Ben Affleck on writing his own sex scenes: 'Why else go into directing?'
He also talked about his brother Casey Affleck's recent success.
Published:1/13/2017 8:40:01 AM
[Entertainment and Hobbies]
WATCH: World’s Largest Homemade Drone – Casey Neistat
Casey discusses the drone he used to make the original flying snowboarder video. And, here’s the entire original video:
Published:12/24/2016 7:55:42 AM
[American people of German descent]
Doug Casey Warns "We're Going To Have Financial Chaos... It's A Dangerous Situation"
Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,
Doug Casey is the founder of Casey Research and well known for his forecasting prowess, having accurately called the crash of 2008 and many other trends over the last four decades. In his latest interview with Future Money Trends Casey explains what a Donald Trump Presidency will mean for financial markets, economic stimulus, and geo-politics. As he’s noted previously, 2008 was just the first part of the storm and we are rapidly approaching the trailing edge of the hurricane. This time around it’s going to last much longer and be much worse than what we experienced before.
In short, as Casey succinctly explains:
The one thing I feel very confident of is we’re going to have financial chaos in years to come and that’s going to drive people into gold and to a lesser degree into silver.
There’s absolutely no reason from fundamental point of view for bonds and stocks to be as high as they are right now… We’re in for a huge political, financial, demographic and military upset… these people might start World War III or seem like they’re trying to with the Russians… It’s a very dangerous situation.
(Watch At Youtube)
With Donald Trump set to take office in late January 2017, Casey believes his infrastructure initiatives will be a boon for the commodities industry:
I really believe him. I think that they’re going to push for doing lots of infrastructure in the U.S. and that’s going to take a lot of metals, so that’s a favorable short-term influence for metals… I can be talked into buying a copper or zinc or cobalt stock, but I want to stick with gold… and also uranium… I really think that the future of power generation is going to be in solar related things…. but at the present moment, by far the cheapest, the cleanest and the safest form of mass power generation is still nuclear… that’s exactly the opposite of what everybody is told… but especially if we have a de-regulated environment in the future, nuclear is going to do well… There are about 150 new nuclear plants under construction around the world… most of them in China and India… I’m very bullish on uranium… it’s selling below the cost of production.
But despite President Trump’s best efforts, says Casey, he won’t be able to stop the bloodbath coming in the bond market, a preview of which has been available for all to view in China, where the government halted trading last week following a record bond market crash.
People forget that the last peak in interest was between 1980-1982 when T-Bills were yielding over 16%… since then interest rates have been in a 35 year bear market going to below zero, which i thought was metaphysically impossible… So, interest rates are going to go up… Low interest rates and negative interest rates are actually destructive of capital and civilization because it discourages people from savings.
It doesn’t matter what these stupid governments do… interest rates are headed up… and I think they’re headed way up for a long time at this point… so if you own bonds sell them… hit the bid.
Ever the skeptic when it comes to information, disinformation and misinformation emanating from the mainstream media, Casey warns that the narratives being spun to divide Americans are dangerous to the stability of the nation and could lead to civil war:
Published:12/22/2016 3:03:07 AM
It’s extremely serious.. The real fake news is what you hear on CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox… I don’t trust anything I hear… the mass media is basically the mouthpiece of the deep state… these people that have the money and have the power and basically treat the rest of the country as peons… they’re very dangerous… I actually think that the U.S. is on the ragged edge of a civil war… because the people that elected Trump are hated on a visceral level by the preachers that are around the Democratic Party and the Deep State, and that includes Republicans…
A Voice In The Wilderness?
Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
In 2007, Vladimir Putin spoke at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy. Far from being a diatribe, Mister Putin spoke eloquently and without the bluster that we tend to expect from political leaders.
He began by stressing the need for all countries to benefit within the global economy, overcoming poverty, maintaining economic security and developing an ongoing dialogue. He then addressed the increasing threat of warfare in the world, quoting American President Franklin Roosevelt as having said, “When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.”
He warned against a “unipolar” world and aspirations of world supremacy by a single uber-government, saying,
However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to…one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making… And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.
Incidentally, Russia—we—are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves. I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today's…world...the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation… Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished…even more are dying than before.
He goes on to describe the growing US disdain for the basic principles of international law, stating pointedly that,
One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
Of course, it’s true that, worldwide, there’s growing concern that the US sees itself as the world’s policeman—providing largesse to those governments that kowtow to US interests, whilst attacking those that don’t. It claims that it does so to make the world “safe for democracy” yet, in recent years, it has invaded more countries than ever before in its history, destroying well-functioning governments and replacing duly-elected leaders with puppet governments or, worse, with nothing at all.
Mister Putin goes on to state that,
of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe… Moreover, significantly new threats…have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character. I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue. Especially since the international landscape is so varied and changes so quickly—changes in light of the dynamic development in a whole number of countries and regions…
The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a really exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states. However, today we are witnessing the opposite tendency, namely a situation in which countries that forbid the death penalty even for murderers and other dangerous criminals are airily participating in military operations that are difficult to consider legitimate. And as a matter of fact, these conflicts are killing people—hundreds and thousands of civilians!…
[I]t represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made?
Mister Putin also describes the opportunism by the US to profit from aggression, saying,
one hand distributes charitable help and the other hand not only preserves economic backwardness but also reaps the profits thereof. The increasing social tension in depressed regions inevitably results in the growth of radicalism, extremism, feeds terrorism and local conflicts. And if all this happens in, shall we say, a region such as the Middle East where there is increasingly the sense that the world at large is unfair, then there is the risk of global destabilisation.
It is obvious that the world's leading countries should see this threat. And that they should therefore build a more democratic, fairer system of global economic relations, a system that would give everyone the chance and the possibility to develop… But this does not mean interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and especially not imposing a regime that determines how these states should live and develop. It is obvious that such interference does not promote the development of democratic states at all. On the contrary, it makes them dependent and, as a consequence, politically and economically unstable…
Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy. We are not going to change this tradition today. At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic sense of our own opportunities and potential. And of course we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.
Mister Putin’s words in 2007 were those of the leader of one of the world’s greatest powers, yet his tone (as the reader can attest after reading his words) was that of a leader seeking mutual respect, partnership and cooperation. His message rings true today, yet the US government has consistently sought to present him to the American people as a tyrant—one who seeks dominance over other jurisdictions, when, in fact, it is the US that has been the world’s foremost aggressor.
Since this speech was made, the US has annually either continued or increased its aggression against sovereign nations and duly-elected leaders. There can be little doubt that the danger that the US government is placing the American people in is reckless in the extreme. Were the American people to view Mister Putin’s speeches nightly on their televisions, in place of endless rants from neocons with ties to the military–industrial complex, it’s altogether likely that they’d favour backing off rather than pursuing more mischief abroad.
Unfortunately, Mister Putin’s speeches are never heard by the vast majority of Americans, which ensures that they’ll be left in the dark. Just as Americans have been tricked into endorsing past military adventures from the Spanish–American War onward, we can expect that, given enough prodding, they will once again concede that, although they do not seek further aggression, the media and the government have demonstrated that it’s “necessary.”
Although Mister Putin’s speeches are not heard in America, it’s important to note that they are heard by the rest of the world. Those of us who are not American and live outside the US have greater access to balanced reporting on world events and, like Mister Putin, we fear the unparalleled interference by the US government.
To us, he seems at present to be a voice in the wilderness—countering the US when necessary, but repeatedly seeking peaceful solutions, only to be rebuffed by the US government time and time again—presented as an evil warmonger.
History is replete with the tales of empires that sought to gobble up the world—to subject all people to the whims and dictates of one central government. Never has this been truer than today, when so many American leaders have touted the supposed necessity of a “One World Government” or “New World Order” in which the US reigns supreme.
Historically, each of these empires has gone through a period when its power base spread dramatically, yet each one, in turn, collapsed through excessive warfare on numerous fronts, coupled with increasing debt at home. In each case, the empires have collapsed under their own weight and, in so doing, found themselves without allies, as the world breathed a sigh of relief at the downfall of the latest Goliath.
When this comes to pass with regard to the US empire, Mister Putin’s pleas for each country to have had the freedom to decide its own fate will be remembered. He will cease to be a voice in the wilderness and will be remembered as a statesman.
It is eternally true that our loyalty and patriotism should not be bestowed upon any particular government simply because we were born there.
* * *
Unfortunately most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare… The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past. That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.
Published:12/21/2016 1:34:02 AM
The CIA, Washington Post, And Russia: What You're Not Being Told
Submitted by Carey Wedler via TheAntiMedia.org,
According to an unsubstantiated article by the Washington Post, anonymous CIA officials have confirmed that the Russian government hacked the United States election to favor Donald Trump. Though it’s entirely possible the Russian government attempted to influence the election, the Post has been widely criticized — for the second time in a month — for its failure to follow basic journalistic practices. Nevertheless, the narrative is sticking.
But the outlet’s behind-the-scenes relationship with the CIA is nothing new. In 2013, a conflict of interest arose shortly after Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, purchased the newspaper. As the Nation reported at the time:
“[Jeff Bezos] recently secured a $600 million contract from the CIA. That’s at least twice what Bezos paid for the Post this year. Bezos recently disclosed that the company’s Web-services business is building a ‘private cloud’ for the CIA to use for its data needs.”
As this occurred, a petition calling on the Washington Post to disclose its new ties to the CIA when reporting on the agency garnered 30,000 signatures. According to the RootsforAction petition:
“The Post often does reporting on CIA activities. The coverage should include full disclosure that the owner of the Washington Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.”
Robert McChesney of the Institute for Public Accuracy pointed out the glaring conflict of interest:
“If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation—say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government—the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”
In its most recent article on the CIA’s claims of a Russian hack, the Post made no mention of its ties to the CIA. But while this connection calls into serious question the validity of a newspaper that claims to be a purveyor of “great journalism,” the connections are not enough to prove nefarious collaboration.
Unfortunately, however, history reveals actual collusion between the CIA and news outlets, including the Washington Post.
In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former Post journalist, wrote about the CIA’s efforts to infiltrate the news media, often with the assistance of top management at the papers. In total, Bernstein reported, over 400 journalists were involved:
“Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go?betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without?portfolio for their country…In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.”
Though Bernstein failed to name the Post as an offender in his article, according to Tim Weiner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, the CIA worked directly with the Washington Post, among many other outlets. In his comprehensive history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, Weiner wrote of the CIA’s first official chief, Allen Dulles:
“Dulles kept in close touch with the men who ran the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the nation’s leading weekly magazines. He could pick up the phone and edit a breaking story, make sure an irritating foreign correspondent was yanked from the field, or hire the services of men such as Time’s Berlin bureau chief and Newsweek’s man in Tokyo.”
“It was second nature for Dulles to plant stories in the press. American newsrooms were dominated by veterans of the government’s wartime propaganda branch, the Office of War Information.”
Dulles’ tenure lasted throughout the 1950s, and in 1954, for example, papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times promoted the narrative that Guatemala’s democratically-elected leader had ties to the Soviet Union and needed to be dealt with accordingly. The American news media helped create public support for a coup covertly backed by the CIA (interestingly, the Times also recently came out with an anonymously-sourced article claiming the CIA has determined Russia hacked the election). At the time, Frank Wisner, chair of the CIA’s Directorate of Plans — and whom Bernstein named as a key operator in the CIA’s relationship with news outlets — directly praised the Post’s piece.
Given this historical relationship, it’s no surprise that the Post and CIA have worked together in more recent decades.
In the 1990s, then-CIA Director Bill Casey appointed a man named Max Hugel as chief of the clandestine service, a small department within the CIA. But some agents disagreed with the appointment. Weiner explained:
“They dug up dirt on him, fed it to the Washington Post, and forced him out in less than two months.”
Whether or not the Post knew it was being used as a tool of intrigue by agents within the CIA is of little consequence. At best, they acted as “useful idiots” for schemers within the agency; at best, they knowingly aided the internal machinations of a spy agency.
The Post again served as a platform for warring factions within the CIA during the Bush years, when agents rebelled against Porter Goss, the director who replaced George Tenet after he resigned. Goss had vowed to repair the agency’s broken reputation but angered other agents with his seemingly radical approach. According to Weiner, agents took to the Los Angeles Times to criticize Goss (the Los Angeles Times recently faced backlash after one of its journalists was caught sharing stories with CIA agents before publication). The agents also took to the Washington Post to smear Goss:
“John McLaughin, who had held the agency together as acting director after Tenet’s resignation, delivered another riposte. The CIA was not ‘a dysfunctional and rogue agency,’ he wrote in the Washington Post. ‘The CIA was not institutionally plotting against the president.’”
Weiner notes that “in all the years that the agency had been battered in the press, never had the director been attacked in print, on the record, by the most senior veterans of American intelligence.”
The CIA also used its power in the media to silence a story published in the 1990s regarding the agency’s potential involvement in drug trafficking and the emergence of crack cocaine in black communities. Journalist Gary Webb had written an explosive investigative piece linking the agency to Contra fighters and the domestic drug market. Though the piece had shortcomings and reported on some already known information, as Peter Kornbluh of the Columbia Journalism Review noted, it was able to “revisit a significant story that had been inexplicably abandoned by the mainstream press, report a new dimension to it, and thus put it back on the national agenda where it belong[ed].”
Six weeks after the story broke, the CIA’s PR machine struck back. The Intercept notes the “CIA watched these developments closely, collaborating where it could with outlets who wanted to challenge Webb’s reporting.”
The Intercept summarized the account of Nicholas Dujmovic, who was a staffer at the CIA Directorate of Intelligence at the time:
“The agency supplied the press, ‘as well as former Agency officials, who were themselves representing the Agency in interviews with the media,’ with ‘these more balanced stories,’ Dujmovic wrote. The Washington Post proved particularly useful. ‘Because of the Post‘s national reputation, its articles especially were picked up by other papers, helping to create what the Associated Press called a “firestorm of reaction” against the San Jose Mercury News.’ Over the month that followed, critical media coverage of the series (‘balanced reporting’) far outnumbered supportive stories, a trend the CIA credited to the Post, The New York Times, ‘and especially the Los Angeles Times.’”
Given the CIA’s history of using media to accomplish both internal and external political goals, it’s possible — though admittedly wholly unconfirmed — this Post piece on Russia serves as yet another example of the clandestine agency using the paper as a tool to achieve its own ends.
Regardless, the Post continues to treat anonymous statements from the agency as fact, leading the way as countless other mainstream outlets parrot their narrative. Though it’s possible Russia did attempt to intervene in the U.S. election, there is little reason to trust information from an outlet with a history of collaborating with the agency spreading these claims.
Should any actual evidence of Russian hacking be produced, however, it’s likely the Post will be among the first to let us know.
Published:12/20/2016 6:45:40 PM
Doug Casey: "Sell All Your Bonds"
Via Casey Daily Despatch,
[The following essay originally appeared in this month’s issue of The Casey Report.]
So, Trump has won the election. Of course anything can happen between now and his presumed inauguration on January 20. Maybe the Swamp Creatures will succeed in causing a recount in so-called Purple States that could change the number of electors in Hillary’s favor. Maybe they’ll somehow influence Trump electors to vote for Hillary. None of this would have been an issue if Baby Bush II, Jeb, had been the Republican nominee, as was supposed to have happened. It all just shows what a transparent (a word these people love to use) fraud “democracy” has become.
Let the hoi polloi cast a meaningless vote, so they have the illusion of being in control. Instead of seeing themselves as subjects, they’ll think they’re “we the people,” who actually have some say in what happens. That way they’ll pay their taxes willingly, enthusiastically sign on to aggressive wars on the other side of the world against people they know nothing about, and generally do as they’re told. Because it’s supposed to be patriotic. “Democracy” is a much more effective scam for controlling the plebs than kingship or dictatorship.
That said, the Establishment, the Deep State, was genuinely shocked and appalled by Trump’s victory. As Baby Bush the First would have said, they misunderestimated how angry the average voter was. That’s because the Coastal Democratic Elite are totally out of touch with the common man. But they needn’t fret too much. They’ll be re-installed, with a vengeance, in four years.
That will likely be true for two reasons:
Simple demographics. The groups that vote Democrat (e.g., blacks, Hispanics, urban dwellers, immigrants, Millennials) are growing in numbers faster than those who vote Republican. Republicans are older people, and the Boomers (born 1946–1966) and the Silent Generation (1926–1946) are dying off. More people are moving to the cities, and that influences them to vote Democratic. More people (still, idiotically) are pursuing higher education, and that also influences them to vote Democrat.
The Greater Depression. One definition of a depression is a period of time when distortions and misallocations of capital are liquidated. A time when bubbles caused by monetary expansion are popped. A time when unsound businesses fail. I re-emphasize this because the party on whose watch it happens is automatically kicked out. So, the Democrats actually got quite lucky not to be in office when the time bomb goes off. Trump could easily go down as Herbert Hoover II.
What could change things? A serious war, much bigger than the sport wars the US is currently engaged in, is the biggest danger. That’s much less likely with Trump than Hillary, but these things have a life of their own. My guess for the next president is either a left-wing general (because Americans love and trust their military), or a left-wing populist, like Elizabeth Warren.
But that’s crystal balling at this point. Let’s proceed on the assumption Trump is actually going to be the president for at least the next four years. Although problematical, he’s a vast improvement over Hillary. What will it mean for the US and the world? More importantly, what will it mean for your personal finances and freedom? Let’s look at the possibilities.
Bonds—With bonds, we’re at the peak of the biggest financial bubble in world history. This is a very big deal.
Interest rates move in very long cycles. They went up from the mid-1940s to the early ’80s, when long-term government bonds peaked at close to 16%, and T-Bills at over 16%. I thought they hit bottom years ago, but the cycle overshot.
My guess is that they’re headed up in earnest now. And Trump, as someone who understands business (even though he doesn’t understand economics), will likely (I think…) do what he can to send them higher. Why? He understands the country needs to save, to rebuild capital. And higher rates will encourage saving and discourage debt.
The risk is that, with all the debt that’s been put on in the last decade, debtors will be hard-pressed to service it. That includes the USG with $20 trillion of on-balance-sheet debt, and a lot more in the way of off-balance-sheet debt, guarantees, and contingent liabilities. Much of it will be activated if higher rates cause a lot of defaults.
What should you do? Sell all your bonds.
Real Estate—Property, at least in the English-speaking world, floats on a sea of debt. Interest rates go up, real estate prices go down. The economy goes down, so do property prices. Add to that the aging US population, which isn’t good for property; as people age, they downsize. Add to that the fact we’re in another real estate bubble, similar to what we saw in the mid-oughts. After bonds, property is likely the worst place to be. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say the great post–World War II property boom is at an end—but that’s a subject for another time. There’s not much that Trump can do to fix this.
What should you do? Lighten up on property. Make sure any mortgages you keep are at fixed rates.
Stocks—If Trump only follows through with his promise to cut taxes, and eliminate two old regulations for every new one, it would be wonderful for the economy. But the economy and the stock market are two different things; they only correlate over the long run. I suppose he’ll follow through with his promise to build lots of new infrastructure. Government deficits will soar, and only the Fed will be on hand to buy all that new debt.
Infrastructure companies will get a fat slug of the newly printed money. But I find it hard to get enthusiastic for the stock market. In terms of dividends, P/E ratios, or book value, it’s already at one of the highest levels ever. Bear in mind that well-selected stocks can still go up, even if the market as a whole goes down.
That said, I feel more comfortable with shorts than longs at this point.
Gold and Commodities—Frankly, where do you put your money when almost everything is overpriced? Commodities are coming out of a five-year-long bear market. They’re about the only thing that’s cheap. That’s true relative to their cost of production (farmers, ranchers, and miners are breaking even, at best, all over the world). And it’s true relative to their history (they’re down 50% from the peak of 2011).
In other words, commodities are a much safer place for your capital than stocks, bonds, or real estate (excepting agricultural property) for the foreseeable future. The problem is that it’s hard to hold a carload of wheat or ten tonnes of sugar.
Remember that gold and other commodities aren’t “investments.” An investment is something that acts to create new wealth. They’re simply assets. Sometimes they can be excellent speculations. Gold, however, is money, and will remain so long after the US destroys its currency.
I recommend, therefore, that you accumulate gold and silver instead of plunging into conventional investments. Check with the dealers we list in The Gold Book to see who you prefer to work with. [Editor's note: The Gold Book is exclusive to readers of The Casey Report, which you can sign up for at the end of today's essay.] But if you don’t have a significant position in the metals already, please get going.
A final thought. It’s usually a mistake to count on any head of state to make things in a country better. It can certainly happen—as with Erhard in Germany after WW2, Pinochet in Chile, Thatcher in Britain, or even Reagan in the US. Maybe it will be true of Trump. He’s got a much stronger personality than Reagan, for openers. But the bigger and older a State gets, the harder it is to change. It’s comparable to trying to stop a fully loaded supertanker.
Published:12/15/2016 8:43:11 PM
[Randy Barnett] Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservative Constitutionalism
Back on May 6th on Balkinization, Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet had some advice for “liberals” entitled: Abandoning Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism. It provides a useful road map to what Democrats had in store for us had Hillary Clinton been elected. But it also serves as a guide to what a conservative Court should–and should not–be doing now that this constitutional bullet has been dodged. So let’s see what Tushnet had to say:
Several generations of law students and their teachers grew up with federal courts dominated by conservatives. Not surprisingly, they found themselves wandering in the wilderness, looking for any sign of hope. The result: Defensive-crouch constitutionalism, with every liberal position asserted nervously, its proponents looking over their shoulders for retaliation by conservatives (in its elevated forms, fear of a backlash against aggressively liberal positions).
I am not sure what “retaliation” he had in mind here. In law schools where there are, at best, a single right-of-center public law professor on the faculty? (At Georgetown Law we now have 3 out of 125, which makes us more diverse than most; Yale has zero.) Generations of law students and their teachers feared “retaliation” from federal courts? This seems like projection to me.
It’s time to stop. Right now more than half of the judges sitting on the courts of appeals were appointed by Democratic presidents, and – though I wasn’t able to locate up-to-date numbers – the same appears to be true of the district courts. And, those judges no longer have to be worried about reversal by the Supreme Court if they take aggressively liberal positions. (They might be reversed, but now there’s no guarantee.) And, we shouldn’t focus on the Court’s docket this year, which was shaped by conservative justices thinking that they could count to five on a bunch of cases. The docket will look quite different if they can’t see that path to five votes when they decide which cases to review.
Yes, despite current complaints about supposed Republican obstruction of Obama administration judicial appointees, Hans von Spakovsky reports that “President Barack Obama has actually had almost the same number of district, appellate, and Supreme Court judges confirmed as George W. Bush did during his entire eight years in office. Indeed, Obama is one up on Bush, 325 confirmations to 324.” And “Mr. Obama’s judicial nominees now occupy 38.19 percent of all federal judgeships — an almost identical percentage to that attained by George W. Bush (38.21 percent) by the end of his presidency.” A runaway progressive inferior federal judiciary unconstrained by the Supreme Court was what we had in store had Senate Republicans not held fast and let the voters decide how to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia, or had voters then decided to elect Hillary Clinton. Tushnet continues:
What would abandoning defensive-crouch liberalism mean? (I’ve blogged about some of these points before.)
1 A jurisprudence of “wrong the day it was decided.” Liberals should be compiling lists of cases to be overruled at the first opportunity on the ground that they were wrong the day they were decided. My own list is Bakke (for rejecting all the rationales for affirmative action that really matter), Buckley v. Valeo (for ruling out the possibility that legislatures could develop reasonable campaign finance rules promoting small-r republicanism), Casey (for the “undue burden” test), and Shelby County. (I thought about including Washington v. Davis, but my third agenda item should be enough to deal with it.) Others will have their own candidates. What matters is that overruling key cases also means that a rather large body of doctrine will have to be built from the ground up. Thinking about what that doctrine should look like is important – more important than trying to maneuver to liberal goals through the narrow paths the bad precedents seem to leave open.
We are about to hear a lot about “judicial minimalism” and adhering to hallowed post-New Deal precedents of SIXTY YEARS OR MORE! (Tushnet himself favored taking the Constitution away from the courts.) And I have long maintained that, beginning with the Rehnquist Court, conservative justices adopted a “this far and no farther, except for…” approach to New Deal precedents (see here). Mainly, the “New Federalism” represented was some special (nonoriginalist) carve outs of post-New Deal federal power for state governments (under the rubric of the 10th and 11th Amendments) and establishing a distant outer boundary on the use of the commerce power. (Wickard v. Filburn et al were left untouched.) This approach could fairly be called “defensive crouch conservative constitutionalism,” when what was really called for was a fearless originalist constitutionalism that adhered scrupulously to the text of the Constitution rather than the texts of New Deal decisions.
As Tushnet helpfully previewed, had Clinton been elected, thirty years of “conservative” tinkering-at-the-margin was going to be swept away and much, much more. No doctrine of stare decisis or “precedent” would have stood in the way. The left side of the Court has never conceded the precedential value of the past 30 years of “conservative” decisions. In constitutional law, the doctrine of stare decisis is a ratchet and ratchets only go one way, and that way is towards increased national power, and delegation to the Administrative-Executive State–qualified only by judicially-selected “fundamental rights” and protected “suspect classes.”
But Tushnet was right in principle. As I have long maintained (see here), the law of the Constitution should take priority over the mistaken rulings of previous justices. What Tushnet and I disagree about is what the Constitution means. He thinks it means progressive results; I think it means what it says. If New Deal, Warren and Burger court decisions were–in Tushnets words–“wrong the day they were decided,” then they should be reversed and replaced by the original meaning of the Constitution itself.
Of course, as I have also insisted, very little of what the Supreme Court does involves applying the original meaning of the Constitution directly to individual cases and controversies. Rather, it develops implementing doctrines or rules–called “constitutional law“–that puts this meaning into effect. Such doctrines rightly evolve over time as new circumstances arise. In this way, constitutional law is evolving and “living” when putting into effect the original meaning of the text. And such doctrines should be followed as precedents by the Supreme Court and by inferior courts until their limitations are revealed by subsequent litigation.
But where the text has itself been misinterpreted, or where doctrine is not implementing the text in good faith–that is, consistent not only with its letter but also with its spirit–then that doctrine should be reversed. This does not mean relitigating and changing the outcomes of previous decisions upholding this program or that agency. Rejecting stare decisis when previous decisions conflict with the Constitution does not mean rejecting res judicata. But it does mean refusing to consider the reasoning of these decisions to be “precedents” to be applied by extension to new cases and controversies arising in the future. (Following precedents in this way is what creates slippery slopes.)
It is high time for conservative justices to follow Tushnet’s advice for progressive judges and reconsider cases they know full well to be in conflict with the Constitution’s original scheme (as amended). If they conflict with the original meaning of the Constitution, these cases were “wrong on the day they were decided.”
2 The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. Remember, they were the ones who characterized constitutional disputes as culture wars (see Justice Scalia in Romer v. Evans, and the Wikipedia entry for culture wars, which describes conservative activists, not liberals, using the term.) And they had opportunities to reach a cease fire, but rejected them in favor of a scorched earth policy. The earth that was scorched, though, was their own. (No conservatives demonstrated any interest in trading off recognition of LGBT rights for “religious liberty” protections. Only now that they’ve lost the battle over LGBT rights, have they made those protections central – seeing them, I suppose, as a new front in the culture wars. But, again, they’ve already lost the war.). For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (“You lost, live with it”) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.) I should note that LGBT activists in particular seem to have settled on the hard-line approach, while some liberal academics defend more accommodating approaches. When specific battles in the culture wars were being fought, it might have made sense to try to be accommodating after a local victory, because other related fights were going on, and a hard line might have stiffened the opposition in those fights. But the war’s over, and we won.
While Tushnet attributes the origination of the “culture war” metaphor to Justice Scalia, Scalia was only candidly acknowledging and labeling an already existing “state of war,” not declaring a new one. And in stark contrast with Tushnet, Scalia was faulting judges for taking sides in the culture war taking place outside the courts. Contrary to Scalia, then, Tushnet wants the courts to ram his side of the culture war down the throats of any recalcitrant Americans he calls “losers.” But the Trump victory represents a repudiation of Tushnet’s claim that the culture war has already been won by the Left. The “losers” have struck back.
To be clear, I strongly support the fundamental liberties and equal rights of all, including LGBT. But I also support the liberty of those with different moral and religious views. Moving on:
3 Aggressively exploit the ambiguities and loopholes in unfavorable precedents that aren’t worth overruling. Take Wal-Mart: Confine it to its unusual facts (a huge nation-wide class, a questionable theory of liability), and don’t treat it as having any generative power in other cases. Or Washington v. Davis, which said that disparate racial impact wasn’t enough to trigger strict scrutiny, but that sometimes such an impact could support an inference of impermissible motive: Play the “sometimes” for all its worth. Defensive-crouch liberalism was afraid to be aggressive about the precedents because of a fear of reversal by higher courts. That fear can now be put aside. (Judge Reinhardt’s essay on habeas corpus, in the Michigan Law Review, is an exemplary discussion of how liberals can exploit ambiguities and loopholes.)
Another reminder of what we were going to experience if Clinton won: aggressive progressive constitutionalism nation-wide and at all levels while the Supreme Court looked the other way. But still good advice for conservative judges. ‘Nuff said.
4 Related: Remember that doctrine is a way to empower our allies and weaken theirs. Conservative decisions on class-action arbitration should be understood as part of a long-term project of defunding the left. Much of the current Court’s voting rights jurisprudence strengthens Republican efforts selectively to shrink the electorate. Similarly with campaign finance jurisprudence. I don’t mean that these doctrines are consciously designed by the justices to have those effects, but outsiders – academics and activists – should understand that that’s what they do. (Nor do I mean that the efforts always succeed – see Evenwel for a failure.)
hereas he’s a legal realist and a Crit, I believe in the rule of law, which realists dismiss as “formalism.” So I do not agree with him about politicizing judicial decisions. (While I am a libertarian who makes constitutional claims, I reject the label I am often given as a “libertarian constitutional theorist.” I strive as best I can, however imperfectly, to interpret the Constitution in good faith, subject to the same confirmation biases as everyone else.) Conservative judges should remain above politics in their decision making.
But adhering to the fundamental principles of limited federal powers–which has the effect of empowering states–or the separation of powers–which has the effect of undermining the legitimacy of the progressives’ Administrative-Executive State, is not being “political.” It is following the letter and spirit of the Constitution itself–the parts that have had to be redacted from the text to get constitutional law to confirm with the progressive vision of governance. By the same token, neither should conservatives redact the Ninth Amendment or Privileges or Immunities Clause as they are wont to do because of their distaste for protecting unenumerated liberties like the right to raise your own child as you see fit (which is not expressly stated in the Constitution).
5 Our models are Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, not David Souter or John Marshall Harlan. With some ambivalence I’d add Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the list, the reluctance arising from the fact that her work as a judge has been shaped more than it should be by defensive crouch constitutionalism, particular in her sensitivity to the possibility of backlash. Still, when the votes are there, she’s been much like Brennan and Marshall (personality aside). Famously, Brennan said that he’d been around long enough to know what it was like to win, and what it was like to lose, implying that “this too shall pass,” though it’s taken a long time. (Or, channeling Sophie Tucker [or Mae West, or Beatrice Kaufman], he ‘d been a winner and a loser, and winning is better.)
I don’t have many heroes among past justices and find all to be flawed, so I cannot name many “role models.” But conservatives would do far worse than to follow the first Justice John Marshall Harlan–a Kentucky Republican–who solo-dissented in the Civil Rights Cases and in Plessy v. Ferguson (the way Justice Scalia solo-dissented in Morrison v. Olson). In both cases, Harlan came far closer than the majority to the original meaning of the 13th and 14th Amendments. Even in Lochner, Justice Harlan did not wholly abandon rationality and arbitrariness review under the Due Process of Law clauses altogether. Instead, Harlan placed the burden to show irrationality on the challenger, but a burden that presumably could still be met (as even the New Deal Court reaffirmed in U.S. v. Carolene Products). It was not until the Warren Court that Holmesian fictitious “rational basis review” supplanted rationality and arbitrariness review in Williamson v. Lee Optical, the approach that has been unquestioningly adopted by modern judicial conservatives. (See here)
So far as modern role-models go, Clarence Thomas has been the justice most willing to put the original meaning of the Constitution above previous decisions of the Court. He could use some help.
6 Finally (trigger/crudeness alert), fuck Anthony Kennedy. I don’t mean that liberals should treat him with disrespect. But defensive-crouch liberalism meant not only trying to figure out arguments that would get Kennedy’s apparently crucial vote (not so crucial any more), but also trying to milk his opinions – and more generally, obviously conservative opinions – for doctrines that might be awkwardly pressed into the service of liberal goals. (Think here of how liberal constitutional scholars treated Kennedy’s [truly silly] concurring opinion in Parents Involved [“You can deal with the consequences of segregated housing patterns by locating new school construction carefully” – in districts that are closing rather than building schools], or his “views” about affirmative action, or recasting the Court’s federalism cases as actually good for liberals.) There’s a lot of liberal constitutional scholarship taking Anthony Kennedy’s “thought” and other conservative opinions as a guide to potentially liberal outcomes if only the cases are massaged properly. Stop it. (See agenda items 1 and 3 for how to treat those opinions.)
This is the respect you get from the Left when you bend over backwards to accommodate them. So “stop it.” Just follow the Constitution and stop worrying about the perceived “legitimacy” of the Court. The more you worry about perceived legitimacy, the more you undermine it. And as for Justice Kennedy’s constitutional approach: No justice is more motivated by a commendable commitment to individual liberty than is Justice Kennedy. (See here.) And I, for one, found Justice Kennedy’s concurrence in Parents Involved to be far from silly. Consciously situating schools to foster racial integration in light of existing housing patterns is qualitatively different in principle from labeling students by race and sending them to schools on that basis. Agree or not, dismissing this distinction as “truly silly” is truly silly.
I just wish Justice Kennedy viewed adhering to the original meaning of the text as the best means to the end of protecting that liberty, as well as being the only proper role of judges who have taken an oath to uphold “this Constitution.” But while Justice Kennedy often reaches results that can be justified on originalist grounds, regrettably that has not been his methodology.
Here now are Tushnet’s concluding words:
Of course all bets are off if Donald Trump becomes President. But if he does, constitutional doctrine is going to be the least of our worries.
Perhaps. But if Donald Trump should replace Justice Scalia with a “conservative” who is committed to enforcing the original meaning of the whole Constitution, and nothing but the Constitution–a justice who will abandon “defensive crouch conservative constitutionalism”–perhaps not.
I had a dream in which the conservative justices in the run up to Hillary Clinton’s impending and inevitable victory looked back on 30 years of conservative judicial decisions and–like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol–they suddenly realized it was all going to be for naught. Soon it would be as though it never happened. They got that feeling you get in the pit of your stomachs when you know you’ve messed up.
Then on November 9th, they got what felt like a stay of execution and reprieve. Then, like the Alberta oil men who vowed “Dear God, give us another oil boom and, this time, we promise we won’t piss it away,” in my dream these justices vowed to themselves that, in the future, they would finally do something that could not be reversed overnight by “liberal” judges following Mark Tushnet’s premature advice. They resolved to take the steps necessary to restore our lost Constitution in ways that cannot so easily be reversed when the political worm eventually turns as it always does.
Well, I did say it was a dream.
Published:12/12/2016 8:47:21 AM
Chicago Fire's 100th Episode Has a Major Moment for Dawsey Fans
Dawsey fans, this is your moment. The Chicago Fire 100th episode is pivotal for many characters, but especially for Dawson (Monica Raymund) and Casey (Jesse Spencer) as they share a major moment...
Published:12/6/2016 11:22:48 AM
Tomorrow's Vote In Italy Will Be A "Wide-Ranging F**k Off", And It's Just The Start...
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Tomorrow, December 4, Italy is holding a referendum that will determine the fate of the entire European Union.
Donald Trump’s victory—which shocked Europe’s political and media elite—gives the populists backing the “No” side of Italy’s referendum the political rocket fuel they need for a virtually guaranteed win.
That momentum will be all but impossible to reverse. Anti-elite sentiment is rising on both sides of the Atlantic. And I bet the global populist revolution will continue.
If Italians buck the establishment—and it looks like they will—it will clear a path for a populist party to take power and for Italy to exit the euro.
If that happens, the fallout will be catastrophic for global markets. The Financial Times recently put it this way:
An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period.
It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
If the FT is even partially right, we’re looking at a possible stock market crash of historic proportions. This is why we’re watching the December 4 referendum so closely.
The referendum is meant to concentrate more power in Italy’s central government. On that point alone, everyone should oppose it. The centralization of power never leads to good things.
A “Yes” vote is effectively a vote of confidence in the current pro-EU Italian establishment. This is what the global elite wants.
A “No” vote is how the average Italian can give the finger to the faceless EU bureaucrats in Brussels, whom many blame—quite correctly—for their problems.
Trump’s win has been a double whammy for Italy’s pro-EU establishment.
First, it emboldens the populist forces fighting the referendum.
Second, it humiliates and politically castrates Matteo Renzi, the current Italian prime minister. Renzi took a rare step when he openly endorsed Hillary Clinton. He was the only European leader to do so.
As one of Renzi’s rivals said after Trump’s victory, “Matteo Renzi is politically finished from today, he’s a dead man walking.”
Other Italian politicians are furious that he weakened Italy’s standing with the new Trump administration.
It’s hard to see how Renzi could get himself out of the hole he’s dug.
It Started as a Joke
In 2007, Beppe Grillo, an Italian actor and comedian, launched Vaffanculo Day. “Vaffanculo” is Italian for “f*** off.”
Grillo and his followers used V-Day to bluntly express their displeasure with Italian establishment politicians, using imagery from the movie V for Vendetta.
Now, what started out as a joke has become Italy’s most popular political party…
V-Day helped organize Italians frustrated with their political system. It gave birth to the Five Star Movement, Italy’s new populist political party.
Grillo’s Five Star Movement—or M5S, its Italian acronym—is anti-globalist, anti-euro, and anti-establishment. It doesn’t neatly fall into the left–right political paradigm.
According to the latest polls, M5S is now the most popular party in Italy. It won mayoral elections in Rome and Turin earlier this year.
M5S is riding a wave of populist anger at entrenched political elites over economic stagnation. Italy has had virtually no productive growth since joining the eurozone in 1999.
M5S blames Italy’s chronic lack of growth on the euro. A large plurality of Italians agrees.
M5S has promised to hold a vote to leave the euro and return to Italy’s old currency, the lira, as soon as it’s in power. Under the current circumstances, it would probably pass.
After the Brexit vote and Trump’s win, M5S has joyfully predicted that Renzi will be the next casualty in the global populist revolution.
Grillo recently wrote:
It's crazy. This is the explosion of an era. It's the apocalypse of the media, TV, the big newspapers, the intellectuals, the journalists… This is a wide-ranging F*** off. Trump has pulled off an incredible V-Day… There are similarities between this American story and the Movement.
A “No” vote in the December 4 referendum means M5S could come to power in a matter of months.
Melting Like a Gelato in the August Sun
A populist tsunami is about to wash through Europe. It will drastically change the Continent’s political landscape in a way not seen since before World War II.
This wave will flush away traditional “mainstream” parties and usher in anti-establishment populists who want to leave the European Union.
It’s already hit the UK in the form of Brexit, killing David Cameron’s pro-EU government in the process.
Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Greece already have populist, Eurosceptic—or “non-mainstream”—parties in power.
Italy is the next flashpoint.
A “No” vote in Italy is virtually assured at this point.
But it won’t be the end of the anti-elite surge. Voters in Europe’s biggest countries could soon throw out their “mainstream” parties in favor of populist and Eurosceptic alternatives.
Here’s the rundown…
Austria is holding a presidential election, also on December 4. It’s actually a redo of an election held in May, where a populist candidate, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party, barely lost.
Austrian courts found irregularities in the results and ordered a prompt new election. But when opinion polls showed the populist candidate in the lead, the government delayed the vote until December 4, giving a lame excuse about faulty adhesive on absentee ballots. Despite the foot-dragging, Mr. Hofer looks set to win the December 4 vote.
France has a presidential election next spring. There’s a chance that Marine Le Pen, leader of the Eurosceptic National Front party, will do better than many expect. After more than a decade of disappointment under presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, French voters are clamoring for something different.
Spain recently re-elected incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. However, Spanish voters fled traditional political parties en masse for new populist upstarts Podemos and Ciudadanos. So Rajoy was unable to form a majority government.
Rajoy now leads a severely weak minority government. The political power of the Spanish populist parties is only expected to grow.
Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, embodies the European establishment more than any other politician. Her party suffered a series of stinging defeats in regional elections this year, mostly because of her signature lax immigration policies, which have flooded Germany with migrants.
Merkel’s troubles have only helped the Alternative for Germany, a new populist party surging in popularity. The party could pose a real problem for Merkel in the 2017 federal elections.
As the Netherlands approaches elections in March, Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom, which advocates leaving the EU, is basically tied in opinion polls with the establishment parties.
How to Profit from the Tsunami…
As populist, Eurosceptic parties surge, the entire European Union is looking shakier by the day.
One Italian politician correctly put it this way: “The euro is melting away like a gelato left out in the August sun.”
Our thesis for the collapse of the EU not only stands… it’s getting stronger and stronger.
There are potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets. We are approaching a global financial meltdown of historical proportions. It could strike America on December 4, 2016, as Italian voters decide the fate of the European Union itself.
It could either wipe out a big part of your savings... or be the fortune-building opportunity of a lifetime.
New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released an urgent video with all the details. Click here to watch it now.
Published:12/3/2016 8:37:11 PM
Crunch Report | Casey Neistat’s Beme Acquired by CNN
Casey Neistat’s Beme gets acquired by CNN, how did Black Friday 2016 do?, getting iCloud spam calendar invites?, Uber China gets its own app and San Francisco’s Muni gets hacked. All this on Crunch Report. Read More
Published:11/28/2016 10:16:00 PM
[Bank of America]
Meet The Real "Fake News"
In its attempt to redirect the public's attention from its historic failure to deliver unbiased, objective, factual reporting in the context of the presidential election in which virtually every single mainstream media outlet was revealed (courtesy of the hacked Podesta emails) and acted as a Public Relations arm for the Clinton campaign, said media has opened a new can of worms by ushering in the topic of "fake news" - a purposefully vague, undefined term meant to deflect and scapegoat by "exposing" propaganda websites, which in the latest incarnation of the narrative, are now allegedly serving to further Russian propaganda in the US.
As we reported earlier, none other than the Washington Post - a company owned by Jeff Bezos, who for the past year has been involved in a famous media spat with president-elect Donald Trump - pounced on a list created by a website that was created (according to its whois profile) on August 21 using godaddy.com as registrar and had its first tweet on November 2, and which among others, lists Drudge Report and Zero Hedge as representatives of "Russian propaganda." This is how the "scientists" at the Goebbels-esque "PropOrNot" describe their qualifications in determining and recommending which websites are fit to be burned (starting with a plea for investigations by the Obama administration) in a post "fake news" world:
PropOrNot is an independent team of computer scientists, statisticians, national security professionals, journalists, and political activists dedicated to identifying propaganda - particularly Russian propaganda targeting a US audience. We collect public-record information connecting propaganda outlets to each other and their coordinators abroad, analyze what we find, act as a central repository and point of reference for related information, and organize efforts to oppose it.
We work to shine a light on propaganda in order to prevent it from distorting political and policy discussions, to strengthen our cultural immune systems against hostile influence, and to improve public discourse generally.
Many of our contributors wish to stay anonymous, in light of possible Russian retaliation, as has happened in Finland and elsewhere.
In other words, while attacking the anonymity of so-called "Russian propaganda" websites (websites which chose to remain anonymous knowing this kind of retaliation was inevitable), the public servants and experts devoted to rooting out Russian propaganda in the US opt, themselves, to remain anonymous.
To be sure, we have no interest in uncovering who may be behind this particular organization (which conveniently stepped in after a similar list was floated last week by a discredited liberal professor, who likewise defined Zero Hedge as "fake news"). We do, want, however to warn readers about who the real source of documented fake news in the US traditionally has been. The US government itself, through its vast espionage and counterespionage apparatus.
But please don't take our word for it.
Back in 1975, the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press, and that as part of the CIA's playbook was the usage of disinformation tactics against America's own population:
Question: "Do you have any people being paid by the CIA who are contributing to a major circulation — American journal?"
Answer: "We do have people who submit pieces to American journals."
Question: "Do you have any people paid by the CIA who are working for television networks?"
Answer: "This I think gets into the kind of uh, getting into the details Mr. Chairman that I'd like to get into in executive session."
Question: "Do you have any people being paid by the CIA who are contributing to the national news services — AP and UPI?"
Answer: "Well again, I think we're getting into the kind of detail Mr. Chairman that I'd prefer to handle at executive session."
One can imagine what was said later during the "executive session." Then-CBS President Sig Mickelson goes on to say that the relationships at CBS with the CIA were long established before he ever became president, and that "entirely in order for correspondents to make use of CIA station chiefs and other members of the executive staff of CIA as sources of information."
"I thought that it was a matter of real concern that planted stories intended to serve a national purpose abroad came home and were circulated here and believed here because this would mean that the CIA could manipulate the news in the United States by channeling it through some foreign country," Democratic Idaho Senator Frank Church said at a press conference surrounding the hearing. Church chaired the Church Committee, a precursor to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was responsible for investigating illegal intelligence gathering by the NSA, CIA and FBI.
This exact tactic — planting disinformation in foreign media outlets so the disinfo would knowingly surface in the United States as a way of circumventing the rules on domestic operations — was specifically argued for as being legal simply because it did not originate on U.S. soil by none other than CIA Director William Casey in 1981.
Former President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the creation of the CIA in 1947 when he signed the National Security Act, later wrote that he never intended the CIA for more than intelligence gathering. "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations," Truman penned in 1963 a year after the disastrous CIA Bay of Pigs operation.
Of course, there was also the whole "Operation Mockingbird" fiasco:
"After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services. The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan [i.e. the rebuilding of Europe by the U.S. after WWII]. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers."
As contributor "George Washington" adds, In 2008, the New York Times wrote:
During the early years of the cold war, [prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock] were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It was perhaps the most successful use of “soft power” in American history.
A CIA operative told then-Washington Post owner - yes, ironic - Philip Graham the following, in a conversation about the willingness of journalists to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories:
You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.
Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein wrote in 1977:
More than 400 American journalists … in the past twenty?five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.
In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were [the heads of CBS, Time, the New York Times, the Louisville Courier?Journal, and Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include [ABC, NBC, AP, UPI, Reuters], Hearst Newspapers, Scripps?Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald?Tribune.
In November 1973, after [the CIA claimed to have ended the program], Colby told reporters and editors from the New York Times and the Washington Star that the Agency had “some three dozen” American newsmen “on the CIA payroll,” including five who worked for “general?circulation news organizations.” Yet even while the Senate Intelligence Committee was holding its hearings in 1976, according to high?level CIA sources, the CIA continued to maintain ties with seventy?five to ninety journalists of every description—executives, reporters, stringers, photographers, columnists, bureau clerks and members of broadcast technical crews. More than half of these had been moved off CIA contracts and payrolls but they were still bound by other secret agreements with the Agency. According to an unpublished report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis Pike, at least fifteen news organizations were still providing cover for CIA operatives as of 1976.
Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side …. “There were a lot of representations that if this stuff got out some of the biggest names in journalism would get smeared” ….
How ironic that in the end it was the Washington Post itself which would get smeared.
* * *
An expert on propaganda testified under oath during trial that the CIA now employs THOUSANDS of reporters and OWNS its own media organizations. Whether or not his estimate is accurate, it is clear that many prominent reporters still report to the CIA.
A 4-part BBC documentary called the “Century of the Self” shows that an American – Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays – created the modern field of manipulation of public perceptions, and the U.S. government has extensively used his techniques.
Former Newsweek and Associated Press reporter Robert Parry notes that Ronald Reagan and the CIA unleashed a propaganda campaign in the 1980’s to sell the American public on supporting the Contra rebels, utilizing private players such as Rupert Murdoch to spread disinformation. Parry notes that many of the same people that led Reagan’s domestic propaganda effort in the 1980’s are in power today:
While the older generation that pioneered these domestic propaganda techniques has passed from the scene, many of their protégés are still around along with some of the same organizations. The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 at the urging of CIA Director Casey and under the supervision of Walter Raymond’s NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year.
* * *
Perhaps the most damning evidence, as highlighted by @pierpont_morgan, can be found inside the Final report of the abovementioned Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, published in Aptil, 1976, in which several sections stand out.
One admits explicitly how the press had been extensively captured by the CIA and how dozens of American journalists collaborated with the CIA to fabricate, create and distribute dake news:
The Committee has also found a small number of past relationships that fit this category. In some cases the cover arrangement consisted of reimbursing the U.S. newspaper for any articles by the CIA agent which the paper used. In at least one case the journalistic functions assumed by a CIA staff officer for cover purposes grew to a point where the officer concluded that he could not satisfactorily serve the requirements of both his (unwitting) U.S. media employers and the CIA, and therefore resigned from the CIA. He maintained contact, however, with the CIA and continued, very occasionally, to report to the CIA from the countries in which he worked.
(2) Of the less than ten relationships with writers for small, or limited circulation, U.S. publications, such as trade journals or newsletters, most are for cover purposes.
(3) The third, and largest, category of CIA relationships with the U.S. media includes free-lance journalists; "stringers" for newspapers, news magazines and news services; itinerant authors; propaganda writers; and agents working under cover as employees of U.S. publishing houses abroad. With the exception of the last group, the majority of the individuals in this category are bona fide writers or journalists or photographers. Most are paid by the CIA, and virtually all are witting; few, however, of the news organizations to which they contribute are aware of their CIA relationships.
(4) The fourth category of covert relationships resembles the kind of contact that journalists have with any other department of the U.S. Government in the routine performance of their journalistic duties. No money changes hands. The relationships are usually limited to occasional lunches, interviews, or telephone conversations during which information would be exchanged or verified. The difference, of course, is that the relationships are covert. The journalist either volunteers or is requested by the CIA to provide some sort of information about people with whom he is in contact. In several cases, the relationship began when the journalist approached a U.S. embassy officer to report that he was approached by a foreign intelligence officer ; in others, the CIA initiated the relationship.
Another section of the report focuses on how the CIA co-opted academics, reporting that "the Central Intelligence Agency is now using several hundred American academics who in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, occasionally write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad. Beyond these, an additional few score are used in an unwitting manner for minor activities.
These academics are located in over 100 American colleges, universities, and related institutes. At the majority of institutions, no one other than the individual concerned is aware of the CIA link. At the others, at least one university official is aware of the operational use made of academics on his campus. In addition, there are several American academics abroad who serve operational purposes, primarily the collection of intelligence.
There is also the admission that the CIA used books explicitly for propaganda purposes:
The Committee has found that the Central Intelligence Agency attaches a particular importance to book publishing activities as a form of covert propaganda. A former officer in the Clandestine Service stated that books are "the most important weapon of strategic (long-range) propaganda." Prior to 1967, the Central Intelligence Agency sponsored, subsidized, or produced over 1,000 books; approximately 25 percent of them in English.... The Committee found that an important number of the books actually produced by the Central Intelligence Agency were reviewed and marketed in the United States.
Oh, the CIA particularly enjoyed using the NYT and Washington Post for "repeat propaganda" (from page 200 of the report):
CIA records for the September-October 1970 propaganda effort in Chile indicate that "replay" of propaganda in the U.S. was not unexpected. A cable summary for September 25, 1970 reports:
Sao Paulo, Tegucigalpa, Buenos Aires, Lima, Montevideo, Bogota, Mexico City report continued replay of Chile theme materials. Items also carried in New York Times, Washington Post. Propaganda activities continue to generate good coverage of Chile developments along our theme guidance. . .
And so on, and on, for over 670 pages of details how it was the CIA - not Russia, not Putin - that has been the primary creator and distributor of misleading, propaganda material in the US, also known as "fake news."
* * *
Of course, all of the above remains largely under the radar; it will never be branded "fake" news in a polite setting. Meanwhile, anyone who dares to challenges the status quo - as we have seen in recent days - is immediately labeled a purveyor of “fake news", or worse - a servant of the Kremlin.
Contributor "George Washington" has some topical thoughts on this particular issue, noting that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of the press from censorship by government. Indeed, the entire reason that it’s unlawful for the government to stop stories from being printed is because that would punish those who criticize those in power.
Why? Because the Founding Father knew that governments (like the British monarchy) will always crack down on those who point out that the emperor has no clothes.
But the freedom of the press is under massive attack in America today. For example, the powers-that-be argue that only highly-paid corporate media shills who will act as stenographers for the fatcats should have the constitutional protections guaranteeing freedom of the press.
A Harvard law school professor argues that the First Amendment is outdated and should be abandoned. When financially-savvy bloggers challenged the Federal Reserve’s policy, a Fed official called all bloggers stupid and unqualified to comment. And the government is treating the real investigative reporters like criminals … or even terrorists:
- The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge
- In an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of the bank’s wrongdoing, the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)
* * *
With the (failing) mainstream media now desperate to focus the public's attention to the fake "fake media" to divert attention from the real "fake media", those Washington Posts and New York Times who have traditionally served as vessels for the government apparatus to brainwash the public, expect an even greater backlash as the American population realizes that none of this is actually new, and that it has always been the US government that was directly responsible for the blanket propaganda that has covered the US for decades: something which the government itself has confirmed on countless occasions in the past - one just needs to do the effort of stepping away from the information they are spoon-fed, and do their own research and analysis.
Which, incidentally, is what this latest round in the eternal war for information and influence, is all about.
Published:11/25/2016 4:48:09 PM
Casey Affleck Auditioned How Many Times for To Die For?
It's a good thing Casey Affleck isn't a quitter because his breakout role in 1995's To Die For didn't come easy.
"I read six times," Affleck recalls of auditioning...
Published:11/16/2016 10:27:47 AM
Justice Kennedy: the Once and Future Swing Vote
The biggest winner from the election may be Justice Anthony Kennedy. With Merrick Garland’s nomination to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat dead and President-elect Trump expected to nominate a conservative, Kennedy will almost certainly regain his customary status as the Court’s swing vote.
“The cases swing, I don’t,” Kennedy protested during an appearance last year at Harvard Law School. Fair enough: however much scholars and pundits pull their hair out trying to understand Justice Kennedy, it’s not really opportunism or flip-flopping that drives them crazy. That might have described his predecessor as the court’s “swing justice,” Sandra Day O’Connor, the former state legislator, but it’s hard to tar Kennedy with that brush: inscrutability doesn’t necessarily mean political calculation.
Still, anyone with even a passing interest in the Supreme Court knows that this soft-spoken lawyer from Sacramento provides the deciding vote in all the close rulings that rile the nation. In those cases that break down on “ideological” lines, all eyes are on Justice Kennedy. On abortion, affirmative action, Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, voting rights, and immigration—that was just this past term!—his views become the law of the land. The statistics bear this out: In every term but two since Samuel Alito replaced O’Connor a decade ago, Kennedy was the “winningest” justice, typically in the majority over 90 percent of the time.
But what does this mean for understanding Kennedy’s approach? Is he simply a “moderate” who agrees with conservatives on some issues and progressives on others? Or perhaps he’s a libertarian, which in this context might amount to the same thing? Kennedy has agreed with the legal positions of the libertarian Cato Institute more than any other justice.
In a sense, these labeling questions are the wrong ones to ask. By definition the jurist at the “center” of any particular court will split the difference and wind up prevailing more than anyone else. Such simplifications don’t say anything about Kennedy’s thought process, predict his vote in future cases, or instruct on how best to appeal to him. Because lord knows the Supreme Court bar tries to do that, filing “Kennedy briefs” that cite his greatest hits and otherwise try to activate the justice’s affinity sensors. Take the brief that superlawyers Ted Olson and David Boies—rivals in Bush v. Gore (2000) but comrades in the fight for gay marriage—wrote in Hollingsworth v. Perry(2013), whose introduction focuses on dignity and personal autonomy, as well as “love, commitment, and intimacy,” all buzzwords in the Kennedy lexicon.
Excellent on speech, generally good but frustrating on race and federal power, bad on statutory interpretation, and ugly on everything else, Kennedy is a sui generis enigma at the heart of the modern Supreme Court.
The “Kennedy Court”?
In 2009, two political scientists coincidentally published books on Kennedy that remain the most detailed exegeses of his legal philosophy. Frank Colucci of Purdue University-Calumet looked at all of the justice’s public writings, including materials beyond legal opinions, to produce a readable analysis called Justice Kennedy’s Jurisprudence: The Full and Necessary Meaning of Liberty. Colucci’s thesis is that Kennedy strives to interpret constitutional text in a way that properly respects the liberty that is its highest value, trying to reconcile the Founders’ intent with contemporary values. This understanding, and the book’s title, echoes Kennedy’s explication at his 1987 confirmation hearing of the judicial role “to insure that the word liberty in the Constitution is given its full and necessary meaning, consistent with the purposes of the document as we understand it.”
Helen Knowles of SUNY-Oswego took a less sweeping approach, while trying to prove a narrower point: at least in some key areas of law, Kennedy is “modestly libertarian.” In The Tie Goes to Freedom: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Liberty, Knowles argues that Kennedy’s “requirement that governmental actions pass far more stringent tests when they impinge upon liberty in ways that demean the individual, negatively affect a person’s dignity, diminish personal responsibility, or treat people in a particular way because of their race is entirely consistent with the tenets of libertarian thought.” Still, she acknowledges that the justice doesn’t “subscribe to a jurisprudence that is heavily influenced by political theory,” agreeing with Colucci that his methods seem to be at the intersection of originalism and living constitutionalism.
While exhaustive and nuanced, and recommended reading, these books are still unsatisfying precisely because Kennedy’s rulings defy categorization into standard judicial methodologies (originalism, textualism, purposivism) or modes (restraint, pragmatism, engagement). It’s striking that the leading books about this man who has so long played the central role in our legal world were written by assistant professors in small political-science departments, rather than top law professors or legal journalists at elite publications. Maybe the subject matter is just too frustrating to craft into an easy narrative.
Yet Kennedy famously wrestles with legal doctrine and tries to maintain internal consistency. Just because someone’s body of work is unconventional doesn’t mean it’s incoherent or unimportant.
In June 2012, as the nation awaited Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage, Time put Kennedy on its cover with the screaming-caps headline, “The Decider.” In that cover story, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, who clerked for Kennedy and now heads his clerkship-screening committee, is described as explaining that “Kennedy’s agonized thought process is a sign of open-mindedness and empathy, not indecision.” “His way of making up his mind in tough cases frequently was for him to try out an idea for size, like trying on a hat,” Kozinski said in his own colorful style. “Wearing it for a day, saying, ‘Well, maybe I don’t look so good in a Stetson. I think I’ll try a sombrero instead.’”
Regardless of the correct headgear, perhaps court watchers are overdoing it in giving all their attention to this Hamlet on the Hill, too hasty in labeling this the “Kennedy Court.” After all, it was John Roberts who provided the deciding vote to save Obamacare in 2012 and again in 2015, and it was Roberts who would delay the court’s ruling on gay marriage by finding a procedural way to dismiss Perry. And the chief justice is the face of the politicized voting-rights case Shelby County v. Holder (2014). More tellingly, while Kennedy wrote the opinion in arguably the most controversial case of the last two decades, Citizens United v. FEC (2010), his vote there was never in any doubt: It’s Roberts who dictates how far the court goes on campaign finance and it was Roberts’s concurrence regarding stare decisis—evaluating when it’s appropriate to overturn precedent—that set the tone for the ruling.
Nevertheless, take away the two Obamacare cases and Roberts wouldn’t really be in this conversation—not because his brand of minimalism and deference hasn’t put a stamp on the court or because he doesn’t write other important opinions, but because nobody can accuse Roberts of being generally “moderate.” Kennedy, on the other hands, abides in the middle in a way that more often than not shapes the court’s direction. Since the court’s current roster was set by Justice Kagan’s arrival in 2010, Kennedy has been on the winning side of 84 percent of cases that have split 5–4—while his colleagues are clustered between 45 and 61 percent.
As SCOTUSblog founder and frequent Supreme Court advocate Tom Goldstein put it, “it’s Justice Kennedy’s world and we just live in it.” So let’s look at the areas of law where Anthony Kennedy has made his mark—free speech, gay rights, race, government power, and abortion—to glean his overall approach.
Defender of Free Speech
While Justice Kennedy is no free-speech absolutist like Justice Hugo Black, he more than anyone else has no tolerance for content-based restrictions. According to a study by First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh, in the latter half of the Rehnquist Court, Kennedy took the pro-speech position three-quarters of the time, by far the most. (Thomas and Souter were the next “best” at about 60 percent.) But if jurists as diverse as Kennedy, Thomas, and Souter are doctrinal lodestars, can the underlying constitutional provision be described as coherent? Actually, yes, says the libertarian éminence grise, Richard Epstein, in his seminal article “Property, Speech, and the Politics of Distrust.” Kennedy’s jurisprudence here aligns with three major arguments against content-based speech restrictions: (1) anti-paternalism—the government should not be deciding which views are harmful; (2) the protection of individual liberty and autonomy by preventing the government from “distorting” the public discourse; and (3) efforts at content-based speech restriction are often driven by suspicious government motives.
In case after free-speech case, Kennedy shows the importance of tolerance in the free market of ideas. In Texas v. Johnson (1989), the flag-burning case, he concurred to say that “sometimes we must make decisions we do not like.” In Simon & Schuster v. Crime Victims Board (1991), he concurred in striking down a New York law designed to prevent criminals from profiting from the publication of their memoirs by noting that “the sole question is, or ought to be, whether the restriction is in fact content based.” In Hill v. Colorado (2000), he dissented from a six-justice majority that upheld a 100-foot abortion-clinic buffer zone, writing that the rule was purely content-based and that providing women with information about abortion “makes a fundamental contribution to their ability to responsibly exercise their liberty.” (In an earlier buffer-zone case, Madsen v. Women’s Health Center (1994), Kennedy had joined a similar dissent by Justice Scalia, and recently in McCullen v. Coakley (2014), he joined Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion along the same lines.)
In Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990), Kennedy dissented from an anomalous ruling that for the first and only time upheld a campaign-finance restriction on a basis other than the interest in preventing quid pro quocorruption. Twenty years later, of course, he would have the opportunity to make that dissenting view into the court’s holding. “If the First Amendment has any force,” he wrote in Citizens United, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”
Kennedy has taken consistently similar positions in other political-speech cases such as Davis v. FEC (2008), Arizona Free Enterprise PAC v. Bennett(2011), and McCutcheon v. FEC (2014). He’s also voted to strike down laws restricting campaign solicitations by judicial candidates, as well as those targeting commercial speech, animal “crush” videos, violent videogames, funeral protests, and false claims of military awards.
“The First Gay Justice”
As important as Kennedy’s contributions are to the First Amendment, he is now most identified with 2015’s landmark ruling on gay marriage. Indeed, Obergefell v. Hodges was the fourth case involving sexual orientation in which Kennedy not only voted to strike down a restriction, but wrote the opinion. In Romer v. Evans (1996), where the court ruled against a Colorado constitutional amendment that prohibited antidiscrimination laws regarding sexual orientation, Kennedy began his opinion with a quote from Justice John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—intimating that sexual minorities are no less entitled to equality than racial ones.
In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Kennedy led the charge in striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law, a result he found so obvious that he wrote the opinion in one weekend. Professor Randy Barnett—the intellectual godfather behind the constitutional challenge to the individual mandate—called LawrenceKennedy’s “libertarian revolution” because the opinion was grounded in “personal liberty” rather than “privacy.” But other libertarians and originalists were certainly displeased that he grounded this promising analysis in the tired substantive-due-process rubric.
Alas Kennedy’s opinions in United States v. Windsor (2012)—which struck down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples—and Obergefell were even more of a doctrinal mess. Windsor combined elements of federalism and equal protection to ultimately find that DOMA violated the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause by depriving married couples of the “dignity and protection” that some states had given them. In Obergefell, meanwhile, what to my mind should’ve been an easy case about the propriety of certain marriage-licensing schemes, instead became a purple disquisition on . . . I’m not sure what. Kennedy tried to write for the ages, but rather than making an epochal statement about the equality of gays and lesbians, he produced a meditation on how the Constitution protects “a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” The rule of Obergefell seems to be that you take a scoop of due process clause and a cup of equal protection, wrap them in some dignity, and away you go.
That’s not law. For one thing, the due process clause should have nothing to do with this case. The right to “due process of law” means that the government can’t take away your life, liberty, or property for no good reason. It’s the equal protection clause that says the government can’t treat people differently for no good reason. While the clauses can overlap—to be discriminated against for no good reason can be a sort of arbitrary state action—they often don’t, because the discrimination might concern something that’s not life, liberty, or property.
Such is the case here: there’s no natural right to the state recognition of marriage. Marriage—the civil institution, not the religious rite—is a kind of government benefit. To put it in the context of injustices perpetrated against gay people, marriage is not like the right to have sex with a consenting partner. Obergefell thus differed from Lawrence, but also from Loving v. Virginia (1967), which banned, again under penalty of criminal law, interracial cohabitation. Justice Thomas was correct to point this out in his dissent, which easily poked holes in Kennedy’s flim-flam. After all, a logical extension of Kennedy’s understanding of the fundamental right to marriage is that states are constitutionally prohibited from getting out of the marriage business altogether. That can’t be right.
Perhaps Kennedy’s synthesis can best be called “equal liberty”: a rejection of the conservative idea that people seeking protection for their intimate conduct must find it in the legislature—because such bodies can discriminate against minorities for reasons that aren’t civically salubrious. Regardless, these rulings have led some to call Kennedy the “first gay justice”—in the same way Bill Clinton was the “first black president.” It’s an odd appellation for the genteel country-club Republican—one who in 1980 ruled against three seamen discharged from the Navy for homosexual conduct—but it’ll stick until someone who’s openly gay reaches the high court.
Generally Against Racial Preferences
Moving to an area in which Justice Kennedy is in somewhat better alignment with judicial conservatives, on race-conscious state action he stays within equal-protection doctrine rather than escaping into a nebulous reading of liberty. Kennedy is no color-blind absolutist like Justice Scalia was, but he views with great skepticism laws that treat people differently based on race. He acknowledges, for example, that encouraging racial diversity—particularly in higher education—is a constitutionally legitimate goal. At the same time, until this year’s quixotic Fisher v. UT-Austin II,he’d never voted to uphold a policy that attempts to achieve that goal.
As Kennedy wrote in the school-busing case Parents Involved v. Seattle School District (2007), the government can’t force diversity on society by “[reducing] an individual to an as-signed racial identity for differential treatment.” “To be forced to live under a state-mandated racial label,” he continued, “is inconsistent with the dignity of individuals in our society.” But he wrote these things in a concurrence, declining to join the chief justice’s famous plurality opinion—“The way to stop discrimination based on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”—because it was “too dismissive of the legitimate interest government has in ensuring all people have equal opportunity.” At the same time, he found Justice Breyer’s dissent too deferential to the government on this sensitive matter.
So it went in Kennedy’s vehement dissent from a 5–4 ruling upholding of an FCC policy that gave preferential treatment to minority-owned broadcasters in Metro Broadcasting v. FCC (1990). There he unfavorably compared the majority’s deferential review to Korematsu—the 1942 Japanese-internment case—and warned that equating race to broadcast content set the government on the “tortuous path to racial favoritism.” A decade later, in Rice v. Cayetano (2000), he wrote the opinion against race-based voting for the trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, because they rested on “on the demeaning premise that citizens of a particular race are somehow more qualified than others to vote on certain matters.” “One of the principal reasons race is treated as a forbidden classification is that it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of by his or her own merit and essential qualities.” (If that sounds familiar, it’s because last Thanksgiving, Kennedy stopped a similar election that an OHA contractor was running, which stay the full court would confirm 5–4.)
Metro Broadcasting and Rice set the stage for the major role that Justice Kennedy has played regarding affirmative action. In the 2003 University of Michigan cases, Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, the court struck down the college’s policy of giving admissions points by race but upheld the law school’s use of race as one of several factors that create a “critical mass” of minorities. Justice O’Connor provided the key vote there, finding that the law school’s “individualized, holistic review” was sufficiently tailored to the valid state interest in educational diversity (at least for 25 years). Kennedy expressed frustration that the court didn’t apply real scrutiny and that basic protections against nefarious uses of race would be suspended for an arbitrary length of time. While sympathetic to the diversity goal, he labeled the concept of critical mass a “delusion used by the Law School to mask its attempt to make race an automatic factor in most instances and to achieve numerical goals indistinguishable from quotas.”
That brings us to the Fisher saga, in which an applicant to the University of Texas sued the school for being rejected based on her race. In Fisher I (2013), the court seemed ready to throw out UT’s admissions program and put virtually out of reach the standard that universities have to meet to consider race in admissions. This result would have aligned perfectly with what seemed to be Kennedy’s view of racial preferences: feasible in theory, unconstitutional in practice. After sitting on the case the entire term, however, the court, writing through Kennedy, issued a meek 14-page opinion joined by all but Justice Ginsburg (with Justice Kagan recused) that told the lower court to be less deferential to the administrators’ representations. Joan Biskupic’s reporting later revealed that a vehement dissent that Justice Sotomayor circulated had persuaded Kennedy and the conservatives to pull back.
After the Fifth Circuit essentially rubber-stamped its previous opinion, the justices took the case again and the conventional wisdom was that in Fisher IIwe’d see Kennedy herald the beginning of the end of affirmative action. Instead, he simply seemed to tire of the case, deeming “good enough” the university’s attempt to justify the unjustifiable in order to be rid of it—deferring to educrats despite having previously told lower courts not to defer to them. I have a more sanguine view of this ruling than most of my fellow critics, if only because UT’s admissions program is unique in the country. But it was certainly Kennedy’s most surprising swing vote of his entire tenure in that role.
This is a good place to discuss Kennedy’s approach to statutory interpretation. There’s a reason that the justice is known for his constitutional writings: he’s better at—and seems to enjoy more—that sort of first-principles thinking than he is at trying to deduce often convoluted legislative or regulatory text. In the area of race, for example, it’s hard to reconcile his opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano (2009) with that in Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project (2015).
Ricci held that the City of New Haven violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it invalidated the results of a firefighter-promotion test because none of those who passed were black. Officials feared that if they certified the results, they would be sued under the controversial “disparate impact” theory of liability, but Kennedy found that rationale to be insufficient to justify “disparate treatment” of the denied white and Hispanic test-takers. In Inclusive Communities, meanwhile, he accepted that the Fair Housing Act allowed disparate-impact claims even without allegations of direct racial discrimination. Kennedy did provide good language for defense lawyers, but he kept the door open for the paralysis that developers, financial companies, and housing agencies face in sued-if-you-do, sued-if-you-don’t situations.
That’s but one statutory case—another is King v. Burwell (2015), which read federal healthcare exchanges as being “established by the state”—that makes you believe the third-hand anecdote I heard about Kennedy’s opening a window in his office and yelling out towards the Capitol, “what did you mean?”
Structure Means Liberty
Returning to firmer ground, Justice Kennedy has assembled a relatively solid record on the Constitution’s structural protections for liberty—though not one without soft spots. Especially after Windsor, commentators discovered that Kennedy has a vision of federalism that supports individual rights. But federalism existed long before progressives decided that it might be a useful tool in the battle over gay marriage. Separating powers vertically, not just horizontally, is a key part of the Founding project, as is the principle of dual sovereignty—the idea that the state and federal governments shouldn’t interfere in each other’s respective spheres.
Kennedy connected these theories in his concurrence in United States v. Lopez(1995), where the court struck down a federal law criminalizing possession of firearms near schools because it wasn’t a regulation of interstate commerce. “The theory that two governments accord more liberty than one requires for its realization two distinct and discernable lines of political accountability,” he explained, “one between the citizens and the Federal Government; the second between the citizens and the States.” When the court continued its short-lived federalism revolution in United States v. Morrison (2000)—invalidating the federal Violence Against Women Act because, again, there was no interstate commerce—Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s majority opinion picked up on many of Kennedy’s points.
In between those two cases, Kennedy wrote majority opinions that limited Congress’s power to create new rights that have to be honored by the states (City of Boerne v. Flores, 1997) and struck down a federal law that stripped states of their sovereign immunity (Alden v. Maine, 1999). He also joined in two important rulings that enshrined the “anti-commandeering” principle—New York v. United States (1992) and Printz v. United States (1997)—which holds that the federal government can’t compel state officials to enforce federal law.
Kennedy also strongly supports the dormant commerce clause—reading the commerce clause as not only a “sword” by which Congress can facilitate interstate commerce, but as a “shield” that prevents states from passing laws that discriminate against out-of-state interests. “The central rationale for the rule against discrimination is to prohibit state or municipal laws whose object is local economic protectionism, laws that would excite those jealousies and retaliatory measures the Constitution was designed to prevent,” he wrote in C & A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown (1994). In this, Kennedy is a stronger defender of economic liberty than Scalia and Thomas, who consider the dormant commerce clause to be inconsistent with the Constitution’s original meaning and thus a “judicial fraud.”
The clearest exposition of Kennedy’s federalism views came in United States v. Bond (2011), wherein the government bizarrely prosecuted a woman for violating the federal law that implements the international Chemical Weapons Convention. “Federalism is more than an exercise in setting the boundary between different institutions of government for their own integrity,” he wrote for a unanimous court, it “protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.”
Using the judicial power to stop government abuse was the theme of Justice Kennedy’s magnum opus in this area, the joint dissent he authored with Scalia, Thomas, and Alito in NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), otherwise known as the (first) Obamacare case, which concludes:
The values that should have determined our course today are caution, minimalism, and the understanding that the Federal Government is one of limited powers. But the Court’s ruling undermines those values at every turn. In the name of restraint, it overreaches. In the name of constitutional avoidance, it creates new constitutional questions. In the name of cooperative federalism, it undermines state sovereignty.
I was in the courtroom when the ruling was announced from the bench, including Kennedy’s dramatic summary of that dissent. The starkness of his language and passion in his voice could have made you mistake him for Scalia. It was his finest hour—and really makes you wonder how the same jurist could have signed onto Gonzales v. Raich (2005), which ratified the federal government’s power to regulate plants you grow in your backyard for your own use.
Justice Kennedy’s most famous judicial act—at least until Obergefell—was his switch from the tentative five-justice majority set to overrule Roe v. Wade(1972) to joining O’Connor and Souter to co-author the plurality opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) that upheld Roe’s “essential holding.” The trio crafted an “undue burden” test, which invalidates laws if they have “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” Kennedy has played the key role in applying this test in later cases, finding constitutional protection for a woman’s liberty to end her pregnancy but recognizing that, as Knowles put it, “this is a liberty that is bounded by important state interests . . . that permit the state to require the woman to exercise her liberty in an informed and responsible manner.”
Casey involved a challenge to five provisions of Pennsylvania’s abortion law, and only its three authors joined every part of the ruling—which struck down a spousal notification requirement but upheld the other rules. Tellingly, this was not an opinion about privacy rights, opening instead with “[l]iberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt” and concluding with similarly lofty language. It’s this kind of rhetoric that gets Kennedy in trouble not just with conservatives who disagree with outcomes, but with originalists, textualists, and others opposed to judicial pontification. In what has become derisively known as the “sweet-mystery-of-life” passage, Kennedy explained: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.” Still, this grandiloquence was to be checked by certain boundaries. Although the court’s duty is “to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,” abortion is a “unique act,” not one that a woman can make without considering the “consequences for others.”
Justice Kennedy’s bounded-liberty rubric was even more on display in the partial-birth-abortion cases, Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). In Stenberg, a five-justice majority overturned Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion because it wasn’t limited to late-term abortions and had no exception for maternal health. Kennedy dissented, finding that the law survived Casey’s level of scrutiny and that the majority “repudiates this understanding [of the state’s role in legislating on abortion] by invalidating a statute advancing critical state interests, even though the law denies no woman the right to choose an abortion and places no undue burden upon the right.” In Gonzales, Kennedy wrote the opinion for a different five-justice majority—after Alito replaced O’Connor—upholding a federal partial-birth abortion ban that likewise lacked a maternal health exception.
After taking heat from conservatives for Casey, Kennedy now took heat from liberals for seeming to contradict his own Casey opinion—as well as for disingenuously reconciling Gonzales with Stenberg rather than recognizing that he would have to overrule Stenberg to achieve his desired result. There’s some validity to the former criticism—the word “liberty” is absent from his Gonzales opinion—and the latter can only be resolved by pointing to the higher legislative craftsmanship and technical precision in the federal law than in Nebraska’s.
Finally, this past term’s Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt represents a sort of inverse Fisher II: for the first time in nearly 25 years (since Casey), Kennedy voted to strike down an abortion law, Texas’s rule that clinics must meet the safety standards of surgical centers and have physicians with nearby hospital-admitting privileges. Uncharacteristically, however, it was Breyer who wrote for the court here—even though Kennedy was the senior justice in the majority and so could have taken the opinion himself. Perhaps he was also tired of this case.
Thus we’re left with an outcome whereby abortion rights are now both stronger and narrower than before Kennedy got his hands on them; in this area more than any other, he can please no one.
So Is He a Libertarian?
Excellent on speech, generally good but frustrating on race and federal power, bad on statutory interpretation, and ugly on everything else—I’ve left out subjects like capital punishment—Kennedy is a sui generis enigma at the heart of the modern Supreme Court. The Colucci and Knowles books, and shorter writings, have helped us better understand the man’s “sweet mystery” by deconstructing his faint-hearted libertarianism, but at bottom his jurisprudence is a constant struggle to balance freedom and responsibility—ordered liberty, if you will.
This balancing of liberty against other concerns can sometimes amount to an imposition of Kennedy’s life philosophy rather than either being bound by ancient text or leaving the decision to the political process. That approach, to be sure, would be decidedly not libertarian. As Jeffrey Rosen once noted in a piece for the (old) New Republic, for example, Kennedy tends to use “dignity” and “equality” in a paternalistic way, not to enhance freedom. Kennedy may thus be better described as favoring good government—one with liberty as a positive and welcome externality but that requires his workmanlike beneficence to bring the majestic law to the people.
A recent extra-judicial development sheds more light: Kennedy’s 2013 release of a “reading list for young people” titled “Understanding Freedom’s Heritage: How to Keep and Defend Liberty.” This list includes the following canonical choices: the Funeral Oration of Pericles, Magna Carta, Edmund Burke, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, Churchill’s speech after the Dunkirk retreat, Kennedy’s inaugural address, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall. It also contains some less obvious but perfectly appropriate interdisciplinary picks: Marc Antony’s funeral oration in Julius Caesar, Zola’s “J’Accuse,” Longfellow’s “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” Charlie Chaplin’s closing speech in The Great Dictator (declining the dictatorship), Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
But then it veers into selections that seem cribbed from an American Studies syllabus: Huckleberry Finn, Lou Gehrig’s “Farewell to Baseball,” Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Michael Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery,Reese Witherspoon’s commencement address in Legally Blonde. I might like to take that class, but I’m not sure what it has to do with how the commerce clause and Fourteenth Amendment secure and protect our liberties. What’s really interesting, and explains why Kennedy is no libertarian of any recognizable mold, is what’s absent. There’s no Hobbes or Locke, no Mill (On Liberty!), Hayek, Nozick, or even Rawls.
Those absences make sense, because Kennedy seems to view liberty from a different angle than would be expected from a classic liberal or modern libertarian—who would focus on the individual, the party whose rights are impacted by illegal government action. Kennedy approaches the issue from the viewpoint of society at large, the perpetrator of the contested law. His central concern, especially where the constitutional or statutory text is unclear, is whether it has a noble or dignified purpose. It’s why he told lawyers at an ABA conference that they should strive to achieve “honorable” outcomes.
There’s a definite parallel here to Kennedy’s gay-rights tetralogy. The constant theme in Romer, Lawrence, Windsor, and Obergefell is the ignoble motivation behind the laws at issue—the way they denigrate a certain class of people and thus devalue our democracy. That’s a Portia approach (her famous “quality of mercy” speech from Merchant of Venice is also on Kennedy’s list): The law should be opposed because it represents a character flaw in those who support and enforce it. And where Kennedy is concerned for the well-being of people affected, he’s concerned for their dignity, not necessarily their rights. A libertarian can’t accept a judicial philosophy that allows oppressive laws to stand if there’s a “noble purpose,” but Kennedy the bürgermeister has a certain sense of noblesse oblige. Look at Kennedy’s silent acquiescence in Raich and his opinion in National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab (1989), in which five justices—over dissents written by Scalia and Thurgood Marshall!—upheld the suspicionless drug testing of government employees against Fourth Amendment challenge. The only way to explain these votes is that Kennedy doesn’t see any nobility to drugs, so their users merit little constitutional protection even if they don’t hurt anybody and are confined to their homes.
This is why those who despair at the state of religious liberty post-Obergefellhave nothing to fear from Kennedy. While the one paragraph he devotes to the issue is rather cursory and reads like an afterthought—and mentions advocacy and teaching but not “exercise”—I highly doubt that this mild-mannered Catholic would affirm the persecution of wedding vendors or force social-service organizations out of business. Indeed, he sided with Hobby Lobby inthat company’s fight for exemption from Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate and almost certainly would’ve done the same in the consolidated religious-nonprofit cases on which John Roberts engineered a punt this term, Zubik v. Burwell. It’s pretty clear that Kennedy sees a distinction between public and private action and hopes that both sides in the gay-marriage debate now respect each other’s liberties and recognize that we live in a pluralistic society.
The perception that Justice Kennedy is a libertarian is purely a function of his role as the linchpin between the court’s progressive and conservative wings. A libertarian position is unlikely to prevail at the Court unless Kennedy agrees with it. Thus, any time there’s a libertarian “win,” he’s almost certainly in the majority—and his seniority and the fear that he might defect result in a fair number of those cases being assigned to him to write. But even as Kennedy is most often on the libertarian side in result, his reasoning is rarely libertarian: too many observers are outcome-sensitive and process-blind.
Now, if the idea of an enlightened magistrate deciding conflicts based on what he thinks is righteous, noble, and good, sounds uncomfortably familiar, it should come as no surprise that one of the first works Kennedy included on his reading list is the Allegory of the Cave. There Plato argues that it is the duty of “enlightened” philosophers—who alone among men have knowledge of what is truly good—to better the lot of the ignorant, out of pity if nothing else. This is the basis for Plato’s “philosopher kings,” who rule based on their love of honor.
But rules coming from a jurist’s special access to truth—whether empiric or moral—are incompatible with the republican state. We are thus inevitably drawn to the question of how faithful Kennedy is to the rule of law, which is a stronger measure of consistent, principled jurisprudence. The rule of law comprises values such as predictability and transparency; if a black box makes all of society’s key decisions, it’s not legitimate governance even if the results typically appeal to a majority.
Regardless of how convincing anyone’s explanation of his jurisprudence may be, if the general perception is that Kennedy decides cases in some inscrutable manner, whether based on policy preferences or some unrecognizable legal theory, he’s no better than that black box. Or, put another way, he becomes a sort of prophet who tries to convey the will of the Founding gods—which can only result in a decline in the congregation’s faith in the law.
Nevertheless, until someone replaces Justice Kennedy—who’s 80 but seems to be in excellent health—he will continue to fascinate and frustrate as he decides those cases that swing around him.
Ilya Shapiro is a fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
Published:11/15/2016 12:01:01 AM
Casey Neistat’s Beme launches Exit Poll, an app to share who you voted for and why
Beme, the social media app founded by Casey Neistat, is getting involved in the election by launching an app called Exit Poll. The concept is simple: You download the app, tap who you are voting for (the options are Hillary or Donald or decline to answer), what state you are in and record a short video explaining your reasoning. Exit Poll then will collate these videos into a Facebook Live… Read More
Published:11/7/2016 7:08:51 PM
Should I Vote Repocrat Or Demublican?
Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
The US is approaching a major election and voters are trying to figure out who will best lead them. As in most countries in the developed world, there are only two real contenders, each the representative of one of the two leading political parties.
One party states as its platform that it seeks to expand social freedoms (gay rights, abortion rights, etc.), and seeks to legislate to limit economic freedom (increased banking legislation, increased taxation for the rich and powerful, etc.). The other party states the opposite as its platform.
And, of course, the two candidates are verbally adamant in their every speech, that they intend to present legislation to assure that their respective platforms become a reality for the American people.
As in any country where there is a “two-party system,” the voters tend to be determinedly in one camp or the other. Rarely do their beliefs cross over. For example, when a libertarian candidate arises who espouses both social freedom and economic freedom, he is deemed interesting, but voters from the two primary camps do not rush to support him. Each group is dedicated to its choice of freedom and its choice of suppression.
And the two parties do their level best to convince voters that they must be unanimous in their support of one party or the other. Like football fans, voters should take an “us versus them” approach. In the US, as in many other countries, this results in such hatred amongst one team’s voters against the other team’s voters that they frequently refuse to even socialize with one another and, on occasion, the discord can result in violence.
But of course, as voters will say, they’re passionate about their parties and are so dedicated to party principles that they could never support a candidate that deviates in any way from them.
So, what happens when candidates veer dramatically from this nicely-packaged programme? For example, recently a billionaire Wall Street CEO put forward a new retirement tax bill to be passed after the coming election. The bill would create a 3% payroll tax that would immediately be funneled to Wall Street firms. Liberals are already angry that the greedy Wall Streeters are ripping them off. Surely, this bill could only have been put forward by the heartlessly greedy conservative party. Yet it is a Democratic bill and is supported by the Democratic presidential candidate.
The candidate has, in fact, been known to have received enormous amounts of money from Wall Street and is clearly in their pocket. And yet, somehow, Democratic voters gloss over this fact, along with all the other facts about their candidate that suggest that she is not at all representative of her party’s principles.
Over in the Republican camp, we see the same. The candidate is so far from representing the party for which he is running that many old-line incumbents are seething at the prospect that he could actually win. Some have vowed to vote Democrat to avoid the possibility of his presidency.
So, what’s going on here? Well, generally, political parties begin in one of two ways. The first begins with a charismatic individual who puts forward a set of principles that ends up attracting a large number of followers. The second begins with an individual or group that seeks power and needs to espouse a position on some issue or issues in order to gain general support. Either way, in virtually every case, the longer a party has existed, the more likely it is to have devolved into cronyism, backroom deals, opportunism and abuse of both the public purse and public rights.
Along the way, party “principles” become a mere remnant to be trotted out at election time, but are rarely followed except when they can be used as an opportunity to create greater power for the party. The party invariably comes to represent the very worst traits of mankind and is made up of the most reprehensible citizens.
In the US, the rot set in early – two years before George Washington became president.
The US Constitution makes no mention of political parties, yet parties cropped up as early as 1787 under the Federalists, who wished to have a strong, all-powerful central government that the states would then answer to.
As a reaction, those who opposed the Federalists, led by Thomas Jefferson, came to call themselves the Democratic-Republican Party. They, in turn, eventually fought amongst themselves, splitting the party in two in 1824 and, as any American will know, the two resulting parties are still going after each other in every way possible nearly 200 years later.
As Judge Andrew Napolitano has been known to say (quite accurately), the two primary American parties are merely “two wings of the same bird of prey.” The reason for presenting them as being morally or philosophically different only extends itself as far as is useful into coercing votes out of the electorate.
So, is there any reason to vote? Actually (sadly), no. Today, the average voter is saying (unconsciously), “I know both parties are thoroughly corrupt, but at least our candidate is less offensive to my sensibilities than the other party’s.” He’s aware that the apple is rotten, but still takes some pleasure in believing that his choice of which bad seed goes forth as the figurehead of the uni-government will make some sort of difference.
And, of course, that’s about all it boils down to. The trouble is, both parties are equally “owned” by those who provide the greatest payoffs, which is to say that the same banks, military goods suppliers, oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. make the largest donations to both parties. Therefore, their needs will be followed no matter who is elected. The two parties are therefore interchangeable.
In every case in which a voter makes a choice for “change,” he has wasted his time in showing up at the polling station, as the various directions his government takes will not only be unaffected by his vote, it will be unaffected by all votes.
So, what’s left for the voter to do? Well, if he can ever bring himself to recognize openly that, whilst the Repocrats and the Demublicans may differ a bit as individuals, they all work for the same organization and that is where their real loyalty lies. (As a comparison, if you were slated for execution, it would matter little whether your executioner was a Baptist or a Methodist. The outcome would be the same.)
It‘s important to note that the Americans did not invent party politics. The idea has been around since long before the US came into being and the concept generates the same results no matter where the “democratic process” exists.
There is, however, a benefit to be gained through self-honesty as regards the charade of political parties. Once it becomes clear that the system is what it is and that the political leaders have zero concern for their constituents, except as indentured servants (or as Doug Casey so aptly puts it – “milk cows”) – once the voter recognizes that the next election holds no vain hope for redemption – the voter may begin to see his true position more objectively. Rather than devote his time to any election campaign, waste his time observing the endless rhetoric in the media, seek to ingratiate himself to authorities or (God forbid) send his children off to the latest senseless war, he may refocus on what his government actually does for him in return for his obeisance and tax dollar. Once he recognizes that he is in fact an indentured servant, he may well reassess whether he wishes to continue the relationship.
At this point, he may, without a loss of misapplied patriotism, decide whether another country may be a better place in which to invest, consider citizenship, store wealth or even reside – part-time or full-time.
Published:11/7/2016 6:42:20 PM
The Elimination Of Reason
Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
Recently, I paid for an item with the exact amount requested, including 89 cents in change. The salesgirl stared at the coins and clearly wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, she reached for a calculator and began to total them up one at a time: 25 + 25 + 25 + 10 + 4. Having been schooled in the age prior to calculators, I’m accustomed to doing arithmetic in my head, but this particular instance evidenced a level of “dumbing down” over the last fifty years that was beyond what I had realised.
Since the dumbing down has been so consistently prevalent over the decades, it’s clear that this is no accident, nor is it an experiment in “alternative education” that hasn’t worked out as was intended. It’s clearly the result of a conscious effort to diminish the average person’s ability to think. As such, it’s had a long gestation period and was expected to require generations, but was nevertheless a conscious goal.
But why on earth would the controlling elite of any country seek to diminish the power to reason? Surely, reason is the basis of all independent thought – the catalyst for new ideas and improvement on existing goods and systems.
The answer, in a word, is control. Independent thought is the prime enemy of those who seek to dominate a people. For that reason, those who rule will happily sacrifice technological and social progress if it means that their dominance can be increased.
Controlling both the answers and the questions
It’s the nature of humans to question their situation and their surroundings. However, a clever leader will surmise that that means he needs to not only provide the answers, but the questions. If he can keep the people preoccupied with questions that are of little consequence to him, and provide answers that are easy for the people to absorb, he will control the areas of thought and, in so doing, will diminish the likelihood that he or his actions will be questioned.
Since time immemorial, successful leaders have understood that, in order to take the attention off their actions, carefully constructed distractions are called for.
For centuries, when leaders have been under criticism by their minions, they’ve used the distraction of war. War not only tends to unify a people, it also helps them to accept the removal of their basic rights for an “emergency” period. (Of course, most leaders don’t replace the rights after the emergency has ended. War therefore is also a good tool to increase tyranny, generally.) As Ludwig von Mises observed,
“War was not an affair of the peoples; it concerned the rulers only. The citizens detested war, which brought mischief to them and burdened them with taxes and contributions.”
However, in modern times, propagandists have become far more sophisticated. Let’s look at a few. Adolf Hitler said,
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually, they will believe it.”
Vladimir Lenin was a great believer in the idea that,
“The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.”
Two of the greatest inventions in making propaganda easy to sell have been political parties and television. In the days of kings, it was common to hate the king and want his downfall, but, with political parties, it’s possible to get one half of the people hating one party and the other half hating the other party. Then, all that’s necessary is to assure that each party has roughly the same amount of apparent power and the people will focus all their attention on the hatred of the opposing party and fail to notice those who are pulling the strings equally for both parties. The kings thereby remain the kings forever, whilst remaining invisible. The idea is not to defeat the anger of the people, but to redirect it. As Friedrich Hayek commented,
“The skilful propagandist then has the power to mold their minds in any direction he chooses, and even the most intelligent and independent people cannot entirely escape that influence if they are long isolated from all other sources of information.”
That last phrase is key. In today’s world, we possess the most significant propaganda tool that has ever been invented: television. Through this medium, we can create a major issue out of a minor incident, create two opposing viewpoints, each designed to appeal to one group or the other, and then repeat the propaganda unceasingly until the people have become thoroughly polarised from each other on the issue. In this fashion, we can begin with a minor incident, such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Arrange for one set of pundits to state unequivocally that the problem was racist Caucasian police, whilst presenting another set of pundits who just as vehemently proclaim that the problem is lawless blacks. Then, as Brother Adolf states, repeat the message endlessly – in this case, on the news seven days a week, from morning till night, for over six months.
Mission accomplished. The conservative group has redoubled its belief in the necessity for an increased police state, whist the liberal group dug in its heels on its perception of class warfare and the need for increased collectivism to combat that class warfare.
Once this issue has played itself out, it can disappear completely from the television and a new issue takes its place.
As stated above, in creating this means of propaganda, we have first created the question in the mind of the people, then we have spoon-fed two opposing answers – one designed to appeal to those who are by nature conservative and one to those who are by nature liberal. If we do our job well, the groups will become so blindly polarized that no social gathering, such as a dinner party, will contain both liberal and conservative invitees, or it will be a disaster.
All liberals will be unified in their thinking, just as all conservatives will be. Of course, those who are libertarian will be vilified by both of the other groups, as they represent a third alternative. (The success in indoctrinating a people and destroying their ability to reason can be measured by their vehemence in rejecting a third choice of reason.)
However, reason must be blocked out on a continuous basis, or there’s danger that it may return over time. As early as 600 BC, Lao Tzu had figured this out:
“The muddiest water is cleared as it is stilled.”
Hence the importance of the endless repetition of the message. As a news item, Ferguson was deserving of a minor mention, perhaps once a week. But by suspending the outcome (whether charges would be laid against the officer), fuel could be added to the rhetoric fire day in, day out, for months on end. When it had finally outlived its usefulness, it was time to create another event. Of course, one shooting every six months in a population of 320,000,000 is a minor blip, but, through the continuous carpet-bombing of the viewer’s brain with the same rhetoric, two such events a year would seem like an epidemic.
Once we reach this level of thought control, it’s possible to offer utterly unacceptable candidates for public office and still have them gain election. All that’s needed is that they parrot the same rhetoric the people have become dependent on as a replacement for reason.
Whether it be Communist Russia, Nazi Germany or Fascist America, once the people have been successfully conditioned to allow Big Brother to dictate thought, the next step has always been totalitarian rule.
* * *
Unfortunately most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare… The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past. That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/24/2016 7:03:59 PM
The Sedition Act: The Bad Penny Returns
Submitted by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
In much of what was formerly known as “the free world”, freedom is being dramatically curtailed by governments. Nowhere is this truer than in the US. I discussed the future of freedom of speech with an American recently. She postulated that it could never be taken from her, as she was assured freedom of speech under the Constitution. She’s correct in the latter part of her statement. Her Constitution clearly states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech.”
But as to the former part of her statement, that she could never have her freedom of speech removed is, I believe, entirely incorrect. Not only is her freedom of speech currently at risk, but this is nothing new in the US. The first suspension of this constitutional right came as early as 1798.
The Sedition Act of 1798 was passed by John Adams’ federalist government. It criminalised the making of statements that criticised the federal government. The Act was used by the Adams government to prosecute newspaper owners if they favoured the views of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party.
One person who was attacked was David Brown, who was fined and imprisoned for publishing the words, “No Stamp Act, No Sedition Act, No Alien Bills, No Land Tax, downfall to the Tyrants of America.” Another was James Callender, who accused the president as a “repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor".
Those who opposed the passage of the Act stated that it violated the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to free speech. They were quite correct.
The Act was repealed when Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801. He pardoned those who had been imprisoned and repaid their fines. But the silencing of citizens did not end there. It returned a mere 60 years later.
The Civil War
In 1861, President Lincoln unilaterally suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to appear before a judge when accused of a crime). In essence, he ordered that persons could be arrested and held without bringing formal charges against them. The claimed purpose was to allow the government the ability to hold prisoners of war, but it was subsequently used to muzzle the press. Newspapers that criticised the president were closed for seditious behaviour and their editors arrested and imprisoned.
Over 14,000 civilians were arrested by the Lincoln administration. After the war, the suspension of the right to free speech was ended, but only until the next war.
World War One
The Sedition Act of 1918 made illegal “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the US government, the national flag or the military. Sentences ranged from five to twenty years.
Magazines that spoke out against the war were banned. In addition, many people were investigated and/or imprisoned. (As an example, a Connecticut clothing salesman was sentenced to six months in prison for saying that Vladimir Lenin was smart.)
The Sedition Act was purported to be needed only “when the United States is in war”, and it was repealed just two years after World War One (although the Supreme Court upheld the Sedition Act constitutionally in 1919 – Abrams v. United States).
Since then, the punishment for sedition has become more general. In 1950, McCarthyism began sedition persecution outside of wartime, paving the way for persecution under the claim of “domestic terrorism”.
As shown above, the stated reason for such punishment is rarely the true intent. The people of a nation will readily accept legislation that sounds as though it will protect them in time of war, but it has regularly been used to limit free speech, generally.
The Patriot Act of 2001 allowed for the arrest and detainment (without a hearing and without charges being made) if the person is “suspected” of being a terrorist. The key word here is “suspected”. (I may suspect my Aunt Tillie of being a Martian, but, hopefully, that does not give me the right to imprison her.)
This time around, the act was not repealed a few years later. In fact, the Patriot Act was extended in 2011, followed closely by the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Together, these laws eclipsed all previous sedition acts in their breadth and have made possible a permanent and growing police state in the US.
Above, we can see that the suspension of freedom of speech during wartime is not a new idea. In fact, it’s been the norm. But what about the present day, when Congress no longer declares wars, but the US invades countries continually, by presidential edict alone? The US is now waging the “forever war” – the war on terrorism. Does that mean permanent suspension of the right to free speech? Well, actually, yes, and an entire department has been created to enforce it – the Department of Homeland Security.
Today, the US has a far greater ability to keep its people silent and cooperative than ever before. The numerous “terrorist attacks”, whether they be genuine or false-flag attacks, have succeeded in creating subservience amongst the American people. As Joseph Stalin said:
“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened.”
This concept was later echoed by Hermann Goering:
“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
And, of course, television news programmes in the US are rife with “experts” (politicians and retired generals) stating endlessly that the US must guard against domestic terrorism by reporting any “suspicious” actions or conversation that may not be supportive of the government. For those who still believe in the concept of individual freedom, Adolf Hitler had this to say:
“Society’s needs come before the individual’s needs.”
This concept has been thoroughly supported by modern day American politicians of both parties. Hillary Clinton echoes the Fuehrer’s view as follows:
“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for our society.”
The Sedition Act has now become a permanent condition in the US, and Europe is not far behind. Still, when such removals of freedom took place in the Soviet Union and Germany in the last century, most people remained there, hopeful that they could live with the outcome. As it turned out, that was a fatal mistake for literally millions of people.
For those who presently reside in a country where basic freedoms are disappearing, it’s instructive to note that there are many other countries in the world where this is not so. For many, the wise move is to vote with their feet and internationalise themselves.
* * *
Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare…
The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.
That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/18/2016 4:29:05 PM
Sell Gold Now - Time To Liquidate Gold ETF, Pooled and Digital Gold
Sell Gold Now - A Note from GoldCore CEO Stephen Flood
It has never been more important to own gold as part of a diversified portfolio. The form your gold investment takes is just as important as owning it in the first place. ETFs and pooled gold may not be functional in extreme markets and may themselves be subject to systemic risk events.
- Fifty gram gold bars sit across a one kilo gold bar at bullion dealers Goldcore, in London, U.K., on Thursday, March 11, 2010. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
We are living in extraordinary times and key to any investment plan that can weather the coming global financial storm is access to all important - liquidity.
Traditional market liquidity is drying up. Increasingly dark pools are hoovering up equity and FX volumes. Markets are becoming disjointed and prone to large wild swings. Central banks are entering the market on political mandates as opposed to a search for yield, algorithmic investors are untested in bear markets and likely unprepared. The table is set for significant disruption and systemic damage. Your gold investment may not be accessible nor liquid in times extremis.
When you buy gold as a systemic hedge you do so hoping that it will never be needed. You may even hope it falls in value, because if it is falling all your other productive assets are hopefully appreciating. This is the key, gold is valuable as a systemic hedge, if the system is working then gold should fall in value. If gold is rising then the system is not healthy and you need to take stock, literally.
At GoldCore we have long advocated a 5 - 10% allocation of gold into your portfolio. Today given the increasing risks, we believe there is a justification for allocating as much as 20% to 25% of a portfolio to physical gold. Your gold should be held in allocated, segregated and most importantly physical form, with serial numbers, in a non bank vault, in a safe jurisdiction.
Gold owners should be able to take physical delivery of their gold whenever they wish, without entering into a transaction to sell. We believe that gold should have as little legal separation from our clients as possible and that is how we have designed GoldCore Secure Storage - with clients having maximum and outright legal ownership of actual, individual bullion coins and bars.
Beware of e-gold masquerading as allocated gold
Buying gold through an electronic platform can be very convenient and very fast. You can buy significant sums and pay low spreads and low fees, your storage costs for such investments can be extremely cheap too.
These electronic platforms spend a lot of money advertising, and some even claim to give you allocated gold. We do not consider a part ownership of a large 400 oz bar of gold as being allocated. You are in fact a pooled gold investor and one who has no idea of what particular part of a gold bar you own. You can not, unlike GoldCore Secure Storage, drive to a vault in Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai or London and take delivery of your gold, without entering into a sale transaction.
In addition many such platforms force you to only buy and sell through their market board and their online platform and website. Digital gold platforms are "closed loop systems" where liquidity and pricing are dependent on a single platform, website and company. A buyer can only buy and sell through that one online platform. An investor is in effect "captive". This is very different to owning individual Canadian Maple Leaf gold bullion coins or gold kilo bars and the huge level of liquidity and pricing one has when one owns coins and bars in a segregated and allocated manner.
Yes you may be able to sell your gold in the future but at what cost? Yes you may be able to take delivery in the future, but at what cost? The fact is that if you can't hold it you may not truly own it.
Stephen Flood, CEO of GoldCore Limited
US +1 (302)635 1160
UK +44 (0)203 086 9200
IRL +353 1 632 5010
Open an account with GoldCore today
Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Commentary
Increasingly shambolic U.S. election could support gold said GoldCore (MarketWatch)
Greenspan: Worried about 1970s Style 'Stagflation' (CNBC)
Gold prices up in early Asia despite rising chances of Fed hike (Investing)
Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf Quits in Fallout From Fake Accounts (Bloomberg)
Fed Says Several FOMC Members Saw Rate Rise ‘Relatively Soon’ (Bloomberg)
The Demise Of The EU (ZeroHedge)
Doug Casey on “Quitaly” and the Collapse of the EU (CaseyResearch)
Major Silver Bottom Reached; Dramatically Higher Levels Ahead (Investing)
WikiLeaks Bombshell: Emails Show Citigroup Had Major Role in Shaping and Staffing Obama’s First Term (WallStreetOnParade)
If Europe insists on a hard Brexit, so be it (Telegraph)
Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
13 Oct: USD 1,258.00, GBP 1,029.93 & EUR 1,141.76 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 1,255.70, GBP 1,024.53 & EUR 1,139.05 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 1,256.40, GBP 1,021.58 & EUR 1,130.76 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 1,262.10, GBP 1,016.62 & EUR 1,129.71 per ounce
07 Oct: USD 1,255.00, GBP 1,012.91 & EUR 1,127.62 per ounce
06 Oct: USD 1,265.50, GBP 994.30 & EUR 1,131.23 per ounce
05 Oct: USD 1,274.00, GBP 1,001.11 & EUR 1,134.37 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
13 Oct: USD 17.59, GBP 14.40 & EUR 15.95 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 17.44, GBP 14.23 & EUR 15.83 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 17.48, GBP 14.26 & EUR 15.78 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 17.78, GBP 14.31 & EUR 15.92 per ounce
07 Oct: USD 17.33, GBP 14.01 & EUR 15.55 per ounce
06 Oct: USD 17.76, GBP 13.98 & EUR 15.88 per ounce
05 Oct: USD 17.80, GBP 13.99 & EUR 15.86 per ounce
Recent Market Updates
- Gold In GBP Up 43% YTD – “Massive Twin Deficits” To Impact UK Assets
Published:10/13/2016 7:38:55 AM
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- Currency Shock Sees Sterling Gold Surges 5% In One Minute “Flash Crash”
- Top Gold Forecaster: “As Quickly As Gold Fell” May “Rally Back” on Global Risks
- Gold Buying ‘Opportunity’ After Surprise 3.4% Drop
- Deutsche Bank “Is Probably Insolvent”
- GBP Gold Rises 1.3% as Sterling Slumps On ‘Hard Brexit’ Concerns, Up 36% YTD
- Why Krugman, Roubini, Rogoff And Buffett Hate Gold
- ECB Refused “To Answer Questions” – Deutsche Bank “Systemic Threat” Is “Not ECB Fault”
- Euro “Might Start To Unravel” If Collapse Of Deutsche Bank
- Do You Really Own Your Gold?
- “Gold Will Likely Soar To A Record Within Five Years”
Doug Casey On "Quitaly" & The Collapse Of The EU
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Nick Giambruno: Doug, you predicted the fall of the European Union a few years ago. What has changed since then?
Doug Casey: Well, what's changed is that the entire situation has gotten much worse. The inevitable has now become the imminent.
The European Union evolved, devolved actually, from basically a free trade pact among a few countries to a giant, dysfunctional, overreaching bureaucracy. Free trade is an excellent idea. However, you don't need to legislate free trade; that’s almost a contradiction in terms. A free trade pact between different governments is unnecessary for free trade. An individual country interested in prosperity and freedom only needs to eliminate all import and export duties, and all import and export quotas. When a country has duties or quotas, it’s essentially putting itself under embargo, shooting its economy in the foot. Businesses should trade with whoever they want for their own advantage.
But that wasn't the way the Europeans did it. The Eurocrats, instead, created a treaty the size of a New York telephone book, regulating everything. This is the problem with the European Union. They say it is about free trade, but really it’s about somebody’s arbitrary idea of “fair trade,” which amounts to regulating everything. In addition to its disastrous economic consequences, it creates misunderstandings and confusion in the mind of the average person. Brussels has become another layer of bureaucracy on top of all the national layers and local layers for the average European to deal with.
The European Union in Brussels is composed of a class of bureaucrats that are extremely well paid, have tremendous benefits, and have their own self-referencing little culture. They’re exactly the same kind of people that live within the Washington, D.C. beltway.
The EU was built upon a foundation of sand, doomed to failure from the very start. The idea was ill-fated because the Swedes and the Sicilians are as different from each other as the Poles and the Irish. There are linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and big differences in the standard of living. Artificial political constructs never last. The EU is great for the “elites” in Brussels; not so much for the average citizen.
Meanwhile, there’s a centrifugal force even within these European countries. In Spain, the Basques and the Catalans want to split off, and in the UK, the Scots want to make the United Kingdom quite a bit less united. You've got to remember that before Garibaldi, Italy was scores of little dukedoms and principalities that all spoke their own variations of the Italian language. And the same was true in what’s now Germany before Bismarck in 1871.
In Italy 89% of the Venetians voted to separate a couple of years ago. The Italian South Tyrol region, where 70% of the people speak German, has a strong independence movement. There are movements in Corsica and a half dozen other departments in France. Even in Belgium, the home of the EU, the chances are excellent that Flanders will separate at some point.
The chances are better in the future that the remaining countries in Europe are going to fall apart as opposed to being compressed together artificially.
And from strictly a philosophical point of view, the ideal should not be one world government, which the “elite” would prefer, but about seven billion small individual governments. That would be much better from the point of view of freedom and prosperity.
Nick Giambruno: How does the recent Brexit vote affect the future of the European Union?
Doug Casey: Well, it's the beginning of the end. The inevitable has now become the imminent. Britain has always been perhaps the most different culture of all of those in the European Union. They entered reluctantly and late, and never seriously considered losing the pound for the euro.
You're going to see other countries leaving the EU. The next one might be Italy. All of the Italian banks are truly and totally bankrupt at this point. Who's going to kiss that and make it better? Is the rest of the European Union going to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to make the average Italian depositor well again? I don't think so. There’s an excellent chance that Italy is going to get rid of the euro and leave the EU.
Nick Giambruno: Why should Americans care about this?
Doug Casey: Well, just as the breakup of the Soviet Union had a good effect for both the world at large and for Americans, the breakup of the EU should be viewed in the same light. Freeing an economy anywhere increases prosperity and opportunity everywhere. And it sets a good example. So Americans ought to look forward to the breakup of the EU almost as much as the Europeans themselves. Unfortunately, most Americans are quite insular. And Europeans are so used to socialism that they have even less grasp of economics than Americans. But it’s going to happen anyway.
Nick Giambruno: What are some investment implications?
Doug Casey: Initially there's going to be some chaos, and some inconvenience. Conventional investors don’t like wild markets, but turbulence is actually a good thing from the point of view of a speculator. It’s a question of your psychological attitude. Understanding psychology is as important as economics. They’re the two things that make the markets what they are. Volatility is actually your friend in the investment world.
People are naturally afraid of upsets. They're afraid of any kind of a crisis. This is natural. But it's only during a crisis that you can get a real bargain. You have to look at the bright side and take a different attitude than most people have.
Nick Giambruno: If you position yourself on the right side of this thing, do you think you'll be able to make some big profits on the collapse of the EU?
Doug Casey: Yes. Once the EU falls apart, there are going to be huge investment opportunities. People forget how cheap markets can become. I remember in the mid 1980s, there were three markets in the world in particular I was very interested in: Hong Kong, Belgium, and Spain. All three of those markets had similar characteristics. You could buy stocks in those markets for about half of book value, about three or four times earnings, and average dividend yields of their indices were 12–15%—individual stocks were sometimes much more—and of course since then, those dividends have gone way up. The stock prices have soared.
So I expect that that's going to happen in the future. In one, several, many, or most of the world’s approximately 40 investable markets. Right now, however, we're involved in a worldwide bubble in equities. It can go the opposite direction. People forget how cheap stocks can get.
I think we're headed into very bad times. Chances are excellent you're going to see tremendous bargains. People are chasing after stocks right now with 1% dividend yields and 30 times earnings, and they want to buy them. At some point in the future these stocks are going to be selling for three times earnings and they’re going to be yielding five, maybe ten percent in dividends. But at that point most people will be afraid to buy them. In fact, they won't even want to know they exist at that point.
I’m not a believer in market timing. But, that said, I think it makes sense to hold fire when the market is anomalously high.
The chaos that’s building up right now in Europe can be a good thing—if you're well positioned. You don't want to go down with the sinking Titanic. You want to survive so you can get on the next boat taking you to a tropical paradise. But right now you're entering the stormy North Atlantic.
A few months after the stunning Brexit vote, there’s even more turmoil ahead for the European Union… with potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets.
Doug Casey and his team just released a new video that reveals how a financial shock far greater than 2008 could strike America on December 4, 2016, as Italian voters decide the fate of the European Union itself. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/13/2016 3:35:37 AM
One Giant Powder Keg... And The Fuse Is Already Lit
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Their mission was to capture—or more likely—kill.
Dozens of renegade commandos in three Blackhawk helicopters swooped in on the holiday residence of the president.
Immediately, they engaged in a fierce gun battle with the president’s bodyguards and killed a number of them.
Tourists in a nearby five-star resort fled for their lives. Their idyllic vacations had turned into a warzone in the blink of an eye.
The president, however, was nowhere to be found.
He had been tipped off about the plot and made it to the safety of his private jet. He had cheated death by mere minutes.
The renegade soldiers got wind of the escape. They commandeered a couple of F16 fighter jets and sent them to the skies to shoot down the presidential jet.
Aware the rebel F16s were hunting them, the president’s pilots were able to obfuscate the identity of their aircraft by altering the jet’s transponder signal.
The transponder is an electronic signal that shows an aircraft’s identity. It’s used by air traffic controllers to keep track of planes in the air.
Somehow, the pilots of the presidential jet were able to set their transponder signal to make it appear as if they were instead a civilian passenger jet.
The confused rebel fighter jets ran out of fuel and had to return to base before they figured out what happened.
The president had cheated death for the second time that day.
This story sounds like something out of a Tom Clancy novel or a Hollywood blockbuster. But it’s not…
It happened in real life earlier this summer. In Turkey.
The country is one giant powder keg… and the fuse is already lit.
When the next global crisis explodes, there’s a good chance Turkey will be involved somehow.
Turkey was founded from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. It’s where Europe meets Asia.
Today, it’s at the epicenter of many crises that are destabilizing the world… the migrant disaster in Europe, the ongoing carnage in Iraq and Syria, the battle with ISIS, a conflict with the Kurds, and the new Cold War with Russia. It could soon also play a big role in the collapse of the world’s largest economy, the European Union (EU)…
It’s hard to think of another place that has more tripwires for a global meltdown.
In light of all these potential triggers—as well as the recent failed military coup d’état that killed over 290 people—I thought it was time to take a closer look at Turkey.
Doug Casey and I just returned from the crisis-stricken country, the latest destination we visited with (literal) blood in the streets.
We put our boots on the ground in the same area where that hit squad of rebel soldiers nearly assassinated Recep Tayyip Erdogan—the Turkish president.
(In addition to all of the crises listed above, the Turkish military had invaded northern Syria just before our arrival.)
Perhaps most importantly, Turkey is at the heart of the migrant crisis that is tearing Europe apart. The migrant crisis will be one of the main issues on the minds of Italians as they vote in the upcoming referendum, which could very well decide the fate of the EU and the euro currency. That’s why I’ve spent weeks on the ground in Italy, watching these events unfold.
The Financial Times commented on what would happen if the Italian referendum fails:
It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
Like with the Brexit vote, the migrant issue—and by extension Turkey—may determine the outcome of the Italian referendum on December 4, 2016…
Turkey Holds the Keys to the EU’s Future
Parroting U.S. concerns about democracy and human rights, the EU has also harshly criticized Turkey’s response to the failed coup.
This hasn’t endeared them to the Turkish government. It’s actually incredibly stupid for the Europeans.
And by stupid I mean exactly that… an unwitting tendency toward self-destruction. The Europeans fail to see the indirect and delayed consequences of their decision to antagonize the Turkish government.
That’s because the Turkish government holds the trump card on what is perhaps the most explosive political issue on the continent right now: the migrant crisis.
Concerns about the unprecedented flow of migrants into Europe over the past couple of years played a key role in the Brexit vote. It’s also acting as a political accelerant to the rise of anti-EU parties all over Europe.
It’s a simple relationship. The more migrants come to Europe, the more popular anti-EU political parties become, and the weaker the EU itself becomes.
This is where Turkey holds the keys to the future political landscape of Europe.
Turkey is a major transit point migrants use on their way to Europe. The Turkish government doesn’t want the migrants to stay in Turkey, so they haven’t really had much of a reason to stop them from leaving for Europe. They even enjoyed the situation because it gave them negotiating leverage with Brussels.
The Turks essentially said “give us what we want or we’ll open the floodgates.”
What the Turks want is lots of money and to join the Schengen visa-free zone, which allows unfettered access to most of Europe.
Brussels partially gave in to the blackmail. They started giving the Turks money—to the tune of $6 billion—and agreed to hold talks about getting visa-free access to the continent. In return, the Turks would cut off the flow of migrants.
For a while this arrangement worked.
But after the attempted coup… and then the purge of suspected putschists, the EU cried foul. They deemed the purges to be an erosion of democracy and the rule of law.
They basically told the Erdogan government it can forget about joining the Schengen zone.
Unsurprisingly, the Turkish government not-so-subtly warned that if the EU walks away from its part of the deal, so will it. Specifically, the Turkish government has threatened to open the migrant floodgates… just in time for the Italian referendum and other key European elections.
The Italian referendum could very well lead to the end of the euro and the EU itself, while triggering a global financial meltdown of historical proportions.
Turkey sending a new wave of migrants into Europe just before this key vote will help seal its fate.
There are potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets.
That’s exactly why I recently visited Turkey and spent weeks on the ground in Italy.
New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released an urgent video with all the details. Click here to watch it now.
Published:10/12/2016 3:27:33 AM
Can Chicago Fire's Dawson and Casey Finally Live Happily Ever After?
Tired of the back and forth between Dawson (Monica Raymund) and Casey (Jesse Spencer)? Heading into season five of Chicago Fire, the couple is recommitted to their relationship and potentially...
Published:10/11/2016 3:22:04 PM
[2016 Election News]
LIVE Stream: Donald Trump Holds Rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA 10/10/16 6pm ET
Monday, October 5, 2016: Live stream coverage of the Donald J. Trump for President rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Live coverage begin at 6:00 PM ET. My team of deplorables will be taking over my Twitter account for tonight's #debate#MakeAmericaGreatAgain — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
Published:10/10/2016 2:42:02 PM
‘The Exorcist’ Recap 1×03: Take Back the Nightmare
Previously on The Exorcist: teenage homework-enthusiast Casey Rance is possessed by a demon, and is occasionally counseled by a malevolent old man whom only she can see. The death of a friend has rendered Casey's sister, Kat, relatably pouty. Their father, played by Cameron from Ferris Bueller, may or may not be pulling a Cameron and feigning some kind of mental break. The mother, Angela, played by Geena Davis, is seeking help with her demon problems from dreamboat priest Father Tomas, who teams up with UNHINGED BADASS PRIEST Father Marcus, WHO CARES MORE ABOUT JUSTICE THAN ABOUT SOCIAL NICETIES! Meanwhile, every homeless person in Chicago is also possessed and doing the devil's work-- specifically murdering people and harvesting their organs-- but no one in Chicago seems to find this unusual. Also, the Pope is coming.
Published:10/9/2016 9:32:31 PM
Nike finally made those auto-lacing shoes from ‘Back to the Future’ and Casey Neistat got to try them [video]
Remember those cool auto-lacing Nike’s in Back to the Future II? Well, Nike spent 10 years to create shoes that actually do that and one of the most entertaining vloggers, Casey Neistat got to try them. First, here’s the scene from the movie where we’re shown that some day our shoes might lace themselves: Then, Casey shows ...
Published:10/9/2016 9:09:12 PM
How To Solve The Migrant Crisis (In 2 'Easy' Steps)
Submitted by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,
Nick Giambruno: The migrant crisis is tearing Europe apart. What’s your take Doug?
Doug Casey: I'm all for immigration and completely open borders to enable opportunity seekers from anyplace to move anyplace else.
With two big, critically important, caveats:
1) there can be no welfare or free government services, so everyone has to pay his own way, and no freeloaders are attracted; and
2) all property is privately owned, to minimize the possibility of squatter camps full of beggars.
In the absence of welfare benefits, immigrants are usually the best of people because you get mobile, aggressive, and opportunity-seeking people that want to leave a dead old culture for a vibrant new one. The millions of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had zero in the way of state support.
But what is going on in Europe today is entirely different. The migrants coming to Europe aren’t being attracted by opportunity in the new land so much as the welfare benefits and the soft life. For the most part they are unskilled and poorly educated.
What we’re talking about here is the migration of millions of people of different language, different race, different religion, different culture, different mode of living. If you're an alien and you're 1 out of 10,000, or 1,000, or 100, you're a curiosity, an interesting outsider. But an influx of millions of migrants is only going to destroy the old culture, and guarantee antagonism—especially when the locals have to pay for it. In many ways, what’s happening now isn’t just comparable to what happened 2,000 years ago with the migration of the Germanic northern barbarians into the Roman Empire. It’s potentially much more serious.
Nick Giambruno: I think pretty much anywhere in the world, whenever there’s an influx of foreigners to the degree that it changes the demographics or upsets the local economic applecart, it’s obviously going to cause problems.
For example, the Chinese are wearing out their welcome in many parts of Africa.
We saw this ourselves when we went to Zimbabwe earlier this year. Their numbers have grown so much that there are numerous Chinese mini cities within Zim.
Many people in Zim aren’t too happy with the Chinese dumping cheap products and upsetting the local economy. When we asked our driver to take us through a rough neighborhood, all we saw was a seemingly endless market, as far as I can tell, completely filled with Chinese products.
Doug Casey: Incidentally, 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, mines, railroads, and other infrastructure. The Africans like the goodies, but don’t like the Chinese. It has the makings of a race war a generation or so in the future.
Nick Giambruno: Getting back to the crisis in Europe…
It’s well known the gigantic bureaucracy in Brussels produces ridiculous regulations and dictates. The EU has reduced the standard of living of the average European.
Of course this is related to the migrant issue too. The EU has a quota system which is supposed to distribute migrants across the union. Not all EU countries are happy with this.
For example, Hungary doesn’t believe it should have to accept any migrants if it doesn’t want to. Brussels disagrees and says Hungary is obligated to take in its “fair share” of migrants.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently said:
“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future…
…This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy – whoever needs migrants can take them, but don't force them on us, we don't need them…
…For us migration is not a solution but a problem… not medicine but a poison, we don't need it and won't swallow it.”
The Eurocrats are furious with Orban. Luxembourg has called for Hungary to be expelled from the EU.
It’s clear the migrant issue is fueling resentment to the EU. It was a major factor in the Brexit vote. The unprecedented inflow of migrants has also helped anti-EU political parties grow in popularity.
This whole mess looks to me to be a self-inflicted wound. What do you think?
Doug Casey: The EU is a huge aggravating factor with the migrant problem. Brussels is full of globalists and doctrinaire socialists who not only promote bad policies, but make the whole continent pay for the mistakes of its most misguided members.
All Western European governments are massive welfare states that provide free food, housing, medical care, schooling, and living expenses for citizens. And even for residents who aren’t citizens. Benefits like these will naturally draw in poor people from poor countries.
Millions of Africans will want to emigrate, especially to the homelands of their ex-colonial masters in Europe. The colonizers are now themselves being colonized. If I was an African from south of the Sahara, I'd absolutely try to get to Italy or Greece or France or Spain or on my way to Sweden to cash in on the largesse of these stupid Europeans.
I’m a fan of what’s left of Western Civilization. I hate to see it washed away. But that’s what will happen if the floodgate is opened.
Nick Giambruno: I really don’t feel that sorry for the Europeans either. They largely brought this mess upon themselves.
It’s no coincidence that migrants are flowing to the countries with the most generous welfare benefits. If there weren’t so many freebies in these countries, there wouldn’t be so many migrants showing up to collect them.
It’s obvious the welfare state plays a major role in this crisis.
It’s also obvious that idiotic military interventions are a major factor.
The Europeans were and are enthusiastic supporters of the U.S. military interventions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan—and perhaps most consequentially for them—Libya.
Before his overthrow by NATO, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had an agreement with Italy, which is directly to Libya’s north, across the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaddafi agreed to prevent migrants heading for Europe from using Libya’s 1,100 miles of coastline as a transit point. It was an arrangement that worked.
So it’s no shocker that when NATO helped overthrow the Gaddafi government in 2011, the migrant floodgates opened.
Doug Casey: Unless the Europeans get in front of this situation, it’s not just some refugees from the Near East they’ll have to deal with. Especially with the economic chaos of The Greater Depression, it’s going to be millions from Africa, and then perhaps millions more from Central Asia, and even India and Bangladesh. The world is becoming a very small place. What will happen when scores of thousands of migrants set up a squatter camp someplace—with no food, shelter, or sanitary facilities. The situation is likely to be most stressful…
Some will say, “But you have to be charitable, you can’t just let them starve because they’ve had some bad luck.” To that I’d say an individual, or a family, can have some bad luck. But the places these people come from have had “bad luck” for centuries. Their bad luck is the consequence of their political, economic, and social systems. It makes no sense, it’s idiotic, to import—at huge expense—masses of people that have a culture of “bad luck.”
At the most, if someone wants to help them, they should help them with their own money.
Nick Giambruno: Then there are the so-called economists and think tanks that say bringing in a bunch of migrants will “stimulate” the economy…
Doug Casey: There are hundreds of think tanks in the U.S. alone, most located within the Washington Beltway who appear to believe that. They’re populated by partisan academics, ex-politicos, retired generals, and others circulating through the revolving doors of the military/industrial/political/academic complex. They’re really just propaganda outlets, funded by foundations and donors who want to give an intellectual patina to their views.
Think tanks, and their cousins, the lobbyists and the NGOs, are mostly what I like to call Running Dogs, who act as a support system for the Top Dogs in the Deep State. Their product is “policy recommendations,” which influence how much tax you have to pay and how many new regulations you have to obey. Think tanks are populated almost exclusively by what have been called “useless mouths.” They’re no friends of the common man.
The migration policies they’re promoting are creating chaos.
Nick Giambruno: I just spent weeks on the ground in Italy, a frontline state in the migrant crisis. I was investigating the upcoming referendum and how it could be the first domino to fall in the collapse of the EU.
I can say for sure that the migrant issue is one of the largest on the mind of the average Italian voter.
Each day on average, a couple thousand migrants—sometimes many more—arrive in Italy. They’re mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, but also a large number are from the Indian subcontinent.
While I was in Rome I saw many. Lots of them aggressively beg and hawk trinkets. People now lock their doors to their homes when before they might not have.
I witnessed, a number of times, young male migrants sitting in the handicap spot on trams, buses, and other public transportation, refusing to give up their seats for elderly Italian women.
It’s anecdotal, but it's hard to think of a way to wear out your welcome faster than for regular Italians to see an elderly woman have to struggle to stand on a bus while a migrant, perfectly capable of standing, comfortably sits.
While at the Milan train station I witnessed migrants shoving aside a clerk at the ticket check to forcibly board a train. I could see the look on the faces of the other Italian passengers. They were dumbfounded at how the migrants were blatantly choosing to not live by the rules of society and nobody was doing anything about it.
Then in Como—one of the swankiest places in Italy and where George Clooney maintains a residence—I saw how many hundreds of migrants have turned the train station into a filthy makeshift camp. It was a bizarre blend of extreme poverty and extreme wealth.
To say Italians are fed up is a gross understatement.
Most feel Italy has enough problems without trying to solve the problems of the world. They wonder why they are forced to subsidize the migrants—who receive over $80 a month from the state, far more than their annual income in their home countries—while they are suffering under extreme economic hardship.
Italians largely blame the EU and pro-EU politicians for this mess.
So Doug, what should be done about this mess that doesn’t, at the same time, feed the growth of the State?
Doug Casey: Immigration across political borders doesn't have to be a problem. It’s simply a matter of maintaining the property rights of all concerned.
Let me repeat, and re-emphasize, what I said earlier. The free-market solution to the migrant situation is quite simple. If all the property of a country is privately owned, anyone can come and stay as long as he can pay for his accommodations. When even the streets and parks are privately owned, trespassers, beggars, squatters, migrants, vagrants, and the like have a problem. A country with 100% private property, and zero welfare, would only attract people who like those conditions. And they’d undoubtedly be welcome as individuals. But “migration” would be impossible.
So, again, I'm all for open borders. Anybody should be able to go anywhere if they can support themselves. In a free market society, however, nobody's going to give you money just for existing. You have to produce goods and services in order to be able to buy food, shelter, and clothing.
This is how the migration problem could be solved. You don't need the government. You don't need the army. You don't need visas or quotas. You don't need laws. You don't need treaties to solve the migration problem. All you need is privately owned property and the lack of welfare benefits.
Nick Giambruno: I agree, but I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, except in our dreams. What do you think are some likely outcomes?
Doug Casey: Well, I agree; they’ll come up with some cockamamie political solution. But the good news is that it will speed up the disintegration of the EU. It never made sense from the beginning to try to get Swedes to live by the same rules as Sicilians, or Germans by the same rules as Portuguese. Not to mention that the rules are entirely arbitrary. Worse, almost all the rules result in economic transfers, with legislated winners and losers. Deals like that always lead to resentment, among both the winners and the losers.
The euro, meanwhile, will approach its intrinsic value at an accelerating rate and eventually cease to exist. The Esperanto currency was doomed from the beginning. It was not just an “IOU nothing,” like the U.S. dollar, but a “Who owes you nothing” since it’s not even backed by a specific government’s taxing power.
My prediction that the Continent will one day just be a giant petting zoo for the Chinese is intact—assuming the current wave of migrants approve.
On the bright side, the collapse of the EU will accelerate the disintegration of nation-states everywhere. There are about 200 nation-states in the world. The international “elite,” the “intelligentsia,” the members of the Deep State everywhere, and organizations like the EU in Brussels, would like to see a much smaller number of more powerful states. Orwell anticipated just three mega-states in his dystopia, 1984. But the actual trend is in the opposite direction.
It’s not just the UK seceding from the EU, but Scotland from the UK. The Basques and Catalans may eventually secede from Spain. Belgium, a totally artificial country, will eventually break up into Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. France has half a dozen secession movements. Italy was only unified into its present form from scores of principalities, duchies, and baronies in 1861. It was the same with Germany until Bismarck in 1871. The break-up of the USSR in 1990 into 13 smaller states was a good start, but Russia itself is a small empire with dozens of distinct ethnic and linguistic groups. You will rarely hear about this in the mass media, but there are dozens of secession movements throughout Europe.
There will be an exodus of capital and people from Europe to parts of Latin America, plus to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is, obviously, bad for Europe and good for the recipient countries, since the emigrants will be educated and affluent. In recent years, I might not have included Latin America, but things have changed. Argentina and Colombia are liberalizing economically. The continent isn’t involved in any entangling alliances, isn’t on the migration highway, and has low costs. Why a wealthy European would stay in that stagnant and unstable continent when he could live better, and mostly tax-free, at a fraction of the cost in Argentina is a mystery to me. If I was a European, I would be leaving Europe at this point.
Published:10/7/2016 1:39:40 AM
Original Scandal: Federal Judge Denies Release Of Draft Hillary Whitewater Indictment
A federal judge has officially denied a FOIA request from Judicial Watch seeking a draft of a criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton prepared by prosecutors back in the mid-90s related to her involvement in the Whitewater scandal. According to Politico, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a Bush appointee, ruled that Clinton's "substantial privacy interest" outweighed any public interest in disclosure and that the material was protected from disclosure by a court rule enforcing grand jury secrecy. The 30-page opinion from Walton (attached in its entirety below) argues that the draft indictment would not "shed light on any agency's performance of its statutory duties, but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official, which is not the objective of the FOIA."
"The fact that information about the independent counsel’s investigation and potential indictment of Mrs. Clinton is readily available to the public does not extinguish Mrs. Clinton’s privacy interest," Walton wrote. "Although an individual’s interests in privacy fade when the information involved already appears on the public record'...'the fact that an event is not wholly private does not mean that an individual has no interest in limiting disclosure or dissemination of [the requested] information."
"While Mrs. Clinton was first lady of the United States at the time of the investigation, she was neither part of a government agency nor a government official when the events that were the subject of the independent counsel’s investigation occurred, which led to the drafting of the proposed indictments," the judge wrote. "Disclosure of the drafts of the proposed indictment would not shed light on any agency’s performance of its statutory duties, but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official, which is not the objective of the FOIA."
The issue of the Hillary indictments first surfaced in October 2015 when Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration after they failed to produce the documents pursuant to a FOIA request. While acknowledging only a "scintilla of public interest in these documents" the National Archives denied the request asserting that "disclosure of the draft indictments would not shed light on what the government is up to."
"While there may be a scintilla of public interest in these documents since Mrs. Clinton is presently a Democratic presidential candidate, that fact alone is not a cognizable public interest under FOIA, as disclosure of the draft indictments would not shed light on what the government is up to."
As background, the draft indictments related to allegations that Clinton provided false information and withheld evidence from federal investigators to conceal her involvement with the defunct Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, the collapse of which lead to multiple criminal convictions. Clinton provided legal representation to Madison Guaranty as an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton’s Rose Law Firm billing records, long sought by prosecutors, were found in the private quarters of the White House shortly after an important statute of limitations had expired.
Judicial Watch argued that a D.C. Circuit court ruled that Hillary was an "officer of the United States" while serving in her capacity as First Lady. Therefore, they argued that "making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators bears on Mrs. Clinton’s honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness" while serving in an official capacity.
[A]t the time Mrs. Clinton was being investigated by the independent counsel for making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators, she was First Lady of the United States. The alleged false statements and withholding of evidence also allegedly occurred while Mrs. Clinton was First Lady of the United States. The D.C. Circuit has found that, as First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Clinton was an officer of the United States, at least for purposes of the Federal Advisory Committee Act….
Obviously, making false statements and withholding evidence from federal investigators bears on Mrs. Clinton’s honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness, not only as First Lady, but also in her subsequent government service as a U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State and for the position she currently seeks … The Archives’ assertions to the contrary are neither serious nor credible.
Obviously, like FBI Director Comey, Walton concluded that less transparency regarding the 20 year old case was in the public's "best interest". Likely just more "plumes of smoke" anyway...it was probably nothing.
* * *
For those of you not as familiar with the Whitewater scandal, below is an excellent, detailed recap from the Washington Post. It is an amazing tale complete with all the twists and turns of a modern-day Clinton scandal including shady real estate deals, insider dealings, document destruction, obstruction of justice, perjury, wrongful deaths, etc.
Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton join with James B. and Susan McDougal to borrow $203,000 to buy 220 acres of land in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains. They soon form the Whitewater Development Corp., intending to build vacation homes.
Clinton is elected governor.
Clinton loses his reelection bid and enters private legal practice.
James McDougal, who served briefly as Gov. Clinton's economic development director, quits government to buy a small bank in Kingston, Ark. He loans $30,000 to Hillary Clinton to build a model house on a Whitewater lot.
McDougal buys a small savings and loan and names it Madison Guaranty.
After two years as a private citizen, Clinton is once again elected governor.
Federal regulators begin to question the financial stability and lending practices of Madison Guaranty, criticizing Madison's speculative land deals, insider-lending and hefty commissions paid to the McDougals and others.
Clinton is reelected.
James McDougal holds a fund-raising event at Madison Guaranty to help pay off a $50,000 Clinton campaign debt. Investigators later determine some of the money was improperly withdrawn from depositor funds.
McDougal hires the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary Clinton is a partner, to do legal work for the ailing savings and loan.
Hillary Clinton and another Rose lawyer seek state regulatory approval for recapitalization plan for Madison.
McDougal borrows $300,000 from a company owned by David Hale, a former Little Rock judge. Hale's company receives federal funds from the Small Business Administration to lend to disadvantaged business owners, but an investigation 10 years later alleges that he lent up to $3 million to political figures instead.
Citing improper practices, federal regulators remove McDougal as Madison Guaranty's president, but he retains ownership.
Witnesses from the Rose Law Firm say Hillary Clinton requested the destruction of Madison land contract files.
Hillary Clinton writes James McDougal to ask for power of attorney to sell off remaining Whitewater lots and clear up bank obligations.
Madison Guaranty collapses after a series of bad loans and a change in government accounting procedures. The federal government shuts it down and spends $60 million bailing it out.
James McDougal is indicted on federal fraud charges related to his management of a Madison real estate subsidiary.
McDougal is acquitted.
The Clinton presidential campaign gathers information on Whitewater and Madison Guaranty. A report commissioned by the campaign claims the Clintons lost $68,000 on Whitewater, an estimate later adjusted down to somewhat over $40,000.
The Federal Resolution Trust Corp., investigating causes of Madison's failure, sends a referral to the Justice Department that names the Clintons as "potential beneficiaries" of illegal activities at Madison.
Clinton's first term as president begins.
White House fires seven employees in the travel office, possibly to make room for Clinton friends. An FBI investigation of the office ensues, allegedly opened under pressure from the White House to justify the firings.
Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster files three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns.
Foster is found dead in a Washington area park. Police rule the death a suicide. Federal investigators are not allowed access to Foster's office immediately after the discovery, but White House aides enter Foster's office shortly after his death, giving rise to speculation that files were removed from his office.
First of three meetings in which Treasury Department officials tip off Clinton aides about the progress of the RTC investigation.
RTC's criminal referral is rejected by Paula Casey, U.S. attorney in Little Rock and former law student of Bill Clinton.
The White House agrees to turn over Whitewater documents to the Justice Department, which had been preparing to subpoena them. These documents include files found in Foster's office.
Attorney General Janet Reno names New York lawyer and former U.S. attorney Robert B. Fiske Jr. as special counsel to investigate the Clintons' involvement in Whitewater. Fiske announces he will also explore a potential link between Foster's suicide and his intimate knowledge of the developing Whitewater scandal.
Republican attorney Jay Stephens is appointed to head the Resolution Trust Corp.'s investigation of the failure of Madison Guaranty.
Webster L. Hubbell abruptly resigns as associate attorney general after allegations are raised about his conduct at the Rose Law Firm. Two of Clinton's top political advisers call business friends and line up more than $500,000 for Hubbell, including $100,000 from the Lippo Group. Hubbell is later convicted of fraud and serves 18 months in jail.
The House and Senate Banking committees begin hearings on Whitewater. Twenty-nine Clinton administration officials are subpoenaed or testify at congressional hearings. All are cleared of any wrongdoing.
August 5, 1994:
A U.S. Court of Appeals panel refuses to re-appoint Fiske as special counsel, citing a possible conflict of interest because he was appointed by Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. Kenneth W. Starr, a former federal appeals court judge and U.S. solicitor who worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations, succeeds Fiske as the independent counsel to investigate Whitewater-Madison matters. He reissues subpoenas for documents, such as the Rose billing records of Hillary Clinton.
Jan. 3, 1995:
The Democratic majority on the Senate Banking Committee releases a report finding no laws were broken in the Whitewater matter.
April 22, 1995:
Starr interviews the Clintons privately.
July 18, 1995:
The Senate Special Whitewater Committee, chaired by Republican Alfonse D'Amato, begins hearings on Whitewater and on Foster's suicide. D'Amato is also a chairman of Republican Bob Dole's presidential campaign. The hearings last 11 months.
Aug. 10, 1995:
The House Banking Committee, chaired by Republican Jim Leach of Iowa, finishes its examination and finds no illegalities.
Aug. 17, 1995:
A grand jury charges James and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker with bank fraud relating to questionable loans.
Oct. 26, 1995:
The Senate Whitewater committee issues 49 subpoenas to federal agencies and others involved in the affair.
Dec. 12, 1995:
White House associate counsel William H. Kennedy III, who worked at the Rose Law Firm, refuses to release subpoenaed notes of a 1993 meeting between administration officials and the president's lawyers about Whitewater.
Dec. 20, 1995:
The Senate votes along party lines to enforce the subpoena. The next day, the White House drops its claim to attorney-client privilege and releases the notes. They prove vague and do not reveal any illegality, but contain the phrase "Vacuum Rose law files WWDC Docs – subpoena."
Jan. 4, 1996:
Hillary Clinton's billing records from the Rose Law Firm are found on a table in the White House residence book room after two years. Clinton aide Carolyn Huber says she found the bills in August 1995 but didn't realize their significance until coming across them again. The documents include copies of bills for Hillary Clinton's legal work, showing she performed 60 hours of legal work for Madison in 1985 and 1986.
Jan. 8, 1996:
In a commentary titled "Blizzard of Lies," New York Times columnist William Safire describes Hillary Clinton as "a congenital liar." White House press secretary Michael McCurry said if Clinton were not president he "would have delivered a more forceful response to that [column] on the bridge of Mr. Safire's nose."
Jan. 15, 1996:
Republicans suggest billing documents may have been withheld from their investigation to disguise how much work Hillary Clinton had done for Madison Guaranty. The White House issues a denial.
Jan. 22, 1996:
Kenneth Starr subpoenas Hillary Clinton in a criminal probe to determine if records were intentionally withheld. This is the first time a wife of a sitting president has been subpoenaed.
Jan. 26, 1996:
Hillary Clinton testifies before a grand jury about the discovery and content of the billing records.
March 4, 1996:
Whitewater trial of Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) and the McDougals begins in Little Rock.
April 22, 1996:
David Hale, the former owner of a government-funded lending company who has pleaded guilty to two felonies, testifies at Whitewater trial that in early 1985 then governor Bill Clinton pressured him to make a fraudulent $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal and asked that his name be kept out of the transaction.
April 28, 1996:
Clinton testifies on videotape as a defense witness for just over four hours. He denies Hale's charge. The tape is played to the Whitewater trial jury on May 9.
May 26, 1996:
Gov. Tucker and the McDougals are convicted of nearly all the fraud and conspiracy charges Starr lodged against them 10 months earlier.
May 28, 1996:
The White House acknowledges that during four months in late 1993 it wrongly collected FBI background reports on hundreds, including prominent Republicans. Director of personnel security, Craig Livingstone, later takes responsibility.
June 17, 1996:
"Second" Whitewater trial begins. Arkansas bankers Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert Hill are accused of illegally using bank funds to reimburse themselves for political contributions, including contributions to Clinton's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.
June 18, 1996:
The Senate Whitewater committee finishes its investigation. Republicans and Democrats remain divided in their respective reports on whether the Clintons committed any ethical breaches.
July 7, 1996:
President Clinton testifies on tape for the second Whitewater trial.
July 15, 1996:
Jim Guy Tucker resigns as governor of Arkansas.
July 16 & 17, 1996:
Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey, named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Branscum-Hill trial, testifies about his role as the treasurer of Clinton's gubernatorial reelection effort in 1990. He says he never sought to conceal from regulators two large cash withdrawals he ordered.
July 18, 1996:
President Clinton's videotaped testimony from July 7 is aired at the trial. In it, Clinton denies naming the two defendants to unsalaried state posts in exchange for contributions to his 1990 gubernatorial campaign.
Aug. 1, 1996:
In a major setback for Starr's investigation, Branscum and Hill are cleared on four counts of bank fraud by a federal jury, which deadlocks on seven other charges.
Aug. 19, 1996:
Former governor Tucker receives a suspended four-year sentence after his doctor testifies that he would likely die of liver disease if imprisoned. Tucker is placed under home detention and fined $319,000.
Aug. 20, 1996:
Susan McDougal is sentenced to two years in prison for her role in obtaining an illegal loan for the Whitewater venture.
Sept. 4, 1996:
Susan McDougal, who had considered cooperating with prosecutors, says she doesn't trust them. She enters jail for contempt of court rather than testify in front of a grand jury.
Sept. 23, 1996:
An FDIC inspector general's report concludes Hillary Clinton drafted a real estate document that Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan used to "deceive" federal regulators in 1986.
Sept. 30, 1996:
The General Accounting Office reports that independent counsels investigating President Clinton and his administration have spent more than $25 million. Starr alone has spent more than $17 million.
Nov. 24, 1996:
Clinton's former campaign strategist for the 1992 election, James Carville, announces plans to attack Starr as a partisan hatchet man with a right-wing agenda.
Feb. 17, 1997:
Starr unexpectedly announces he will leave his post as independent counsel in August to become the dean of Pepperdine University Law School in California. After much criticism, Starr reverses his decision four days later and resolves to keep his post until after the investigation is completed.
April 10, 1997:
On a radio talk show, Hillary Clinton denies that hush money was arranged for former law partner Webster L. Hubbell. She says Whitewater reminds her "of some people's obsession with UFOs and the Hale-Bopp comet some days."
April 14, 1997:
James B. McDougal is sentenced to three years in prison for his conviction on 18 fraud and conspiracy charges. Starr requested a reduced sentence for McDougal for assisting the prosecution.
April 22, 1997:
The U.S. District Court extends the Whitewater grand jury's term six more months, until Nov. 7, after Starr says he has "extensive evidence" of possible obstruction of justice.
April 25, 1997:
8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overruling a lower court, says the White House must turn over subpoenaed notes to Starr. The notes, for which the White House claimed attorney-client privilege, were taken by White House lawyers when investigators questioned the First Lady.
May 2, 1997:
The White House announces that it will appeal the decision on the subpoenaed notes to the Supreme Court.
June 23, 1997:
The Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, and the White House turns over the notes.
June 25, 1997:
The Washington Post reports that Whitewater prosecutors have been questioning Arkansas state troopers about President Clinton's personal life, including possible extramarital affairs he may have had while Arkansas governor.
July 15, 1997:
Starr's office concludes that Vincent Foster's death in 1993 was a suicide.
July 30, 1997:
Susan McDougal, being detained for contempt of court, is moved into a federal detention facility after seven months in two Los Angeles jails, much of which she spent locked in a windowless cell 23 hours a day. The move comes a week after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit alleging that McDougal was being held, at Starr's request, in "barbaric" conditions in an attempt to coerce her to testify.
Sept. 30, 1997:
The General Accounting Office announces that Starr had spent over $25 million on his investigation as of March 1997.
January 16, 1998:
Starr receives permission to expand his investigation into whether Clinton and his close friend Vernon E. Jordan Jr. encouraged a 24-year-old former White House intern to lie under oath about her alleged affair with the president.
March 8, 1998:
James McDougal dies just months before he hoped to be released from prison.
April 1, 1998:
The General Accounting Office announces that Starr had spent nearly $30 million on his investigation as of September 1997.
April 16, 1998:
Starr says there is no end in sight to his investigation, and officially declines the Pepperdine job, which was being held open for him.
April 23, 1998:
Susan McDougal, finally serving her two-year fraud sentence after completing her 18-month contempt of court sentence, refuses yet again to testify before Starr's Little Rock grand jury.
April 25, 1998:
Starr and deputies question Hillary Rodham Clinton about Whitewater for nearly five hours at the White House. The testimony is videotaped for the Little Rock grand jury.
April 30, 1998:
A new set of tax evasion and fraud charges is brought against Webster Hubbell.
May 4, 1998:
Susan McDougal is indicted on charges of criminal contempt and obstruction.
April 30, 1998:
A federal judge dismisses the tax and fraud charges against Hubbell and criticizes Starr for going on "the quintessential fishing expedition."
Nov. 13, 1998:
Starr brings a third indictment against Hubbell, this one alleging lies to Congress and federal banking regulators.
Nov. 19, 1998:
During the first day of impeachment hearings, Starr clears Clinton in relation to the firing of White House travel office workers in 1993 and the improper collection of FBI files revealed in 1996. He also says his office drafted an impeachment referral stemming from Whitewater in 1997, but decided not to send it because the evidence was insufficient.
The full opinion of U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton can be reviewed below:
Published:10/4/2016 5:21:28 PM
MOVES-Hedge fund lobby group names Simon Lorne chairman
Sept 27 (Reuters) - Global hedge fund lobby group
Alternative Investment Management Association named Simon Lorne
as its chairman, replacing former U.S. SEC Commissioner Kathleen
Published:9/27/2016 1:45:38 PM