly in a recent LarouchePAC Live broadcast on Youtube (perhaps Will Wertz's presentation at last Saturday's Manhattan Project event) though I don't know what their evidence is. So we can ask: Was Peter Strzok the principal FBI liaison to CIA Director John Brennan?

[Dec 14, 2017] The Foundering Russia-gate 'Scandal' Consortiumnews

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling "scandal" into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump's presidency. ..."
"... As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American "deep state" exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government's intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump. ..."
"... In the text messages, Strzok also expressed visceral contempt for working-class Trump voters, for instance, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, "Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. it's scary real down here." ..."
"... Another text message suggested that other senior government officials – alarmed at the possibility of a Trump presidency – joined the discussion. In an apparent reference to an August 2016 meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok wrote to Page on Aug. 15, 2016, "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." ..."
"... The scheme involved having some Democratic electors vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell (which did happen), making him the third-place vote-getter in the Electoral College and thus eligible for selection by the House. But the plan fizzled when enough of Trump's electors stayed loyal to their candidate to officially make him President. ..."
"... After that, Trump's opponents turned to the Russia-gate investigation as the vehicle to create the conditions for somehow nullifying the election, impeaching Trump, or at least weakening him sufficiently so he could not take steps to improve relations with Russia. ..."
"... And, the new revelations of high-level FBI bias puts Clapper's statement about "hand-picked" analysts in sharper perspective, since any intelligence veteran will tell you that if you hand-pick the analysts you are effectively hand-picking the analysis. ..."
"... Although it has not yet been spelled out exactly what role Strzok and Page may have had in the Jan. 6 report, I was told by one source that Strzok had a direct hand in writing it. Whether that is indeed the case, Strzok, as a senior FBI counterintelligence official, would almost surely have had input into the selection of the FBI analysts and thus into the substance of the report itself. [For challenges from intelligence experts to the Jan. 6 report, see Consortiumnews.com's " More Holes in the Russia-gate Narrative. "] ..."
"... If the FBI contributors to the Jan. 6 report shared Strzok's contempt for Trump, it could explain why claims from an unverified dossier of Democratic-financed "dirt" on Trump, including salacious charges that Russian intelligence operatives videotaped Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in a five-star Moscow hotel, was added as a classified appendix to the report and presented personally to President-elect Trump. ..."
"... That discovery helped ensnare another senior Justice Department official, Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who talked with Steele during the campaign and had a post-election meeting with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Recently, Simpson has acknowledged that Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS last year to investigate Trump. ..."
"... But the story soon collapsed when it turned out that the date on the email was actually Sept. 14, 2016, i.e., the day after ..."
"... Yet, despite the cascade of errors and grudging corrections, including some belated admissions that there was no "17-intelligence-agency consensus" on Russian "hacking" – The New York Times made a preemptive strike against the new documentary evidence that the Russia-gate investigation was riddled with conflicts of interest. ..."
"... Pursuing the truth can be a fascinating hobby, that leads to a person awakening. Make it interesting, awaken your friend's curiosity. ..."
"... Weeks before the 2016 election, Peter Strzok's FBI team agreed to pay former MI6 agent and Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele $50,000 if he could verify the claims contained within the dossier – which relied on the cooperation of two senior Kremlin officials. (One more time for you, Walter Devine -- "if he [Steele] could verify the claims"). When Steele was unable to verify the claims in the dossier, the FBI wouldn't pay him according to the New York Times. ..."
"... Despite the fact that Steele was not paid by the FBI for the dossier, Peter Strzok used it to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump's team. Steele was ultimately paid $168,000 by Fusion GPS to assemble the dossier. ..."
"... Of interest to me is why the Republicans did not hammer Hillary for placing an ambassador in what was essentially a CIA compound in the first place. My guess and I can only guess is that they no objection to its being a ratline to ship Libya's stolen armaments to head-chopping jihadists (with USA blessing) fighting Assad. So to raise the issue of why putting an ambassador there would have opened the door to sensitive questions -- if the press would ask them, of course. ..."
"... That's the real Benghazi story the MSM won't talk about. Although I suspect the armaments were given to the head choppers by the CIA, and then they rebelled at having them transferred to the head choppers in Syria after they had succeeded in killing Ghaddafi. ..."
"... "Madame Secretary, WHY was it necessary to destroy Libya?" No republican asked THAT question. ..."
"... Hello Skip, nice to read your good comments again and to exchange info. Here is an article which talks about the weapons ratline in Syria. Within four days, the powerful anti-tank missiles that CIA bought in Bulgaria and (supposedly) delivered to "moderate" rebels, ended up in ISIS hands. The only problem with the article's narrative is that it is still drawing the official line that the lack of oversight is to blame for such, whilst it was clearly a deliberate action to supply weapons to ISIS wrapped up in plausible deniability of passing them through the hands of some poor inept souls serving as intermediaries. ..."
"... Starting a grand-scale investigation on the basis of allegations of conspiracy with another government and treason is rather dubious when these allegations from dirty campaign tactics are not based on any tangible facts. It is true that the Muller team does not leak as much to the press as the intelligence services did previously. This investigation still plays an important role for the media propaganda that still pushes the Russiagate conspiracy theory even though there had never been any factual basis for it and no evidence has been found in over a year. Since there is still this investigation is going on, they can use it for justifying their daily minutes of hate against Russia, their calls for censorship and denounciation of any political position that diverges from the neoconservative and neoliberal ideology. ..."
"... the most dubious thing was, of course, the lobbying related to a UN security council resolution vote, but that might at best hint at colluding with Israel, it certainly does not fit the Russiagate conspiracy theory ..."
"... So, if we judge the Muller investigation by its results, it is not going anywhere. Obviously, that is what should be expected when a commission is set up for investigating a conspiracy theory for which there had never been any evidence to begin with. I suppose the result would be similar if the Illuminati, the Elders of Zion, or reptiloids were officially investigated. ..."
"... It seems that the Muller team wants to delay that moment when they have to confess that the conspiracy theory has broken down, but that won't necessarily make it easier, either. ..."
"... Think you nailed it. The bankster regime changers already tried once to structurally adjust Russia into being a US puppet state in the 90s under Clinton. Russia was robbed blind while Yeltzin drank himself into a stupor. Putin is the one who put a stop to the looting. That is his crime against the western oligarchs and why he is enemy #1. ..."
"... There's no 'lack of discussion about what they have uncovered' which has basically amounted to a pile of dirt. Have not read from the VIPS and William Binney? Uncovering shady business with oligarchs doesn't show collusion, but the dossier oppo does, but it's business as usual. Denying the FBI-DNC server subpoena was odd don't you think? ..."
"... "Fusion GPS appears to be in the center of a web of corruption. Who hired Fusion GPS to ramp up its opposition research against Trump? Hillary Clinton and the DNC. the wife of Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 presidential election. Nellie Ohr is listed as working for the CIA's Open Source Works department in a 2010 DOJ report." Look how the CIA, FBI, and DNC have found each other and made a friendship forever. ..."
"... Also, do you personally have any concern about the murder of Seth Rich? -- Donna Brazil has become afraid of being Seth-Riched. How come? What kind of scum the Democratic apparatus has become? -- Guess Tony Podesta and Bill Clinton and madame "we came, we saw, he died ha, ha, ha " are the composite face of the Democratic Party today. ..."
"... Have at it Walter. What exactly have they uncovered? The "process" lost credibility long ago. The "intelligence" report of January 6th was garbage and it's been all downhill since. ..."
"... Obama's expulsion of the Russian diplomats after Trump's election, with no reason based on fact/danger to the USA gave a good start to the Russophobia encouraged by the Clinton losers and leading on to the ludicrous extreme situation still going on. ..."
"... Since the whole Guccifer 2.0 operation appears to be an attempt to falsely smear WikiLeaks as a Russian agent (by publicly claiming to be a hacker associated with WikiLeaks and then being "caught" releasing documents (the ones of June 15, 2016) with "Russian fingerprints"), perhaps his uploading files (Sept 13, 2016) to a server with (past) ties to someone associated with WikiLeaks (Kim Dot Com) would have been part of the same effort. ..."
"... Such a reversal of evidence and conclusion bespeaks deliberate deception. The motive is unclear, as the failed Newsweek is said to have been revived in 2013 by a Korean-American Christian fundamentalist David Jang formerly of Moon's Unification Church, whose followers consider him the Second Coming of JC, according to the linked source. http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/03/newsweek-ibt-olivet-david-jang/ ..."
"... It's been a year and a half since Hillary Clinton first accused Donald Trump of being a Putin puppet and in collusion with the Kremlin. Any fool should be able to understand that if there existed any real evidence to support this accusation the world would have seen it under banner headlines long ago. ..."
"... Thank you for your spot-on analysis! The motives of the deep state – including FBI operatives, NY Times and WAPO – is crystal clear. They do not want Trump to be president, and are determined to either remove him or handcuff him indefinitely. But why? Why has the establishment gone crazy? Is it simply political, or something deeper and darker? ..."
"... The real "deep" reason is the PNAC plot to make sure that the USA remains the sole super power that can impose its will anywhere in the world. Trump's campaign position of seeking detente with Russia would have led us into a multi-polar world giving Russia a sphere of influence. That is unacceptable to the empire. ..."
"... RussiaGate is an attempt to remove Trump from power, or at a minimum make it impossible for him to seek detente. I am no Trump apologist, but I do think our only hope for a future in this nuclear age is to seek peace and cooperation in a multi-polar world that respects national sovereignty and the rule of law. I suspect Trump will continue to be brought to heel, with or without the success of RussiaGate. And there is always the JFK solution as a last resort. ..."
"... Where is William Binney's "Thin String" signals intelligence (SIGINT) software when it's needed? Wouldn't it be lovely to focus it on the communications of our own government? Binney says applying it after 9/11 to the pre-9/11 communications streams did successfully predict the 9/11 attacks. If only we had stored all communications of government officials dating back to . hey, let's say 1774 or so, what truths might we now know, and what proofs might we now have? What would FDR's communications prior to Pearl Harbor reveal? What about the JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X assassinations? ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: Taking on water from revealed FBI conflicts of interest, the foundering Russia-gate probe – and its mainstream media promoters – are resorting to insults against people who note the listing ship, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling "scandal" into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump's presidency.

Peter Strzok, who served as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, second in command of counterintelligence.

As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American "deep state" exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government's intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.

In one Aug. 6, 2016 text exchange, Page told Strzok: "Maybe you're meant to stay where you are because you're meant to protect the country from that menace." At the end of that text, she sent Strzok a link to a David Brooks column in The New York Times, which concludes with the clarion call: "There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you're not in revolt, you're in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame."

Apparently after reading that stirring advice, Strzok replied, "And of course I'll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps."

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, criticized Strzok's boast that "I can protect our country at many levels." Jordan said: "this guy thought he was super-agent James Bond at the FBI [deciding] there's no way we can let the American people make Donald Trump the next president."

In the text messages, Strzok also expressed visceral contempt for working-class Trump voters, for instance, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, "Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. it's scary real down here."

Another text message suggested that other senior government officials – alarmed at the possibility of a Trump presidency – joined the discussion. In an apparent reference to an August 2016 meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok wrote to Page on Aug. 15, 2016, "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk."

Strzok added, "It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40."

It's unclear what strategy these FBI officials were contemplating to ensure Trump's defeat, but the comments mesh with what an intelligence source told me after the 2016 election, that there was a plan among senior Obama administration officials to use the allegations about Russian meddling to block Trump's momentum with the voters and -- if elected -- to persuade members of the Electoral College to deny Trump a majority of votes and thus throw the selection of a new president into the House of Representatives under the rules of the Twelfth Amendment .

The scheme involved having some Democratic electors vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell (which did happen), making him the third-place vote-getter in the Electoral College and thus eligible for selection by the House. But the plan fizzled when enough of Trump's electors stayed loyal to their candidate to officially make him President.

After that, Trump's opponents turned to the Russia-gate investigation as the vehicle to create the conditions for somehow nullifying the election, impeaching Trump, or at least weakening him sufficiently so he could not take steps to improve relations with Russia.

In one of her text messages to Strzok, Page made reference to a possible Watergate-style ouster of Trump, writing: "Bought all the president's men. Figure I needed to brush up on watergate."

As a key feature in this oust-Trump effort, Democrats have continued to lie by claiming that "all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred" in the assessment that Russia hacked the Democratic emails last year on orders from President Vladimir Putin and then slipped them to WikiLeaks to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign.

That canard was used in the early months of the Russia-gate imbroglio to silence any skepticism about the "hacking" accusation, and the falsehood was repeated again by a Democratic congressman during Wednesday's hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

But the "consensus" claim was never true. In May 2017 testimony , President Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that the Jan. 6 "Intelligence Community Assessment" was put together by "hand-picked" analysts from only three agencies: the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.

Biased at the Creation

And, the new revelations of high-level FBI bias puts Clapper's statement about "hand-picked" analysts in sharper perspective, since any intelligence veteran will tell you that if you hand-pick the analysts you are effectively hand-picking the analysis.

Although it has not yet been spelled out exactly what role Strzok and Page may have had in the Jan. 6 report, I was told by one source that Strzok had a direct hand in writing it. Whether that is indeed the case, Strzok, as a senior FBI counterintelligence official, would almost surely have had input into the selection of the FBI analysts and thus into the substance of the report itself. [For challenges from intelligence experts to the Jan. 6 report, see Consortiumnews.com's " More Holes in the Russia-gate Narrative. "]

If the FBI contributors to the Jan. 6 report shared Strzok's contempt for Trump, it could explain why claims from an unverified dossier of Democratic-financed "dirt" on Trump, including salacious charges that Russian intelligence operatives videotaped Trump being urinated on by prostitutes in a five-star Moscow hotel, was added as a classified appendix to the report and presented personally to President-elect Trump.

Though Democrats and the Clinton campaign long denied financing the dossier – prepared by ex-British spy Christopher Steele who claimed to rely on second- and third-hand information from anonymous Russian contacts – it was revealed in October 2017 that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign shared in the costs, with the payments going to the "oppo" research firm, Fusion GPS, through the Democrats' law firm, Perkins Coie.

That discovery helped ensnare another senior Justice Department official, Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who talked with Steele during the campaign and had a post-election meeting with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Recently, Simpson has acknowledged that Ohr's wife, Nellie Ohr, was hired by Fusion GPS last year to investigate Trump.

Bruce Ohr has since been demoted and Strzok was quietly removed from the Russia-gate investigation last July although the reasons for these moves were not publicly explained at the time.

Still, the drive for "another Watergate" to oust an unpopular – and to many insiders, unfit – President remains at the center of the thinking among the top mainstream news organizations as they have scrambled for Russia-gate "scoops" over the past year even at the cost of making serious reporting errors .

For instance, last Friday, CNN -- and then CBS News and MSNBC -- trumpeted an email supposedly sent from someone named Michael J. Erickson on Sept. 4, 2016, to Donald Trump Jr. that involved WikiLeaks offering the Trump campaign pre-publication access to purloined Democratic National Committee emails that WikiLeaks published on Sept. 13, nine days later.

Grasping for Confirmation

Since the Jan. 6 report alleged that WikiLeaks received the "hacked" emails from Russia -- a claim that WikiLeaks and Russia deny -- the story seemed to finally tie together the notion that the Trump campaign had at least indirectly colluded with Russia.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

This new "evidence" spread like wildfire across social media. As The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald wrote in an article critical of the media's performance, some Russia-gate enthusiasts heralded the revelation with graphics of cannons booming and nukes exploding.

But the story soon collapsed when it turned out that the date on the email was actually Sept. 14, 2016, i.e., the day after WikiLeaks released the batch of DNC emails, not Sept. 4. It appeared that "Erickson" – whoever he was – had simply alerted the Trump campaign to the public existence of the WikiLeaks disclosure.

Greenwald noted , "So numerous are the false stories about Russia and Trump over the last year that I literally cannot list them all."

Yet, despite the cascade of errors and grudging corrections, including some belated admissions that there was no "17-intelligence-agency consensus" on Russian "hacking" – The New York Times made a preemptive strike against the new documentary evidence that the Russia-gate investigation was riddled with conflicts of interest.

The Times' lead editorial on Wednesday mocked reporters at Fox News for living in an "alternate universe" where the Russia-gate "investigation is 'illegitimate and corrupt,' or so says Gregg Jarrett, a legal analyst who appears regularly on [Sean] Hannity's nightly exercise in presidential ego-stroking."

Though briefly mentioning the situation with Strzok's text messages, the Times offered no details or context for the concerns, instead just heaping ridicule on anyone who questions the Russia-gate narrative.

"To put it mildly, this is insane," the Times declared. "The primary purpose of Mr. Mueller's investigation is not to take down Mr. Trump. It's to protect America's national security and the integrity of its elections by determining whether a presidential campaign conspired with a foreign adversary to influence the 2016 election – a proposition that grows more plausible every day."

The Times fumed that "roughly three-quarters of Republicans still refuse to accept that Russia interfered in the 2016 election – a fact that is glaringly obvious to everyone else, including the nation's intelligence community." (There we go again with the false suggestion of a consensus within the intelligence community.)

The Times also took to task Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, for seeking "a Special Counsel to investigate ALL THINGS 2016 – not just Trump and Russia." The Times insisted that "None of these attacks or insinuations are grounded in good faith."

But what are the Times editors so afraid of? As much as they try to insult and intimidate anyone who demands serious evidence about the Russia-gate allegations, why shouldn't the American people be informed about how Washington insiders manipulate elite opinion in pursuit of reversing "mistaken" judgments by the unwashed masses?

Do the Times editors really believe in democracy – a process that historically has had its share of warts and mistakes – or are they just elitists who think they know best and turn away their noses from the smell of working-class people at Walmart?

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

mike k , December 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

The NYT is just another tool of the multi-billionaire oligarchs who rule this USA from the shadows. They fear nothing more than the light. When that investigative light gets strong enough, more and more ordinary folks will begin to awake to the massive fraud that has been perpetrated at their expense. And when that happens, we will finally see the Oligarchy begin to crumble under the pressure of the 99%. The truth will out, then heads will roll ..

mike k , December 13, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Keep up the pressure – get your friends interested, tell them about CN, Counterpunch, Strategic-Culture, Chris Hedges, etc. Pursuing the truth can be a fascinating hobby, that leads to a person awakening. Make it interesting, awaken your friend's curiosity.

incontinent reader , December 14, 2017 at 12:04 am

How about also including RT in your list? It's a news and commentary site with strong journalistic values and credibility, notwithstanding what the Administration or the MSM may say or imply.

T.J , December 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

If RT didn't have the qualities you describe, attempts by the Administration and the MSM to discredit it would have been successful. However they will attempt to silence it by other means.

Adam Kraft , December 14, 2017 at 11:59 am

Very true TJ. I found counterpunch when wapo / propornot blacklisted them. Gave 'em creds imo. I also like mint press, occupy, naked capitalism, **world socialist website**, disobedient media, truthout, some of Glenns work on the Intercept and my youtube subs include: wearechange, **anonymous Scandinavia**, **the jimmy dore show**, RT America, TeleSUR English*, Zoon Politikon, **democracy at work**, HA Goodman, theRealNews*, mintpressnews, watching the hawks, secular talk, laura kinhtlinger, judicial watch, empire files, redacted tonight, TBTV, a little from Julian Assange's twitter.

tina , December 14, 2017 at 11:06 pm

what about Al-Jazeera?

Erik G , December 14, 2017 at 8:03 am

Good suggestion; in such persuasion, one must respectfully suggest better sources and avoid any conflict.

Mr. Parry has well summarized for beginners these essential counterpoints to the mass media propaganda.

Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
https://www.change.org/p/new-york-times-bring-a-new-editor-to-the-new-york-times?recruiter=72650402&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink
While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.

Amyg , December 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

I like this use of "awakened," in contrast to the establishment culture's fascination with "woke." People don't need to get woke. They need to become awakened. Thanks to Robert Parry.

Walter Devine , December 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

I thought we were waiting to hear what the evidence is found. The lack of discussion about what they have uncovered seems to me to speak of a professional operation. Once they are done and present what they have found, then everyone can get on their soap boxes and let loose. As for Bias, that exists in everyone to some extent or another, where was the moral outrage from the Republicans charging this today when the Benghazi investigation was being conducted by folks with known axes to grind themselves? It is the Washington hypocrisy machine at its most obvious. As for the media, print or otherwise, they are just preaching to their choirs in order to sell whatever their particular consumers are buying. Frankly I have come to expect more from you than this article Mr. Parry, here's hoping

Robert Gardner , December 13, 2017 at 10:45 pm

I've been skeptical out the Russian conspiracy so far, but I agree with what Walter Devine wrote.

tina , December 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm

I am still waiting . Mr. Parry can ride on his story back in the 1980's. We are in 2017, The internet is good. What did those people in Washington do today? get rid of net neutrality? Love you all people on CN, Happy Hanukah Merry Christmas, and Kwanzaa, And the winter solstice. Peace to all. Love, tina everyone is going to believe that they want to believe.

incontinent reader , December 14, 2017 at 12:08 am

Are you kidding about Benghazi? Obviously you have still not informed yourself about the egregious security breakdown of the Administration or how the Benghazi facility factored into the CIA's proxy war in Syria. (And, btw, where was Hillary "Rod up her Hiney" Clinton when that '3AM call' came in at 4pm?

Larco Marco , December 14, 2017 at 4:32 am

Hillary Rodham Clinton AND William Hamrod Clinton

Anna , December 14, 2017 at 12:56 am

Thank you for bringing attention to the Benghazi scandal: "FBI Chief Instructed Agents To Lie About Benghazi To Protect Hillary" http://yournewswire.com/fbi-lie-benghazi-hillary/

"By placing the interests of the Obama administration over the public's interests, the order is yet another data point highlighting the politicization of the FBI: After the September 11, 2012 attack against U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration peddled a lie, telling the public that the attack was related to Muslims who had become enraged at an anti-Islam YouTube video, and not a planned act of terrorism – despite Hillary Clinton emailing Chelsea Clinton from her unsecure @clintonemail.com server the night of the attack to say exactly that."

-- On a topic of evidence: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/anti-trump-texts-between-fired-fbi-agents-having-extramarital-affair-leak-and-theyre "

In 2016, [the FBI] received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" The "dossier" was a compendium of allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm's bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Weeks before the 2016 election, Peter Strzok's FBI team agreed to pay former MI6 agent and Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele $50,000 if he could verify the claims contained within the dossier – which relied on the cooperation of two senior Kremlin officials. (One more time for you, Walter Devine -- "if he [Steele] could verify the claims"). When Steele was unable to verify the claims in the dossier, the FBI wouldn't pay him according to the New York Times.

Despite the fact that Steele was not paid by the FBI for the dossier, Peter Strzok used it to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump's team. Steele was ultimately paid $168,000 by Fusion GPS to assemble the dossier.

-- More evidence" "FBI Texts Reveal "Insurance Policy" To Prevent Trump Presidency" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/we-cant-take-risk-fbi-texts-reveal-insurance-policy-prevent-trump-presidency

-- Have you noticed the numbers for payments? The bank records? The names? -- these are the evidence. Or you believe that there a Bias against the miserable Steele?

bobzz , December 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Of interest to me is why the Republicans did not hammer Hillary for placing an ambassador in what was essentially a CIA compound in the first place. My guess and I can only guess is that they no objection to its being a ratline to ship Libya's stolen armaments to head-chopping jihadists (with USA blessing) fighting Assad. So to raise the issue of why putting an ambassador there would have opened the door to sensitive questions -- if the press would ask them, of course.

Skip Scott , December 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

That's the real Benghazi story the MSM won't talk about. Although I suspect the armaments were given to the head choppers by the CIA, and then they rebelled at having them transferred to the head choppers in Syria after they had succeeded in killing Ghaddafi.

Jon Adams , December 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

"Madame Secretary, WHY was it necessary to destroy Libya?" No republican asked THAT question.

Kiza , December 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Hello Skip, nice to read your good comments again and to exchange info. Here is an article which talks about the weapons ratline in Syria. Within four days, the powerful anti-tank missiles that CIA bought in Bulgaria and (supposedly) delivered to "moderate" rebels, ended up in ISIS hands. The only problem with the article's narrative is that it is still drawing the official line that the lack of oversight is to blame for such, whilst it was clearly a deliberate action to supply weapons to ISIS wrapped up in plausible deniability of passing them through the hands of some poor inept souls serving as intermediaries.

Thus, the CIA kept being surprised that its powerful weapons kept ending up in ISIS hands but kept doing the same over and over: oops an oversight mistake, oops and another one, oops one more, and another one, . the two hundredth one

https://www.buzzfeed.com/aramroston/blowback-isis-got-a-powerful-missile-the-cia-secretly?utm_term=.joevpx9dG#.lxegj54A7

Adrian Engler , December 14, 2017 at 3:44 am

Starting a grand-scale investigation on the basis of allegations of conspiracy with another government and treason is rather dubious when these allegations from dirty campaign tactics are not based on any tangible facts. It is true that the Muller team does not leak as much to the press as the intelligence services did previously. This investigation still plays an important role for the media propaganda that still pushes the Russiagate conspiracy theory even though there had never been any factual basis for it and no evidence has been found in over a year. Since there is still this investigation is going on, they can use it for justifying their daily minutes of hate against Russia, their calls for censorship and denounciation of any political position that diverges from the neoconservative and neoliberal ideology.

I wonder how long this can go on. So far, the indictments of the Muller team have had nothing to do with the Russiagate conspiracy theory. Paul Manafort was indicted for tax evasion related to lobbying business with Ukraine, mostly years ago. Michael Flynn was indicted because when he reported a call from his holidays to the Russian ambassador to the FBI more than three weeks later, he left out two elements (the FBI had the recordings from the NSA, anyway, so they wouldn't have had to ask him about the telephone call). There was nothing illegal about the contents of the telephone call (the most dubious thing was, of course, the lobbying related to a UN security council resolution vote, but that might at best hint at colluding with Israel, it certainly does not fit the Russiagate conspiracy theory). It seems quite plausible that Flynn just forgot these two elements of a telephone call in which quite a large number of points was raised and that he pleaded guilty because of a plea deal (otherwise he might have been indicted in connection with his lobbying work for Turkey). Superficially, the closest to the idea of Russiagate is the indictment of Papadopoulos, someone who played a minor role in the Trump campaign and was looking for contacts with Russians, but, as it seems did not get very far (for some reasons he seemed to think a Russian woman he was talking with was a relative of Putin). His actions may have been naïve or misguided, but nothing about them was illegal, like in the case of Michael Flynn, he is only accused of lying to the FBI about normal, legal actions.

So, if we judge the Muller investigation by its results, it is not going anywhere. Obviously, that is what should be expected when a commission is set up for investigating a conspiracy theory for which there had never been any evidence to begin with. I suppose the result would be similar if the Illuminati, the Elders of Zion, or reptiloids were officially investigated.

The question is how they will wind down. If they just say that apart from things like Manafort's possible tax evation and Flynn's lobbying for Israel, they have not found anything – certainly nothing that confirms the Russiagate conspiracy theory -, that will be quite difficult, people will demand that it is investigated how it came about that such a conspiracy was spread and played such an influential role in political discourse for some time. It seems that the Muller team wants to delay that moment when they have to confess that the conspiracy theory has broken down, but that won't necessarily make it easier, either.

Antiwar7 , December 14, 2017 at 7:24 am

How long should we wait until we hear of ONE, that's right, ONE piece of evidence backing these claims up? Please answer: 2 years? 10 years? The only evidence so far amounts to "trust us".

And that's ignoring the monumental number of pieces of false evidence that have been put forward. That in itself makes the whole "investigation" suspicious. On top of the long, documented history of the CIA planting false stories in the press.

bobzz , December 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm

I don't know. How long did it take the Dutch to cook the evidence to condemn Russian partisans for the downing of the Malaysian airliner -- with Ukraine holding a gun to their heads.

Dunno , December 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Dear Mr. 7, I have come to the grudging conclusion that Russia-gate is and has always been more about Russia and Putin than about the crooked Don. If we stop to think about it, Trump has succumbed to the deep control of the Deep-State colossus. Russia evil; Israel good! Got it? When the pathetic wiener & crotch-grabber isn't bitchin' for Bibi and doing little pooch tricks for Israel, he is being programmed by the pentagon and the Deep State, and making sure that the super-rich get super richer. His own SOS Tillerson called him an effin' moron. Enough said!

Therefore, 7, Russia-gate is all about keeping the pot boiling for the presidential election in Russia next year. Demonizing Putin and Russia is the new great game of our era. The NWO Nebula lusts after Russia's geostrategic location and its abundant resources. It's 1905-1925 all over again. Read the book, "Wall Street and the Russian Revolution 1905-1925" by Richard B. Spence and also take a gander at Trine Day books' website of suppressed books. The deep-state Plutocrats and their secret societies hatch their evil little plots, while trying to keep the rest of us in the dark. Right now, Trump is a convenient platform for anti-Russian propaganda.

Lois Gagnon , December 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Think you nailed it. The bankster regime changers already tried once to structurally adjust Russia into being a US puppet state in the 90s under Clinton. Russia was robbed blind while Yeltzin drank himself into a stupor. Putin is the one who put a stop to the looting. That is his crime against the western oligarchs and why he is enemy #1.

Sam F , December 14, 2017 at 8:10 am

Once more the standard troll line about being a prior supporter, which plainly "Devine" is not.
We are well over a year into this matter with nothing but speculation and manufactured claims.
It is clear that Russia-gate = Israel-gate, a diversion from zionist control of the DNC.
Where is the concern of "Devine" for the lack of investigation of control of elections and mass media by Israel?
Why does he seek to cover up the complete destruction of democracy by the foreign power Israel?

Lois Gagnon , December 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm

Oliver Stone had this to say on the matter on FaceBook. If you're on FB, here is the link.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=oliver%20stone

Adam Kraft , December 14, 2017 at 12:16 pm

facts don't show bias walt. yeah, media sells to the public, but they're also selling (or trading narratives for access) to the gov't. Wikileaks exposed the MSM – DNC collusion and we've witnessed the leaks and anonymous sources from the IC. Trust the CIA?

There's no 'lack of discussion about what they have uncovered' which has basically amounted to a pile of dirt. Have not read from the VIPS and William Binney? Uncovering shady business with oligarchs doesn't show collusion, but the dossier oppo does, but it's business as usual. Denying the FBI-DNC server subpoena was odd don't you think?

I personally believe that progressive hope dies at the DNC and exposing the party's lies (their private and public views) and undemocratic practices (preliminary process, fundraising) is the best thing for the country. It brings us one step closer to potentially building a third party that represents the proletariat and petty bourgeois classes.

Lois Gagnon , December 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

I agree with your sentiment, but I'm finding it disturbing how many so called progressives are convinced beyond any doubt, despite the evidence I produce to instill doubt, that Russia interfered in "our democracy."

They have come unglued to the point of idiocy over Trump. They are firmly in the clutches of the CIA Deep State apparatus.

Anna , December 14, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Hey, Walter Devine, here is more for your whining about evidence: There are plenty of evidence when the disgusting clintonistas are concerned: http://theduran.com/fusion-gps-admits-that-it-hired-wife-of-doj-official-to-investigate-then-candidate-trump/

"Fusion GPS appears to be in the center of a web of corruption. Who hired Fusion GPS to ramp up its opposition research against Trump? Hillary Clinton and the DNC. the wife of Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 presidential election. Nellie Ohr is listed as working for the CIA's Open Source Works department in a 2010 DOJ report." Look how the CIA, FBI, and DNC have found each other and made a friendship forever.

Also, do you personally have any concern about the murder of Seth Rich? -- Donna Brazil has become afraid of being Seth-Riched. How come? What kind of scum the Democratic apparatus has become? -- Guess Tony Podesta and Bill Clinton and madame "we came, we saw, he died ha, ha, ha " are the composite face of the Democratic Party today.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , December 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

@ Walter Devine: "Once they are done and present what they have found, then everyone can get on their soap boxes and let loose."

But overlook that the Democrats and mainstream media are doing the opposite? It seems to me that this is precisely the point that Mr. Parry's reporting has been aimed at, that the Democrats and mainstream media are jumping enormously to RussiaGate conclusions without disclosing any evidence to back up their incredibly dangerous claims and that there *is* very strong evidence of ulterior motives.

Gregory Herr , December 14, 2017 at 8:22 pm

Have at it Walter. What exactly have they uncovered? The "process" lost credibility long ago. The "intelligence" report of January 6th was garbage and it's been all downhill since.

Peter de Klerk , December 14, 2017 at 8:53 pm

I had great respect Parry's earlier writing which had a healthy dose of MSM skepticism (albeit largely for personal reasons). This whole business of jumping to conclusions on the Russia meddling has put me off him totally. All the reporting seems to be in service of defending a forgone conclusion. I wonder if this has anything to do with fundraising.

falcemartello , December 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm

This whole Russia ate my lunch has entered the realm of alternate truth. The MSM are now actually stating that the Russian hacking the 2016 election as fact. Just like all the other false and fabricated statements of world events in the last 20 years . Fro Yugoslavia, Milosovic exonerated for the falsely laid charges of genocide . How convenient after his death . Qadaffi murdering and slaughtering his own people hence RPL interventionist and voila the highest standard of living in the African continent is now reduced to takfiri heaven for the NATO proxy army recruiting centre. MH17 disaster is still being paroled as Russian deliberate murder. No facts no evidence that would stand even in a Stalinist show trial. Assad gassing his own people. More than debunked by multiple sources and US academics to boot no still being paroled as fact by western MSM.

The whole charade post 9/11 has gone into this Orwellian nightmare that just keep on growing and news and information has become pure Hollwoodian fantasy that the sheeple are sleep walking into this futuristic hell hole that these vile masters of the universe will not be able to back track without losing face and without causing the populace to stand up and be counted and kick tjhese vile players out for good.

john wilson , December 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Take heart Falcemartello, its not all bad. Over here in the Britain RT has its own free to view TV channel which sits next to the BBC news and the parliament programme. It is now widely watched by the public and has millions of viewers with many using RT as their main news source. The fact that the American deep state criminals have made things difficult for RT America in the US, is a clear indication that the fake news masters otherwise known as the MSN, and their handlers in the deep state are rattled by the ever growing alternative voice. Its up to you, me and the rest of the posters on CN to tell our friends colleagues and others about CN, RT etc. If only one percent take a look then alternative opinion will start to filter through and more importantly, show the public what liars and criminals are in charge of their country.

Skip Scott , December 14, 2017 at 8:15 am

Thanks for the info John. I am really glad that at least Britain has a reasonable degree of freedom of the press. If it spreads across Europe, the USA may eventually find itself so isolated by its own propaganda that the whole evil empire scheme will implode, and we will have to learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world. That is my Christmas wish.

BobS , December 14, 2017 at 11:36 am

It's not difficult to get RT in the US- I watch it regularly on Dish Network. Youtube is another option- I'm guessing it's big and rich enough to survive any changes in net neutrality that will result from the Trump/Pai FCC (of course, Obama and Clinton were just as bad, DEEP STATE!!!!, etc.).
If you're going to tout conspiracies, get your facts straight.

rosemerry , December 14, 2017 at 4:48 pm

John Pilger has an article in counterpunch explaining the importance of documentaries (not just his!). It is notable that his first one, on Cambodia, in 1970, was shown free to air on TV in the UK and thirity other countries, with huge audience impact, but refused by PBS as too disturbing!!

The free press in the USA is in tune with the ptb.

rosemerry , December 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

I see the Pilger article is here on consortiumnews. It is worth a read, like the rest here!

Kiza , December 14, 2017 at 7:58 pm

What you wrote john wilson is simply not the complete truth, although I wish it was. It is true that RT UK has its own terrestrial digital TV channel. It appears that Margarita Simonyan bid for such channel at an auction when Britain was converting from analogue to digital TV and got it. Thus, the British TV viewers can now see RT without any subscription or special equipment, "next to BBC" as you optimistically say.

What you did not mention john wilson is that the British Government regulator Ofcom is putting severe pressure on RT because their news offered an alternative view to the British propaganda. They rinse and repeat the same biased-news allegations almost every year, keeping RT UK under constant threat of the loss of its broadcasting licence due to "breach of truth standards" = "fake news". They even banned the lightbox, radio and other media advertising campaign of RT in Britain, the so called "RT is the second opinion", only because the campaign claimed that if RT existed before UK attack on Iraq in 2003, Tony Blair may have not been successful in passing the war resolutions through the parliament.

What most people do not appreciate is that the methods of suppression are not the same in all Western countries, and why should they be? Simonyan got a terrestrial TV channel and the broadcasting licence because of the British propaganda hubris – the British still believed that their post-imperial propaganda is the best in the World, just because it was the best in the world during the empire. They simply never expected the Russians to be so successful, just the same as US.

In summary:
US => force RT to register as a foreign agent to force reporting of every little detail of its operations; refuse journalistic credentials to Congress etc to disadvantage its reporting
UK => keep constant threat of the loss of broadcasting licence to skew the reporting towards the British Government version of the news

I post the links relevant to what I wrote here separately to avoid being put on hold.

Kiza , December 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

https://secondopinion.rt.com/

https://www.rt.com/about-us/press-releases/rt-uk-second-opinion/

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/nov/10/russia-today-ofcom-sanctions-impartiality-ukraine-coverage

https://theintercept.com/2015/03/02/uk-media-regulator-threatens-rt-bias-airing-anti-western-views/

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.

rosemerry , December 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Obama's expulsion of the Russian diplomats after Trump's election, with no reason based on fact/danger to the USA gave a good start to the Russophobia encouraged by the Clinton losers and leading on to the ludicrous extreme situation still going on.

BobH , December 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Amen

Kiza , December 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Spot on Bob, the unfortunate and idealistic Mr Seth Rich became the DNC's bottom line, the shining example of its "anything goes as long as we have friends in the right places" (FBI, DOJ, CIA, etc etc).

Lois Gagnon , December 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Agreed. Let's not forget Process Server for the DNC Fraud Lawsuit Shawn Lucas who died mysteriously 2 weeks after serving the DNC either.

I never would have believed the rot in the Democratic Party establishment would rival the Republicans, but here we are.

Anon , December 14, 2017 at 8:23 am

"Tina" is a troll assigned to CN to claim extremism, and never presents evidence or argument.

Steven A , December 13, 2017 at 11:16 pm

This is another great review by Robert Parry. However, he again uses the formulation that "WikiLeaks published" and "WikiLeaks released" purloined DNC emails on September 13, 2016. Greenwald and the Washington Post have stated, more carefully, that WikiLeaks "promoted" the data source of these emails by means of a Tweet on that date.

Adam Carter noted in a comment under Parry's previous article that the DNC emails in question are the NGP/VAN files associated with Guccifer 2.0's pre-announced "hack" on July 5, 2016 and reportedly released by him on Sept 13, 2016.

In fact, they are certainly not part of WikiLeak's official archive. One can see from their website that they published nothing between the times of the DNC emails release of July 22, 2016 and the Podesta emails release of October 7. So "published" is clearly the wrong word.

Whether or in what sense it may fairly be stated that WikiLeaks "released", "promoted" or "uploaded" (as according to the Erickson email, which probably represents nothing more than an outsider's impression) the September 13 files needs to be cautiously assessed. Their Tweet did include an access key, as did the Erickson email, and the address for the file given in the latter was a "mega.nz" address. I assume that this address is associated with Kim Dot Com, who also claims to have been involved with WikiLeaks.

Did Guccifer 2.0 himself upload the files to mega.nz? Did he play Kim Dot Com to use the latter's association with Wikileaks to get Wikileaks itself to put out the Sept 13 Tweet advertising the data release? I'm not sure how this all worked, but it seems that it is misleading to simply refer to this set of emails as having been "published" by Wikileaks.

incontinent reader , December 14, 2017 at 12:12 am

Didn't you read the VIPS analyses of the DNC leaks?

Steven A , December 14, 2017 at 8:21 am

Yes, I did, but not while writing my comment above. Do they say anything relevant to the question of whether it is accurate to correct the false media report that the Trump campaign was given access to the NGP/VAN DNC emails before WikiLeaks published them with a "corrected" statement that the Trump campaign was notified (but may never have noticed) of a link to those files by a random member of the public _after WikiLeaks had already published them_? As I recall, the original VIPS memo was itself somewhat confused about the distinction between the NGP/VAN material and the five DNC documents made public by "Guccifer 2.0" on June 15, 2016, so I'm not sure one will find anything relevant to my question there.

While it is true that the "correction" here is _much_ closer to the truth than the original misinformation, the underlined part at the end of my question still seems misleading in that the "publication" is attributed to WikiLeaks without qualification. And it seems Parry is not the only one to make this mistake. As Adam Carter pointed out two days ago, he was very surprised that almost no one has been noticing that the files in question came from "Guccifer 2.0" and not from WikiLeaks. While Parry's attribution misleading, I am still not clear in my own mind about precisely what did happen, i.e. how WikiLeaks came to "promote" the release of the files and whether in some loose or indirect sense WikiLeaks did "release" them.

mike k , December 14, 2017 at 11:08 am

Is there really any other purpose in your involved questioning but seeking to cloud and confuse the obvious issues in the "Russia hacked" affair?

Steven A , December 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

How is it clouding the issue to suggest, as Adam Carter did, that one element in Parry's (and others') description of the facts in an otherwise excellent article seems to be misleading?

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , December 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm

@ "the address for the file given in the latter was a "mega.nz" address. I assume that this address is associated with Kim Dot Com, who also claims to have been involved with WikiLeaks."

Kim Dot Com's relationship with Mega was already extremely strained by the time of the Guccifer leaks and to the extent he ever had control of the company it had apparently ended. See e.g., https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-warns-mega-users-to-backup-their-files-160421/

Steven A , December 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm

These are the sort of details I haven't been familiar with and about which I was hoping to learn more – so thanks! I was relying on a vague impression from memory when I made the link between the "mega.nz" address seen in the email from Erickson and Kim Dot Com.

Since the whole Guccifer 2.0 operation appears to be an attempt to falsely smear WikiLeaks as a Russian agent (by publicly claiming to be a hacker associated with WikiLeaks and then being "caught" releasing documents (the ones of June 15, 2016) with "Russian fingerprints"), perhaps his uploading files (Sept 13, 2016) to a server with (past) ties to someone associated with WikiLeaks (Kim Dot Com) would have been part of the same effort.

A contemporary article says this about the release: "'Guccifer 2.0' released over 670 megabytes of documents at a cybersecurity conference in London Tuesday . The documents were released on a file storage system and not on WikiLeaks or on Guccifer 2.0's website." https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/hacker-guccifer-2-0-releases-more-dnc-docs-including-tim-n647921

Thus the statement that "WikiLeaks published" the files in question (repeated by Parry, Justin Raimondo and others) appears to be false. I share the surprise expressed by Adam Carter (under Parry's previous piece) that few appear to have noticed or bothered to correct this error – even though they were on target in exposing the main part of the latest MSM lie.

robjira , December 14, 2017 at 12:17 am

Great related reporting on BAR.
https://www.blackagendareport.com/entire-russian-hacking-narrative-invalidated-single-assange-tweet
https://www.blackagendareport.com/russsiagate-and-collapse-obamas-war-against-syria

Bob Van Noy , December 14, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Excellent links, robjira. Thanks.

Karl Sanchez , December 14, 2017 at 12:57 am

Those of us who live within the Outlaw US Empire have been seduced by lies Big and small since we could understand language. RussiaGate is an example of a Big Lie, just as the Outlaw US Empire being a democracy is a Big Lie–both are indoctrinational. Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Great Pumpkin, Sand Man, Cupid, et al are other excellent examples of indoctrinational Big Lies. One of the most severe is the maxim delivered from parents: You must share and play nice, when the real world acts in the exact opposite fashion. What's more, RussiaGate serves as a cover-up for several major crimes–some by Clinton, some by DNC, some by FBI, some by Justice Department, and some by CIA: None of them are being actively investigated despite there being lots of evidence existing in the public domain, which is why we know those crimes occurred.

I very highly suggest reading this article, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/13/the-u-s-is-not-a-democracy-it-never-was/

Marko , December 14, 2017 at 2:22 am

The last great hope for the Dems :

"A Russian hacker accused of stealing from Russian banks reportedly confessed in court that he hacked the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and stole Hillary Clinton's emails under the direction of agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB)"

PUTIN ORDERED THEFT OF CLINTON'S EMAILS FROM DNC, RUSSIAN HACKER CONFESSES
BY CRISTINA MAZA ON 12/12/17

http://www.newsweek.com/russian-hacker-stealing-clintons-emailshacking-dnc-putinsfsb-745555

irina , December 14, 2017 at 4:03 am

And on PBS tonite the author of this Atlantic article got to put in her two cents about Putin:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/putins-game/546548/

in which she stated that not only did Putin 'annex Crimea' but also invaded Ukraine, among other things. None of her statements were backed up by any facts, which apparently are irrelevant anymore. Wikipedia has an interesting bio on her.

Bob Van Noy , December 14, 2017 at 9:57 am

Thank you irina for that "catch". I'm a long time reader of "The Atlantic Magazine" well aware of its long, liberal history and was surprised to find David Frum reporting there. David was a speech writer for W. Bush and apparently came up with the infamous "Axis of Evil" tag for President Bush's State Of The Union speech. I'll link the Wikipedia page below for those interested. I'm concerned that propaganda has spread far and wide

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_of_evil

Sam F , December 14, 2017 at 8:56 am

Despite its extremely conclusive title and substance, the Newsweek article later admits the extremely suspect nature of the accusation, and the lack of any evidence whatsoever:

"Andrei Soldatov an expert on Russian cybersecurity, said he believes Kozlovsky invented the story about his direction from the FSB for personal gain. 'I've been communicating with [Kozlovsky] for four months, and he has failed to give me any proof or answer my questions," Soldatov told Newsweek .'He was put in jail by these guys so it could be out of revenge, or he wanted to make a deal with the FSB,'"

Such a reversal of evidence and conclusion bespeaks deliberate deception. The motive is unclear, as the failed Newsweek is said to have been revived in 2013 by a Korean-American Christian fundamentalist David Jang formerly of Moon's Unification Church, whose followers consider him the Second Coming of JC, according to the linked source. http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/03/newsweek-ibt-olivet-david-jang/

Perhaps another quasi-religious CIA front like Fethullah Gulen's madrassas in Turkey and across central Asia.

exiled off mainstreet , December 14, 2017 at 3:13 pm

They keep publishing the same horseshit just like Pravda did in the Soviet era and just like the Voelkischer Beobachter and Stuermer did during the Nazi era. I guess the uninformed hoi polloi get so used to it in these situations that they accept the situation, like ducks and frogs accept watery ponds as their environments.

Manfred Whimplebottem , December 14, 2017 at 9:20 pm

I think I heard a similar story from newsweek months ago, looks like someone took the deal(?).

FBI Probe Into Clinton Emails Prompted Offer of Cash, Citizenship for Confession, Russian Hacker Claims

"On October 5, 2016, days before U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of endorsing an infiltration of Democratic Party officials' emails, Nikulin was arrested in Prague at the request of the U.S. on separate hacking charges. Now, Nikulin claims U.S. authorities tried to pin the email scandal on him."

"ikulin's lawyer, Martin Sadilek, [claims] that the FBI visited him at least a couple of times, offering to drop the charges and grant him U.S. citizenship as well as cash and an apartment in the U.S. if the Russian national confessed to participating in the 2016 hacks of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta's emails in July."

"[They told me:] you will have to confess to breaking into Clinton's inbox for [U.S. President Donald Trump] on behalf of [Russian President Vladimir Putin]," Nikulin wrote"

http://www.newsweek.com/fbi-investigation-clinton-emails-russia-hack-607538

Wm. Boyce , December 14, 2017 at 2:33 am

I'm curious as to why this is still an issue. Here's a link to an article from last August:
http://www.businessinsider.com/top-fbi-investigator-peter-strzok-steps-away-from-russia-probe-2017-8

At that time, it wasn't known why Mr. Strzok was transferred/whatever from counter-intelligence, but since then it has been revealed that Mr. Mueller did so for his ( Strzok) political opinions. That would seem a fair thing to do. What's the problem? Might be right-wing fear.

Marko , December 14, 2017 at 4:43 am

" What's the problem? "

C'mon , man. Given Strzok's position and his influence on Russiagate AND the earlier Hillarygate investigations , the fact that he was transferred in July is of little comfort. Any damage he could do he'd already done by then. Jim Jordan will explain it to you , in six minutes :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=69&v=cShxjlUfmhk

exiled off mainstreet , December 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm

The problem is that when that story first appeared, nothing else was disclosed. The damning material took months to emerge, as did Strzok's links to the Clinton coverups and the links to the fake dossier and the FBI's "anti-Trump" insurance policy. Those who want to believe the regime's falsehoods can always come up with rationales such as "I guess the government people know best" which was typical of the answers to sceptics against the Viet Nam war in the mid '60s.

Realist , December 14, 2017 at 2:43 am

It's been a year and a half since Hillary Clinton first accused Donald Trump of being a Putin puppet and in collusion with the Kremlin. Any fool should be able to understand that if there existed any real evidence to support this accusation the world would have seen it under banner headlines long ago. Instead, we get nothing but one set of sensational fake headlines unsupported by any actual facts time and again, all in an attempt to fool the mentally-challenged public. Yet the NYT and the rest of the yellow press continue to insist that the evidence continues to mount against Trump. What a laugh. Moreover, these deceivers are the people that want what they define as "fake news" to be systematically rooted out and stricken from the public record so no thinking person can ever see it. And, they tell us this is a free and democratic country. Got any more jokes?

Homina , December 14, 2017 at 3:48 am

Totally agree. And it reminds me of some reality "quest" shows about finding Bigfoot or the Oak Island treasure, etc.

If those were actually found, it would be reported a day or two later, unless every single one of the producers, actors, workers, etc. were under an NDA enough to wait until some season finale a year or two later. Ridiculous. If Bigfoot exists that will come to us on news, and big news, international. It won't come on a 4th season of some Bigfoot-finding show.

So yeah, season two of the Trump-Russia whatever.

Maddow/MSNBC and the likes have gone utterly insane. Bigfoot behind every door. Scant or zero facts, who cares. This isn't like Benghazi or White Water or Bush's air service this is 24/7 inane terrible journalism from nearly every journalist publisher in the US.

exiled off mainstreet , December 14, 2017 at 3:30 am

I think that the new evidence discussed provides Trump the cover to pull the plug on the whole Mueller operation despite the Alabama debacle. Sure the media talkers would compare it to the Saturday Night Massacre, but the proven falsity of the whole absurd circus renders risible such comparisons. While I don't expect much out of Trump, the championing of this absurd theory by the mainstream democrats renders them an existential threat to civilization itself based on the fact that enmity with Russia seems to be their be-all and end-all. It is all not only criminal but profoundly stupid.

Homina , December 14, 2017 at 3:40 am

"The primary purpose of Mr. Mueller's investigation is not to take down Mr. Trump. It's to protect America's national security and the integrity of its elections by determining whether a presidential campaign conspired with a foreign adversary to influence the 2016 election – a proposition that grows more plausible every day."

1. How is Russia an "adversary"? And even if Russia is, that's weasel-words and subjective. Is Turkey a foreign adversary? Is Israel? China? Mexico?

2. Why wasn't there decades ago a special Election Panel looking into foreign influence? I guess it just started to happen in this last election though .Only with Putin!

3. "more plausible" .this fucking idiot. After a year of headlines of "this is what will finally take down Trump" and such, all with zero reasons, zero facts .Is naught more plausible than naught?

4. I detest Trump. I more detest hypocrites and idiots.

But sure, "blah blah more possible take trump down" says some idiot or collective NYT idiocy. Bore me more your next op-ed, you partisan morons.

Sam F , December 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Yes, the NYT is mere propaganda. We already know that "a presidential campaign conspired with a foreign adversary to influence the 2016 election" because Clinton's top ten donors were all Zionists, and she supported all wars for Israel.

Rich Monahan , December 14, 2017 at 3:57 am

Thank you for your spot-on analysis! The motives of the deep state – including FBI operatives, NY Times and WAPO – is crystal clear. They do not want Trump to be president, and are determined to either remove him or handcuff him indefinitely. But why? Why has the establishment gone crazy? Is it simply political, or something deeper and darker?

Skip Scott , December 14, 2017 at 8:59 am

The real "deep" reason is the PNAC plot to make sure that the USA remains the sole super power that can impose its will anywhere in the world. Trump's campaign position of seeking detente with Russia would have led us into a multi-polar world giving Russia a sphere of influence. That is unacceptable to the empire.

RussiaGate is an attempt to remove Trump from power, or at a minimum make it impossible for him to seek detente. I am no Trump apologist, but I do think our only hope for a future in this nuclear age is to seek peace and cooperation in a multi-polar world that respects national sovereignty and the rule of law. I suspect Trump will continue to be brought to heel, with or without the success of RussiaGate. And there is always the JFK solution as a last resort.

M C Martin , December 14, 2017 at 6:08 am

Where is William Binney's "Thin String" signals intelligence (SIGINT) software when it's needed? Wouldn't it be lovely to focus it on the communications of our own government? Binney says applying it after 9/11 to the pre-9/11 communications streams did successfully predict the 9/11 attacks. If only we had stored all communications of government officials dating back to . hey, let's say 1774 or so, what truths might we now know, and what proofs might we now have? What would FDR's communications prior to Pearl Harbor reveal? What about the JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X assassinations?

While I can't endorse our government's illegal and immoral collection and storing of virtually all communications among people, if the store is there and is used against petty criminals, why couldn't or shouldn't it be used to detect and prove the illegal acts of our government power brokers?

What's good for the goose

[Dec 14, 2017] Tech Giants Trying to Use WTO to Colonize Emerging Economies

Notable quotes:
"... The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers. ..."
"... By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation. ..."
"... One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. ..."
"... Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name? ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

December 14, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. Notice that Costa Rica is served up as an example in this article. Way back in 1997, American Express had designated Costa Rica as one of the countries it identified as sufficiently high income so as to be a target for a local currency card offered via a franchise agreement with a domestic institution (often but not always a bank). 20 years later, the Switzerland of Central America still has limited Internet connectivity, yet is precisely the sort of place that tech titans like Google would like to dominate.

The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers.

By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy

Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation.

n a few weeks' time, trade ministers from 164 countries will gather in Buenos Aires for the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11). US President Donald Trump in November issued fresh accusations of unfair treatment towards the US by WTO members , making it virtually impossible for trade ministers to leave the table with any agreement in substantial areas.

To avoid a 'failure ministerial," some countries see the solution as pushing governments to open a mandate to start conversations that might lead to a negotiation on binding rules for e-commerce and a declaration of the gathering as the "digital ministerial". Argentina's MC11 chair, Susana Malcorra, is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to " bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots ".

It is not very clear what kind of gaps Malcorra is trying to bridge. It surely isn't the "connectivity gap" or "digital divide" that is growing between developed and developing countries, seriously impeding digital learning and knowledge in developing countries. In fact, half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level. Negotiating binding e-commerce rules at the WTO would only widen that gap.

Dangerously, the "South Vision" of digital trade in the global trade arena is being shaped by a recent alliance of governments and well-known tech-sector lobbyists, in a group called 'Friends of E-Commerce for Development' (FED), including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and, most recently, China. FED claims that e-commerce is a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide, and generate digital solutions for developing and least developed countries.

However, none of the countries in the group (apart from China) is leading or even remotely ready to be in a position to negotiate and push for binding rules on digital trade that will be favorable to them, as their economies are still far away from the technology revolution. For instance, it is perplexing that one of the most fervent defenders of FED's position is Costa Rica. The country's economy is based on the export of bananas, coffee, tropical fruits, and low-tech medical instruments, and almost half of its population is offline . Most of the countries in FED are far from being powerful enough to shift negotiations in favor of small players.

U.S.-based tech giants and Chinese Alibaba – so-called GAFA-A – dominate, by far, the future of the digital playing field, including issues such as identification and digital payments, connectivity, and the next generation of logistics solutions. In fact, there is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies, from the race to grow the advertising market to the race to increase online payments.

An e-commerce agenda that claims unprecedented development for the Global South is a Trojan horse move. Beginning negotiations on such topics at this stage – before governments are prepared to understand what is at stake – could lead to devastating results, accelerating liberalization and the consolidation of the power of tech giants to the detriment of local industries, consumers, and citizens. Aware of the increased disparities between North and South, and the data dominance of a tiny group of GAFA-A companies, a group of African nations issued a statement opposing the digital ambitions of the host for MC11. But the political landscape is more complex, with China, the EU, and Russia now supporting the idea of a "digital" mandate .

Repeating the Same Mistakes?

The relationships of most countries with tech companies are as imbalanced as their relationships with Big Pharma, and there are many parallels to note. Not so long ago, the countries of the Global South faced Big Pharma power in pharmaceutical markets in a similar way. Some developing countries had the same enthusiasm when they negotiated intellectual property rules for the protection of innovation and research and development costs. In reality, those countries were nothing more than users and consumers of that innovation, not the owners or creators. The lessons of negotiating trade issues that lie at the core of public interest issues – in that case, access to medicines – were costly. Human lives and fundamental rights of those who use online services should not be forgotten when addressing the increasingly worrying and unequal relationships with tech power.

The threat before our eyes is similarly complex and equally harmful to the way our societies will be shaped in the coming years. In the past, the Big Pharma race was for patent exclusivity, to eliminate local generic production and keep drug prices high. Today, the Big Tech race is for data extractivism from those who have yet to be connected in the world, and tech companies will use all the power they hold to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or data localization.

Big Tech is one of the most concentrated and resourceful industries of all time. The bargaining power of developing countries is minimal. Developing countries will basically be granting the right to cultivate small parcels of a land controlled by data lords -- under their rules, their mandate, and their will -- with practically no public oversight. The stakes are high. At the core of it is the race to conquer the markets of digital payments and the battle to become the platform where data flows, splitting the territory as old empires did in the past. As the Economist claimed on May 6, 2017: "Conflicts over control of oil have scarred the world for decades. No one yet worries that wars will be fought over data. But the data economy has the same potential for confrontation."

If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the control of Big Tech over -- how we communicate, shop, and learn the news -- , again, over our societies. The solution lies not in making rules for data liberalization, but in devising ways to use the law to reduce Big Tech's power and protect consumers and citizens. Finding the balance would take some time and we are going to take that time to find the right balance, we are not ready to lock the future yet.

Jef , December 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

I thought thats what the WTO is for?

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. To paraphrase from a comment I made recently regarding a similar topic : "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world". With this dynamic in mind, and the "constant growth" mantra humming incessantly in the background, it's easy to see how high stakes a game this is for the tech giants and how no resources will be spared to stymie any efforts at establishing a regulatory oversight framework that will protect the digital rights of citizens in the global south.

Multilateral fora like the WTO are de facto enablers for the marauding frontal attacks of transnational corporations, and it's disheartening to see that some developing nations have already nailed the digital futures of their citizens to the mast of the tech giants by joining this alliance. What's more, this signing away of their liberty will be sold to the citizenry as the best way to usher them into the brightest of all digital futures.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants.

Vast sums of money are already being thrown at bringing Africa online, for better or worse. Thus, the R&D aimed at providing wireless Internet via giant drones/balloons/satellites by Google, Facebook, etc.

You're African. Possibly South African by your user name, which may explain why you're a little behind the curve, because the action is already happening, but more to the north -- and particularly in East Africa.

The big corporations -- and the tech giants are competing with the banking/credit card giants -- have noted how mobile technology leapt over the dearth of last century's telephony tech, land lines, and in turn enabled the highest adoption rates of cellphone banking in the world. (Particularly in East Africa, as I say.) The payoffs for big corporations are massive -- de facto cashless societies where the corporations control the payment systems –and the politicians are mostly cheap.

In Nigeria, the government has launched a Mastercard-branded national ID card that's also a payment card, in one swoop handing Mastercard more than 170 million potential customers, and their personal and biometric data.

In Kenya, the sums transferred by mobile money operator M-Pesa are more than 25 percent of that country's GDP.

You can see that bringing Africa online is technically a big, decade-long project. But also that the potential payoffs are vast. Though I also suspect China may come out ahead -- they're investing far more in Africa and in some areas their technology -- drones, for instance -- is already superior to what the Europeans and the American companies have.

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Thank you Mark P.

Hoisted from a comment I made here recently: "Here in South Africa and through its Free Basics programme, facebook is jumping into bed with unsuspecting ISPs (I say unsuspecting because fb will soon be muscling in on their territory and becoming an ISP itself by provisioning bandwidth directly from its floating satellites) and circumventing net neutrality "

I'm also keenly aware of the developments in Kenya re: safaricom and Mpesa and how that has led to traditional banking via bank accounts being largely leapfrogged for those moving from being unbanked to active economic citizens requiring money transfer facilities. Given the huge succes of Mpesa, I wouldn't be surprised if a multinational tech behemoth (chinese or american) were to make a play for acquiring safaricom and positioning it as a triple-play ISP, money transfer/banking services and digital content provider (harvesting data about users habits on an unprecedented scale across multiple areas of their lives), first in Kenya then expanded throughout east, central and west africa. I must add that your statement about Nigeria puts Mark Zuckerberg's visit there a few months back into context somewhat, perhaps a reconnaissance mission of sorts.

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Though I've lived in California for decades, my mother was South African and I maintain a UK passport, having grown up in London.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

As you also write: "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world."

Absolutely true. This cannot be stressed enough. The tech giants know this and the race is on.

Mattski , December 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Been happening with food for 50 years.

[Dec 14, 2017] With the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Moscow proposed a sweeping noninterference agreement with the United States. The Trump administration said no

Highly recommended!
Here you have it – a self-confession from the highest D.C. officials, that "democracy promotion = meddling in the elections"! Oh, but that's not all:
Notable quotes:
"... "To test the possibility of a mutual agreement, Putin dispatched Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Washington for a July 17 meeting with Under Secretary Tom Shannon, the No. 3 official at the State Department. The official US account of the meeting offered only a bland summary of conversations on "areas of mutual concern." But three US administration officials, including one inside the meeting, said Ryabkov handed over a document containing a bold proposal: A sweeping noninterference agreement between Moscow and Washington that would prohibit both governments from meddling in the other's domestic politics. ..."
"... After examining the proposal, which has not previously been reported, US officials told Moscow there would be no deal. ..."
"... "We said 'thank you very much but now is not the time for this,'" said a senior State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic discussions." ..."
"... Here you have it – a self-confession from the highest D.C. officials, that "democracy promotion = meddling in the elections"! Oh, but that's not all: ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Lyttenburgh , December 10, 2017 at 5:59 pm

C for Chutzpah.

ButtFeed: How Secret Talks With Russia to Prevent Election Meddling Collapsed

With the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Moscow proposed a sweeping noninterference agreement with the United States, US officials tell BuzzFeed News. The Trump administration said no.

"To test the possibility of a mutual agreement, Putin dispatched Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Washington for a July 17 meeting with Under Secretary Tom Shannon, the No. 3 official at the State Department. The official US account of the meeting offered only a bland summary of conversations on "areas of mutual concern." But three US administration officials, including one inside the meeting, said Ryabkov handed over a document containing a bold proposal: A sweeping noninterference agreement between Moscow and Washington that would prohibit both governments from meddling in the other's domestic politics.

After examining the proposal, which has not previously been reported, US officials told Moscow there would be no deal.

"We said 'thank you very much but now is not the time for this,'" said a senior State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic discussions."

Here you have it – a self-confession from the highest D.C. officials, that "democracy promotion = meddling in the elections"! Oh, but that's not all:

[Dec 14, 2017] Trump Should Go F Himself - Texts Leak From FBI Agents On Russia Probe, Hillary Emails Investigation

Dec 14, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Fox reporter Shannon Brem tweeted that Fox News producer Jake Gibson has obtained 10k texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, one of which says "Trump should go f himself," and "F TRUMP."

... ... ...

In another tweet posted by Bream, Peter Strzok says "I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherrent answer ," and "I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAY THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!"

Page responds "I don't know, But we'll get it back. ..."

... ... ...

In another tweet posted by Bream, Peter Strzok says "I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherrent answer ," and "I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAY THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!"

Page responds "I don't know, But we'll get it back. ..."

... ... ...

The messages between Strzok and Page make it abundantly clear that the agents investigating both candidates for President were extremely biased against then-candidate Trump, while going extremely easy on Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information.

... ... ...

The messages sent between Strzok and Page, as well as Strzok's conduct in the Clinton investigation and several prior cases are now under review for political bias by the Justice Department . Furthermore, the fact that the reason behind Strzok's firing was kept a secret for months is of keen interest to House investigators. According to Fox News two weeks ago :

"While Strzok's removal from the Mueller team had been publicly reported in August, the Justice Department never disclosed the anti-Trump texts to the House investigators."

"Responding to the revelations about Strzok's texts on Saturday, Nunes said he has now directed his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray." -Fox News

Strzok also relied on the Trump-Russia dossier created by opposition research firm Fusion GPS. In August, 2016 - nine months before Robert Mueller's Special Counsel was launched, the New York Times reported that Strzok was hand picked by FBI brass to supervise an investigation into allegations of Trump-Russia collusion . The FBI investigation grew legs after they received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" and decided to act on its salacious and largely unproven claims, According to Fox News

House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

The "dossier" was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm's bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. - Fox News

Weeks before the 2016 election, Peter Strzok's FBI team agreed to pay former MI6 agent and Fusion GPS operative Christopher Steele $50,000 if he could verify the claims contained within the dossier - which relied on the cooperation of two senior Kremlin officials.

... ... ...

When Steele was unable to verify the claims in the dossier, the FBI wouldn't pay him according to the New York Times .

Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing "fallout" over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving "conflicting advice" on what to do.

The agent said that, if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid . - NYT

Did you catch that? Despite the fact that Steele was not paid by the FBI for the dossier, Peter Strzok used it to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump's team . Steele was ultimately paid $168,000 by Fusion GPS to assemble the dossier.

There's more - according to journalist Sara Carter there are more anti-Trump messages exchanged between other members of Mueller's team

Sean Hannity: I'm hearing rumors all over the place Sara Carter that there are other anti-Trump text-emails out there. And we know about them.

Sara Carter: I think you're hearing correctly Sean and I think a lot more is going to come out. In fact, I know a lot more is going to come out based on the sources I've spoken to.

... ... ...

The text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are highly compromising , and prove that both FBI investigations into Clinton and Trump were headed by a man, aided by his mistress, who did not want to see Trump win the White House. Furthermnore, if anti-Trump text messages were exchanged between other members of Robert Mueller's special counsel, which are apparently on deck for later this month or January, it's hard to imagine anyone taking anything concluded by this dog-and-pony show seriously.

Mr. Universe -> Slack Jack , Dec 13, 2017 11:46 AM

So let's see here, I'm looking for the parts about the FBI?/special investigation, or even anything relevant to the subject matter in your post Jack. Nope nothing there except a speculation about something that has long since passed and with no real way to determine actual facts. But hey thanks for taking up all the unused space here on the forum.

Back to revelant speculation...

Melissa Hodgman is the wife of the FBI scum. Guess what she does? She is head of the SEC enforcement division. I guess that's where 'ol Pete learned how to turn "grossly negligent" into "extremely careless". I guess that's good enough for the SEC so it should be good enough for the Effing Bee Eye.

silverserfer -> Joe Davola , Dec 13, 2017 12:20 PM

funny how two libtards who are cheating on their partners, can have the audacity to believe theyre the intelligent ones. Lost, hollow, carcases of human beings they are.

Sherpa Bill -> Pandelis , Dec 13, 2017 9:24 AM

You can not be serious. A FBI investigator can't let any bias influence their investigations regardless of their personal feelings one way or the other. This Agent saying that he was in a position to protect the country from Trump puts his bias on full display. I expect FBI agents to be all Joe Friday all of the time.

Ex-Oligarch -> Theosebes Goodfellow , Dec 13, 2017 1:21 PM

Smoking gun:

"protect the country" = sabotage the election and transition processes to preserve establishment dominance

thepigman -> overbet , Dec 13, 2017 8:59 AM

Strzok smoking-gun text:

" I can protect our country at many levels ."

RumpleShitzkin -> thepigman , Dec 13, 2017 9:34 AM

Close 2nd place...
Page responds "I don't know, But we'll get it back. ..."

100% proof of Conspiracy to commit treason
And naked Sedition
Prosecute. Slam dunk.

Watch a million assholes across DC pucker.

eclectic syncretist -> RumpleShitzkin , Dec 13, 2017 11:31 AM

Yes......the personal explanation of those comments should provide a great popcorn moment in this sideshow of what was once a great country.

Thought Processor -> jcaz , Dec 13, 2017 8:30 AM

Who killed Seth Rich? ...

NumberNone -> Thought Processor , Dec 13, 2017 10:11 AM

When law enforcement is taking pro-active actions to protect Hillary and insure her presidency...should anyone be shocked that a 'rat' inside her campaign gets murdered and no one cares?

... ... ...

Thought Processor -> NumberNone , Dec 13, 2017 12:34 PM

Sexual Blackmail rings have been around forever. Every 1st world clandestine intel agency has long since perfected these types of traps. Starts with basic Honey Traps and goes to kids and much worse crimes than sexual misconduct (think the Godfather when the Senator was set up at the Brothel and you get a good idea).

Before someone becomes a dependable tool you need to have them by the balls. It has been estimated that 1 in 3 politicians in D.C. are comprimised this way at some point during their career. This is how the CIA controls politicians outside the US. It gets quid pro quo from other intel agencies for internal control (Mossad, MI6, or other). It's an old game. Epstein is Mossad. The island is a trap outside of U.S. Why would alan dershowitz go there? Simple he was lured and trapped. Think about it, if you are in this dirty business, how do get a good Lawyer? Good lawyers who are 'committed' to your cause always come in handy.

This is how real power is and has been aquired. With power comes control.

putaipan -> Thought Processor , Dec 13, 2017 1:29 PM

donald rumsfeld- "The only things that are lasting are conflict, blackmail, and killing."

number of blackmail cases revealed, ever? none. if you wanna clear the swamp, it sounds like a good place to start.

awakeRewe -> jcaz , Dec 13, 2017 9:01 AM

"Two more Walmart greeters......"

You must be missing the point - these are some of the most intelligent investigators the world has to offer /s

Even a deplorable like me knew more that 15 years ago to never use work emails for anything personal. These people are arrogant clowns.

Kayman -> awakeRewe , Dec 13, 2017 9:22 AM

Of course, at the FBI, 2 agents having a covert affair, wouldn't rise to a real issue like providing fodder for blackmail by a foreign government.

The head of the FBI snake needs to be chopped off.

Criminal and disgusting.

how_this_stuff_works -> bobdog54 , Dec 13, 2017 9:49 AM

"Somebody, anybody PLEASE tell me how someone who can earn a JD, AND an attorney for the FBI, such as Lisa Page, can be a Clinton supporter?"

Oh, easy. People like Strzok and Page feel they are "above" the law, like the Clintons. And as lawyers, it is THEY who interpret the law.

Problem is, we just don't know--nor appreciate--the good they do on our behalf. /s

Son of Loki -> lester1 , Dec 13, 2017 8:39 AM

Fuck "demoted."

Fire them and promptly arrest them!

Chupacabra-322 -> lester1 , Dec 13, 2017 8:42 AM

@ Lester,

They cannot. The Criminal Deep State & their Presstitute Criminal appendages will pull out the "Dictators" Scripted False Narrative / PsyOp.

They're eating their own. Trump is giving these Criminals just enough rope to hang themselves with under their own Hubris.

This is Death by one thousand paper cuts.

unplugged -> Chupacabra-322 , Dec 13, 2017 8:51 AM

dead-on bro

they are backing themselves into a corner for which there is no escape except confession and a lighter sentence

Trump is the chess master

the swamp truely is fucked

lovin' it !

Chupacabra-322 -> unplugged , Dec 13, 2017 9:29 AM

@ unplugged,

They're "going all in." Doesn't matter what Hand the Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths at the Deep State & their cohorts have been dealt.

Win, stolen or lost. They were going & are going "all in" with the PsyOp, Scripted False Narrative of Russia hacking the Elections / Russia / Putin / Trump Propaganda gone full retard via the Deep States Opeatives in the Presstitute Media.

The misconception is that individuals believe we are dealing with normal, sane human beings. We're not. Far from it. What we are dealing with are sick, twisted, Pure Evil Criminal, Psychopathic, Satanic / Lucerferian elements from the CIA / Pentagram Temple of Set Scum literally making Hell on Earth.

What's at Stake is the Deep State Global network of MultiNational Central Banking, Espionage, Murder, War, Torture, Destabilization Campaigns, BlackMail, Extortion, Child / Human Trafficking, Drug / Gun Running, Money Laundering, Corruption, NSA spying, Media control & control of the 17 Intelligence Agencies.

Most importantly, The Deep State controls all the distribution lines of the aforementioned. Especially the Coaxial Cable Communication lines of Espionage spying & Surveillance State Apparatus / Infrastructure.
Agencies all built on the British Model of Intelligence. Purely Evil & Highly Compartmentalized Levels which function as a Step Pyramid Model of Authority / Monarch Reign Pyramid Model of Authority.

That's what's at Stake. How this plays out is anyone's guess. The Pure Evil Criminal Psychopath Rogue elements of the Deep State will not go quietly. If not dealt with now, they'll disappear only to resurface at a later date with one objective:

Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination they seek through Power & Control.

It's those Select Highly Compartmentalized Criminal Pure Evil Rogue Elements at the Deep State Top that have had control since the JFK Execution that have entrenched themselves for decades & refuse to relinquish Control.

This impure evil has been running the world since the time of the Pharoahs, it's ancient Babylonian mysticism/paganism and it is nothing more than the worship of Lucifer; it has never died out, it just re-emerges as something far more wicked, vile and sinister. They are all the sons and daughters of satan and do what he does - kill, steal and destroy.

It would be Nieve to think that hundreds of thousands of years of control over mankind be simply turned over by the Criminal Pure Evil Psychopathic Elite.
The Deep State will always exist.

However, the Pure Evil Criminal Psychopathic Highly Compartmentalized Rogue Levels of it are being delt with. Which is what the World is witnessing.

Trogdor -> lester1 , Dec 13, 2017 1:17 PM

"President Trump needs to do mass firings at the corrupt FBI/DOJ"

Firings? Firings are for Starbucks employees who dip into the cash register. When people afforded this level of "trust" and responsibility show how deeply corrupt they are - in that they openly aid and abet horrific criminals (HRC et al) they need to go to JAIL. FOREVER. And their supervisors - who goddamn well knew what the fuck they were doing - need to be their cellmates.

The FBI and DOJ have lost ALL integrity, honor, and moral authority. At this point, if I saw an FBI agent on fire, I wouldn't piss on him to put him out.

Disgusting.

[Dec 14, 2017] The 1970's was in many ways the watershed decade for the neoliberal transformation of the American economy and society

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What I also remember well however, is how little support PATCO was able to garnish from other unionized workers (and in many cases from union leadership as well). It seemed to me at the time that some of the strongest hostility came from rank and file of trade and utilities unions. ..."
"... I recall too that it was in the 1970's that the threat of "relocation", at that time mainly from the more heavily unionized north and northeastern states to the union-hostile south began to play a major role in the destruction of the power of labor. ..."
"... And I remember the beginning of the financialization of the American corporation that I experienced on a "micro" scale, a kid lucky enough to have a summer job while in university at a large resource-extraction corporation's HQ in NYC. I recall white-collar conversations about compensation and about how salaries had steadily risen over the past decade (the company was said to be doing "really well"). And I remember how towards the end of my summer stints more and more conversation was about stock prices and Wall Street favor and about the new executive managerial style brought in by "those young MBA"s", and about (for the first time) worries of a "take-over" by "outsiders" (the company, although public, had had family leadership for many years). ..."
"... And most of all I remember how gradually the material-economic components to the identity of the blue-collar and middle class worker were written out of existence. The great narrative, the myth that explains to us what it means to be "an American," no longer included any hint of class solidarity, of the kind of work we did, the pay we earned, the common living conditions in the small towns and urban neighborhoods and "cookie-cutter" suburbs of America. ..."
"... Formerly the struggle of economic and material improvement was seen by most ordinary Americas as a struggle for certain necessary conditions to maintain, strengthen, and perpetuate a way-of-life in which the common core assumptions about the "good life" remained basically stable and unchallenged: family, stable job, residential security, public schools, public places -- neighborhood bars, coffee shops, civic clubs, parks and playgrounds -- where people could meet and interact as social equals. ..."
"... The financialization of the economy, indeed of social life itself to a great extent, meant the drive for the maximization of private profit and the pursuit of interests and 'efficiencies" conceived entirely apart from any impact of the common good of society as a whole, and should have been seen as a grave threat to the very conditions of material and economic security, only recently achieved, that were the foundation of these other civic and social institutions. ..."
"... Instead, through a grand and diabolical deceit cynically promulgated by a mostly Republican capitalist class of privilege, but also aided and abetted by a "new Left" that increasingly postured itself as the enemy of this older and more traditional way of life ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

BigAl , December 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

The 1970's was in many ways the watershed decade for the radical transformation of the American economy and society, even more than the 1960's (I lived through both as a young man). I have yet to read the definitive social-critical analysis of these years to explain the changes that, looking back, seem to have taken the country of my childhood right out from under me, gone forever, increasingly difficult to remember through the fog of nostalgia that tends to distort as much as to reveal.

Some of the things I do remember about this time include the PATCO (air traffic controllers) strike, very well. What is often not mentioned is that PATCO was attempting to do something that had not been permitted under federal civil service law, that is, bargain for wages as well as working conditions. Wage bargaining, PATCO correctly assessed, was the issue that made or broke unions and had enabled state and local public employees to finally begin to earn a decent, living wage beginning in the 1960's (think the iconic Mike Quill and the NYC TWU).

Reagan correctly (from his point of view) saw that to fail to break PATCO on this issue was to open the floodgates and turn the U.S. civil services into something akin to its European counterpart, with the possibility of general strikes and the rest. And of course to encourage private sector unions in their drive to organize and to change federal and state labor laws to strengthen the right to picket strike and organize.

What I also remember well however, is how little support PATCO was able to garnish from other unionized workers (and in many cases from union leadership as well). It seemed to me at the time that some of the strongest hostility came from rank and file of trade and utilities unions. Of course Reagan, following the Nixon playbook, shrewdly played the patriot-nationalist card, painting PATCO as a threat to national security as well as composed of a bunch of ingrates who should have been happy to have jobs. But by then the segmentation of the American workforce, a tactic that played right into the hands of the corporate-capitalist class was in full swing. The American worker lucky enough to possess a decent paying skilled or semi-skilled union job was being taught to see their situation as morally "deserved" and to see newer aspirants to similar positions, whether recently arrived immigrants or members of racial-ethnic groups previously suppressed by law, custom and prejudice as threats/dangers/enemies of their own recently won status.

I recall too that it was in the 1970's that the threat of "relocation", at that time mainly from the more heavily unionized north and northeastern states to the union-hostile south began to play a major role in the destruction of the power of labor. This was the beginning of the "globalization" factor and of the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs that has been commented on extensively and that took off a decade or so later. What is often not recalled is that unions and other pro-labor groups attempted to lobby Congress to amend the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act) and to appoint labor-friendly members to the NLRB to ensure that plant relocation would be a mandatory subject of bargaining and thus prevent unilateral (by capital ownership) relocation or the threat of relocation as a means to destroy the power of labor. They were, of course, not successful, and factories and business continued to move away from traditional centers of labor power and worker-protections, first to so-called "right-to-work" states and eventually to Asia.

And I remember the beginning of the financialization of the American corporation that I experienced on a "micro" scale, a kid lucky enough to have a summer job while in university at a large resource-extraction corporation's HQ in NYC. I recall white-collar conversations about compensation and about how salaries had steadily risen over the past decade (the company was said to be doing "really well"). And I remember how towards the end of my summer stints more and more conversation was about stock prices and Wall Street favor and about the new executive managerial style brought in by "those young MBA"s", and about (for the first time) worries of a "take-over" by "outsiders" (the company, although public, had had family leadership for many years).

And most of all I remember how gradually the material-economic components to the identity of the blue-collar and middle class worker were written out of existence. The great narrative, the myth that explains to us what it means to be "an American," no longer included any hint of class solidarity, of the kind of work we did, the pay we earned, the common living conditions in the small towns and urban neighborhoods and "cookie-cutter" suburbs of America.

Formerly the struggle of economic and material improvement was seen by most ordinary Americas as a struggle for certain necessary conditions to maintain, strengthen, and perpetuate a way-of-life in which the common core assumptions about the "good life" remained basically stable and unchallenged: family, stable job, residential security, public schools, public places -- neighborhood bars, coffee shops, civic clubs, parks and playgrounds -- where people could meet and interact as social equals.

The financialization of the economy, indeed of social life itself to a great extent, meant the drive for the maximization of private profit and the pursuit of interests and 'efficiencies" conceived entirely apart from any impact of the common good of society as a whole, and should have been seen as a grave threat to the very conditions of material and economic security, only recently achieved, that were the foundation of these other civic and social institutions.

Instead, through a grand and diabolical deceit cynically promulgated by a mostly Republican capitalist class of privilege, but also aided and abetted by a "new Left" that increasingly postured itself as the enemy of this older and more traditional way of life, the enemy was reconceived as the new "elites", the young, urban, hipster "Leftist" who despised the old ways and represented a singular assault on everything good about America.

Meanwhile, steadily, relentlessly, the material conditions and hard-won economic improvements that had gradually made small town, urban-neighborhood, and inner-suburban life decent and livable were being destroyed by a class that paid lip-service to Capra's Bedford Falls while at the same time endlessly working to transform it into Pottersville.

[Dec 14, 2017] In defence of the labour theory of value

Actually Marx's "labor theory of value" should be properly called the "theory of surplus value".
Notable quotes:
"... For Marx, value was socially-necessary labour time: David Harvey is good on this. From this perspective, exploitation and alienation are linked. Workers are exploited because they must work longer than necessary to get their consumption bundle. And they are alienated because this work is unsatisfying and a source of unfreedom. Now, I'll concede that many people hate the labour theory of value. One reason for this is that many discussions of it quickly become obscurantist – as if "value" is some mystical entity embodied in commodities. ..."
"... This, though, certainly was not Marx's intention. Quite the opposite. He intended his theory to be a demystification. He wanted to show how what looked like relations between things – the exchange of money for goods or labour-time – were in fact relations between people. And unequal ones at that. ..."
"... I suspect that some of the animosity to Marx's use of LTV arises because of a resistance to the inference that Marx drew from it – that workers are exploited. This issue, however, is independent of the validity of not of the LTV. For example, Roemer thinks workers are exploited without believing in the LTV, and Smith believed the LTV without arguing that workers were exploited. ..."
"... * He seems to be recovering now. The vet is also expected to make a full recovery eventually. ..."
"... Further understanding, which evolved after Marx, is that the LTV is just special case of the principle that what produces a surplus of usefulness is not labour per se, but the energy used in the transformation of a larger quantity of something into a smaller quantity of something else, and muscle power is just one way, even if it was the main one for a very long time, to obtain energy to transform a large quantity of less useful commodities into a smaller quantity of more useful commodities. ..."
"... And this follows into the impression that I have derived from various authors that our high standards of living depend not on the high "productivity" of labour, but on the high "productivity" of fossil fuels, which are the product of the fertility of land ..."
"... the complex process of differentiation in the economy (aka the division of labor) obscures the relationship between the creation of the surplus (work time above that necessary to reproduce consumption bundle) and its utilization by capitalists via investment. Investment is not possible without exploitation of workers, but that relationship is occluded by the mechanics of employment, markets, and property. ..."
"... My impression is that your bearded friend Karl does not use "alienation" in that sense at all, in an economic sense, but in a humanist sense: that by being separated from the means of production proletarians are alienated from the meaning of their work, from work as a human activity, as distinct from an economic activity ..."
"... Practically every "Dilbert" strip is about "alienation". This is my favourite ..."
"... Placing a high value on the frivolous and "useless" has always been the hallmark of those most able to decide the value of anything, because they have no use for economic use (so to speak), but rather social signaling. Broad social respect is an extremely expensive thing to buy with money alone. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

Lucius has been poorly recently, which has required some trips to the vet and therefore a bill of a size that only David Davis could negotiate*. This has made me wonder: is there more to be said for the labour theory of value than we like to think?

For a long time, I've not really cared about this theory one way or the other. This is partly because I've not bothered much with questions of value; partly because, as John Roemer has shown, we don't need (pdf) a labour theory of value to suggest workers are exploited; and partly because the main Marxian charges against capitalism – for example that it entails relationships of domination – hold true (or not!) independently of the theory.

As I approach retirement, however, I've begun to change my mind. I think of major expenses in terms of labour-time because they mean I have to work longer. A trip to the vet is an extra fortnight of work; a good guitar an extra month, a car an extra year, and so on.

When I consider my spending, I ask: what must I give up in order to get that? And the answer is my time and freedom. My labour-time is the measure of value.

This is a reasonable basis for the claim that workers are exploited. To buy a bundle of goods and services, we must work a number of hours a week. But taking all workers together, the hours we work are greater than the hours needed to produce those bundles because we must also work to provide a profit for the capitalist. As Marx put it:

We have seen that the labourer, during one portion of the labour-process, produces only the value of his labour-power, that is, the value of his means of subsistence During the second period of the labour-process, that in which his labour is no longer necessary labour, the workman, it is true, labours, expends labour-power; but his labour, being no longer necessary labour, he creates no value for himself. He creates surplus-value which, for the capitalist, has all the charms of a creation out of nothing. This portion of the working-day, I name surplus labour-time.

For Marx, value was socially-necessary labour time: David Harvey is good on this. From this perspective, exploitation and alienation are linked. Workers are exploited because they must work longer than necessary to get their consumption bundle. And they are alienated because this work is unsatisfying and a source of unfreedom. Now, I'll concede that many people hate the labour theory of value. One reason for this is that many discussions of it quickly become obscurantist – as if "value" is some mystical entity embodied in commodities.

This, though, certainly was not Marx's intention. Quite the opposite. He intended his theory to be a demystification. He wanted to show how what looked like relations between things – the exchange of money for goods or labour-time – were in fact relations between people. And unequal ones at that.

What's more, the charge of obscurantism against Marx is an especially weak one when it comes from orthodox economics. Much of this invokes unobservable concepts such as the natural rate of unemployment, marginal productivity, utility, the marginal product of capital and natural rate of interest – ideas which, in the last two cases, might not even be theoretically coherent.

In fact, the LTV is reasonably successful by the standards of conventional economics: we have empirical evidence to suggest that it does (pdf) a decent (pdf) job of explaining (pdf) relative prices – not that this was how Marx intended it to be used.

You can of course, think of counter-examples to the theory. But so what? in the social sciences, no substantial theory is 100% true.

I suspect that some of the animosity to Marx's use of LTV arises because of a resistance to the inference that Marx drew from it – that workers are exploited. This issue, however, is independent of the validity of not of the LTV. For example, Roemer thinks workers are exploited without believing in the LTV, and Smith believed the LTV without arguing that workers were exploited.

By the (low) standards of economic theories, perhaps the LTV isn't so bad.

* He seems to be recovering now. The vet is also expected to make a full recovery eventually.

December 11, 2017 Permalink

Comments

Luis Enrique , December 11, 2017 at 02:09 PM

But the LTV says more than the output of the economy is divided between the workers and the (suppliers and) owners of capital goods, doesn't it? I mean, mainstream econ says that too. And unless ownership of capital inputs to production is distributed equally across society, then some people consume things that other's labour has produced, which means workers must produce more than they consume. But again, that's basic mainstream stuff, not LVT. You end by saying you can believe in exploitation but not LVT, and vice versa, but the main body of this blog seems to be connecting the two. I am confused.

Of course if you have the ability to vary your labour supply, and labour is how you earn your money, then you ask yourself how much you need to work to purchase whatever. But again that's mainstream not LVT.

David Friedman , December 11, 2017 at 06:14 PM

Your version of the labor theory of value is one of Adam Smith's versions. I don't think it is Marx's, but I know Smith better than Marx.

And definitely not Ricardo's.

ConfusedNeoLiberal , December 11, 2017 at 08:51 PM

What about value, in terms of risk among others, that the employers put in starting a new business?

Blissex , December 12, 2017 at 12:23 AM

"Smith believed the LTV without arguing that workers were exploited."

The Marxian approach was interested in, as other commenters have said, in the specific capitalist case, where "capitalism" for him means strictly "labour for hire" by workers alienated from the means of production by their ownership by capitalists.

But the labour theory of value, as understood by what Marx called "classicals", applies also to all labour, and he used it in that sense.

My understanding of the classicals and the LTV is reduced to a minimum this:

Further understanding, which evolved after Marx, is that the LTV is just special case of the principle that what produces a surplus of usefulness is not labour per se, but the energy used in the transformation of a larger quantity of something into a smaller quantity of something else, and muscle power is just one way, even if it was the main one for a very long time, to obtain energy to transform a large quantity of less useful commodities into a smaller quantity of more useful commodities.

And this follows into the impression that I have derived from various authors that our high standards of living depend not on the high "productivity" of labour, but on the high "productivity" of fossil fuels, which are the product of the fertility of land.

Blissex , December 12, 2017 at 12:29 AM

"value, in terms of risk among others, that the employers put in starting a new business?"

If the business produces a surplus, that is value added, than the surplus is the product of the energy/labour expended by all participants

How it is accounted for is one issue, especially over multiple time periods, and how it is shared out is a social relationship.

As to risk, everybody in the business runs the risk of not getting paid at the end of the month, and the opportunity cost of not doing something else, whichever labour they put in.

How risk and opportunity cost are accounted for, especially over multiple time periods, is another issue, and how they are shared is another social relationship.

Blissex , December 12, 2017 at 01:14 AM

"the surplus is the product of the energy/labour expended by all participants"

I'll perhaps further diminish the reputation of my "contributions" this way: perhaps all social relationships of production (at least among males) map closely onto (cursorial) group hunts.

https://78.media.tumblr.com/d4db6631d383cbfc9bd135c799a06e7f/tumblr_n3u8r0eJu01sohvpko1_500.jpg

:-)

Luis Enrique , December 12, 2017 at 08:40 AM

That's a very long winded way of saying that making stuff requires labour.

Blissex , December 12, 2017 at 01:50 PM