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[The Week In Pictures] The Week in Pictures: Annexation Edition (Steven Hayward) So the annexation of Greenland has hit a snag. That’s okay. We can go back to having western Canada back on the top of the acquisition list. Meanwhile, I don’t understand what the left and the media (but I repeat. . .) have their knickers all in a bunch because Trump claimed to be “the chosen one.” Didn’t they call Obama “The One”? At least Trump didn’t choose himself, unlike Published:8/24/2019 6:17:43 AM
[US News] No big deal, just Joe Biden casually asking the audience to imagine Barack Obama’s assassination

WTF WTF WTF? Joe Biden Asks Audience to Imagine Obama’s Assassination https://t.co/bTnSb5PZPs — NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) August 23, 2019 He really did this: "“Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee,” Mr. Biden said, recalling the tumult of 1968.'"https://t.co/uL8wHvJ90k — Patrick Blanchfield (@PatBlanchfield) August […]

The post No big deal, just Joe Biden casually asking the audience to imagine Barack Obama’s assassination appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/23/2019 7:07:57 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Jonathan H. Adler] Another Court Invalidates 2015 WOTUS Rule As we await the Trump Administration to finalize a new definition of "waters of the United States," federal courts continue to reject the Obama Administration's effort Published:8/23/2019 2:13:12 PM
[Markets] CNN Hires Former FBI #2 Andy McCabe, Who Was Fired For Leaking And Lying

Another Ex-Obama official has joined the ranks of anti-Trump cable news punditry, this time disgraced FBI #2 Andrew McCabe, who was fired for leaking information to the media - then lying about it at least four times, including under oath. 

Now, McCabe - who is suing the DOJ and FBI over what he claims was a "politically motivated" firing  just days before he was set to retire with full benefits," will join former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at CNN.

Succinctly put by The Federalist's Mollie Hemmingway: 

McCabe authorized an FBI spokesman to tell the Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett - just days before the 2016 US election, that the FBI hadn't put the brakes on an investigation into the Clinton Foundation - at a time in which McCabe was coming under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton associate, Terry McAuliffe. 

As noted above, McCabe then lied about the leak at least four times and was subsequently fired over it. 

McCabe claimed that his boss, also-fired former FBI Director James Comey, was well aware of the leaks. Comey shot back on ABC's The Viewcalling McCabe a liar

Comey was asked by host Megan McCain how he thought the public was supposed to have "confidence" in the FBI amid revelations that McCabe lied about the leak. 

"It’s not okay. The McCabe case illustrates what an organization committed to the truth looks like," Comey said, adding 

"Good people lie ... I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person but the inspector general found he lied," noting that there are "severe consequences" within the DOJ for doing so.

In response McCabe's attorney, Michael R. Bromwich (flush with cash from the disgraced Deputy Director's half-million dollar legal defense GoFundMe campaign), said at the time: 

"In his comments this week about the McCabe matter, former FBI Director James Comey has relied on the Inspector Genera's (OIG) conclusions in their report on Mr. McCabe. In fact, the report fails to adequately address the evidence (including sworn testimony) and documents that prove that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question..." 

Of course, CNN's newest contributor may find himself in further hot water. As the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy notes: 

McCabe is likely still being scrutinized by Horowitz as part of the DOJ watchdog's investigation of allegations of abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The surveillance warrant applications targeting Trump associate Carter Page required the approval of top members of the FBI, the DOJ, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and the current and former government officials involved will likely face tough questions over their actions. McCabe was involved in the FISA approval process.

Former FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson testified to the House Judiciary and Oversight committees last year that McCabe and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates approved the application before it got to her desk, an unusual process that led her to not second-guess her higher-ups. -Washington Examiner

This... is CNN. 

Of course, they've been at the fake news game for a while... 

Published:8/23/2019 1:10:23 PM
[Markets] Ex-Overstock CEO Byrne Reveals FBI's Peter Strzok Manipulated Him For 'Political Espionage'

Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne claimed in a bombshell interview with Fox Business that he received "fishy" orders from former FBI official Peter Strzok

Byrne, who admitted to helping the "men in black" on two previous occasions - a murder case and Wall Street investigations - said that the Obama DOJ was conducting "political espionage" on both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, according to Fox News

Byrne said that all of the purported information he gleaned from his experiences ultimately landed in the hands of Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been conducting an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe at the behest of Attorney General William Barr. -Fox News

The 56-year-old Byrne also told Fox's Martha MacCallum "I was given some fishy orders and I carried them out in 2015-2016, thinking I was conducting law enforcement," adding "I didn't know who sent the orders, but I did them. Last summer, watching television and some congressional hearings, I figured out where these orders came from. They came from a guy named Peter Strzok."

Then, Byrne told CNN that the FBI directed him to pursue a romantic relationship with accused Russian spy Maria Butina

"Eventually, yes they did," the former Overstock CEO told host Chris Cuomo in response to the question of whether they "told you you needed to have romantic relationship with somebody."

"It was so strange that I was thinking, it’s almost like they’re letting this can-o-scandal develop and someday they’re going to shake it up and crack it and spray it all over the Republican Party," said Byrne, who added that the FBI ordered him to break up with Butina - only to ask him to rekindle their romance in the summer of 2016 during the Russian election meddling probe. 

"They came back to me and said, ‘Boy, what a mistake we made. Russia, you’re right … highest national priority," said Byrne. 

"They said, ‘We want to be clear – this never happens in the United States," Byrne added. "'We are the good guys. We don’t work like the bad guys, but we need to ask you to rekindle a romantic relationship with Maria Butina.'

Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison for acting "under direction of" a Russian official and banker Alexander Torshin to infiltrate American political groups like the NRA and promote Russian's interests in the USA. 

Following Byrne's interview with MacCallum, she asked former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to respond, to which he said: "He's describing it like he was being used as a source and being inserted into a situation by the feds, and there are protocols for handling sources," adding "All of this can be corroborated. That's the key. This whole situation has to be corroborated and the nice thing about John Durham is that he has the full picture of everything that was feeding into this investigation."

Byrne resigned as Overstock CEO on Thursday effective immediately, after he disclosed his entanglements with the "Deep State." 

"While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock," Byrne wrote in a lengthy 1,600-word letter.

The letter opened with two quotes, one stating the founder is "already far too controversial to serve as CEO" and the other simply noting "do not wish to disrupt possible strategic discussions."

Published:8/23/2019 12:07:54 PM
[] The Morning Rant "Arguing with liberal on Twitter is a mind-bending experience. According to the progressive view, Obama inherited an economy from George Bush that had totally crashed and broken down. He then worked whatever voodoo he do and got it working again... Published:8/23/2019 10:36:16 AM
[Markets] The Litmus Test For LGBTQ Power – Schiff Versus She/He

Authored by Sara Cowgill via LibertyNation.com,

When the earth tilts on its axis a bit too far to the left, Karma and her bitchy sister Justice throw a cocktail party and invite conservatives to indulge in a bit of hope while bearing the extremes the bizarro-world has thrust upon them of late.  In a brash and sassy move this week, Silver Lake Neighborhood Councilperson Maebe A. Girl – yes, that’s her drag queen name and elected office  – has thrown her tiara into the 2020 congressional race with glittery hopes and unicorn dreams of unseating Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) from his lofty perch.

I kid you not.  And yes, the party is in full swing.

Maebe A. Girl

From Obscurity To National News

Girl is the first elected trans official in the US and reigns over a respectable 31,603 constituents with a laundry list of other elected coffee shop dwellers – 21 members in all — in the Los Angeles neighborhood.  She first took office in April 2019 but the call to greater heights in ivory halls has prompted her to challenge her own incumbent congressman.  It’s partly because she believes “When we think about politicians, what do we think about? We think about old white guys in suits.”

Admittedly, that does describe Schiff to a tee. Not so much Girl.  She attends campaign functions in multi-colored lace-front wigs, gaily colored pantsuits, high, high heels, and a lot of pancake makeup with winged black eyeliner.  She will stand out on the campaign trail:

“It really took a minute for people to take me seriously, to realize that I’m not doing this as a stunt, I’m not doing this as a statement. I’m doing this to run an election and win it. Maebe A. Girl’ is, yes, it’s my stage name, but it’s also part of my identity and who I am.  I started realizing how much I enjoy being in drag and how, for me, it didn’t feel like a costume. It just felt like a natural extension of myself.”

I for one cannot wait to see Schiff’s “natural extension” of himself in response.  A thinking person would surmise that Schiff really has no competition from the drag queen but let’s review the recent upsets in the Democratic Party:

  • Joseph Crowley (D-NY) who know one remembers since the media’s overselling of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) unprecedented win.

  • Remember Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA)? Yeah, well he was the 10-term incumbent in a high-profile Democratic primary and soundly beaten by political newbie and radical left Ayanna Pressley now holding court in John F. Kennedy’s former district.

  • Oh, and then there is the community activist who hopped to the US Senate and then the presidency forcing a political dynasty to sit out the 2008 presidential race. Yes, Barack Obama smashed Hillary Clinton’s hopes the first time around.

Schiff could be in trouble with this Girl – just not in a #MeToo way.

He’s Okay But…

The drag queen, Girl, does like to express her political views on a range of topics including LA’s homeless and disease pandemic and LGBTQ issues.  Her four-month record is extremely localized – adding a LGBTQI Committee in the LA Neighborhood Council system and worrying about the homeless folks on the streets, advocating they all get HIV tested.  And that’s it.

But she has opinions on Schiff, who she says has done “okay” but is clearly past his due date:

“I strongly disagree with his War Hawk voting record that includes voting for the Iraq War, voting to keep troops in Afghanistan, his support of the Saudi invasion of Yemen (a still ongoing humanitarian crisis), and his votes to increase military spending -which should come as no surprise considering his large political donations from defense contractors and weapons makers.”

And she may just beat the man if the increasing popularity of other America haters – Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — is any indication.  On Girl’s Facebook page she writes: “America disgusts me,” while calling the for the abolishment of Immigration Customs Enforcement.  Schiff could be in trouble.  And it could not happen to a more obnoxious person.

Adam Schiff

And let’s face it, just keeping the stage names straight in his mind could be the first hurdle – Girl also goes by Georgie Pudlo.  So far, the incumbent has not commented on his new opponent, but Girl is commenting on every social media platform and talking to whomever in the leftist legacy media dials up her phone.

She told People Magazine most recently, “We need more everyday people in Congress—its overwhelmingly older, white, wealthy men, and that’s just not representative of America, or my district.”

But without the stage make up and women’s clothes, isn’t Girl, Georgie Pudl, just another white man seeking power in the halls of congress?   Let Karma bring the hors d’oeuvres and holler at Justice to shake up another dirty martini as the show is about to make the conservatives one happily drunk electorate.

Published:8/23/2019 9:37:06 AM
[Markets] Ocasio-Cortez Claims Electoral College a Racist Scam to Benefit Middle America

Authored by Rusty Weiss via The Mental Recession

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims the Electoral College is a racist scam meant to benefit middle America according to an Instagram video posted earlier this week.

Demonstrating a breathtaking lack of intelligence regarding history and government, the Democrat communist took a video of sprawling fields and, much as a child would, sarcastically asked if the Electoral College system is the best means to elect a President.

"Alright everyone it’s been a minute. We’re coming to you live from the Electoral College," she snidely commented as the video captured empty fields representing the American heartland.

"Many votes here, as you can see. Very efficient way to choose leadership of the country. I mean, I can’t think of any other way. Can you?" Ocasio-Cortez sneered.

The new face of the Democrat party went on to trash the Electoral College, enshrined in the Constitution by our founding fathers, as a “scam” filled with "racial injustice."

"To all the Republicans getting big mad [because] the electoral college is, in fact, a scam," she wrote as she shared an article meant to explain why the system is unjust.

"The Electoral College has a racial injustice breakdown," Ocasio-Cortez concluded. "Due to severe racial disparities in certain states, the electoral college effectively weighs white voters over voters of color …"

There’s no nice way to put this: She’s not just wrong, she’s stupid.

The Electoral College is a system that prevents areas with massive populations – such as the liberal cesspools of New York and California – from exclusively deciding who leads the rest of the country. It gives voice to sparsely populated areas in middle America and levels out those from densely populated coastal elite locales.

New York is a microcosm of this – Governor Andrew Cuomo wins election every cycle because he captures areas such as Long Island, New York City, and areas in Buffalo, while the majority of the state overwhelmingly rejects him. These areas control what happens in the entire state, much to the detriment of upstate New York.

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza has mocked Ocasio-Cortez and her lack of education for not understanding the importance of the Electoral College.

 

"The problem is today we don’t understand our schools don’t do a good job teaching the principles of the founding, so you can’t have an intelligent debate about the founding," D’Souza said of the Representative.

It’s difficult to have an intelligent debate when the opposing viewpoint holder is as unintelligent as Ocasio-Cortez.

"I’m blaming her professors and I am blaming her," D’Souza added.

Now the Democrat party is helping to amplify her lack of understanding on nearly every topic. Perhaps it’s time to start blaming them.

It should be noted that Ocasio-Cortez and the Democrat party’s disdain for the Electoral College has nothing to do with racism or representation. Were there any calls for it to be abolished after elections in 2008 and 2012 resulted in victories for Barack Obama? Do you think we’d be hearing about this kind of thing had Hillary Clinton won in 2016?

Of course not. They only want to tear down the institution because Donald Trump won. Period, end of story.

Published:8/22/2019 8:04:29 PM
[Markets] Comey FBI Willfully Ignored "Highly Classified" Hillary Clinton Emails; Barr Radio Silent

President Obama's FBI, ran by disgraced former director James Comey, knew about - but purposefully ignored - "highly classified" evidence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation before they downgraded their initial assessment of her crime from a felony to a "grossly negligent" mistake. 

As The Hill's John Solomon reports, a Senate staff memo updating an ongoing inquiry by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) reveals that the FBI decided to back off their pursuit of this damning evidence "even though the agents believed access to the sensitive evidence was "necessary" to complete the investigation," writes Solomon. 

James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok

What's worse, Trump's DOJ has known about this egregious failure of justice since at least 2018 thanks to a classified report by the agency's Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who explained what happened in a briefing. 

But Johnson and Grassley have been unable to get answers for a year, even from Attorney General William Barr, about whether the FBI intends to look at the critical evidence it skipped back in 2016.

The Senate staff memo succinctly lays out just how egregious the FBI’s decision was in 2016.

The inspector general’s “appendix raised a number of serious questions because, as explained on page 154 of the unclassified DOJ IG report, the FBI decided not to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the investigation despite members of the FBI case team referring to the review as a ‘necessary’ part of the investigation,” the Senate staff wrote. -The Hill

"As a result of the findings in that appendix, Senator Grassley wrote a classified letter to DOJ on October 17, 2018, which remains unanswered. On January 15, 2019, at Mr. Barr’s nomination hearing, Senator Grassley asked Mr. Barr if he would answer the letter, if confirmed, to which he attested, ‘Yes, Senator.’ On April 16, 2019, Senators Grassley, Johnson, and Graham sent a letter to Attorney General Barr reiterating the need for a written response to that letter," reads the note. 

Now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok (who is now suing the DOJ over his ouster) 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 - and is why Clinton got off scot-free. 

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

Perhaps the FBI decided not to pursue Hillary's "highly classified" evidence in order to avoid having to stick with "gross negligence."

Notably, FBI General Counsel James Baker thought Clinton should face criminal prosecution, but was talked out of it at the last minute.  

Meanwhile, there's no doubt that the FBI's anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias played a role in their decisions. 

And in a passage that often gets overlooked by reporters and pundits alike, IG Horowitz concluded in his final report about the Clinton email caper that the anti-Trump biases that FBI agent Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page expressed in text messages may have affected their decision-making to focus more urgently on the now disproven Trump-Russia collusion allegations rather than to finish work on the former secretary of state’s email problems, an investigation code-named Midyear.

“In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead … we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations,” the Justice's watchdog wrote.

So the FBI’s chief lawyer originally thought Clinton should be indicted, and the bureau wrote a draft supporting the felony standard, but then walked back its decision. And agents focused more on unsubstantiated Trump collusion than Clinton emails in what the IG feared might be a sign of bias. -The Hill

And now Attorney General Bill Barr seems to be taking his sweet time formulating an answer as to what happened, and more importantly - what will come of this. We're not holding our breath. 

Published:8/22/2019 7:37:21 PM
[Politics] Obamas Strike Blow for Economic Justice, Donate Millions in Exchange for Massive Beachfront Estate

Celebrity authors Barack and Michelle Obama are striking a blow for social, economic, and climate justice, vowing to donate an undisclosed eight-figure sum to Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck in exchange for his massive beachfront estate on Martha's Vineyard, the luxury island vacation spot popular with Northeastern elites, boat-shoed bon vivants, and other rich freaks who use "summer" as a verb and donate to Pete Buttigieg.

The post Obamas Strike Blow for Economic Justice, Donate Millions in Exchange for Massive Beachfront Estate appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/22/2019 5:32:25 PM
[] Bill Kristol's New David French, His Next Evan McMullin, His Latest Attempt at Spoiler Candidate to Win the White House for His Democrat Funders, Has Long Maintained That Barack Obama Is a Muslim OUT: Attacking Trump for the conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya IN: Supporting Joe Walsh for the conspiracy theory that Obama is a Muslim Joe Walsh is going to challenge Trump because, whatever, I guess he's got some... Published:8/22/2019 3:32:48 PM
[Media] Wayne Allyn Root threatens Chris Cuomo with a lawsuit over birther claim

On his show last night, Chris “Fredo” Cuomo called Newsmax’s Wayne Allyn Root a “birther” numerous times. . . President Trump "won't even release his taxes, this President, and you're saying that Obama had some litmus test of proving his citizenship?"@ChrisCuomo fires back at Newsmax founder and longtime Trump friend Chris Ruddy who was defending […]

The post Wayne Allyn Root threatens Chris Cuomo with a lawsuit over birther claim appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/22/2019 11:07:01 AM
[In The News] Plant Featured In Obamas’ ‘American Factory’ Anti-Trump Netflix Film Listed As ‘Investment Success’ Under Obama Initiative

By Shelby Talcott -

The Obama administration listed the glass plant featured in Michelle and Barack Obama’s first Netflix documentary that premiered Wednesday as an investment win in 2014. The film shows the excitement of new jobs as a Chinese company expands to the U.S. and details workers who struggle with decreased pay, lack ...

Plant Featured In Obamas’ ‘American Factory’ Anti-Trump Netflix Film Listed As ‘Investment Success’ Under Obama Initiative is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/22/2019 9:02:13 AM
[Columnists] The New York Times Is Trying to Rewrite History to Fits Its Biases

Remember the controversy in 2012 when President Barack Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” In... Read More

The post The New York Times Is Trying to Rewrite History to Fits Its Biases appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/22/2019 2:27:35 AM
[Opinion] Mueller Report And Trump Put Obama’s Legacy On The Line

By Jim Clayton -

Barack Obama inflicted all sorts of damage on America during his eight years in office. As we well know  Barack Obama began an unrelenting assault on police from his earliest days in office starting with the Cambridge police saying they acted stupidly to embracing Black Lives Matter, the Ferguson, Mo, ...

Mueller Report And Trump Put Obama’s Legacy On The Line is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/21/2019 7:05:16 PM
[Markets] When It Comes To The US Economy, Everyone Wants To Pin The Credit Or The Blame On President Trump

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

No matter what happens with the U.S. economy, most of the credit or the blame is going to go to President Trump. 

And now that the U.S. economy appears to be headed for big trouble, the mainstream media is salivating over what this could mean for Trump’s chances of winning in 2020. 

Within the past few days, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all run stories about Trump and the economy, and they are all perpetuating the false premise that presidents should be held accountable for how the economy performs.  As I have repeatedly reminded my readers, the truth is that U.S. presidents generally have relatively little control over the direction of the economy

In our system, it is the central planners at the Federal Reserve that primarily direct our economy, and so most of the credit or the blame for our economic performance should go to them.  And the truth is that even President Trump realizes this.  He understands that the Federal Reserve has control over key economic tools that he does not, and that is one of the reasons why he is so frustrated right now.  The Fed is not running things the way that he would run them, and he realizes that this could severely hurt his chances of winning the next election.

During his first term, President Trump has not actually been able to do much to alter the overall trajectory of the economy.  Some pundits point to the tax cuts that he was able to pass, and certainly reducing corporate tax rates helped things a little bit in the short-term, but the overall impact of the tax bill was relatively negligible.  Ultimately, the moves that the Federal Reserve has been making have been far more important, and at this point Trump seems to be convinced that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others are intentionally trying to undermine him

He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”

Trade policy is one area where presidents do have more power than anyone else, and this is definitely where President Trump has had the biggest impact on the economy.  After claiming for months that a trade war would be “easy” to win, President Trump is now acknowledging that our trade war with China could potentially result in a recession

“I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’ The fact is, somebody had to take China on,” Trump said.

“Whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country, short term, it had to be done,” he said, repeating that “whether it’s good or bad, short term, is irrelevant.”

And to be honest, this is the argument that Trump should have been making all along.  A trade conflict with China is most definitely going to be very painful, but it is also very true that something had to be done about China.  They have been taking advantage of us and ripping us off for years, and when previous administrations decided to do nothing about China they were being exceedingly negligent.

However, there is a huge difference between recalibrating our relationship with China and antagonizing them so much that our relationship with the Chinese is completely destroyed.  At this point it appears that we are doing the latter, and that is going to have enormous implications in 2020 and beyond.

And if our trade war with China does push us into a recession, there are many on the left that would greatly rejoice.  The following comes from a Fox News editorial by Steve Hilton

It’s pretty obvious that these establishment Trump-hating hysterics — all of them, of course, living comfortable coastal lives — actually want a recession because they think that’s the best way to get rid of Trump. At least one of them is honest about it.

“I’ve been saying for about two years  — that I hope we have a recession, and people get mad at me,” said Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Unfortunately for Trump, most Americans will squarely blame him if a recession happens even if it wasn’t his fault.  When the U.S. economy was doing relatively well, Trump repeatedly took full credit for it, and that was a huge mistake.  Because if the economy is really struggling in 2020, he probably won’t be able to successfully shift the blame to someone else.  The mainstream media will hammer him over and over again with editorials about “the failure of Trumponomics”, and even though most of those editorials won’t make any sense, they will still have a huge impact on millions of Americans voters.

It is often said that “pride goeth before destruction”, and President Trump has repeatedly told us that this is the greatest economy ever and that he is responsible for it.  But of course this isn’t even close to the greatest economy ever.  The following comes from another Fox News editorial

The fact is Trump’s best economic growth is 3.5 percent in two quarters out of the 10 quarters he’s been in office, CNBC’s John Harwood reports, adding that same growth figure, 3.5 percent, is Obama’s seventh best quarter, George W. Bush’s eighth best, and Bill Clinton’s 17th best. Yet, Trump claims his economy is the best ever. Far from it.

When things were going relatively well, President Trump should have said that it was a team effort and he should have acknowledged that we still had an enormous amount of work to do.

And all along he should have been educating the American people about the fact that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the performance of the economy than he does.

But now it appears that we are facing a nightmare economic scenario, and everybody is going to blame him for the failure of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will once again escape accountability for running our economy into the ground, and that is extremely unfortunate.

Published:8/21/2019 4:25:05 PM
[Entertainment] Chris Evans awakens from eight-year nap to speculate about what would’ve happened if Obama had held delusions of grandeur like Trump

"Do you even remember the Obama years?"

The post Chris Evans awakens from eight-year nap to speculate about what would’ve happened if Obama had held delusions of grandeur like Trump appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/21/2019 3:25:12 PM
[The Blog] Biden reportedly told Obama he was too old to run

But what does he know?

The post Biden reportedly told Obama he was too old to run appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/21/2019 7:24:19 AM
[Markets] Russia-Europe Relations Should Not Be Up In The Air

Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The toxic tide of anti-Russian propaganda and misinformation continues to surge, and it is depressing for those who wish that relations between Russia and Western Europe could be improved. The state of affairs seems even more disheartening when we consider what’s being going on in the skies, because recently there have been some interesting incidents.

First, the matter of harassment of a Russian passenger aircraft, a Tu-154 airliner for which a flight plan had been filed to fly over the Baltic and was en route from Kaliningrad to Moscow on August 13 when it was intercepted in international airspace by a NATO F-18 based in Lithuania. Russia’s defence minister, Sergey Shoygu, was a passenger, and this was the second time that an aircraft on which he was travelling has been buzzed by NATO fighters. According to Stars and Stripes, “A similar incident occurred in 2017, when a Polish F-16 fighter approached Shoygu’s plane over the Baltic Sea and a Russian jet pushed it away.”

Reporting this episode of NATO irresponsibility, Fox News quoted a NATO official as saying that “a Russian aircraft, escorted by at least one Russian fighter jet, was tracked over the Baltic Sea earlier today. Jets from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission scrambled to identify the aircraft which flew close to Allied airspace. Once identification of the aircraft had taken place, the NATO jets returned to base. NATO has no information as to who was on board.”

This statement contains a blatant lie — the claim that the aircraft had to be identified, when in fact it had filed a flight plan and its transponder was functioning. Then there was an allegation that is sheer nonsense, because if NATO doesn’t know the movements of Russia’s defence minister, then its intelligence services should all pack up. The contention that there was “no information as to who was on board” is utterly absurd. Mr Shoygu had been attending a ceremony for the construction of a new military academy in Kaliningrad, and this had been widely reported.

Two days after NATO’s absurd fandango in international airspace, there was another incident involving a Russian airliner. This time a Ural Airlines Airbus 321 hit a flock of birds while taking off from Moscow. The engines died, and the pilot most skilfully landed his aircraft in a field.

There seems to be something outstanding about airline pilots. Sure, one hears from time to time that one of them has been disciplined or even sacked for over-indulging in alcohol — but when you think of their vast responsibility, week in, week out, flying these enormous machines all round the world, you might agree that the occasional tipple is understandable. But the stories of how they react when they’re faced with a dire and potentially fatal situation are most heartening, and I am a wholehearted admirer of these dedicated professionals. They are usually the subjects of approving reports in western media outlets, which in such instances take a rare opportunity to be in general complimentary.

The New York Times, however, while not bothering to write a report of its own, carried an Associated Press item quoting an aeronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John Hansman, as saying that in the skilful Moscow crash-landing “The pilot did a good job, but that’s why he was there.” Does this man hear himself? And what were the AP and NYT thinking of, retailing such condescending garbage from an academic who, although qualified to fly aircraft, isn’t fit to lick the boots of such as Ural Airlines Captain Damir Yusupov who saved the lives of 233 people by exercising cool professional skill.

Some western media reports were grudgingly complimentary. The UK’s Guardian newspaper set the tone by headlining that “The Kremlin lauds ‘heroes’ who landed plane in cornfield after gull strike” which was positive, although use of the word “Kremlin” is always intended to inject a sinister undertone. It reported that the aircraft “came down in a field south-east of Moscow with its landing gear up after colliding with a passing flock of gulls, which disrupted the plane’s engines . . . Some compared the landing to that of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 after it struck a flock of geese.”

The aircraft “came down”? Well, certainly it did, but it didn’t just pancake into the ground. It was skilfully guided down by a pilot like the one who, according to the same newspaper, “managed to avoid disaster and save the lives of all 155 people on board his stricken plane when he ditched into the icy waters of the Hudson river moments after taking off from New York’s LaGuardia airport” when his aircraft was similarly struck. The difference in tone is intriguing, just as is the Guardian’s snide aside that “Safety concerns have plagued Russia’s airline industry since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, though standards are widely recognised to have risen sharply in recent years, particularly on international routes.”

What on earth have “safety concerns” got to do with an aircraft flying into a flock of birds? These sorts of mishaps are certainly a matter of concern, but are totally irrelevant to international standards of aviation safety. It wasn’t a rerun of the Boeing 737 Max affair, after all.

Then came the widely circulated Reuters news agency observation that “The plane was due to fly to Simferopol in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.”

The western media can never resist an opportunity to bring up the alleged “annexation” of Crimea, in spite of it being obvious that, as the BBC reported, the vast majority of Crimean citizens indicated in a referendum that they supported joining Russia. There was no surprise about the result, as most of these people are Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and were liable to persecution by the Kiev administration that came to power following the US-assisted coup in 2014. (It is almost forgotten that, as revealed in mysterious circumstances, the US “lead point person for the Ukrainian crisis” Victoria Nuland was recorded before the coup as saying to the US Ambassador in Kiev that “Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, an anti-Russia activist] is the guy… Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after?”)

But President Obama claimed that the referendum was “illegal” and declared it would never be accepted by Washington. The story to be spread was that the people of Crimea were victims of a massive Russian invasion, which is now firmly believed in the West, demonstrating that, as stated by Nazi propaganda meister Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Consistent with Goebbels’ advice, it is a basic tactic of psychological operations to inject such snippets in a seemingly relevant context — hence inclusion in an international news agency report about the bird-strike on a Russian Airbus 321.

From menacing a Russian airliner in international airspace, to manipulating a news item about a Russian aircraft accident, the western establishment is demonstrating its taste for confrontation rather than conciliation. But it is time to think more positively. Russia and Western Europe need to work together to improve their economies and benefit their citizens. Rapprochement and harmony are the way ahead. The pointless air fandangos and derisive slanting of news items should cease, otherwise we’ll all be up in the air forever.

Published:8/21/2019 4:22:56 AM
[Markets] Obama: "How Many Times Is Biden Gonna Say Something Stupid"

Remember all of those puff-piece profiles about the 'bromance' between former President Barack Obama and his vice president and erstwhile rival Joe Biden?

What if we told you that those stories were, for the most part, slickly executed PR plants, and that, from the earliest days of their joint candidacy, Obama and Biden got along about as well as Tony Soprano and his uncle, Junior. That is to say, Biden's resentment over losing out to the young, charismatic Nobel Peace Prize laureate never really cooled - and Obama never really stopped questioning Biden's competence, particularly during the early days post-convention, when the veteran Senator from Delaware seemingly couldn't avoid sticking his foot in his mouth.

Of course, the narrative preferred by left-leaning outlets like BuzzFeed is much more palatable to the public, which is probably why it has endured for so long.

But as speculation about Obama's refusal to endorse his former running mate mounts, Breitbart has resurfaced some passages from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book about the 2008 campaign to remind the public that the relationship between the two men was far more acrimonious than they let on in public.

And that was due, in large part, to Biden's gaffe-prone behavior and arrogance, exhibited by his inability to stop "running his mouth" to reporters in the weeks before the historic vote.

Obama's antipathy toward his running mate was so intense, that the campaign never included Biden on its daily call - in fact, they held a separate 'fake' daily call to make Biden feel included, while allowing senior staff to keep the future VP in line.

A chill set in between Chicago and the Biden plane. Joe and Obama barely spoke by phone, rarely campaigned together. Not only was Biden kept off Obama’s nightly campaign conference call, he wasn’t even told it existed. (When the idea of having Biden join was put to [campaign manager David] Plouffe, his response was ‘nah.’) A different daily call was set up for Joe, with [senior staff], so they could keep a tight reign on him.

Obama reportedly asked his senior staff to "fix this problem with Biden" - something they never quite got a handle on. Thus, Biden went on embarrassing the top of his ticket during both private fundraisers with big-time donors, and with the general public.

The bitterness only escalated from there, especially as Biden began making more frequent gaffes on the campaign trail. In the final week of September alone, Biden “equated paying higher taxes with patriotism,” told voters both he and Obama were opposed to coal—contrary to their platform – and second guessed the campaign’s messaging strategy.

In the wake of such gaffes, Obama purportedly told his staff to “fix this problem with Biden,” but refrained from getting involved himself. All of that changed two weeks before Election Day, when Biden claimed at a fundraiser that Obama, if elected, would stare down an international crisis in his first six-months.

The prophesy would not have stirred much concern, except Biden gave the impression to those in attendance and the media that he was “showing off” for wealthy donors, and the crisis in question would be “generated."

"Mark my words,” Biden told the crowd. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy … Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Biden's inability to stop making cracks about Obama's 'lack of experience' infuriated the candidate in a way that even the sharpest jabs from Hillary never quite managed to do. Halperin and Heilemann described how, during one call not long after the above-mentioned remark, a furious Obama fumed about "how many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?"

On Obama’s nightly call, the candidate hit the ceiling. ([Chief strategist David] Axelrod was already up there, needing to be peeled off, having let fly a string of F-bombs when he first found out what Biden had said.) ‘Golly, man!’ Obama said, with more anger in his voice than ‘gollys’ normally carry. He was, in fact, as pissed off as most people on the call had ever heard him, more so than he’d been at even the wickedest jabs from Hillary Clinton. ‘How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?’”

Not long after, Obama set up a private call with Biden where he laid into his running mate, accusing him of failing to 'have his back.'

A couple of days later, Obama phoned Biden and laid into him. You were supposed to have my back, he said, not be out there creating problems...More than that, though, what rankled Obama was that Biden hadn’t bothered to pick up the phone and apologize. Worse, Biden didn’t say that he was sorry when Obama called; he showed no remorse for his...comments or understanding that they posed a real political problem.

All of this is why Obama reportedly told Biden during a private call before the 76-year-old launched his campaign that he 'didn't need to do this.'

"You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t," Obama told Biden before the 76-year-old formally launched his campaign in April.

For Democratic primary voters, this is definitely something worth keeping in mind.

Published:8/20/2019 6:49:54 PM
[b7cf1339-eeca-5634-9292-c94fa5beff02] Obamas’ debut Netflix documentary slammed as 'lefty propaganda,' an attack on Trump Barack and Michelle Obama’s Netflix documentary “American Factory” hits the streaming service on Wednesday and the film is already being slammed as an attack on the current president. Published:8/20/2019 3:50:53 PM
[World] Social Security is already in trouble — a payroll tax cut would only worsen it The Obama administration approved a similar plan in 2011 and 2012, but reimbursed the program
Published:8/20/2019 12:48:46 PM
[2019 News] ‘Early buzz’ on report: Obama’s FBI willfully misled FISA court to commit ‘political surveillance’ of Trump ‘Early buzz’ on report: Obama’s FBI willfully misled FISA court to commit ‘political surveillance’ of Trump. Another day another ‘deadline’ missed for Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s final report.  Every week it’s “going to be released” according to this or that source. Now it’s pushed back to “late September or early October.” At this point we’ll […] Published:8/20/2019 9:48:14 AM
[5f896efc-98da-5f75-b1d2-510faa1f7a80] Tucker Carlson: Biden's friendship with Obama is not real – just like his chances at the White House Barack Obama only cares about his legacy and has refused to endorse Biden. Published:8/20/2019 9:31:39 AM
[Markets] "It's $8 Billion, That's A Lot Of Jobs": Trump OKs F16 Taiwan Deal; Beijing Says "Consequences" Coming

Beijing will take "countermeasures" and impose serious "consequences" on Washington for its fast-moving deal to sell 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan after President Trump approved the $8 billion deal this weekend. 

“The US has to bear all the consequences triggered by the sale,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday. “China will take necessary measures to defend its self-interest based on the development of the situation.”

Image source: Lockheed Martin

Geng indicated further Chinese officials have lodged multiple formal protests with the US over its weapons sales to Taiwan, which Beijing asserts historic claims over. 

While the statement didn't give details as to what those "consequences" would be, Chinese rhetoric has in the recent past gone so far as to threaten war, and Beijing has backed this threat with frequent war games in the waters around Taiwan. 

On Sunday Trump told reporters that he approved the sale, set to be ratified by a supportive Senate. 

“It’s US$8 billion. It’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of jobs. And we know they’re going to use these F-16s responsibly,” he said.

The last US transfer of F-16s to Taiwan was based on a deal all the way back in 1992. The Obama administration had since rejected repeat requests by Taipei for more, only offering to upgrade the ageing fleet. 

The new variant of the F-16, the Viper, is expected to hold up better in the event of a mainland China attack, with a statement from the Taiwan presidential office saying the new jets would ensure "safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region."

Published:8/19/2019 9:21:04 PM
[Markets] White House Denies It Is Considering Payroll Tax Cut To Boost Economy

One of the arguments presented by opponents (and in some cases, supporters) of MMT is why pay any taxes if the US government can just print all the money (i.e. issue debt) it will need to balance its budget (by definition, if federal income taxes are zero, all revenues would come from the sale of debt). And while the US is still several years away (at least) from full helicopter money, i.e. MMT, which would be required to pay for such whims as, say, the Green New Deal, it wouldn't be surprising if overtures were made by politicians to trim taxes in order to either boost the economy or their approval rating.

According to the WaPo, one such idea is currently percolating in the White House, where several senior officials have reportedly begun "discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown." Citing three people familiar with the discussions said, the proposal is said to reflect the growing concerns by President Trump’s top economic aides.

As the report further details, the talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut. "But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy."

As a reminder, most taxpaying Americans pay a payroll tax on their earnings, which amounts to 6.2% of their gross income, which is used to finance Social Security programs.

Where may Trump officials have gotten this idea? Trump's predecessor comes to mind, as the payroll tax was last cut during the Obama administration to 4.2% as a way to encourage more consumer spending during the recent economic downturn. But the cut was allowed to reset back up to 6.2 percent in 2013.

The payroll tax cuts during the Obama administration reduced taxes by more than $100 billion each year, but the Obama administration directed the lost revenue to Social Security programs, so those initiatives didn’t lose money. The cuts added to the deficit, however.

The report also states that the size of the proposed cut could equate to a bigger tax cut for many families than the 2017 tax law.

Of course, since the WaPo may simply be pursuing its own agenda of representing a slowing economy in hopes of denting Trump's approval rating which over the past two years was predicated upon Trump's claims of the "strongest economy ever", whether or not such a proposal is actually getting serious consideration remains in question, especially since openly admitting such a tax cut is even being considered would crush the validity of any future Trump claims that the US economy is doing great (assuming, of course, that his demands for a 100bps rate cut and "some quantitative easing" havent' done that already).

Some administration officials have felt that planning for an economic downturn would send a negative perception to the public and make things worse, but Trump has spent much of the past week conferring with business executives and other confidants seeking input on what they are seeing in the economy.

There are signs the U.S. economy is slowing, and economists fear that Germany and the United Kingdom already are tipping towards a recession. So far, consumer spending has remained one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots, and White House officials are aware that Trump’s reelection chances could hinge on the economy staying strong into next year.

And indeed, according to CNBC's Eamon Javers, the White House publicly denied the WaPo report, stating that "more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time", to wit:

Still, while a payroll tax cut may not be imminent, the report does bring up a thought experiment that would be especially applicable if and when US rates approach zero, or turn negative, at which point the US can effectively implement an MMT-lite, whereby it would issue as much debt as it desires (especially if Germany refuses to take advantage of negative rates), and use the proceeds to fund shortfalls that would result from aggressive Federal tax cuts at the personal income or corporate level.

Whether or not that will happen, remains to be seen, however in a world where there is a $17 trillion in negative yielding debt, and where the US has emerged as the last remaining source of IG-rated yield as we pointed out last week...

... it is likely just a matter of time before this lite version of helicopter money receives much more serious consideration, whether by the current administration or the next.

 

Published:8/19/2019 5:15:02 PM
[Markets] CIA Whistleblower Warns, The Fed "Is Out To Get President Trump"

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp thinks the Fed rate-hikes throughout Trump’s two and a half years in office are a way to “get the President.”

Trump has been highly critical of the Fed, and he says it is to blame if the economy tanks. Shipp explains, “God bless Donald Trump because he is the first President to call out the Fed like he is doing."

"He has got the Fed shaking in their boots. When the Fed gags its board of directors and its members, that is not good. Something not good is going on. Perhaps they are bringing the interest rates down to zero. Perhaps it’s the fact we are entering into, not only U.S., but a global recession. So, they have put the lid on any comments coming out, and I think they have done it for a reason that is concerning...

I think it is tied to an upcoming global recession, and we may see quantitative easing (money printing) rates go to zero, and they don’t want the President or the public to know what they are about to do.”

Shipp thinks the Fed is “out to get President Trump” and contends, “Under Barack Obama, the Fed raised rates only two quarter points. Under President Trump, they kicked it into full gear and have done seven adjustments (rate hikes) in just two years starting just after his inauguration."

"So, it is apparent the Fed waited until Trump was elected to start hammering and pounding on the economy, which apparently they did not want to do under Obama. Can you raise the suspicion that the Fed is against Trump or that the Fed is trying to take the credit for the economy away from Trump? I think that appears to be entirely possible...

Trump has said it exactly right, it’s a war between Trump and the Federal Reserve, which, of course, is not federal and it has no reserves...

Trump is at war with the Fed, and the Fed has put a lid on all its people. It’s a gag order to keep its people from talking about what the Fed plans to do.”

So, why all the negative comments about the Fed by President Trump? Shipp says,

“In my view, I think that Trump is convinced that the Fed is going to try to destroy the advances in the economy to make 2020 less possible for re-election and actually manipulate the political landscape. I think Trump is clearly and wisely aware of what they are doing. . . .I think Trump thinks the Fed is going to manipulate the 2020 election and make any recession look like Trump’s fault and not the Fed’s fault.

Shipp thinks Trump is turning it all back on the Fed and blaming them for causing economic problems we are facing. Shipp says, “Trump has been right all along.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former CIA Officer and author of the top selling book about the Deep State called “From the Company of Shadows.” 

*  *  *

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Kevin Shipp gives a short daily update on top stories on his website called FortheLoveofFreedom.net.You can also scroll down to the middle of the page and support Shipp with your donations. If you want to become a Patreon member to get weekly detailed and in-depth briefings and analysis on current events, click here.

Published:8/19/2019 12:42:13 PM
[In The News] Biden Assured Obama Aides In 2008 He Was Too Old To Run For President Again

By Mary Margaret Olohan -

Former Vice President Joe Biden once assured former President Barack Obama’s aides that Obama “would never have to worry” about Biden leveraging his position for a presidential run. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate reportedly assured Obama aides in 2008 that “Barack would never have to worry” about Biden using his ...

Biden Assured Obama Aides In 2008 He Was Too Old To Run For President Again is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/19/2019 9:42:36 AM
[Democrats] Liberal hypocrisy over Netanyahu’s relationships with American presidents (Paul Mirengoff) When Barack Obama was in office, Benjamin Netanyahu had a terrible relationship with the American president. Back then, as Herb Keinon reminds us, liberals and their media pals insisted it was crucial that the Israeli prime minister have a strong relationship with the president of the U.S. These days, Netanyahu’s relationship with the American president could hardly be stronger. So what’s the liberal/media line now? Netanyahu is too close to Published:8/19/2019 12:11:38 AM
[Markets] The Margin: Trump’s future New York address: 725 President Barack H. Obama Ave.? More than 420,000 people are pushing for it President Donald Trump, clearly no fan of Barack Obama, has spent much of his presidency trying to blow up his popular predecessor’s legacy. Now, hundreds of thousands of Obama supporters are attempting the ultimate troll.
Published:8/18/2019 3:38:52 PM
[Markets] Corn Industry Crushed By Shocking Ethanol Decision

Authored by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com,

The Trump administration has tried to thread the needle between the corn ethanol and oil refining industries, as the two battle it out over federal policy. The EPA may have thought it came up with a balanced approach when it issued a series of recent decisions, but judging by market reactions, the agency seems to have decidedly come down on the side of oil over ethanol.

Federal policy requires a certain volume of biofuels to be blended into the nation’s fuel mix. Each year, the EPA decides on the exact levels, and it is a bit of a zero-sum game between ethanol producers and oil refiners. The ethanol industry wants higher blending levels because that expands sales, while refiners want less in order to defray costs.

While perennially at odds, the two industries were at a bit of standstill for much of the Obama administration because while both sides surely had their gripes, there at least was some predictability about government policy.

That all changed under the Trump administration, and specifically, under the stewardship of Scott Pruitt, former administrator at EPA. Under his tenure, EPA ramped up the number of waivers that it granted to the refining industry, absolving some smaller refiners of the requirement to buy ethanol who claim the obligation would inflict economic hardship.  

The move upset a fragile balance between the two industries, infuriating farmers and ethanol producers. The market for renewable identification numbers (RINs), which are the credits refiners can buy to offset their blending obligations, went haywire after the increase of waivers from EPA. The lack of policy clarity led higher volatility and lower prices for RINs, and politicians from farm states – allies of President Trump – demanded EPA stop issuing so many waivers. Trump tried to stay above the fray, fearing angering one side over the other, and told his lieutenants to hash out a compromise.

Trump even proposed allowing the year-round sale of E15 – a higher concentration of ethanol that was off limits during summer months over air pollution concerns – as a way of making amends with corn and ethanol producers.

But the administration just issued a shocking decision to the corn and ethanol industries. On August 9, the EPA announced its decision on 2018 waiver requests, approving 31 of them while denying six. The decision appears to be an attempt to offer something to both sides, but the biofuels industry was incensed.

“The Trump Administration’s approval of 31 refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard is just devasting news for our industry,” saidIowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw in a press release. “With this action, President Trump has destroyed over a billion gallons of biofuel demand and broken his promise to Iowa voters to protect the [Renewable Fuels Standard].”

Ahead of the announcement, prices for RINs plunged to 11 cents, down from 20 cents a day earlier, according to Argus.

“At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners,” Geoff Cooper, CEO of Renewable Fuels Association, said in a statement, calling the EPA decision a “total shock.”

Refiners, on the other hand, welcomed the decision.

“Capital planning is difficult without knowing whether your refinery needs to set aside millions of dollars for RIN purchases,” the Small Refiners Coalition said. “The decision to grant small refinery hardship is a legal decision, not a political one.”

For farmers, the hits keep on coming, and EPA’s decision is merely the latest in a series of blows from Washington. The U.S.-China trade war has battered the U.S. Midwest, as farmers have all but lost access to the Chinese market. China has turned to Brazil for ethanol and for soybeans. Prices for U.S. soybeans, corn and other agricultural commodities have plunged.

More recently, corn prices rebounded, but only because the Midwest was soaked in record-breaking floods that threatened corn plantings. However, the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that yields are not expected to be as hard hit as previously expected – normally good news, but higher-than-expected supply sent corn prices tumbling all over again. On Monday, corn futures fell by the “limit down,” or the maximum allowed before trading is cut off.

Futures prices for corn-based ethanol plunged to a five-year low for the time of year, falling to $1.27 per gallon on Wednesday, down roughly 25 percent since June. “The Trump administration has totally annihilated the margins for ethanol producers,” Charlie Sernatinger, head of global grains futures with ED&F Man Capital Markets, told the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-China trade war is in danger of escalating, despite the decision by Trump to hold off until December. The Trump administration has offered payouts as compensation to farmers hit by the trade war, but financial stress in the agricultural sector is growing. Bankruptcies are rising sharply.

Inflicting so much pain on a key political constituency seems risky, although it’s unclear if there will be a change in policy on either the trade war or on ethanol. Farmers were clearly on Trump’s mind Thursday morning.

Our Great Farmers know how important it is to win on Trade. They will be the big winners!

Published:8/18/2019 3:38:52 PM
[Markets] The Anglo-American Origins Of Color Revolutions

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A few years ago, very few people understood the concept behind color revolutions.

Had Russia and China’s leadership not decided to unite in solidarity in 2012 when they began vetoing the overthrow of Bashar al Assad in Syria- followed by their alliance around the Belt and Road Initiative, then it is doubtful that the color revolution concept would be as well-known as it has become today.

At that time, Russia and China realized that they had no choice but to go on the counter offensive, since the regime change operations and colour revolutions orchestrated by such organizations as the CIA-affiliated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Soros Open Society Foundations were ultimately designed to target them as those rose, orange, green or yellow revolution efforts in Georgia, Ukraine, Iran or Hong Kong were always recognized as weak points on the periphery of the threatened formation of a great power alliance of sovereign Eurasian nations that would have the collective power to challenge the power of the Anglo-American elite based in London and Wall Street.

Russia’s 2015 expulsion of 12 major conduits of color revolution included Soros’ Open Society Foundation as well as the NED was a powerful calling out of the enemy with the Foreign Ministry calling them “a threat to the foundations of Russia’s Constitutional order and national security”. This resulted in such fanatical calls by George Soros for a $50 billion fund to counteract Russia’s interference in defense of Ukraine’s democracy. Apparently the $5 billion spent by the NED in Ukraine was not nearly enough.

In spite of the light falling upon these cockroaches, NED and Open Society operations continued in full force focusing on the weakest links the Grand Chessboard unleashing what has become known as a “strategy of tension”. Venezuela, Kashmir, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjian (dubbed East Turkistan by NED) have all been targeted in recent years with millions of NED dollars pouring into separatist groups, labour unions, student movements and fake news “opinion shapers” under the guise of “democracy building”. $1.7 million in grants was spent by NED in Hong Kong since 2017 which was a significant increase from their $400 000 spent to coordinate the failed “Occupy HK” protest in 2014.

The Case of China

In response to over two months of controlled chaos, the Chinese government has kept a remarkably restrained posture, allowing the Hong Kong authorities to manage the situation with their police deprived of use of lethal weapons and even giving into the protestors’ demand that the changes to the extradition treaty that nominally sparked this mess be annulled. In spite of this patient tone, the rioters who have run havoc on airports and public buildings have created lists of demands that are all but impossible for mainland China to meet including 1) an “independent committee to investigate the abuses of Chinese authorities”, 2) for china to stop referring to rioters as “rioters”, 3) for all charges against rioters to be dropped, and 4) universal suffrage- including candidates promoting independence or rejoining the British Empire.

As violence continues to grow, and as it has become an increasing reality that some form of intervention from the mainland may occur to restore order, the British Foreign Office has taken an aggressive tone threatening China with “severe consequences” unless “a fully independent investigation” into police Brutality were permitted. The former Colonial Governor of China Christopher Patten attacked China by saying “Since president Xi has been in office, there’s been a crackdown on dissent and dissidents everywhere, the party has been in control of everything”.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded saying “the UK has no sovereign jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong… it is simply wrong for the British Government to exert pressure. The Chinese side seriously urges the UK to stop its interference in China’s internal affairs and stop making random and inflammatory accusations on Hong Kong.”

The British have not been able to conduct their manipulation of Hong Kong without the vital role of America’s NGO dirty ops, and in true imperial fashion, the political class from both sides of the aisle have attacked China with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi making the loudest noise driving the American House Foreign Affairs Committee to threaten “universal condemnation and swift consequences” if Beijing intervenes. This has only made the photographs of Julie Eadeh, the head of Political Office at the American Consulate in Hong Kong meeting with leaders of the Hong Kong demonstrations that much more disgusting to any onlooker.

While both Britain and America have been caught red handed organizing this colour revolution, it is important to keep in mind who is controlling who.

The Foreign Origins of the NED

Contrary to popular opinion, the British Empire did not go away after WWII, nor did it hand over the “keys to the kingdom” to America. It didn’t even become America’s Junior Partner in a new Anglo-American special relationship. Contrary to popular belief, it stayed in the drivers’ seat.

The post WWII order was largely shaped by a British coup which didn’t take over America without a fight. Nests of Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars, Fabians and other ideologues embedded within the American establishment had a lot of work ahead of them as they struggled to purge all nationalist impulses from the American intelligence community. While the most aggressive purging of patriotic Americans from the intelligence community occurred during the dissolution of the OSS and creation of MI6 in 1947 and the Communist witch hunt that followed, there were other purges that were less well known.

As an organization which was beginning to take form which was to become known as the Trilateral Commissionorganized by Britain’s “hand in America” called the Council on Foreign Relations and international Bilderberg Group, another purge occurred in 1970 under the direction of James Schlesinger during his six month stint as CIA director. At that time 1000 top CIA officials deemed “unfit” were fired. This was followed nine years later as another 800 were fired under a list drafted by CIA “spymaster” Ted Shackley. Both Schlesinger and Shackley were high level Trilateral Commission members who took part in the group’s 1973 formation and fully took power of America during Jimmy Carter’s 1977-1981 presidency which unleashed a dystopian reorganization of American foreign and internal policy outlined in my previous report.

Project Democracy Takes Over

By the 1970s, the CIA’s dirty hand funding anarchist operations both within America and abroad had become too well known as media coverage of their dirty operations at home and abroad spoiled the patriotic image which the intelligence community then desired. While the internal resistance to fascist behaviour from within the intelligence Community itself was dealt with through purges, the reality was that a new agency had to be created to take over those functions of covert destabilization of foreign governments.

What became Project Democracy herein originated with a Trilateral Commission meeting in May 31, 1975 in Kyoto Japan as a protégé of Trilateral Commission director Zbigniew Brzezinski named Samuel (Clash of Civilizations) Huntington delivered the results of his Task Force on the Governability of DemocraciesThis project was supervised by Schlesinger and Brzezinski and presented the notion that democracies could not function adequately in the crisis conditions which the Trilateral Commission was preparing to impose onto America and the world through a process dubbed “the Controlled Disintegration of Society”.

The Huntington report featured at the Trilateral meeting stated: “One might consider… means of securing support and resources from foundations, business corporations, labor unions, political parties, civic associations, and, where possible and appropriate, governmental agencies for the creation of an institute for the strengthening of democratic institutions.”

It took 4 years for this blueprint to become reality. In 1979 three Trilateral Commission members named William Brock (RNC Chairman), Charles Manatt (DNC Chairman) and George Agree (head of Freedom House) established an organization called the American Political Foundation (APF) which attempted to fulfil the objective laid out by Huntington in 1975.

The APF was used to set up a program using federal funds called the Democracy Program which issued an interim report “The Commitment to Democracy” which said: “No theme requires more sustained attention in our time than the necessity for strengthening the future chances of democratic societies in a world that remains predominantly unfree or partially fettered by repressive governments. … There has never been a comprehensive structure for a non-governmental effort through which the resources of America’s pluralistic constituencies . .. could be mobilized effectively.”

In May 1981, Henry Kissinger who had replaced Brzezinski as head of the Trilateral Commission and had many operatives planted around President Reagan, gave a speech at Britain’s Chatham House (the controlling handbehind the Council on Foreign Relations) where he described his work as Secretary of State saying that the British “became a participant in internal American deliberations, to a degree probably never practiced between sovereign nations… In my White House incarnation then, I kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than I did the American State Department… It was symptomatic”. In his speech, Kissinger outlined the battle between Churchill vs FDR during WWII and made the point that he favored the Churchill worldview for the post war world (And ironically also that of Prince Metternich who ran the Congress of Vienna that snuffed out democratic movements across Europe in 1815).

In June 1982, Reagan’s Westminster Palace speech officially inaugurated the NED and by November 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy Act was passed bringing this new covert organization into reality with $31 million of funding under four subsidiary organizations (AFL-CIO Free Trade Union Institute, The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute and the International Democratic Institute) (2).

Throughout the 1980s, this organization went to work managing Iran-Contra, destabilizing Soviet states and unleashing the first “official” modern color revolution in the form of the Yellow revolution that ousted Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. Speaking more candidly than usual, NED President David Ignatius said in 1991 “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NED was instrumental in bringing former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO/WTO system and the New World Order was announced by Bush Sr. and Kissinger- both of whom were rewarded with knighthoods for their service to the Crown in 1992 and 1995 respectively.

Of course, the vast web of NGOs permeating the geopolitical terrain can only be effective as long as no one says the truth and “names the game”. The very act of calling out their nefarious motives renders them impotent and this simple fact has made the recently announced China-Russia arrangement to formulate a proper strategic response to color revolutions so important in the current fight.

Published:8/17/2019 10:06:13 PM
[Politics] NY Times Dings Trump on Hong Kong Response, Excuses Obama

New York Times reporters have criticized President Donald Trump's stance toward pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Their reporting on President Barack Obama's muted stance toward similar protests in Iran a decade ago was passive.

The post NY Times Dings Trump on Hong Kong Response, Excuses Obama appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/16/2019 3:57:21 PM
[The Blog] NYT, The Hill: Obama’s taking an “active interest” in Biden campaign

Legacy.

The post NYT, The Hill: Obama’s taking an “active interest” in Biden campaign appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/16/2019 1:56:19 PM
[Politics] Obama Thinks Biden’s Closest Advisers Are Too Old, Out of Touch

Former President Barack Obama has told Joe Biden that his top advisers are too old and out of touch with the political climate, according to a new report on their relationship.

The post Obama Thinks Biden’s Closest Advisers Are Too Old, Out of Touch appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/16/2019 11:26:14 AM
[ad547496-77c5-54e9-b10e-e68f02d04095] Andrew McCarthy: Dem views on Russia change dramatically To Obama-era Democrats, arguing that Russia was a real threat was akin to calling for the return of Jim Crow. Published:8/15/2019 10:31:16 PM
[The Blog] Petition to rename Trump Tower’s avenue after Obama now has over 300,000 signatures

Troll.

The post Petition to rename Trump Tower’s avenue after Obama now has over 300,000 signatures appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/15/2019 9:01:24 PM
[Markets] The Great Switch Is Underway

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Conflict is popping up everywhere: A major portion of the Turkish army stands ready to invade parts of Syria (though invasion may have been averted for now); PM Modi may just have ignited the next round of Kashmir wars with Pakistan with his Hindu ‘nationalist’ putsch to annex Muslim majority Jammu-Kashmir; Japan has started a mini trade war with South Korea; Turkey is bracing for a face-off with Greece and Cyprus over energy exploration in the East Mediterranean; the Yemen war is heating up with the war increasingly being fought inside southern Saudi Arabia; the US-Iran and the Syria conflicts simmer, and Hong Kong has boiled-over into violence.

What is going on? Is there some unifying thread connecting this sudden outbreak of widespread global tension? Of course all these conflicts have their separate background contexts. But why so many at the same time? Well, in a word, it’s all about change — about the recognition that we are at the cusp of major changes. The world is beginning to pre-position.

Take, for example, the about-turn by the UAE (heretofore, a major agitator for an Iran confrontation) reaching out to Iran. Much of this Gulf State fervour for confrontation with Iran arose on the rebound from the Obama move to normalise with Iran (through the JCPOA). The Gulf States feared losing the umbrella of the US protection which, it was believed, inoculated these monarchies as much from repression of their internal reformists, as from Iran. Then, with the arrival of President Trump, the opportunity seemed to present itself again to lock-in that US ‘guarantee’ by inciting the new President, already obsessed with his notion of Iranian ‘malignity’ into action.

But suddenly, the Gulf chimaera of Trump retarding a resurgent Iran through inflicting a couple of generations worth of missile damage on its infrastructure faded under the desert heat. When Iran took the initiative with its counter-pressures, the US finally did not react, either to Hormuz, or to the loss of its high-spec drone.

It’s not over yet: Iran remains a grave flash-point, but in the region it is understood that the US neither has the political will, nor the capacity, for protracted military action (as opposed to a quick ‘one and done’, to which Iran has promised substantial retaliation). This sense of a ‘shift’ has been reinforced by Trump’s repeat last month of his call for withdrawal from Syria, and by his almost indecent haste in trying to exit Afghanistan. The omens are plain: America is on its way out from the Middle East.

Gulf States need to re-position – and they are. They are repositioning into the security architecture being led by China and Russia. Ten days ago, via a document officially approved by the United Nations, the Russian Foreign Ministry advanced a new concept of collective security for the Persian Gulf. The Russian initiative should be interpreted as a sort of counterpart of, and mostly a complement to, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, writes Pepe Escobar.

Add to this that China is toying with giving Chinese naval protection to its own vessels in the Gulf (from US or UK-style tanker hijacking); and that Russia and Iran have agreed to mount joint naval exercises in Hormuz (which will give Russia access to the Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar naval facilities), to understand that the notion of a Russo-Chinese security architecture is assuming substance. It makes sense for Gulf States to seek out a new protector. And they are.

So, how does this link to these other effusions of conflict? One aspect concerns the evolution of Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ thesis: Its lack of any major success to date has already been widely remarked. But the telling factor is that this ‘Art of the Deal’ approach lacks any means to metamorphose this US maximum ‘pressure’ into any meaningful political or strategic diplomatic path. It has attenuated down to ‘capitulate’, or we can make the pain worse. It is in short, the further radicalisation of US exceptionalism. John Bolton formulated it thus: “The greatest hope for freedom for mankind in history is the United States, and therefore protecting American national interest is the single best strategy for the world.” Or, in other words, your interests are irrelevant to me.

What may have initiated as an Art of the Deal strategy has evolved over time from ‘great-power rivalry’, into unabashed new ‘Cold War’. The consequence of this ‘to the devil with yourinterests’ approach, is that most likely now, neither China, nor Iran, nor Turkey actively want a ‘deal’ with US.

This has been particularly relevant in the case of Turkey. As a key NATO member, Turkey largely has been taken for granted in terms of the US pursuit of its own interests, but reciprocity has not recently been on offer: Turkey was simply assumed to have no interests that NATO or the United States felt duty bound to respect. NATO membership was in itself, accolade enough. And, with Turkey’s anger at the 2016 coup attempt, and with its dismay at Centcom’spursuit of its Kurdish autonomy project, NATO simply shifted to raising the NATO-positioning of (an all too willing) Greece – Turkey’s ancient nemesis. Thus, the single-minded pursuit of US interests (in Syria) has resulted in the setting-up of a new struggle between Turkey and Greece in the East Mediterranean, threatening too, to unstitch the precarious status of Greek-dominated Nicosia. Not surprisingly, Turkey is re-discovering its old role as a Eurasian power, with China and Russia according Turkey appropriate esteem. Like others, it seems to be embracing the Chinese-Russian architecture.

This is not to imply that America’s beggar-my-neighbour trade and geo-political approach, nor its shying from wars, can alone account for the present crop of troubles. The radical leverage of US interests to the point of zero-tolerance of others’ interests however does raise the question: why is there no ‘plan B’ if China, Iran, Russia and North Korea refuse to capitulate?

Is it then, that a pathway to a ‘deal’ was never what some in Washington wanted? Is it that the objective from the outset was to use tariffs to break Asian supply lines – and to force them, via tariffs, to be reconstructed in the US. Is it that a new ‘nuclear deal’ with Iran was never actively sought by certain DC constituencies: that it was always about regime change?

The other, wider factor, accounting for this sense of a world in metamorphose precisely is the western cultural implosion, or ‘Great Switch’ (as the founder of the Rousseau Institute terms it). So little time ago, the western liberal, cultural and economic vision was at its apogee. It seemed inevitable. It seemed irrefutable. It stood as the western centre of gravity. But as President Putin recently observed, (so few years later), liberalism and the European so-called Enlightenment is viewed as ‘obsolete’ by much of the world. This quite sudden Great Shift has left the Liberal camp – that was partying ‘on top of the World’ – distraught, angry and apprehensive. In the polarised US and the UK, the antagonisms are causing people to eat each other alive.

The ‘civil war’ within the western paradigm allows other (non-western) states new space to find their own path. Sometimes this path can be potentially destructive — as in Modi’s Hindu-nationalist annexation of Jammu-Kashmir (during the Bush Administration Modi was denied a visa on grounds that he supported Hindu extremism during anti-Muslim riots in 2002). But the reality is that there is no longer any need to pay obeisance to the western moralising Shibboleths, when they are being violently challenged within the liberal citadels themselves. In short, if the West is fighting over its values, what price these values as the basis for the western-led Global Order?

We are indeed at a point of inflection. Some westerners may muse that the status quo ante is somehow recoverable (if only Trump is gone, and the ‘populists’ contained). That is delusional. The external world is transforming. China, Russia and Asia will replace US hegemony – not with another hegemony – but with a loose coalition of states espousing a different values and civilizational model. And with their values differing from the Protestant paradigm of the John Locke, John Hume and Adam Smith, they will arrive at other economic perspectives.

And the status quo ante will not be available even domestically in the West. For, the western party political system itself is in irreversible transformation, too. Western politicians of all spectra are trying to adjust to a public life in which the old world is still around, whilst the new one is only emerging.

The post-war party political system of family and community ties to either Centre-Left and Centre Right (with not a great difference between the two) is dying in western democracies.The Centre-Left is expiring because its original mission is no longer relevant to a large enough proportion of the electorate. What is the point of parties that existed to represent the interests of trade unions and the industrial proletariat when mass employment in heavy industry has come to an end? Post-industrial economies are a global phenomenon.

“The popular conscience today is not exercised by the plight of great numbers of workers being exploited by factory owners. It is more concerned, if anything, by the prospect of factory closures. The old Left-wing battles over working conditions and pay are largely over. The new problem is much more subtle, and less amenable to socialist solutions: how to maintain an industrial sector which offers large-scale employment particularly to those with low (or no) skills. Globalisation has a great deal to do with this, but the decline of the factory-based economy is at the very heart of it” (as in Trump’s appeal to the ‘deplorables’ from a stance on the Nationalist-Right, rather than the Left, strongly suggests), writes Janet Daley.

So here we are at the western dilemma: The moderate forces of Centre-Left and Centre Right are still hoping to represent the people they always have: middle class voters who want to display their decency by voting for a party that espouses some notion of ‘social concern’. But, as the preoccupations of the élite, metropolitan consciousness have turned to more specific ‘disadvantaged’ groups – ethnic minorities, women, and gender non-conformists – the less likely it is that they will give any regard or understanding to the everyday impact of failed mass immigration and multiculturism on the majority (the ‘Sixty-Percent’). And so the polarisation grows, with each group retreating into its enclave. And the Centre Parties wane, in line with a shrinking, economically-struggling Middle Class.

Three major political forces are gathering strength in this political environment where global warming (for the former Centrists), and immigration (for the sixty per centers) are the new defining issues.

  • Nationalist right-wing parties, once marginal, are now a structural element of Europe’s political landscapes.

  • The Centre is struggling everywhere,

  • and the third force is becoming the Green movement. Its spectacular rise – as voters reject the traditional parties and press their leaders on the urgency to act against climate change – is mostly attributable to a mobilisation of the young.

It is this cloistered élite ‘blind spot’ of discounting the adverse effects of globalisation on the ‘Sixty-Percenters’, in favour of pursuing their ephemeral identity preoccupations, that has become toxic for what remains of the old working class. Daley suggests this blind spot “probably cost Hillary Clinton the presidency: women in the depressed rust belt states were not worried about “glass ceilings”, they were worried about putting food on the table and whether their men would ever work again. What happened next? They voted, as the angry and disenfranchised are inclined to do, for a demagogue who did not regard them with contempt, and who gave voice to their frustration”.

The status quo ante is no longer available – even domestically – in the West, let alone externally. The Great Switch is underway. Society has lost its cultural centre of gravity. The old way of life is fading, and is close to extinction.

Published:8/15/2019 9:01:24 PM
[Markets] "Trump, Bomb, Suicide": Companies Demanding Ads Pulled From Articles With Blacklisted Keywords 

An increasing number of companies are now demanding that their online advertisements do not appear next to articles containing 'blacklisted' keywords, according to the Wall Street Journal's Suzanne Vranica. 

For example, articles which contain the words "dead, shooting, murder, gun, rape, bomb and Trump" have been flagged as no-go, according to brand-safety firm Integral Ad Science. 

Like many advertisers, Fidelity Investments wants to avoid advertising online near controversial content. The Boston-based financial-services company has a lengthy blacklist of words it considers off-limits.

If one of those words is in an article’s headline, Fidelity won’t place an ad there. Its list earlier this year, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, contained more than 400 words, including “bomb,” “immigration” and “racism.” Also off-limits: “Trump.” -Wall Street Journal

In recent years, corporations have been burned after their online advertisements appeared next to offensive content - including fake news, porn, and hateful or racist materials. This can happen due to the way ad serving agencies categorize audiences vs. content. As a result, advertisers are now stipulating that they don't want their content featured on certain websites or articles with certain keywords.

"Political stories are, regardless of party affiliation, not relevant to our brand," a Fidelity spokesman told the Journal in a statement, adding that the company also avoids several other topics which aren't in alignment with their values. 

That said, blacklists are not new to the advertising industry - such as airlines avoiding articles dealing with airline crashes. They are, however, becoming far more complex, specific, and extensive according to ad executives. 

The ad-blacklisting threatens to hit publications’ revenue and is creating incentives to produce more lifestyle-oriented coverage that is less controversial than hard news. Some new organizations are investing in technologies meant to gauge the way news stories make readers feel in the hopes of persuading advertisers that there are options for ad placement other than blacklisting.

Consumer-products company Colgate-Palmolive Co. , sandwich chain Subway and fast-food giant McDonald’s Corp. are among the many companies blocking digital ad placements in hard news to various degrees, according to people familiar with those companies’ strategies. -Wall Street Journal

Some of the blacklists are so restrictive that nearly all political or hard-news stories are off-limits. 

"It is a de facto news blocking," said ad-buying executive Megan Pagliuca. 

The use of lengthy keyword lists “is going to force publishers to do lifestyle content and focus on that at the expense of investigative journalism or serious journalism,” said Nick Hewat, commercial director for the Guardian, a U.K. publisher. “That is a long-term consequence of this sort of buying behavior.” The Guardian has had some advertisers block words such as “Brexit,” he said. -Wall Street Journal

And according to ad measurement firm DoubleVerify, out of 177 advertisers they work with, there has been a 33% increase in blocked ads based on blacklists vs. one year ago, and more than double the number in 2017, according to the company. 

Meanwhile, advertising firm Integral Ad Science, which ensures that ads run on advertiser-safe content, said that "of the 2,637 advertisers running campaigns with it in June, 1,085 brands blocked the word “shooting,” 314 blocked “ISIS” and 207 blocked “Russia.” Almost 560 advertisers blocked “Trump,” while 83 blocked “Obama.”"

Amid the American political divide, advertising has become a new crusade for weaponized activists. For example, the Twitter account Sleeping Giants called out hundreds of companies advertising on right-wing news site Breitbart News - resulting in a widespread blacklisting. 

Colgate-Palmolive is blocking online ad placements in news stories, according to people with knowledge of its ad strategy. “In general, our media buying goals are to advertise where people are most likely to be receptive to what we have to say,” a Colgate spokeswoman said in an email. The company said it looks for “opportunities more likely to fit with the brand’s positive, optimistic message."

Subway said it has blacklisted 70,000 websites, including most hard-news outlets. The company wants to align with “positivity and the moments when our guests will be most likely to consider getting Subway,” said Melissa Sutton, Subway’s director of media services.

Used-car retailer CarMax Inc. blocks online ads it purchases through automated systems from appearing next to news content in categories such as “disasters,” “extreme violence” and “inflammatory politics” to ensure the integrity of its brand, the company said.

McDonald’s currently is blocking hard news from its automated ad purchases in the U.S., according to a person familiar with its ad buying. “The first time your brand is damaged, it’s not easily fixed,” said Bob Rupczynski, senior vice president of marketing technology at McDonald’s, during a recent ad conference in Cannes, France. -Wall Street Journal

That said, despite keyword blacklists, advertisers may not be able to avoid some embarrassment. In February, a spate of advertisers including AT&T and Nestle SA pulled ads from YouTube after their content was featured over a "soft-core pedophilia ring" which allowed pedophiles to identify videos of young girls engaging in sexually suggestive activities. 

Read the rest of the report here.

Published:8/15/2019 7:21:33 PM
[Politics] Axelrod: Biden 'Either Can Cut It or He Can't' CNN's David Axelrod, a former adviser of President Barack Obama's, Thursday lambasted a suggestion from Joe Biden's allies that the ex-vice-president prevent future gaffes by scaling back his campaign appearances.  Published:8/15/2019 2:50:42 PM
[World] Trump's trade war economy

President Trump's trade war economy is tanking, with growth rates sinking into Obama-era levels and the U.S. stock market in a nose dive.

The nation's economy was growing by little more than 2.1 percent in the second quarter, levels reminiscent of former President Obama's lackluster economy. U.S. core inflation has ... Published:8/15/2019 1:19:46 PM

[2016 Election] COLLUSION: Obama DOJ Operative Bruce Ohr Gave Wife’s Fusion GPS Research To The FBI

The following article, COLLUSION: Obama DOJ Operative Bruce Ohr Gave Wife’s Fusion GPS Research To The FBI, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Here's your collusion!

Continue reading: COLLUSION: Obama DOJ Operative Bruce Ohr Gave Wife’s Fusion GPS Research To The FBI ...

Published:8/15/2019 11:47:40 AM
[Markets] New Study Finds Media-Generated Fear Is Driving "Doomsday Prepping"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A new study has found that media-generated fear, not right-wing conspiracy theories, is the main driving force behind the rise of ‘doomsday prepping’.

The study, published in the Journal of American Studies, confirms that neither a backlash to the Obama presidency nor ‘extremist’ beliefs were responsible for the trend of Americans stockpiling food over the last 10 years.

Researchers interviewed preppers from 18 different U.S. states to ascertain the motivation behind their prepping.

“The results indicated that, although most did seem to be conservative and fear liberal policies, the main reason behind their motivations was the overall sense of fear currently dominating U.S. culture across a variety of media channels,” writes John Anderer.

“Most Americans can’t seem to log online or turn on the television without being hit by a grim view of the future being reported or speculated on.”

The study also revealed that most ‘doomsday preppers’ don’t actually believe in imminent doomsday, but instead stockpile food because of worries over specific crises like an economic collapse, terror attack or a pandemic.

“Fear is now deeply entrenched in modern American culture and is the principal reason that so many citizens are engaging in ‘prepping’,” said lead author Dr. Michael Mills.

*  *  *

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Published:8/14/2019 7:47:44 PM
[Markets] Students Sign Petition To Ban "Offensive" White Man In Crosswalk-Signs

Authored by Ethan Cai via Campus Reform,

With the rise of politically correct culture, students and universities have vehemently pushed for diversity and inclusivity movements, resulting in many things being labeling “offensive.”

In the past, students have signed fake petitions to ban “offensive” holidays like Valentine’s Day and even Christmasto push diversity and inclusion.

Amid these ongoing diversity and inclusivity movements, Campus Reform went to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where students previously voted to ban their “offensive” Colonials mascot. GW students also previously told Campus Reform that President Barack Obama is the best president in U.S. history. 

Campus Correspondent Ethan Cai asked George Washington students if they supported changing “offensive” crosswalk lights because the “walk” sign only portrays an image of a white man.

How far will this movement of diversity and inclusion go? Where will the line be drawn for what is considered offensive?

WATCH:

“As we students cross the street, we are told by the symbol of a white man when it is okay to cross,” the fake petition stated.

“Many students from diverse backgrounds, including individuals of color, gender fluid individuals, and LGBTQA+ individuals, feel oppressed by this.”

By signing the petition, students “vehemently urge[d] the University to consider changing the crosswalk signs."

Many students signed Campus Reform’s fake petition. Even one university faculty member expressed support, as well.

“There’s definitely a lack of representation,” one student said about the crosswalks. Another said that she thought the change would be “one step” to a more welcoming campus environment.

“That’s so cute! Oh my god yeah,” a student said with excitement about the idea. “I can see like, I guess, why some students have a problem with it… I’ll totally sign that.”

“Oh that’s so lit,” another student exclaimed. 

What did other students say? Watch the full video above to find out.

Published:8/14/2019 11:45:56 AM
[Uncategorized] California Sues Trump Over Rescinding of Obama-Era Restrictions on Coal-Burning Power Plants Our state's representatives spend more energy preserving Obama's legacy than taking care of California's citizens. Published:8/14/2019 6:10:59 AM
[Markets] Who Inflicts The Most Gun Violence In America? The US Government And Its Police Force

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.” - Journalist Celisa Calacal

Yes, gun violence is a problem in America, although violent crime generally remains at an all-time low.

Yes, mass shootings are a problem in America, although while they are getting deadlier, they are not getting more frequent.

Yes, mentally ill individuals embarking on mass shooting sprees are a problem in America.

However, tighter gun control laws and so-called “intelligent” background checks fail to protect the public from the most egregious perpetrator of gun violence in America: the U.S. government.

Consider that five years after police shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old man in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been no relief from the government’s gun violence.

Here’s what we’ve learned about the government’s gun violence since Ferguson, according to The Washington Post: If you’re a black American, you’ve got a greater chance of being shot by police. If you’re an unarmed black man, you’re four times more likely to be killed by police than an unarmed white man. Most people killed by police are young men. Since 2015, police have shot and killed an average of 3 people per day. More than 2,500 police departments have shot and killed at least one person since 2015. And while the vast majority of people shot and killed by police are armed, their weapons ranged from guns to knives to toyguns.

Clearly, the U.S. government is not making America any safer.

Indeed, the government’s gun violence—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter.

According to journalist Matt Agorist, “mass shootings … have claimed the lives of 339 people since 2015… [D]uring this same time frame, police in America have claimed the lives of 4,355 citizens.

That’s 1200% more people killed by police than mass shooters since 2015.

For example, in Texas, a police officer sent to do a welfare check on a 30-year-old woman seen lying on the grass near a shopping center, took aim at the woman’s dog as it ran towards him barking, fired multiple times, and killed the woman instead.

In Chicago, a SWAT team—wearing “army fatigues with black cloth covering their faces and wearing goggles,” armed with automatic rifles, and throwing flash-bang grenades—crashed through the doors of a suburban home and proceeded to storm into bedrooms, holding the children of the household at gunpoint. One child, 13-year-old Amir, was “accidentally” shot in the knee by police while sitting on his bed.

In St. Louis, Missouri, a SWAT team on a mission to deliver an administrative warrant carried out a no-knock raid that ended with police kicking in the homeowner’s front door, and shooting and killing her dog—all over an unpaid gas bill. Taxpayers will have to find $750,000 to settle the lawsuit arising over the cops’ overzealous tactics.

In South Carolina, a 62-year-old homeowner was shot four times through his front door by police who were investigating a medical-assist alarm call that originated from a cell phone inside the home. Dick Tench, believing his house was being broken into, was standing in the foyer of his home armed with a handgun when police, peering through the front door, fired several shots through the door, hitting Tench in the pelvis and the aortic artery. Tench survived, but the bullet lodged in his pelvis will stay there for life.

In Kansas, a SWAT team, attempting to carry out a routine search warrant (the suspect had already been arrested), showed up at a residence around dinnertime, dressed in tactical gear with weapons drawn, and hurled a flash-bang grenade into the house past the 68-year-old woman who was in the process of opening the door to them and in the general direction of a 2-year-old child.

These are just a few recent examples among hundreds this year alone.

Curiously enough, in the midst of the finger-pointing over the latest round of mass shootings, Americans have been so focused on debating who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, the Second Amendment, the politicians, or our violent culture—that they have overlooked the fact that the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government has done more collective harm to the American people and their liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.

Violence has become our government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents.

The government even exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons. Indeed, the United States, the world’s largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world for too long now. Controlling more than 50 percent of the global weaponry market, the U.S. has sold or donated weapons to at least 96 countries in the past five years, including the Middle East. The U.S. also provides countries such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Iraq with grants and loans through the Foreign Military Financing program to purchase military weapons.

At the same time that the U.S. is equipping nearly half the world with deadly weapons, profiting to the tune of $36.2 billion, its leaders have also been lecturing American citizens on the dangers of gun violence and working to enact measures that would make it more difficult for Americans to acquire certain weapons.

Talk about an absurd double standard.

If we’re truly going to get serious about gun violence, why not start by scaling back the American police state’s weapons of war?

I’ll tell you why: because  the government has no intention of scaling back on its weapons.

In fact, all the while gun critics continue to clamor for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, the U.S. military is passing them out to domestic police forces.

Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government agents armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines.

While Americans have to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to own a gun, the government is arming its own civilian employees to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and training them in military tactics.

Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities.

Seriously, why do IRS agents need AR-15 rifles?

For that matter, why do police need armored personnel carriers with gun ports, compact submachine guns with 30-round magazines, precision battlefield sniper rifles, and military-grade assault-style rifles and carbines?

Short answer: they don’t.

In the hands of government agents, whether they are members of the military, law enforcement or some other government agency, these weapons have become routine parts of America’s day-to-day life, a byproduct of the rapid militarization of law enforcement over the past several decades.

Over the course of 30 years, police officers in jack boots holding assault rifles have become fairly common in small town communities across the country. As investigative journalists Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz reveal, “Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles. Combined with body armor and other apparel, many officers look more and more like combat troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Does this sound like a country under martial law?

You want to talk about gun violence? While it still technically remains legal for the average citizen to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled oversearchedarrested, subjected to all manner of surveillancetreated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed by police.

You don’t even have to have a gun or a look-alike gun, such as a BB gun, in your possession to be singled out and killed by police.

There are countless incidents that happen every day in which Americans are shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, or challenge an order.

Growing numbers of unarmed people are being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

With alarming regularity, unarmed men, women, children and even pets are being gunned down by twitchy, hyper-sensitive, easily-spooked police officers who shoot first and ask questions later, and all the government does is shrug, and promise to do better, all the while the cops are granted qualified immunity.

Killed for standing in a “shooting stance.” In California, police opened fire on and killed a mentally challenged—unarmed—black man within minutes of arriving on the scene, allegedly because he removed a vape smoking device from his pocket and took a “shooting stance.”

Killed for holding a cell phone. Police in Arizona shot a man who was running away from U.S. Marshals after he refused to drop an object that turned out to be a cellphone. Similarly, police in Sacramento fired 20 shots at an unarmed, 22-year-old black man who was standing in his grandparents’ backyard after mistaking his cellphone for a gun.

Killed for carrying a baseball bat. Responding to a domestic disturbance call, Chicago police shot and killed 19-year-old college student Quintonio LeGrier who had reportedly been experiencing mental health problems and was carrying a baseball bat around the apartment where he and his father lived.

Killed for opening the front door. Bettie Jones, who lived on the floor below LeGrier, was also fatally shot—this time, accidentally—when she attempted to open the front door for police.

Killed for running towards police with a metal spoon. In Alabama, police shot and killed a 50-year-old man who reportedly charged a police officer while holding “a large metal spoon in a threatening manner.”

Killed for running while holding a tree branch. Georgia police shot and killed a 47-year-old man wearing only shorts and tennis shoes who, when first encountered, was sitting in the woods against a tree, only to start running towards police holding a stick in an “aggressive manner.

Killed for crawling around naked. Atlanta police shot and killed an unarmed man who was reported to have been “acting deranged, knocking on doors, crawling around on the ground naked.” Police fired two shots at the man after he reportedly started running towards them.

Killed for wearing dark pants and a basketball jersey. Donnell Thompson, a mentally disabled 27-year-old described as gentle and shy, was shot and killed after police—searching for a carjacking suspect reportedly wearing similar clothing—encountered him lying motionless in a neighborhood yard. Police “only” opened fire with an M4 rifle after Thompson first failed to respond to their flash bang grenades and then started running after being hit by foam bullets.

Killed for driving while deaf. In North Carolina, a state trooper shot and killed 29-year-old Daniel K. Harris—who was deaf—after Harris initially failed to pull over during a traffic stop.

Killed for being homeless. Los Angeles police shot an unarmed homeless man after he failed to stop riding his bicycle and then proceeded to run from police.

Killed for brandishing a shoehorn. John Wrana, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, lived in an assisted living center, used a walker to get around, and was shot and killed by police who mistook the shoehorn in his hand for a 2-foot-long machete and fired multiple beanbag rounds from a shotgun at close range.

Killed for having your car break down on the road. Terence Crutcher, unarmed and black, was shot and killed by Oklahoma police after his car broke down on the side of the road. Crutcher was shot in the back while walking towards his car with his hands up.

Killed for holding a garden hose. California police were ordered to pay $6.5 million after they opened fire on a man holding a garden hose, believing it to be a gun. Douglas Zerby was shot 12 times and pronounced dead on the scene.

Killed for calling 911. Justine Damond, a 40-year-old yoga instructor, was shot and killed by Minneapolis police, allegedly because they were startled by a loud noise in the vicinity just as she approached their patrol car. Damond, clad in pajamas, had called 911 to report a possible assault in her neighborhood.

Killed for looking for a parking spot. Richard Ferretti, a 52-year-old chef, was shot and killed by Philadelphia police who had been alerted to investigate a purple Dodge Caravan that was driving “suspiciously” through the neighborhood.

Shot seven times for peeing outdoors. Eighteen-year-old Keivon Young was shot seven times by police from behind while urinating outdoors. Young was just zipping up his pants when he heard a commotion behind him and then found himself struck by a hail of bullets from two undercover cops. Allegedly officers mistook Young—5’4,” 135 lbs., and guilty of nothing more than taking a leak outdoors—for a 6’ tall, 200 lb. murder suspect whom they later apprehended. Young was charged with felony resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a peace officer.

This is what passes for policing in America today, folks, and it’s only getting worse.

In every one of these scenarios, police could have resorted to less lethal tactics.

They could have acted with reason and calculation instead of reacting with a killer instinct.

They could have attempted to de-escalate and defuse whatever perceived “threat” caused them to fear for their lives enough to react with lethal force.

That police instead chose to fatally resolve these encounters by using their guns on fellow citizens speaks volumes about what is wrong with policing in America today, where police officers are being dressed in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making.”

Remember, to a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.

Yet as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, “we the people” are not just getting hammered.

We’re getting killed, execution-style.

Violence begets violence: until we start addressing the U.S. government’s part in creating, cultivating and abetting a culture of violence, we will continue to be a nation plagued by violence in our homes, in our schools, on our streets and in our affairs of state, both foreign and domestic.

Published:8/13/2019 11:08:55 PM
[The Blog] Today’s hot topics: Fredo fiction, Epstein’s eviction, media depictions, Obama’s afflictions, and more!

Andrew Malcolm and Salena Zito at 4 pm ET!

The post Today’s hot topics: Fredo fiction, Epstein’s eviction, media depictions, Obama’s afflictions, and more! appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/13/2019 3:08:11 PM
[Markets] Buchanan: China, Not Russia, Is The Greatest Threat

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

Ten weeks of protests, some huge, a few violent, culminated Monday with a shutdown of the Hong Kong airport.

Ominously, Beijing described the violent weekend demonstrations as “deranged” acts that are “the first signs of terrorism,” and vowed a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.

China is being pushed toward a decision it does not want to make: to use military force, as in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, to crush the uprising. For that would reveal the character of President Xi Jinping’s Communist dictatorship, as well as Beijing’s long-term plans for this semi-autonomous city of almost 7.5 million.

Yet this is not the only internal or border concern of Xi’s regime.

Millions of Muslim Uighurs in China’s west are in concentration camps undergoing “re-education” to change their way of thinking on loyalty, secession and the creation of a new East Turkestan.

In June, a Chinese vessel rammed and sank a Philippine fishing boat, leaving its 22 crewmen to drown. The fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese boat.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s reluctance to resist China’s fortification in the South China Sea of the rocks and reefs Manila claims are within its own territorial waters has turned Philippine nationalism anti-China.

China’s claim to Taiwan is being defied by Taipei, which just bought $2.2 billion in U.S. military equipment including Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles.

Any Taiwanese declaration of independence, China has warned, means war.

While Taiwan’s request to buy U.S. F-16s has not yet been approved, in a rare visit, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen stopped over in the U.S. recently, before traveling on to Caribbean countries that retain diplomatic relations with Taipei. Beijing has expressed its outrage at the U.S. arms sales and Tsai’s unofficial visit.

The vaunted Chinese economy is growing, at best, at half the double-digit rate of a decade ago, not enough to create the jobs needed for hundreds of millions in the countryside seeking work.

And talks have been suspended in the U.S.-China trade dispute, at the heart of which, says White House aide Peter Navarro, are Beijing’s “seven deadly sins” in dealing with the United States:

China steals our intellectual property via cybertheft, forces U.S. companies in China to transfer technology, hacks our computers, dumps into our markets to put U.S. companies out of business, subsidizes state-owned enterprises to compete with U.S. firms, manipulates its currency, and, despite our protests, ships to the USA the fentanyl drug that has become a major killer of Americans.

Such practices have enabled China to run up annual trade surpluses of $300 billion to $400 billion at our expense, and, says Navarro, have caused the loss of 70,000 factories and 5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Moreover, China has used the accumulated wealth of its huge trade surpluses to finance its drive for hegemony in Asia and beyond.

With President Donald Trump threatening 10% tariffs on $300 billion more in Chinese exports to the U.S., Xi must decide if he is willing to end his trade-war tactics against the U.S., which have gone on during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. If he refuses, will he accept the de-coupling of our two economies?

Only Trump has taken on the Middle Kingdom.

If the American people and Congress are willing to play hardball and accept sacrifices, we can win this face-off. The U.S. buys five times as much from China as we sell to China. The big loser in this confrontation, if we stay the course, will not be the USA.

For three years, the U.S. establishment has not ceased to howl about Russia’s theft of emails of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

Yet the greatest cybercrime of the century was Beijing’s theft in 2014 of the personnel files of 22 million applicants and employees of the U.S. government, many of them holding top-secret clearances.

Compromised by this theft, said then FBI Director James Comey, was a “treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”

“A very big deal from a national security … and counterintelligence perspective,” said Comey. And Xi’s China, not Putin’s Russia, committed the crime. Yet America’s elites appear to have forgotten this far graver act of cyberaggresion.

Undeniably, Russia is a rival. But Putin’s economy is the size of Italy’s while China’s economy challenges our own. And China’s population is 10 times that of Russia, and four times that of the USA.

Manifestly, China is the greater menace.

Are Americans willing to make the necessary sacrifices to force China to abide by the rules of reciprocal trade?

Or will Trump be forced by political realities to accept the long-term and ruinous relationship we have followed since granting China permanent MFN status in 2001?

This issue is likely to decide the destiny of our relations and the future of Asia, if not the world.

Published:8/13/2019 11:32:50 AM
[Markets] Overstock CEO Turned Over Docs To DOJ "In Greatest Political Scandal In US History"

Via SaraACarter.com,

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne delivered to the Department of Justice a number of documents, including emails and text messages, in April, regarding both the origins of the Russian investigation, and an FBI operation into Hillary Clinton with which he was personally involved during the first months of 2016, according to a U.S. official who spoke SaraACarter.com.

Byrne has also confirmed the account.

Byrne claims the documents, which have not been made public and are currently under investigation by the DOJ, are allegedly communications he had with the FBI concerning both the Clinton investigation and the origins of the Russian investigation. SaraACarter.comdid not review the documents, which are now under review by law enforcement.

He approached the DOJ and met with lawyers on April 5th and 30th. The first meeting was without counsel in Washington D.C. A source directly familiar with the interviews confirmed Byrne’s account of the meetings.

DOJ officials said they could not comment on Byrne’s allegations.

“I gave to the DOJ documents concerning both the origin of the Russian probe and the probe into Hillary Clinton, both of which I was involved in, and both of which turned out to be less about law enforcement than they were about political espionage,” Byrne told SaraACarter.com Monday.

He noted that the communications will prove that the FBI also had an operation into Clinton Foundation that he was directly involved in.

“This is going to become the greatest political scandal in US history,” he said.

“If we survive it, and if Rule of Law returns to America, it will be due to one man: Bill Barr.”

Several weeks ago, FBI officials told SaraACarter.com that they declined to comment on Byrne’s allegations.

Byrne said the investigation into Clinton was one of the main reasons he came forward. This reporter first published Byrne’s story about his relationship with now convicted Russian gun right’s activist Maria Butina. She pleaded guilty in 2018 for failing to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. and is now serving out her sentence, which ends in October.

Byrne’s claims regarding the Clinton Foundation investigation are not without parallel. According to numerous officials the FBI had an ongoing investigation. Whistleblower and former government informant William Campbell was interviewed in 2018, by bureau agents from the Little Rock, Arkansa’s field office. According to Campbell, who first spoke to this reporter in 2017, he was asked by FBI agents whether donations to the Clintons charitable organization from Russia were used to influence U.S. nuclear policy during the Obama Administration. Specifically, he was asked about the sale of 20 percent of Uranium One.

As also reported in 2018, by John Solomon with The Hill, the “agents questioned him extensively about claims the Russians made to him that they had routed millions of dollars to an American lobbying firm in 2010 and 2011 with the expectation it would be used to help President Clinton’s charitable global initiative while major uranium decisions were pending before Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”

Byrne, told SaraACarter.com that the FBI was also investigating Clinton’s charitable organizations in the first half of 2016, and that he was directly involved in one of the operations being conducted by the FBI. He did not give details regarding the operation saying but said it directly dealt with Clinton and whether or not there was pay for play.

On Monday, Byrne appeared on Fox Business Network with David Asman, revealing his claims about the Clinton investigation.

“I ended up in the center of the Russian and the Clinton investigations,” said Byrne.

“I have all the answers. I have been sitting on them waiting for America to get there. Last summer I figured out… what they all are is all about political espionage. It had nothing to do with law enforcement, it was all political espionage. Here’s the bottom line. There is a deep state like a submarine lurking just beneath the waves of the periscope depth watching our shipping lanes. And a nuclear ice breaker called the USS Bill Barr has snuck up on them and is about to ram midship.”

“That’s about to happen and I think we’re about to see the biggest scandal in American history as a result. But it was all political. Everything you think you know about Russia and Clinton investigations is a lie,” Byrne told Atman.

“It’s all a cover-up. It was all political espionage.”

Connecticut attorney John Durham, who has been appointed by Justice Department investigator Attorney General William Barr is probing the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russia probe, and according to several sources is investigating the full extent of Byrne’s claims and the documentation he provided in April.

Published:8/12/2019 10:33:17 PM
[Markets] Tulsi Gabbard's Road To Damascus

Authored by Scott Ritter via The American Conservative,

There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it...

It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”

Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.

“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

Tulsi’s road to Damascus has become an issue in her bid for the White House. To better understand how she found herself in this position, one needs to go back in time, to April 2003, when, while serving as a member of the Hawaiian State Legislature, a 23-year-old Gabbard enlisted in the Hawaii National Guard, and was assigned as a Medical Operations Specialist to the 29th Support Battalion’s Medical Company. When her unit was mobilized for service in Iraq, Gabbard (who was not called up) volunteered to be deployed, because, as she told a reporter in 2004, “I felt it was my duty as a soldier and a friend to join them in the service of our country.”

Following six months of strenuous pre-deployment training, Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Iraq in early 2005 as part of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, an all-National Guard/Reserve unit. She and the rest of the 29th Support Battalion were deployed to Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. facility situated on the grounds of Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad. At the time, Camp Anaconda was under such frequent attack by insurgent mortar fire that it had acquired the nickname “Mortaritaville,” a play on a Jimmy Buffet song of a similar title.

Mortar and rocket attacks became an ever-present reality for the young Hawaiian soldier.

“Sometimes,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Advertiser, “we can go for days with no alarm siren going off, no attacks, and sometimes there can be many in one day…sometimes the attacks are so far away you can’t hear the explosion; other times so close that the ground and sky just seem to shake from the impact.” The feeling of helplessness was palpable: “all you can really do,” Gabbard said, “is say a silent prayer that you and your buddies are unharmed.”

While Charlie Med, as her unit was known, came through the deployment unscathed, 18 members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team were killed in Iraq, and scores more were wounded. “Every single day,” Tulsi Gabbard reminded her fellow Americans during the second Democratic debate in July, “I saw the high cost of war.”

The 29th Brigade Combat Team was deployed in Iraq at a time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was engaged in an all-out war with U.S. forces. The casualties that Gabbard and her comrades endured were a result of “the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against these insurgent terrorists”; these losses, she noted, “we have felt in Hawai’i.” War for Tulsi Gabbard and her fellow soldiers wasn’t an abstraction, but an ever-present, horrible reality.

Gabbard returned from her year-long deployment a decorated combat veteran, having earned commendations and the coveted Combat Medic Badge for her service. Gabbard went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was trained as a Military Police Officer. Later she completed a second tour of duty in the Iraq theater, commanding a Military Police Company stationed in Kuwait.

For Gabbard, the road to Damascus began with her initial deployment to Iraq and continued through her 2009 deployment to Kuwait. Having enlisted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Gabbard instead found herself engaged in a “regime change” war in Iraq predicated on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. It then continued through the halls of Congress, following Gabbard’s successful bid for office in 2011. From her position as a member of the Armed Services Committee, she watched as the al-Qaeda enemy she’d fought in Iraq morphed into ISIS and spread its influence into Syria.

Over the next few years, Gabbard saw how the Obama administration began, in her words, “funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda” in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS,” Gabbard declared via Twitter, “we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?”

For someone who watched her fellow soldiers die fighting al-Qaeda in 2005, the Obama policy of supporting terrorists, whether directly or indirectly, as part of a new regime change war against Syria was a betrayal of that sacrifice.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, Gabbard opposed Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish policies on Syria. Following Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, she continued to flaunt the rules of political expediency, taking a meeting with the president-elect in order to discuss Syria and the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now,” Gabbard noted at the time, “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

In January 2017, Tulsi embarked on her fateful visit to Syria. As she told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview after her return, she hadn’t planned on meeting with the Syrian president. When the opportunity presented itself, however, Gabbard stated that she went “because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

“Obviously,” Tapper stated in response, “Bashar al-Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year long civil war. Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?”

“Whatever you think about President Assad,” Tulsi replied, “the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”

In the aftermath of President Trump’s three meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Tulsi’s observations don’t seem quite as controversial. But at the time she was lambasted by her colleagues in Congress for ostensibly giving credence to Assad, whom they labeled a “brutal dictator.”

If the U.S. succeeded in overthrowing Assad, Tulsi knew, the very terrorists she’d fought against in Iraq would end up ruling Syria. Meeting with Assad to discuss the prospects of defeating a common enemy was the most meaningful way she could honor the service and sacrifice of her fellow soldiers. That the mainstream media and detractors like Kamala Harris don’t get this only underscores the deep divide between those like Tulsi Gabbard, who have served in combat, and those who have not.

Gabbard’s performances in the first two Democratic debates were strong, but it remains an open question as to whether she will qualify for the third debate in September. At a time when she should be campaigning hard to secure a spot on that debate stage, however, she’s instead taking a two-week break to fulfill her annual training requirement as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard.

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line.

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president.

Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

Published:8/12/2019 6:33:17 PM
[ACAT] Self-Driving Cars Hit New ‘Egregious’ Roadblock From Federal Government The DOT dismissed the Obama-era committee earlier this year without telling any of its members. Published:8/12/2019 11:33:16 AM
[Media] ‘This is FALSE’: Sharyl Attkisson dismantles Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren’s Michael Brown claims in fact-filled thread

Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both took it upon themselves to push an absolutely divisive and possibly dangerous lie. Both Democrats claimed Michael Brown was ‘murdered’ by a white cop … we suppose they think if it worked for Obama it will work for them. And per usual, the media, for the most part, has […]

The post ‘This is FALSE’: Sharyl Attkisson dismantles Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren’s Michael Brown claims in fact-filled thread appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/12/2019 10:30:48 AM
[The Blog] Muellerama continues: Obama advisor trial opens

A Clinton connection too.

The post Muellerama continues: Obama advisor trial opens appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/12/2019 7:59:34 AM
[Markets] The Biggest Migration Since The Barbarian Invasions Of Rome (Is Not Where You Think)

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: Former Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi once warned that “Europe runs the risk of turning black from illegal immigration… it could turn into Africa.”

Since the United States and NATO helped overthrow Ghaddafi in 2011, millions of migrants from Africa and the Middle East have poured into Europe. Many transited from Libya.

This is all well known, and all signs point to this trend accelerating. What’s your take on where this is going?

Doug Casey: First, it’s a pity Ghaddafi was taken out. Another disastrous US policy decision. Not that he was a nice guy—no one running an artificially constructed nation-state can be. But it was at least a stable situation. Now it’s been replaced by a bloody and costly war. And it’s complete chaos. Nice work Hillary and Obama. But let’s talk about Africa at large.

Africa, or at least migration in and out of Africa, is going to be the epicenter of what’s happening in the world for the rest of this century.

Africa has gone from being just an empty space on the map in the 19thcentury, to a bunch of backwater colonies in the 20th century, to a bunch of chaotic failed states that most people are only vaguely aware of today. Soon, however, it will be continuing front-page news. This is because Chinese are moving to Africa in record numbers while Africans are leaving as fast as they can.

What we’re looking at is actually the biggest migration since the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire. There will be tens of millions—scores of millions—of Africans trying to get into Europe. I don’t know how the Europeans will keep them out. I used to say Europe was going to be a petting zoo for the Chinese, but it may be more of a squatter’s camp for the Africans.

Africa is the only part of the world where the population is still growing and growing rapidly. Africa south of the Sahara was about 6% of the world’s population in the ’50s, now it’s about 16%. But by the turn of the century, it’s going to be 45%. Assuming there isn’t some kind of catastrophe. It’s not clear that the Africans can grow enough food for billions more people.

In fact, if the West stops supporting the continent with capital and technology, it could be in for very tough times. Wakanda, the country in “Black Panther”, doesn’t exist. On the contrary, the continent is full of Gondwana lookalikes. Gondwana is where most of the action takes place in Speculator, the novel John Hunt and I wrote. It’s the first of seven in the High Ground series.

Few people realize how fast the population is growing, and things are changing in Africa. I ask knowledgeable people what they think the biggest cities in the world will be at the turn of the next century. They all guess cities in China or India.

But that’s not true. Eighty years from now, Lagos, Nigeria, will be the largest city in the world. It’s on track to have a population of more than 90 million. The world’s second biggest city will be Kinshasa in the Congo with about 80 million people. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, will be the world’s third biggest city with a population of roughly 75 million people. It’s quite amazing. When I first visited Dar in the early ’80s, it was a quiet, exotic seaport with old tramp steamers in the harbor.

Now all those people have cell phones, and they’re well aware of the fact that the standard of living is vastly higher in Europe and every other part of the world than in Africa. And they’re well aware of the fact that there are welfare benefits of all types if they can get to Europe.

There are hundreds of NGOs encouraging Africans to come across the Mediterranean to Europe. Or for that matter, flying them to the US. Exactly who paid the airfare and legal and living expenses of the 200,000 penniless Somalis who were transplanted to Minnesota?

It’s a growing tidal wave. With the European population diminishing and the African population growing, you’re going to see Europe basically taken over by Africa in the next several generations.

International Man: What we don’t hear as much about is the massive migration of the Chinese to Africa that’s taking place.

Doug, you’ve spent a lot of time in Africa. What’s going on with all this?

Doug Casey: We’re seeing a veritable recolonization of Africa. Each time I visit Africa, there are more Chinese. It doesn’t matter which country; they’re everywhere.

Rich Chinese are smart to diversify to developed Western countries. Poor Chinese go to backward countries to try to become wealthy. Africa is the prime recipient.

It’s supposed to be official Chinese policy to migrate about 300 million Chinese to Africa in the years to come. They’re employed in building roads, railroads, ports, mines, and other infrastructure. It’s partially driven by their Belt and Road Initiative.

The Chinese are lending billions to African governments. African governments are, by an order of magnitude, the most corrupt in the world. And the people who run these African governments are being well compensated for making deals with the Chinese. And in effect, selling out their countrymen. All these governments are full of people trying to be “Mister 10%.”

The worst case for them is to retire as centimillionaires, to live high off the hog in France or Switzerland. So, they’ve got nothing to lose. It’s a fairly unstoppable trend at this point.

Regardless of how much is stolen, however, I expect the Chinese are going to want the money they loaned to the Africans back, with interest.

If bribing or intimidating political leaders proves ineffective in getting it back, it’s possible that they’ll put soldiers’ boots on the ground. They could send in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to defend their assets. Or send in assassins to take out recalcitrant African politicians.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find the PLA in Africa in the years to come, physically collecting on those debts. And to make it easier for them, they’re going to be greeted by lots of Chinese already there.

It will be interesting to see what happens when a couple hundred million Chinese are living with a radically expanding native African population.

If the Africans were unhappy with European colonization, I think they’re going to be very, very unhappy with the Chinese colonization. The Chinese will not be “inclusive” and PC like today’s Westerners. It has the makings of a race war a generation or so in the future.

International Man: What about Africa piques the interests of the Chinese?

Doug Casey: It’s important to remember that Africa doesn’t produce anything besides raw materials—and people. There’s close to zero manufacturing—like 1% of the world’s total—in sub-Saharan Africa. And almost all of that is in South Africa.

The Chinese see Africans as no more than a cheap and dispensable labor source. That’s at best. Other than that, they’re viewed as a complete nuisance. Basically an obstacle—a cost—standing in the way of efficient use of the resources of the continent itself.

What do the Chinese people think of Africans? They don’t hold them in high regard. Of course, you’ve got to remember that China has viewed itself as the center of the world since Day One. They see all non-Han people as barbarians, as inferiors.

That was absolutely true when the British sent an ambassador, Macartney, to open relations at the very end of the 18th century. He was treated with borderline contempt—pretty much the way Europeans and Americans have treated primitive peoples since the days of Columbus.

It’s actually the normal human attitude when an advanced culture encounters a backward culture. The Chinese see their culture as superior to even that of the West and believe—probably correctly—that they’ll soon be economically and technologically superior as well.

International Man: If China comes to dominate Africa and its resources, what does that mean for its rivalry with the US?

Doug Casey: Well, the US government is basically bankrupt at this point. The only thing that the US exports in quantity is US dollars. And sometime soon, the Chinese, the Russians, the Malaysians, the Iranians, and the Indians, among others, won’t need or want US dollars. They don’t want to accept them now, because it’s an asset of their adversary or even their enemy. They’re unhappy about having to settle accounts in dollars that all have to clear through New York.

So, they’re going to come up with their own alternative. And I suspect they’re going to use gold. Why? Because they don’t trust each other’s paper currencies. And why should they?

How’s the United States going to react to that?

It’s going to be left out in the cold. No one needs or wants their dollars—they want and need real goods, not the paper obligations of a hostile, unpredictable, bankrupt government. Also, the US isn’t in a position to export people, except for some unwelcome soldiers. The Chinese are in an excellent position to export a couple hundred million spare people. The bottom line is that the Chinese are going to take over Africa financially, and they’re going to take it over demographically as well.

International Man: What kind of speculative opportunities do you think this trend will create?

Doug Casey: Well, I’ve often said that if I were 30 years old today and wanted to make my fortune, I would definitely go to Africa. The reason for that is that you don’t want to be on a level playing field. You want to be on a field tilted in your direction as much as possible.

If a young Westerner goes to Africa and travels around, he’ll find it quite easy to move with the top levels of society. Because he’s unusual. And people are interested in things that are unusual. The fact that you’re a Westerner means that you’ve probably associated with people who have much more money, much more sophistication, much more knowledge than any of the locals do. You have unique advantages in Africa. If a young Westerner stays at home, however, he has no marginal advantages.

It’s very hard to vault yourself to the top in a Western society, because there are tens of millions of people just like you with the same education, background, and abilities.

But in Africa, you’re automatically on the top of the heap. And you’re noticeable. So, it’s a great place to go for entrepreneurial reasons.

At the same time, I don’t think Africa is a place to invest unless you’ve got the PLA standing behind you. It’s a place for a hit-and-run type of entrepreneurialism. Or perhaps political entrepreneurialism.

As corrupt as Africa is, the way almost everybody makes money is by getting hooked up with the government. And that’s possible to do. You could go to any number of African countries, hang out there for a month, and be sitting down with the president.

That’s not going to happen if you try to do the same thing in North America or Europe or for that matter even South America or Asia.

International Man: If you were 30 years old and looking for opportunity in Africa, what countries in particular would you be most interested in?

Doug Casey: Well, I wouldn’t jump off the deep end at first. Don’t go to a place like Nigeria to start. Nor is South Africa ideal for this purpose. It’s too developed, and there are too many people of European descent—although that’s changing. White people are making what the Rhodesians called “the chicken run” and for the same reasons. There’s too much anti-white racism in South Africa, and besides, the economy is going into reverse.

I would go to a country like Namibia, which is large, empty, and pretty mellow. I would definitely look at Mozambique. Or Mauritania—a huge country, where nobody goes. São Tomé and Príncipe, an obscure island country off the west coast. If you’re adventurous, the Central African Republic, which is probably the most backward country in Africa.

*  *  *

International Man is all about helping you make the most of your personal freedom and financial opportunities around the world. We just released a new report, called “Getting Out of Dodge,” written by contrarian investing legend Doug Casey. Inside is his action-packed survival guide. Click here to download the PDF now.

Published:8/12/2019 3:02:18 AM
[Markets] Paul Craig Roberts Slams Dems & Western Media: "It's Open Season On All White People"

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Survival of The Fittest

CJ Hopkins doesn’t say it, but he shows that within all of the Western countries in which the white core populations are experiencing fierce attack from anti-white ideologues in the media and governments that rule them, there is unity of voice from the media that “Trump is a White Supremacist who inspires Terrorism.” 

This unity of voice is suspicious as there are many different possible explanations of the El Paso shooting. The unity of voice is so uniform—in some cases identical phrasing—and so repetitive that it certainly looks like an orchestration against Trump and raises suspicions that the shooting itself was an orchestration.

The question naturally arises, to achieve such an uniformity of response from the Western world, who organized it?  How was the explanation that blames Trump ready at hand all over the US, UK, Europe, Canada and Australia, the minute the shooting occurred? Does it remind you of the BCC announcing the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 a half hour before it occurred?

Anytime an explanation is ready at hand the minute an event occurs, the natural question is who had advance information? If there is advance information, where did it come from? Why did not authorities with their advanced information prevent the attack? Why after “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Iranian nukes,” “Russian invasions,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” etc., do media organizations continue to provide unexamined explanations? Why did the media suppress the shooter’s manifesto?  Because it did not support the story line and attack on Trump?

As the presstitutes speak with one voice, little wonder that some of the few and diminishing number of Americans still capable of thought conclude that the El Paso shooting was an orchestrated event designed to discredit Trump and to abolish the 2nd Amendment.  We have long known about CIA mind control programs.  Many experts believe that Sirhan Sirhan, the alleged assassin of Robert Kennedy, was a product of the CIA’s mind control program.

As the US government has lied to us about so much for so long about so many big events, we have no alternative but to question everything. But the presstitutes never do.  Russiagate was a politically motivated hoax, but the presstitutes had one voice proclaiming the truth of a hoax.The American people have been misled by the media and gone along with Washington’s destruction of entire countries, such as Iraq and Libya, with millions of people killed, maimed, widowed, orphaned, and displaced, based on Washington’s lies and fabricated “evidence.”  If we cannot believe the reasons that the government takes us to war, how can we believe anything we hear from media and politicians?

The media and Democratic Party’s response to the El Paso tragedy make the facts irrelevant. The controlled explanation wraps people up in emotions over guns and Trump’s wall.  The dead in El Paso are portrayed as Trump’s fault for being a White Supremacist and enforcing US law, which specifies border controls.  Only White Supremacists kill people and build walls, unless they are Israelis, but we are not permitted to say anything about that.

By law the US has borders that the law demands be enforced. If immigrants can simply walk across the border, why can’t they fly into the country or come by ships?  What is the point of passport control?  Indeed, what’s the point of passports?  The concept of citizenship simply disappears. 

US borders have always been enforced.  Badly no doubt, but enforced.  Trump is simply trying to do a better job of enforcing the law than has been done in the past. 

If the US would simply stop overthrowing reformist governments in Latin America, the resources of those countries would be taken out of foreign hands and be put to work for the local people, which is what Venezuela is doing much to the chagrin of American oil companies.  The last time Honduras elected a reformer, America’s first black president—Obama—overthrew him.  Brazil’s Workers Party was destroyed with the US-orchestrated imprisonment of its leader, Lula da Silva, and removal from office of his successor. In their place Washington has installed a corrupt agent of the Americans.  Oppression is applied to the supporters among the people of reformist politicians to ensure that voting ceases to put reformers in power.  As General Smedley Butler said, “I was the enforcer in Latin America for the New York Banks and the United Fruit Company.” Perhaps it is poetic justice that the peoples whose resources are carted off to America decide to go with the resources.  

If the Democrats want open borders, why don’t they draft legislation and fight for its passage?  Why blame Trump for enforcing the laws on the books?

The El Paso shooting has been turned not only into an attack on President Trump but also into an attack on white people.  Suddenly the “Muslim terrorist threat” has disappeared.  Its replacement is the domestic terrorist threat of “white supremacy.” The attack on whites is indiscriminate. The attack on Trump extends to all of the Americans who elected him—“Trump deplorables”—in Hillary’s words.  All whites become “racists” and are covered in guilt. 

The anti-white propaganda is effective. Actress Rosanna Arquette said that her white skin makes her ashamed.  The success in teaching emotionally and mentally weak white people to feel guilt is to make it easier for those who wish to displace them to run over them.  And most definitely, the core white populations of the Western world are being overrun.  

As white populations have become too brainwashed and loaded with guilt to defend themselves, perhaps the Social Darwinists were correct after all.  The fit survive, and white people are no longer among the fit.

CNN former host Reza Aslan, now a professor at the University of California, tweeted:

“The President is a white nationalist terror leader. His supporters—ALL OF THEM—are by definition white nationalist terror supporters.  The MAGA hat is a KKK hood.  And this evil, racist scourge must be eradicated from society.”

How can it be that Trump wanting to enforce US law inspires a person to shoot Hispanics, but Aslan’s call to eradicate all Trump supporters doesn’t inspire a person to attack Trump supporters? Why wasn’t Aslan disciplined by the University of California for his hate speech?  Why wasn’t he blocked by Twitter?  

How can NBC Universal’s film, “The Hunt,” produced by Jason Blum, a Jew, depict liberal elites hunting and killing “Trump deplorables” for sport and escape the charge of hate speech and encouraging deadly violence against half of the US population?   

If wanting to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants encourages Americans to shoot Hispanics, how much violence is encouraged by a movie in which Trump supporters are hunted and shot? There is scant complaint about Israel’s wall that keeps Palestinians out of their own country. Try to imagine someone making a film about hunting Jews for sport and calling it a satire.

Clearly in the Western media and US Democratic Party it is open season on all white people.  The most intense hatred is expressed against them—even calls for their extermination—and it doesn’t qualify as hate speech or encouraging violence.

The hatred and demonization of white people in America is no different from the propaganda against Jews in the Third Reich.  Yet not a single member of the Democratic Party or American print, TV, and NPR radio protests.

That fact tells us all we need to know.  If white people don’t get organized and defend themselves there is likely to be a white holocaust.

Published:8/11/2019 11:02:15 PM
[Markets] The Misanthropic Bankers Behind The Green New Deal

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A vast sweeping change towards a “green economy” is now being pushed by forces that may make an educated citizen rather uncomfortable...

Of course, news reports flash daily showcasing the brave young movement of “eco-warriors” led by Sweden’s 16 year old Greta Thunberg or America’s 17 year old Jamie Margolin who have become a force across Europe and America leading such movements as the Extinction Rebellion, This is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and Children’s eco-crusade. The young face of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez daily sells the idea that the only way for outdated capitalist forces that have plagued the world for decades to be replaced is by imposing a sweeping Green New Deal that priorities de-carbonization as a goal for humanity rather than continuing to allow the mindless forces of the markets to determine our destiny.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen has even attacked China’s Belt and Road Initiative (which is ironically representing a true 21st century New Deal) by saying “some are buying their influence by investing in dependence from ports and roads”… but “we go the European way”. What is the “European way”? Not the development plans of Charles De Gaulle or Konrad Adenauer who envisioned industrial growth and increasing population as positives, but rather a Green New Deal. Von der Leyen said on July 17 that “I want Europe to become the first CO2 neutral continent in the world by 2050! I will put forward a Green New Deal for Europe in my first 100 days in office…”

Attacking the “mindless forces of the market” and vested power structures of capitalism are not bad things to do… but why must we de-carbonize? Re-regulating the too-big-to-fail banks is long overdue, but why do so many assume that a “Green New Deal” won’t just empower those same forces that have run havoc upon the world for the past half century and just cause more death and starvation than has already been suffered under Globalization?

One might only think to even ask such questions by first confronting the uncomfortable fact that behind such young cardboard cut outs as Thunberg, Margolin, Cortez or the Green New Deal are figures whom one would not associate with humanitarianism by any measure.

Green Bonds and Oligarchs

When we begin to pull back the curtain we quickly run into figures like Prince Charles, who recently met with the heads of 18 Commonwealth countries to consolidate climate emergency legislation which was promptly passed in the UK and Canadian Parliaments. At the end of the meeting Charles said that we “have 18 months to save the world from climate change” and called for “increasing the amount of private sector finance flowing towards the supporting sustainable development throughout the commonwealth”.

Following the royal decree, the Bank of England and some of the dirtiest banks in the Rothschild-City of London web of finance have promoted “green financial instruments” led by Green Bonds to redirect pension plans and mutual funds towards green projects that no one in their right minds would ever invest in willfully. The Ecological, Social, Governance Index (ESGI) has now been set up across 51% of Germany’s banks including the derivatives-bomb waiting to blow named Deutschebank. Leading bankers supporting the ESGI like Mark Carney of the Bank of England have said that over 6.5 trillion Euros could be mobilized under this new index (which currently accounts for about $160 billion). The creation of these “green bonds” run hand-in-hand with the Bail-in mechanisms which have now been implemented across the trans-Atlantic nations in order to steal trillions of dollars of from pension funds, RRSPs and Mutual funds the next time a bail out is needed to prop up the “too big to fails” which currently sit atop a $1.2 trillion derivatives bubble waiting to blow.

On top of heading the Bank of England, former Goldman Sachs-man Carney has also endorsed the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures which was created in 2015 and was used as a guideline for the UK government’s July 2019 White Paper “Green Finance Strategy: Transforming Finance for a Greener Future”. The White Paper proposed to “consolidate the UK’s position as a global hub for green finance and positioning the UK at the head of green financial innovation and data and analytics… endorsed by institutions representing $118 trillion of assets globally”. The Carney-led Task Force also spawned the Green Finance Initiativein 2016 which is now a primary vehicle designed to divert international capital flows into green tech.

Carney’s former employer at Goldman Sachs has also created a “Green Index for ‘virtuous investing” including two new sustainability indices to promote heavy investment in to green infrastructure called CDP Environment EW and CDP Eurozone EW. The acronym CDP originates from the Climate Disclosure Project – a London-based think tank that generated Goldman Sachs’ program. Goldman Sachs’ Marine Abiad promoted the CDP index saying on July 10 “we are convinced that sustainable finance enables financial markets to play a virtuous role in the economy.”

Just in case you thought the Extinction Rebellion was somehow untouched by the hand of social engineers, a leading figure behind the movement named Alex Evans was a former consultant on the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit, and co-author of the US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World which became an environmental/foreign policy blueprint for the Obama Administration in 2008. Currently Evans also runs the Collective Psychology Project “where psychology meets politics”.

Other leading British intelligence figures managing the Extinction Rebellion movement included Farhana Yamin and Sam Gaell of Chatham House (the controlling institution behind the New York Council on Foreign Relations).

Could a ‘Benevolent’ Green Dictatorship be a Good Thing?

The devil’s advocate speaks: Can’t we presume that these central banks, oligarchs and hedge fund managers just care about the environment? So what if they are trying to modify humanity’s behaviour in order to save the environment? After all, humanity itself is a selfish, gluttonous pollution-making machine and isn’t better for everyone if those enlightened elite just transform the world economy so that we consume less, and think more about the future?

If this line of thinking approximates something you’ve felt inside yourself then you’ve been brainwashed.

Of course, the world has turned into a consumerist cult over the past few decades which has sacrificed long term thinking for short term gain and of course we need a re-organization of the system. Thunberg and the Green New Dealers aren’t wrong about that stuff. That’s all fine and dandy.

But if you think that going along with the types of reform that aspires to put dollar values on reducing carbon footprints or spreading low quality (and very expensive) windmills and solar panels across the globe with the expectation that somehow these sources of energy will not cause a vast collapse of industrial capacity of civilization(and an associated loss of capacity to sustain human life), then you are fooling yourself. One kilowatt of windmill energy is only the same as one kilowatt of nuclear power when applied to a mathematical equation but not in real life. When applied to capital-intensive work functions needed to melt industrial steel, run machine tools, power a vast agro-industrial complex, high speed rail system or construct things like Belt and Road Initiative, “green” energy sources do not come even close to cutting the iron.

The issue has always been population control

The oligarchs running the “grand green design” since the Club of Rome’s Sir Alexander King began the Limits to Growth study in 1970 knew that green “low energy flux density” sources of energy would constrict global population and that is exactly what they wanted. Sir King said so much in 1990 when he wrote “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill….All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

Sir King was, after all just following the lead of UNESCO founder (and Eugenics president) Sir Julian Huxley who wrote in 1946 “Political unification in some sort of world government will be required… Even though… any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable.”

It was only a few years later that Huxley would co-found the World Wildlife Fund alongside Prince Philip Mountbatten and Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands. All three were present at Bernhardt’s founding meeting of the Bilderberg group to advance this grand conversion of society into a willful self-extermination in 1954 and while Huxley wasn’t present in 1970, the other two oligarchs co-founded the 1001 Nature Trust alongside 999 other wealthy misanthropes to fund the blossoming environmental movement. These forces were also behind the coup d’état in America which put the Trilateral Commission in power under Jimmy Carter and unleashed the “controlled disintegration of the US economy” from 1978-1982 (this will be the topic of another study). This grouping, led by Zbigniew Brzezinski not only played the radical Islam card against the Soviet Union, but also established a program of population reduction through the promotion of green energy sources long before it was popular.

The oligarchs that are currently trying to reform humanity today don’t care about the environment. Prince Philip and Bernhardt have been recorded to have killed more endangered species on safari than most people have killed mosquitos. They just don’t like people. Especially thinking people. Thinking people who question how and why arbitrary rules are applied to justify wars, poverty and oligarchism which destroys lives both now and in the future.

The Belt and Road Initiative and the tendency to grow the human population both quantitatively and qualitatively which such great projects entail is the target of the Green New Deal.

The legacy of scientific and technological progress that launched western civilization out of a dark age and into a renaissance in the 15th century is under attack because it is that lost ethic which the oligarchy KNOWS may yet be awoken and which would bring the west into harmony with the Russia-China program for growth and development under a philosophy of “win-win cooperation” both on Earth and also in space.

The effects of the ideas of the renaissance coincided with the greatest rate of discoveries of universal principles as mankind sought to come to know the mind of god by studying the book of nature with a heart of love and attitude of humility exemplified in the figure of Leonardo Da Vinci. The explosion of new technologies that arose not only revolutionized astronomy, medicine and engineering but gave birth to the modern industrial economy which coincided with the greatest rise of population in history. This exponential rise has been used by Malthusians for centuries as the proof that mankind is “just another cancerous growth” on the “purity of mother Gaia”.

So if you don’t agree with humans=cancer philosophy and want something a bit more optimistic in your life, then support a real New Deal today.

Published:8/11/2019 8:02:41 PM
[Markets] Benghazi Car Bomb Attack Targets UN Officials, Leaving 2 Dead & 10 Wounded

The expanding chaos of the renewed war in Libya, increasingly a 'failed state' if there ever was a prime example of one, now approaching a decade on from its so-called "liberation" in 2011 by US-NATO forces, keeps providing daily and weekly reminders of the Obama-Hillary Clinton legacy of 'humanitarian intervention'. 

On Saturday what is being reported as either a car bomb or possibly a roadside bomb ripped through a neighborhood in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi near United Nations offices.

The blast killed two UN staff, identified as United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL) guards, with an additional ten people wounded, some among them children, according to Reuters.

The vehicle was detonated outside a busy shopping mall at a peak time of traffic, given locals are preparing to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The Associated Press reported the following details:

The place is close to the offices of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya. Footage circulated online shows what appear to be burnt U.N.-owned vehicles, while thick smoke rising in the sky.

No one claimed responsibility for the terror attack in the immediate aftermath, and it appears the UN staff and vehicles were specifically targeted

The death toll from the renewed civil war which has involved Gen. Khalifa Haftar's Benghazi-based LNA attempting to seize the capital of Tripoli from the UN-backed GNA is now in the thousands, with over 105,000 displaced over the past half-year of conflict, according to UN numbers. 

Though long ignored in the mainstream media, Libya increasingly looks like Iraq circa 2005, with a recent significant uptick in mass casualty causing bombings and terror attacks in crowded cities. 

Published:8/11/2019 11:27:16 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] Warren’s Ferguson’s lie (Scott Johnson) NR intern Christopher Tremoglie draws attention to “Elizabeth Warren’s Ferguson lie” (tweet below) of this past Friday. Tremoglie recalls: “Michael Brown was not murdered. Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson in an act of self-defense. This is why the grand jury declined to indict Wilson for murder or manslaughter, and it was also the conclusion of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.” Shamala Kamala actually got there 30 Published:8/11/2019 9:27:12 AM
[Markets] To Avoid A Collapse Means Restoring Glass-Steagall (Without The Green New Deal)

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

With the recent discussion of the collapse of the western system of banking (and neo-liberal ‘post-truth’ values more generally) a serious overview of the post-WWII stripping down of nation states is in order. Over the past couple of weeks, various figures like France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and American Senator Elizabeth Warren have called for a re-organization of the banking system with Le Maire saying on July 13 that the Bretton Woods “has reached its limits”, and Warren stating on July 22 that “the country’s economic foundation is fragile. A single shock could bring it all down.” It is no secret that the western nations sit atop the largest financial bubble in human history with global derivatives estimated at $550 trillion to $1.2 quadrillion.

As refreshing as it is to hear such candid admissions of the system’s failure from high level political figures, when asked what they wish will replace this bankrupt order, neither Le Maire nor Warren have any desire to work with the Russia-China Belt and Road alliance and are unfortunately on record supporting policies cooked up by the very same oligarchs they appear to despise in the form of the Green New Deal. In spite of what many of its progressive proponents would wish, such a global green reform would not only impose Malthusian depopulation upon nation states globally were it accepted, but would establish a the supranational authority of a technocratic managerial elite as enforcers of a “de-carbonization agenda”.

Due to the rampant lack of comprehension of how this crisis was created such that such idiotic proposals as “green new deals” are now seriously being suggested as remedies to our current ills, a bit of history is in order.

Some necessary background

“The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, first Inaugural Address 1933

Knowing that the “money changers” had only been able to create the great bubbles of the 1920s via their access to the deposits of the commercial banks, Franklin Roosevelt made the core of his battle against the abuses of Wall Street centre around a 1933 legislation entitled “Glass-Steagall”, named after the two federally elected officials who led the reform with FDR. This was a bill which forced the absolute separation of productive from speculative banking, guaranteeing via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) only those commercial banking assets associated with the productive economy, but forcing any speculative losses arising from investment banking to be suffered by the gambler. The striking success of this law inspired other countries around the world to establish similar bank separation. Alongside principles of capital budgeting, public credit, parity pricing and a commitment to scientific and technological development, a dynamic had been created that would express the greatest hope for the world, and the greatest fear for the financial empire occupying the City of London and Wall Street.

The death of John F. Kennedy ushered in a new age of pessimism and cultural irrationalism from which our society has never recovered. The destruction of a long term vision as exemplified by the space program, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the New Deal projects had resulted in a tendency within the population to increasingly look upon present pleasures as the only reality, and future goods as the mystical expression of the sum of present pleasures. In this new philosophical setting, so alien in previous epochs, money was permitted to act as a power unto itself for short term gains instead of serving the investments into the real productive wealth of society. With this new paradigm shift into the “now”, a new economic model was adopted to replace the industrial economic model which had proven itself in the years preceding and following World War II.

The name for this system was “post-industrial monetarism”. This would be a system ushered in by Richard Nixon’s announcement of the destruction of the fixed-exchange rate Bretton Woods system and its replacement by the “floating rate” system of post 1971 fame. During that same fateful year of 1971, another ominous event took place: the formation of the Rothschild Inter-Alpha Group of banks under the umbrella of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which today controls upwards of 70% of the global financial system. The stated intention of this Group would be found in the 1983 speech by Lord Jacob Rothschild: “two broad types of giant institutions, the worldwide financial service company and the international commercial bank with a global trading competence, may converge to form the ultimate, all-powerful, many-headed financial conglomerate.”

This policy demanded the destruction of the sovereign nation-state system and the imposition of a new feudal structure of world governance through the age-old scheme of controlling the money system on the one side, and playing on the vices of credulous fools who, by allowing their nations to be ruled by the belief that hedonistic market forces govern the world, would seal their own children’s doom.

All the while, geopolitical structures foreign to the United States constitutional traditions were imposed by nests of Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars and Fabians who converted America into a global “dumb giant” enforcing a neo colonial program under a “Anglo-US Special Relationship”. The Dulles brothers, McGeorge Bundy, Kissinger, and Bush all represent names that advanced this British directed plan throughout the 20th century.

The Big Bang

The great “liberalization” of world commerce began with a series of waves through the 1970s, and moved into high gear with the interest rate hikes of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in 1980-82, the effects of which both annihilated much of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, opened the speculative gates into the “Savings and Loan” debacle and also helped cartelize mineral, food, and financial institutions into ever greater behemoths. Volcker himself described this process as the “controlled disintegration of the US economy” upon becoming Fed Chairman in 1978. The raising of interest rates to 20-21% not only shut down the life blood of much of the US economic base, but also threw the third world into greater debt slavery, as nations now had to pay usurious interest on US loans.

In 1986, the City of London announced the beginning of a new era of economic irrationalism with Margaret Thatcher’s “Big Bang” deregulation. This wave of liberalization took the world by storm as it swept aside the separation of commercial, deposit and investment banking which had been the post-world war cornerstone in ensuring that the will of private finance would never again hold more sway than the power of sovereign nation-states.

After decades of chipping away at the structure of regulation that FDR’s bold intervention into history had built, the “Big Bang” set a precedent for similar financial de-regulation into the “Universal Banking” model in other parts of the western world.

The Derivative Time Bomb is Set

In September 1987, the 20 year foray into speculation resulted in a 23% collapse of the Dow Jones on October 19, 1987. Within hours of this crash, international emergency meetings had been convened with former JP Morgan tool Alan Greenspan introducing a “solution” which would have the future echoes of hyperinflation and fascism written all over it.

“Creative financial instruments” was the Orwellian name given to the new financial asset popularized by Greenspan, but otherwise known as “derivatives”. New supercomputing technologies were increasingly used in this new venture, not as the support for higher nation building practices, and space exploration programs as their NASA origins intended, but would rather become perverted to accommodate the creation of new complex formulas which could associate values to price differentials on securities and insured debts that could then be “hedged” on those very spot and futures markets made possible via the destruction of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. So while an exponentially self-generating monster was created that could end nowhere but in a meltdown, “market confidence” rallied back in force with the new flux of easy money. The physical potential to sustain human life continued to plummet.

NAFTA, the Euro and the End of History

It is no coincidence that within this period, another deadly treaty was passed called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). With this Agreement made law, protective programs that had kept North American factories in the U.S and Canada were struck down, allowing for the export of the lifeblood of highly skilled industrial workforce to Mexico where skills were low, technologies lower, and salaries lower still. With a stripping of its productive assets, North America became increasingly reliant on exporting cheap resources and services for its means of existence. Again, the physically productive powers of society would collapse, yet monetary profits in the ephemeral “now” would skyrocket. This was replicated in Europe with the creation of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 establishing the Euro by 1994 while the “liberalization” process of Perestroika replicated this agenda in the former Soviet Union. While some personalities gave this agenda the name “End of History” and others “the New World Order”, the effect was the same.

Universal Banking, NAFTA, Euro integration and the creation of the derivative economy in a space of just several years would induce a cartelization of finance through newly legalized mergers and acquisitions at a rate never before seen. The multitude of financial institutions that had existed in the early 1980s were absorbed into each other at great speed through the 1990s in true “survival of the fittest” fashion. No matter what level of regulation were attempted under this new structure, the degree of conflict of interest, and private political power was uncontrollable, as evidenced in the United States, by the shutdown of any attempt by Securities and Exchange Commission head Brooksley Born to fight the derivative cancer at its early stages.

By 1999 a politically castrated Bill Clinton found himself signing into law a treaty authored by then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which would be the final nail in the coffin for the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking in the United States. The new age of unregulated trading and creation of over-the-counter derivatives caused these strange financial instruments to grow from $60 trillion in 2000 to $600 trillion by 2008.

The 2000-2008 Frenzy

With Glass-Steagall now removed, legitimate capital such as pension funds could be used to start a hedge to end all hedges. Billions were now poured into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), a market which had been artificially plunged to record-breaking interest rate lows of 1-2% for over a year by the US Federal Reserve making borrowing easy, and the returns on the investments into the MBSs obscene. The obscenity swelled as the values of the houses skyrocketed far beyond the real values to the tune of one hundred thousand dollar homes selling for 5-6 times that price within the span of several years. As long as no one assumed this growth was ab-normal, and the unpayable nature of the capital underlying the leveraged assets locked up in the now infamous “sub-primes” and other illegitimate debt obligations was ignored, then profits were supposed to just continue infinitely. Anyone who questioned this logic was considered a heretic by the latter-day priesthood.

The stunning “success” of securitizing housing debts immediately induced a wave of sovereign wealth funds to come into prominence applying the same model that had been used in the case of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO) to the debts of entire nations. The securitizing of bundled packages of sovereign debts that could then be infinitely leveraged on the de-regulated world markets would no longer be considered an act of national treason, but the key to easy money.

Conclusion

This is the system which died in 2008. Contrary to popular belief, nothing was actually resolved. For all the talk of an “FDR revival” under Obama, speculation wasn’t actually regulated under the Dodd-Frank Act or the Volker Rule of 2010. No productive credit was created to grow the real economy under a national mission as was the case in 1933-1938. Banks were not broken up while derivatives GREW by 40% with the new bubble concentrated in the corporate/household debt sector now collapsing. During this time, nation states continued to be stripped, as austerity was rammed down the throats of nations.

It should be no surprise that in the midst of this despair, a creative alliance was consolidated in defense of the interests of sovereign nation states and humanity at large led by the leadership of Russia and China.

This leadership took the form of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative which has grown to embrace over 130 countries today and looking more and more like an Asian-led version of the New Deal of the 1930s. Indeed, China’s capacity to unleash long term credit for thousands of international long term infrastructure projects was made possible by the fact that it was the only country on the globe which had not given up the principles of bank separation which were destroyed in every other nation. Very few western figures stood up to this self-induced destruction over the decades, but one notable exception here worth mentioning is the figure of the late American economist Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) who not only resisted this process for over four decades, but fought alongside the Schiller Institute to promote New Silk Road as early as 1996.

With the 2016 Brexit and election of President Trump, a new wave of nationalist spirit has become a fire which the technocrats have lost their capacity to snuff out. Increasingly, the idea that nation states have a power over the private banking system has become revived and discussion for reforming the now dead Trans-Atlantic system is increasingly shaped not by the calls for a “New World Order” as Sir Kissinger would have liked, but rather for a New Silk Road and a true New Deal. The Eurasian nations are already firmly committed to this new system, and if the west is to qualify morally to take part in this new epoch, then the first step will be a return to a Glass-Steagall.

Published:8/10/2019 2:24:14 AM
[Politics] “Why should we trust you?” – Biden confronted about Solyndra green energy subsidies [video] Biden was confronted today by someone from the Washington Examiner asking him about the green energy subsidies that he and Obama orchestrated with Solyndra. Here’s what he had to say: If you . . . Published:8/8/2019 6:11:34 PM
[Politics] “Why should we trust you?” – Biden confronted about Solyndra green energy subsidies [video] Biden was confronted today by someone from the Washington Examiner asking him about the green energy subsidies that he and Obama orchestrated with Solyndra. Here’s what he had to say: If you . . . Published:8/8/2019 6:11:34 PM
[Funding] Glow raises $2.3M to help podcasters make money Glow is a new startup that says it wants to help podcasters build media business. That’s something co-founder and CEO Amira Valliani said she tried to do herself. After a career that included working in the Obama White House and getting an MBA from Wharton, she launched a podcast covering local elections in Cambridge, Mass., […] Published:8/8/2019 5:40:58 PM
[Markets] President Trump Readies Executive Order To Crack-Down Hard On Social Media Censorship Of Conservatives

Update: The Hill reports that National Republican groups announced Thursday that they would halt spending money to advertise on Twitter after the social media site locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign account this week.

The move from the House and Senate GOP campaign arms, as well as the Republican National Committee (RNC), marks an escalation in the conservative battle against the country's largest tech companies, which they claim routinely censor right-wing voices. Critics have insisted there is little evidence to substantiate those claims beyond individual anecdotes.

"Twitter’s hostile actions toward Leader McConnell’s campaign are outrageous and we will not tolerate it," Jesse Hunt, a spokesman with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said in a statement to The Hill.

"The NRSC will suspend all spending with Twitter until further notice. We will not spend our resources on a platform that silences conservatives."

*  *  *

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

It appears that President Trump is getting ready to bring down the hammer on the big social media companies.

According to Politico, the Trump administration is in the process of drafting an executive order that will “tackle Silicon Valley’s alleged anti-conservative bias”.  And it is very much in President Trump’s own self-interest to do this.  Social media played a key role in helping him win in 2016, but since that time we have seen an unprecedented wave of censorship on the major social media platforms, and most of that censorship has been directed at conservative voices.  If President Trump doesn’t do something, it is hard to see how he will win in 2020, and of course that is precisely what the leftist executives at the big social media companies want.

Ultimately, it would take an act of Congress to do everything that needs to be done, but President Trump should be applauded for trying to do what he can on his own.  Apparently Politico was able to speak to three separate sources that are familiar with the drafting of this new executive order, and after speaking to all of them Politico came to the conclusion that the Trump administration is very serious about “wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley”

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions” on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

It is not clear if such an executive order would hold up in court, and undoubtedly there will be legal challenges right away.  Of course those legal challenges will take a long time to play out, because we all know how quickly our legal system moves.

But for the short-term, what really matters is what effect this will have on the behavior of the big social media companies.  The goal should be to scare them into doing the right thing, and hopefully the wording of this executive order will be as forceful as possible.

Since some of these big tech companies have contracts with the federal government, in his executive order Trump could try to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against customers based on their political views.  A similar approach has been attempted a couple of times before

One potential approach could involve using the government’s leverage over federal contractors, a tactic the Obama administration used to advance LGBT rights. A 2014 executive order prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump earlier this year signed an executive order meant to promote free speech on college campuses by requiring schools to agree to promote free inquiry in order to receive federal research funding — something the schools were already supposed to do.

We’ll see what happens, but hopefully Trump can get this executive order issued quickly, because the 2020 election season has already begun.

Of course liberals are upset about this potential executive order, and many of them continue to insist that conservatives are not being specifically targeted by the social media companies.  For example, just check out this excerpt from a Vox article

As Recode and other outlets have reported, there has been no evidence to prove that companies such as Google and Twitter have anti-conservative bias baked into their products. Regardless, the president and Republican lawmakers have continued to make such claims, emboldened in part by a recent claim by a former Google engineer that he was fired for his conservative political views. (Google says the employee was fired for misusing company equipment; other reports indicate that he shared emails internally in which he defended white supremacist groups.)

Seriously?

Because of what I do, I have connections throughout the conservative media, and just about everyone I know has been censored, banned, shadowbanned or deplatformed in some way, shape or form.  Over the past two and a half years we have witnessed the greatest purge in the history of the Internet, and it has been absolutely brutal.

Some conservative voices are still able to use social media, but the heavy hand of censorship is always present.  For example, every time Dr. Michael Brown posts a video on YouTube, it is immediately “flagged as unsuitable for most advertisers”

To this moment, the instant one of my YouTube videos is posted—and I mean the very instant—it gets flagged as unsuitable for most advertisers, which we then have to contest by calling for a manual review. At that point, you genuinely have no idea what the reviewer will decide.

Of course other conservative voices have been targeted for elimination from social media altogether.  Mike Adams of Natural News is an incredibly genuine guy and one of the most articulate conservative voices on the entire Internet, and he has been deplatformed by just about every social media platform that exists

In response to a coordinated, heavily-funded smear campaign against Natural News and myself, the Health Ranger, Facebook has now permanently banned Natural News from posting content. The channel name that has been banned is Facebook.com/healthranger, which was our primary channel reaching over 2.5 million people.

This is on top of the permanent bans of Natural News content from Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google News, Apple and other techno-fascists that now represent the greatest threat to human freedom the world has ever seen.

There is no reason why Mike Adams should have ever been banned by anyone.  I have had the opportunity to sit down with him in person, and he is someone that cares deeply for America and for those around him.  What the big social media companies have done to him is absolutely disgusting.

But of course he is far from alone.  One study found that since the 2016 presidential election, social media traffic to a group of some of the most conservative websites on the Internet was down by 93 percent.  You can find the full study right here, and it is definitely worth reading.

In the end, it is very simple.  The leftists that run the big social media companies hate what we believe, and they don’t want us to get the truth out.  The don’t believe in a free marketplace of ideas, because their ideas always lose.

So the only way that they can win is by shutting us up, and that is precisely what they have been attempting to do.

The social media giants built multi-billion dollar empires by giving everyone a voice, but now that they have such a dominant position on the Internet they have decided that many prominent conservative voices should be completely silenced.

They want to control what ideas people are exposed to, thus shaping the overall direction of the country as a whole.

If they are allowed to get away with it, they will greatly alter the political future of America far beyond the 2020 election.

Something needs to be done immediately, and so let us hope that President Trump gives this executive order some really strong teeth.

Published:8/8/2019 3:45:31 PM
[Politics] Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan Calls for Ban on ‘Semi-Automatic Weapons’

John Brennan, who served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, called for a ban on semi-automatic weapons Wednesday following the two mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

The post Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan Calls for Ban on ‘Semi-Automatic Weapons’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/8/2019 9:39:32 AM
[World] Democrats, it's time to 'whittle the field'

Robert Wolf, the founder and CEO of the investment firm 32Advisors and a former economic aide to Barack Obama, recently took to "Fox & Friends" to say to Democrats running for president in 2020: Hey guys, it's time to "whittle the field."

Agreed. Heartily agreed.

"If you're not showing yourself ... Published:8/8/2019 5:08:07 AM

[Markets] Paul Craig Roberts Slams The FBI's "Open Invitation To Tyranny"

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

The FBI has published a document that concludes that “conspiracy theories” can motivate believers to commit crimes.

Considering the growing acceptance of pre-emptive arrest, that is, arresting someone before they can commit a crime that they are suspected of planning to commit, challenging official explanations, such as those offered for the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King or the official explanation for 9/11, can now result in monitoring by authorities with a view to finding a reason for pre-emptive arrest.  Presidents George W. Bush and Obama created the police state precedents of suspension of habeas corpus and assassination of citizens on suspicion alone without due process.  If Americans can be preemptively detained indefinitely and preemptively assassinated,  Americans can expect to be preemptively imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. 

As Lawrence Stratton and I explained in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, the historic achievement of forging law into a shield of the people is being reversed in our time as law is being reforged into a weapon in the hands of the government. 

The FBI document says that conspiracy theories “are usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”  Note the use of “official” and “prevailing.”  Official explanations are explanations provided by governments.  Prevailing explanations are the explanations that the media repeats.  Examples of official and prevailing explanations are: Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the official explanation by the US government for the destruction of Libya.  If a person doubts official explanations such as these, that person is a “conspiracy theorist.”  

Official and prevailing explanations do not have to be consistent with facts.  It is enough that they are official and prevailing.  Whether or not they are true is irrelevant.  Therefore, a person who stands up for the truth can be labeled a conspiracy theorist, monitored, and perhaps pre-emptively arrested. 

Consider 9/11.  No forensic investigation of 9/11 was ever officially conducted.  Instead the destruction of the buildings was blamed on Osama bin Laden, and scenarios and simulations were created to support the allegation, not to find the truth.  Architects, engineers, scientists, pilots, and first responders on site cannot reconcile the official prevailing explanation with the facts.  The scientific and testimonial evidence that they have produced is dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”  It is those experts who stand on the evidence who are defined as conspiracy theorists, not those who created the story of Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 conspiracy.

Consider Russiagate.  Here we have an alleged conspiracy between Trump and Russia that was the official prevailing explanation.  Yet, to believe in the Russiagate conspiracy did not make one a conspiracy theorist as this conspiracy was the official prevailing explanation.  But to doubt the Russiagate conspiracy did make one a conspiracy theorist.

What the FBI report does, intentionally or unintentionally, is to define a conspiracist as a person who doubts official explanations.  In other words, it is a way of preventing any accountability of government.  Whatever the government says, no matter how obvious a lie, will have to be accepted as fact or we will be put on a list to be monitored for preemptive arrest.

In effect, the FBI’s document reduces the First Amendment, that is, free speech, to the right to repeat official and prevailing explanations.  Any other speech is a conspiratorial belief that can lead to the commission of a crime.

Every American should be greatly concerned that the government in Washington does not see this FBI document as an open invitation to tyranny, repudiate it, and demand its recall.

Published:8/7/2019 11:09:10 PM
[] Forbes: The Beginning of the End for Netflix? No one wants to pay for Obama TV anymore? It's official... it's the beginning of the end for Netflix (NFLX). As you may have heard, the online video company made a troubling announcement... This quarter, for the first time ever,... Published:8/7/2019 4:35:25 PM
[Markets] We're All Enemies Of The State: Draconian Laws, Precrime & The Surveillance State

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” - H.L. Mencken

We’ve been down this road many times before.

If the government is consistent about any one thing, it is this: it has an unnerving tendency to exploit crises and use them as opportunities for power grabs under the guise of national security.

As David C. Unger, a foreign affairs editorial writer for the New York Times, explains, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly designed to prevent.”

Cue the Emergency State, the government’s Machiavellian version of crisis management that justifies all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security.

Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters”: the government has been anticipating and preparing for such crises for years now.

It’s all part of the grand plan for total control.

The government’s proposed response to the latest round of mass shootings—red flag gun laws, precrime surveillance, fusion centers, threat assessments, mental health assessments, involuntary confinement—is just more of the same.

These tactics have been employed before, here in the U.S. and elsewhere, by other totalitarian regimes, with devastating results.

It’s a simple enough formula: first, you create fear, then you capitalize on it by seizing power.

For instance, in his remarks on the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump promised to give the FBI “whatever they need” to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism.

Let that sink in a moment.

In a post-9/11 America, Trump’s promise bodes ill for whatever remnants of freedom we have left. With that promise, flippantly delivered without any apparent thought for the Constitution’s prohibitions on such overreach, the president has given the FBI the green light to violate Americans’ civil liberties in every which way.

This is how the Emergency State works, after all.

Although the damage wrought by these power grabs has been most evident in recent presidential administrations—under Trump, Obama, Bush and Clinton—the seeds of this present madness were sown, according to Unger, in 1940, when President Roosevelt, the “founding father of modern extraconstitutional presidential war-making, the military-industrial complex, and covert federal surveillance of lawful domestic political activity,” declared a national emergency.

So what does the government’s carefully calibrated response to this current crisis mean for freedom as we know it? Compliance and control.

For starters, consider Trump’s embrace of red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people “suspected” of being threats, will only add to the government’s power.

As The Washington Post reports, these laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

Be warned: these laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another Trojan Horse, a stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

Seventeen states, plus the District of Columbia, now have red flag laws on their books. That number is growing.

In the midst of what feels like an epidemic of mass shootings, these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats.

We need to stop dangerous people before they act”: that’s the rationale behind the NRA’s support of these red flag laws, and at first glance, it appears to be perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others.

However, consider what happened in Maryland after a police officer attempted to “enforce” the state’s new red flag law, which went into effect in Oct. 2018.

At 5 am on a Monday, two police officers showed up at 61-year-old Gary Willis’ house to serve him with a court order requiring that he surrender his guns. Willis answered the door holding a gun. (In some states, merely answering the door holding a gun is enough to get you killed by police who have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.) Willis initially set his gun aside while he spoke with the police. However, when the police attempted to serve him with the gun confiscation order, Willis reportedly became “irate” and picked up his gun again. At that point, a struggle ensued, causing the gun to go off. Although no one was harmed by the struggle, one of the cops shot and killed Willis.

According to the Anne Arundel County police chief, the shooting was a sign that the red flag law is needed. What the police can’t say with any certainty is what they prevented by shooting and killing Willis.

Therein lies the danger of these red flag laws, specifically, and pre-crime laws such as these generally, especially when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.

After all, this is the same government that uses the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.

This is the same government that, in 2009, issued a series of Department of Homeland Security reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”

This is the same government that, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

This is the same government that keeps re-upping the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the military to detain and imprison American citizens with no access to friends, family or the courts if the government believes them to be a threat.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

According to the FBI’s latest report, you might also be classified as a domestic terrorism threat if you espouse conspiracy theories, especially if you “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

Additionally, according to Michael C. McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, the bureau now “classifies domestic terrorism threats into four main categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism.”

In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you may well be suspected of being a domestic terrorist and treated accordingly.

Where many Americans go wrong is in assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or challenging the government’s authority in order to be flagged as a suspicious character, labeled an enemy of the state and locked up like a dangerous criminal.

That is not the case.

All you really need to do is question government authority.

With the help of artificial intelligence, a growing arsenal of high-tech software, hardware and techniques, government propaganda urging Americans to turn into spies and snitches, as well as social media and behavior sensing software, government agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports aimed at snaring potentialenemies of the state.

It’s the American police state’s take on the dystopian terrors foreshadowed by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Phillip K. Dick all rolled up into one oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package.

What’s more, the technocrats who run the surveillance state don’t even have to break a sweat while monitoring what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, how much you spend, whom you support, and with whom you communicate. Computers guided by artificial intelligence now do the tedious work of trolling social media, the internet, text messages and phone calls for potentially anti-government remarks—all of which is carefully recorded, documented, and stored to be used against you someday at a time and place of the government’s choosing.

This is the world that science fiction author Philip K. Dick envisioned for Minority Report in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will crack a few skulls in order to bring the populace under control.

In Dick’s dystopian police state, the police combine widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining and precognitive technology to capture would-be criminals before they can do any damage: precrime.

In the film Minority Report, the technology that John Anderton, Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime in Washington, DC, relies on for his predictive policing proves to be fallible, identifying him as the next would-be criminal and targeting him for preemptive measures. Consequently, Anderton finds himself not only attempting to prove his innocence but forced to take drastic measures in order to avoid capture in a surveillance state that uses biometric data and sophisticated computer networks to track its citizens.

With every passing day, the American police state moves that much closer to mirroring the fictional pre-crime prevention world of Minority Report.

For instance, police in major American cities have been using predictive policing technology that allows them to identify individuals—or groups of individuals—most likely to commit a crime in a given community. Those individuals are then put on notice that their movements and activities will be closely monitored and any criminal activity (by them or their associates) will result in harsh penalties. 

In other words, the burden of proof is reversed: you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.

Dig beneath the surface of this kind of surveillance/police state, however, and you will find that the real purpose of pre-crime is not safety but control.

Red flag gun laws merely push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless.

Again, where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention.

In fact, U.S. police agencies have been working to identify and manage potential extremist “threats,” violent or otherwise, before they can become actual threats for some time now.

In much the same way that the USA Patriot Act was used as a front to advance the surveillance state, allowing the government to establish a far-reaching domestic spying program that turned every American citizen into a criminal suspect, the government’s anti-extremism program renders otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist.

In fact, all you need to do these days to end up on a government watch list or be subjected to heightened scrutiny is use certain trigger words (like cloud, pork and pirates), surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, limp or stutterdrive a car, stay at a hotel, attend a political rally, express yourself on social mediaappear mentally ill, serve in the militarydisagree with a law enforcement officialcall in sick to work, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, appear confused or nervous, fidget or whistle or smell bad, be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun (such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane), stare at a police officer, question government authority, or appear to be pro-gun or pro-freedom.

Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there.

You will be tracked wherever you go.

You will be flagged as a potential threat and dealt with accordingly.

This is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.

The government has been building its pre-crime, surveillance network in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the corporate sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

If you’re not scared yet, you should be.

Connect the dots.

Start with the powers amassed by the government under the USA Patriot Act, note the government’s ever-broadening definition of what it considers to be an “extremist,” then add in the government’s detention powers under NDAA, the National Security Agency’s far-reaching surveillance networks, and fusion centers that collect and share surveillance data between local, state and federal police agencies.

To that, add tens of thousands of armed, surveillance drones and balloons that are beginning to blanket American skies, facial recognition technology that will identify and track you wherever you go and whatever you do. And then to complete the picture, toss in the real-time crime centers being deployed in cities across the country, which will be attempting to “predict” crimes and identify so-called criminals before they happen based on widespread surveillance, complex mathematical algorithms and prognostication programs.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand how easy we’ve made it for the government to identify, label, target, defuse and detain anyone it views as a potential threat for a variety of reasons that run the gamut from mental illness to having a military background to challenging its authority to just being on the government’s list of persona non grata.

There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.

Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.

All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

Published:8/6/2019 11:29:41 PM
[Markets] Apocalypse Later? Trumponomics On The Eve Of The 2020 Presidential Election

Submitted by SouthFront.org, J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson; Voiceover by Coby B.

By way of introduction, it should be noted that the US economy is showing many signs of a classical bubble, starting with the incredibly over-valued US stock market. Only slightly more than a decade ago, at the peak of the real estate bubble, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) barely managed to clear the 14,000 mark, before staging a spectacular plunge almost to 7,000. Since then DJIA nearly quadrupled in value, as of mid-July 2019 hovering at above the 27,000 mark. Since the US economy as a whole has not quadrupled during the same time interval, there is a clear dissociation between “Wall Street” and “Main Street” that will at some point inevitably lead to serious economic and political problems in the United States, to the point of considerably remaking its political landscape.  

The proverbial $64,000 question, however, is when will the US financial house of cards come tumbling down the next time, and what will be the triggering event?

“Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain”

Politics is a factor in the management of the US financial system. The US Federal Reserve, though it is rarely perceived as having its finger on the scale of US presidential elections, played a role during the 2000 and 2008 presidential elections and its monetary policy decisions do impact day-to-day presidential approval ratings indirectly, through their influence on DJIA fluctuations. The Fed contributed to the financial bubble bursting by raising its lending rates on the eve of the election, and while its actions may be justified in terms of preventing an even bigger bubble, the timing of the raising of interest rates was such that it hurt the candidates of the incumbent parties (Al Gore in 2000, John McCain in 2008), thus facilitating a change of flag, as it were, in the White House.

The 2008 election was particularly indicative of the power wielded by the Fed. It is all-but-forgotten that Obama-Biden’s nominating convention was a dud, while that of McCain-Palin was a success that gave the GOP team such a bounce in the polls that they were leading their Democratic opponents in the polls and provoking panic in Obama’s camp. Had Lehman Brothers not been allowed to fail, thus triggering a global financial meltdown, the outcome of the election may well have been very different.  However, on the eve of the 2016 election the Fed was very gun-shy when it came to raising interest rates—had it been as aggressive as it was in 2008, its monetary policy would have once again caused the grossly overvalued US stock market to crater, thus sending Trump into the White House with a far broader margin of victory than what he actually enjoyed.

Four More Years?

Therefore the question should be framed in terms of whether Trump is long for this political world. Sturm und Drang emanating from the establishment media notwithstanding, it does appear as if Trump succeeded in appeasing enough of Washington’s power players, not the least of them being the “intelligence community”, to give himself a solid shot at a second term. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intimated as much when she announced, to the annoyance of a sizable portion of her caucus, that impeachment was off the table. Robert Mueller’s failure to deliver impeachable goods on Trump also suggests that the “intelligence community” no longer views its ostensible Commander-in-Chief as a threat to its institutional interests. The de-facto purge of Trump’s foreign policy apparatus followed by the installation of neocons such as Mike Pompeo at State, John Bolton at the NSC, and the reliable military-industrial complex lobbyist and functionary Mike Esper at the DOD, was probably enough to ensure smooth feathers ruffled by Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat.

Toward a Managed Economy

If the preference is, as it appears to be, to not sabotage Trump’s re-election bid by triggering an economic crisis, one should not expect a major crisis in the US economy within the next two years, or until the outcome of the 2020 election is decided. Observing the ups and downs of the DJIA since Trump took office, one is left with the impression that the US financial institutions are acting as if there existed an invisible “safety net” to catch them in the event of the onset of a “bear market” or even a proverbial “black swan” event that could trigger a US-wide or even global financial meltdown. Whenever one sees the DJIA drop by several hundred points in a single day, or even a thousand points within a few days, one can rest assured the drop will be followed by a spectacular rise in the following days. In a remarkable reversal of course, considering that the US economy is officially still “booming”, the Federal Reserve itself no longer seems willing to be interested in raising rates.

It does not mean that the US economy is entirely out of the woods. Certain sectors of it, for example retail, oil fracking, or even sub-prime auto loans, may suffer waves of bankruptcies. Those enterprises which are vulnerable to Chinese counter-tariffs, starting with the US agri-businesses, will also fare poorly. But if the situation gets too severe, one can expect the US Congress to vote in favor of subsidies, and the financial sector can count on the Federal Reserve to keep it afloat, so that the mounting bankruptcies are extremely unlikely to affect the “too big too fail” banks, not anymore than they did following the 2008 housing crisis.

The financial sector, in particular, is being treated as a de-facto US strategic asset. On the one hand, economic warfare being waged by the US Department of Treasury through its ever-expanding list of sanctioned entities is taking bread out of US banks’ mouths. This happens not only through the loss of actual business with the sanctioned entities but also due to the slowly progressing process of “de-dollarization” which in the long term could become an existential threat to the US status as the dominant center of global finance. But the US banks have met this situation with equanimity, indicating they are some form of compensation for their troubles.

The one threat to the stability of US economy that the US government or Fed might not be able to deal with are the consequences of the US trade war against the rest of the world. Should it trigger a financial crisis elsewhere, for example in the EU or China, then the US would find itself in a severe recession once again. However, both EU and China are developing their own capacity for dealing with US-induced economic shocks, in that respect following Russia’s example.

Disaster Capitalism on the Horizon?

This idyllic stagnation in the US is unlikely to continue forever. There are still a number of issues the US oligarchy needs tackled, first and foremost of them being the Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs.  With even frontrunner Democrats like Joe Biden proclaiming, on the presidential campaign trail, no less, that “Medicare is gone”, one should expect “entitlement reform” to be on the agenda of a future administration or perhaps even of Trump’s second term. To achieve that objective, a little controlled chaos following a financial meltdown and a recession to set Americans against one another along racial and generational lines, could be very useful. But it does not appear likely such a scenario will be enacted before 2021 at the earliest.

Published:8/6/2019 6:01:33 PM
[The Blog] Politico: Democrats are eating Obama’s legacy like Hannibal Lecter

"...with fava beans and a nice chianti."

The post Politico: Democrats are eating Obama’s legacy like Hannibal Lecter appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/6/2019 2:28:59 PM
[Media] Chris Matthews: Obama’s Presidency ‘Still Thrilling to Me’

The following article, Chris Matthews: Obama’s Presidency ‘Still Thrilling to Me’, was first published on Godfather Politics.

-By Rusty Weiss Somebody get Chris Matthews’ leg under control. It’s about to get all tingly. The MSNBC host who once proclaimed Barack Obama gave him “a thrill going up my leg” is admitting the magic is still there. The ‘Hardball’ host was discussing the current crop of Democrat presidential candidates, many of whom have ...

Continue reading: Chris Matthews: Obama’s Presidency ‘Still Thrilling to Me’ ...

Published:8/6/2019 9:28:40 AM
[Politics] For Democrats, Candidate Attacks on Obama Are A Close Call

Front-runner Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential challengers have attacked him for policies enacted under President Obama with whom he served as vice president. Some Democrats complain that criticism of Obama is bad for the party, and Democratic voters are closely divided.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of Likely Democratic Voters believe it is bad for their party when candidates criticize actions and policies during the Obama presidency. Only 26% say it’s good for the party, but 21% say it has no impact. Ten percent (10%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 4-5, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:8/6/2019 9:28:40 AM
[Markets] Ship Of Fools: Britain, America, & The Iranian Oil-Tanker Incidents

Authored by T.J.Coles via Counterpunch.org,

Taking over from Britain’s colonial role in exploiting the country, the US has bullied and tried to intimidate Iran for decades. The ongoing pretext for strangling Iran economically is that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly finds no evidence for this repeated US-led lie. Then-US President Barack Obama’s Task Force explained the real, as opposed to rhetorical, reasons for US opposition to Iran’s development of enriched uranium for its civilian nuclear energy programme, to which Iran is entitled under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty–a treaty regularly violated by the UK and US, and to which their ally Israel is not party, despite having undeclared nuclear weapons. The Obama-era Task Force report reads:

“So long as the United States firmly opposed Iran’s [civilian nuclear] Bushehr facility, no friendly Arab state actively pursued civil nuclear power. But once Washington accepted that Iran could have a nuclear power plant, the United States was in no position to press its friends not to pursue a capability it had agreed Iran could have … [I]f an agreement is reached legitimizing even limited enrichment on Iranian soil, other countries may well be interested in having the same capabilities, and it could be difficult diplomatically to dissuade them from this pursuit … Demonstrating how seriously the international community is concerned about Iran’s actions might discourage imitators.”

A media serving the interests of the public, not US foreign policy elites, would make this reminder–that Iran is being abused by the US to deter regional states from moving away from fossil-fuel dependence–regular headline news. Others want all-out war. Veteran reporter Seymour Hersh revealed a plan by then-US Vice President (some say real President), Dick Cheney, to stage a fake maritime incident between “Iranian” (disguised US vessels in reality) and US warships. Hersh says:

“There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build?—?we in our shipyard?—?build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.”

More recently, similar incidents appear to have occurred.

SANCTIONS: “MAKE THE PAIN MUCH GREATER”

In 2012, Britain joined the US’s imposition of economic sanctions on Iran. Then-UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon described “significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.” Britain’s then-Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, informed the Iranians: “We can definitely make the pain much greater.” (Hammond is now working as a Member of Parliament to block Britain’s no-deal exit from the European Union, ironically in fear of food and medicine shortages. Fine for Iranians to suffer, but not us, thank you very much.)

The so-called “nuclear deal” praised by “liberal” Western media was, in reality, a disaster for Iran, which the government signed with an economic noose around its neck. In 2015, Iran and the EU (including Britain) signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United Nations Security Council, meaning in theory the US, too, adopted the JCPOA as UNSCR 2231. Iran agreed to limit its civilian nuclear energy programme and allow enhanced inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which as noted fails to find any convincing evidence of an Iranian WMD programme. The “agreement” states that “[t]he JCPOA will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.”

But the US immediately violated the spirit of the JCPOA. The Congressional Research Service states that despite Obama’s lifting of “relevant sanctions,” whatever that means, the reality is that sanctions remained in place and thus in violation of the spirit if not letter of the JCPOA. “Remaining in place were a general ban on U.S. trade with Iran and sanctions on Iran’s support for regional governments and armed factions, its human rights abuses, its efforts to acquire missile and advanced conventional weapons capabilities, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

In May 2018, US President Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum, “ceasing” US “participation in the JCPOA.”

FISHY HAPPENINGS AT SEA

In May of this year, Ret. Special Agent in Customs, Karl Golovin, asked the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair, Gen. Dunford, about “the potential for false flag terrorism, leading us into war with Iran.” Unusually, Gen. Dunford responded:

“Yeah, look, I’m not going to answer the question directly. I don’t know what others want, but I’ll just tell you this, I am very familiar with the consequences of going to war and take the responsibility of providing military advice in that regard very seriously … Are there people who might like to get the United States to do something? Certainly you can see that even in the open source where that speculation is out there. But I can guarantee you, that’s not going to inform the military advice…”

The British House of Commons Library reports that the US sent an aircraft carrier to the Gulf, citing alleged Iranian escalations of proxy activities in the region. But it adds: “A deputy commander of the Iraq-based coalition fighting ISIS/Daesh, a British Major General, appeared to contradict that on 14 May: ‘There are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria, and we don’t see any increased threat from any of them at this stage’.”

On 12 May, Iran was blamed by the US for sabotaging four oil tankers: two of which were Saudi (an enemy of Iran), one Norwegian (neutral), and one from the United Arab Emirates (a Western ally). Despite claims that Iran was to blame, the United Arab Emirates’ inquiry submitted to the UN Security Council did not mention Iran. In June, Iran was blamed by the US for attacking two tankers, Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous, providing fuzzy video to support its case. But when asked for specific evidence, the UK’s Minister for the Middle East, replied: “we are as sure as we can be.”

On 4 July, thirty British Royal Marines were alleged to have commandeered, in Gibraltarian waters, the Iranian-operated tanker, Grace I, supposedly to stop its “unlawful” delivery of oil to Syria. Iran argues, plausibly, that this was a violation of international law because the EU sanctions against Syria do not apply to non-EU states. Britain argues that Iran was using Gibraltarian waters to break the law. But this misses the point: What legal or moral right does the US or EU or Gibraltar have to dictate the nature of Iran’s oil sales?

The Royal Marines allegedly made the civilian crew kneel on the deck whilst pointing guns at them. The captain says: “They didn’t care whether I was master… there was no regulations (sic)… we had 28 unarmed crew. I was in a state of shock, everybody was in a state of shock.

How do you come on a ship like this with armed forces and such brute force. For what reason?” (BBC’s ellipses). The British Ministry of Defence describes this brutality as “standard operating procedure.”

The maritime law firm Tatham & Co. writes:

“Perhaps what is most interesting about this seizure is that it was carried out pursuant to the ‘Sanctions Regulations 2019’ enacted by Gibraltar on 3 July, just one day before the seizure. Those Regulations give the Chief Minister of Gibraltar powers to designate a vessel as a ‘Specified Ship’ if he ‘has reasonable grounds to suspect that the ship … has been, or is likely to be, involved in a breach of the EU Regulation’. The EU Regulation in question is Regulation (EU) No. 36/2012 and a ‘Specified Ship Notice’ was issued in Gibraltar on 3 July 2019 naming the Grace 1.”

The Observer’s Simon Tisdall cites “evidence” that US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s “national security team was directly involved in manufacturing the Gibraltar incident … when US spy satellites, tasked with helping block Iranian oil exports in line with Trump’s global embargo, began to track Grace I on its way, allegedly, to Syria, Bolton saw an opportunity.” In addition to remember Dick Cheney’s scheme from more than a decade ago, it should also be remembered that Bolton wrote a book about Iran and US-led geopolitics in general, entitled Surrender Is Not An Option. Spain does not formally recognize Britain’s territorial claims over Gibraltar. Why didn’t the Spanish intervene in this allegedly unlawful Iranian move? Because the US, presumably as part of the “trap,” already tipped off British intelligence (read: instructed them to seize the vessel).

In revenge, the Iranians seized two ships: the British-registered, Swedish-owned Stena Impero and the British-operated Mesdar.

IN CONCLUSION

Britain has pirated and plundered Iran for well-over a century, most notably by stealing its oil via the virtual monopoly, Anglo-Persian (now BP). The US worked with Britain in 1953 to overthrow the Mossadeq government. They imposed the blood-thirsty Shah on the people of Iran and never forgave the Iranians for shaking off their shackles in the Islamic Revolution 1979. In addition to arming Iran’s enemy-next-door, Saddam Hussein, during the brutal war (1980-89), the US, Britain and Israel have engaged in subversion activities, including murder and sabotage. The recent seizure of the Iranian tanker is a continuation of imperial policy.

Published:8/4/2019 7:14:09 AM
[c9e181a8-af3b-599a-802b-541b5f500be1] Jessica Tarlov: Dem presidential candidates won’t benefit by bashing Obama President Obama is a hugely popular figure among Democrats overall and holds an astounding 99 approval rating among African-Americans. Attacking his legacy, or even seeming to do so, is a terrible idea for Democratic presidential contenders. Published:8/4/2019 3:12:34 AM
[Markets] Maher Says 2020 Democrats 'Blowing It' , Wishes (Again) For Crippling Recession To Unseat Trump

Bill Maher thinks that 2020 Democratic candidates are 'blowing it' - and he'd begrudgingly accept Joe Biden as his next president. 

"All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump, and, of course, they’re blowing it. Coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in America sucks," Maher said On Friday's broadcast of HBO's "Real Time." 

"Now, do I want Biden to be president? Not really. But Biden’s the only Democrat who beats Trump in Ohio. He’s like non-dairy creamer. Nobody loves it, but in a jam, it gets the job done," Maher added. 

Maher also slammed 2020 Democrats for heaping criticism on former President Obama - mocking the candidates for saying the ex-president who remains highly popular with Democrats "is not woke enough." 

"The Democratic candidates went after the president hard. Unfortunately, the president was Obama. … The guy with the 97% approval rating among the Democrats, his shit is not woke enough now. Trump saw that, he called Putin. He said, I got this one," joked Maher. 

Maher wishes for recession

During the guest segment of the show, Maher - who makes $6 million per year and has an estimated net worth of $100 million, revived his 2018 wish for an economic collapse in order to unseat President Trump. 

"I’ve been hoping for a recession – people hate me for it – but it would get rid of Trump," said Maher - to which New York Magazine business columnist Josh Barro replied: "Recessions are really bad. People lose their jobs and homes and we shouldn’t wish for it."

"I know. It's worth it," said Maher. 

Maher, of course, would hardly be affected if the economy crashed - unlike tens of millions of low and medium income Americans whose lives would be immeasurably worse his dreams come true. 

Published:8/3/2019 5:44:14 PM
[Markets] WaPo Publishes Gabbard Smear Piece Filled With Blatant Lies

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

The Washington Post, which is wholly owned by a CIA contractor who is reportedly working to control the underlying infrastructure of the global economy, has published a shockingly deceitful smear piece about Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the wake of her criticisms of her opponent Kamala Harris’ prosecutorial record during the last Democratic debate.

The article’s author, Josh Rogin, has been a cheerleader for US regime change interventionism in Syria since the very beginning of the conflict in that nation. It is unsurprising, then, that he reacted with orgasmic exuberance when Harris retaliated against Gabbard’s devastating attack by smearing the Hawaii congresswoman as an “Assad apologist”, since Gabbard has been arguably the most consistent and high-profile critic of Rogin’s pet war agenda. His article, titled “Tulsi Gabbard’s Syria record shows why she can’t be president”, is one of the most dishonest articles that I have ever read in a mainstream publication, and the fact that it made it through The Washington Post’s editors is enough to fully discredit that outlet.

You can read Rogin’s smear piece without giving Jeff Bezos more money by clicking here for an archive. There’s so much dishonesty packed into this one that all I can do is go through it lie-by-lie until I either finish or get tired, so let’s begin:

“Gabbard asserts that the United States (not Assad) is responsible for the death and destruction in Syria, that the Russian airstrikes on civilians are to be praised

This is just a complete, brazen, whole-cloth lie from Rogin. If you click the hyperlink he alleges supports his claim that Gabbard asserts “Russian airstrikes on civilians are to be praised,” you come to a 2015 tweet by the congresswoman which reads, “Bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.”

Now, you can agree or disagree with Gabbard’s position that the US should be participating in airstrikes against al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, but there’s no way you can possibly interpret her acceptance of Russia doing so to be anywhere remotely like “praise” for “airstrikes on civilians”. There is simply no way to represent the content of her tweet that way without knowingly lying about what you think it says. The only way Rogin’s claim could be anything resembling truthful would be if “al-Qaeda” and “civilians” meant the same thing. Obviously this is not the case, so Rogin can only be knowingly lying.

“That bias, combined with her long record of defending the Assad regime and parroting its propaganda, form the basis for the assertion Gabbard has ‘embraced and been an apologist for’ Assad, as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) said Wednesday post-debate on CNN.”

Gabbard has no record whatsoever of “defending the Assad regime”. This is a lie. There exist copious amounts of quotes by Gabbard opposing US regime change interventionism in Syria and voicing skepticism of the narratives used to promote said interventionism, but there are no quotes anywhere in which she claims Assad is a nice person or that he hasn’t done bad things. If such quotes existed, Rogin would have included them in his smear piece. He did not. All he can do is lie about their existence.

“To repeat: There is no quote in which Tulsi praises, supports, or otherwise ‘apologies for’ Assad,” journalist Michael Tracey recently tweeted with a link to his January article on the subject. “I checked the record a long time ago, and it doesn’t exist. This is just a smear intended to delegitimize diplomatic engagement”

“Claiming that politicians are ‘defending’ objectionable rulers they meet with, in pursuit of achieving some alternative to war, is a tired trope that has been frequently used throughout history to discredit diplomatic engagement,” Tracey wrote. “As Gabbard told me in an interview shortly after returning from Syria: ‘The reason why I decided to take this meeting on this trip was because if we profess to care about the Syrian people — if we really truly care about ending their suffering and ending this war — then we should be ready to meet with anyone if there is a chance that that meeting and that conversation could help to bring about an end to this war.’”

Gabbard has been remarkably consistent in explaining her position that she opposes US regime change interventionism in Syria because US regime change interventionism is reliably disastrous. This isn’t “defending” anyone, nor is it “parroting propaganda”. It’s an indisputable, thoroughly established fact.

“Other Democratic candidates have promised to end U.S. military adventurism without making excuses for a mass murderer. It’s neither progressive nor liberal to defend Assad, a fascist, totalitarian psychopath who can never peacefully preside over Syria after what he has done.”

Again, claiming that Gabbard has done anything at all to “defend Assad” is a lie. If anything Gabbard has been too uncritical of establishment war propaganda narratives, calling Assad “a brutal dictator” who has “used chemical weapons and other weapons against his people.” Gabbard’s sole arguments on the matter have been in opposition to US military interventionism and skepticism of narratives used to support such interventionism, which only an idiot would object to in a post-Iraq invasion world.

Rogin argues that it’s possible to end US military adventurism without defending and making excuses for Assad, yet this is exactly the thing that Tulsi Gabbard has been doing since day one. Which means Rogin doesn’t actually believe it’s ever okay for any presidential candidate to want to end US military adventurism under any circumstances. Which is of course the real driving motivation behind his deceitful smear piece against Gabbard.

“Gabbard never talks about her other trip — to the Turkish-Syrian border with a group of lawmakers in June 2015, when she met with authentic opposition leaders, victims of Assad’s barrel bombs and members of the volunteer rescue brigade known as the White Helmets. Their stories, which don’t support Assad’s narrative, never make it into Gabbard’s speeches on the campaign trail.”

This one is bizarre. Rogin says this as though Gabbard’s meeting with Assad is something that she brings up “on the campaign trail” rather than something war propagandists like himself bring up and force her to respond to. The fact that those propagandists never bring up Gabbard’s meetings with the Syrian opposition is an indictment of their bias, not hers. The mental gymnastics required to make Gabbard’s meetings with all sides of the Syrian conflict feel more pro-Assad rather than less deserve an Olympic gold medal.

Obviously Gabbard having met with all sides is indicative of an absence of favoritism, not the presence of it. The fact that she didn’t come away from her meetings with empire-allied opposition forces with the opinion that the US should help storm Damascus doesn’t mean she supports any particular side.

“Gabbard’s candidacy should be taken very seriously — not because she has a significant chance of being president, but because her narrative on Syria is deeply incorrect, immoral and un-American. If it were adopted by her party and the country, it would lead the United States down a perilous moral and strategic path.”

Saying a “narrative” can be “un-American” is a fairly straightforward admission that you are authoring propaganda. Unless you believe your nation has one authorized set of narratives, a narrative can’t be “un-American”. This is as close as you’ll ever get to an admission from Rogin that US power structures work to control the dominant narratives about world events, and that he helps them do it. To such a person, opposition to your narrative control agendas would be seen as the antithesis of the group you identify with.

The US empire has an extensive and well-documented history of using lies, propaganda and false flags to initiate military conflicts which advantage it. To continue to deny this after Iraq is either willful ignorance or propaganda.

The fact that Rogin adds “strategic path” to his argument nullifies his claim that his position has anything to do with morality. If your foreign policy concern is with strategic leverage, you will naturally try to interpret anything which advances that strategic path as the moral choice.

“Listening to Gabbard, one might think the United States initiated the Syrian conflict by arming terrorists for a regime-change war that has resulted in untold suffering.”

This is exactly what happened. The US armed extremist militants with the goal of effecting regime change, and before Russia intervened they almost succeeded. According to the former Prime Minister of Qatar, the US and its allies were involved in this behavior from the very beginning of the conflict in 2011. Here is a link to an article full of primary source documents showing that the US and its allies had been scheming since well before 2011 to provoke a civil war in Syria with the goal of regime change. They did exactly what they planned to do, which is exactly the thing Rogin claims they did not do.

But Gabbard never even takes her analysis this far. She simply says the US should not get involved in another US regime change war, because it shouldn’t.

“Responding to Harris, Gabbard called Assad’s atrocities ‘detractions,’[sic] before eventually saying she doesn’t dispute that he’s guilty of torture and murder. That’s a slight improvement from her previous protestations that there was not enough evidence.”

Rogin falsely implies here that Gabbard only just began accusing Assad of war crimes, and that she only did so in response to new pressure resulting from Harris’ criticism. As noted earlier, this is false; Gabbard has been harshly critical of Assad.

“Gabbard then quickly accused President Trump of aiding al-Qaeda in Idlib. ‘That does sound like a talking point of the Assad regime,’ CNN’s Anderson Cooper said. He could have just said she is wrong.”

Even the US State Department has acknowledged that Idlib is an al-Qaeda stronghold, and the Trump administration has taken aggressive moves to prevent the Assad coalition from launching a full-scale campaign to reclaim the territory. Claiming that this did not happen is a lie per even the accepted narratives of the US political/media class.

“Gabbard’s 2017 trip was financed and run by members of a Lebanesesocialist-nationalist party that works closely with the Assad regime.”

Former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who accompanied Gabbard on this trip, dismissed this accusation as “so much horseshit I can’t believe it.” All parties involved have denied this narrative, which Rogin has played a pivotal role in promoting from the very beginning and to which he has been forced to make multiple embarrassing corrections.

“Gabbard’s plan to overtly side with Assad and Russia while they commit crimes against humanity would be a strategic disaster, a gift to the extremists and a betrayal of decades of U.S. commitments to stand up to mass atrocities. Democratic voters who believe in liberalism and truth must reject not only her candidacy but also her attempt to disguise moral bankruptcy as a progressive value.”

Another lie; Gabbard has no such plan. Opposing US regime change interventionism isn’t “siding” with anybody, it’s just not supporting a thing that is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful.

Rogin’s closing admonishment to reject not just Gabbard but her skepticism of US war narratives is yet another admission that he’s concerned with narrative control here, not with truth and not even really with a US presidential candidate.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and shameless war propagandists like Josh Rogin are the attack dogs of establishment narrative control.

*  *  *

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Published:8/3/2019 3:46:11 PM
[Markets] The Rise Of The American Gestapo

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Adolf Hitler is alive and well in the United States, and he is fast rising to power.”

- Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, on the danger posed by the FBI to our civil liberties

Despite the finger-pointing and outcries of dismay from those who are watching the government discard the rule of law at every turn, the question is not whether Donald Trump is the new Adolf Hitler but whether the American Police State is the new Third Reich.

For those who can view the present and past political landscape without partisan blinders, the warning signs are unmistakable: the Deep State’s love affair with totalitarianism began long ago.

Indeed, the U.S. government so admired the Nazi regime that following the second World War, it secretly recruited Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order, implemented his tactics in incremental steps, and began to lay the foundations for the rise of the Fourth Reich.

Sounds far-fetched? Read on. It’s all documented.

As historian Robert Gellately recounts, “After five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.” The Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police—the Gestapo.

The FBI was so impressed with the Nazi regime that, according to the New York Times, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.

All told, thousands of Nazi collaborators—including the head of a Nazi concentration camp, among others—were given secret visas and brought to America by way of Project Paperclip. Subsequently, they were hired on as spies and informants, and then camouflaged to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. All the while, thousands of Jewish refugees were refused entry visas to the U.S. on the grounds that it could threaten national security.

Adding further insult to injury, American taxpayers have been paying to keep these ex-Nazis on the U.S. government’s payroll ever since. And in true Gestapo fashion, anyone who has dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties has found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.

As if the government’s covert, taxpayer-funded employment of Nazis after World War II wasn’t bad enough, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA and the military—have fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and have used them repeatedly against American citizens.

Indeed, with every passing day, the United States government borrows yet another leaf from Nazi Germany’s playbook: Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Censorship. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. Indefinite detention.

These are not tactics used by constitutional republics, where the rule of law and the rights of the citizenry reign supreme. Rather, they are the hallmarks of authoritarian regimes, where the only law that counts comes in the form of heavy-handed, unilateral dictates from a supreme ruler who uses a secret police to control the populace.

That danger is now posed by the FBI, whose laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, and that’s just based on what we know.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government; recruiting high school students to spy on and report fellow students who show signs of being future terrorists; or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

Whatever minimal restrictions initially kept the FBI’s surveillance activities within the bounds of the law have all but disappeared post-9/11. Since then, the FBI has been transformed into a mammoth federal policing and surveillance agency that largely operates as a power unto itself, beyond the reach of established laws, court rulings and legislative mandates.

Consider the FBI’s far-reaching powers to surveil, detain, interrogate, investigate, prosecute, punish, police and generally act as a law unto themselves—much like their Nazi cousins, the Gestapo—and then try to convince yourself that the United States is still a constitutional republic.

Just like the Gestapo, the FBI has vast resources, vast investigatory powers, and vast discretion to determine who is an enemy of the state.

Today, the FBI employs more than 35,000 individuals and operates more than 56 field offices in major cities across the U.S., as well as 400 resident agencies in smaller towns, and more than 50 international offices. In addition to their “data campus,” which houses more than 96 million sets of fingerprints from across the United States and elsewhere, the FBI has also built a vast repository of “profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.” The FBI’s burgeoning databases on Americans are not only being added to and used by local police agencies, but are also being made available to employers for real-time background checks.

All of this is made possible by the agency’s nearly unlimited resources (its minimum budget alone in fiscal year 2015 was $8.3 billion), the government’s vast arsenal of technology, the interconnectedness of government intelligence agencies, and information sharing through fusion centers—data collecting intelligence agencies spread throughout the country that constantly monitor communications (including those of American citizens), everything from internet activity and web searches to text messages, phone calls and emails.

Much like the Gestapo spied on mail and phone calls, FBI agents have carte blanche access to the citizenry’s most personal information.

Working through the U.S. Post Office, the FBI has access to every piece of mail that passes through the postal system: more than 160 billion pieces are scanned and recorded annually. Moreover, the agency’s National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose those demands to the customer. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread constitutional violations.

Much like the Gestapo’s sophisticated surveillance programs, the FBI’s spying capabilities can delve into Americans’ most intimate details (and allow local police to do so, as well).

In addition to technology (which is shared with police agencies) that allows them to listen in on phone calls, read emails and text messages, and monitor web activities, the FBI’s surveillance boasts an invasive collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls.  In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.” Law enforcement agencies are also using social media tracking software to monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Moreover, secret FBI rules also allow agents to spy on journalists without significant judicial oversight.

Much like the Gestapo’s ability to profile based on race and religion, and its assumption of guilt by association, the FBI’s approach to pre-crime allows it to profile Americans based on a broad range of characteristics including race and religion.

The agency’s biometric database has grown to massive proportions, the largest in the world, encompassing everything from fingerprints, palm, face and iris scans to DNA, and is being increasingly shared between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to target potential criminals long before they ever commit a crime. This is what’s known as pre-crime. Yet it’s not just your actions that will get you in trouble. In many cases, it’s also who you know—even minimally—and where your sympathies lie that could land you on a government watch list. Moreover, as the Intercept reports, despite anti-profiling prohibitions, the bureau “claims considerable latitude to use race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in deciding which people and communities to investigate.”

Much like the Gestapo’s power to render anyone an enemy of the state, the FBI has the power to label anyone a domestic terrorist.

As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force has begun using the terms “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably. Moreover, the government continues to add to its growing list of characteristics that can be used to identify an individual (especially anyone who disagrees with the government) as a potential domestic terrorist. For instance, you might be a domestic terrorist in the eyes of the FBI (and its network of snitches) if you:

  • express libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)

  • exhibit Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership)

  • read survivalist literature, including apocalyptic fictional books

  • show signs of self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)

  • fear an economic collapse

  • buy gold and barter items

  • subscribe to religious views concerning the book of Revelation

  • voice fears about Big Brother or big government

  • expound about constitutional rights and civil liberties

  • believe in a New World Order conspiracy

Much like the Gestapo infiltrated communities in order to spy on the German citizenry, the FBI routinely infiltrates political and religious groups, as well as businesses.

As Cora Currier writes for the Intercept: “Using loopholes it has kept secret for years, the FBI can in certain circumstances bypass its own rules in order to send undercover agents or informants into political and religious organizations, as well as schools, clubs, and businesses...” The FBI has even been paying Geek Squad technicians at Best Buy to spy on customers’ computers without a warrant.

Just as the Gestapo united and militarized Germany’s police forces into a national police force, America’s police forces have largely been federalized and turned into a national police force.

In addition to government programs that provide the nation’s police forces with military equipment and training, the FBI also operates a National Academy that trains thousands of police chiefs every year and indoctrinates them into an agency mindset that advocates the use of surveillance technology and information sharing between local, state, federal, and international agencies.

Just as the Gestapo’s secret files on political leaders were used to intimidate and coerce, the FBI’s files on anyone suspected of “anti-government” sentiment have been similarly abused.

As countless documents make clear, the FBI has no qualms about using its extensive powers in order to blackmail politicians, spy on celebrities and high-ranking government officials, and intimidate and attempt to discredit dissidents of all stripes. For example, not only did the FBI follow Martin Luther King Jr. and bug his phones and hotel rooms, but agents also sent him anonymous letters urging him to commit suicide and pressured a Massachusetts college into dropping King as its commencement speaker.

Just as the Gestapo carried out entrapment operations, the FBI has become a master in the art of entrapment.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks the FBI has not only targeted vulnerable individuals but has also lured or blackmailed them into fake terror plots while actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing or deporting them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.” In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts. USA Todayestimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

When and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America, in much the same way that the empowerment of Germany’s secret police tracked with the rise of the Nazi regime.

How did the Gestapo become the terror of the Third Reich?

It did so by creating a sophisticated surveillance and law enforcement system that relied for its success on the cooperation of the military, the police, the intelligence community, neighborhood watchdogs, government workers for the post office and railroads, ordinary civil servants, and a nation of snitches inclined to report “rumors, deviant behavior, or even just loose talk.”

In other words, ordinary citizens working with government agents helped create the monster that became Nazi Germany. Writing for the New York Times, Barry Ewen paints a particularly chilling portrait of how an entire nation becomes complicit in its own downfall by looking the other way:

In what may be his most provocative statement, [author Eric A.] Johnson says that ‘‘most Germans may not even have realized until very late in the war, if ever, that they were living in a vile dictatorship.’’ This is not to say that they were unaware of the Holocaust; Johnson demonstrates that millions of Germans must have known at least some of the truth. But, he concludes, ‘‘a tacit Faustian bargain was struck between the regime and the citizenry.’’ The government looked the other way when petty crimes were being committed. Ordinary Germans looked the other way when Jews were being rounded up and murdered; they abetted one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century not through active collaboration but through passivity, denial and indifference.

Much like the German people, “we the people” have become passive, polarized, gullible, easily manipulated, and lacking in critical thinking skills.  Distracted by entertainment spectacles, politics and screen devices, we too are complicit, silent partners in creating a police state similar to the terror practiced by former regimes.

Had the government tried to ram such a state of affairs down our throats suddenly, it might have had a rebellion on its hands.

Instead, the American people have been given the boiling frog treatment, immersed in water that slowly is heated up—degree by degree—so that they’ve fail to notice that they’re being trapped and cooked and killed.

“We the people” are in hot water now.

The Constitution doesn’t stand a chance against a federalized, globalized standing army of government henchmen protected by legislative, judicial and executive branches that are all on the same side, no matter what political views they subscribe to: suffice it to say, they are not on our side or the side of freedom.

From Clinton to Bush, then Obama and now Trump, it’s as if we’ve been caught in a time loop, forced to re-live the same thing over and over again: the same assaults on our freedoms, the same disregard for the rule of law, the same subservience to the Deep State, and the same corrupt, self-serving government that exists only to amass power, enrich its shareholders and ensure its continued domination.

Can the Fourth Reich happen here?

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it’s already happening right under our noses.

Published:8/2/2019 11:10:07 PM
[Markets] The Last Western Empire?

Via The Saker blog,

“Missing the forest for the trees” is an apt metaphor if we take a look at most commentary describing the past twenty years or so. This period has been remarkable in the number of genuinely tectonic changes the international system has undergone. It all began during what I think of as the “Kristallnacht of international law,” 30 August September 1995, when the Empire attacked the Bosnian-Serbs in a direct and total violation of all the most fundamental principles of international law. Then there was 9/11, which gave the Neocons the “right” (or so they claimed) to threaten, attack, bomb, kill, maim, kidnap, assassinate, torture, blackmail and otherwise mistreat any person, group or nation on the planet simply becausewe are the indispensable nation” and “you either are with the terrorists or with us“.

During these same years, we saw Europe become a third-rate US colony incapable of defending even fundamental European geopolitical interests while the USA became a third-rate colony of Israel equally incapable of defending even fundamental US geopolitical interests. Most interestingly looking back, while the US and the EU were collapsing under the weight of their own mistakes, Russia and China were clearly on the ascend; Russia mostly in military terms (see here and here) and China mostly economically. Most crucially, Russia and China gradually agreed to become symbionts which, I would argue, is even stronger and more meaningful than if these two countries were united by some kind of formal alliance: alliances can be broken (especially when a western nation is involved), but symbiotic relationships usually last forever (well, nothing lasts forever, of course, but when a lifespan is measured in decades, it is the functional equivalent of “forever”, at least in geostrategic analytical terms). The Chinese have now developed an official, special, and unique expression to characterize that relationship with Russia. They speak of a “Strategic, comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era.”

This is the AngloZionists’ worst nightmare, and their legacy ziomedia goes to great lengths to conceal the fact that Russia and China are, for all practical purposes, strategic allies. They also try hard to convince the Russian people that China is a threat to Russia (using bogus arguments, but never-mind that). It won’t work, while some Russians have fears about China, the Kremlin knows the truth of the matter and will continue to deepen Russia’s symbiotic relationship with China further. Not only that, it now appears that Iran is gradually being let in to this alliance. We have the most official confirmation possible of that fact in words spoken by General Patrushev in Israel after his meeting with US and Israeli officials: “Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner.”

I could go on listing various signs of the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire along with signs that a new, parallel, international world order is in the process of being built before our eyes. I have done that many times in the past, and I will not repeat it all here (those interested can click here and here). I will submit that the AngloZionists have reached a terminal stage of decay in which the question of “if” is replaced by “when.” But even more interesting would be to look at the “what”: what does the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire really mean?

I rarely see this issue discussed and when it is, it is usually to provide all sorts of reassurances that the Empire will not really collapse, that it is too powerful, too rich and too big to fail and that the current political crises in the USA and Europe will simply result in a reactive transformation of the Empire once the specific problems plaguing it have been addressed. That kind of delusional nonsense is entirely out of touch with reality. And the reality of what is taking place before our eyes is much, much more dramatic and seminal than just fixing a few problems here and there and merrily keep going on.

One of the factors which lures us into a sense of complacency is that we have seen so many other empires in history collapse only to be replaced pretty quickly by some other, that we can’t even imagine that what is taking place right now is a much more dramatic phenomenon: the passage into gradual irrelevance of an entire civilization!

But first, let’s define our terms. For all the self-aggrandizing nonsense taught in western schools, Western civilization does not have its roots in ancient Rome or, even less so, in ancient Greece. The reality is that the Western civilization was born from the Middle-Ages in general and, especially, the 11th century which, not coincidentally, saw the following succession of moves by the Papacy:

These three closely related events are of absolutely crucial importance to the history of the West. The first step the West needed was to free itself from the influence and authority of the rest of the Christian world. Once the ties between Rome and the Christian world were severed, it was only logical for Rome to decree that the Pope now has the most extravagant super-powers no other bishop before him had ever dared contemplate. Finally, this new autonomy and desire for absolute control over our planet resulted in what could be called “the first European imperialist war”: the First Crusade.

To put it succinctly: the 11th century Franks were the real progenitors of modern “Western” Europe and the 11th century marked the first imperialist “foreign war” (to use a modern term). The name of the Empire of the Franks has changed over the centuries, but not its nature, essence, or purpose. Today the true heirs of the Franks are the AngloZionists (for a truly *superb* discussion of the Frankish role in desotrying the true, ancient, Christian Roman civilization of the West, see here).

Over the next 900 years or more, many different empires replaced the Frankish Papacy, and most European countries had their “moment of glory” with colonies overseas and some kind of ideology which was, by definition and axiomatically, declared the only good (or even “the only Christian”) one, whereas the rest of the planet was living in uncivilized and generally terrible conditions which could only be mitigated by those who have *always* believed that they, their religion, their culture or their nation had some kind of messianic role in history (call it “manifest destiny” or “White man’s burden” or being a Kulturträger in quest of a richly deserved Lebensraum): the West Europeans.

It looks like most European nations had a try at being an empire and at imperialist wars. Even such modern mini-states like Holland, Portugal or Austria once were feared imperial powers. And each time one European Empire fell, there was always another one to take its place.

But today?

Who do you think could create an empire powerful enough to fill the void resulting from the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire?

The canonical answer is “China.” And I think that this is nonsense.

Empires cannot only trade. Trade alone is simply not enough to remain a viable empire. Empires also need military force, and not just any military force, but the kind of military force which makes resistance futile. The truth is that NO modern country has anywhere near the capabilities needed to replace the USA in the role of World Hegemon: not even uniting the Russian and Chinese militaries would achieve that result since these two countries do not have:

1) a worldwide network of bases (which the USA have, between 700-1000 depending on how you count)

2) a major strategic air-lift and sea-lift power projection capability

3) a network of so-called “allies” (colonial puppets, really) which will assist in any deployment of military force

But even more crucial is this: China and Russia have no desire whatsoever to become an empire again. These two countries have finally understood the eternal truth, which is that empires are like parasites who feed on the body which hosts them. Yes, not only are all empires always and inherently evil, but a good case can be made that the first victims of imperialism are always the nations which “host the empire” so to speak. Oh sure, the Chinese and the Russians want their countries to be truly free, powerful and sovereign, and they understand that this is only possible when you have a military which can deter an attack, but neither China nor Russia have any interests in policing the planet or imposing some regime change on other countries. All they really want is to be safe from the USA, that’s it.

This new reality is particularly visible in the Middle-East where countries like the United States, Israel or Saudi Arabia (this is the so-called “Axis of Kindness”) are currently only capable of deploying a military capable of massacring civilians or destroy the infrastructure of a country, but which cannot be used effectively against the two real regional powers with a modern military: Iran and Turkey.

But the most revealing litmus test was the US attempt to bully Venezuela back into submission. For all the fire and brimstone threats coming out of DC, the entire “Bolton plan(s?)” for Venezuela has/have resulted in a truly embarrassing failure: if the Sole “Hyperpower” on the planet cannot even overpower a tremendously weakened country right in its backyard, a country undergoing a major crisis, then indeed the US military should stick to the invasion of small countries like Monaco, Micronesia or maybe the Vatican (assuming the Swiss guard will not want to take a shot at the armed reps of the “indispensable nation”). The fact is that an increasing number of medium-sized “average” countries are now gradually acquiring the means to resist a US attack.

So if the writing is on the wall for the AngloZionist Empire, and if no country can replace the USA as imperial world hegemon, what does that mean?

It means the following: 1000 years of European imperialism is coming to an end!

This time around, neither Spain nor the UK nor Austria will take the place of the USA and try to become a world hegemon. In fact, there is not a single European nation which has a military even remotely capable of engaging the kind of “colony pacification” operations needed to keep your colonies in a suitable state of despair and terror. The French had their very last hurray in Algeria, the UK in the Falklands, Spain can’t even get Gibraltar back, and Holland has no real navy worth speaking about. As for central European countries, they are too busy brown-nosing the current empire to even think of becoming an empire (well, except Poland, of course, which dreams of some kind of Polish Empire between the Baltic and the Black Sea; let them, they have been dreaming about it for centuries, and they will still dream about it for many centuries to come…).

Now compare European militaries with the kind of armed forces you can find in Latin America or Asia? There is such a knee-jerk assumption of superiority in most Anglos that they completely fail to realize that medium and even small-sized countries can develop militaries sufficient enough to make an outright US invasion impossible or, at least, any occupation prohibitively expensive in terms of human lives and money (see herehere and here). This new reality also makes the typical US missile/airstrike campaign pretty useless: they will destroy a lot of buildings and bridges, they will turn the local TV stations (“propaganda outlets” in imperial terminology) into giant piles of smoking rubble and dead bodies, and they kill plenty of innocents, but that won’t result in any kind of regime change. The striking fact is that if we accept that warfare is the continuation of politics by other means, then we also have to admit, that under that definition, the US armed forces are totally useless since they cannot help the USA achieve any meaningful political goals.

The truth is that in military and economic terms, the “West” has already lost. The fact that those who understand don’t talk, and that those who talk about this (denying it, of course) have no understanding of what is taking place, makes no difference at all.

In theory, we could imagine that some kind of strong leader would come to power in the USA (the other western countries are utterly irrelevant), crush the Neocons like Putin crushed them in Russia, and prevent the brutal and sudden collapse of the Empire, but that ain’t gonna happen. If there is one thing which the past couple of decades have proven beyond reasonable doubt is that the imperial system is entirely unable to reform itself in spite of people like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perrot, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel or even Obama and Trump – all men who promised meaningful change and who were successfully prevented by the system of achieving anything meaningful. Thus the system is still 100% effective, at least inside the USA: it took the Neocons less than 30 days to crush Trump and all his promises of change, and now it even got Tulsi Gabbard to bow down and cave in to Neocons’ absolutely obligatory political orthodoxy and myths.

So what is likely to happen next?

Simply put, Asia will replace the Western World. But – crucially – this time around no empire will come to take the place of the AngloZionist one. Instead, a loose and informal coalition of mostly Asian countries will offer an alternative economic and civilizational model, which will be immensely attractive to the rest of the planet. As for the Empire, it will very effectively disband itself and slowly fade into irrelevance. Both US Americans and Europeans will, for the very first time in their history, have to behave like civilized people, which means that their traditional “model of development” (ransacking the entire planet and robbing everybody blind) will have to be replaced by one in which these US Americans and Europeans will have to work like everybody else to accumulate riches. This notion will absolutely horrify the current imperial ruling elites, but I wager that it will be welcomed by the majority of the people, especially when this “new” (for them) model will yield more peace and prosperity than the previous one!

Indeed, if the Neocons don’t blow up the entire planet in a nuclear holocaust, the USA and Europe will survive, but only after a painful transition period which could last for a decade or more. One of the factors which will immensely complicate the transition from Empire to “regular” country will be the profound and deep influence 1000 years of imperialism have had on the western cultures, especially in the completely megalomaniac United States (Professor John Marciano’s “Empire as a way of life” lecture series addresses this topic superbly – I highly recommend them!): One thousand years of brainwashing are not so easily overcome, especially on the subconscious (assumptions) level.

Finally, the current rather nasty reaction to the multi-culturalism imposed by the western ruling elites is no less pathological than this corrosive multi-culturalism in the first place. I am referring to the new theories “revisiting” WWII and finding inspiration in all things Third Reich, very much including a revival of racist/racialist theories. This is especially ridiculous (and offensive) when coming from people who try to impersonate Christians but who instead of prayers on their lips just spew 1488-like nonsense. These folks all represent precisely the kind of “opposition” the Neocons love to deal with and which they always (and I really mean *always*) end up defeating. This (pretend) opposition (useful idiots, really) will remain strong as long as it remains well funded (which it currently is). But as soon as the current megalomania (“We are the White Race! We built Athens and Rome! We are Evropa!!!”) ends with an inevitable faceplant, folks will eventually return to sanity and realize that no external scapegoat is responsible for the current state of the West. The sad truth is that the West did all this to itself (mainly due to arrogance and pride!), and the current waves of immigrants are nothing more than a 1000 years of really bad karma returning to where it came from initially. I don’t mean to suggest that folks in the West are all individually responsible for what is happening now. But I do say that all the folks in the West now live with the consequences of 1000 years of unrestrained imperialism. It will be hard, very hard, to change ways, but since that is also the only viable option, it will happen, sooner or later.

But still – there is hope. IF the Neocons don’t blow up the planet, and IF mankind is given enough time to study its history and understand where it took the wrong turn, then maybe, just maybe, there is hope.

I think that we can all find solace in the fact that no matter how ugly, stupid and evil the AngloZionist Empire is, no other empire will ever come to replace it.

In other words, should we survive the current empire (which is by no means certain!) then at least we can look forward to a planet with no empires left, only sovereign countries.

I submit that this is a future worth struggling for.

Published:8/2/2019 10:06:29 PM
[Presidential elections] No. 3 Bookworm Room Podcast — Michelle Obama, Tulsi Gabbard, and cat ladies

It speaks to our vapid celebrity culture that Michael Moore believes that talentless, accomplishment-free Michelle Obama is the Democrat Party’s only hope. I am having fun figuring out more efficient ways to do the podcast. My first podcast, in addition to the days of trying to figure out how to record, edit, and publish it, […]

The post No. 3 Bookworm Room Podcast — Michelle Obama, Tulsi Gabbard, and cat ladies appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:8/2/2019 6:36:48 PM
[The Blog] Biden: You bet I’m surprised that Dems are running against Obama

"This is about the future."

The post Biden: You bet I’m surprised that Dems are running against Obama appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/2/2019 4:03:41 PM
[Politics] De Blasio: 'I Was Not Attacking Obama' During Dem Debate New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday denied attacking former President Barack Obama during the second round of Democratic presidential debates.De Blasio pressed former Vice President Joe Biden to say whether he thought the three million deportations in the Obama... Published:8/2/2019 3:34:32 PM
[] Obama Angry That Democrat Candidates Are Attacking His Presidency and Obamacare This might drive this narcissist to do that which he previously refused to do: Endorse Joe Biden, one of the few Democrats who still considers Obama a successful and progressive president. The others seem to think he's Tan, Bland, Sexually-Flexible*... Published:8/2/2019 3:03:42 PM
[Politics] Former DCCC Chair: Party’s Leftward Lurch Could Cost Dems in 2020

As the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee descends into chaos, its former chairman is warning Democrats not to alienate centrist voters by adopting a platform of far-left policies. Former Rep. Steve Israel (D., N.Y.), who served as DCCC chair from 2011 to 2015, warns in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal that promoting "socialist ...

The post Former DCCC Chair: Party’s Leftward Lurch Could Cost Dems in 2020 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/2/2019 2:03:36 PM
[4195213b-2615-529d-b0d4-5862937218c9] Behar presses de Blasio on going after Obama at debate: 'Do you have to do it in public?' "View" host Joy Behar took issue with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio allegedly attacking former President Obama and suggested that he shouldn't do so in a public forum like the second Democratic primary debate. Published:8/2/2019 1:10:31 PM
[The Blog] O my: Obama frustrated that Dem presidential field keeps criticizing him, CNN reports

“Stay away from Barack Obama.”

The post O my: Obama frustrated that Dem presidential field keeps criticizing him, CNN reports appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/2/2019 12:48:38 PM
[US News] ‘Abracadabra’! July jobs report has GOP, Donald Trump Jr. & many others remembering a certain Obama prediction

"But I was told by @BarackObama and every single person in the mainstream media that this was not possible."

The post ‘Abracadabra’! July jobs report has GOP, Donald Trump Jr. & many others remembering a certain Obama prediction appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/2/2019 10:04:26 AM
[Crime] Trump WARNS Obama, Hillary and The Swamp, MANY Subpoenas Coming!

The following article, Trump WARNS Obama, Hillary and The Swamp, MANY Subpoenas Coming!, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Many of us are paying attention now and wondering if we are finally going to see subpoenas and then justice descend upon Hillary and Obama.

Continue reading: Trump WARNS Obama, Hillary and The Swamp, MANY Subpoenas Coming! ...

Published:8/2/2019 10:04:26 AM
[Politics] Chris Matthews Still ‘Thrilled’ About Obama

MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews on Thursday night told a panel he is stilled “thrilled” about Barack Obama's victory in 2008.

The post Chris Matthews Still ‘Thrilled’ About Obama appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/2/2019 9:33:49 AM
[US News] ‘LOL WHAAAAAT?!’ Valerie Jarrett gets WAY more than she asked for with tweet about people missing Obama and ROFL

It was probably really hard for Valerie Jarrett to sit and watch a bunch of ungrateful Democrats tearing her ‘boss’ apart during this week’s debate. Even the Left had to admit the big loser of these debates was not Trump at all … it was Obama. First Eric Holder came out and tried to shame […]

The post ‘LOL WHAAAAAT?!’ Valerie Jarrett gets WAY more than she asked for with tweet about people missing Obama and ROFL appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/2/2019 9:08:51 AM
[Uncategorized] Establishment Democrats and Liberal Media Upset by Obama Bashing at Democrat Debates "From health care to immigration to trade, key accomplishments of the Obama administration came under fire" Published:8/2/2019 8:02:39 AM
[Politics] Michelle Obama: 'Zero Chance' I'll Run For President Michelle Obama says in an interview running this weekend that there are many ways she can help the United States, but sitting in the White House isn't one of them.  Published:8/2/2019 7:31:37 AM
[Politics] Desperate Michael Moore BEGS Michelle Obama to RUN and ‘CRUSH’ TRUMP LOL! Michael Moore is so desperate that he thinks the only chance they have is to force Michelle Obama to run, and he thinks she can “crush” el Presidente Trumpo. From the Hill: . . . Published:8/1/2019 7:30:14 PM
[Politics] Desperate Michael Moore BEGS Michelle Obama to RUN and ‘CRUSH’ TRUMP LOL! Michael Moore is so desperate that he thinks the only chance they have is to force Michelle Obama to run, and he thinks she can “crush” el Presidente Trumpo. From the Hill: . . . Published:8/1/2019 6:58:55 PM
[Middle Column] Google’s celeb-obsessed climate summit in Sicily is a hypocritical joke

The Gulfstreams, mega-yachts and gas-guzzling Maserati SUVs used to ferry the wokerati around the seaside Google Camp have been spewing out greenhouse gases at the rate of small nations. Former President Barack Obama, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, singer Katy Perry and Prince Harry are said to be among 300 guests invited by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to their luxurious annual shindig which has been dubbed “Davos by the Sea.” Either they don’t believe climate change is the big problem they keep saying it is, or they just don’t care enough about saving the planet to give up their perks.

Prince Harry even gave a “barefoot speech” to the billionaires about the need to save the environment, as Page Six reports, only days after vowing that he would confine himself to siring only two children as his personal contribution to saving the planet.

Published:8/1/2019 4:57:39 PM
[adb24b1e-2ca3-5518-aa99-babaa1a00163] Michael Moore pushes Michelle Obama to run for president: She would 'crush' Trump Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore made the case Wednesday night that former First Lady Michelle Obama is the only person who would "crush" President Trump in a general election.  Published:8/1/2019 4:57:39 PM
[Bits and Pieces] Comey Skates Through Round 1

The DOJ has opted not to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey for leaking memos about his interactions with President Trump with the intent that they be made public.  James Comey is a corrupt man who, in tandem with the Obama DOJ, conducted the whitewash of Hillary Clinton’s criminal mishandling of reams of classified information.  […]

The post Comey Skates Through Round 1 appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:8/1/2019 4:39:48 PM
[The Blog] Michael Moore: I am begging Michelle Obama to get into this race and crush Trump

Soon?

The post Michael Moore: I am begging Michelle Obama to get into this race and crush Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/1/2019 3:30:12 PM
[Politics] Hot Takes on the Democratic Debate

Democrats debated again in Detroit on Wednesday, and this time the candidates didn't pretend Barack Obama's presidency never happened. Instead, they embraced his legacy as an example of how political leaders have failed the country.

The post Hot Takes on the Democratic Debate appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/1/2019 2:57:18 PM
[In The News] ‘Suicide Mission’: Democratic Candidates Warned Against Attacking Obama

By Peter Hasson -

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and Rev. Al Sharpton warned Democratic presidential candidates against attacking former President Barack Obama, whose record came under fire during Wednesday night’s CNN debate. “To my fellow Democrats. Be wary of attacking the Obama record. Build on it. Expand it. But there is little to ...

‘Suicide Mission’: Democratic Candidates Warned Against Attacking Obama is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/1/2019 1:31:16 PM
[Politics] MSNBC Political Analyst: Dems Going After Obama Is ‘Disturbing’

MSNBC political analyst Rick Tyler said it was "disturbing" that Democratic presidential candidates criticized former president Barack Obama's legacy during the Wednesday night primary debate.

The post MSNBC Political Analyst: Dems Going After Obama Is ‘Disturbing’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/1/2019 11:31:31 AM
[Entertainment] ‘Keep dreaming’: Blue-checked singer’s delusional white-knighting for Barack Obama reeks of Resistance desperation

"Wow. Living in an alternate universe. Someone save this guy."

The post ‘Keep dreaming’: Blue-checked singer’s delusional white-knighting for Barack Obama reeks of Resistance desperation appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/1/2019 10:56:18 AM
[Uncategorized] While you were watching the Democrat debates, Mitch McConnell rammed through more judges "What Mitch McConnell is trying to do this week is confirm more judges in a week than he allowed President Obama to have confirmed in his final two years in office." Published:8/1/2019 8:26:17 AM
[Markets] Joe Scarborough Slams Dems For Attacking Obama's Policies More Than Trump's

MSNBC Host Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' complained in a tweet last night that the Democratic contenders onstage last night for Pt. 2 of the second Democratic debate spent more time attacking President Barack Obama's policies than they spent attacking President Donald Trump.

He added that this is "politically stupid and crazy."

Though Scarborough also inadvertently admitted something important: The Democratic Party of today isn't the same party from 2016. Instead, even candidates who once believed themselves to be part of the mainstream have embraced policies that are much further to the left, largely thanks to the influence of "the Squad" and their fellow progressives, who have been gaining influence in Washington since the mid-terms.

Scarborough is probably also referring to the fact that Biden and Harris, the two front runners who participated in Wednesday night's debate, were lightning rods for criticism.  Bill de Blasio and others got into a huge debate with Biden over health-care reform, even prompting Biden to declare these criticisms of Obamacare "malarky".

Biden was also attacked over the 800,000 deportations that occurred during the Obama Administration, which seemed to support the Trump Administration's argument that Trump's supposedly "draconian" border policies are merely a continuation of the Obama years.

While the "you're playing into Republicans' hands!" argument is certainly compelling to some, they should probably tell Scarborough not to say the quiet part out loud.

Published:8/1/2019 7:55:16 AM
[Uncategorized] Rep. Donald McEachin, a Biden endorser, compares Kamala Harris to Judas for accepting a campaign contribution from Donald Trump 

We told you last night that it was probably going to be a problem for every Dem not named Joe Biden for attacking Barack Obama’s policies, and now we’re seeing some of the pushback. Here’s Biden endorser Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) compared Sen. Kamala Harris to Judas because she accepted a $5000 contribution from Donald Trump […]

The post Rep. Donald McEachin, a Biden endorser, compares Kamala Harris to Judas for accepting a campaign contribution from Donald Trump  appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/1/2019 7:33:58 AM
[US News] AP fact checks Dems, says those immigrant ‘cages’ were built by Barack Obama

And down goes that narrative. At last night’s debate in Detroit, multiple candidates accused President Trump of putting kids in cages. What those candidates failed to mention is that it was Barack Obama who built those cages in the first place. From the AP: The “cages” for young migrants at the border were built and […]

The post AP fact checks Dems, says those immigrant ‘cages’ were built by Barack Obama appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/1/2019 6:55:11 AM
[f6b99f97-8b99-5636-baeb-c49fc2537d53] Dan Gainor: In Dem debate, Biden confounds with joe30330 (do what?), media hero Obama takes at hit As the early front-runner in a crowded field for his party’s presidential nomination, Biden got hit from all sides, especially on his actions taken as President Barack Obama’s vice president. Published:8/1/2019 2:25:36 AM
[Politics] Democratic debate: Joe Biden comes under attack on immigration

Former Vice President Joe Biden was pressured to answer for deportations under the Obama administration.

Published:7/31/2019 9:52:32 PM
[US News] Wow: Bill de Blasio and Cory Booker tag team ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden on Obama-era deportations

Joe Biden says don't ask him about deportations under the Obama administration; he wasn't president.

The post Wow: Bill de Blasio and Cory Booker tag team ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden on Obama-era deportations appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/31/2019 8:52:14 PM
[World] Drunkblogging the Second Democratic Debate: Night Two And then there were ten. There were ten last night, too, but this is a different ten. Sadly, Thunderdome rules do not apply, and everyone who walks on the stage will also walk off it. Officially I think of the 25 announced candidates, only Eric "Duke Nukem" Swalwell has dropped out. And the DNC's admission rules are still lax enough that 20 out of 24 made the cut. The field is expected to winnow quickly now, hopefully fast enough that the debate will need only one round. Your sanity requires it. So does my liver. Tonight's lineup:
Barack Obama's Former Vice President Joe Biden, who would like to remind you he served with Barack Obama during the Obama Administration Senator Michael Bennet (Colorado) Senator Kamala Harris (Poopville, CA) Entrepreneur Andrew Yang (Somewhere very nice, you can be sure) Failed (But Not Former) Mayor Bill de Blasio (New York City) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Last seen acting very presidential wearing a T-shirt and doing shots, NY) Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii, wish you were there) Julian Jay Inslee-Castro (I'll have to get back to you on this one) Spartacus (Ancient Rome)
That's only nine, but I can't remember who I forgot. I'm told that the liveblog's auto-refresh feature is working again, so no need to hit that reload button. Just pour yourself something tasty, grab a comfy seat, and enjoy the show.
Published:7/31/2019 7:22:29 PM
[] Celebrities, Plutocrats Jet to Roman Bacchanal to "Rap" with Google About Climate Change Asteroids wanted. The billionaire creators of Google have invited a who?s who of A-list names-- including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry -- to the Sicilian seaside for a mega-party they?ve dubbed Google Camp. The... Published:7/31/2019 1:24:00 PM
[The Blog] Taking a cue from Obama, Elizabeth Warren’s single-payer strategy involves not telling voters the truth

"We should stop using Republican talking points, in order to talk with each other..."

The post Taking a cue from Obama, Elizabeth Warren’s single-payer strategy involves not telling voters the truth appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:7/31/2019 12:53:59 PM
[Entertainment] Barack Obama and other celebrity global-warming hypocrites flew in 114 private jets to Sicily for Google billionaire camp

Former President Barack Obama is reportedly this year’s “special guest” at Google’s annual luxury camp for billionaires and other celebrities: Who is this year's rumored special guest for Google luxury camp for billionaires and famous people held annually, this year on the southwest coast of Italy’s island of Sicily? Barack Obama! I miss him so […]

The post Barack Obama and other celebrity global-warming hypocrites flew in 114 private jets to Sicily for Google billionaire camp appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/31/2019 8:51:05 AM
[Donald Trump] Meet John Ratcliffe: Trump’s Frontman to Take Down Hillary and Obama

The following article, Meet John Ratcliffe: Trump’s Frontman to Take Down Hillary and Obama, was first published on Godfather Politics.

President Trump announced over the weekend that he is nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe (TX) to be Director of National Intelligence.

Continue reading: Meet John Ratcliffe: Trump’s Frontman to Take Down Hillary and Obama ...

Published:7/31/2019 8:21:23 AM
[In The News] Fake Jim Jordan Quote Goes Viral After Fooling Prominent Liberals

By Peter Hasson -

A fake quote attributed to Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan went viral on Twitter after fooling prominent liberals. “While Obama and Biden were cowering in fear on Air Force 1, Mr. Trump was on the ground with first responders searching for survivors and pulling people to safety” after the 9/11 ...

Fake Jim Jordan Quote Goes Viral After Fooling Prominent Liberals is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:7/30/2019 12:44:05 PM
[2020 Election] In One Respect, Trump Is a Lot Like Obama (John Hinderaker) For the first two years of President Trump’s administration, Democratic Party press outlets would recite, ritualistically, that he was a historically unpopular president. We haven’t seen much of that lately. In fact, for most of his first term Trump has been as popular as Barack Obama was during his first term. You can see that graphically in this Rasmussen Reports chart: During Obama’s first term, his approval rating was usually Published:7/29/2019 6:40:31 PM
[Politics] Valerie Jarrett: Trump Wants to 'Silence Us in Obedience' Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser in former President Barack Obama's White House, said Monday that President Donald Trump's wants to "silence us in obedience" with his attacks against political opponents who are also people of color. Published:7/29/2019 2:09:56 PM
[The Blog] Ratcliffe’s job interview? “There were crimes committed during the Obama Administration”

Plus: Burr in the saddle?

The post Ratcliffe’s job interview? “There were crimes committed during the Obama Administration” appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:7/29/2019 2:09:55 PM
[Entertainment] Meghan Markle Interviews Michelle Obama: 5 Revelations From British Vogue Michelle Obama, Meghan MarkleMeghan Markle knew Michelle Obama was the perfect person to help her with a "secret project." That secret project? Her guest editor role for the September issue of British...
Published:7/29/2019 12:40:05 PM
[Security] John Ratcliffe Interview Takes on New Significance After Trump Picks Him as Intelligence Chief

Hours before President Donald Trump tapped him Sunday as director of national intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe urged investigations into potential wrongdoing during the Obama administration,... Read More

The post John Ratcliffe Interview Takes on New Significance After Trump Picks Him as Intelligence Chief appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/29/2019 12:40:05 PM
[US News] THUD: Gavin Newsom trips all over himself (AND Obama) in rush to slam Trump for wrecking ‘growing economy’ he inherited

"You're even more delusional than I thought."

The post THUD: Gavin Newsom trips all over himself (AND Obama) in rush to slam Trump for wrecking ‘growing economy’ he inherited appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/29/2019 10:08:55 AM
[In The News] John Ratcliffe Interview Takes On New Significance After Trump Picks Him As Intelligence Chief

By Chuck Ross -

Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe on Sunday urged investigations into potential wrongdoing by the Obama administration, including illegal media leaks related to the Russia probe.  Hours after the comment, President Donald Trump announced that he will nominate the Texas Republican to serve as director of national intelligence. “What I do know ...

John Ratcliffe Interview Takes On New Significance After Trump Picks Him As Intelligence Chief is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:7/29/2019 9:08:22 AM
[Markets] CNN: Thou Shalt Have No Other Media Before Ours, Chinamen!

Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Donald Trump’s magical term “Fake News” absolutely hit the nail on the head in regards to the dismal behavior of the current Mainstream Media when they fabricate their product. But below Fake News there needs to be another subcategory of “Fake Outrage”. Meaning the news is presented factually and could be of value to the public, however the reaction within said news is hysterical and/or vastly overblown.

Take for example CNN’s rather detailed breakdown of how China is moving into the African media sphere. The information provided looks to be true but it is written to fill the Western reader with some sort of looming dread. The article ends on a perfect doomsday quote by a PhD candidate that they interviewed…

“In the trade off between letting go of some sovereignty and building a state-of-the-art telecommunications network, most African countries have chosen the latter,”

Apparently you can be horribly naive and biased while working towards a PhD and/or getting your next paycheck from CNN. The idea that modern Africa is completely independent and free as long as the Chinese stop sending phones and cable TV dishes to the continent is mental.

“Post colonial” France has 3,000 troops spread over 5 African nations covering from the very west of the continent to the Horn of Africa according to Business Insider. The Washington Post says that during the middle of Obama’s presidency the US had troops in at least 13 Sub-Saharan African nations. Obviously not all bases are pubic knowledge thus there are “at least” 13 bases. Free and independent nations are not smothered by foreign troops.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also plagued by massive government debts with roughly half the nations being in the red up to half of their national GDP according the Economist. This raises the question of whom are they indebted to? Of course it is lovely white faces at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank not their neighbors. The African Development bank is a player, but behind their local looks they have many foreign (Western) partners. The West still has a financial stranglehold on Africa. Is this Africa’s own fault for having corrupt leaders that took out IMF loans they could never possibly repay? Yes it probably is, but it doesn’t matter how the debt was created, African is beholden to it, thus not very pure and independent.

CNN in their breakdown of Chinese expansion into the African info space also forgot to mention that media the world over is by default – American. It is false to portray poor Africa (which isn’t that poor anymore if you take a virtual trip through their cities via Google Maps) as this totally free media space filled only with some hapless local content that will be Crushed by Xi’s evil 10,000 Villages plan. If you travel the world and see a movie theatre it will have Hollywood movies guaranteed and translated American shows/movies will be on TV in hotel room guaranteed. The entire campy genre of Ugandan action movies (the only African-made movie you will probably ever see) is founded on imitating Hollywood.

To say that Africa is empty of media is mad, the author from CNN needs to be less dishonest or more self-reflective. Their real problem with China putting up TV-dishes in 10,000 villages and selling smartphones built for African realities (cheap, good battery life to survive long power outages, gearing phones to local languages) is that it is a threat to US/Western dominance of the continent. The Chinese Communists are doing Capitalism better than the West in Africa and at least subconsciously some people at CNN are spooked.

There is nothing wrong with an American news outlet saying that they want to keep the world’s eyes seeing history and events through a primarily American filter. There is nothing wrong with wanting America to step up its game in Africa to make sure hearts and minds are won over on a continent that has lots of lovely natural resources. It would be a normal healthy attitude to say something like “If the Chinese want to take Africa, then they’re going to have fight for it, right boys!?”. But somehow trying to make the Chinese look evil for attempting to make money selling products and services and gain soft power influence is Fake Outrage.

China is just trying to do the rational things that America was doing very well for decades after WWII – bringing their media technology to as many markets as possible to make sweet cash and get those all so important soft power victories. If you have a problem with the Chinese answering certain market demands in Africa then you should honestly advocate for giving them an economic fight for the territory. Many of the biggest tech companies in the world are from the West. If you want your info-colonies back so much then go out and win them over with good tech and great content. Don’t lie to the English-speaking speaking public implying Beijing is somehow that vastly inherently different from Washington and by its very nature doing evil.

CNN’s view is both racist and a perfect example of “Fake Outrage”.

Published:7/28/2019 11:07:07 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On America's Late-Stage Decadence

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay.

The word “decadence” is often associated with the fall of the Roman Empire, which became morally corrupt—its people lazy, wasteful, and lacking discipline. Many observers have pointed out the US is similarly becoming decedent. How do you see it?

Doug Casey: There’s no question about it; the culture in the US is changing. Where to start? It’s a book-length subject. One thing that absolutely amazes me is that the term “cultural appropriation” has become a buzzword for a lot of people today. The concept is actually completely insane.

It’s bizarre—perverse, really—that the people doing the most whining about cultural appropriation by Americans don’t actually have worthwhile cultures themselves. The fact of the matter is that the only culture in the history of the world that amounts to anything is that of Western civilization. The West has given all of humanity concepts like freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of the press, free markets, individualism, science, and rationality. In addition, the West has created almost all of the world’s great music, literature, architecture, and philosophy

People trying to make cultural appropriation on the part of Americans into a scandal are basically scam artists and race hustlers. I’m talking about blacks who are outraged about white women wearing African earrings. Or Hispanics picketing a couple of white girls who set up a taco stand after visiting Mexico.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Spanish-speaking world south of the US border. Other than quaint sombreros, some local food, and some basically primitive handicrafts, they don’t have a culture that’s worth anything.

That’s absolutely true of Africa. Africans should be eternally grateful to the West if, when da Gama was rounding the Cape in the 15th century, he’d just thrown out a wheel. But he would have also had to throw out an instruction book. But nobody could read it, because the entire continent south of the Sahara was illiterate.

This is true of most of the primitive world. I hesitate to say “developing world” because development is solely due to imported capital and expertise. If that inflow stops, Africa could go back to the bush, with mass starvation.

The only cultures in the world that can compete with Western civilization are those in the Orient. But what do they have? Frankly, not much, apart from Taoism, Zen, yoga, martial arts, and some great cuisines. Some things of value but not much by comparison to the West.

The fact that Westerners are ashamed of their culture is a sign of the collapse of the West. Most Europeans and Americans are so intimidated by these people squalling about ridiculous things that they don’t even try to defend themselves.

Instead, they agree with their attackers, stick their tails between their legs, and wander off. I don’t doubt Americans will agree to pay “reparations” to blacks for slavery. It’s an absurd concept, about as ridiculous as the English paying me reparations because of what they did to my ancestors in Ireland 200 years ago.

In fact, the Africans exported to the New World were the lucky ones. Their descendants have a standard of living and opportunities 10 or 20 times greater than those still on the continent.

But the fact these things are even discussed is a definite sign of the collapse of the West. It’s very much like what happened in the late Roman Empire.

When Rome was in its ascendancy and at its height, the leaders of Rome were all native Romans or at least native Italians. If they were born in other parts of the Empire, they were of Roman culture and had Roman names and Roman values. They had a stake in their civilization.

But as time went on, all of this started changing.

By the time the barbarians invaded the Empire wholesale—starting with the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD—the handwriting was already on the wall. Within 30 years, the barbarians controlled the entire Empire.

The old political structure had completely collapsed. Native Romans were leaving the Empire, going to barbarian lands, to avoid onerous taxation. The currency was worthless. The economy was in a shambles. The military structure had completely collapsed. None of the soldiers were Italians; they were all barbarians hired as mercenaries. Likewise, here in the US, few Americans in the diminishing middle class want to join the military. The city of Rome itself was sacked in 410 AD and it never really recovered.

International Man: Economically, the US government continues to spend ever-increasing amounts of money. In 2018 alone, the federal deficit was $779 billion—a $113 billion increase from the year before. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are falling over themselves to offer new government freebies that could pay for college, medical care, and the list goes on.

How does this play into the theme of US decadence?

Doug Casey: Well, whether you’re an individual or a family or a country, when you live above your means, you’re almost by that very fact decadent. You’re not planning for the future.

But the US government’s debt and reported deficits represent only current cash outlays, not obligations in the form of future spending. If the deficits were represented with accrual accounting—which is what businesses have to do—the annual deficits would probably be more like $3 trillion.

Not to mention that interest rates are artificially suppressed to about 2% in the US. At more normal levels of, say, 6%, the annual deficit would be about $800 billion higher. So the financial situation is actually much, much worse than it seems.

On top of all this is the fact that these deficits come during a time of supposed recovery. But the “recovery” has been ramped up by creating trillions of new dollars and allowing people to borrow at effectively negative interest rates, certainly after inflation. This is all very decadent.

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. That’s not the attitude of a rising civilization.

The opposite of “decadent” is to be constructive, disciplined, forward-thinking, and self-respecting. You produce more than you consume and save the difference.

That’s exactly the opposite of what Americans are doing today.

We’re completely decadent.

Small comfort that the Europeans are even worse off than we are.

International Man: On an individual level, Americans are living beyond their means. Many Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

What does this say about a society?

Doug Casey: It augurs very poorly.

The average American is one paycheck from not being able to pay his rent. When the distortions that have been cranked into the economy over just the last 10 years unwind and the economy as a whole goes downhill again, there are going to be millions of people who can’t pay their rent. Many millions more are going join the 42 million Americans now living on food stamps.

The social repercussions of this are predictable.

The population will get angry; many will go into the streets and riot. They’re going to vote overwhelmingly for some politician who says that he—or quite possibly she—can cure all their problems by giving them free stuff stolen from rich people.

In a way it’s understandable, because the fact of the matter is the rich have indeed been getting richer at an accelerating rate.

Why?

Because they’re the ones that get to stand next to the firehose of money that’s coming out of Washington. They get it first; they get most of it. It’s another sign of a society in decline: the dominance of cronies. That creates a lot of class antagonism.

It’s going to explode and be really ugly. Perhaps one thing keeping a lid on the situation is the huge number of Americans on psychiatric drugs: Zoloft, Prozac, and a hundred others. Perhaps millions of others don’t care as long as their internet connection enables them to play video games.

International Man: Aside from the financial aspect of decadence, what is happening culturally and intellectually in the United States? For example, many Americans are rejecting biological facts in favor of the politically correct fad of the day. Is this a sign of decline?

Doug Casey: The PC types say there are supposed to be 30 or 40 or 50 different genders—it’s a fluid number. It shows that wide swathes of the country no longer have a grip on actual physical, scientific reality. That’s more than a sign of decline; it’s a sign of mass psychosis.

There’s no question that some males are wired to act like females and some females are wired to act like males. It’s certainly a psychological aberration but probably has some basis in biology.

The problem is when these people politicize their psychological peculiarities, try to turn it into law, and force the rest of the society to grant them specially protected status.

Thousands of people every year go to doctors to have themselves mutilated so that they can become something else. Today they can often get the government or insurers to pay for it.

If you want to self-mutilate, that’s fine; that’s your business even if it’s insane. To make other people pay for it is criminal. But it’s now accepted as normal by most of society.

The acceptance of politically correct values—“diversity,” “inclusiveness”—trigger warnings, safe spaces, gender fluidity, multiculturalism, and a whole suite of similar things that show how degraded society has become. Adversaries of Western civilization like the Mohammedan world and the Chinese justifiably see it as weak, even contemptible.

As with Rome, collapse really comes from internal rot.

Look at who people are voting for. It’s not that Americans elected Obama once—a mob can be swayed easily enough into making a mistake—but they reelected him. It’s not that New Yorkers elected Bill de Blasio once, but they reelected him by a landslide. All of the Democratic candidates out there are saying things that are actually clinically insane and are being applauded.

International Man: In fact, in the recent Democratic debate, candidate Julián Castro even mentioned giving government-funded abortions to transgender women—biological men. It received one of the loudest bouts of applause from the audience.

That’s not to mention that two other candidates spoke in broken Spanish when responding to the moderator’s questions.

Doug Casey: As you said, it got a lot of applause.

US presidential candidates speaking in Spanish would be very much like an ancient Roman addressing the Forum in Gothic, not Latin. It’s all over for a culture when it starts using the language of its conqueror. In a restaurant here in Aspen, the owners have a sign in Spanish that refers to the progress of the Reconquista—the recapture of the American Southwest from the Anglos. Perhaps someone will speak Arabic in the next debates.

I hate to sound defeatist, but it’s all over for what was once known as American civilization. The celebrity of AOC is indicative. How else could a 29-year-old Puerto Rican waitress, poorly educated and not very bright, set the political tone for the whole country?

International Man: Is America’s late-stage decadence a product of its political and economic decline or vice versa?

Doug Casey: The decadence we see all around us is arising from every source. Cultural, economic, and political. Cultural decline is the most basic area. Massive immigration of people with different cultures, languages, and religions guarantee it. Especially if they’re coming because of free benefits. Many actually despise traditional American culture, as well as holding the current culture in contempt.

Their views are then reflected in a corruption of the politics. We see that with the apparent acceptance of the Squad—although I prefer to call them the “Gang of Four.” Politics engenders economic distortions. Part of the problem is that politics completely dominates the economy today.

For Trumpers to think that building a wall is going to change things is naïve. A wall will be about as effective as a kid’s sandcastle on the beach to hold back the waves.

The barbarians are already within the gates.

*  *  *

As Doug Casey discussed, the late stage decadence in the US is contributing to a growing wave of misguided socialist ideas and politicians. All signs point to this trend accelerating until it reaches a crisis... one unlike anything we've seen before. That's exactly why Doug and his team just released this urgent video. Click here to watch it now.

Published:7/28/2019 6:10:15 PM
[Markets] Former CIA Spook: "Deep State Wants Epstein Gone"

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp says there are big stories with big implications for America that are unfolding now.

One of the biggest earthquakes that is going off will be the high ranking Deep State elite surrounding convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein. Shipp says,

“Oh my goodness gracious, the Deep State is darn well scared, and some of its political top participants, I guarantee you, they want Epstein gone. There is no doubt about that. I don’t know why the Bureau of Prisons put Epstein in a jail cell with a cop that killed four people and buried them in his back yard. Epstein should have been in solitary confinement under watch. So, whoever made that decision, it was a complete error in judgment, if not intentional. That should not have happened in the first place.”

Shipp goes on to point out, “It looks pretty clear to me that the Deep State intelligence Shadow government was involved, and it gets worse..."

"Ghislaine Maxwell, who was Epstein’s alleged recruiter for young girls, was the daughter of  Robert Maxwell, (Correction: Shipp said John by mistake) who was a known Mossad Agent.

He bilked pension funds to cover losses in his business... He was found dead floating next to his yacht from an alleged heart attack. So, there are some strange connections to the Deep State. U.S. Attorney (and former Labor Secretary) Alexander Acosta would not have said this if it were not true. It is true. There are intelligence connections. Is this a blackmail operation? We know Epstein has a ‘black book.’ We know Epstein probably has video of massages by young girls of high profile people, including politicians...

. There are going to be some big names that are going to be connected to Epstein and his pedophile child trafficking ring. There is no question about it.”

Another huge story unfolding is the investigation into the “hoax” and “witch hunt” of Russian collusion with President Trump that has now been totally disproven. The real story is how traitors in the U.S. government made up a crimes to frame the President, his campaign and his Administration. People high up in the Obama Administration committed massive crimes, only to fail badly in removing Trump from office. Kevin Shipp says,

...for President Trump, “This is a fight to the death. . . . Trump has to win. . . . There is no question about it. They want Donald Trump gone anyway that they can. We know the Shadow Government, including the CIA, and I studied this in detail, were responsible for the assassination of JFK using the Mafia, and that’s how far they will go. You are talking trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars they could lose if the President isn’t in their pocket. . . . They want him dead, and he is under serious risk right now. . . . He has got to push this forward. He has to win for the Constitution and for his family that might be assassinated.”

Yet another big risk, says Shipp, is the global economic system suffering a financial calamity. This includes the U.S. Shipp contends,

Russia and China are stocking up on gold . . . as they agree to stop using the U.S. dollar and go to the yuan and ruble, which means they will stop recognizing the U.S. dollar. The dollar will lose its value because of that. We have a huge debt, and by 2025, our deficit will be $30 trillion. It is impossible to pay that off. The global deficit is $245 trillion. This thing has got to burst, and it’s going to burst...

Donald Trump has come out against the Deep State and Shadow Government in ways I could only dream of. I am a Trump supporter, but what he has got on his hands is a coming catastrophe. You cannot stop the collapse caused by the deficit...

Trump will take some significant action. This is a national security issue, and he can step in and make some changes. This is a huge catastrophe, and Americans are not aware of what is coming . . . and are not ready for a financial calamity.

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp.

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here. (By the way, YouTube demonetized this video before I posted it. So, it must be good.  There is lots of new information and analysis in this 80 minute interview.)

There is free information on Kevin Shipp’s website called ForTheLoveofFreedom.net. At the very top of the page is a new section called “The Shipp Brief.” Shipp gives a new “brief” every day. You can also scroll down and find Shipp’s donation page that has multiple ways you can support his work. It’s all on ForTheLoveofFreedom.net.

Published:7/28/2019 2:34:49 PM
[Politics] Obamas Tweet Rare Public Rebuke of US President Past presidents generally do not make public statements criticizing sitting presidents, but former President Barack Obama and his first lady Michelle ostensibly did so Saturday.The veiled shots at President Donald Trump's attacks on the poorest parts of Rep. Elijah... Published:7/28/2019 2:06:38 PM
[Politics] RNC Chair: IG Probe Will Expose Obama Admin. 'Duplicity' Former President Barack Obama famously claimed he had a scandal-free administration, but the chair of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel claims the inspector general's "investigation about the investigators" will show otherwise."Think about it: a sitting... Published:7/28/2019 11:34:11 AM
[The Blog] Obama praises former staffers for anti-Trump op-ed

We see you, Valerie Jarrett

The post Obama praises former staffers for anti-Trump op-ed appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:7/28/2019 10:33:14 AM
[US News] Obama bro wonders if any patriotic Republicans are going to call out Trump for dissing Baltimore

What was it about Baltimore that Trump said that wasn't true? Democrats might be fine continuing to ignore it …

The post Obama bro wonders if any patriotic Republicans are going to call out Trump for dissing Baltimore appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/27/2019 7:28:59 PM
[Markets] Michael Hudson: U.S. Economic Warfare And Likely Foreign Defenses

Authored by Michael Hudson via Counterpunch.org,

Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control of their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.

This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)

Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.

* Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.

The international framework that originally seemed equitable was pro-U.S. from the outset. In 1945 this was seen as a natural result of the fact that the U.S. economy was the least war-damaged and held by far most of the world’s monetary gold. Still, the postwar trade and financial framework was ostensibly set up on fair and equitable international principles. Other countries were expected to recover and grow, creating diplomatic, financial and trade parity with each other.

But the past decade has seen U.S. diplomacy become one-sided in turning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, SWIFT bank-clearing system and world trade into an asymmetrically exploitative system. This unilateral U.S.-centered array of institutions is coming to be widely seen not only as unfair, but as blocking the progress of other countries whose growth and prosperity is seen by U.S. foreign policy as a threat to unilateral U.S. hegemony. What began as an ostensibly international order to promote peaceful prosperity has turned increasingly into an extension of U.S. nationalism, predatory rent-extraction and a more dangerous military confrontation.

Deterioration of international diplomacy into a more nakedly explicit pro-U.S. financial, trade and military aggression was implicit in the way in which economic diplomacy was shaped when the United Nations, IMF and World Bank were shaped mainly by U.S. economic strategists. Their economic belligerence is driving countries to withdraw from the global financial and trade order that has been turned into a New Cold War vehicle to impose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Nationalistic reactions are consolidating into new economic and political alliances from Europe to Asia.

We are still mired in the Oil War that escalated in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which quickly spread to Libya and Syria. American foreign policy has long been based largely on control of oil. This has led the United States to oppose the Paris accords to stem global warming. Its aim is to give U.S. officials the power to impose energy sanctions forcing other countries to “freeze in the dark” if they do not follow U.S. leadership.

To expand its oil monopoly, America is pressuring Europe to oppose the Nordstream II gas pipeline from Russia, claiming that this would make Germany and other countries dependent on Russia instead of on U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). Likewise, American oil diplomacy has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil exports, until such time as a regime change opens up that country’s oil reserves to U.S., French, British and other allied oil majors.

U.S. control of dollarized money and credit is critical to this hegemony. As Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles told a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 9, 2019: “An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have against Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.”

The U.S. aim is to keep the dollar as the transactions currency for world trade, savings, central bank reserves and international lending. This monopoly status enables the U.S. Treasury and State Department to disrupt the financial payments system and trade for countries with which the United States is at economic or outright military war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly responded by describing how “the degeneration of the universalist globalization model [is] turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws… of one country.” That is the trajectory on which this deterioration of formerly open international trade and finance is now moving. It has been building up for a decade. On June 5, 2009, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited this same disruptive U.S. dynamic at work in the wake of the U.S. junk mortgage and bank fraud crisis.

Those whose job it was to forecast events … were not ready for the depth of the crisis and turned out to be too rigid, unwieldy and slow in their response. The international financial organisations – and I think we need to state this up front and not try to hide it – were not up to their responsibilities, as has been said quite unambiguously at a number of major international events such as the two recent G20 summits of the world’s largest economies.

Furthermore, we have had confirmation that our pre-crisis analysis of global economic trends and the global economic system were correct. The artificially maintained uni-polar system and preservation of monopolies in key global economic sectors are root causes of the crisis. One big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks – these are all factors that led to an overall drop in the quality of regulation and the economic justification of assessments made, including assessments of macroeconomic policy. As a result, there was no avoiding a global crisis.

That crisis is what is now causing today’s break in global trade and payments.

Warfare on many fronts, with Dollarization being the main arena

Dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991 did not bring the disarmament that was widely expected. U.S. leadership celebrated the Soviet demise as signaling the end of foreign opposition to U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism and even as the End of History. NATO expanded to encircle Russia and sponsored “color revolutions” from Georgia to Ukraine, while carving up former Yugoslavia into small statelets. American diplomacy created a foreign legion of Wahabi fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in support of Saudi Arabian extremism and Israeli expansionism.

The United States is waging war for control of oil against Venezuela, where a military coup failed a few years ago, as did the 2018-19 stunt to recognize an unelected pro-American puppet regime. The Honduran coup under President Obama was more successful in overthrowing an elected president advocating land reform, continuing the tradition dating back to 1954 when the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s Arbenz regime.

U.S. officials bear a special hatred for countries that they have injured, ranging from Guatemala in 1954 to Iran, whose regime it overthrew to install the Shah as military dictator. Claiming to promote “democracy,” U.S. diplomacy has redefined the word to mean pro-American, and opposing land reform, national ownership of raw materials and public subsidy of foreign agriculture or industry as an “undemocratic” attack on “free markets,” meaning markets controlled by U.S. financial interests and absentee owners of land, natural resources and banks.

A major byproduct of warfare has always been refugees, and today’s wave fleeing ISIS, Al Qaeda and other U.S.-backed Near Eastern proxies is flooding Europe. A similar wave is fleeing the dictatorial regimes backed by the United States from Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and neighboring countries. The refugee crisis has become a major factor leading to the resurgence of nationalist parties throughout Europe and for the white nationalism of Donald Trump in the United States.

Dollarization as the vehicle for U.S. nationalism

The Dollar Standard – U.S. Treasury debt to foreigners held by the world’s central banks – has replaced the gold-exchange standard for the world’s central bank reserves to settle payments imbalances among themselves. This has enabled the United States to uniquely run balance-of-payments deficits for nearly seventy years, despite the fact that these Treasury IOUs have little visible likelihood of being repaid except under arrangements where U.S. rent-seeking and outright financial tribute from other enables it to liquidate its official foreign debt.

The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.

The U.S. response is to impose regime change on countries that prefer gold or other foreign currencies to dollars for their exchange reserves. A case in point is the overthrow of Libya’s Omar Kaddafi after he sought to base his nation’s international reserves on gold. His liquidation stands as a military warning to other countries.

Thanks to the fact that payments-surplus economies invest their dollar inflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit finances its domestic budget deficit. This foreign central-bank recycling of U.S. overseas military spending into purchases of U.S. Treasury securities gives the United States a free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens.

Trump is forcing other countries to create an alternative to the Dollar Standard

The fact that Donald Trump’s economic policies are proving ineffective in restoring American manufacturing is creating rising nationalist pressure to exploit foreigners by arbitrary tariffs without regard for international law, and to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic meddling to disrupt regimes that pursue policies that U.S. diplomats do not like.

There is a parallel here with Rome in the late 1st century BC. It stripped its provinces to pay for its military deficit, the grain dole and land redistribution at the expense of Italian cities and Asia Minor. This created foreign opposition to drive Rome out. The U.S. economy is similar to Rome’s: extractive rather than productive, based mainly on land rents and money-interest. As the domestic market is impoverished, U.S. politicians are seeking to take from abroad what no longer is being produced at home.

What is so ironic – and so self-defeating of America’s free global ride – is that Trump’s simplistic aim of lowering the dollar’s exchange rate to make U.S. exports more price-competitive. He imagines commodity trade to be the entire balance of payments, as if there were no military spending, not to mention lending and investment. To lower the dollar’s exchange rate, he is demanding that China’s central bank and those of other countries stop supporting the dollar by recycling the dollars they receive for their exports into holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.

This tunnel vision leaves out of account the fact that the trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.

Trump’s infrastructure ideology is a Public-Private Partnership characterized by high-cost financialization demanding high monopoly rents to cover its interest charges, stock dividends and management fees. This neoliberal policy raises the cost of living for the U.S. labor force, making it uncompetitive. The United States is unable to produce more at any price right now, because its has spent the past half-century dismantling its infrastructure, closing down its part suppliers and outsourcing its industrial technology.

The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.

Unable to recover dominance in manufacturing, the United States is concentrating on rent-extracting sectors that it hopes monopolize, headed by information technology and military production. On the industrial front, it threatens disrupt China and other mixed economies by imposing trade and financial sanctions.

The great gamble is whether these other countries will defend themselves by joining in alliances enabling them to bypass the U.S. economy. American strategists imagine their country to be the world’s essential economy, without whose market other countries must suffer depression. The Trump Administration thinks that There Is No Alternative (TINA) for other countries except for their own financial systems to rely on U.S. dollar credit.

To protect themselves from U.S. sanctions, countries would have to avoid using the dollar, and hence U.S. banks. This would require creation of a non-dollarized financial system for use among themselves, including their own alternative to the SWIFT bank clearing system. Table 1 lists some possible related defenses against U.S. nationalistic diplomacy.

As noted above, what also is ironic in President Trump’s accusation of China and other countries of artificially manipulating their exchange rate against the dollar (by recycling their trade and payments surpluses into Treasury securities to hold down their currency’s dollar valuation) involves dismantling the Treasury-bill standard. The main way that foreign economies have stabilized their exchange rate since 1971 has indeed been to recycle their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities. Letting their currency’s value rise would threaten their export competitiveness against their rivals, although not necessarily benefit the United States.

Ending this practice leaves countries with the main way to protect their currencies from rising against the dollar is to reduce dollar inflows by blocking U.S. lending to domestic borrowers. They may levy floating tariffs proportioned to the dollar’s declining value. The U.S. has a long history since the 1920s of raising its tariffs against currencies that are depreciating: the American Selling Price (ASP) system. Other countries can impose their own floating tariffs against U.S. goods.

Trade dependency as an aim of the World Bank, IMF and US AID

The world today faces a problem much like what it faced on the eve of World War II. Like Germany then, the United States now poses the main threat of war, and equally destructive neoliberal economic regimes imposing austerity, economic shrinkage and depopulation. U.S. diplomats are threatening to destroy regimes and entire economies that seek to remain independent of this system, by trade and financial sanctions backed by direct military force.

Dedollarization will require creation of multilateral alternatives to U.S. “front” institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and other agencies in which the United States holds veto power to block any alternative policies deemed not to let it “win.” U.S. trade policy through the World Bank and U.S. foreign aid agencies aims at promoting dependency on U.S. food exports and other key commodities, while hiring U.S. engineering firms to build up export infrastructure to subsidize U.S. and other natural-resource investors. The financing is mainly in dollars, providing risk-free bonds to U.S. and other financial institutions. The resulting commercial and financial “interdependency” has led to a situation in which a sudden interruption of supply would disrupt foreign economies by causing a breakdown in their chain of payments and production. The effect is to lock client countries into dependency on the U.S. economy and its diplomacy, euphemized as “promoting growth and development.”

U.S. neoliberal policy via the IMF imposes austerity and opposes debt writedowns. Its economic model pretends that debtor countries can pay any volume of dollar debt simply by reducing wages to squeeze more income out of the labor force to pay foreign creditors. This ignores the fact that solving the domestic “budget problem” by taxing local revenue still faces the “transfer problem” of converting it into dollars or other hard currencies in which most international debt is denominated. The result is that the IMF’s “stabilization” programs actually destabilize and impoverish countries forced into following its advice.

IMF loans support pro-U.S. regimes such as Ukraine, and subsidize capital flight by supporting local currencies long enough to enable U.S. client oligarchies to flee their currencies at a pre-devaluation exchange rate for the dollar. When the local currency finally is allowed to collapse, debtor countries are advised to impose anti-labor austerity. This globalizes the class war of capital against labor while keeping debtor countries on a short U.S. financial leash.

U.S. diplomacy is capped by trade sanctions to disrupt economies that break away from U.S. aims. Sanctions are a form of economic sabotage, as lethal as outright military warfare in establishing U.S. control over foreign economies. The threat is to impoverish civilian populations, in the belief that this will lead them to replace their governments with pro-American regimes promising to restore prosperity by selling off their domestic infrastructure to U.S. and other multinational investors.

There are alternatives, on many fronts

Militarily, today’s leading alternative to NATO expansionism is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Europe following France’s example under Charles de Gaulle and withdrawing. After all, there is no real threat of military invasion today in Europe. No nation can occupy another without an enormous military draft and such heavy personnel losses that domestic protests would unseat the government waging such a war. The U.S. anti-war movement in the 1960s signaled the end of the military draft, not only in the United States but in nearly all democratic countries. (Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and North Korea are exceptions.)

The enormous spending on armaments for a kind of war unlikely to be fought is not really military, but simply to provide profits to the military industrial complex. The arms are not really to be used. They are simply to be bought, and ultimately scrapped. The danger, of course, is that these not-for-use arms actually might be used, if only to create a need for new profitable production.

Likewise, foreign holdings of dollars are not really to be spent on purchases of U.S. exports or investments. They are like fine-wine collectibles, for saving rather than for drinking. The alternative to such dollarized holdings is to create a mutual use of national currencies, and a domestic bank-clearing payments system as an alternative to SWIFT. Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela already are said to be developing a crypto-currency payments to circumvent U.S. sanctions and hence financial control.

In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.”[5] In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is “fair” trade.

An alternative to the WTO (or removal of its veto privilege given to the U.S. bloc) is needed to cope with U.S. neoliberal ideology and, most recently, the U.S. travesty claiming “national security” exemption to free-trade treaties, impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and on European countries that circumvent sanctions on Iran or threaten to buy oil from Russia via the Nordstream II pipeline instead of high-cost liquified “freedom gas” from the United States.

In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.

To save debt-strapped economies suffering Greek-style austerity, the world needs to replace neoliberal economic theory with an analytic logic for debt writedowns based on the ability to pay. The guiding principle of the needed development-oriented logic of international law should be that no nation should be obliged to pay foreign creditors by having to sell of the public domain and rent-extraction rights to foreign creditors. The defining character of nationhood should be the fiscal right to tax natural resource rents and financial returns, and to create its own monetary system.

The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court. To be effective, it needs enforcement power for its judgments and penalties, capped by the ability to bring charges of war crimes in the tradition of the Nuremberg tribunal. U.S. to such a court, combined with its military buildup now threatening World War III, suggests a new alignment of countries akin to the Non-Aligned Nations movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-aligned in this case means freedom from U.S. diplomatic control or threats.

Such institutions require a more realistic economic theory and philosophy of operations to replace the neoliberal logic for anti-government privatization, anti-labor austerity, and opposition to domestic budget deficits and debt writedowns. Today’s neoliberal doctrine counts financial late fees and rising housing prices as adding to “real output” (GDP), but deems public investment as deadweight spending, not a contribution to output. The aim of such logic is to convince governments to pay their foreign creditors by selling off their public infrastructure and other assets in the public domain.

Just as the “capacity to pay” principle was the foundation stone of the Bank for International Settlements in 1931, a similar basis is needed to measure today’s ability to pay debts and hence to write down bad loans that have been made without a corresponding ability of debtors to pay. Without such an institution and body of analysis, the IMF’s neoliberal principle of imposing economic depression and falling living standards to pay U.S. and other foreign creditors will impose global poverty.

The above proposals provide an alternative to the U.S. “exceptionalist” refusal to join any international organization that has a say over its affairs. Other countries must be willing to turn the tables and isolate U.S. banks, U.S. exporters, and to avoid using U.S. dollars and routing payments via U.S. banks. To protect their ability to create a countervailing power requires an international court and its sponsoring organization.

Summary

The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism. Their danger to world peace and prosperity threatens a reversion to the pre-World War II colonialism, ruling by client elites along lines similar to the 2014 Ukrainian coup by neo-Nazi groups sponsored by the U.S. State Department and National Endowment for Democracy. Such control recalls the dictators that U.S. diplomacy established throughout Latin America in the 1950s. Today’s ethnic terrorism by U.S.-sponsored Wahabi-Saudi Islam recalls the behavior of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Global warming is the second major existentialist threat. Blocking attempts to reverse it is a bedrock of American foreign policy, because it is based on control of oil. So the military, refugee and global warming threats are interconnected.

The U.S. military poses the greatest immediate danger. Today’s warfare is fundamentally changed from what it used to be. Prior to the 1970s, nations conquering others had to invade and occupy them with armies recruited by a military draft. But no democracy in today’s world can revive such a draft without triggering widespread refusal to fight, voting the government out of power. The only way the United States – or other countries – can fight other nations is to bomb them. And as noted above, economic sanctions have as destructive an effect on civilian populations in countries deemed to be U.S. adversaries as overt warfare. The United States can sponsor political coups (as in Honduras and Pinochet’s Chile), but cannot occupy. It is unwilling to rebuild, to say nothing of taking responsibility for the waves of refugees that our bombing and sanctions are causing from Latin America to the Near East.

U.S. ideologues view their nation’s coercive military expansion and political subversion and neoliberal economic policy of privatization and financialization as an irreversible victory signaling the End of History. To the rest of the world it is a threat to human survival.

The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentier class and its clients, eir debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.

Published:7/26/2019 11:24:33 PM
[Markets] The Five Faulty Premises Of Russiagate

Authored by Doug “Uncola” Lynn via TheBurningPlatform.com,

Having watched some of the questions to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller by congress on Wednesday July 24, 2019, as well as Mueller’s dithering deflections – it was obvious the entire affair was another distraction; more of the same ongoing circus show.

Of course, no minds were changed. Those on the Left still consider Trump to be a comprised capitalist pig guarding his tax returns with all the fervor of any good Manchurian Candidate and those on the Right still viewing Mueller as a tyrannical tool of the Deep State.

After Mueller’s live testimony, this blogger listened to roughly thirty Americans calling into CNN with their comments. Of those callers, only three were in support of Trump and with the rest of them effusively expressing gratitude to Mueller for his service in revealing Trump’s threat to American Democracy.

Many conservatives, including talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh and some his callers, agreed that Mueller didn’t seem familiar with the contents of his report, let alone the Steele Dossier, Fusion GPS, and other points-of-factbrought up by the Republicans as they were grilling the former special counsel. To be sure, Limbaugh commented on Mueller’s less-than-stellardemeanor and lack of preparedness – even going so far as to say Mueller deserved absolutely zero sympathies for his contributory efforts in the never-ending farce that the former special counsel has perpetrated on the American people.

But, at the same time, L-Rushbo painted a picture of Mueller simply being (for lack of better terminology) parochial in his search for justice; as if Mueller was simply a Never-Trumper like Mittens Romney or John Kasich.

In fact, at the close of the Mueller hearing, even House Republican Devin Nunes complimented Mueller, thanked him for his service, and refused to scorch the doddering old fool in the end.

Unfortunately, a majority of Americans today, including many conservatives, have swallowed hookline, and sinker one or more of the following five (5) faulty premises of Russiagate:

1.)  The Russians actually hacked the 2016 elections

The Mueller Report, as well as most of the Democrats who questioned Robert Mueller on July 24, 2019 claimed Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion”.

This is not true.  It did not happen; at least not sweepingly or systematically.

What did happen one year ago, on July 13, 2018, was Mueller’s boss at the time, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, announced the Mueller Investigation’s single indictment of Twelve Russian intelligence officers for alleged election hacking under President Obama’s watch.  Of course, this was done in an effort to divert publicity away from the July 12, 2018 Capitol Hill testimony of disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok and to subvert President Trump’s impending Russian summit on July 16, 2018.

Even so, in his very conveniently-timed press conference, Rosenstein acknowledged  that “no American was a knowing participant” in the Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and there was “no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election”.

In other words, much ado about nothing, in the same way the Mueller Report offered zero forensic evidence other than the reliance of the two (2) now discredited Democratic National Committee (DNC) contractors:  CrowdStrike and “Russian dossier compiler Christopher Steele”.

Furthermore, other so-called “established” and “confirmed” claims in Mueller’s bogus report cited the Russian company, Concord Management, as “sowing discord” throughout U.S. social media prior to the 2016 Presidential Election – and this was shot down by U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich’s May 28, 2019 ruling which concluded that Mueller had “no evidence”.

Did you get that?  No evidence.

Squat.  Zip. Nada.  Zilch.

2.)  Wikileaks was affiliated with Russia

Another key premise of Democrats, the U.S. Corporate Media, and The Mueller Report, is that Russian Intelligence hacked into the DNC servers and provided stolen e-mails to WikiLeaks through (according to the Mueller Report) “fictitious online personas including DCLeaks” and Guccifer 2.0”.

Again, this did not happen because reporting as far back as 2017 indicated that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange possessed the DNC e-mails beforeDCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 were created, yet Assange used these entities to obfuscate his true source.

Veteran intelligence whistleblowers also reported in 2017 on how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers were not hacked by Guccifer 2.0 and released to WikiLeaks but, instead, the data actually originated via an external storage device.

All of this means the “fictitious online personas” allegedly linked to Russian intelligence, according to the Mueller Report, were created after-the-fact in order to conceal the true source of the DNC leaks.

Additionally, when WikiLeaks released the password to Vault 7, also known as: “The Largest Publication of Confidential CIA Documents Ever”, a program entitled UMBRAGE was revealed. This was a formerly top-secret initiative whereby American intelligence agencies could mimic internet hacks from other countries, including Russia.

Yet, none of that information was revealed in Robert Mueller’s report, was it?  Why?  Probably, for the same reason Team Mueller refused to interview Julian Assange.  Because, had Mueller done so, he might have been asked later by congress why WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward for information in the case involving Seth Rich.  Rich was the former voter expansion data director for the DNC who was murdered in Washington DC on July 10, 2016.

But Team Mueller didn’t care about any of that and, instead, disseminated false conclusions regarding Russian election meddling.

Are you surprised?

3.) Robert Mueller is an honorable guy

Even in light of Robert Mueller’s doddering downfall on Congressional Hill, there are those on both sides of the political aisle who consider him, still, as an ethical and honorable man.

He is neither.

Former Texas State Court judge, and now sitting Congressman, Louis Buller Gohmert Jr  (R-Texas), has unmasked Mueller’s “long and sordid history of illicitly targeting innocent people that is a stain upon the legacy of American jurisprudence”, citing 18 specific examples, including:

– Collusion with Boston mobster Whitey Bulger in criminality and framing innocent men for murder that resulted eventually in the release of innocent parties and 100 million dollars in compensation for DOJ Boston Office misconduct.

– The FBI with Mueller as director harassed and hounded Congressman Curt Weldon in revenge for criticizing FBI failures related to 9-11.

– Dishonest prosecutions of Senator Ted Stevens.

– Prosecutorial abuses in the anthrax murder investigations post 9-11, producing one suicide and one award of 6.8 million dollars to the other innocent target.

– Mueller’s unethical acceptance of the special prosecutor position when he was conflicted by his longtime personal and professional relationship with James Comey.

– Mueller hired extremely partisan, biased, and conflicted attorneys for his special counsel team.

– Mueller’s investigation ignored that FISA applications evidence presented to justify warrants to surveil Trump associates were not verified and thus a fraud on the court and illegal.

As was adequately revealed by the Republicans who grilled Robert Mueller during his congressional hearing, the entire special counsel investigation (and it’s ensuing report) amounted to little more than political opposition research on behalf of the Democratic Party; and a concerted effort to gaslight the American public via it’s bizarre, and even Orwellian, deceptions.

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-California) asked Mueller why he couldn’t provide connecting evidence of Russian trolls to the Russian government.  Chris Stewart (R-Utah) questioned Mueller on why his team of angry Democrats always leaked information detrimental to Trump but never a single leak of anything placing Trump in a positive light.  And other Republicans wondered why Hillary Clinton’s “Dirty Dossier” received such extra-special “kid-glove” treatment by Team Mueller.

Indeed, we now know the following:  In spite of the Mueller probe breaking multiple prosecutorial rules that ensured justice, they were “outfoxed” by Trump’s legal team beginning as far back as June, 2018 – when none other than William Barr sent a 19-page memorandum to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein checkmating Mueller’s apparent “interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute:18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2)“.  It was Barr’s contention that Trump could not have violated that particular statute because “he [Trump] was not accused of engaging in any wrongful act of evidence impairment”.

In his memo to Rosenstein, Barr also claimed Mueller was giving the statute a “new unbounded interpretation” that “would have potentially disastrous implications” for the Executive Branch of government.

Oh, that Robert Mueller.  What a guy. He folded on collusion and conspiracy before upping the stakes on obstruction via volume two of his report which presented like a legal Chinese finger-trap or Gordian Knot.  Mueller’s “not exonerating” Trump inverted “innocent until proven guilty” into “guilty until proven innocent” and demonstrated the special counsel investigation’s very palpable political prejudice – which was further proven by the specific misrepresentations and selective editing in the final Mueller Report.

Even, now, if it appears Robert Mueller was a moderately senile figurehead for Andrew Weissmann & Company’s attempted takedown of a sitting president, certainly, history will not be kind to the former special counsel who lent his name to the farce. Undeniably, the former special counsel’s recent fiasco before congress was just the beginning of his once illustrious and ill-deserved reputation becoming a national joke.

4.) The Democrats actually care about Democracy

The Democratic Party does not have a political platform beyond Santa Clausian economic initiatives, genitalia, skin color, and disproven conspiracy theories rooted in fraudulent Russiaphobia.  They do not care to secure American elections.  On the contrary.  Why else would they be seeking to turn Texas into a blue state via ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?  Right?

In truth, the Socialist Party cares only about power; even (as the Mueller hearing demonstrated) to the point of weaponizing their own hypocrisy.

All throughout The Robert Mueller Show on Wednesday, the former special counsel’s bias and the hypocrisy of the Democrats and sycophants in the media, could not have been more obvious. Mueller’s appearance was meant to provide amplification on behalf of Trump’s political opponents for impeachment, more hearings, and additional investigations.

Although Mueller received top billing, the Dems and their enablers in the media were always going to be the stars. Mueller was called to testify in order to expand the audience in order to resurrect the dying efforts of Trump’s enemies.

And it all backfired yugely.

Even so, during his testimony, Mueller “included some stark warnings” of how the Russians were already attempting to interfere in the 2020 elections.  This allowed the Democrats to continue their Chicken Little cries of how the “sky is falling” while citing Trump’s lackadaisicalness as proof of the president’s political puppetry under Putin.

Yet, if the Democrats were concerned in the least over alleged Russian election hacking, then why are they not interviewing those who allowed it to happen under the Obama Administration’s watch?  They won’t because they don’t care about democracy or to secure America’s elections.  Instead, they desire to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

The Democrats currently serving in congress are liars who seek America’s demise.  Sadly, that is the truth.

5.) Intelligence Agencies under the Obama Administration were working to ensure secure elections

Anyone even remotely paying attention over the past few years knows that Hillary Clinton and the DNC financed the Russian Dossier on Trump.  According to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the dossier was then used to obtain the FISA warrant required to spy on Team Trump.  A 90-day surveillance warrant on Carter Page was then renewed three times and this was done in order to dig up political dirt and diminish Trump’s chances of winning the 2016 Presidential Election.  Then, later, the FISA warrants were illegally issued to undermine Trump’s presidency.

At the same time, the now well-known culprits in the Obama Administration (i.e. James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr) were actively concealing the multifarious crimes of Hillary Clinton.

A mole in Trump’s campaign was also later revealed as Stefan Halper, a 73-year-old Oxford University professor and former U.S. government official who was paid over $1 million by the Obama administration including $411,575 that was made in two payments by September 26, 2016.  That date was three days after a Yahoo News article was published by Michael Isikoff on Trump aide, Carter Page; which the FBI later illicitly used as supporting evidence in the FISA warrant application for Page.

Then, after Trump won the election, the phony Russian conspiracy was utilized:

–  By online social networks to censor the alternative media

–  By President Obama to sign into law the “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act”

–  By Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, to feloniously unmaskTrump administration officials

–  By Democrats and the Media to pressure the new president’s National  Security Advisor to resign and the nation’s new Attorney General to recuse himself from the Russia investigation

–  By deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, to appoint his trusted, dear friend and collaborator, Robert Mueller, as Special Counsel to investigate President Trump’s non-existent collusion with Russia

–  By Robert Mueller to transition the imaginary Russiagate Collusion into illusions of Obstruction of Justice against Trump

– By Robert Mueller to obtain minor process crimes on Paul Manafort(Trump’s former campaign chairman), Rick Gates (business associate of Manafort), George Papadopoulos (Trump’s former foreign policy advisor) and Michael Flynn (Trump’s former national security advisor) and others

–  By AP reporters and FBI agents to collude in a conspiracy against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort

– By Team Mueller to falsely accuse Russia of meddling in order to undermine the trust of Americans in their electoral process

– In order to summarily rescind a sitting president’s attorney-client privilege; as well as his presumption of innocence through the special counsel’s “lack of exoneration”.

– To allow the Democratic candidates in the 2018 Midterm Elections to leverage the issue of election hacking and illegitimately win key senate races as well as control of the U.S. House

All this from America’s “heroes” who swore an oath to defend America’s constitution.

Thanks for nothing, you treasonous tribe of traitors.

Conclusion

As long as even some of the premises of those who oppose the U.S. Constitution are swallowed hookline, and sinker by a significant percentage of the U.S. body politic – then these may, in the end, present as evidence in the historical record delineating the downfall of our once-great republic.

One would like to believe this sordid chapter of corruption will result in the ultimate draining of the American swamp.  The nation now awaits reports from Inspector General Michael Horwitz on FISA Abuse and corruption in the Department of Justice; U.S. Attorney John Huber on Clinton Foundation illegalities; and U.S. Attorney John Durham on the malevolent origins of Russiagate.

Godspeed gentlemen. Because a very significant percentage of the American public is growing more impatient by the day. Time is of the essence.  Tick tock.

Published:7/26/2019 9:54:11 PM
[Politics] Trump wants to subpoena OBAMA and HILLARY, implies Obama book deal was SHADY!! El Presidente Trumpo went on a rant today and was tossing out subpoena recommendations like Oprah tossing out cars at her talk show. Wow. Here’s what he said from The Hill: “They . . . Published:7/26/2019 8:58:09 PM
[Politics] Trump wants to subpoena OBAMA and HILLARY, implies Obama book deal was SHADY!! El Presidente Trumpo went on a rant today and was tossing out subpoena recommendations like Oprah tossing out cars at her talk show. Wow. Here’s what he said from The Hill: “They . . . Published:7/26/2019 8:58:09 PM
[Markets] Johnstone: How To Inoculate Yourself From Establishment Bullshit

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

In a recent interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King, former First Lady Michelle Obama contrasted her husband’s presidency with that of his successor by claiming that unlike Trump, the Obama family had had “no scandal”.

“I had to sit in [Trump’s inauguration] audience, one of a handful of people of color and then listen to that speech, and all that I had sort of held onto for eight years, watching my husband get raked over the coals, feeling like we had to do everything perfectly, you know, no scandal,” Obama said.

“Yeah,” King responded.

“No nothing,” Obama said “No nothing!”

“Yes. No scandal,” King said.

You hear this claim a lot from Democrats. There was a viral tweet with tens of thousands of shares shortly before the 2016 election which read, “8 years. No scandals. No mistresses. No impeachment hearings. Just class and grace, personified.” It’s a very common refrain which resurfaces in memes and tweets periodically, usually as criticisms of the sitting president.

Of course, the only reason anyone can attempt to claim that Barack Obama had “no scandals” is because in our bat shit crazy world, murdering, oppressing and exploiting large numbers of people isn’t considered scandalous.

In a sane, healthy world, a presidency like Obama’s would be looked upon with abject horror. Actually in a sane, healthy world a warmongering Wall Street crony like Obama would never have been elected in the first place, but if you were to show the members of a healthy, harmonious society the way that president used his power to do what he did to Libya and Syria, to continue and expand all of Bush’s most evil policies, to divert the push for economic justice into a neoliberal orgy for eight years, those people would recoil in absolute revulsion.

The only reason liberals think Obama had a low-key, drama-free presidency is because that presidency was normalized for them by the establishment narrative managers of the political/media class. If that class had been shrieking about Obama’s warmongering, surveillance expansion, persecution of whistleblowers, crony capitalism etc in the way that it’s been shrieking about Trump’s nonexistent Russia ties or his obnoxious tweets, these same people would see Obama as a horrible monster. But the propagandists didn’t do that, because it would hinder the cause of bloodthirsty imperialism abroad and crushing austerity at home.

The plutocrat-owned media and the plutocrat-owned politicians have the ability to control what people view as normal and what they view as weird, just by not reacting with alarm to occurrences they want normalized and reacting hysterically to occurrences they want rejected.

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s fairly mild differences with US foreign policy orthodoxy, for example, are treated as so freakishly bizarre that you routinely see establishment pundits making fascinatingly absurd statements about her and getting away with it. The Hill’s Reid Wilson posted a tweet that got thousands of likes and shares saying “Hot take/prediction: Tulsi Gabbard is going to endorse Trump in the end.” Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden shared Wilson’s tweet with the hysterical caption, “My prediction: Tulsi runs as third party Green candidate to help Trump win. I will take bets on this.” Again, thousands of likes and retweets.

Neither of these things are going to happen. Both Wilson and Tanden know they will never happen. Gabbard is a fairly conventional center-left Democrat who just wants to scale back US warmongering somewhat; she’s so well within the establishment-authorized Overton window that she just voted in favor of a House anti-BDS bill for Christ’s sake. But because she opposes a few aspects of the forever war and says it’s a good idea to communicate with world leaders who the US government doesn’t like, establishment attack dogs are acting like Hawaii’s second congressional district is being represented by some kind of eldritch tentacle beast from the Andromeda Galaxy.

I’m highlighting some of the more glaring recent examples here, but this sort of thing is happening all the time with varying degrees of subtlety. The public’s perceptions of events are continually being distorted by an establishment narrative management machine which controls what people view as normal and what they view as abnormal. You notice this very quickly when you start cultivating your news sense and paying attention to what news stories the mass media choose to give tons of coverage to and what stories they all but ignore; you notice almost immediately that there’s very little connection between how important a story is and how much news coverage it receives. The factor that determines the extent of coverage is the advancement of establishment interests and advertising revenue, in that order. Actual newsworthiness barely registers.

The way to rob the narrative managers of their ability to manipulate our sense of normalcy is to create an image of a sane and healthy world for ourselves to hold onto at all times, and to make that image into our own personal sense of what normal is. By having a vivid picture of what a sane and healthy world would look like in your mind, the false normal that the propagandists are trying to sell you will have no purchase.

Many people want to change the world, but hardly anyone ever sits down and creates a clear, positive image for themselves of a world in which all positive changes have been successfully put into full effect. Most people tend to just look at the current hot topic debates they’re seeing in the news over healthcare, immigration policies, gun control, austerity policies, abortion, LGBTQ issues, police brutality etc, and hope that those specific issues are resolved in their preferred way. But what if you zoomed out to a much bigger picture and imagined a healthy and harmonious world in which all our major problems have been resolved, and we’ve built something beautiful together? What would that be like?

I can’t envision such a world for you, because you and I will have different ideas about what a perfectly healthy and harmonious world looks like. I’m not trying to give you a specific image, I’m trying to get you to make a solid, lucid image of your own creation that can’t be replaced by the false normal the narrative managers are trying to implant in your mind day in and day out. Don’t hold back; go all the way and make the world as perfect as possible. All your ideas about what changes you might make are “realistic” or “unrealistic” are corrupted by propaganda anyway, so just create a perfect world.

This is worth setting aside an hour or two and investing some serious mental energy into. Once you’ve got a positive image of a healthy and harmonious world, and once you have a really clear image of what it would be like to live in that world, it’s kind of like you become someone from that imaginary world who stepped into this one and gets to see it for the first time. You get to see life through the eyes of someone for whom “normal” isn’t endless violence, oppression, exploitation and degradation, but for whom normal is the absence of those things. This makes all of the insanity in this world stand out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper, and gives you the ability to clearly see and describe precisely what needs to change about our situation here.

You’ve already had a taste of this if you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of having to explain what war is to a small child. Nothing about war makes sense to a creature who is looking at this world with fresh eyes; the confusion and upset which immediately flashes over their face will make you feel like an idiot even if you oppose war, just for being a part of a world where grown-ups engage in such idiotic behavior. Someone who came into this world from a healthy and harmonious parallel earth would see it very much the same way.

Imagine if war weren’t normalized. Imagine if a US plane dropping a bomb on foreign soil and ripping human bodies to shreds was treated as the horrific event that it actually is and given weeks of extensive investigative coverage, instead of something that happens many times every single daywithout any mention at all. A pundit on Fox or MSNBC will tell you that you’re a delusional imbecile if you think this should cease immediately. Anyone who’s seeing our world with unindoctrinated eyes knows you’re a delusional imbecile if you don’t.

All the injustices we’re trained like dogs to see as normal are like this. Corruption. Plutocracy. Wage slavery. The way the homeless are treated. The fact that there are homeless at all. Police militarization. The drug war. Prisons for profit. Government surveillance. Propaganda. All of these things are inherently disgusting, but we lose our accurate sense of disgust because we’ve been tricked into accepting them as normal. So remove the scales from your eyes by creating a new normal for yourself.

*  *  *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Published:7/26/2019 7:23:52 PM
[] I Guess, For a Start... 🚨HOLY🚨Trump just now in the Oval Office:- Subpoena all of Obama's records.- Subpoena all of the records having to do with Hillary Clinton.- Subpoena the Clinton Foundation.- Look into the book deal that President Obama made.- GOP will hold House,... Published:7/26/2019 7:23:52 PM
[US News] Flashback: Barack Obama praised Joe Biden for passing the 1994 crime bill

Via Politico’s Marc Caputo, here’s a flashback that Sen. Cory Booker won’t like at all: According to Barack Obama’s own words, the 1994 crime bill was one of Joe Biden’s signature accomplishments: As Booker & some African-American activists bash Biden for the 94 crime bill he authored, it's noteworthy Obama singled it out in his […]

The post Flashback: Barack Obama praised Joe Biden for passing the 1994 crime bill appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/26/2019 6:59:08 PM
[2019 News] High court allows use of Pentagon funds for border wall High court allows use of Pentagon funds for border wall.  9th Circuit Obama Clown Judges overturned again. Published:7/26/2019 6:24:24 PM
[Markets] The Great Reckoning - Looking Back From The Year 2050

Authored by Andrew Bacevich via TomDispatch.com,

[Editorial note: This remnant of a manuscript, discovered in a vault near the coastal town of Walpole, Massachusetts, appears to have been part of a larger project, probably envisioned as an interpretive history of the United States since the year 2000. Only a single chapter, probably written near the midpoint of the 21st century, has survived. Whether the remainder of the manuscript has been lost or the author abandoned it before its completion is unknown.] 

Chapter 1: The Launch

From our present vantage point, it seems clear that, by 2019, the United States had passed a point of no return. In retrospect, this was the moment when indications of things gone fundamentally awry should have become unmistakable. Although at the time much remained hidden in shadows, the historic pivot now commonly referred to as the Great Reckoning had commenced.

Even today, it remains difficult to understand why, given mounting evidence of a grave crisis, passivity persisted for so long across most sectors of society. An epidemic of anomie affected a large swath of the population. Faced with a blizzard of troubling developments, large and small, Americans found it difficult to put things into anything approximating useful perspective. Few even bothered to try. Fewer succeeded. As with predictions of cataclysmic earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, a not-in-my-lifetime mood generally prevailed.

During what was then misleadingly known as the Age of Trump, the political classes dithered. While the antics of President Donald Trump provoked intense interest— the word “intense” hardly covers the attention paid to him — they also provided a convenient excuse for letting partisan bickering take precedence over actual governance or problem solving of any sort. Meanwhile, “thought leaders” (a term then commonly used to describe pontificating windbags) indulged themselves with various pet projects.

President Trump in 2019. (White House/Flickr)

In the midst of what commentators were pleased to call the Information Age, most ordinary Americans showed a pronounced affinity for trivia over matters of substance. A staggering number of citizens willingly traded freedom and privacy for convenience, bowing to the dictates of an ever-expanding array of personalized gadgetry. What was then called a “smartphone” functioned as a talisman of sorts, the electronic equivalent of a rosary or prayer beads. Especially among the young, separation from one’s “phone” for more than a few minutes could cause acute anxiety and distress. The novelty of “social media” had not yet worn off, with its most insidious implications just being discovered.

Divided, distracted, and desperately trying to keep up: these emerged then as the abiding traits of life in contemporary America. Craft beer, small-batch bourbon, and dining at the latest farm-to-table restaurant often seemed to matter more than the fate of the nation or, for that matter, the planet as a whole. But all that was about to change.

Scholars will undoubtedly locate the origins of the Great Reckoning well before 2019. Perhaps they will trace its source to the aftermath of the Cold War when American elites succumbed to a remarkable bout of imperial hubris, while ignoring (thanks in part to the efforts of Big Energy companies) the already growing body of information on the human-induced alteration of the planet, which came to be called “climate change” or “global warming.” While, generally speaking, the collective story of humankind unfolds along a continuum, by 2019 conditions conducive to disruptive change were forming. History was about to zig sharply off its expected course.

Craft beer was in vogue.

This disruption occurred, of course, within a specific context. During the first two decades of the 21st century, American society absorbed a series of punishing blows.

First came the contested election of 2000, the president of the United States installed in office by a 5-4 vote of a politicized Supreme Court, which thereby effectively usurped the role of the electorate. And that was just for starters.

Following in short order came the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which the world’s (self-proclaimed) premier intelligence services failed to anticipate and the world’s preeminent military establishment failed to avert.

Less than two years later, the administration of George W. Bush, operating under the delusion that the ongoing war in Afghanistan was essentially won, ordered U.S. forces to invade Iraq, a nation that had played no part in the events of 9/11. The result of this patently illegal war of aggression would not be victory, despite the president’s almost instant “mission accomplished” declaration, but a painful replay of the quagmire that U.S. troops had experienced decades before in Vietnam. Expectations of Iraq’s “liberation” paving the way for a broader Freedom Agenda that would democratize the Islamic world came to naught. The Iraq War and other armed interventions initiated during the first two decades of the century ended up costing trillions of taxpayer dollars, while sowing the seeds of instability across much of the Greater Middle East and later Africa.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed many areas of New Orleans. (Marines/Rocco DeFilippis)

Then, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, killing nearly 2,000 Americans. U.S. government agencies responded with breathtaking ineptitude, a sign of things to come, as nature itself was turning increasingly unruly. Other natural disasters of unnatural magnitude followed. In 2007, to cite but one example, more than 9,000 wildfires in California swept through more than a million acres. Like swarms of locusts, fires now became an annual (and worsening) plague ravaging the Golden State and the rest of the West Coast. If this weren’t enough of a harbinger of approaching environmental catastrophe, the populations of honeybees, vital to American agriculture, began to collapse in these very same years.

Americans were, as it turned out, largely indifferent to the fate of honeybees. They paid far greater attention to the economy, however, which experienced its own form of collapse in 2008. The ensuing Great Recession saw millions thrown out of work and millions more lose their homes as a result of fraudulent mortgage practices. None of the perpetrators were punished. The administration of President Barack Obama chose instead to bail out offending banks and large corporations. Record federal deficits resulted, as the government abandoned once and for all even the pretense of trying to balance the budget. And, of course, the nation’s multiple wars dragged on and on and on.

Protesters in NYC, Sept. 24, 2011. (Carwil Bjork-James via Flickr)

Through all these trials, the American people more or less persevered. If not altogether stoic, they remained largely compliant. As a result, few members of the nation’s political, economic, intellectual, or cultural elites showed any awareness that something fundamental might be amiss. The two established parties retained their monopoly on national politics. As late as 2016, the status quo appeared firmly intact. Only with that year’s presidential election did large numbers of citizens signal that they had had enough: wearing red MAGA caps rather than wielding pitchforks, they joined Donald Trump’s assault on that elite and, thumbing their noses at Washington, installed a reality TV star in the White House.

To the legions who had found the previous status quo agreeable, Trump’s ascent to the apex of American politics amounted to an unbearable affront. They might tolerate purposeless, endless wars, raise more or less any set of funds for the military that was so unsuccessfully fighting them, and turn a blind eye to economic arrangements that fostered inequality on a staggering scale. They might respond to the accelerating threat posed by climate change with lip service and, at best, quarter-measures. But Donald Trump in the Oval Office? That they could not abide.

As a result, from the moment of his election, Trump dominated the American scene. Yet the outrage that he provoked, day in and day out, had this unfortunate side effect: it obscured developments that would in time prove to be of far more importance than the 45th American president himself. Like the “noise” masking signals that, if detected and correctly interpreted, might have averted Pearl Harbor in December 1941 or, for that matter, 9/11, obsessing about Trump caused observers to regularly overlook or discount matters far transcending in significance the daily ration of presidential shenanigans.

Here, then, is a very partial listing of some of the most important of those signals then readily available to anyone bothering to pay attention. On the eve of the Great Reckoning, however, they were generally treated as mere curiosities or matters of limited urgency — problems to be deferred to a later, more congenial moment.

Item: The reality of climate change was now indisputable. All that remained in question was how rapidly it would occur and the extent (and again rapidity) of the devastation that it would ultimately inflict.

2013  Alder fire in Yellowstone National Park. (Mike Lewelling, National Park Service)

Item: Despite everything that was then known about the dangers of further carbon emissions, the major atmospheric contributor to global warming, they only continued to increase, despite the myriad conferences and agreements intended to curb them. (U.S. carbon emissions, in particular, were still rising then, and global emissions were expected to rise by record or near-record amounts as 2019 began.)

Item: The polar icecap was disappearing, with scientists reporting that it had melted more in just 20 years than in the previous 10,000. This, in turn, meant that sea levels would continue to rise at record rates, posing an increasing threat to coastal cities.

In early 2017, the western U.S. was hit by rain and flooding from a series of storms flowing on multiple streams of moist air. A satellite image of these “atmospheric rivers” shown here. (NASA)

Item: Deforestation and desertification were occurring at an alarming rate.

Item: Approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic were seeping into the world’s oceans each year, from the ingestion of which vast numbers of seabirds, fish, and marine mammals were dying annually. Payback would come in the form of microplastics contained in seafood consumed by humans.

Item: With China and other Asian countries increasingly refusing to accept American recyclables, municipalities in the United States found themselves overwhelmed by accumulations of discarded glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, and paper. That year, the complete breakdown of the global recycling system already loomed as a possibility.

Item: Worldwide bird and insect populations were plummeting. In other words, the Sixth Mass Extinction had begun.

Polar bears in 2008 became the first species to be listed as endangered because of forecasted population declines from the effects of climate change. (National Park Service)

All of these fall into the category of what we recognize today as planetary issues of existential importance. But even in 2019 there were other matters of less than planetary significance that ought to have functioned as a wake-up call. Among them were:

Item: With the federal government demonstrably unable to secure U.S. borders, immigration authorities were seizing hundreds of thousands of migrants annually. By 2019, the Trump administration was confining significant numbers of those migrants, including small children, in what were, in effect, concentration camps.

Item: Cybercrime had become a major growth industry, on track to rake in $6 trillion annually by 2021. Hackers were already demonstrating the ability to hold large American cities hostage and the authorities proved incapable of catching up.

Item: With the three richest Americans — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet —controlling more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the entire population, the United States had become a full-fledged oligarchy. While politicians occasionally expressed their dismay about this reality, prior to 2019 it was widely tolerated.

Item: As measured by roads, bridges, dams, or public transportation systems, the nation’s infrastructure was strikingly inferior to what it had been a half-century earlier. (By 2019, China, for instance, had built more than 19,000 miles of high-speed rail; the U.S., not one.) Agreement that this was a problem that needed fixing was universal; corrective action (and government financing), however, was not forthcoming.

Item: Military spending in constant dollars exceeded what it had been at the height of the Cold War when the country’s main adversary, the Soviet Union, had a large army with up-to-date equipment and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. In 2019, Iran, the country’s most likely adversary, had a modest army and no nuclear weapons.

Item: Incivility, rudeness, bullying, and general nastiness had become rampant, while the White House, once the site of solemn ceremony, deliberation, and decision, played host to politically divisive shouting matches and verbal brawls.

To say that Americans were oblivious to such matters would be inaccurate. Some were, for instance, considering a ban on plastic straws. Yet taken as a whole, the many indications of systemic and even planetary dysfunction received infinitely less popular attention than the pregnancies of British royals, the antics of the justifiably forgotten Kardashian clan, or fantasy football, a briefly popular early 21st century fad.

People working on their fantasy football drafts. (Daniel Means/Flickr)

Of course, decades later, viewed with the benefit of hindsight, the implications of these various trends and data points seem painfully clear: the dominant ideological abstraction of late postmodernity — liberal democratic capitalism — was rapidly failing or had simply become irrelevant to the challenges facing the United States and the human species as a whole. To employ another then-popular phrase, liberal democratic capitalism had become an expression of “fake news,” a scam sold to the many for the benefit of the privileged few.

“Toward the end of an age,” historian John Lukacs (1924-2019) once observed, “more and more people lose faith in their institutions and finally they abandon their belief that these institutions might still be reformed from within.” Lukacs wrote those words in 1970, but they aptly described the situation that had come to exist in that turning-point year of 2019. Basic American institutions — the overworked U.S. military being a singular exception — no longer commanded popular respect.

In essence, the postmodern age was ending, though few seemed to know it — with elites, in particular, largely oblivious to what was occurring. What would replace postmodernity in a planet heading for ruin remained to be seen.

Only when...

[Editor’s note: Here the account breaks off.]

Published:7/26/2019 5:24:52 PM
[Education] Civil Rights Panel Wants to Bring Back Obama’s Race-Based School-Discipline Policies. Bad Idea.

Washington late last year reversed a policy that was micromanaging the way teachers and principals kept order in classrooms. Now, a federal commission wants to... Read More

The post Civil Rights Panel Wants to Bring Back Obama’s Race-Based School-Discipline Policies. Bad Idea. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/26/2019 2:22:53 PM
[Markets] Mueller, The Mayor Of Munchkin-land, & Democrat Misadventures

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Who imagined that in the climactic scene of the blockbuster RussiaGate fantasy, when the curtain was ripped away, the Wizard at the controls would turn out to be… Captain Queeg! We need not rehash all the depressing particulars of Robert Mueller’s six-hour public humiliation in two House committee hearings in order to reach a set of conclusions about the conduct of his rogue investigation and the perfidious report issued in his name.

One is that Robert Mueller could not have run his investigation. There is even reason to question that he was briefed on the day-to-day developments by the people who did run it — since, for instance, he apparently never heard the phrase “Fusion GPS,” that is, the swarm of flying monkeys who delivered the whole shebang’s predicate documents known as the Steele Dossier simultaneously to the FBI, The Washington Post, and The New York Times beginning in 2016. By his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Mueller gives new meaning to the term useful idiot.

The two-year inquisition was run by attorneys Andrew Weissmann and Jeanie Rhee, two arch Hillary Clinton partisans (the latter a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation), leading now to the conclusion that the Mueller Investigation itself was no less a Clinton operation than the Steele Dossier. I wonder if it will become known whether Mrs. Clinton herself was in regular communication with Weissmann and Rhee during these years, or who were the intermediaries between them. Surely federal attorney John Durham has the mojo to seize phone records of the Mueller Team and find out exactly who was checking in with whom.

I, for one, even doubt that the lingering assertion of Russian “interference” in the 2016 election — taken as dictum by too many dupes — has any merit at all. Rather it was just a foggy byproduct of the mighty gaslighting effort by experienced Intel Community specialists working the zealously biased and credulous news media into a lather of bad faith. All of the Russians and “Russian agents” lassoed into narrative appear to have professional connections to either the CIA, the FBI, the US State department, or Mrs. Clinton’s various networks of myrmidons in the DNC, the Obama administration, and Fusion GPS. These relationships were all sedulously ignored by the Special Counsel’s office — and now they can’t be.

Hence, it is easy to imagine that Attorney General Barr and his lead investigator, Mr. Dunham, must now entertain the unappetizing prospect of examining the roles of Mrs. Clinton and the foregoing cast of characters in this melodrama for the purpose of discovering whether this was actually the seditious conspiracy that it appears to have been — with rather horrific possible consequences of grave charges and severe punishments.

In all this long and excruciating public playing-out of dark schemes, Mr. Trump, first candidate and now president, seems to have acted as little more than a tackling dummy for the Mueller Team and its backstage confederates. He tweeted childishly about the deeply partisan composition of the Mueller Team when he should have mounted a forceful legal opposition to the effrontery of their selection in the first place.

It’s interesting to follow the pronouncements of the bit-players in this spectacle, now that Mr. Mueller has inadvertently destroyed the basis of the sacred narrative. Rep. Jerold Nadler turned up yakking with Anderson Cooper on CNN last night, looking every inch like the Mayor of Munchkin Land, bloviating against the supposed imminent Russian takeover of America (read: by witches) and the now-receding fool’s errand of impeachment, which would only further expose the criminal culpability of his own Democratic Party in this sordid misadventure. Mr. Cooper looked deeply pained by the chore, and yet his own professional credibility is on the line after two years of allowing himself to be played like a flugelhorn by the folks who matter in this country, and he contested nothing in Mr. Nadler’s mendacious pratings.

And now a fretful silence will descend around this colossal goddamned mess as the momentum of history shifts against the perpetrators of it, and the true machinery of American justice is brought to bear upon them. The playing-out of Act Three will probably coincide with epic global financial disorder in the months ahead, further obscuring what people and nations can do to arrest the collapse of Modernity and its sidekick Human Progress.

Published:7/26/2019 1:52:45 PM
[Markets] James Clapper Suggests Mueller Was "Just A Figurehead" And Didn't Even Write His Own Report

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Thursday that Robert Mueller could just be a "figurehead" who may not have been involved in writing "his" own report, according to The Gateway Pundit.

The comments came during a CNN interview discussing why Robert Mueller didn't seem to have "command" over the report's contents while testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday. 

Clapper was heavily involved in the coup against President Donald Trump and was an advocate for the Russia hoax theory earlier on.

Mueller's role was likely more of a "CEO", he said. “I think his role as a special prosecutor was a lot more like a CEO where he oversaw the operations but did not engage in interrogating witnesses or actually writing the report.”

And naturally, as the article asks, if Mueller didn't write the report, was it left to the anti-Trump zealots that filled his team? The piece notes that nearly "every single prosecutor on Mueller’s team was a Hillary/Obama donor."

Lead prosecutor Andrew Weissman was with Hillary Clinton on election night and praised acting AG Sally Yates for not enforcing Trump's travel ban. Aaron Zebley, another Mueller team member, represented the IT aide that smashed Clinton's Blackberrys while under subpoena. 

Zebley was next to Mueller on Wednesday to "advise" him on questions and was clearly more well versed on the report than Mueller himself was. 

Mueller's embarrassing testimony - during which he admitted he wasn't even familiar with Fusion GPS - is being panned not only by conservatives, but also by Democrats, as we reported yesterday. 

Conservative columnist Byron York wrote yesterday:

"Mueller’s performance raised questions that reached far beyond one appearance before one committee. It called into doubt the degree to which Mueller was in charge of the entire special counsel investigation.” 

Published:7/26/2019 8:51:34 AM
[Markets] The Tyranny Of The Police-State Disguised As Law-And-Order

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“But these weren’t the kind of monsters that had tentacles and rotting skin, the kind a seven-year-old might be able to wrap his mind around - they were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don’t recognize them for what they are until it’s too late.”

- Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Enough already.

Enough with the distractions. Enough with the partisan jousting.

Enough with the sniping and name-calling and mud-slinging that do nothing to make this country safer or freer or more just.

We have let the government’s evil-doing, its abuses, power grabs, brutality, meanness, inhumanity, immorality, greed, corruption, debauchery and tyranny go on for too long.

We are approaching a reckoning.

This is the point, as the poet W. B. Yeats warned, when things fall apart and anarchy is loosed upon the world.

We have seen this convergence before in Hitler’s Germany, in Stalin’s Russia, in Mussolini’s Italy, and in Mao’s China: the rise of strongmen and demagogues, the ascendency of profit-driven politics over deep-seated principles, the warring nationalism that seeks to divide and conquer, the callous disregard for basic human rights and dignity, and the silence of people who should know better.

Yet no matter how many times the world has been down this road before, we can’t seem to avoid repeating the deadly mistakes of the past. This is not just playing out on a national and international scale. It is wreaking havoc at the most immediate level, as well, creating rifts and polarities within families and friends, neighborhoods and communities that keep the populace warring among themselves and incapable of presenting a united front in the face of the government’s goose-stepping despotism.

We are definitely in desperate need of a populace that can stand united against the government’s authoritarian tendencies.

Surely we can manage to find some common ground in the midst of the destructive, disrupting, diverting, discordant babble being beamed down at us by the powers-that-be? After all, there are certain self-evident truths—about the source of our freedoms, about the purpose of government, about how we expect to be treated by those we appoint to serve us in government offices, about what to do when the government abuses our rights and our trust, etc.—that we should be able to agree on, no matter how we might differ politically.

Disagree all you want about healthcare, abortion and immigration—hot-button issues that are guaranteed to stir up the masses, secure campaign contributions and turn political discourse into a circus free-for-all—but never forget that our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain principles that should be non-negotiable.

For instance, for the first time in the nation’s history, it is expected that the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this year, not to mention the national debt which is approaching $23 trillion. There’s also $21 trillion in government spending that cannot be accounted for or explained. For those in need of a quick reminder: “A budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and what it takes in. The national debt is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.” Right now, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad. Meanwhile, the nation’s sorely neglected infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—is rapidly deteriorating.

Yet no matter how we might differ about how the government allocates its spending, surely we can agree that the government’s irresponsible spending, which has saddled us with insurmountable debt, is pushing the country to the edge of financial and physical ruin.

That’s just one example of many that shows the extent to which the agents of the American police state are shredding the constitutional fabric of the nation, eclipsing the rights of the American people, and perverting basic standards of decency.

Let me give you a few more.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. The U.S. military empire’s determination to police the rest of the world has resulted in more than 1.3 million U.S. troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries around the world. That doesn’t include the number of private contractors pulling in hefty salaries at taxpayer expense. In Afghanistan, for example, private contractors outnumber U.S. troops three to one

No matter how we might differ about the role of the U.S. military in foreign affairs, surely we can agree that America’s war spending and commitment to policing the rest of the world are bankrupting the nation and spreading our troops dangerously thin.

All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which they might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to operate a shadow government, and to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—were inherited by Donald Trump. These presidential powers—acquired through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements and which can be activated by any sitting president—enable past, president and future presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the Constitution.

Yet no matter how we might differ about how success or failure of past or present presidential administrations, surely we can agree that the president should not be empowered to act as an imperial dictator with permanent powers.

Increasingly, at home, we’re facing an unbelievable show of force by government agents. For example, with alarming regularity, unarmed men, women, children and even pets are being gunned down by twitchy, hyper-sensitive, easily-spooked police officers who shoot first and ask questions later, and all the government does is shrug and promise to do better. Just recently, in fact, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals cleared a cop who aimed for a family’s dog (who showed no signs of aggression), missed, and instead shot a 10-year-old lying on the ground. Indeed, there are countless incidents that happen every day in which Americans are shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, or challenge an order. Growing numbers of unarmed people are being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

No matter how we might differ about where to draw that blue line of allegiance to the police state, surely we can agree that police shouldn’t go around terrorizing and shooting innocent, unarmed children and adults or be absolved of wrongdoing for doing so.

Nor can we turn a blind eye to the transformation of America’s penal system from one aimed at protecting society from dangerous criminals to a profit-driven system that dehumanizes and strips prisoners of every vestige of their humanity. For example, in Illinois, as part of a “training exercise” for incoming cadets, prison guards armed with batons and shields rounded up 200 handcuffed female inmates, marched them to the gymnasium, then forced them to strip naked (including removing their tampons and pads), “bend over and spread open their vaginal and anal cavities,” while male prison guards promenaded past or stood staring. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the entire dehumanizing, demoralizing mass body cavity strip search—orchestrated not for security purposes but as an exercise in humiliation—was legal. Be warned, however: this treatment will not be limited to those behind bars. In our present carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite. In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.

No matter how we might differ about where to draw the line when it comes to prisoners’ rights, surely we can agree that no one—woman, man or child—should be subjected to such degrading treatment in the name of law and order.

In Washington, DC, in contravention of longstanding laws that restrict the government’s ability to deploy the military on American soil, the Pentagon has embarked on a secret mission of “undetermined duration” that involves flying Black Hawk helicopters over the nation’s capital, backed by active-duty and reserve soldiers. In addition to the increasing militarization of the police—a de facto standing army—this military exercise further acclimates the nation to the sight and sounds of military personnel on American soil and the imposition of martial law.

No matter how we might differ about the deference due to those in uniform, whether military or law enforcement, surely we can agree that America’s Founders had good reason to warn against the menace of a national police force—a.k.a. a standing army—vested with the power to completely disregard the Constitution.

We labor today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, disguised as “the better good,” marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and carried out by an elite class of government officials who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions. For example, in Pennsylvania, a school district is threatening to place children in foster care if parents don’t pay their overdue school lunch bills. In Florida, a resident was fined $100,000 for a dirty swimming pool and overgrown grass at a house she no longer owned. In Kentucky, government bureaucrats sent a cease-and-desist letter to a church ministry, warning that the group is breaking the law by handing out free used eyeglasses to the homeless. These petty tyrannies inflicted on an overtaxed, overregulated, and underrepresented populace are what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

No matter how we might differ about the extent to which the government has the final say in how it flexes it power and exerts its authority, surely we can agree that the tyranny of the Nanny State—disguised as “the better good,” marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and inflicted on all those who do not belong to the elite ruling class that gets to call the shots— should not be allowed to pave over the Constitution.

At its core, this is not a debate about politics, or constitutionalism, or even tyranny disguised as law-and-order. This is a condemnation of the monsters with human faces that have infiltrated our government.

For too long now, the American people have rationalized turning a blind eye to all manner of government wrongdoing—asset forfeiture schemes, corruption, surveillance, endless wars, SWAT team raids, militarized police, profit-driven private prisons, and so on—because they were the so-called lesser of two evils.

Yet the unavoidable truth is that the government has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

No matter how you rationalize it, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

So how do you fight back?

How do you fight injustice? How do you push back against tyranny? How do you vanquish evil?

You don’t fight it by hiding your head in the sand.

We have ignored the warning signs all around us for too long.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government has ripped the Constitution to shreds and left us powerless in the face of its power grabs, greed and brutality.

What we are grappling with today is a government that is cutting great roads through the very foundations of freedom in order to get after its modern devils. Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow.

Therein lies the problem.

The consequences of this failure to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink of a nearly intolerable state of affairs.

Intolerable, at least, to those who remember what it was like to live in a place where freedom, due process and representative government actually meant something. Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we now find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives.

The hour grows late in terms of restoring the balance of power and reclaiming our freedoms, but it may not be too late. The time to act is now, using all methods of nonviolent resistance available to us.

“Don’t sit around waiting for the two corrupted established parties to restore the Constitution or the Republic,” Naomi Wolf once warned. Waiting and watching will get us nowhere fast.

If you’re watching, you’re not doing.

Easily mesmerized by the government’s political theater—the endless congressional hearings and investigations that go nowhere, the president’s reality show antics, the warring factions, the electoral drama—we have become a society of watchers rather than activists who are distracted by even the clumsiest government attempts at sleight-of-hand.

It’s time for good men and women to do something. And soon.

Wake up and take a good, hard look around you. Start by recognizing evil and injustice and tyranny for what they are. Stop being apathetic. Stop being neutral. Stop being accomplices. Stop being distracted by the political theater staged by the Deep State: they want you watching the show while they manipulate things behind the scenes. Refuse to play politics with your principles. Don’t settle for the lesser of two evils.

As British statesman Edmund Burke warned, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

Published:7/25/2019 11:21:57 PM
[World] Donald Trump right to restore death penalty

Attorney Gen. William Barr's announcement that the federal government will resume capital punishment is good news for a rule of law under assault in America, rightly ending former President Barack Obama's unwisely compassionate suspension of federal capital punishment.

That's no bloodthirsty cheer for terminal public retribution — the immediate impact ... Published:7/25/2019 9:18:02 PM

[Markets] The Failure Of Impeachment Regime Change

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

With what most everyone is calling a stunningly disjointed and extremely disappointing presentation before Congress by Special Counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, it is becoming increasingly clear that the effort to achieve regime change through impeachment is going to fail. Democrats are going to have to rely on the traditional electoral means to remove President Trump from office in 2020.

This is the way it should be. Achieving regime change through impeachment would have converted the United States into a standard banana republic.

Ever since Trump became the GOP nominee for president, Democrats, the national-security establishment, and the liberal elements of the mainstream press did everything they could to ensure that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, was elected president.

Once Trump became president, however, his opponents refused to accept the electoral outcome and began trying to remove him from office through impeachment.That’s where the anti-Russia brouhaha came into play.

During the campaign, it was increasingly clear that Trump and Clinton were on opposite sides of the Russia controversy. Trump desired to establish friendly relations with Russia, which was exactly what Russia wanted.

But that’s not what the national-security establishment wanted. Ever since the sudden and unexpected end of the Cold War, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA — the three principal components of the national-security state — did everything they could to make Russia, once again, an official enemy of the United States. Clinton was squarely on the side of the national-security establishment.

That’s why the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA kept the Cold War dinosaur NATO in existence instead of dismantling it. It’s also why they had NATO begin absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact, enabling U.S. forces and missiles to be stationed ever closer to the Russian border, violating assurances that U.S. officials had given Russia not to expand toward Russia. That’s what the effort to absorb Ukraine into NATO was all about, knowing full well that Russia would respond by protecting its longtime military base in Crimea.

Everything was oriented toward making certain that the United States and Russia would never be on friendly terms. Everything was instead oriented toward making Russia, once again, another Cold War official enemy of the United States.

Why is that the goal of the national-security establishment? Because it needs a justification for its own existence and its own ever-growing power and influence. That justification comes in the form of official enemies, ones that can keep Americans fearful. In that way, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA can say, “Keep flooding us with U.S. taxpayer money because we are the ones who are keeping you safe from America’s official enemies. Keep giving us totalitarian-like powers over you so that we can keep you safe.”

Of course, Russia isn’t the only official enemy. There is also China, which increasingly is being presented as a Cold War-like “hegemon” that is supposedly threatening U.S. “national security.”

And then there are the smaller official enemies, like Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, the Taliban, the Muslims, the terrorists, ISIS, the drug dealers, and the illegal immigrants, all of which, we are told, are threats to “national security.”

As a candidate, Trump was threatening to upend this racket, at least with respect to Russia and perhaps also by threatening to bring an end to America’s forever wars and its policy of regime-change wars. That posed a grave threat to the national-security establishment, which had been grafted onto America’s federal governmental system after World War II to fight the Cold War against the Soviet Union, America’s World War II partner and ally whose principal member was Russia.

Trump’s friendly attitude toward Russia could not be permitted to stand, not as a presidential candidate and especially not as a U.S. president. That’s when the anti-Russia brouhaha was launched, which accused Trump of being an agent of the Russians, just as some people accused President Eisenhower of being a communist agent of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

It was a ridiculous accusation from the get-go but its primary purpose was to enable Trump’s opponents to remove him from office long before the next election in 2020. It was designed to be regime change through impeachment.

Once Mueller’s investigative team, despite years of intense investigation, was unable to come up with convincing evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, however, Trump’s detractors fell back on a secondary plan for regime change though impeachment — “obstruction of justice,” a federal crime that is so nebulous and subjective that it is the federal version of “disorderly conduct,” a “crime” that local officials use to target people they don’t like. The sham nature of this alternative theory for regime change was exposed through its supporters refusal to seek Trump’s impeachment for real crimes, such as killing people overseas through illegal undeclared wars and illegal assassinations. With Mueller’s dismal performance before Congress, this alternative attempt at regime change appears to be dead in the water as well.

While Trump’s enemies have been unsuccessful in removing him from office through impeachment, they have, unfortunately, been successful in having him become an opponent of Russia, China, and all of the other official enemies of the U.S national-security state. Not only has Trump continued the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, he has kept up hostile relations with Russia, initiated a destructive trade war with China, and ratcheted up the U.S. wars on Muslims, the terrorists, the illegal immigrants, the drug dealers, ISIS, and the Taliban. He has also ensured that ever-increasing taxpayer-funded largess continues flooding into the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, no matter how much more debt this adds onto the backs of American taxpayers.

In other words, Trump, like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has been absorbed into the national-security state blob. They have won. Trump has become one of them. That’s the real success of the unsuccessful effort to remove Trump from office through impeachment regime change.

Published:7/25/2019 7:59:52 PM
[Markets] The Rise Of Woke Capitalism

Authored by William Anderson via The Mises Institute,

In preparation for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, who recently had won re-election, Washington, DC, was festooned in flags, including the so-called Betsy Ross Flag, with 13 stripes and 13 white stars in a circle against a blue background. But that was sooo 2013, which was still an “unwoke” era by today’s “higher” standards.

The Nike Company recently planned to unveil a new sneaker in time for the July 4 holiday, a red, white, and blue air-shoe that had the image of the Betsy Ross Flag on the back. The company manufactured and shipped the shoes, but before their release date, suddenly Nike recalled all of them. Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who became a counterculture star because he kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem before professional football games, is now on the Nike payroll, and he objected because the flag was created in 1776 - and slavery in the 13 Colonies at the time was legal. Thus, he argued, Nike would have been endorsing an era of slavery.

Almost immediately, each of the candidates running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party endorsed Nike’s move, claiming that the venerable flag suddenly had become the very symbol of White Supremacy. Why? Because Americans flew it in 1776 when slavery was in the land, so by that measure alone, it stands for systematic racism, and no Democrat presidential candidate wants to be called a racist.

Nike has become a leader in what now is called Woke Capitalism, which involves firms taking on the mantle of promoting the progressive version of social justice. One recalls when Google fired engineer James Darmore last year because he publicly aired his views on some aspects of affirmative action that Google practiced. Darmore’s views hardly were controversial to most Americans and he did not use disparaging language toward women and minorities, but even that was too much for Google, which openly considers itself to be a Woke company — and Darmore to be a beyond-comprehension bigot.

As I noted a year ago in writing about Political Correctness in the American workplace, many US firms have adopted a practice that is not unlike something we have seen in communist countries, such as the former USSR, the Eastern Europe countries before their own “liberation,” China, and North Korea. I was reminded of how workplaces become politicized when I was teaching at a university in China last month. The president of the school of international business hosted a luncheon for those of us teaching in his program, and when he arrived, a woman accompanied him that I assumed was his wife.

She was not his spouse; instead, she was the political officer of the Communist Party of China and she was embedded in the school. In fact, the university is full of political officers who operate behind the scenes but are there to keep party discipline. Today, companies like Nike, Google, Microsoft and others don’t need a communist party to impose their own totalitarian-like discipline upon workers. These companies are Woke and want to make sure everyone else knows it, and if someone wishes to be hired and remain employed at one of these firms, then uttering or declaring politically-incorrect thoughts either at work, on social media, or somewhere else is going to lead to being on the unemployment line. Thus, one can be sure that the ranks of these tech firms are honeycombed with informers and outright spies who are examining their colleagues and employees to see who among them might not be sufficiently pro-LGBTQ+ or pro-choice, and who should be cast out into the outer darkness for wrong thinking.

However, as Rod Dreher of The American Conservative writes, the Woke firms are not just satisfied with policing their own employees for un-Woke attitudes and thoughts. These companies also are imperialistic in pushing their social and political views elsewhere and not being afraid to use threats when challenged. For example, Dreher points out that when some states recently passed strict limits on abortion on demand, more than 200 CEOs of companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Yelp, and Bloomberg signed an advertisement in the New York Timescondemning the new laws and claiming they were “bad for business.”

The focus of my article last year was the problem of businesses becoming bureaucratic in their drive for social justice, but the issues are much more far-reaching now than just the policies that govern the human resources offices of these firms. While the drive to create a workplace atmosphere not unlike what would have existed under the Stasi in the former East Germany is turning many corporations into pockets of “soft totalitarianism,” they don’t stop at their own property lines in their zeal to “reform” US society.

Nike’s snub of the Betsy Ross Flag because of alleged “slavery” connotations and the decision by Nabisco to display Oreos wrapped in coverings that celebrates transgenderism and the use of special pronouns have especially bothered Dreher, who writes:

So now the Colonial-era US flag is the equivalent of the Confederate flag for failed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose eccentric preferences allow him to decide what kind of shoes Nike can sell.

This is the stupidest thing. Now we have to despise Colonial America to be in good graces with the Woke Police. I hope Nike loses a ton of money on this. They deserve to. Despicable people, capitulating to this crap. I respected Kaepernick’s right to protest on the field, and honestly, I’m not even mad at him for this, however childish it may be. It’s the fault of the woke executives at Nike, who are so afraid of being unwoke that they are embarrassed by their own country’s historic flag. I would walk barefoot over broken glass before I would buy another pair of Nike shoes.

Elsewhere, he says:

The cultural left has captured the bureaucracies at American corporations. One thing we hear a lot from our friends on the left is that Big Business is conservative, and would never do anything that would hurt its bottom line. Wrong! I have seen personally how companies will do politically correct things that actually hurt their business model, but that win its management pats on the back among their social cohort. These documents I looked at today assert — assert, do not argue — that the total politicization of the company’s culture is critical to its business success … and then go on to describe a program that is almost certainly going to cause major problems with teamwork, cohesiveness, and conflict. These documents are a recipe for creating intense anxiety and suspicion within the company. It’s as clear as day. You cannot imagine why any sensible company would embrace these principles and techniques, which can only hurt its ability to compete. But there it is, in black and white.

However, at least in the days recently after Nike’s pullback on the Betsy Ross shoes, its bottom line improved, according to Forbes:

Shares of Nike are rising after former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick convinced the company to pull its “Air Max 1 USA” sneakers from store shelves. Kaepernick’s concern over the shoe’s “Betsy Ross Flag” designs connection to an era of slavery resonated with investors, as Nike has seen a 2% stock increase and added nearly $3 billion in market value since cancelling the kicks.

Forbes continues:

Playing the long game with Kaepernick seems to be fruitful for the company amidst earlier short term stock market pain CultureBanx reported. Let’s look at the big picture, Kaepernick has been on Nike’s endorsement roster since 2011, but hadn’t been featured in one of their ads in two years before appearing in September 2018. The company received more than $43 million worth of media exposure from the ad, according to Apex Marketing Group.

Social issues and a brand’s bottom line go hand in hand for millennials. A total of 15,191 investors on Robinhood added Nike to their portfolios when Kaepernick’s ad was released, according to Business Insider. Additionally, Nielsen reported 38% of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 and 41% of those aged 35 or older said they expect the brands they buy to support social causes.

In other words, there seems to be a sizable group of investors that want to see this sort of thing from an American firm in which the company attacks what have been venerable symbols of the country’s existence. What was not long ago considered to be a benign American icon suddenly is labeled as a Nazi Swastika, according to commentators on MSNBC. One wonders what next will be in Woke Capitalism’s crosshairs — but it will be something that at least right now is not even considered to be controversial.

Likewise, we see no letup in the push for Woke Capitalism. Ross Douthat of the New York Times speculates that part of the leftward move for American capitalism mirrors what once was called the Treaty of Detroit, in which US automakers agreed to labor contracts with the United Auto Workers that in the long run proved harmful to those companies. He writes:

The system defined by the so-called Treaty of Detroit, the labor-management agreements struck between Walter Reuther and the Big Three automakers, was well-intentioned but also self-interested, a necessary-seeming concession to political trends that might have threatened corporate independence and profits even more.

Douthat labels the current corporate “wokeness” as being what he calls the Treaty of Palo Alto, writing:

But there are other ways to compromise besides on wages, and at an accelerating pace our corporate class is trying to negotiate a different kind of peace, a different deal from the one they struck with New Deal liberalism and Big Labor. Instead of the Treaty of Detroit we have, if you will, the Peace of Palo Alto, in which a certain kind of virtue-signaling on progressive social causes, a certain degree of performative wokeness, is offered to liberalism and the activist left pre-emptively, in the hopes that having corporate America take their side in the culture wars will blunt efforts to tax or regulate our new monopolies too heavily.

In other words, he says that perhaps some of the zealous “wokeness” of some companies is trying to keep in the good graces of lawmakers that call for the breakup of firms like Facebook and Google, appeasing them so that they will be less likely to inflict harm upon them. Perhaps that has something to do with it, but Douthat agrees that at least some of the new attitudes are the result of ideology. He writes:

Much of this signaling is sincerely motivated. I’m sure that lots of people in the corporate ranks at Delta or Alamo sincerely abhor the N.R.A., just as most of the people who demanded James Damore’s firing from Google or Brendan Eich’s ejection from Mozilla regarded both men as beyond-the-pale bigots.

But a certain amount of cynicism is also in order. It’s worth noting, for instance, how Tim Cook’s willingness to play the social justice warrior when the target is a few random Indiana restaurants that might not want to host hypothetical same-sex weddings does not extend to reconsidering Apple’s relationship with the many countries around the world where human rights are rather more in jeopardy than they are in the American Midwest.

While Douthat does have a point, we see that at least some multi-national corporations, long the target of leftist criticism, now are imposing “woke” views on employees in countries like Poland, which tends to be socially conservative. Dreher recounts the ordeal of an employee who resisted the push by the Swedish firm IKEA to celebrate day-themed holidays and was fired. Dreher also writes:

It was a beautiful summer afternoon today in Warsaw. Sitting on a terrace in one of the city’s squares, I found myself talking to an executive who works for a local branch of a US-based multinational company. When he found out that I’m working on a book about “soft totalitarianism,” he told me about the culture inside his corporation.

Like most American and Western European corporations here, he said, his firm pushes LGBT Pride heavily inside its corporate culture. It is very difficult to resist if, like him, you have religious or moral qualms about it. It is getting to the point where silence is not sufficient: you must affirm.

This new corporate workplace enforcement of limited worldviews only is different in degree than what used to pass for the loyalty oaths in totalitarian states. These “woke” workplaces remind me of religious institutions (including a few where I have taught) in which the employees had to hold to certain beliefs about Jesus, the Bible, and Christian doctrine in general. However, the purpose of those colleges was to help train people in the Christian faith; they were religious in nature, and they were run by people who held to certain doctrinal beliefs. Furthermore, like-minded people tend to self-select to such institutions.

Google, IKEA, and even Ben & Jerry’s (for all its left-wing fervor) are not religious institutions, or at least they were not established in order to better train their workers and customers in “the woke faith.” Yet, that is exactly what they are doing; the latest iterations of the Sexual Revolution serve as their doctrines and their leaders seem increasingly determined to produce something akin to a Holy Priesthood of Woke from the ranks of employees.

Whether it is affirming the latest consonant to the LGBTQ+ list, using new sets of “pronouns” to address the sexual identity of individuals, or supporting the sexualization of children, the woke corporate workplace has moved well beyond trying to help one’s employer make a profit. In fact, it seems that places like Google would rather have mediocre employees who are “woke” than excellent employees who are Christians. At that point, we are dealing with a totalitarian mentality, and free markets cannot easily coexist with such thinking.

Furthermore, many American and international businesses have become almost hopelessly politicized. WhenGoogle executives are recorded as saying they plan to manipulate the algorithms they create to influence the 2020 presidential election in order to elect the “right” candidate, we are dealing with something well beyond even the most politicized actions of companies during the New Deal when the federal government saw no limits on the desire of the Roosevelt administration to interfere with the marketplace.

Perhaps the most important question we can ask, however, is this: Can Woke Capitalism on its own become a coercive or even totalitarian force in our society? Before answering such a question (if it is possible to clearly answer it), we should recall that people on the Left have been making such predictions for decades regarding corporations and their power over Americans. John Kenneth Galbraith’s books are full of that stuff, and those of us who have reached our senior citizen years heard such claims from the alleged threat from General Motors to the power of IBM to Microsoft. Evil corporate geniuses apparently wanted to control the world — but they could not even control their own marketplaces. Nabisco may display their “pronoun” Oreos, but that doesn’t mean everyone will buy them. That should provide food for thought.

There are some caveats. Douthat writes:

In certain ways the Peace of Palo Alto won’t be fully tested until the next time the Democrats hold real power, when we’ll get to find out whether the left’s antimonopoly forays have any follow-through, whether more than a token portion of the Trump corporate tax cuts will get rolled back — or whethercorporate wokeness will suffice as a concession to the new spirit of liberalism, enabling the easy post-1980s relationship between corporate America and the Democratic Party to endure.

As I see it, the verdict on Woke Capitalism is mixed. Rod Dreher sees it as an existential threat to freedom and that the coercion (adopt our beliefs or be fired) that is part of the Woke Workplace will spill into greater society and be further used by governments that have no commitment to individual freedoms. That could be the case, although no matter what sets of beliefs toward the Sexual Revolution may guide corporate boardrooms, no business firm can get away from the fundamentals of private property, prices, and profits and losses. What Mises wrote in Bureaucracy 75 years ago about the need for these things still holds, and no amount of bluster and coercion can change those facts.

It is highly unlikely that Woke Big Business on its own can turn the USA into a totalitarian society. Historically speaking, business policies have followed the lead of governments, not the other way around. At worst, firms like Google and Microsoft might aid governments in the expansion of surveillance and the implementation of tools of totalitarianism.

There is one huge difference between businesses (even Woke Capitalism) and government: business firms cannot engage in the kind of coercion that is the lifeblood of government rule. While Americans might still believe that corporations one day will rule the world, creating a Rollerball dystopia, there is a reason that such scenarios are depicted in fiction, and that is because they are fiction. Government coercion and brutality, unfortunately, are quite real. While one can fear what is happening in corporate boardrooms and executive offices, one always should fear government more.

Published:7/25/2019 6:02:14 PM
[Markets] After Mueller Miasma, Stockman Says "Real Election Meddling" Probe Can Begin

Via David Stockman's Contra Corner,

At his wrap-up press conference in May, Robert Mueller sternly underscored what he called "the central allegation" of the two-year Russia probe. Namely, that the Russian government engaged in

"multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American."

Yesterday’s gong show on Capitol Hill presented him with innumerable opportunities to defend that heavy duty proposition.

Indeed, he had a massive TV audience before which to fortify the entire foundation on which the Russia meddling/collusion story is based and on which a concerted effort have been made by a goodly part of the Washington establishment to invalidate the 2016 election on the grounds that the Kremlin threw it to Trump.

But nothing doing. Instead, Mueller ducked, dodged and demurred – hiding behind the words of his 448-page report. Yet the latter doesn’t even attempt to "prove" this "central allegation" at all; it just asserts it based on purportedly classified information that the unwashed voters and most of their elected representatives are not allowed to see.

More crucially, both before and since the Report’s release, even its squishy nods and heavily qualified inferences implicating Russian state agents have been essentially refuted by evidence now on the public record.

The two tent poles of the whole RussiaGate affair are the social media campaigns of the St. Petersburg troll farm and the alleged hack of the DNC computers by Russian state operatives. That’s not our view but the claim of the Mueller report itself which said the alleged Russian interference occurred “principally through two operations.”

Yet both poles are so flimsy that they can’t be taken seriously by anybody who examines the facts with even a half-open, adult mind.

In a word, the troll farm’s efforts at using US social media were an amateurish joke which were well and truly lost in the sea of noise and trivia which washes through Facebook, Twitter et. al, and which had no relationship to the Kremlin in any event (see below). Likewise, the overwhelming evidence on the public record says the DNC emails were leaked by a disgruntled insider not hacked by Russian agents operating over the internet thousands of miles away.

We have buttressed both of these conclusions at length previously, and the essence is summarized below. But the implications go way beyond knocking the RussiaGate hoax into a cocked-hat.

What the two flimsy tent poles if RussiaGate really show is the extreme danger of statism and the inherent infirmities of Big Government itself.

That’s because in today’s world of relentless 24/7 communications and messaging, haphazard information, random facts and mere factoids can be drafted into the service of a narrative that serves partisan ends, and then can be repeated with such monumental frequency and plenary breadth as to give the aura of truth to what amounts to self-serving nonsense.

That is to say, scratch a Washington pol, Deep State apparatchik or MSM journalist who embraces the "central allegation" of RussiaGate and you essentially have a Never Trumper who finds the Donald and that for which he stands so loathsome that they, perforce, must believe he was elected only by virtue of Kremlin intervention.

To RussiaGate believers, the alternative is not even thinkable. To wit, that 62 million voters knowingly preferred the Donald over Hillary – notwithstanding all his warts of character and his querulous denunciations of establishment policy and its officialdom.

Accordingly, the evidence needed to validate the Russian interference narrative was never examined deeply or subjected to skeptical assessment and challenge; it was just lined-up and recited endlessly as if the mere repetition of factoids, irrelevancies and sheer foolishness proved the truth of the narrative.

Still, if a proposition as grave as "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election" can be embraced by a major section of the governing apparatus on such threadbare evidence as the two poles of the RussiaGate story how is it possible for Imperial Washington to rule the entire world or to micro-manage the very warp and woof of domestic economic and social life?

Indeed, if there was ever a case for free markets, small government, maximum individual liberty and minimal politicization of society at home and strict non-interventionism abroad, the RussiaGate Hoax is exactly that.

What yesterday’s gong show really proved is that the governing classes and their media megaphones in America today cannot even chew bubble gum and walk a straight line at the same time. So why in the world do we want them to rule where no rulers are needed?

In any event, the St. Petersburg troll farm narrative is now deader than a doornail. Mueller and his posse have actually been prohibited from even asserting in public that it was a Kremlin operation by a US District judge.

That’s right. Because they didn’t have a shred of evidence to support their insinuation!

That was proven in open court when much to Mueller’s surprise, the operation involved – the Internet Research Agency (IRS) – chose to defend itself and the 13 clueless ham sandwiches Mueller indicted and in so doing elicited a stern admonition from the presiding judge.

Thus, the first pole of the RussiaGate tent – the allegation that IRA was a part of the Russian government’s “sweeping and systematic” interference campaign – has already tumbled to the ground. Mueller’s team has been forced to admit in court that this was a false insinuation.

Aaron Mate, an intrepid and honest leftwing journalist for the Nationmagazine, recently summarized the matter as well as anyone:

US District Judge Dabney Friedrich noted that Mueller’s February 2018 indictment of the IRA “ does not link the {IRA} to the Russian government" and alleges “only private conduct by private actors.”

Jonathan Kravis, a senior prosecutor on the Mueller team, acknowledged that this is the case. “[T]he report itself does not state anywhere that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency activity,” Kravis told the court.

Mueller also goes to great lengths to paint it as a sophisticated operation that “had the ability to reach millions of US persons.” Yet, as we already know, most of the Russian social media content was juvenile clickbait that had nothing to do with the election (only 7 percent of IRA’s Facebook posts mentioned either Trump or Clinton). There is also no evidence that the political content reached a mass audience, and to the extent it reached anyone, most of it occurred after the election.

Indeed, the IRA was such a belly-splitting joke that they only thing it proved is that prosecutor Mueller did actually indict 13 Russian-speaking ham sandwiches.

Actually, the IRA was the relatively harmless Hobby Farm of a fanatical Russian oligarch and ultra-nationalist, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has a great big beef against Imperial Washington’s demonization of Russia and Vlad Putin. Apparently, the farm was (it’s apparently been disbanded) the vehicle through which he gave Washington the middle finger and buttered up his patron.

Prigozhin is otherwise known as "Putin’s Cook" because he made his fortune in St. Petersburg restaurants that Putin favored and via state funded food service operations at Russian schools and military installations.

Like most Russian oligarchs not in jail, he apparently tithes in gratitude to the Kremlin: In this case, by bankrolling the rinky-dink operation at 55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg that was the object of Mueller’s pretentious foray into the flotsam and jetsam of social media low life.

Prigozhin’s trolling farm was grandly called the Internet Research Agency (IRA), but what it actually did was hire (apparently) unemployed 20-somethings at $4-8 per hour to pound out ham-handed political messaging on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc. They banged away twelve hours at a shift on a quota-driven paint-by-the-Internet-numbers basis where their output was rated for engagements, likes, retweets etc.

Whatever these keyboard drones might have been, they were not professional Russian intel operators. And the collection of broken English postings strewn throughout Mueller’s indictment were not one bit scary.

The pure grandstanding nature of this blow against the purported election meddling of the nefarious Russians is more than evident in the 3,000 ads IRA bought on Facebook for about $100,000 – more than half of which were posted after the election.

Yet here’s a typical example of how the Russians stormed into America’s sacred election space – even if according to Facebook this particular ad got less than 10,000 "impressions" and the mighty sum of 160 "shares".

For crying out loud, it didn’t take any nefarious Russian intelligence agent to post this kind of cartoonish Islamophobia. There are millions of American xenophobes more than happy to do it with their own dime, time and bile.

Still, the fact that these Facebook ads and the St. Petersburg troll farm were taken seriously shows how insidious the Deep State’s RussiaGate campaign had become. In order to prove that their writ and rule will not be denied by the American electorate, they cynically fostered a mindless public hysteria that makes the work of Joe McCarthy appear benign by comparison.

And during a period, by the way, when the 80,000 Facebook posts attributable to IRA were up against the 33 trillion messages posted on that fetid network by its billions of users.

Indeed, talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Even Keeping Up With The Kardashians voters would get a pretty good yuck from the example displayed below.

A post called "Power to the people!" was typed out by some troll farm operative in St. Petersburg, whose $4 per hour pay probably was not worth the effort: It was shared by the grand some of 20 people, who might well have been algos, anyway!

The fact is, the "evidence" for Russian meddling via the IRA social media operation was always complete nonsense.

Needless to say, of course, if there was no "meddling", how could there have been Trump campaign "collusion" to accomplish something which didn’t happen?

As to the DNC emails, the notion that the Russian GRU (intelligence service) hacked the DNC emails and handed them off to WikiLeaks has now been equally discredited.

William Binney, who is the father of modern NSA Internet spying technologies, says that the DNC emails were leaked on a thumb-drive and couldn’t have been hacked as a technical matter; and equally competent analysts have shown that Guccifer 2.0 is almost surely a NSA contrived fiction based on the oldest trick in the police precinct station house – planting evidence, in this case telltale Cyrillic letters and the name of a notorious head of the Soviet secret police.

Indeed, if the Russians did it via a nefarious hacking operation, the digital fingerprints would be all over the computers and servers involved. Moreover, the National Security Agency (NSA) would have a record of the breach stored at one of its server farms because it does capture and store everything that comes into the US over the Internet

Said record, of course, would amount to the Smoking Intercept. So the only thing Mueller really needed to do at the get-go was to call the head of NSA and request the NSA intercept – something he obviously didn’t do or it would have leaked long ago.

In the alternative, if NSA has no such record, he could have confiscated the DNC computers and servers – which had never even been inspected by the FBI, let alone taken into custody – to determine whether William Binney is right.

That didn’t happen, either. In fact, the whole case is based on a redacted draft report from an anti-Russian cyber-security outfit called CrowdStrike that was on the DNC payroll and had every incentive to find secret evidence of Russian hacking that has never been made public – or even available to Mueller and his posse of alleged criminal sleuths.

So what we are left with is the fact that Binney, a NSA veteran and actually the father of much of today’s NSA Internet spying capability, says that the recorded download speed of the DNC emails could only have been done by plugging a thumb-drive into the machines on site. That is, nothing downloads across 5,000 miles of digital expanse at the recorded 22.7 megabytes per second.

In short, if the Russians hacked them, the evidence is all there in the hard drives; and if they didn’t, the entire RussiaGate hoax should have been shutdown long ago.

That’s because the only thing that remotely smacks of untoward meddling by the Kremlin is the DNC emails – and even then, they only concerned intra-party squabbles between the Clinton and the Sandernista factions of the Dem party that were already well advertised and known to the American electorate.

Left-wing investigator Aaron Mate has distilled the same facts we have examined and come to the same conclusions.

- But a close examination of the report shows that none of those headline assertions are supported by the report’s evidence or other publicly available sources. They are further undercut by investigative shortcomings and the conflicts of interest of key players involved:

- The report uses qualified and vague language to describe key events, indicating that Mueller and his investigators do not actually know for certain whether Russian intelligence officers stole Democratic Party emails, or how those emails were transferred to WikiLeaks.

- The report’s timeline of events appears to defy logic. According to its narrative, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the publication of Democratic Party emails not only before he received the documents but before he even communicated with the source that provided them.

- There is strong reason to doubt Mueller’s suggestion that an alleged Russian cutout called Guccifer 2.0 supplied the stolen emails to Assange.

- Mueller’s decision not to interview Assange – a central figure who claims Russia was not behind the hack – suggests an unwillingness to explore avenues of evidence on fundamental questions.

- US intelligence officials cannot make definitive conclusions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer servers because they did not analyze those servers themselves. Instead, they relied on the forensics of CrowdStrike, a private contractor for the DNC that was not a neutral party, much as “Russian dossier” compiler Christopher Steele, also a DNC contractor, was not a neutral party. This puts two Democrat-hired contractors squarely behind underlying allegations in the affair – a key circumstance that Mueller ignores.

- Further, the government allowed CrowdStrike and the Democratic Party’s legal counsel to submit redacted records, meaning CrowdStrike and not the government decided what could be revealed or not regarding evidence of hacking.

At the end of the day, there can be nothing more pitiful after 22 months of prosecutorial scorched earth on the Russian collusion file than Mueller’s list of indictments. To remind once again, they include:

- 13 Russian college kids for essentially practicing English as a third language at a St. Petersburg troll farm for $4 per hour;

- 12 Russian intelligence operatives who might as well have been picked from the GRU phonebook;

- Baby George Papadopoulos for mis-recalling an irrelevant date by two weeks;

- Paul Manafort for standard Washington lobbyist crimes committed long before he met Trump;

- Michael Cohen for shirking taxes and running Trump’s bimbo silencing operation;

- Michael Flynn for doing his job talking to the Russian Ambassador and confusing the confusable Mike Pence on what he said and didn’t say about Obama’s idiotic 11th hour Russian sanctions;

- Rick Gates for helping Manafort shakedown the Ukrainian government and other oily Washington supplicants.;

- Sam Patten, another Manafort operative who forget to register correctly as a foreign agent;

- Richard Pinedo, a grifter who never met Trump and got caught selling forged bank accounts on-line to Russians for a couple bucks each;

- Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyers who wrote a report for Manafort in 2012 and misreported to the FBI what he told Gates about it.

That’s all she wrote and it’s about as pathetic as it gets. Mueller should have been guffawed out of town on account of this tommyrot long before belatedly delivering a report that proved exactly that.

And yesterday he said exactly nothing to alter that conclusion.

Perhaps there is a silver lining, however. Maybe now the RussiaGate "investigation" can turn to the real election meddling – the Deep State conspiracy lead by CIA director John Brennan and the anti-Trump cabal at the FBI to thwart Trump’s candidacy and then discredit his Presidency once he was elected to the nation’s highest office.

We will have more to say about the real assault on American democracy from within in the future, but if you do not believe that the entire Russian influence investigation was motivated by rank political animus against the GOP’s presidential candidate because he advocated the sensible path of rapprochement with Russia, just consider the paragraph below.

It tells you all you need to know about why RussiaGate happened; why the Mueller investigation dragged on for two years and still pollutes the media airways; and, most importantly, how the so-called progressive party in America in its grief over losing the 2016 election to an incompetent megalomaniacal bully like Donald Trump has become a pathetic handmaid of the Warfare State.

'I do always hate the Russians,' Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer on the Russia case testified to Congress in July 2018. 'It is my opinion that with respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life.'

As he opened the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russians in July 2016, FBI agent peter Strzok texted Page: 'fu*k the cheating motherfu*king Russians… Bastards. I hate them… I think they’re probably the worst. Fu*king conniving cheating savages.' Speaking to NBC News in May 2017, former director of national intelligence James Clapper explained why US officials saw interactions between the Trump camp and Russian nationals as a cause for alarm: 'The Russians,' Clapper said, 'almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned.'

In a May interview with Lawfare, former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, who helped oversee the Russia probe, explained the origins of the investigation as follows: 'It was about Russia, period, full stop.… When the [George] Papadopoulos information comes across our radar screen, it’s coming across in the sense that we were always looking at Russia.… we’ve been thinking about Russia as a threat actor for decades and decades.'

Indeed, all along it was all about War Party policy on Russia. Per the NYT:

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

Trump’s July 2016 comment was a joke, and the story about the GOP platform change was overblown, while the policy change made all the sense in the world. Even then, it was later undermined in practice when Trump sold weapons to Ukraine – a move that even Obama had opposed.

Published:7/25/2019 5:18:02 PM
[Markets] San Francisco Judge Blocks Trump's Latest Asylum Restrictions

Once again, the federal district courts of Northern California are stymieing President Trump's immigration agenda. This time, a San Francisco judge who was nominated to the bench by Obama has blocked President Trump from enforcing a new rule that would dramatically limit the number of migrants allowed to apply for asylum at the southern border.

Judge Jon Tigar issued a preliminary injunction blocking the rule, which would require asylum seekers to first pursue an asylum claim in a third country (and presumably be denied) before they can pursue asylum in the US. The rule would effectively force migrants from Central America to seek protection in Mexico before they can apply for asylum in the US. Earlier in the day, Washington DC district judge Timothy Kelly issued a different ruling where he declined to block the rule in a separate lawsuit brought by pro-immigration groups. But Tigar's decision supersedes Kelly's, Reuters reports.

Immigrants waiting to apply for asylum in Mexico

Tigar's ruling doesn't kill the Trump Administration's rule outright - it's simply suspended pending future rulings by succeeding federal judges. Much of the administration's immigration agenda is still tied up in the courts.

While Trump and his administration were quick to celebrate Kelly's decision, immigration groups and other groups like the SPLC that are challenging the ban praised Tigar's ruling.

"Today’s ruling is an important victory for incredibly vulnerable individuals and families," said Melissa Crow, an attorney from the Southern Poverty Law Center - one of the groups challenging the ban - in a statement.

The Trump Administration believes most of the asylum claims being made at the southern border are illegitimate, and that families use asylum as a way to gain entry to the country - then they disappear after they're released to await their first immigration hearing. The vast majority - some 90% - never show up.

During a hour-long hearing on Wednesday, Tigar said he was struck by the dangers faced by people passing through Mexico - repudiating the Trump Administration's argument that Mexico should be considered a 'safe haven'

"The administrative record about the dangers faced by persons transiting through Mexico and the inadequacy of the asylum system there ... is stunning," Tigar said from bench.

This isn't the first Trump immigration rule that Tigar has blocked. In November, he struck down a different asylum ban that attempted to stop all migrants crossing illegally into the US. But Trump has been ramping up his immigration policy efforts as the crisis at the border rages and immigration looks like it will be a critical factor in the 2020 race. Last week, the administration introduced another rule that would expedite deportations for immigrants who have crossed illegally into the US over the last two years.

While Trump's efforts in the courts haven't always succeeded, so far at least, they've done better than ICE's attempts to round up immigrants targeted for deportation.

Published:7/25/2019 5:54:58 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Mark Levin REACTS to the Mueller hearing Mark Levin responded to the Mueller hearing tonight on Hannity and lit into Schiff for his blatant hypocrisy on all things Russia, ignoring the Obama administration yet going after Trump like he’s . . . Published:7/24/2019 10:38:27 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Mark Levin REACTS to the Mueller hearing Mark Levin responded to the Mueller hearing tonight on Hannity and lit into Schiff for his blatant hypocrisy on all things Russia, ignoring the Obama administration yet going after Trump like he’s . . . Published:7/24/2019 9:59:18 PM
[US News] Chuck Schumer forgets to give Barack Obama a shout-out while railing against Russia’s election meddling [video]

"Who was POTUS in 2016"?

The post Chuck Schumer forgets to give Barack Obama a shout-out while railing against Russia’s election meddling [video] appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/24/2019 7:28:45 PM
[Markets] Russia Pledges More Military & Economic Support To Cuba Against "External Threats"

While on a tour of Latin America, and ahead of a BRICS ministerial meeting set for Rio de Janeiro, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Cuba Wednesday, where he pledged continued economic and military support against Cuba's "external threats". Talks with Cuban officials also focused heavily on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, given both countries are staunch allies of President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

"Our policy towards Cuba is that we shall support Cuba’s people not only politically, not only morally, not only by means of developing military technical cooperation but also through encouraging trade and economic projects to help that country’s economy become more resistant to all kinds of external threats," he said.

FM Lavrov with Cuban diplomat and politician  Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla. Image source: Russian MFA/Foreign Brief

Lavrov met with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, a month after a Russian warship stopped in Cuba — a mere one hundred miles off the American coast — to build up joint military relations between the two countries. It was at the end of June that the Kalibr missile-armed frigate Admiral Gorshkov entered the port of Havana. 

During that prior exercise Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov grabbed headlines when he slammed US build-up of its weapons systems in Europe by invoking comparisons to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis

“We could find ourselves in a situation where we have a rocket crisis close not just to the crisis of the 1980s but close to the Caribbean crisis,” Ryabkov had stated at the time while using the standard Russian term for the Cuban missile crisis.

In the days prior to the Wednesday Russian state visit to Cuba, Ryabkov had also called on the international community to free itself from a purely US-controlled international financial system and US dollar dominance. 

"We must protect ourselves from political abuses made with the help of the US dollar and the American banking system," he said Sunday addressing a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Venezuela, according to TASS. "We must turn our dependence in this sphere into independence," he added.

"Let us be multipolar in the spheres of finance and currency," he said.

The senior diplomat was specifically addressing US-led sanctions and the tightening economic noose, including a near total oil export blockade, on the Maduro government in Caracas. He also no doubt had in mind the decades long embargo on Cuba which reaches back far into the Cold War.

In April the White House actually increased sanctions on Cuba, including further limiting travel of US citizens to the island and a new cap on remittances "at $1,000 per person every three months" (compared to unlimited remittances allowed for under the Obama administration), among other measures to squeeze the Cuban economy, already severely hurting due to the oil embargo on nearby Venezuela, on which Havana is substantially dependent to meet energy needs.

The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov weeks ago docked in the port of Havana. Image source: Reuters

The Russian officials' comments also come after early this year the Maduro regime was stymied in its bid to pull $1.2 billion worth of gold out of the Bank of England, according to a January Bloomberg report. The Bank of England’s (BoE) decision to deny Maduro officials’ withdrawal request was a the height of US coup efforts targeting Maduro.

Specifically top US officials, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, had lobbied their UK counterparts to help cut off the regime from its overseas assets, as we reported at the time. Washington has further lobbied other international institutions, and especially its Latin American allies, to seize Venezuelan assets and essentially hold them for control of Juan Guaido's opposition government in exile. 

Deputy FM Ryabkov in his Sunday comments held up the Venezuela situation as an example of "barefaced misappropriation of assets kept at Western banks."

He described further:

"This is just one of the examples of a wider policy of deliberate instigation of crises to change government, to replace legitimately elected politician with American stooges."

Despite western capitals virtue-signaling their "rules-based order" approach, Ryabkov said instead, "We think that it is not a rule-based world order, it is rather a foisted and imposed world order."

Meanwhile, the establishment of the 'SWIFT-alternative' Instex - now online as of three weeks ago - constitutes the biggest threat the dollar as a reserve currency to date, especially if Russia follows through on its prior signalling that it could take the bold step of joining.

Published:7/24/2019 2:26:32 PM
[Markets] Iran Claims IAEA Chief Behind Nuclear Deal "Eliminated" By Israeli Intelligence

Iran state media has made bombshell sensational claims of a conspiracy assassination of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose death was reported early this week, prompting a firm denial from the powerful UN nuclear watchdog body. 

On Wednesday semi-official Tasnim news agency claimed Israeli intelligence "eliminated" Yukiya Amano, who was the Director General of the IAEA and oversaw the singing of the landmark 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal (JCPOA). Iranian sources allege the covert assassination was carried out on the powerful staunch supporter of the JCPOA in order to gain leverage to force Tehran into dealing with the Trump White House's “pressure-talks” scheme, as Tasnim put it. 

IAEA's Yukiya Amano previously Iran's President Rohani in Tehran.

The 72-year old Amano, who was also a career Japanese diplomat, was considered a huge influence in seeing the Iranian nuclear deal through and ensuring its continued survival over and against recent Trump administration pressure. Trump had famously called the 2015 agreement brokered by the Obama administration "the worst deal ever negotiated" before ordering the unilateral US pullout. 

The UN nuclear watchdog chief died on July 18, with the family only disclosing his passing on late Sunday, but no details as to the cause of death were given; however, a UN statement said he was due to step down next March due to an unspecified illness. Meanwhile Iran provided zero evidence for its wild accusation, nor did the report suggest exactly how the alleged Israeli intelligence plot was carried out. 

The Iranian allegation made waves inside Israel and at the IAEA Wednesday, as the Times of Israel reports

The Tehran-based outlet, which defines its mission as “defending the Islamic Revolution against negative media propaganda campaign [sic],” cited unnamed “informed sources” who insisted that Amano, a Japanese diplomat who was extensively involved in negotiations over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, had been “eliminated” after refusing to buckle to “heavy pressure” from Jerusalem and Washington.

This prompted a firm denial from the IAEA, which told The Times of Israel: [We] categorically deny these false reports. Director General Yukiya Amano passed away on 18 July as a result of his illness.”

Yukiya Amano, IAEA's director-general, via EPA/Al Jazeera

The Tasnim report alleged further: “There is evidence that the Trump administration and the Israeli regime were constantly pressuring the Japanese diplomat to accuse Iran of violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.” The semi-official state outlet said Amano refused “to open a false case against Iran on the nuclear issue,” according to Tasnim's sources.

The Times of Israel report indicated his likely cause of death as follows: "Two European diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had cancer."

Also on Wednesday Iran again rejected the prospect of new negotiations with the White House "under any circumstances," according to an interview with Supreme Leader Ayotallah Ali Khamenei’s Military Adviser Hossein Dehghan, cited in Al Jazeera.

Published:7/24/2019 12:55:18 PM
[Politics] MSNBC Analyst: Mueller ‘Sucked The Life Out Of The Report’

MSNBC contributor and former Obama administration official Jeremy Bash said Robert Mueller's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee "sucked the life out of the report" and "set back" efforts to impeach President Donald Trump.

The post MSNBC Analyst: Mueller ‘Sucked The Life Out Of The Report’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/24/2019 12:55:18 PM
[Government Regulation] Another Great Obama-Undoing: Plug the Obama-Era Holes In Our Patent Protections

The following article, Another Great Obama-Undoing: Plug the Obama-Era Holes In Our Patent Protections, was first published on Godfather Politics.

One important policy area that has not received the serious Obama undoing required is Intellectual Property (IP) or patent policies.

Continue reading: Another Great Obama-Undoing: Plug the Obama-Era Holes In Our Patent Protections ...

Published:7/24/2019 10:24:42 AM
[Markets] The Epstein Case Is A Rare Opportunity To Focus "On The Depraved Nature Of America's Elite"

Authored by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Perhaps, at long last, a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won’t change is this: the cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to flourish with impunity.

For decades, important, influential, “serious” people attended Epstein’s dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire. How do we explain why they looked the other way, or flattered Epstein, even as they must have noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him, whether it was a free ride on that airborne “Lolita Express,” some other form of monetary largesse, entrée into the extravagant celebrity soirées he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.

– From the New York Magazine article: Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? 

An honest assessment of the current state of American politics and society in general leaves little room for optimism regarding the public’s ability to accurately diagnose, much less tackle, our fundamental issues at a root level. A primary reason for this state of affairs boils down to the ease with which the American public is divided against itself and conquered.

Though there are certain issues pretty much everyone can agree on, we simply aren’t focusing our collective energy on them or creating the mass movements necessary to address them. Things such as systemic bipartisan corruption, the institutionalization of a two-tier justice system in which the wealthy and powerful are above the law, a broken economy that requires both parents to work and still barely make ends meet, and a military-industrial complex consumed with profits and imperial aggression not national defense. These are just a few of the many issues that should easily unite us against an entrenched power structure, but it is not happening. At least not yet.

We currently find ourselves at a unique inflection point in American history. Though I agree with Charles Hugh Smith’s assessment that “Our Ruling Elites Have No Idea How Much We Want to See Them All in Prison Jumpsuits,” we have yet to reach the point where the general public is prepared to do something about it. I think there are several reasons for this, but the primary obstacle relates to how easily the citizenry is divided and conquered. The mass media, largely owned and controlled by billionaires and their corporations, is highly incentivized to keep the public divided against itself on trivial issues, or at best, on real problems that are merely symptoms of bipartisan elitist plunder.

The key thing, from a plutocrat’s point of view, is to make sure the public never takes a step back and sees the root of society’s problems. It isn’t Trump or Obama, and it isn’t the Republican or Democratic parties either. These individuals and political gangs are just useful vehicles for elitist plunder. They help herd the rabble into comfortable little tribal boxes that results in made for tv squabbling, while the true forces of power carry on with the business of societal pillaging behind the scenes.

You’re encouraged to attach your identity to team Republican or team Democrat, but never unite as one voice against a bipartisan crew of depraved, corrupt and unaccountable power players molding society from the top. While the average person living paycheck to paycheck fashions themselves part of some biblical fight of good vs. evil by supporting team red or blue, the manipulative and powerful at the top remain beyond such plebeian theater (though they certainly encourage it). These folks know only one team — team green. And their team keeps winning, by the way.

When scanning the news most days, I see a constant amplification of wedge issues by mass media, blue-check pundits and even many in the so-called alternative media. I see people increasingly being encouraged to demonize and dehumanize their fellow citizens. Anyone who voted for Trump is automatically a Nazi, likewise, anyone who supports Sanders is an anti-American communist. The reality is neither of these things is even remotely true, so why are people so quick to say them?

Why is most of the anger in this country being directed at fellow powerless Americans versus upward at the power structure which nurtured and continues to defend the current depraved status quo? I don’t see any upside to actively encouraging one side of the political discussion to dehumanize the other side, and I suggest we consciously cease engaging in such behavior. Absolutely nothing good can come from it. 

Which is partly why I’ve been so consumed by the Jeffrey Epstein case. For once, it allows us to focus our energy on the depraved nature of the so-called American “elite,” rather than pick fights with each other. How many random Trump or Sanders supporters do you know who systematically molest children and then pass them off to their wealthy and powerful friends for purposes of blackmail?

The Epstein case shines a gigantic spotlight on just how twisted and sociopathic the highest echelons of U.S. society have become. This is exactly what happens when you fail to put wealthy and powerful super predators behind bars. They get more brazen, they get more demented and, ultimately, they destroy the very fabric that holds society together. We are in fact ruled by monsters.

Unfortunately, by being short-sighted, by fighting amongst ourselves, and by taking the easy route of punching down versus punching up, we allow such cretins to continue to rape and pillage what remains of our civilization.

If we can truly get to the bottom of exactly what Epstein was up to, I suspect it has the potential to focus the general public (beyond a few seconds) on the true nature of what’s really going on and what makes the world tick. Revelations of such a nature could provide the proverbial tipping point that’s so desperately needed, but this is also why the odds of us actually getting the whole story is quite low. There’s simply too much at stake for those calling the shots.

*  *  *

Side note: I’ve been consistently updating my Epstein twitter thread as I learn new information. I suggest checking back in from time to time.

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Published:7/24/2019 9:30:38 AM
[Markets] Facebook To Pay Record $5 Billion Fine In FTC Settlement

As extensively leaked in advance, on Wednesday morning Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to resolve a long-running federal investigation that has damaged the company’s standing with consumers and clouded its future, and agreed to better police its data-privacy practices,

Under the settlement, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be required to certify that the company is in compliance with new privacy strictures, and could be subject to civil and criminal penalties for false certifications.

"The $5 billion penalty against Facebook is the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy and almost 20 times greater than the largest privacy or data security penalty ever imposed worldwide,” the Federal Trade Commission said in a news release. “It is one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the U.S. government for any violation."

To many the penalty, which is a fraction of what Facebook makes in one year, was merely a token wristslap, and will do nothing to change the company's entrenched culture, which in recent months has seen Facebook proactive seek out to censor free speech on its website, especially when it comes from conservative voices.

To be sure, as the WSJ notes, the extent of the fine was blunted by stinging dissents from the two Democrats on the five-member commission, who said the financial penalty was insufficient and the settlement does little to change Facebook’s basic incentives to gather and leverage users’ data.

“The settlement imposes no meaningful changes to the company’s structure or financial incentives, which led to these violations,” commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a statement. “Nor does it include any restrictions on the company’s mass surveillance or advertising tactics.”

“Rather than accepting this settlement, I believe we should have initiated litigation against Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg,” said commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.

That, however, was not meant to happen as few in Congress and elsewhere dare to challenge what has become the world's most powerful media company.

The Republican board majority led by Chairman Joe Simons said that suing Zuckerberg for past violations wouldn’t serve the public interest.

“Mr. Zuckerberg will be held accountable for certifying quarterly—under threat of civil and criminal penalties—that the company’s privacy program is in compliance with the order,” the FTC’s majority wrote. “The relief we have achieved today solves concrete problems, rather than venting frustration with individuals.”

In a separate matter, the SEC was set to announce a settlement with Facebook— including a fine of more than $100 million — over claims it insufficiently warned investors that developers and other third parties may have obtained users’ data without their permission or in violation of Facebook policies, according to a person familiar with the matter. Facebook neither admitted nor denied the SEC's claims.

The settlement with the FTC requires creation of a new committee of Facebook’s board to monitor the company’s privacy practices. Legal experts said they couldn’t recall prior FTC privacy settlements imposing such a requirement. “If the committee had appropriate authority and was answerable to the FTC, it could have a significant impact,” David Vladeck, a former head of the agency’s consumer protection bureau during the Obama administration, said on Monday before the agreement’s announcement.

The order also requires Facebook to report to the FTC incidents where data of 500 or more users has been compromised, along with the company’s efforts to address the problems, and to deliver the documentation within 30 days.

Published:7/24/2019 7:55:52 AM
[Markets] MH17 Evidence-Tampering Exposed: Cover-Ups, Hiding Records, Witness Misreporting, & FBI Seizures

Authored by John Helmer,

A new documentary from Max van der Werff, the leading independent investigator of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster, has revealed breakthrough evidence of tampering and forging of prosecution materials;  suppression of Ukrainian Air Force radar tapes;  and lying by the Dutch, Ukrainian, US and Australian governments. An attempt by agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to take possession of the black boxes of the downed aircraft is also revealed by a Malaysian National Security Council official for the first time.

The sources of the breakthrough are Malaysian - Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamad Mahathir; Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the officer in charge of the MH17 investigation for the Prime Minister’s Department and Malaysia’s National Security Council following the crash on July 17, 2014; and a forensic analysis by Malaysia’s OG IT Forensic Services of Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) telephone tapes which Dutch prosecutors have announced as genuine.

The 298 casualties of MH17 included 192 Dutch; 44 Malaysians; 27 Australians; 15 Indonesians.  The nationality counts vary because the airline manifest does not identify dual nationals of Australia, the UK, and the US. 

The new film throws the full weight of the Malaysian Government, one of the five members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), against the published findings and the recent indictment of Russian suspects reported by the Dutch officials in charge of the JIT; in addition to Malaysia and The Netherlands, the members of the JIT are Australia, Ukraine and Belgium. Malaysia’s exclusion from the JIT at the outset, and Belgium’s inclusion (4 Belgian nationals were listed on the MH17 passenger manifest), have never been explained. 

The film reveals the Malaysian Government’s evidence for judging the JIT’s witness testimony, photographs, video clips, and telephone tapes to have been manipulated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), and to be inadmissible in a criminal prosecution in a Malaysian or other national or international court.

For the first time also, the Malaysian Government reveals how it got in the way of attempts the US was organizing during the first week after the crash to launch a NATO military attack on eastern Ukraine. The cover story for that was to rescue the plane, passenger bodies, and evidence of what had caused the crash. In fact, the operation was aimed at defeating the separatist  movements in the Donbass, and to move against Russian-held Crimea.

The new film reveals that a secret Malaysian military operation took custody of the MH17 black boxes on July 22, preventing the US and Ukraine from seizing them.  The Malaysian operation, revealed in the film by the Malaysian Army colonel who led it, eliminated the evidence for the camouflage story, reinforcing the German Government’s opposition to the armed attack, and forcing the Dutch to call off the invasion on July 27.  

The 28-minute documentary by Max van der Werff and Yana Yerlashova has just been released. Yerlashova was the film director and co-producer with van der Werff and Ahmed Rifazal. Vitaly Biryaukov directed the photography. Watch it in full here

The full interview with Prime Minister Mahathir was released in advance; it can be viewed and read here

Mahathir reveals why the US, Dutch and Australian governments attempted to exclude Malaysia from membership of the JIT in the first months of the investigation. During that period, US, Dutch, Australian and NATO officials initiated a plan for 9,000 troops to enter eastern Ukraine, ostensibly to secure the crash scene, the aircraft and passenger remains, and in response to the alleged Russian role in the destruction of MH17 on July 17; for details of that scheme, read this.  

Although German opposition to military intervention forced its cancellation, the Australians sent a 200-man special forces unit to The Netherlands and then Kiev. The European Union and the US followed with economic sanctions against Russia on July 29.

Malaysian resistance to the US attempts to blame Moscow for the aircraft shoot-down was made clear in the first hours after the incident to then-President Barack Obama by Malaysia’s Prime Minister at the time, Najib Razak. That story can be followed here and here

In an unusual decision to speak in the new documentary, Najib’s successor Prime Minister Mahathir announced:

They never allowed us to be involved from the very beginning.  This is unfair and unusual. So we can see they are not really looking at the causes of the crash and who was responsible. But already they have decided it must be Russia. So we cannot accept that kind of attitude. We are interested in the rule of law, in justice for everyone irrespective of who is involved. We have to know who actually fired the missile, and only then can we accept the report as the complete truth.”

On July 18, in the first Malaysian Government press conference after the shoot-down, Najib (right) announced agreements he had already reached by telephone with Obama and Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian President.

‘Obama and I agreed that the investigation will not be hidden and the international teams have to be given access to the crash scene.’ [Najib] said the Ukrainian president ?has pledged that there would be a full, thorough and independent investigation and Malaysian officials would be invited to take part. ‘He also confirmed that his government will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site,’ said Najib. He also said that no one should remove any debris or the black box from the scene. The Government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team. But we must – and we will – find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone can be left unturned.”

The new film reveals in an interview with Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the head of the Malaysian team, what happened next.  Sakri’s evidence, filmed in his office at Putrajaya, is the first to be reported by the press outside Malaysia in five years. A year ago, Sakri gave a partial account of his mission to a Malaysian newspaper

Source: https://www.youtube.com/

“I talked to my prime minister [Najib],” Colonel Sakri says. “He directed me to go to the crash site immediately.” At the time Sakri was a senior security official at the Disaster Management Division of the Prime Minister’s Department. Sakri says that after arriving in Kiev, Poroshenko’s officials blocked the Malaysians. “We were not allowed to go there…so I took a small team to leave Kiev going to Donetsk secretly.” There Sakri toured the crash site, and met with officials of the Donetsk separatist administration headed by Alexander Borodai

With eleven men, including two medical specialists, a signalman, and Malaysian Army commandos, Sakri had raced to the site ahead of an armed convoy of Australian, Dutch and Ukrainian government men. The latter were blocked by Donetsk separatist units. The Australian state press agency ABC reported   their military convoy, prodded from Kiev by the appearance of Australian and Dutch foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Frans Timmermans, had been forced to abandon their mission. That was after Colonel Sakri had taken custody of the MH17 black boxes in a handover ceremony filmed at Borodai’s office in Donetsk on July 22.

US sources told the Wall Street Journal  at the time “the [Sakri] mission’s success delivered a political victory for Mr. Najib’s government… it also handed a gift to the rebels in the form of an accord, signed by the top Malaysian official present in Donetsk, calling the crash site ‘the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.’…That recognition could antagonize Kiev and Washington, which have striven not to give any credibility to the rebels, whose main leaders are Russian citizens with few ties to the area. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a briefing Monday that the negotiation ‘in no way legitimizes’ separatists.”

The Australian state radio then reported the Ukrainian government as claiming the black box evidence showed “the reason for the destruction and crash of the plane was massive explosive decompression arising from multiple shrapnel perforations from a rocket explosion.” This was a fabrication – the evidence of the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, first reported six weeks later in September by the Dutch Safety Board, showed nothing of the kind; read what their evidence revealed

Foreign Minister Bishop,  in Kiev on July 24, claimed she was negotiating with the Ukrainians for the Australian team in the country to carry arms. “I don’t envisage that we will ever resort to [arms],” she told her state news agency, “but it is a contingency planning, and you would be reckless not to include it in this kind of agreement. But I stress our mission is unarmed because it is [a] humanitarian mission.”

In Kiev on July 24, 2014, left to right: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop; Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. Source: https://www.alamy.com/ The NATO intervention plan was still under discussion, but the black boxes were already under Malaysian control.

By the time she spoke to her state radio, Bishop was concealing that the plan for armed intervention, including 3,000 Australian troops, had been called off.  She was also concealing that the black boxes were already in Colonel Sakri’s possession.  

The document signed by Sakri for the handover of the black boxes is visible in the new documentary. Sakri signed himself and added the stamp of the National Security Council of Malaysia.


Col. Sakri says on film the Donetsk leaders expressed surprise at the delay of the Malaysians in arriving at the crash site to recover the black boxes. “Why are you so late”, [Borodai] said…I think [that was] very funny.”

Source:  https://www.youtube.com/Min. 05:47.

Sakri goes on to say he was asked by the OSCE’s special monitoring mission for Ukraine to hand over the black boxes; he refused. He was then met by agents of the FBI (Min 6:56). “They approached me to show them the black box. I said no.” He also reports that in Kiev the Ukrainian Government tried “forcing me to leave the black boxes with them. We said no. We cannot. We cannot allow.”


The handover ceremony in Donetsk, July 22, 2014: on far left, the two black boxes from MH17; in the centre, shaking hands, Alexander Borodai and Mohamad Sakri.

Permission for Colonel Sakri to speak to the press has been authorized by his superiors at the prime ministry in Putrajaya, and his disclosures agreed with them in advance.  

Subsequent releases from the Kiev government to substantiate the allegation of Russian involvement in the shoot-down have included telephone tape recordings. These were presented last month by the JIT as their evidence for indictment of four Russians; for details, read this.

Van der Werff and Yerlashova contracted with OG IT Forensic Services,  a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, to examine the telephone tapes.  The Kuala Lumpur firm has been endorsed by the Malaysian Bar.  The full 143-page technical report can be read here

The findings reported by Akash Rosen and illustrated on camera are that the telephone recordings have been cut, edited and fabricated. The source of the tapes, according to the JIT press conference on June 19 by Dutch police officer Paulissen, head of the National Criminal Investigation Service of The Netherlands, was the Ukrainian SBU. Similar findings of tape fabrication and evidence tampering are reported on camera in the van der Werff film by a German analyst, Norman Ritter.


Left: Dutch police chief Paulissen grins as he acknowledged during the June 19, 2019, press conference of JIT that the telephone tape evidence on which the charges against the four accused Russians came from the Ukrainian SBU.   Minute 16:02 Right: Norman Ritter presented his analysis to interviewer Billy Sixt to show the telephone tape evidence has been forged in nine separate “manipulations”.  One of the four accused by the JIT last month, Sergei Dubinsky, testifies from Min. 17 of the documentary. He says his men recovered the black boxes from the crash site and delivered them to Borodai at 2300 hours on July 17; the destruction of the aircraft occurred at 1320. Dubinsky testifies that he had no orders for and took no part in the shoot-down. As for the telephone tape-recording evidence against him, Dubinsky says the calls were made days before July 17, and edited by the SBU. “I dare them to publish the uncut conversations, and then you will get a real picture of what was discussed.” (Min. 17:59).  

Van der Werff and Yerlashova filmed at the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Several local witnesses were interviewed, including a man named Alexander from Torez town, and Valentina Kovalenko, a woman from the farming village of Red October. The man said the missile equipment alleged by the JIT to have been transported from across the Russian border on July 17 was in Torez at least one, possibly two days before the shoot-down on July 17; he did not confirm details the JIT has identified as a Buk system.

Kovalenko, first portrayed in a BBC documentary three years ago (starting at Min.26:50) as a “unique” eye-witness to the missile launch, clarifies more precisely than the BBC reported where the missile she saw had been fired from.


BBC documentary, “The Conspiracy Files. Who Shot Down MH17” -- Min. 27:00. The BBC broadcast its claims over three episodes in April-May 2016. For a published summary, read this

This was not the location identified in press statements by JIT. Van der Werff explains: “we specifically asked [Kovalenko] to point exactly in the direction the missile came from. I then asked twice if maybe it was from the direction of the JIT launch site. She did not see a launch nor a plume from there. Notice the JIT ‘launch site’ is less than two kilometres from her house and garden. The BBC omitted this crucial part of her testimony.”

According to Kovalenko in the new documentary, at the firing location she has now identified precisely, “at that moment the Ukrainian Army were there.”

Kovalenko also remembers that on the days preceding the July 17 missile firing she witnessed,  there had been Ukrainian military aircraft operating in the sky above her village. She says they used evasion techniques including flying in the shadow of civilian aircraft she also saw at the same time.

On July 17, three other villagers told van der Werff they had seen a Ukrainian military jet in the vicinity and at the time of the MH17 crash.

Concluding the documentary, van der Werff and Yerlashova present an earlier interview filmed in Donetsk by independent Dutch journalist Stefan Beck, whom JIT officials had tried to warn off visiting the area. Beck interviewed Yevgeny Volkov, who was an air controller for the Ukrainian Air Force in July 2014. Volkov was asked to comment on Ukrainian Government statements, endorsed by the Dutch Safety Board report into the crash and in subsequent reports by the JIT, that there were no radar records of the airspace at the time of the shoot-down because Ukrainian military radars were not operational.

Volkov explained that on July 17 there were three radar units at Chuguev on “full alert” because “fighter jets were taking off from there;” Chuguev is 200 kilometres northwest of the crash site.  He disputed that the repairs to one unit meant none of the three was operating. Ukrainian radar records of the location and time of the MH17 attack were made and kept, Volkov said. “There [they] have it. In Ukraine they have it.”

Last month, at the JIT press conference in The Netherlands on June 19, the Malaysian representative present,  Mohammed Hanafiah Bin Al Zakaria,  one of three Solicitors-General of the Malaysian Attorney General’s ministry,  refused to endorse for the Malaysian Governnment the JIT evidence or its charges against Russia. “Malaysia would like to reiterate our commitment to the JIT seeking justice for the victims,” Zakaria said.  “The objective of the JIT is to complete the investigations and gathering of evidence of all witnesses for the purpose of prosecuting the wrongdoers and Malaysia stands by the rule of law and the due process.” [Question: do you support the conclusions?] “Part of the conclusions [inaudible] – do not change our positions.”

Published:7/23/2019 10:22:07 PM
[Markets] Pennsylvania School Warns "Your Child May Be Taken From Your Home" Over Unpaid Lunch Debt

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

A school in Pennsylvania is warning parents that their children can be taken from their homes and placed in foster care if the child has unpaid school lunch debt.  In a letter sent out to about 1,000 parents from the Wyoming Valley West School District, the warning stated that dependency hearings could occur if parents won’t pay their kids’ lunch bills.

The letter’s ominous warning that failure to pay for their children’s school lunches could lead to dependency hearings and the removal of their children from their home came as the school district has multiple unpaid lunch bills. The bills reportedly range from $75 to $450 and total over $20,000, reported RT.

Obvious fallout continues over the school district’s threats.

Luzerne County child welfare authorities said the alarming threat was false and harmed those most vulnerable – such as those unable to make good on those bills.

Responding to the outrage, the school district said the stern letter was simply a desperate attempt at collecting fees they are owed. Wyoming Valley West’s lawyer, Charles Coslett, said he did not consider the letters threatening and told WYOU-TV that it’s “shameful some parents don’t want to contribute towards feeding their own kids.

Regardless of the reason the letter was sent out, parents were terrified – especially those without the money to immediately pay off their bills.  School officials have now said that they will send out a less severe follow-up letter to parents next week. But this letter tells us all we need to know about those who are “educating” our children with our tax dollars: Comply, or we will make you comply.

This is not the first time parents have been threatened either.

Back in 2013, parents were threatened with armed raids unless they complied with the demands of the school for children to undergo forced medical exams.

The US government seems more and more convinced that THEY own YOUR kids. Just this week, a Tennessee dad was arrested for picking up his young children after school instead of allowing them to cross into traffic as the school’s policy demanded. Some schools won’t allow lunches to be sent from home, and if they are, the school insists on supplementing those lunches at extortionist rates in order to control the situation regardless of parental wishes. This doesn’t even take into account the dumbed-down Common Core curriculum, the absurd attempts to be politically correct, and the zero-tolerance insanity that causes kids to be charged with felonies for having loaded fishing tackle boxes in their vehicles or cutlery in their lunch boxes.

The Daily Sheeple

If you’ve ever wondered why the homeschooling rates are so high, you should no longer have to. Parents are being threatened into compliance with government-run schools and most have become sick of it. Unfortunately, most families live paycheck to paycheck and homeschooling children has become a massive financial hardship for too many in the land of the “free.”

The book IndocriNation by Colin Gunn andJoaquin Fernandez (is about why a growing number of parents choose not to send their children to public school. The [American] classroom anti-Christian ideologies from humanism, marxism, utopianism, educational psychology, and more confronting students in public schools today

Look behind the comfortable myths of an educational system actively at work to alter your child’s moral values, worldview, and religious beliefs. Learn the history and philosophy of public school education – and discover it is based on neither Christian nor American values.

Published:7/23/2019 9:23:06 PM
[Markets] These Questions For Mueller Show Why Russiagate Was Never The Answer

Authored by Aaron Maté via TheNation.com,

The former special counsel still has a lot he can clarify...

“For two years, Democrats have waited on Robert Mueller to deliver a death blow to the Trump presidency,” The New York Times observed on July 20.

“On Wednesday, in back-to-back hearings with the former special counsel, that wish could face its final make-or-break moment.”

The very fact that Democrats had to subpoena Mueller in order to create this final moment should in fact be the final reminder of what a mistake it was for Democrats to have waited on him. If Mueller had incriminating information yet to share, or had been stymied from doing his work, or if Attorney General William Barr had somehow misrepresented his findings, then it stands to reason that Mueller would be welcoming the opportunity to appear before Congress, not resisting it. The reality is that Mueller’s investigation did not indict a single person for collusion with Russia, or even for anything related to the 2016 election. Mueller’s report found no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, and even undermined the case for it.

That said, there are unresolved matters that Mueller’s testimony could help clarify. Mueller claimed to have established that the Russian government conducted “a sweeping and systematic” interference campaign in order to elect Trump, yet the contents of his report don’t support that allegation. The Mueller report repeatedly excludes countervailing information in order to suggest, misleadingly, that the Trump campaign had suspect “links” and “ties” to people connected with Russia. And Mueller and other intelligence officials involved in the Russia probe made questionable investigative decisions that are worthy of scrutiny. To address these issues, here are some questions that Mueller could be asked.

I should note that missing from my list is anything related to obstruction. This topic will surely dominate Democrats’ line of questioning, but I view it as secondary and more appropriate for a law school seminar. The core issue of the Mueller investigation is alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s potential coordination with it. The obstruction issue only began to dominate after it was clear that Mueller had found no such conspiracy. Although the report does show examples of Trump’s stated intent to impede the Mueller investigation, the probe itself was unhindered.

There is also the fact that Mueller himself declined to make a call on obstruction, and even presented arguments that could be used to refute it. The obstruction section of the report notes that Trump was not “involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.” Although not dispositive, Mueller says that “the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President’s intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct.” In a joint statement with Barr, Mueller also made clear that “he was not saying that, but for the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice.” Accordingly, I see no reason why Congressional Democrats are so confident that Mueller found otherwise.

1. Why did you suggest that juvenile clickbait from a Russian troll farm was part of a “sweeping and systematic” Russian government interference effort?

The Mueller report begins by declaring that “[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” A few paragraphs later, Mueller tells us that Russian interference occurred “principally through two operations.” The first of these operations was “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” carried out by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The inference here is that the IRA was a part of the Russian government’s “sweeping and systematic” interference campaign. Yet Mueller’s team has been forced to admit in court that this was a false insinuation. Earlier this month, a federal judge rebuked Mueller and the Justice Department for having “improperly suggested a link” between IRA and the Kremlin. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich noted that Mueller’s February 2018 indictment of the IRA “does not link the [IRA] to the Russian government” and alleges “only private conduct by private actors.” Jonathan Kravis, a senior prosecutor on the Mueller team, acknowledged that this is the case. “[T]he report itself does not state anywhere that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency activity,” Kravis told the court.

Kravis is correct. The Mueller report did not state that the Kremlin was behind the social media campaign; it only disingenuously suggested it. Mueller also goes to great lengths to paint it as a sophisticated operation that “had the ability to reach millions of U.S. persons.” Yet, as we already know, most of the Russian social media content was juvenile clickbait that had nothing to do with the election (only 7 percent of IRA’s Facebook posts mentioned either Trump or Clinton). There is also no evidence that the political content reached a mass audience, and to the extent it reached anyone, most of it occurred after the election.

2. Are you still convinced that the GRU stole Democratic Party emails and transferred them to Wikileaks?

Between the initial July 2018 indictment of 12 GRU officers for the DNC email theft and Mueller’s March 2019 report, some wiggle room appears. As I wrote this month for RealClearInvestigations, Mueller’s report uses qualified, vague language to describe the alleged GRU theft of Democratic Party emails, offers an implausible timeline for when Wikileaks may havereceived the emails from the GRU, and acknowledges that Mueller has not actually established how WikiLeaks acquired the stolen information.

3. Why didn’t you interview Julian Assange?

The uncertainty in Mueller’s account of how WikiLeaks received the stolen emails could possibly have been cleared up had Mueller attempted to interview Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder insists that the Russian government was not his source, and has repeatedly offered to speak to US investigators. Given that Assange received and published the stolen emails at the heart of Mueller’s investigation, his absence from Mueller’s voluminous witness sheet is a glaring omission.

4. Why did you imply that key figures were Russian agents, and leave out countervailing information, including their (more) extensive Western ties?

In the report, Mueller goes to great lengths to insinuate—without directly asserting—that two key figures in the Trump-Russia affair, Konstanin Kilimnik and Joseph Mifsud, acted as Kremlin agents or intermediaries. In the process, he omits or minimizes extensive evidence that casts doubt on their supposed Russia connections or makes clear their far more extensive Western ties. Mueller ignores the fact that the State Department described Kilimnik as a “sensitive source” who was regularly supplying inside information on Ukrainian politics. And Mueller emphasizes that Mifsud “had connections to Russia” and “maintained various Russian contacts,” but doesn’t ever mention that he has deep connections in Western intelligence and diplomatic circles.

Stephan Roh, a Swiss lawyer who has previously represented Mifsud, has maintained that Mifsud “is not a Russian spy but a Western intelligence co-operator.” Whatever the case, it is puzzling that Mueller emphasized Mifsud’s “connections to Russia” but ignored his connections to governments in the West. It’s also baffling that none of this was clarified when the FBI interviewed Mifsud in February 2017—which raises a whole new question for Mueller.

5. Why did you indict several Trump officials for perjury, but not Joseph Mifsud?

Adding to the puzzle surrounding Mifsud is Mueller’s revelation that Mifsud made false statements to FBI investigators when they interviewed him in February 2017. (Mifsud was in Washington, DC, for a conference sponsored by the State Department, yet one more Western “connection” that has gone overlooked). If Mifsud really was a Russian agent, then it was always a mystery why he was not arrested then, nor indicted since. And given that Mueller indicted others for lying to the FBI—foremost George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn—it is unclear why Mifsud was not.

6. Why did you omit the fact that Rob Goldstone’s offer to Donald Jr.—”official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”—was “publicist puff” (in other words, a lie)?

Mueller devotes a 13-page section to the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian nationals after Trump Jr. was promised “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” Mueller says that “the meeting showed that the Campaign anticipated receiving information from Russia that could assist candidate Trump’s electoral prospects,” but acknowledges that the Russians present “did not provide such information.”

What Mueller conspicuously does not acknowledge is that the information “that the Campaign anticipated receiving from Russia” was in fact fictional, and not from Russia. The offer came from British music publicist Rob Goldstone, who was tasked with securing the meeting at the request of his Russian pop star client, Emin Agalarov. In an act of what he called “publicist puff,” Goldstone said he about “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” that would later be widely described as “the smoking gun” for collusion.

Goldstone told me this week that he was disappointed that Mueller chose to omit that critical part of his testimony. “I told them that I had used my PR, puffed-up flourish in order to get Don Jr.’s attention,” Goldstone said. Mueller’s decision to exclude that, Goldstone added, is a “shame… It would have been opportunity to have closure on that.”

7. Did the Trump campaign receive any Russian government offers of assistance from anyone actually acting on behalf of the Russian government?

The Mueller report obscures the absence of contacts between Trump and Russian government intermediaries with ambiguous, suggestive assertions that the investigation “identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,” or “identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.”

But the cases of Konstantin Kilimnik, Joseph Mifsud, and Rob Goldstone underscore a rather inconvenient fact for proponents of the theory that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government: There are zero documented cases of Trump officials interacting with actual Kremlin intermediaries making actual offers of assistance. The only Kremlin officials or representatives shown to interact with the Trump camp in any significant way before the election are the Russian ambassador having routine encounters and a Kremlin assistant who declined Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s request for assistance on the failed Trump Tower Moscow project.

8. Were US intelligence officials compromised by Russophobia?

Key US officials behind the Russia investigation have made no secret of their animus towards Russia. “I do always hate the Russians,” Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer on the Russia probe, testified to Congress in July 2018. “It is my opinion that with respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life.” As he opened the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russians in July 2016, FBI agent Peter Strzok texted Page: “fuck the cheating motherfucking Russians… Bastards. I hate them… I think they’re probably the worst. Fucking conniving cheating savages.” Speaking to NBC News in May 2017, the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper explained why US officials saw interactions between the Trump camp and Russian nationals as a cause for alarm: “The Russians,” Clapper said, “almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned.” In a May interview with Lawfare, former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker, who helped oversee the Russia probe, explained the origins of the investigation as follows: “It was about Russia, period, full stop… When the [George] Papadopoulos information comes across our radar screen, it’s coming across in the sense that we were always looking at Russia… we’ve been thinking about Russia as a threat actor for decades and decades.”

The fixation with Russia was so great that, as The New York Times revealed in January, on top of the FBI’s initial probe in the summer of 2016, the bureau opened a second probe in May of 2017 over whether or not Trump himself was “working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” TheNew York Times story makes no allusion to any evidence underlying the FBI’s concern. Instead, we learn that FBI was “disquieted” by a “constellation of events,” all public:

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

This account is remarkable not just because it shows that the FBI opened up an extraordinary investigation of the president of the United States as agent of Russia based on their interpretation of public events. It also shows that their interpretation of those public events involved several errors—Trump’s July 2016 comment was a joke, and the story about the GOP platform change was overblown (and later undermined in practice when Trump sold the weapons to Ukraine, a move President Obama had opposed).

The fact that so many key officials carry such xenophobic animus toward Russia - to the point where they felt compelled to act on erroneous interpretations of public events - raised legitimate questions about whether their personal biases influenced their professional decisions.

The same could be asked about the influential media and political voices who, despite the absent evidence and sheer absurdity of their conspiracy theory, elevated Russiagate as the dominant political issue of the Trump presidency. Whatever questions they may have left for Mueller, the now former special counsel and savior figure has made clear that he is not the answer.

Published:7/23/2019 8:51:10 PM
[US News] Joe Biden claims that ‘a lot of people were left behind’ by the Obama administration

Joe Biden sure is critical of the Obama administration.

The post Joe Biden claims that ‘a lot of people were left behind’ by the Obama administration appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/23/2019 4:52:42 PM
[Entertainment] NowThis site makes business of tweaking Fox News The website NowThis has attracted attention with a series of videos that contrasts Fox News’ treatment of President Donald Trump with his predecessor, Barack Obama Published:7/23/2019 4:52:42 PM
[Issues] Green Activists with Ties to China Advised Obama State Department

The Natural Resources Defense Council held close ties to the Obama administration, providing advice on joining the Paris Agreement while simultaneously maintaining ties to China, according to attorneys and policy analysts who have reviewed email records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The post Green Activists with Ties to China Advised Obama State Department appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/23/2019 4:17:03 AM
[Deep State] Report: Comey lied to, spyed on, Trump (Paul Mirengoff) Real Clear Investigations reports that Inspector General Michael Horowitz will say in his upcoming report that, although James Comey told President Trump he was not a target in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Comey had actually been spying on Trump to see if the president was colluding with Russia. If an Obama-appointed Justice Department official so concludes after a lengthy investigation, it will be devastating for Published:7/22/2019 6:50:21 PM
[a61127ff-889c-5880-805a-671115a126f9] Vogue editor Anna Wintour sidesteps question about Melania Trump's style, discusses Michelle Obama instead When interviewer Anne McElvoy asked Anna Wintour her thoughts about Melania Trump's recent fashion choices, the Vogue editor-in-chief answered the question by praising former first lady, Michelle Obama. Published:7/22/2019 4:44:13 PM
[Markets] Comey Under DOJ Investigation For Misleading Trump While Targeting Him In FBI Probe

Former FBI Director James Comey has been under investigation for misleading President Trump - telling him in private that he wasn't the target of an ongoing FBI probe, while refusing to admit to this in public.

According to RealClearInvestigations' Paul Sperry, "Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will file a report in September which contains evidence that Comey was misleading the president" while conducting an active investigation against him. 

Even as he repeatedly assured Trump that he was not a target, the former director was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president, while at times acting as an investigative agent. -RCI

According to two US officials familiar with Horowitz's upcoming report on FBI misconduct, Comey was essentially "running a covert operation" against Trump - which began with a private "defensive briefing" shortly after the inauguration. RCI's sources say that Horowitz has pored over text messages between the FBI's former top-brass and other communications suggesting that Comey was in fact conducting a "counterintelligence assessment" of the president during their January 2017 meeting in New York. 

What's more, Comey had an FBI agent in the White House who reported the activities of Trump and his aides, according to 'other officials familiar with the matter.' 

The agent, Anthony Ferrante, who specialized in cyber crime, left the White House around the same time Comey was fired and soon joined a security consulting firm, where he contracted with BuzzFeed to lead the news site's efforts to verify the Steele dossier, in connection with a defamation lawsuit. -RCI

According to the report, Horowitz and his team have examined over 1 million documents and conducted over 100 interviews - including sit-downs with Comey and other current and former FBI and DOJ employees. "The period covering Comey’s activities is believed to run from early January 2017 to early May 2017, when Comey was fired and his deputy Andrew McCabe, as the acting FBI director, formally opened full counterintelligence and obstruction investigations of the president." 

McCabe’s deputy, Lisa Page, appeared to dissemble last year when asked in closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee if Comey and other FBI brass discussed opening an obstruction case against Trump prior to his firing in May 2017. Initially, she flatly denied it, swearing: “Obstruction of justice was not a topic of conversation during the time frame you have described.” But then, after conferring with her FBI-assigned lawyer, she announced: “I need to take back my prior statement.” Page later conceded that there could have been at least “discussions about potential criminal activity” involving the president. -RCI

Comey coordination

Sperry notes that Comey wasn't working in isolation on the Trump effort. In particular, Horowitz has looked at the January 6, 2017 briefing on the infamous 'Steele Dossier' - a meeting which was used by BuzzFeed, CNN and others to legitimize reporting on the dossier's salacious and unsubstantiated claims

Comey’s meeting with Trump took place one day after the FBI director met in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to brief Trump — a meeting attended by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who would soon go to work for CNN. -RCI

While Comey claims in his book, "A Higher Loyalty" that he didn't have "a counterintelligence case file open on [Trump]," former federal prosecutor and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy notes that just because Trump's name wasn't on a formal file or surveillance warrant doesn't mean that he wasn't under investigation. 

"They were hoping to surveil him incidentally, and they were trying to make a case on him," said McCarthy. "The real reason Comey did not want to repeat publicly the assurances he made to Trump privately is that these assurances were misleading. The FBI strung Trump along, telling him he was not a suspect while structuring the investigation in accordance with the reality that Trump was the main subject."

What's more, the FBI couldn't treat Trump as a suspect - formally, as they didn't have the legal grounds to do so according to former FBI counterintelligence lawyer Mark Wauck. "They had no probable cause against Trump himself for ‘collusion’ or espionage," he said, adding "They were scrambling to come up with anything to hang a hat on, but had found nothing."

What remains unclear is why Comey would take such extraordinary steps against a sitting president. The Mueller report concluded there was no basis for the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Comey himself was an early skeptic of the Steele dossier -- the opposition research memos paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were the road map of collusion theories – which he dismissed as “salacious and unverified.” -RCI

According to House Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Comey and the rest of the FBI's top team (including Peter Strzok and Lisa Page) were attempting to "stop" Trump's presidency for political reasons. 

"You have the culmination of the ultimate spying, where you have the FBI director spying on the president, taking notes [and] illegally leaking those notes of classified information" to the MSM, said Nunes in a recent interview. 

Read the rest of Sperry's report here

Published:7/22/2019 9:43:07 AM
[Markets] The Missing Three-Letter Word In The Iran Crisis

Authored by Michael Klare via TomDispatch.com,

It’s always the oil. While President Donald Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent UN report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word - O-I-L - that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II).

Now, it’s true that the United States no longer relies on imported petroleum for a large share of its energy needs. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the country now gets the bulk of its oil — approximately 75 percent - from domestic sources. (In 2008, that share had been closer to 35 percent.)  Key allies in NATO and rivals like China, however, continue to depend on Middle Eastern oil for a significant proportion of their energy needs. As it happens, the world economy - of which the U.S. is the leading beneficiary (despite Trump’s self-destructive trade wars) - relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country’s nuclear supremacy.

Pompeo arriving in Abu Dhabi, June 24, 2019. (State Department/ Ron Przysucha)

This logic was spelled out clearly by President Barack Obama in a September 2013 address to the UN General Assembly in which he declared that “the United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests” in the Middle East. He then pointed out that, while the U.S. was steadily reducing its reliance on imported oil, “the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.” Accordingly, he concluded, “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.”

To some Americans, that dictum — and its continued embrace by Trump and Pompeo — may seem anachronistic. True, Washington fought wars in the Middle East when the American economy was still deeply vulnerable to any disruption in the flow of imported oil. In 1990, this was the key reason President George H.W. Bush gave for his decision to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of that land. “Our country now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence,” he told a nationwide TV audience. But talk of oil soon disappeared from his comments about what became Washington’s first (but hardly last) Gulf War after his statement provoked widespread public outrage. (“No Blood for Oil” became a widely used protest sign then.) His son, the second President Bush, never even mentioned that three-letter word when announcing his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, as Obama’s UN speech made clear, oil remained, and still remains, at the center of U.S. foreign policy. A quick review of global energy trends helps explain why this has continued to be so.

The World’s Undiminished Reliance on Petroleum

Despite all that’s been said about climate change and oil’s role in causing it — and about the enormous progress being made in bringing solar and wind power online — we remain trapped in a remarkably oil-dependent world. To grasp this reality, all you have to do is read the most recent edition of oil giant BP’s “Statistical Review of World Energy,” published this June. In 2018, according to that report, oil still accounted for by far the largest share of world energy consumption, as it has every year for decades. All told, 33.6 percent of world energy consumption last year was made up of oil, 27.2 percent of coal (itself a global disgrace), 23.9 percent of natural gas, 6.8 percent of hydro-electricity, 4.4 percent of nuclear power, and a mere 4 percent of renewables.

Most energy analysts believe that the global reliance on petroleum as a share of world energy use will decline in the coming decades, as more governments impose restrictions on carbon emissions and as consumers, especially in the developed world, switch from oil-powered to electric vehicles. But such declines are unlikely to prevail in every region of the globe and total oil consumption may not even decline. According to projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its “New Policies Scenario” (which assumes significant but not drastic government efforts to curb carbon emissions globally), Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are likely to experience a substantially increased demand for petroleum in the years to come, which, grimly enough, means global oil consumption will continue to rise.

Concluding that the increased demand for oil in Asia, in particular, will outweigh reduced demand elsewhere, the IEA calculated in its 2017 “World Energy Outlook” that oil will remain the world’s dominant source of energy in 2040, accounting for an estimated 27.5 percent of total global energy consumption. That will indeed be a smaller share than in 2018, but because global energy consumption as a whole is expected to grow substantially during those decades, net oil production could still rise — from an estimated 100 million barrels a day in 2018 to about 105 million barrels in 2040.

Of course, no one, including the IEA’s experts, can be sure how future extreme manifestations of global warming like the severe heat waves recently tormenting Europe and South Asia could change such projections. It’s possible that growing public outrage could lead to far tougher restrictions on carbon emissions between now and 2040. Unexpected developments in the field of alternative energy production could also play a role in changing those projections. In other words, oil’s continuing dominance could still be curbed in ways that are now unpredictable.

In the meantime, from a geopolitical perspective, a profound shift is taking place in the worldwide demand for petroleum. In 2000, according to the IEA, older industrialized nations — most of them members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — accounted for about two-thirds of global oil consumption; only about a third went to countries in the developing world. By 2040, the IEA’s experts believe that ratio will be reversed, with the OECD consuming about one-third of the world’s oil and non-OECD nations the rest. More dramatic yet is the growing centrality of the Asia-Pacific region to the global flow of petroleum. In 2000, that region accounted for only 28 — of world consumption; in 2040, its share is expected to stand at 44 —, thanks to the growth of China, India, and other Asian countries, whose newly affluent consumers are already buying cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other oil-powered products.

Where will Asia get its oil? Among energy experts, there is little doubt on this matter. Lacking significant reserves of their own, the major Asian consumers will turn to the one place with sufficient capacity to satisfy their rising needs: the Persian Gulf. According to BP, in 2018, Japan already obtained 87 percent of its oil imports from the Middle East, India 64 percent, and China 44 percent. Most analysts assume these percentages will only grow in the years to come, as production in other areas declines.

This will, in turn, lend even greater strategic importance to the Persian Gulf region, which now possesses more than 60 percent of the world’s untapped petroleum reserves, and to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passageway through which approximately one-third of the world’s seaborne oil passes daily. Bordered by Iran, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, the Strait is perhaps the most significant — and contested — geostrategic location on the planet today.

One of hundreds of Kuwaiti oil fires set by retreating Iraqi forces in 1991. (Jonas Jordan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Wikimedia Commons)

Controlling the Spigot

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the same year that militant Shiite fundamentalists overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, U.S. policymakers concluded that America’s access to Gulf oil supplies was at risk and a U.S. military presence was needed to guarantee such access. As President Jimmy Carter would say in his State of the Union Address on Jan. 23, 1980:

The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two thirds of the world’s exportable oil… The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world’s oil must flow… Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

To lend muscle to what would soon be dubbed the “Carter Doctrine,” the president created a new U.S. military organization, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), and obtained basing facilities for it in the Gulf region. Ronald Reagan, who succeeded Carter as president in 1981, made the RDJTF into a full-scale “geographic combatant command,” dubbed Central Command, or CENTCOM, which continues to be tasked with ensuring American access to the Gulf today (as well as overseeing the country’s never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East). Reagan was the first president to activate the Carter Doctrine in 1987 when he ordered Navy warships to escort Kuwaiti tankers, “reflagged” with the stars and stripes, as they traveled through the Strait of Hormuz. From time to time, such vessels had been coming under fire from Iranian gunboats, part of an ongoing “Tanker War,” itself part of the Iran-Iraq War of those years. The Iranian attacks on those tankers were meant to punish Sunni Arab countries for backing Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein in that conflict.  The American response, dubbed Operation Earnest Will, offered an early model of what Pompeo is seeking to establish today with his Sentinel program.

Operation Earnest Will was followed two years later by a massive implementation of the Carter Doctrine in Bush’s 1990 decision to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Although he spoke of the need to protect U.S. access to Persian Gulf oil fields, it was evident that ensuring a safe flow of oil imports wasn’t the only motive for such military involvement. Equally important then (and far more so now): the geopolitical advantage controlling the world’s major oil spigot gave Washington.

When ordering U.S. forces into combat in the Gulf, American presidents have always insisted that they were acting in the interests of the entire West. In advocating for the “reflagging” mission of 1987, for instance, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued (as he would later recall in his memoir “Fighting for Peace”), “The main thing was for us to protect the right of innocent, nonbelligerent and extremely important commerce to move freely in international open waters — and, by our offering protection, to avoid conceding the mission to the Soviets.” Though rarely so openly acknowledged, the same principle has undergirded Washington’s strategy in the region ever since: the United States alone must be the ultimate guarantor of unimpeded oil commerce in the Persian Gulf.

Look closely and you can find this principle lurking in every fundamental statement of U.S. policy related to that region and among the Washington elite more generally. My own personal favorite, when it comes to pithiness, is a sentence in a report on the geopolitics of energy issued in 2000 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank well-populated with former government officials (several of whom contributed to the report): “As the world’s only superpower, [the United States] must accept its special responsibilities for preserving access to [the] worldwide energy supply.” You can’t get much more explicit than that.

Of course, along with this “special responsibility” comes a geopolitical advantage: by providing this service, the United States cements its status as the world’s sole superpower and places every other oil-importing nation — and the world at large — in a condition of dependence on its continued performance of this vital function.

Originally, the key dependents in this strategic equation were Europe and Japan, which, in return for assured access to Middle Eastern oil, were expected to subordinate themselves to Washington. Remember, for example, how they helped pay for Bush the elder’s Iraq War (dubbed Operation Desert Storm). Today, however, many of those countries, deeply concerned with the effects of climate change, are seeking to lessen oil’s role in their national fuel mixes. As a result, in 2019, the countries potentially most at the mercy of Washington when it comes to access to Gulf oil are economically fast-expanding China and India, whose oil needs are only likely to grow. That, in turn, will further enhance the geopolitical advantage Washington enjoyed as long as it remains the principal guardian of the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. How it may seek to exploit this advantage remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that all parties involved, including the Chinese, are well aware of this asymmetric equation, which could give the phrase “trade war” a far deeper and more ominous meaning.

The Iranian Challenge and the Specter of War

From Washington’s perspective, the principal challenger to America’s privileged status in the Gulf is Iran. By reason of geography, that country possesses a potentially commanding position along the northern Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, as the Reagan administration learned in 1987-1988 when it threatened American oil dominance there. About this reality President Reagan couldn’t have been clearer. “Mark this point well: the use of the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf will not be dictated by the Iranians,” he declared in 1987 — and Washington’s approach to the situation has never changed.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter transits Strait of Hormuz, May 2012. (U.S. Navy/Alex R. Forster)

In more recent times, in response to U.S. and Israeli threats to bomb their nuclear facilities or, as the Trump administration has done, impose economic sanctions on their country, the Iranians have threatened on numerous occasions to block the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic, squeeze global energy supplies, and precipitate an international crisis. In 2011, for example, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that, should the West impose sanctions on Iranian oil, “not even one drop of oil can flow through the Strait of Hormuz.” In response, U.S. officials have vowed ever since to let no such thing happen, just as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did in response to Rahimi at that time. “We have made very clear,” he said, “that the United States will not tolerate blocking of the Strait of Hormuz.” That, he added, was a “red line for us.”

It remains so today. Hence, the present ongoing crisis in the Gulf, with fierce U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales and threatening Iranian gestures toward the regional oil flow in response. “We will make the enemy understand that either everyone can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” said Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in July 2018. And attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz on June 13th could conceivably have been an expression of just that policy, if —as claimed by the U.S. — they were indeed carried out by members of the Revolutionary Guards. Any future attacks are only likely to spur U.S. military action against Iran in accordance with the Carter Doctrine. As Pentagon spokesperson Bill Urban put it in response to Jafari’s statement, “We stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the “free flow of commerce” (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct U.S. military action. Yes, Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership’s malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost.

If the United States goes to war with Iran, you are unlikely to hear the word “oil” uttered by top Trump administration officials, but make no mistake: that three-letter word lies at the root of the present crisis, not to speak of the world’s long-term fate.

Published:7/21/2019 10:41:41 PM
[Markets] Putin Comes Clean On 2016 'Meddling': "Perfectly Clear Ukrainian Oligarchs Gave Money To Trump's Opponents"

Authored by Robert Wenzel via TargetLiberty.com,

Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down on June 19, 2019, in the Kremlin, for an on the record interview with Oliver Stone. The Russian government has released a transcript of the interview.

Below is Putin's discussion with Stone about the 2016 presidential election.

Oliver Stone: Yes. So recently, you know Russia has been obviously accused and accused over and over again of interference in the 2016 election. As far as I know there is no proof, it has not turned up. But now in the US there has been an investigation going on about Ukraine’s interference in the election. It seems that it was a very confusing situation, and Poroshenko seems to have been very strongly pro-Clinton, anti-Trump.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, this is no secret.

Oliver Stone: Do you think there was interference?

Vladimir Putin: I do not think that this could be interpreted as interference by Ukraine. But it is perfectly obvious that Ukrainian oligarchs gave money to Trump’s opponents. I do not know whether they did this by themselves or with the knowledge of the authorities.

Oliver Stone: Where they giving information to the Clinton campaign?

Vladimir Putin: I do not know. I am being honest. I will not speak about what I do not know. I have enough problems of my own. They assumed Mrs Clinton would win and did everything to show loyalty to the future US administration. That is nothing special. They wanted the future President to have a good opinion of them. This is why they allowed themselves to make unflattering statements about Trump and supported the Democrats in every possible way. This is no secret at all. They acted almost in public.

Oliver Stone: You do not want to go any further on that because you do not have any information?

Vladimir Putin: You know, this would be inappropriate on my part. If I said something more specific, I would have to put some documents, some papers on the table.

Oliver Stone: You understand that it has huge implications because Mr Trump would be very grateful?

Vladimir Putin: I did not interfere then, I do not want to interfere now, and I am not going to interfere in the future.

Oliver Stone: But that is a noble motive. Unfortunately, the world has degenerated in these two years, with all this backbiting and accusations, dirty fighting. Anyway…

Vladimir Putin: There are no rules at all. It is no holds barred.

Oliver Stone: Well, you have rules. You say no interference.

Vladimir Putin: I have principles.

Oliver Stone: Ok. But you seem to have rules based on those principles.

Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

Oliver Stone: Ok. Well, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Vladimir Putin: Why? You mean, because of these principles?

Oliver Stone: Yes. If you knew something about the election, it would tilt the balance in a very weird way.

Vladimir Putin: I think this is simply unrealistic. I have said so many times.

Oliver Stone: What is unrealistic?

Vladimir Putin: To change anything. If you want to return to US elections again – look, it is a huge country, a huge nation with its own problems, with its own views on what is good and what is bad, and with an understanding that in the past few years, say ten years, nothing has changed for the better for the middle class despite the enormous growth of prosperity for the ruling class and the wealthy. This is a fact that Trump’s election team understood. He understood this himself and made the most of it.

No matter what our bloggers – or whoever’s job it is to comment on the internet – might say about the situation in the US, this could not have played a decisive role. It is sheer nonsense. But our sympathies were with him because he said he wanted to restore normal relations with Russia. What is bad about that? Of course, we can only welcome this position.

Oliver Stone: Apparently, it excited the Clinton people a lot. The Clinton campaign accumulated the “Steele dossier.” They paid for it. It came from strange sources, the whole “Steele dossier” issue. Some of it comes from Ukraine. They also went out of their way, it seems to me, with the CIA, with Mr Brennan, John Brennan, and with Clapper, James Clapper, and Comey of the FBI. They all seem to have gotten involved, all intelligence agencies, in an anti-Trump way.

Vladimir Putin: They had levers inside the government, but there is nothing like that here. They applied administrative pressure. It always gives an advantage in countries such as the USA, some countries of Western Europe, about 2 percent on average, at a minimum.

Oliver Stone: Two percent? What are you talking about?

Vladimir Putin: Yes. According to experts, those with administrative pressure they can apply always have a 2 percent edge. You can look at it differently. Some experts believe that in different countries, it can vary, but in countries such as the United States, some European countries, the advantage is 2 percent. This is what experts say, they can be wrong.

Oliver Stone: I do not know. I heard of the one percent, but it seems to get more like 12 percent.

Vladimir Putin: That is possible, depending on how it is used.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are not disagreeing. You are saying that it was quite possible that there was an attempt to prevent Donald Trump from coming into office with a soft, I will call it a soft coup d’état?

Vladimir Putin: In the USA?

Oliver Stone: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: It is still going on.

Oliver Stone: A coup d’état is planned by people who have power inside.

Vladimir Putin: No, I do not mean that. I mean lack of respect for the will of the voters. I think it was unprecedented in the history of the United States.

Oliver Stone: What was unprecedented?

Vladimir Putin: It was the first time the losing side does not want to admit defeat and does not respect the will of the voters.

*  *  *

[RW  note: Putin is the most level headed guy around. Here he is on the inconsistent moves of Trump]:

Oliver Stone: Ok, but beyond Poroshenko, the United States has a shadow here. The United States knows what he is doing, and supported it.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely.

Oliver Stone: It is the creation of a strategy of tension that worries me enormously. I have seen this happen in so many places now. I think I read on Monday, the Russian bombers, the Russian SU-57 escorted, what was it, the B-52 bomber, a nuclear bomber, US bomber, close to the Russian borders.

Vladimir Putin: The Su-57 aircraft are just entering service. This is a fifth-generation jet fighter. It was the Su-27 that was mentioned.

Oliver Stone: Do you think that is normal?

Vladimir Putin: Actually, it is sad, probably, but this is common practice. US aircraft did not enter our airspace, and our aircraft did not conduct any high-risk maneuvers. But generally speaking, this is not great. Just look where the Baltic or Black seas are located, and where the USA is. It was not us who approached US borders, but US aircraft that approached ours. Such practices had better stop.

Oliver Stone: In this continuing strategy of tension, there was a report in The New York Times last week that the Obama Administration, before they left office, put in what they call a cyber warfare device. It was inserted in Russian infrastructure in January 2017.

Vladimir Putin: This is being discussed almost openly. It was said Russia would be punished for interfering in the election campaign. We do not see anything extraordinary or unexpected here. This should be followed closely. That is the first thing. The second is I believe that we only need to negotiate how we are to live in this high-tech world and develop uniform rules and means of monitoring each other’s actions. We have repeatedly proposed holding talks on this subject to come to some binding agreement.

Oliver Stone: Continuing that theme of strategy of tension, how is Russia affected by the US-Iranian confrontation?

Vladimir Putin: This worries us because this is happening near our borders. This may destabilize the situation around Iran, affect some countries with which we have very close relations, causing additional refugee flows on a large scale plus substantially damage the world economy as well as the global energy sector. All this is extremely disturbing. Therefore we would welcome any improvement when it comes to relations between the US and Iran. A simple escalation of tension will not be advantageous for anyone. It seems to me that this is also the case with the US. One might think that there are only benefits here, but there will be setbacks as well. The positive and negative factors have to be calculated.

Oliver Stone: Yeah. Scary.

Vladimir Putin: No, this is not scary.

Oliver Stone: You sound very depressed, much more depressed than last time.

Vladimir Putin: Last time the situation concerning Iran was not like this. Last time nobody said anything about getting into our energy and other networks. Last time the developments were more positive.

Oliver Stone: The situation is worse now?

Vladimir Putin: Take North Korea, they have also rolled back a bit. Trade wars are unfolding. 

Oliver Stone: Venezuela.

Vladimir Putin: Venezuela as well. In other words, regrettably, the situation has not improved, so there is nothing special to be happy about. On the other hand, we feel confident. We have no problems.

Oliver Stone: Well, you are an optimist, and always have been?

Vladimir Putin: Exactly.

Oliver Stone: You are a peacemaker.

Vladimir Putin: Absolutely spot on.

Oliver Stone: So obviously, you have to get together with the Americans, and the Chinese, and the Iranians. I know.

Vladimir Putin: Just do not put the blame on us. Lately no matter what is happening, we always get the blame.

Oliver Stone: Well, the irony is that Mr Trump came to office promising that he was not going to interfere in other countries. He made this overall strategy, he was against the wars that we have started, and ever since he has been in office, it has got worse. Why, one wonders? Is he in charge, or are other people pushing these agendas?

Vladimir Putin: I think he is against this now, too. But life is complicated and diverse. To make the right decision it is necessary to fight for what you believe in.

Published:7/21/2019 8:10:50 PM
[Markets] Trump's Next Trade War Target: Vietnam

Authored by David Hutt via The Asia Times,

Southeast Asian nation has dramatically whipsawed between US-China trade war winner to potential next big tariffed loser

The popular consensus is that Vietnam has been one of the world’s biggest US-China trade war winners, as global supply chains shift production away from tariff-hit China and towards the low-cost Southeast Asian nation.

That upshot, one that may have added as much as 8% to Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to one bank’s research, has apparently already run its full course as US President Donald Trump slaps new punitive tariffs on Hanoi’s exports.

In May, Vietnam was added to the US Treasury Department’s list of possible currency manipulators, a designation that could result in punitive measures if proved. That threat presaged this month’s imposition of a whopping new 400% US duty on Vietnamese steel imports that originate from South Korea and Taiwan.

The US could next slap punitive tariffs on certain Vietnamese imports based on allegations Hanoi is allowing Chinese-made products to be rebranded as Vietnamese goods before export to the US to circumvent tariffs on China, a process officials refer to as “transshipment.”

Some economists predict that, for instance, if the US moves to impose a 25% tariff on Vietnam’s exports, as it has done with China for reasons of national security, the move would cause Hanoi’s exports to fall by a quarter and shave off more than 1% from GDP.

That could be in the offing, analysts reckon, in light of Trump’s scathing comment last month that Hanoi was “almost the single worst abuser of everybody” in regard to trade and that “Vietnam takes advantage of us even worse than China.”

That critique was aimed at Vietnam’s high and rising trade surplus with the US, which hit a record US$40 billion last year, up slightly from 2017 and in spite of a concerted Vietnamese effort to buy more from the US.

In the first five months of this year, Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US hit $21.6 billion, double the amount compared with the same period in 2018.

Beyond the rhetoric, America’s new tariffs on Vietnam represent a drastic course shift, one that has caught Vietnamese officials off guard amid what was a strong bilateral warming trend under the Trump administration.

In February, when Hanoi staged a second historic round of US-North Korea peace talks, Trump lavished praise on his Vietnamese hosts.

“You’ve made tremendous progress and it’s a great thing for the world to see,” he told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc while referring to the one-time battlefield adversaries as “friends.”

Soon after Trump took office in January 2016, Vietnam was one of the first targets of his complaints that certain nations maintained big, unequal trade surpluses with the US.

Those complaints were mollified somewhat after Phuc visited Trump at the White House later that year with a multi-billion dollar purchase order for several Boeing-made commercial aircraft.

Communist Party sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say they are perplexed by Trump’s volte face. For the last two years, Trump has acted as though Vietnam and the US were “best friends”, one Vietnamese official told Asia Times.

The officials say it is unclear whether the Trump administration is genuine about its threat of possible future sanctions on Vietnamese imports, or whether it is a dramatic negotiating tactic to extract more concessions.

Sources say that Vietnam has made the kind of trade-related commitments that they think Washington supports, and that Trump’s latest comments could merely aim to accelerate their implementation.

For instance, a planned law to create three new special economic zones, which sparked rare nationwide protests last year as many thought they would allow Chinese firms to purchase large swathes of Vietnamese land, has now been indefinitely postponed.

Meanwhile, National Assembly delegates recently called on Communist Party functionaries to curb Chinese investment in Vietnam, with lawmakers arguing that Hanoi should be more particular about which foreign-invested projects it accepts.

Vietnamese authorities have also stiffened a crackdown on Chinese products being re-routed through Vietnam on their way to the US, a circumvention of tariffs that has greatly peeved the Trump administration.

To some extent, Vietnam has mitigated the costs of possible US sanctions by signing trade deals with other partners. Earlier this year, it formally became part of the reformed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade pact which Trump took the US out of in one of his first acts as president.

Moreover, on June 30, Vietnam finally signed a free-trade agreement with the European Union after several years of protracted negotiations.

The deal, which will remove import duties from 99% of Vietnam’s exports within seven years, up from 71% when the deal was signed, could boost Vietnam’s exports to the EU by 20% in 2020, according to official estimates.

Last year, the EU purchased $42.5 billion worth of Vietnam’s exports.

Still, the US is Vietnam’s most important trading partner, a fact that is not likely to change any time soon. Last year, the US imported $49 billion worth of Vietnamese goods, while exporting just $9.6 billion to Vietnam.

In the first five months of this year, US imports of Vietnamese goods have jumped to $25.8 billion, compared to $18.9 billion over the same period last year, evidence that Vietnam is benefitting immensely from the trade war.

In June, Japanese investment bank Nomura estimated that Vietnam had gained the equivalent of 7.9% of its GDP from trade diversion and supply chain shifts caused by the US-China spat. (The second largest beneficiary was Taiwan, which has gained about 2.1% of its GDP, the research shows.)

Some analysts believe Washington’s reaction to Vietnam’s trade practices is perfectly normal, particularly in light of allowing Chinese companies to use it as a base to disguise their exports to the US.

Vietnam, now one of the world’s 50 largest economies, is simply being asked to abide by the same rules the US expects from other trading partners – the same rationale that led to the US-China trade spat.

“Every fast-industrializing Asian nation has been at first indulged by the US and other major Western trading partners and then, as its market power became formidable, pressed to play by the rules of international trade,” wrote David Brown, an expert on Vietnam, in World Politics Review this month.

“Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan all cleared that hurdle years ago, none without considerable turmoil. Vietnam is still on probation, and must find the self-discipline to prioritize its larger interests,” the ex-US diplomat added.

Geopolitics, however, are confusing matters. Hanoi has enjoyed US preferential treatment for years because of its strategic importance to American interests, including vis-à-vis China in the South China Sea.

When former US president Barack Obama launched his “pivot to Asia” policy earlier this decade, Vietnam was considered an important new ally because it was one of the few claimants that strongly opposed Chinese expansionism in the maritime area.

Overlooking Vietnam’s many faults – namely it’s abysmal human rights record – has been the price Western nations paid to secure cordial relations with a government that agrees on the need to contain China’s regional rise.

Vietnam has willingly flaunted this position to extract concessions from the West while often playing the US and China off one another to maximize diplomatic benefits from both.

Trump’s recent moves have certainly and unexpectedly put Hanoi on the back foot. Sources say its bureaucracy is working overtime to reform its system on export permits, while also mulling new ways of to reduce its trade surplus.

It is no secret that the US wants Vietnam to purchase more American-made military equipment, and move away from its traditional arms supplier, Russia.

Buying a big-ticket cache of new US military hardware would certainly be looked upon kindly in Washington, a move that would help to narrow Hanoi’s trade surplus while further cementing US-Vietnam defense ties.

Published:7/21/2019 7:09:13 PM
[Markets] The 2nd Cyprus Partition: American Promises vs Turkish Arms vs Russian Money & Missiles

Authored by John Helmer via JohnHelmer.net,

This week a group of US senators has proposed to leave Turkey in control of the northern part of Cyprus, and force the Greek Cypriots to choose between the US and Russia for the economic and political future of the south of the island.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed by a large bipartisan majority on June 25 to put into law a new Eastern Mediterranean strategy. If the bill is enacted, Cyprus will be required to decide that in exchange for American protection from Turkish military threats, including Russian-made S-400 missiles to be based in southwestern Turkey,  the Cyprus  Government must not allow Russian naval vessels to dock at Cypriot ports,  and should block all Russian money and investments on the island.  At the same time, Greece has been told the US military intends to expand its occupation of Crete around the Souda Bay base; at Larissa Air Force Base, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki; and at other Greek locations.

The proposed new law is the most comprehensive plan for American military occupation of Cyprus and Greece since the Greek civil war of the 1950s.  The US plan also establishes State Department censorship of the Greek-language media in Cyprus and Greece, and threatens US sanctions against the Orthodox Church bishops of the two countries.

Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, initiated the new policy as an amendment to Senate Bill No. 1102, “to promote security and energy partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean, and for other purposes.” Menendez chaired the Foreign Relations Committee until the Republicans won control of the Senate last November. He has made a long record of legislating sanctions against Russia, while he himself has been under FBI investigation for corruption.    Read the Menendez indictment here and the dismissal of the case a year ago,  after a federal court jury could not agree on a verdict. 

The text of S-1102, which now goes to the full Senate for a vote, can be read here.  The new policy, as Menendez has agreed with the Republican majority of the Committee, can be read in full here

In the preamble, Russia is identified as a “malign influence” in the Mediterranean: