Newsgeeker.com news site RSS Email Alerts

Search:FBI


   
[Politics] BREAKING: Murkowski responds to Flake’s request for FBI investigation Murkowski has just spoken with NBC News on Flake’s request for an FBI investigation. You’re gonna be shocked. NOT. So I guess she’s going to back him and hold her vote to . . . Published:9/28/2018 1:56:33 PM
[The Blog] Flake proposes one-week delay in final vote to let FBI investigate as Committee votes to confirm

Hoo boy.

The post Flake proposes one-week delay in final vote to let FBI investigate as Committee votes to confirm appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/28/2018 1:29:31 PM
[Kavanaugh] BREAKING: Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Kavanaugh to the Floor, Flake Requests 1-Week FBI Investigation

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh now faces a full Senate vote, after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 Friday along party lines in favor of... Read More

The post BREAKING: Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Kavanaugh to the Floor, Flake Requests 1-Week FBI Investigation appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/28/2018 1:29:31 PM
[Uncategorized] Senate Judiciary Committee Votes Yes on Kavanaugh, But Flake Wants to Delay Floor Vote Flake wants to give the FBI a week to investigate Published:9/28/2018 1:00:47 PM
[World] Sheldon Whitehouse: Kavanaugh's Calendar 'May Be Powerful Evidence' Backing Up Ford's Accusation

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) pleaded with Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pursue an FBI investigation of sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Published:9/28/2018 11:29:19 AM
[Markets] GOP Leaders Threaten Rosenstein With Subpoena If He Refuses To Testify About McCabe Memos

Roughly nine months after Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without "good reason", House Republicans are again moving to haul him in for questioning following a steady drumbeat of pressure that has intensified over the past week. This comes after they said they would subpoena the memos themselves late Thursday.

Rosie

According to the Washington Post, Rosenstein will be called back to Capitol Hill to testify, and if he refuses, the House will subpoena him, said Rep. Mark Meadows, who tweeted Friday that GOP leadership had agreed on a plan.

The calls for Rosenstein's testimony have intensified since the New York Times published a bombshell story last Friday alleging that Rosenstein tried to organize an attempt to oust President Trump via the 25th amendment, and that he had suggested surreptitiously recording the president. However, the story, which was drawn from memos allegedly taken by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, has been disputed by some people who attended a meeting with McCabe and Rosie the day before Mueller's appointment was announced. Since then, reports about Rosenstein's imminent firing/resignation have proven false, as Trump has said he wants to hear Rosenstein's side of the story. The two, who met briefly Thursday, will meet again next week.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that the Judiciary Committee "is calling the shots" and that "we support the Judiciary Chairman."

As WaPo points out, House Republicans attempted to curry the votes to impeach Rosenstein, claiming that his Rosenstein's DOJ wasn't complying with an investigation into the genesis of the Mueller probe. But in recent weeks House leaders had changed their tune, saying that Rosie had become cooperative. Trump has also considered firing him at least twice.

An agreement from GOP leaders to call Rosenstein to testify puts to rest any lingering speculation that the House would schedule a vote to impeach Rosenstein during the last few days that lawmakers are in town, before departing Washington for an extended pre-midterm campaign period. Meadows’s tweet did not say exactly when he expected Rosenstein to appear on Capitol Hill, but it will surely be after most lawmakers are scheduled to be away from Washington.

Earlier this week, Meadows said that he wanted Rosenstein to testify next week. On Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he thought Republicans were "moving in a good direction as far as getting Mr. Rosenstein to come before Congress," and that he expected Rosenstein would meet with lawmakers "soon".

Jordan also added the joint committee plans next week to meet with former FBI general counsel James Baker. Lawmakers also are expected to meet during the third week of October with Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for Fusion GPS, the firm behind a dossier detailing Trump’s alleged personal and business ties to Russia, according to two members. Ohr is married to Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official who met on several occasions with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled the information in the dossier.

While it's unclear exactly when Rosenstein will testify, his testimony will come as Republicans interview several other witnesses in their investigation, including Nellie Ohr, wife of former deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, who had ties to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired an ex-British spy to compile the Trump dossier, that were not properly disclosed.

Then again, it's still certainly possible that Trump could change his mind and fire Rosenstein before he has an opportunity to testify.

Published:9/28/2018 11:00:47 AM
[Markets] House Committee Subpoenas 'McCabe Memos' Reportedly Detailing Rosenstein's Attempted 'Palace Coup'

Despite the staggering revelations regarding his pre-Mueller probe conduct that came to light a week ago, Rod Rosenstein looks set to keep his job - for now, at least. But while President Trump has insisted that he doesn't believe the report - which alleges that Rosenstein tried to recruit cabinet members for a palace coup and even suggested surreptitiously taping Trump in the Oval Office - the truth of the matter may soon be exposed thanks to House Oversight Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who on Thursday formally subpoenaed the DOJ to obtain copies of the incriminating memos, and other related materials, purportedly penned by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The NYT and other news outlets cited the memos as the original source for their story, though none of them actually obtained physical copies of the document - instead, they relied on "descriptions" of the memos' content conveyed by third parties who had reportedly seen them.

According to Fox News, Goodlatte sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday notifying him of the subpoena, which was issued as part of a joint investigation with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy. Goodlatte is giving the DOJ - which has been notoriously reluctant to comply with Congressional subpoenas during the Trump era - a deadline of Oct. 4 to comply. The initial Times report claimed that McCabe had left copies of his memos at the FBI after he was fired earlier this year.

"Given the Department’s ongoing delays and/or refusal to produce these documents, I am left with no choice but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel their production," Goodlatte wrote to Sessions.

In addition to requesting all documents and communications pertaining to the memos, Goodlatte also subpoenaed the file  on the first FISA Court application requesting a wiretapping warrant on Trump Campaign advisor Carter Page, a warrant that was at the heart of the Obama Administration's suspected conspiracy to wiretap and investigate the presidential nominee of its rival party, according to the Washington Examiner. 

McCabe

Rosenstein has denounced the NYT report as "factually incorrect" while insisting that he never said or did the things he was accused of doing. Other anonymous sources who were reportedly in the room during a meeting between Rosenstein and McCabe where these issues were discussed were quoted saying Rosenstein made the comment about wiretapping the president in jest.

McCabe's lawyer, Mark Bromwich (who notably made an appearance during Thursday's Kavanaugh hearing) acknowledged the existence of the memos in a statement last week.

"Andrew McCabe drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions," McCabe’s attorney Michael Bromwich said in a statement. "When he was interviewed by the Special Counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos - classified and unclassified - to the Special Counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos."

The memos, which were taken by McCabe, reportedly include details from debriefing sessions with former FBI Director James Comey about his meetings with Trump. They were intended to preserve details that may have been used in an obstruction case against the president.

Fox News reported that the meeting where Rosenstein purportedly made his comments took place on May 16, 2017. The meeting was attended by several DOJ officials, including McCabe and former FBI counsel Lisa Page, who was famously fired from the bureau after her anti-Trump text messages with former lover Peter Strzok were exposed. Notably, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller the day after the meeting. The New York Times reported at the time that it had confirmed the details of the memos - the contents of which had been shared with the paper through an intermediary - with multiple people who had been briefed on their content.

Published:9/28/2018 7:26:00 AM
[Markets] Kavanaugh Confirmation Odds Soar As Key Vote Looms

Brett Kavanaugh's impassioned testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee transfixed a nation on Thursday as Wall Street traders turned away from their terminals to tune in, causing trading volumes to plummet.

The SCOTUS nominee's staunch rebuttal of the allegations levied by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her 36 years ago when they were both teenagers apparently convinced the handful of wavering moderate Republicans to throw their support behind Kavanaugh, as reports emerged last night that the Senate has the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, and that Senate Judiciary Committee leaders intend to hold a vote to recommend Kavanaugh first thing Friday morning, with the Senate confirmation following "in the coming days" (according to Mitch McConnell) - just in time for lawmakers to embark on an October campaigning blitz ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm vote.

According to Bloomberg, all eyes are three senators who have been undecided: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Flake told reporters he was undecided and the other two have declined to say where they stand. Meanwhile, Bob Corker of Tennessee said yesterday that he has decided how to vote - though he has yet to reveal his intentions. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has been meeting with Republicans about possibly voting for Kavanaugh. "We're still talking," Manchin said.

So, with Republicans reportedly on the cusp of confirming the long-awaited fifth vote that would cement a conservative majority on the nation's highest court for the next generation, and with President Trump having voiced his unequivocal support for his nominee after wavering earlier in the week...

...Online betting odds that Kavanaugh will be confirmed - which had dropped during Ford's testimony Thursday morning - rebounded sharply on Friday, showing that investors overwhelmingly expect Kavanaugh will fill the seat once held by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

However, the American Bar Association (the US legal world's largest organization) has continued to oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation, and on Thursday evening, it issued a statement asking the GOP to delay the vote on Kavanaugh until the FBI could conduct a more thorough investigation, with ABA President Robert Carlson urging the Senate to abide by its duty to "advise and consent'.

"The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI," ABA President Robert Carlson wrote in a letter to Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif).

The letter, which is unlikely to sway Republicans, said that an appointment to the Supreme court "is simply too important to rush to a vote." "Deciding to proceed without conducting an additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court," Carlson wrote in the letter, obtained by The Washington Post.

Kavanaugh touted his good standing with the ABA during Thursday's hearing, per the Washington Post.

As part of its review of Kavanaugh’s qualifications, the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary found that Kavanaugh  "enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and is a person of outstanding character," contributing to its unanimous "well-qualified" rating. Kavanaugh and Graham together alluded to the ABA investigation at least three times Thursday.

Also calling for a delay to the vote was Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has often appeared on cable news networks to defend Trump, per Fox News.

Also calling for an FBI probe was Harvard Law School scholar Alan Dershowitz, often lauded by President Trump for his criticisms of the the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.  "Maybe we can get closer to the truth, although that is not certain," Dershowitz wrote in a Fox News opinion piece. "But right now there are too many unanswered question[s] to bring the confirmation of Kavanaugh" to "a vote of the Judiciary Committee as scheduled on Friday, much less to a vote of the full Senate.” It is “possible that one of them is deliberately lying. Right now, there is no way of knowing for certain, which is why the FBI needs to talk to the judge’s accusers and others."

Though even WaPo conceded that the ABA's pleas were "unlikely to sway Republicans."

Meanwhile protesters are already gathering on both sides of the aisle. Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, it could lead to another escalation in the extreme ideological anger - and violence - that has gripped the nation over the past two years.

Published:9/28/2018 6:55:10 AM
[Politics] ABA: Delay Kavanaugh Vote, Let FBI Investigate The American Bar Association is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate to slow down on the vote on Brett Kavanaugh for a position on the Supreme Court until the FBI has time to do a full background check on claims of sexual assault made by Christine... Published:9/28/2018 6:00:10 AM
[Markets] Senate Insider: Kavanaugh Votes Secured

After an emotional day of testimony on Capitol Hill, a late Thursday report from Townhall citing a Senate insider reveals that Brett Kavanaugh has the votes to make it out of committee and will be confirmed on the floor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court

Sens. Flake (R-AZ), Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), and Manchin (D-WV) are expected to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. All the Republicans are voting yes. Also, in the rumor mill, several Democrats may break ranks and back Kavanaugh. That’s the ball game, folks. -Townhall

Thursday's proceedings saw a rollercoaster of emotions from both Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford - who claims he groped her at a high school party in 1982. 

Ford's testimony was considered compelling, with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) calling her an "attractive, good witness," however betting site PredictIt showed Kavanaugh's odds of confirmation steadily climbing after ranking minority leader Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) laid out Ford's case. He stands at 74% as of this writing. 

PredictIt

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, shook the building with righteous indignation - slamming Democrats for smearing his family name and his lifetime of achievements. His opening statement was gripping and emotional - with Kavanaugh breaking down into tears several times, and seething with rage during other pivotal moments - such as when he excoriated Feinstein for withholding Ford's letter from the committee for several weeks before it was leaked to the press. 

Feinstein was taken aback, and immediately pivoted to a softer tact which was ultimately not convincing. The Democrats attempted several times to corner Kavanaugh on why he hasn't advocated for an FBI investigation into the allegations against him, to which Kavanaugh stated several times that this would ultimately be unproductive since the agency doesn't render an opinion, which was the Judiciary Committee's job. 

Kavanaugh's opening statement has already been made into a commercial: 

And his entire opening statement: 

Undoubtedly contributing to pro-Kavanaugh sentiment among GOP Committee members was Senator Lindsey Graham's fiery condemnation of the Democrats for turning the Supreme Court hearing into a circus. 

Democrats are now suggesting that Kavanaugh isn't fit for the Supreme Court because of his emotional testimony over accusations that will hang over his head for the rest of his life, confirmed or not. 

With no evidence, no corroborating witnesses, and the timing of the allegation, these allegations against an eminently qualified judge were just too thin to stop the Kavanaugh train. Remember Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) office had Ford’s letter since July. They sat on it for weeks. They kept it from Senate colleagues. And then they dropped it at the 11th hour in the hope of derailing the nomination. It was a Hail Mary pass—and it failed miserably. -Townhall

Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation vote is scheduled for Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Published:9/28/2018 4:57:28 AM
[Politics] Graham rips Dems for turning Kavanaugh hearing into ‘unethical sham’ Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham angrily blasted the Democrats’ handling of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process as “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.” “If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us,” Graham (R-SC) said, his voice shaking, as he addressed Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. “What you... Published:9/27/2018 8:53:31 PM
[Politics] House GOP Subpoenas DOJ for McCabe Memos The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the Department of Justice for memos written by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Published:9/27/2018 5:21:29 PM
[Politics] “My family’s been destroyed by this Senator” – Kavanaugh doesn’t hold back, gives Feinstein an EARFUL! — [FULL VIDEO] Kavanaugh was spitting fire today in his remarks with Senator Feinstein. She was trying to corner him by asking why he didn’t push for an FBI investigation. But Kavanaugh hit back hard, . . . Published:9/27/2018 3:51:22 PM
[Politics] “My family’s been destroyed by this Senator” – Kavanaugh doesn’t hold back, gives Feinstein an EARFUL! — [FULL VIDEO] Kavanaugh was spitting fire today in his remarks with Senator Feinstein. She was trying to corner him by asking why he didn’t push for an FBI investigation. But Kavanaugh hit back hard, . . . Published:9/27/2018 3:51:22 PM
[Markets] Watch Live: Kavanaugh Bests Feinstein In Fiery Opening Exchange

Update XI: "I am giving you the evidence now."

With that statement, Kavanaugh rebutted a question from Dianne Feinstein, making her look scattered and ineffectual by comparison.

In a statement that apparently surprised Feinstein, Kavanaugh categorically denied his accusers allegations, leaving her utterly baffled and struggling for a response. Asked about why he didn't support an FBI investigation, Kavanaugh responded that he wanted to immediately address the allegations at a hearing - a wish that was ultimately not granted, allowing the aspersions cast by his accusers to linger unaddressed for more than a week. "I'll do what the committee wants me to do," he said.

Responding specifically to questions about Julie Swetnick, Kavanaugh called her claims a "joke" and a "farce".

Feinstein asked Kavanaugh if he had anything more to say about Swetnick. He responded with a resounding "no."

So far, his performance is earning rave reviews.

Trump Jr. also weighed in.

 

 

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham accused Ford of using her purported "fear of flying" as an excuse to delay the hearing as long as possible.

"You could not get a search warrant or an arrest warrant," off Ford's claims, he pointed out.

Here's Kavanaugh's opening statement.

* * *

Update X:  Kavanaugh's statement is far deeper, angrier and more detailed than pundits could have guessed. And while some pundits scolded him, others pointed out that his response is completely justified, as the Washington Examiner pointed out.

And maybe, on the "optics," the anger is not helpful. But on the score of justice, Kavanaugh's anger is totally fitting.

But if half the political machinery of the federal government, the leaders of one party, and about half of the media came after you with a campaign of lies - which is what this is, if Kavanaugh isn't guilty of rape and sexual assault - you would be angry.

If you fielded death threats, were called a rapist, and attacked not just by random Internet trolls and juvenile protests, but by major politicians who are still welcomed in polite society, you would be angry.

As Kavanaugh said about 30 minute into his opening statement, "we live in a land of due process and rule of law...and if we allow decades old allegations to stand...we will have abandoned that virtue."

"I swear before the nation, my family and God, I am innocent of this charge," Kavanaugh said, concluding his statement.

* * *

Update IX: Judge Kavanaugh has come out of the gate swinging, visibly furious and accusing Democrats of a "coordinated effort" to destroy his good name and his family, and pledging that he will continue fighting back. He firmly declared that he "has never sexually assaulted anyone - not in high school, not in college, not ever." He added that one of his closest female friends is a sexual assault survivor.

Kavanaugh described the last-minute flurry of allegations as "a calculated and orchestrated political hit," fueled in part by anger at Trump, the 2016 election and "revenge" on behalf of the Clintons. These smears were "expected if not planned by his opponents."

Kav

He accused the minority of replacing "advice and consent" with "search and destroy."

"Listen to the people I know," Kavanaugh pleads. "Listen to the witnesses who allegedly were at the event 36 years ago." Regardless of the outcome of the vote, Kavanaugh said that he would not be intimidated, even though the allegations have "destroyed my family and made me fear for our future."

"I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You have tried hard. You given it your all. No one can question your effort. Your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroyed my family will not drag me out."

The judge became visibly choked up while talking about his mother, then had to pause as he struggled to describe how his daughters said their prayers for Ford Wednesday night.

"That's a lot of wisdom for a 10-year-old."

He added that, throughout his career, he has been vetted numerous times, despite hundreds of hours of interviews and dozens of meetings with lawmakers. "Never a hint of anything of this kind and that's because nothing of this kind ever happened." 

He clarified that he socialized in high school with women from numerous private all-girls schools - but not Holton-Arms, the school attended by doctor Ford. He went on to emphasize how none of the people whom Ford said also attended the party corroborated her story, and that none of them lived near the location where the party allegedly took place - and neither did Ford.

Moving on to the calendars that he turned over, the party happened in a summer in 1982 on a weekend night, "my calendar shows all but definitively, I was not there."

In an effort to give the committee "a full picture of who I was" Kavanaugh reiterated that he didn't have sex in high school, or for many years after. He attributed boasts about the "Renata Club" and other sexually charged comments from his high school yearbook to his insecurity about his inexperience.

"I doubt we are alone in looking back in high school and cringing at some things," says Kavanaugh.

"For one thing our yearbook was a disaster. I think some editors and students wanted the book to be some combination of Animal House, Caddyshack, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High", which he notes, "were all popular movies at the time."

* * *

Update VIII: Following six hours of relatively persuasive testimony from Ford, it is now Kavanaugh's turn to rebut her allegations.

Betting odds of Kavanaugh's confirmation plunged on Thursday as pundits said Ford's testimony could be enough to convince moderate Republicans - and possibly even the president - to withdraw their support for the one-time "sure thing." That Kavanaugh's nomination will fall through is now the most likely outcome according to one popular online betting market. In second place was Kav squeaking by with a one-vote margin (with Vice President Mike Pence presumably casting the tie-breaking vote).

Odds

* * *

Update VII: While we're waiting for Kavanaugh's testimony, here's a summary of where we are at:

  • Ford says that she didn't have a political motivation in coming forward
  • Ford says she didn't authorize the release of the letter to the public and doesn't know how her allegations were made public
  • Senator Booker says the way sexual assault survivors are treated is `unacceptable' and submits seven letters supporting Ford
  • Ford says she would be happy to cooperate with FBI and would submit to interviews from staff on the committee
  • Ford testifies that Kavanaugh attended four or five parties with her where there was no sexually inappropriate behavior, except for the night in question
  • Ford says that Feinstein recommended Katz as an attorney
  • Ford says she didn't tell Leyland Keyser about alleged assault but expects Judge would remember
  • Mitchell's questioning didn't appear to deter Ford as she answered most questions without issue

* * *

Update VI: More anonymous White House officials have spoken to WSJ with their reaction to Ford's testimony. The upshot? It's not looking good for Kavanaugh.

Barring a major stumble by Ford, Kavanaugh will need to knock it out of the park to survive.

Former Trump White House officials described Thursday's hearing as a "disaster" for Republicans that ramps up the pressure on Judge Kavanaugh's testimony later in the day.

One former official called the hearing "worse than any Republican could have expected," describing Dr. Ford as a "very credible witness" and criticizing the performance of Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor hired by Republicans.

"Barring a big f***up by Ford, I don't see how Kavanaugh has a chance to save his own ass in his testimony," the official said.

Another former official said the hearing was "not very good" for the White House.

"Ford's testimony puts all the pressure on Kavanaugh," the official said. "He really needs to knock it out of the park."

Oddly enough, the Trump campaign sent out a fundraising message during Thursday's testimony calling the allegations against Kavanaugh "a witch hunt."

"They did it to Justice Clarence Thomas. They did it to Judge Robert Bork," the message read. "Now it's happening again."

As Ford teared up in response to declarations of sympathy from Kamala Harris - who declared "I believe you, we believe you" - and Corey Booker - who praised Ford's testimony a "nothing short of heroic" - some pundits questioned why the GOP prosecutor's questions haven't been nearly as penetrating as one might ahve expected.

* * *

Update V: Despite the lapses in Ford's story highlighted by the prosecutor and senators, political pundits have sounded off on Ford's testimony. And the overarching view is that she seemed credible enough to cast serious doubt on Kavanaugh's candidacy.

Ross Douthat from the NYT said the testimony was "too credible" to elevate Kavanaugh.

Despite the somber subject matter, the testimony included more than a few humorous moments.

Others pointed out that Ford's claim that the experience has been a source of enduring trauma appeared to clash with the numerous lapses in her memory.

Others pointed out that her testimony seemed rehearsed and inauthentic.

Meanwhile, Fox News' Chris Wallace - a host on Trump's favorite network - said he didn't see how "we could disregard [Ford]" and that her testimony was a "disaster" for Republicans.

During the committee's break for lunch, Senator Orrin Hatch stirred up a minor controversy when he told a group of reporters that he thought Ford was "attractive" and "pleasing" and that "she's a very nice person and I wish her well."

* * *

Update IV: Ford's testimony has resumed, with Democrats including Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse once again pontificating about the injustice of the fact that the FBI hasn't been called upon to investigate Ford's claims for Kavanaugh's background file. In addition, he said once again that Mark Judge, the alleged witness to the assault, should have been subpoenaed.

Mitchell then asked Ford if there might be other contributing factors to the post-traumatic symptoms she has experienced in the wake of the assault. Mitchell then clarified that Ford had told her husband that she had experienced a sexual assault before they were married, then divulged more details during a therapy session in 2012.

In response to another one of Mitchell's questions, Ford described her fear of flying. After which, Mitchell asked how Ford had made it to Thursday's hearing.

"I flew," she replied.

Following this, Grassley struggled to make clear to Ford that he offered to send staff out to California to take her testimony. Ford eventually acknowledged that she appreciated the offer, though she says she was not made aware of it at the time.

Meanwhile, a WSJ reporter asked a senior White House official for Trump's thoughts on the hearing. "Too early for me to answer that," they said.

She had said she wanted to delay the hearing from Monday to Thursday so that she could drive to Washington.

In a statement to reporters during a break in the testimony, Chairman Grassley said that he likely wouldn't have a comment on the proceedings on Thursday., per Axios.

"During a break, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters, "I don’t think I can make any comments at all today, maybe it’s something I ought to sleep on. This is pretty important. We ought to be thinking about it a lot and not making hasty comments."

Asked about the delay in Ford's disclosure, Ford said it took her Congresswoman Anna Eshoo's office a few weeks to get back to her. She also said that "beach friends" in Delaware had advised her to hire a lawyer and contact either the New York Times or the Washington Post - which inspired her to send an encrypted text to the Post.

Meanwhile, WSJ's Kimberly Strassel pointed out a few holes in Ford's story, including the fact, uncovered by the prosecutor, that nobody has actually seen Ford's therapy session notes from 2012.

 

* * *

Update III: In a sign that the rift between Trump and Kavanaugh is worsening, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the two hadn't spoken in "the last couple of days."

In response to a question from Sen. Dick Durbin, Ford said she remembers encountering Mark Judge once following the assault during a trip to the Potomac Safeway, and that he appeared extremely uncomfortable, despite the two of them being friendly before the assault. Asked by Durbin about whether she could be mistaken about Kavanaugh's identity, she said she is "100% certain" that it was Kavanaugh who had assaulted her.

* * *

Update II: Rachel Mitchell's questioning has begun with an examination of texts between Ford and a Washington Post reporter, as well as the letter Ford wrote to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Ford offered a few minor corrections. Afterward, answering a question from Feinstein, Ford recounted how the assault impacted her mental health over the following four years, saying she struggled in her studies and in her "relationships with boys."

Ford likened coming forward to "jumping in front of a train" and said she had feared she would be "personally annihilated."

Asked if her accusation of Kavanaugh could be a case of mistaken identity, Ford replied "absolutely not" adding that she was flooded with adrenaline and norepinephrine.

Asked about the atmosphere of the party, Ford said she remembers a modestly furnished living room, and that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge were extremely inebriated. Ford clarified that the event "wasn't a party" saying instead that it was a gathering that she expected would lead to a party later.

In response to a question from Sen. Patrick Leahy, Ford said the most indelible memory from that night was "the laughter" shared by Kavanaugh and Judge. "It sounded like two friends having a really good time."

Shifting back to Mitchell, the prosecutor asked about inconsistencies in Ford's testimony, like the number of people in attendance at the party (at one point Ford claimed there were four boys and two girls at the party, and at another time she said there were only four boys).

* * *

Update: With Ranking member Dianne Feinstein (who initially helped publicize Ford's allegations) nearly finished with his opening remarks, the headlines are starting to roll in...

Grassley opened the hearing by assailing Democrats, asking why they didn't publish Ford's allegations sooner, and apologizing to both Ford and Kavanaugh for the "vile threats" levied at their families. He also attacked Feinstein for failing to publicize the allegations until the last minute. The Iowa Republican promised a "safe, comfortable and dignified" atmosphere at the hearing. Ford is expected to testify first, with Kavanaugh following later in the day.

Meanwhile, Feinstein, blissfully unaware of the irony embedded in her statement, accused Republicans of rushing to judgment in promising to move ahead with a confirmation vote on Friday. "This is not a trial for Dr. Ford, it is a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh."

During her opening testimony, Ford, sounding choked up and on the verge of tears, described the alleged assault and explained how it had drastically altered her life, and said that, after finding out that his name was on a short list of SCOTUS candidates, she felt it was her "civic duty" to tell the public about the assault. Ford - who said she first told her husband about the assault during a couples counseling session in 2012 - claimed that, once she read media reports claiming Kavanaugh's confirmation was virtually assured, she decided to stay silent. However, she soon found herself being harassed by reporters, who told her that she would soon be outed with or without her consent. At this point, she said she decided to speak out to "describe the assault in my own words."

Ford says she and her family have paid a heavy price for "speaking out", saying they were forced out of their home because of the volume of death threats.

She concluded her opening testimony with a "request for caffeine."

CNN has published a list of committee members and pointed out that, of the 21 senators on the committee, only four are women.

Eleven Republicans:

Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa
Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah
Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina
Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas
Sen. Michael Lee, of Utah
Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas
Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska
Sen. Jeff Flake, of Arizona
Sen. Mike Crapo, of Idaho
Sen. Thom Tillis, of North Carolina
Sen. John Kennedy, of Louisiana

Ten Democrats:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of California
Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont
Sen. Dick Durbin, of Ilinois
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota
Sen. Christopher Coons, of Delaware
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut
Sen. Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii
Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jeresey
Sen. Kamala Harris, of California

CNN is also reporting that Democratic senators aren't expected to consolidate their questions,

Senate Democrats are not expected to consolidate their questions, meaning no one is giving up their allotted time to ask questions in order to allow others more time. However, they are coordinating their questions.

* * *

After a series of delays and countless hours of haggling and speculation, President Trump's embattled SCOUTS nominee Brett Kavanaugh will face the first of what are now five accusers (two of them anonymous) who have alleged that he sexually attacked or assaulted them, or someone they know, in the distant past.

For the hearing, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford - who went public 11 days ago with allegations that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, attempted to remove her clothes and covered her mouth when she tried to scream for help during a high school party 36 years ago - will travel to Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to answer questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as a female sex crimes prosecutor hired by committee Republicans. Kavanaugh, who has already sat for two days of confirmation hearings, will testify later in the day, where he will answer questions about allegations of past sexual misconduct.

The hearing, which is slated to begin at 10 am ET, is expected to be a media circus that has already drawn comparisons to the confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, who was nearly waylaid by accusations of sexual harassment from former law clerk Anita Hill back in the early 1990s. The hearing is expected to last several hours.

Watch the hearing live below:

We've published a guide to everything readers need to know about the hearing a piece explaining the potential repercussions that this hearing could have on the #MeToo movement and a story detailing some of the latest allegations against Kavanaugh.

* * *

Democrats will seek to paint Kavanaugh as scattered and anxious, while Republicans are hoping to discredit Ford by focusing on gaps in her memories. Already, all of the people who Ford claims were at the party have said they either weren't there or that the incident never happened.

Another question that will be on viewers minds: What will Trump think of the hearing?

And will any more accusers step forward between now and the time the marathon session ends?

Published:9/27/2018 3:51:22 PM
[World] Christine Blasey Ford Brett Kavanaugh Allegation: Former FBI Agent on Accuser's Polygraph Test

The retired FBI agent who administered Christine Blasey Ford's polygraph test joined Shannon Bream on "Fox News @ Night."

Published:9/27/2018 8:53:05 AM
[Markets] Here's Everything You Need To Know About Thursday's Kavanaugh Hearing

A confirmation that appeared virtually guaranteed barely one week ago has been brought to the brink of an embarrassing political defeat for President Trump now that a total of five women (three using their names, two under the guise of anonymity) have accused Federal Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is Trump's pick to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, of sexual improprieties ranging from harassment to rape.

And while the credibility of all three of the named accusers has been brought into question (evidence of political bias, domestic instability and other discrediting factors have surfaced in media reports), initial accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will appear on Thursday to "confront" Kavanaugh, who she says pinned her to a bed, covered her mouth and attempted to remove her clothes during a high school party in the early 1980s. Though all of the people whom Ford has said were also in attendance at the party have either said they weren't there or that the incident that Ford is alleging never happened, Dems have continued to push for an FBI investigation. Meanwhile, GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have hired Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle most of the questioning. Questions for Senators will be capped at 5 minutes during the hearing, which is set to begin around 10 am ET. In order to avoid the media circus that characterized Kavanaugh's initial hearings, the committee has moved Thursday's hearing to the Dirksen Senate Office Building room 226, a smaller, more intimate venue.

Kav

Ahead of what's expected to be one of the most closely watched political events of the year (a year that also includes a mid-term election), USA Today and the Hill have published primers outlining everything readers need to know about the hearing, including their best guesses about what Senators might ask, as well as what's next for Kavanaugh's nomination should he retain President Trump's favor following the hearing. Notably, after a less-than-stellar performance during Kavanaugh's interview with Fox News earlier this week, Trump has raised the possibility that he might withdraw his support, saying he'd like to "see what's said" during Thursday's hearing.

Who Are The Other Accusers?

Five women have now accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

On Wednesday, Julie Swetnick, a client of attorney Michael Avenatti, alleged in a signed affidavit hat she witnessed Kavanaugh and high school classmate Mark Judge intentionally try to make girls "inebriated and disoriented" so the two boys, and a squad of their high school friends, could "gang rape" the women at high school parties. Deborah Ramirez, who attended Yale at the same time as Kavanaugh, described an incident where Kavanaugh allegedly pulled down his pants and shoved his penis in her face. That incident, like the others, allegedly ocurred when Kavanaugh was very drunk.

Two additional accusations were made public Wednesday night after it was revealed that Kavanaugh had been questioned about anonymous allegations of assault from two women.

They have declined to come forward, but one woman claimed that she was raped on a boat by Kavanaugh, and another claims that her daughter witnessed Kavanaugh push another woman against a wall and tried to force himself on her while he was drunk. Kavanaugh was also questioned about an anonymous allegation that he raped a woman on a boat in Rhode Island back in 1985.

Credibility Test

Senators from both parties say the hearing will be a crucial test of Kavanaugh's and Ford's credibility.

"Juries smell truthfulness," said a Democratic senator. "Juries look for who is the most comfortable and nine times out of 10, that’s the one telling the truth."

Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), a centrist Democrat who is undecided on how to vote, says he will "read body language and listen to what they’re saying and how they’re saying it" to assess the credibility of the witnesses.

What Happened During The Attack?

All four of the people whom Ford says were at the party say they have no recollection of the attack. Ford has also acknowledged crucial gaps in her memory.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary panel, said he is looking for "more context about the allegation and more specific" information.

What Will Democrats Ask?

Several Democrats have said they will ask "very detailed questions" about Kavanaugh's drinking habits and his sexual relationships beginning in high school. Their questions have one goal: To make Kavanaugh appear evasive. Because, as Axios explains, if Kavanaugh appears "awkward, stiff and evasive..." he's toast.

Democrats will likely reference a book written by Kavanaugh's high school friend, Mark Judge, entitled "Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk," in which Kavanaugh is believed to be the inspiration for a character named Bart O’Kavanaugh.

"One of the more obvious things to go after is the tension between the image of Judge Kavanaugh’s choir boy or frat boy. Bluntly, you can find both in his own writings and speeches,” said committee member Sen. Christopher Coons.

Another Dem said "nobody believes" that Kavanaugh was a virgin for many years after high school.

What Will Be Outside Counsel's Role?

Republicans plan to defer to Mitchell, who has led her county's sex crimes unit as its head prosecutor.

"My plan for right now is to defer to our new staff member," said committee member Sen. John Kennedy. "I reserve the right, if I have any time left, to ask questions, but I’m not planning on it."

When Will The Senate Vote?

Grassley has scheduled a Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination for Friday, but he left open the possibility that the vote could be delayed. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to "plow right through" with Kavanaugh's nomination and has hinted that he could break with precedent and schedule a floor vote on Kavanaugh without a recommendation from the committee.

* * *

Meanwhile, both Kavanaugh and Ford have published their opening testimony. Read a highlighted version of Kavanaugh's remarks produced by the Washington Post here.

And one for Ford's here.

Published:9/27/2018 7:25:58 AM
[Markets] Empire Of Lies: Are "We, The People" Useful Idiots In The Digital Age?

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Back in the heyday of the old Soviet Union, a phrase evolved to describe gullible western intellectuals who came to visit Russia and failed to notice the human and other costs of building a communist utopia. The phrase was “useful idiots” and it applied to a good many people who should have known better. I now propose a new, analogous term more appropriate for the age in which we live: useful hypocrites. That’s you and me, folks, and it’s how the masters of the digital universe see us. And they have pretty good reasons for seeing us that way. They hear us whingeing about privacy, security, surveillance, etc., but notice that despite our complaints and suspicions, we appear to do nothing about it. In other words, we say one thing and do another, which is as good a working definition of hypocrisy as one could hope for.”—John Naughton, The Guardian

“Who needs direct repression,” asked philosopher Slavoj Zizek, “when one can convince the chicken to walk freely into the slaughterhouse?”

In an Orwellian age where war equals peace, surveillance equals safety, and tolerance equals intolerance of uncomfortable truths and politically incorrect ideas, “we the people” have gotten very good at walking freely into the slaughterhouse, all the while convincing ourselves that the prison walls enclosing us within the American police state are there for our protection.

Call it doublespeak, call it hypocrisy, call it delusion, call it whatever you like, but the fact remains that while we claim to value freedom, privacy, individuality, equality, diversity, accountability, and government transparency, our actions and those of our government rulers contradict these much-vaunted principles at every turn.

For instance, we claim to disdain the jaded mindset of the Washington elite, and yet we continue to re-elect politicians who lie, cheat and steal. 

We claim to disapprove of the endless wars that drain our resources and spread thin our military, and yet we repeatedly buy into the idea that patriotism equals supporting the military. 

We claim to chafe at taxpayer-funded pork barrel legislation for roads to nowhere, documentaries on food fights, and studies of mountain lions running on treadmills, and yet we pay our taxes meekly and without raising a fuss of any kind.

We claim to object to the militarization of our local police forces and their increasingly battlefield mindset, and yet we do little more than shrug our shoulders over SWAT team raids and police shootings of unarmed citizens.

And then there’s our supposed love-hate affair with technology, which sees us bristling at the government’s efforts to monitor our internet activities, listen in on our phone calls, read our emails, track our every movement, and punish us for what we say on social media, and yet we keep using these very same technologies all the while doing nothing about the government’s encroachments on our rights.

This contradiction is backed up by a Pew Research Center study, which finds that “Americans say they are deeply concerned about privacy on the web and their cellphones. They say they do not trust Internet companies or the government to protect it. Yet they keep using the services and handing over their personal information.”

Let me get this straight: the government continues to betray our trust, invade our privacy, and abuse our rights, and we keep going back for more?

Sure we do.

After all, the alternative—taking a stand, raising a ruckus, demanding change, refusing to cooperate, engaging in civil disobedience—is not only a lot of work but can be downright dangerous.

What we fail to realize, however, is that by tacitly allowing these violations to continue, we not only empower the tyrant but we feed the monster.

In this way, what starts off as small, occasional encroachments on our rights, justified in the name of greater safety, becomes routine, wide-ranging abuses so entrenched as to make reform all but impossible.

We saw this happen with the police and their build-up of military arsenal, ostensibly to fight the war on drugs. The result: atransformation of America’s law enforcement agencies into extensions of the military, populated with battle-hardened soldiers who view “we the people” as enemy combatants.

The same thing happened with the government’s so-called efforts to get tough on crime by passing endless laws outlawing all manner of activities. The result: an explosion of laws criminalizing everything from parenting decisions and fishing to gardening and living off the grid.

And then there were the private prisons, marketed as a way to lower the government’s cost of locking up criminals. Only it turns out that private prisons actually cost the taxpayer more money and place profit incentives on jailing more Americans, resulting in the largest prison population in the world.

Are you starting to notice a pattern yet?

The government lures us in with a scheme to make our lives better, our families safer, and our communities more secure, and then once we buy into it, they slam the trap closed.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about red light cameras, DNA databases, surveillance cameras, or zero tolerance policies: they all result in “we the people” being turned into Enemy Number One.

In this way, the government campaign to spy on our phone calls, letters and emails was sold to the American people as a necessary tool in the war on terror.

Instead of targeting terrorists, however, the government has turned usinto potential terrorists, so that if we dare say the wrong thing in a phone call, letter, email or on the internet, especially social media, we end up investigated, charged and possibly jailed.

If you happen to be one of the 1.31 billion individuals who use Facebook or one of the 255 million who tweet their personal and political views on Twitter, you might want to pay close attention.

This criminalization of free speech, which is exactly what the government’s prosecution of those who say the “wrong” thing using an electronic medium amounts to, was at the heart of Elonis v. United States, a case that wrestled with where the government can draw the line when it comes to expressive speech that is protected and permissible versus speech that could be interpreted as connoting a criminal intent.

The case arose after Anthony Elonis, an aspiring rap artist, used personal material from his life as source material and inspiration for rap lyrics which he then shared on Facebook.

For instance, shortly after Elonis’ wife left him and he was fired from his job, his lyrics included references to killing his ex-wife, shooting a classroom of kindergarten children, and blowing up an FBI agent who had opened an investigation into his postings. 

Despite the fact that Elonis routinely accompanied his Facebook posts with disclaimers that his lyrics were fictitious, and that he was using such writings as an outlet for his frustrations, he was charged with making unlawful threats (although it was never proven that he intended to threaten anyone) and sentenced to 44 months in jail.

Elonis is not the only Facebook user to be targeted for prosecution based on the content of his posts.

In a similar case that made its way through the courts only to be rebuffed by the Supreme Court, Brandon Raub, a decorated Marine, was arrested by a swarm of FBI, Secret Service agents and local police and forcibly detained in a psychiatric ward because of controversial song lyrics and political views posted on his Facebook page. He was eventually released after a circuit court judge dismissed the charges against him as unfounded. 

Rapper Jamal Knox and Rashee Beasley were sentenced to jail terms of up to six years for a YouTube video calling on listeners to “kill these cops ‘cause they don’t do us no good.” Although the rapper contended that he had no intention of bringing harm to the police, he was convicted of making terroristic threats and intimidation of witnesses.

And then there was Franklin Delano Jeffries II, an Iraq war veteran, who, in the midst of a contentious custody battle for his daughter,shared a music video on YouTube and Facebook in which he sings about the judge in his case, “Take my child and I’ll take your life.” Despite his insistence that the lyrics were just a way for him to vent his frustrations with the legal battle, Jeffries was convicted of communicating threats and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

The common thread running through all of these cases is the use of social media to voice frustration, grievances, and anger, sometimes using language that is overtly violent.

The question the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to decide in Elonis is whether this activity, in the absence of any overt intention of committing a crime, rises to the level of a “true threat” or whether it is, as I would contend, protected First Amendment activity. (The Supreme Court has defined a “true threat” as “statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.”)

In an 8-1 decision that concerned itself more with “criminal-law principles concerning intent rather than the First Amendment’s protection of free speech,” the Court ruled that prosecutors had not proven that Elonis intended to harm anyone beyond the words he used and context.

That was three years ago.

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Elonis, Corporate America has now taken the lead in policing expressive activity online, with social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube using their formidable dominance in the field to censor, penalize and regulate speech and behavior online by suspending and/or banning users whose content violated the companies’ so-called community standards for obscenity, violence, hate speech, discrimination, etc.

Make no mistake: this is fascism.

This is fascism with a smile.

As Bertram Gross, former presidential advisor, noted in his chilling book Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, “Anyone looking for black shirts, mass parties, or men on horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism. . . . In America, it would be super modern and multi-ethnic—as American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards, and apple pie. It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic façade, subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. What scares me most is its subtle appeal.”

The subtle appeal of this particular brand of fascism is its self-righteous claim to fighting the evils of our day (intolerance, hatred, violence) using the weapons of Corporate America.

Be warned, however: it is only a matter of time before these weapons are used more broadly, taking aim at anything that stands in its quest for greater profit, control and power.

This is what fascism looks like in a modern context, with corporations flexing their muscles to censor and silence expressive activity under the pretext that it is taking place within a private environment subject to corporate rules as opposed to activity that takes place within a public or government forum that might be subject to the First Amendment’s protection of “controversial” and/or politically incorrect speech.

Alex Jones was just the beginning.

Jones, the majordomo of conspiracy theorists who spawned an empire built on alternative news, was banned from Facebook for posting content that violates the social media site’s “Community Standards,”which prohibit posts that can be construed as bullying or hateful. 

According to The Washington PostTwitter suspended over 70 million accounts over the course of two months to “reduce the flow of misinformation on the platform.” Among those temporarily suspended was Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute.

Rightly contending that tech companies are just extensions of the government, former Texas congressman Ron Paul believes that social media networks under the control of Google, Apple, Twitter and Facebook are working with the U.S. government to silence dissent. “You get accused of treasonous activity and treasonous speech because in an empire of lies the truth is treason,” Paul declared. “Challenging the status quo is what they can’t stand and it unnerves them, so they have to silence people.”

Curiously enough, you know who has yet to be suspended? President Trump.

Twitter’s rationale for not suspending world leaders such as Trump, whom critics claim routinely violate the social media giant’s rules, is because “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”

Frankly, all individuals, whether or not they are world leaders, should be entitled to have their thoughts and ideas aired openly, pitted against those who might disagree with them, and debated widely, especially in a forum like the internet.

Why does this matter?

The internet and social media have taken the place of the historic public square, which has slowly been crowded out by shopping malls and parking lots.

As such, these cyber “public squares” may be the only forum left for citizens to freely speak their minds and exercise their First Amendment rights, especially in the wake of legislation that limits access to our elected representatives. 

Unfortunately, the internet has become a tool for the government—and its corporate partners—to monitor, control and punish the populace for behavior and speech that may be controversial but are far from criminal.

Indeed, the government, a master in the art of violence, intrusion, surveillance and criminalizing harmless activities, has repeatedly attempted to clamp down on First Amendment activity on the web and in social media under the various guises of fighting terrorism, discouraging cyberbullying, and combatting violence.

Police and prosecutors have also targeted “anonymous” postings and messages on forums and websites, arguing that such anonymity encourages everything from cyber-bullying to terrorism, and have attempted to prosecute those who use anonymity for commercial or personal purposes.

We would do well to tread cautiously in how much authority we give the Corporate Police State to criminalize free speech activities and chill what has become a vital free speech forum. 

Not only are social media and the Internet critical forums for individuals to freely share information and express their ideas, but they also serve as release valves to those who may be angry, seething, alienated or otherwise discontented. 

Without an outlet for their pent-up anger and frustration, these thoughts and emotions fester in secret, which is where most violent acts are born.

In the same way, free speech in the public square—whether it’s the internet, the plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court or a college campus—brings people together to express their grievances and challenge oppressive government regimes. 

Without it, democracy becomes stagnant and atrophied.

Likewise, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if free speech is not vigilantly protected, democracy is more likely to drift toward fear, repression, and violence. In such a scenario, we will find ourselves threatened with an even more pernicious injury than violence itself: the loss of liberty.

More speech, not less, is the remedy.

Published:9/26/2018 9:46:49 PM
[Markets] In Blow To Mainstream Media's Gun Narrative, Homicides Drop In 2017

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

The FBI released new homicide data this week, and at the nationwide level, the 2017 homicide rate fell slightly, dropping to 5.3 homicides per 100,000 from 2016's rate of 5.4.

According to the report, there were 17,284 homicides in 2017. For context: drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016 and more than 37,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016.

The US homicide rate remains down considerably from the 1990s, when the homicide rate reached 9.8 per 100,000 in 1991:

Homicide rates had reached a 51-year low in 2014, but have climbed since then.

Nationwide, homicide rates also varied widely by state. The US states with the highest homicide rates in the new report were Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Maryland, and Arkansas. The states with the lowest rates were New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Idaho, and Rhode Island. (I have added the most recent data from Canadian provinces for additional context.)

We can see some geographical patterns if we look at the data in map form:

Northern states tend to have much lower homicide rates overall with some of the lowest rates being found in New England, the northern plains, and the Pacific Northwest.

Interestingly, the legal environment for gun ownership can vary widely in states with similar homicide rates. Massachusetts, for example, which is considered a restrictive state in terms of gun ownership, has a homicide rate nearly identical to that in Wyoming — where gun ownership laws are extremely lax. New Hampshire, which is also notable for having very lax gun-ownership laws, has the lowest homicide rate in the nation.

Moreover, as noted in earlier articles on this topic, many of the states with the highest homicide are seeing their rates driven up by homicides in just a handful of cities and neighborhoods — many of which, like Chicago and Baltimore — have very restrictive gun-ownership laws.

Moreover, as total gun sales in the US have increased in recent decades, homicide rates look to continue a long-term decline. According to the New York Times:

Overall crime has been steadily decreasing for the last 30 years in the United States. Inimai Chettiar, director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center, said the F.B.I.’s statistics — and her organization’s own projections — showed that the rise in crime in 2015-16 was most likely a blip in that trajectory, not the start of a crime wave.

Media pundits, however, have attempted to create a narrative in which there is increasing violence. For example, a current strategy employed by gun-control advocates is to fixate on "school shootings" as evidence of increasing violence, even as homicide rates decreased. However, much of the data used to support this narrative has been flawed. Last month, National Public Radio revealed that many school shooting incidents in a recent federal report had been exaggerated, or were completely false. This was a further blow to attempts to create a new narrative of mounting violence in the face of historical data showing that school violence overall, including school shootings, declined considerably after the mid-1990s.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that school violence is increasing in just the past two or three years — even while overall homicides fall. It's not difficult to see what gun control advocates would fixate on school shooting in attempts to obtain more government restrictions on gun ownership. School shootings are dramatic events that make for good press conferences for politicians who pledge to "do something" for the children.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of homicides are a product of far more "mundane" factors, like gang violence and domestic violence, don't make for nearly as exciting news events. Thus, the fact that progress is clearly being made on those fronts is ignored while attention is drawn repeatedly to school shootings — which are then themselves reported at higher rates than is actually the case.

Perhaps predictably, politicians have also attempted to take credit when falling homicide rates are acknowledged. As The New York Times reported, Jeff Sessions has attempted to portray the federal government as a key factor in falling rates: 

“But our work is not done,” he said. “While we have made progress, violent crime and drug trafficking continue to plague our communities and destroy the lives of innocent, law-abiding Americans.”

In truth, there is no evidence at all that the federal government has had any role in falling homicide rates. If anything, the federal government's role in violent crime is a negative one as it continues to prosecute the war on drugs, making the illegal drug trade more lucrative and more violent.

Similarly, local police have shown little ability or willingness to confront homicides where they exist. As reported last month by USA Today, police are finding and prosecuting homicide suspects at lower and lower rates:

The national murder clearance rate — the calculation of cases that end with an arrest or identification of a suspect who can’t be apprehended — fell to 59.4 percent in 2016, the lowest since the FBI has tracked the issue.

The data tells a grim story of thousands of murders in which no one is held accountable, Adcock said.

“If we don’t address it, the issue is just going to get worse,” said Adcock, who recently started the Mid-South Cold Case Initiative , a nonprofit that aims to provide assistance to departments looking to bolster their cold case units. “The hole we’re in is just going to get deeper and deeper.”

The issue of murder clearance rates is in the spotlight as Chicago officials struggle to solve gun violence that’s plaguing the city. But the nation’s third-largest city, which only cleared 26 percent of its homicides in 2016, is just one among many big cities struggling to quickly solve gun crimes, according to FBI data and crime experts.

Part of this problem arises from the fact that police departments often prioritize going after petty drug violations and other minor crimes instead of homicides. Concentrating on drug offenses also bring financial rewards to police departments. Moreover, investigating drug cases offers numerous opportunities for making arrests and bringing revenue into the department via asset forfeiture laws. Given how police personnel are rewarded, drug investigations offer police staff more opportunities for professional advancement than does long hours devoted to homicide investigations that may or may not yield many promising leads.

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that a lower "clearance rate" simply means that the police are being careful. It's possible that, in the past, clearance rates were higher because police were less concerned about finding the right person. Clearance rates in themselves don't tell us that the police actually arrested the rightperson.

In either case, the fact that the police in many major cities are only making arrests for one-quarter of homicides reminds us why private gun ownership is so important for self-defense.

Published:9/26/2018 7:48:08 PM
[Markets] Fourth Woman Accuses Kavanaugh

First it was Christine Blasey Ford who will testify tomorrow alongside Brett Kavanaugh whom she accused of sexual assault in 1982; then it was Deborah Ramirez, the second accuser who claims Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a drunken party when they were freshmen at Yale University; then on Wednesday Julie Swetnick, defended by pop lawyer Michael Avenatti, said that Kavanaugh took part in efforts during high school to get girls intoxicated so that a group of boys could have sex with them. Kavanaugh rejected the latest claim Wednesday as "ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone."

Then, late on Wednesday an anonymous fourth woman accuser emerged when NBC reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee was inquiring about at least one additional allegation of misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Republican Senate investigators asked Kavanaugh about an anonymous complaint alleging that he physically assaulted a woman in 1998, according to a transcript from that phone call.

The complaint was originally sent to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Co.). Gardner's office did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. An investigator during the phone call read parts of the complaint to Kavanaugh, who denied the allegation.

"I will remain anonymous, but I feel obligated to inform you of this 1998 incident involving Brett Kavanaugh," the complaint says, according to the transcript. The complaint's author, who wished to remain unnamed, wrote that the incident involved her daughter and several other people.

"[My daughter's] friend was dating him, and they left the bar under the influence of alcohol," the complaint reads. "They were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh shoved her friend up against the wall very aggressively and sexually."

"There were at least four witnesses, including my daughter," it continues. "Her friend, still traumatized, called my daughter yesterday, September 21, 2018, wondering what to do about it. They decided to remain anonymous."

The letter's author did not provide any names. According to NBC, Kavanaugh said he had read the letter and denied the account.

"Did the events described in the letter occur?" one investigator asked.

"No, and we're dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person and an anonymous friend," Kavanaugh said. "It's ridiculous. Total twilight zone. And no, I've never done anything like that."

* * *

Excluding the latest accusation, Kavanaugh had been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by three women, two of whom allege he violated them while under the influence of alcohol. In a statement published earlier on Wednesday, he denied all of the allegations.

In prepared testimony to the Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh said he "categorically and unequivocally" denied Ford’s allegations. "I have never done that to her or to anyone. I am innocent of this charge." Kavanaugh called other allegations against him "last-minute smears" and "grotesque and obvious character assassination."

Senators say they've gotten multiple alleged incidents, ranging in credibility, brought to their staffs' attention since Ford went public with her allegation earlier this month.

Sen. Dick Durbin recalling how his staff found out about a second woman, Deborah Ramirez's allegation, told reporters that "people call with rumors."

"Some of these are completely incredible and the staff dismisses it," he said. "I asked the same thing [about the Ramirez allegation], 'Why did you tell me this?' They said, 'Do you know how many calls we get?' You've got to be careful because it is it not above someone to plant some stupid idea, then have us say it, and have it blow up in our face."

* * *

Trump, defending his nomination of Kavanaugh, told reporters on Wednesday that Senate Republicans "could've pushed it through two and a half weeks ago, and you wouldn’t be talking about it right now, which is frankly what I would've preferred, but they didn't do that."

A spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday morning that while attorneys for Ford have provided them with the sworn declarations supporting Ford's allegations, the therapist's notes and the polygraph results cited in the original report by The Washington Post had not yet been turned over.

"They were conspicuously absent although they were both requested," George Hartmann told NBC News.

According to The Hill, Grassley told reporters Wednesday that his committee looks into any allegation about Kavanaugh brought to their attention as long as they could find the name of the accuser or the lawyer.

"All I can tell you is we’re handling it exactly like we've handled every newspaper report or everybody contacting our office or anonymous even, if we can get the name and or the lawyer we've followed up with the usual staff interrogation,” Grassley added asked about the latest allegation from a woman represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti.

Grassley said on Twitter he has about 20 investigators, including agents on loan from federal agencies, "tracking down all allegations/leads & talking to all witnesses & gathering all evidence." Second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas said the committee has asked Avenatti to produce his client for a sworn interview.

* * *

All 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee called on Trump in a statement to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination or order an FBI investigation into all allegations against him.

And so with new accusers emerging by the day, if not the hour, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a member of Republican leadership, said party leaders still intend to hold the Judiciary vote on Friday, stay through the weekend and confirm Kavanaugh on the Senate floor next week. He declined to say if there are 50 votes for Kavanaugh at this point, though he predicted the nominee will "get confirmed in the end."

It was unclear if there would be rioting if Kavanaugh was confirmed early next week.

Published:9/26/2018 7:16:38 PM
[The Blog] WaPo: Mark Judge’s former girlfriend wants to chat with FBI, Senate Judiciary

"This process is a disgrace."

The post WaPo: Mark Judge’s former girlfriend wants to chat with FBI, Senate Judiciary appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/26/2018 5:18:10 PM
[Markets] Suspected Chinese Spy Arrested In Chicago

A Chinese national and US Army reservist living in Chicago was arrested Tuesday for allegedly funneling biographical information on eight American defense contractors targeted for recruitment to a Chinese intelligence officer, according to the Justice Department

Ji Chaoqun, 27, was arrested for violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) - while his handler at a regional arm of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) was also arrested, according to the DOJ affidavit. "The MSS has maintained both a clandestine and overt human source collection capability though a network of defense attaches, academics, and spies operating in and out of China," reads the filing. 

While working from 2007 through late 2017 at an unnamed defense company described only as "among the world's top aircraft engine suppliers for both commercial and military aircraft," Chaoqun used the Apple iCloud to secretly communicate with the MSS about the eight individuals - all naturalized US citizens born in Taiwan or China now living in the United States - who were under consideration for recruitment. 

"The Apple iCloud SMS database included approximately 36 messages between Intelligence Officer A and JI, from on or about December 19, 2013 to July 9, 2015" reads the affidavit. 

According to the search warrant return, on or about August 30, 2015, an email was sent from JI, using Subject Account 1, to an email address hosted by "qq.com," stating, "eight sets of the midterm test questions for the last three years," which email was forwarded from Subject Account 1 to Intelligence Officer A. The subject line for the email was "Midterm test questions." Eight separate pdf documents were attached to the email. The eight separate pdf documents are background reports on eight US-based individuals generated by US-based companies Intelius, Inc., Instant Checkmate, and Spokeo. 

The eight individuals are current or former technologists, "including several individual specializing in aerospace fields." 

Chaoqun was born in China and arrived in the US from Beijing in August 2013 on an F1 Visa, before receiving his Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2015. In May, 2016 he joined the US Army Reserves under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI), which authorizes the US Armed Forces to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest. 

He traveled to China on three occasions since his arrival in the US to meet his handlers in a hotel room, messaging: "Hi Big Brother, I'm JI Chaoqun. I'm taking the G203 [train] and will arrive at Nanjing South Station at 22:37

Choaqun was arrested after an undercover FBI agent met with him on April 25 of this year, during which he "made multiple statements that corroborated the information revealed during the course of the investigation.

Published:9/26/2018 5:18:10 PM
[Markets] Joe Biden Explains To Democrats Why "An FBI Report Isn't Worth Anything"

Well this is awkward...

With leftists up and down the country triggered at the prospect of the confirmation Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the tactic has switched to character assassination and delay in a last ditch effort to hold up the vote into and beyond the midterms.

As the various sexual abuse allegations have crept out of the woodwork from registered Democrats sudden memory flashes from over 35 years ago, Democratic politicians across the land have demanded a full FBI investigation to get to the bottom of all this (which is an utter lie if any one of them were telling the truth, since the real goal is simply to delay and an FBI probe of something as ancient as this will take months).

The calls for an FBI probe are everywhere...

In a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys argue that "a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions."

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is on the committee, said she believes Ford is telling the truth, asserted that agents in the FBI "are really well equipped to do this kind of investigation, but they're not being given the authority to do it" by the Justice Department or the Trump White House. "I believe that the FBI… should be compelled to do its job in terms of completing their background investigation and that's not being done."

While Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, has been criticized for how she's handled the allegations, also called for the FBI "to reopen and complete the background investigation."

Today, following a second (or third) set of allegations, Chuck Schumer demanded that Republicans suspend the Kavanaugh process and called for an FBI probe.

And finally there's Joe Biden, who piped in to insist that a sexual misconduct allegation from 35 years ago made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be probed by the FBI. “We did that for Anita Hill,” Biden told anchors on the Today Show last Friday.

Which is odd...

Since in 1991, former Vice President Joe Biden, as the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman during the Clarence Thomas Anita-Hill hearings, dismissed any conclusions the FBI came to in their report about the sexual harassment allegations Hill made against Thomas at the time.

The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything. The FBI explicitly does not in this or any other case reach a conclusion... period. So, judge, there is no reason why you should know this... 

The reason why we cannot rely on the FBI report - you wouldn’t like it if we did, because it is inconclusive,” Biden stated at the 1991 Committee hearing.

He continued,  “They say he said, she said, and they said, period...

So when people wave an FBI report before you, understand they do not, they do not, they do not reach conclusions. They do not make, as my friend points out more accurately, they do not make recommendations.

So it seems that when you're defending an African American judge accused of sexual misconduct, The FBI is useless; but when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations against a Republican (or as Joe put it 'dregs of society'), it's time to throw the FBI book at them?

Published:9/26/2018 4:18:34 PM
[Markets] Kavanaugh Accuser Slammed For Not Reporting "Gang Rape" Parties Allegedly Attended As Adult

The latest accuser to come out against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is facing harsh blowback from her claim to have attended 10 high school parties at which she claims systematic gang rapes took place, orchestrated by Kavanaugh and a friend. 

The 55-year-old accuser, Julie Swetnick, is two years older than Kavanaugh and would have been 18-years-old when she attended the alleged High School parties between 1981-1983. 

Many have noted that Swetnick, if she's telling the truth, did nothing about the alleged high school gang-rapes despite claiming she "witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaough and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be "gang raped" in a side room or bedroom by a "train" of numerous boys." 

Swetnick says she has a "firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their "turn" with a girl inside the room," yet she never reported the alleged rape parties to authorities despite having attended them as an adult

Meanwhile Swetnick's attorney, Michael Avenatti, slammed President Trump and GOP legislators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley for calling his client a liar.

With drama like this, no wonder nobody goes to the movies anymore.  

Published:9/26/2018 3:47:22 PM
[The Blog] Judiciary Committee Democrats to Trump: Open an FBI investigation or withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination

"...direct the FBI to re-open its background investigation and thoroughly examine the multiple allegations of sexual assault."

The post Judiciary Committee Democrats to Trump: Open an FBI investigation or withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/26/2018 2:15:19 PM
[Markets] "Habitual Liar" Trump And "3rd Rate Lawyer, Low Life" Avenatti Engage In Furious Twitter Spat

Following Wednesday's accusation against Brett Kavanaugh by Julie Sweatnick, who Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, systematically drugged and "gang raped" women at parties, Sweatnick's attorney Michael Avenatti and President Trump engaged in a fierce Twitter battle. 

Following Sweatnick's allegation that she knew about, and was ultimately victim to the rape gang (without ever reporting the alleged mass-rapings to authorities), President Trump tweeted: "Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!"

To which Avenatti replied: "“False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your “best and brightest” are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go."

Sweatnick's allegation is the latest in a series of unsupported allegations by women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the early 1980s. 

Christine Blasey Ford accused the Supreme Court nominee of groping her at a party in the early 1980s which she can't remember the location, date or other specifics - while a second woman, Deborah Ramirez said that Kavanaugh waved his penis at her while at a Yale party. Ramirez's account is similarly hazy to Ford's. 

Graham chimes in

In response to the latest allegations, Senator Lindsey Graham - who sits on the Judiciary Committee - tweeted: "From my view, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it just did. The lawyer to porn stars has just taken this debacle to an even lower level. I hope people will be highly suspicious of this allegation presented by Michael Avenatti."

He then tweeted: "I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to – according to the affidavit – ten parties over a two-year period where women were routinely gang raped and not report it.

To which Avenatti responded: "So then let’s have an FBI investigation into ALL of the allegations. And let’s present All of the facts to the American people. Why are you hiding Mark Judge from testifying? Btw, I’m still confused as to your ever-changing position as to Sessions. Which is it today?"

Both Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning, while a vote has been scheduled to confirm Kavanaugh Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. EST. 

Published:9/26/2018 12:44:35 PM
[Markets] Avenatti Details Alleged Kavanaugh "Gang Rape" Scheme Involving Spiked Punch

Attorney Michael Avenatti has levied new allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Avenatti's client, Julie Swetnick, claims that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge made efforts to cause girls "to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be "gang raped" in a side room or bedroom by a "train" of numerous boys." 

"During the years 1981-1982, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to "spike" the "punch" at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say "No." This caused me to make an effort to purposely avoid the "punch" at these parties," reads Swetnick's declaration.  

"I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room," Washington resident Julie Swetnick said in a sworn affidavit released by attorney Michael Avenatti. "These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh," she added. Judge was a high school classmate of Kavanaugh. -Bloomberg

Swetnick goes on to say that she "became the victim of one of these "gang" or "train" rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present," adding that "Shortly after the incident, I shared what had transpired with at least two other people. During the incident I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me. I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what i was drinking."  

Thanks but no thanks

Democrats and liberal pundits have been distancing themselves from Avenatti of late - and appear to be hesitant to promote his latest claims, according to the Daily Caller

Senate Democrats have been hesitant to promote Avenatti’s claims and liberal pundits have expressed alarm that if Avenatti is bluffing, he could harm their efforts to stop Kavanaugh.

We don’t know who Michael Avenatti’s clients actually are. But if he’s overhyped the information he has for attention, he will have done real damage to the anti-Kavanaugh efforts — and will deserve to be exiled from cable TV and public life,” wrote Vox blogger Zack Beauchamp.

Katherine Krueger, managing editor of liberal website Splinter, said Avenatti “could easily risk hurting the movement to keep Kanavaugh [sic] off of the Supreme Court.” -Daily Caller

Now that Swetnick's claims against Kavanaugh have been officially levied, all eyes will be on Congressional Democrats to see if they pick up ball and run with it.  

On Tudsday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, laid out his position on the Kavanaugh accusations - telling reporters that he isn't going to deny the Supreme Court nominee a seat based on flimsy allegations, and that he will "apply the rule of law" as his standard. 

What are they supposed to do, interview everyone in Maryland from the summer of 1982? 

We're talking about appointing someone to be in charge of the rule of law. I'm going to adopt the rule of law as my standard. If this were a criminal allegation you would never get out of the batter's box, because you can't tell the accused where it happened and when it happened, and there's no corroboration outside the accusation itself. You couldn't sue in civil court for the same reason - you could not even get a warrant

So I will respectfully listen to Dr. Ford, but here's the question for me and others; what is the standard? What is it going to be? Are you really innocent or guilty based on the accusation? Is there any presumption of innocence left in the confirmation process?

If the accusation is enough, God help us all. It's OK to challenge the accuser. 

I will respectfully listen, but if there's nothing new, I am not going to deny him a promotion to the Supreme Court based on a 35-year-old accusation where all of the facts that we do know about seem to suggest it didn't happen the way it was described. 

If this is enough to deny a person a seat on the Supreme Court who has otherwise lived a good life, then I don't know where this ends.

We imagine that given the level of evidence provided by Swetnick, Graham's stance may not change.  

Both Kavanaugh and his original accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, are scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning, while a vote has been scheduled to confirm Kavanaugh Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. EST. 

According to a Senate panel aide, Thursday's hearing will be held as scheduled. 

Published:9/26/2018 10:43:51 AM
[The Blog] Deborah Ramirez’s lawyer: She might be willing to testify at the hearing, even without an FBI investigation

"It wouldn’t surprise me if she would agree to do that."

The post Deborah Ramirez’s lawyer: She might be willing to testify at the hearing, even without an FBI investigation appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/26/2018 10:43:51 AM
[Brett Kavanaugh] Joe Biden then and now (Scott Johnson) The big Democratic talking point of the moment against moving to a confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh is the necessity of an FBI background check to investigate the Democrats’ late hits. Democrats amplify the talking point by dint of repetition among their media adjunct. Against the odds, then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden usefully explained the vacuity of this talking point under somewhat analogous circumstances in 1991. “The next Published:9/26/2018 9:13:26 AM
[Markets] Trump Said To Keep Rosenstein

The Wall Street Journal has confirmed something that many suspected all along: that last week's bombshell New York Times story detailing a purported coup attempt by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, as well as subsequent reports that Rosie's firing/resignation was imminent, were planted to distract from the ongoing Kavanaugh confirmation saga - if only for a little while.

Rosie

The WSJ reported roughly around the same time as WaPo, that Trump has told several advisers that he is open to keeping Rosenstein on the job, while Rosenstein has given several DOJ employees the impression that he doesn't plan on quitting.

... by Monday afternoon, the succession plan had been scrapped. Rosenstein, who told the White House he was willing to quit if President Trump wouldn’t disparage him, would remain the deputy attorney general in advance of a high-stakes meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of his employment. The other officials, too, would go back to work, facing the prospect that in just days they could be leading the department through a historic crisis. - WaPo

In any case, before he makes a final decision, the president would like to hear Rosenstein's side of the story directly.

Earlier this week, the White House said the two would meet on Thursday once Trump had returned from Washington following the UN General Assembly meeting. According to his advisors, Trump's cautious approach to the story shows that he harbors doubts about the story's veracity (and also that he is listening to media figures and Congressional allies who have warned him to proceed with caution).

That raised at least the possibility that a roller coaster of a week could end with no major shake-up in the top ranks of the Justice Department, even as White House and Justice officials cautioned that it was impossible to know for sure what Mr. Trump would do. Mr. Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any links to Trump campaign officials. Mr. Trump has dismissed the probe as “a witch hunt.”

The president has told advisers that he wants to hear directly from Mr. Rosenstein about reports that he discussed secretly recording the president and recruiting cabinet members to remove him from office, according to people who have spoken to the president. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The president’s willingness to hear out Mr. Rosenstein signaled to advisers that he harbors doubts about whether the top official in fact sought to have him ousted him from the Oval Office, these people said. The issue arose after the New York Times reported that Mr. Rosenstein floated the idea in early 2017, something he has strongly denied.

As the president prepares to question Rosenstein, Republicans in the House are preparing a subpoena for memos allegedly detailing Rosenstein’s comments on surreptitiously recording the president. They are also reportedly pushing for him to come and testify.

While the two men haven't exactly seen eye to eye in the past, WSJ reported that tensions between Trump and Rosenstein have eased in recent months (for context, Republicans in Congress tried to forcibly remove Rosie from his post for the second time back in April following the FBI's raids on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's home, hotel and office)>

Mr. Rosenstein has been a target of the president’s ire as part of his disdain for Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but those tensions eased in recent months, White House officials said. According to people familiar with the matter, aides have counseled the president that Mr. Rosenstein is cut from a different cloth than James Comey or Andrew McCabe, two former FBI officials who have been sharply criticized by Mr. Trump.

"The president is genuinely conflicted," said one person who has spoken to the president. "He’s got an open mind about whether Rod really tried to orchestrate this."

The should-he-stay-or-should-he-go speculation over Mr. Rosenstein has gripped Washington because of the implications of ousting the man overseeing the Mueller investigation probe.

Meanwhile, following Monday's botched news fiasco, according to several anonymous friends of Rosenstein the Deputy AG's tone over the weekend suggested that he had no intention of stepping down.

White House officials said Thursday’s meeting between the two men could focus on terms of a resignation, which they said Mr. Rosenstein offered to White House chief of staff John Kelly last week. During a meeting with Mr. Kelly on Monday, Mr. Rosenstein said he wanted to speak with the president about why he would step down and discuss how his exit would be publicly described, according to people familiar with the matter.

People close to Mr. Rosenstein took issue with this depiction of Thursday’s agenda, however. And as Mr. Rosenstein talked to White House officials over the weekend about his possible departure, he spoke to friends who came away with the impression he had no immediate plans to step down.

White House officials said there was a real possibility that the president would decide to keep Mr. Rosenstein in his job after the meeting. "We’re ready for any and all possibilities," one official said.

Even Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he believed Rosenstein should stay on.

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said regardless of whether Mr. Rosenstein stays in his job, the Mueller probe should be paused and examined "in the interest of fairness."

"I’m not sure they should get rid of him," Mr. Giuliani said of Mr. Rosenstein. "But I do think they should take a serious look at whether he should be the decision maker." Among other factors, he said, Mr. Rosenstein was a witness in the investigation, given his role in the president’s May 2017 decision to fire Mr. Comey as FBI director.

Then again, in a slightly different twist, the WaPo, also late on Tuesday, reported that some officials said that Matt Whitaker, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff, had told people he would be taking over for Rosenstein — an indication that the deputy attorney general’s departure was all but certain — and were surprised when it was announced that Rosenstein would remain in his job.

Sessions began telling people on Sunday that Rosenstein might be in trouble, according to people familiar with the matter. Others said they learned all the developments from news reports that evolved throughout the day.

What happens next? While it remained possible that Rosenstein could still resign or be fired imminently, people told WaPo that it was more likely that Rosenstein would stay in the job until after November’s elections and then depart, probably along with the attorney general.

Two White House officials said Tuesday that Trump is unlikely to fire Rosenstein until after the midterms, "as forcing out the deputy attorney general in the next month could motivate Trump’s detractors to turn out for elections in which dozens of congressional seats are in play and Republicans are fearful they are at risk of losing control of the House. And those who have observed Trump and Rosenstein together or have been told of their interactions said the president seemed to hold Rosenstein in somewhat higher regard than he did Sessions."

“For all of the president’s bluster, I’m not sure he doesn’t have at least some grudging respect for Rod,” said James M. Trusty, a friend of Rosenstein and former Justice Department official who works in private practice at Ifrah Law.

Published:9/26/2018 7:16:59 AM
[World] Brett Kavanaugh Nomination: Former FBI Official Blasts Kirsten Gillibrand's Call for Probe

A former member of the FBI's top brass in its New York office blasted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other Democrats who have repeatedly called for an "FBI investigation" of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Published:9/25/2018 10:48:51 PM
[Politics] Flashback: Biden in 1991 Contradicts Senate Dems Today Calling for FBI Investigation Into Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The post Flashback: Biden in 1991 Contradicts Senate Dems Today Calling for FBI Investigation Into Sexual Misconduct Allegations appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/25/2018 9:46:46 PM
[The Blog] Cocaine Mitch: Democrats should consider this Joe Biden flashback on the value of FBI reports

"The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything, obviously doesn’t understand anything."

The post Cocaine Mitch: Democrats should consider this Joe Biden flashback on the value of FBI reports appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/25/2018 9:11:12 PM
[World] Joe Biden Says FBI Probes Aren't Good in Supreme Court Nominations, Sean Hannity Says

Sean Hannity said that many Democrats believe an FBI probe of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the only way he can prove his innocence against claims of sexual harassment.

But, Hannity pointed out that one of the party elders made the exact opposite argument in a very forceful manner in 1991.

Then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-Del.), who was presiding over the Clarence Thomas hearings, called for everyone to stop invoking the FBI in that manner.

Published:9/25/2018 8:40:44 PM
[Politics] Mitch McConnell throws Joe Biden right into Democrat’s faces!! This is awesome. NTK Network found an old clip of Joe Biden saying something very relevant to today’s outrage-fest by Democrats over Republicans not pushing for an FBI investigation into these specious . . . Published:9/25/2018 8:11:07 PM
[Politics] Mitch McConnell throws Joe Biden right into Democrat’s faces!! This is awesome. NTK Network found an old clip of Joe Biden saying something very relevant to today’s outrage-fest by Democrats over Republicans not pushing for an FBI investigation into these specious . . . Published:9/25/2018 8:11:07 PM
[US News] Enjoy this clip of Joe Biden telling Clarence Thomas that an FBI report isn’t worth anything

Watch as Joe Biden makes an excellent case against relying on FBI reports.

The post Enjoy this clip of Joe Biden telling Clarence Thomas that an FBI report isn’t worth anything appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/25/2018 6:42:04 PM
[Politics] Democrats’ ‘investigation’ calls are just code for delay Democrats are still calling for an FBI investigation of the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh — as if their actual preferred investigators in the media hadn’t already failed in massive efforts to corroborate the claims. Yes, their preferred probers. Democrats plainly sicced the press on Christine Blasey Ford back when she was still determined to remain... Published:9/25/2018 6:42:04 PM
[Media] This crap again?! The View’s Sunny Hostin pushes B.S. about Brett Kavanaugh and the FBI

"FFS, Sunny."

The post This crap again?! The View’s Sunny Hostin pushes B.S. about Brett Kavanaugh and the FBI appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/25/2018 1:41:54 PM
[Markets] Kavanaugh's Fate Rests With Moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins

Assuming the nation moves beyond hazy recollections of groping, dick wagging and college gangbangs, the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will rest in the hands of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate conservative poised to "make or break Brett Kavanaugh's chance at becoming a Supreme Court justice," reports The Hill

In particular, several Senate colleagues of Collins' are waiting for her to announce her stance on Kavanaugh before announcing their own positions - while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has asked that centrists within his caucus "keep their powder dry on Kavanaugh" until they know where Republicans stand. 

Senate Republican aides think that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will likely vote the same way as Collins, who thus far has played a more vocal role in the debate over Kavanaugh. -The Hill

"We’re talking about a jury of one: Susan Collins," said a senior GOP aide to The Hill, who gave Collins a "51 percent chance" of voting for Kavaugh. The aide added: "When you look at Murkowski and even Flake, no one lets Collins get to the left of them, so she’s going to be the lodestar here." 

Democrats are in agreement that if Collins flips, Kavanaugh can be defeated. 

If Collins were to oppose him then that would be the kiss of death,” said Brian Fallon, a former Senate Democratic leadership aide and executive director of Demand Justice, which has helped lead liberal opposition to Kavanaugh. -The Hill

Collins was the target of an ad campaign created by three liberal activists in Maine, who established a crowdfunding campaign which raised $1.3 million to "fund her future opponent" unless she votes no on Kavanaugh. 

GOP Senators, meanwhile, will need to take a position if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) upholds his Monday promise to hold an up-or-down vote on the floor. 

Over her 22-year Senate career, Collins has built a reputation as a fair-minded, practical swing vote who is willing to stand up to Republican leadership and presidents from her own party.

She voted against former President Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, helped craft a compromise to get past a major partisan impasse over circuit court nominees in 2005, was a key player in sinking a proposal to repeal ObamaCare last year and has consistently criticized President Trump for controversial statements since he took office.

She also voted against Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt, Trump’s controversial picks to head the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency, respectively.

One of her first legislative accomplishments in the Senate decades ago was to co-sponsor an amendment with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to repeal a $50 billion tax break for the tobacco industry.

Kavanaugh will have virtually no chance at confirmation if Collins says she believes Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982, according to people on both sides of the partisan Supreme Court fight. -The Hill

If Collins supports Kavanaugh, on the other hand, it will be near impossible for Democrats to stop his ascension to the Supreme Court. "I think Collins will vote with us. Kavanaugh gave her the right answer on Roe v. Wade," said a female Republican senator who requested anonymity from The Hill

On Monday, progressives put pressure on Collins to vote against Kavanaugh - with 46 protesters arrested outside of her office on Capitol Hill. 

Also on Monday, Collins said that Senate investigators should reach out to a second woman accusing Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a drunken college party. 

That said, Collins did not call for an FBI investigation into accuser Christine Blasey Ford's accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school gathering.

"Based on what she was saying last week, there was nobody I know in Maine that thought she was going to do anything to stop or delay progress on the confirmation of Kavanaugh," said Bowdoin College Poli Sci professor, Janet Martin. "Not every woman has come out and been in support of the ‘Me Too’ movement or thinks there really is an issue here."

Published:9/25/2018 11:08:19 AM
[Markets] Dems Ignore Keith Ellison Abuse Claims Despite Actual Evidence From Female Accuser

As Democratic leaders continue to call for feds to investigate decades-old "credible" sexual harassment claims against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the same Democrats, with the exception of Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, continue to remain largely silent over claims by two women who have accused Six term congressman and Deputy DNC Chair Keith Ellison of physical and verbal abuse. 

In August, Ellison's former partner, Karen, Monahan, accused him of verbal and physical abuse - including repeated insults, emotional manipulation, infidelity and an incident in which Ellison dragged her off a bed by her legs and told her to "get the fuck out" of his house

Monahan, who says she has been "smeared, threatened, isolated from my own party," posted copies of what she says are medical records dating back to November 2017 which reads in part: "She states that she was in a very stressful environment for years, emotional and physical abuse by a partner with whom she is now separated."

The paperwork continues: "She did not have any physical injuries that required a physical examination in the past. She identifies the individual as congressmen [sic] Ellison, and she is worried about retribution if she identifies him publicly." 

Monahan posted this five days ago, while the same Democrats calling for a full FBI investigation into Kavanaugh have chosen to remain silent on one of their own

Meanwhile, Monahan's son, Austin, wrote in a Facebook post last week that he has seen a video of Ellison "screaming and calling her a fucking bitch and telling her to get the fuck out of his house." 

Many are wondering where Democratic leaders stand on Ellison, such as Schumer, Feinstein and Pelosi. When Fox News asked for comment, Feinstein's office blew them off. 

Let's compare this to Kavanaugh's original accuser - Christine Blasey Ford, who at the 11th hour before his confirmation said the Supreme Court nominee groped her at a High School party in the early 1980s that she can barely remember. Aside from the hazy memory, there are several versions of the story, and the four other individuals she claims were there - including a "longtime" friend and Democrat, all deny any recollection of the incident. 

Back to Ellison - in 2006 he was also accused of abuse by Democratic activist Amy Alexander during a "long-term extramarital relationship." 

Alexander wrote in October of 2006: "I regret that like many, I too was duped by Keith Ellison’s considerable charm ... I was seduced by the idea of what I thought he represented. As a perennial (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) activist from the north side of Minneapolis I worked for and with Ellison on a number of issues and community boards."

Ellison has denied abusing either woman, however during a Friday debate, he deflected when asked whether there might be further allegations of abuse. 

"Look, you know, in this political environment, you know, I don’t know what somebody might cook up," said Ellison, adding "But I can tell you that there is absolutely nobody that I’m aware of ... who’s threatening or suggesting or has ever made a prior accusation."

And while most Democrats have been silent over the allegations against Ellison, Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono said on Sunday that while claims against Brett Kavanaugh must be believed and investigated, so must the claims against Ellison.

"I have been very clear that I make no excuses for anybody who engages in this kind of behavior," she said during a CNN interview. "And, as far as Keith Ellison, these allegations need to be investigated, and appropriate action taken."

Meanwhile, crickets from the rest of the anti-Kavanaugh crowd. 

Published:9/24/2018 5:40:45 PM
[Markets] The Four Disastrous Presidential Policies That Are Destroying The Nation

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The nation is failing as a direct consequence of these four catastrophic policies.

It's admittedly a tough task to select the four most disastrous presidential policies of the past 60 years, given the great multitude to choose from. Here are my top choices and the reasons why I selected these from a wealth of policy disasters.

1. President Johnson's expansion of the Vietnam War, which set the stage for President Nixon's continuation of that disastrous war for an additional five years.

For those who missed the 30-minute lecture on the Vietnam War in history class, Johnson took a low-intensity guerrilla war in South Vietnam in which the U.S. was supporting a corrupt and venal South Vietnamese elite and expanded it into a full-blown war with over 500,000 troops on the ground and numerous other forces engaged in a vast regional conflict.

Johnson's basic motivation was domestic politics: being a domestic political animal, Johnson was obsessed by the possibility that the Republicans could accuse the Democrats of being "soft on Communism" and win congressional seats in the next election if he declared victory and withdrew from Vietnam.

To insure this wouldn't happen, Johnson relentlessly pursued a war in ways that guaranteed it couldn't be won while killing and maiming millions of people, mostly civilians, and squandering the lives of U.S. servicemen and women.

Johnson did not follow the Constitutional requirement of declaring war with congressional approval. He opted to undermine the Constitution with an open-ended declaration of Imperial Presidential Powers (The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) to wage unlimited war based on a "fake news" fictitious attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

But the war itself was only one disaster of many. To mask the complete and utter failure of his "limited" war, Johnson launched a massive, concerted "fake news" propaganda effort in support of the "we're winning the war" narrative.

When Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, the true story was revealed: thousands of Deep State insiders knew the war was unwinnable and was being lost, at great cost. But few dared challenge the disastrous policy or the lies and propaganda being distributed by the federal government in support of the war.

Meanwhile, the "law enforcement" efforts of the FBI were focused on draft evaders and other dissenters. Organized crime got a free pass as the FBI was politicized to fight domestic dissent--an institutionalized politicization that continues to this day.

Both the FBI and CIA engaged in concerted, covert and completely illegal campaigns to infiltrate, disrupt and destroy dissenters in the anti-war and civil rights movements. This was well-documented by the congressional Church investigations in the early 1970s.

War at Home: Covert action against U.S. activists and what we can do about it (book)

Simply put, Johnson's policy of pursuing an illegal full-scale war laid waste to the Constitution and launched an era of official "fake news" propaganda and the politicization of federal law enforcement. These disasters live on to this day, as official "fake news" propaganda and the politicization of federal law enforcement is the New Normal.

No wonder the Vietnam War remains a poorly understood taboo topic; understanding the destructive consequences of the war's embedded policies is extremely dangerous to the status quo.

2. President Clinton's deregulation of banking/finance in the early 1990s. Eliminating the common-sense and easily enforceable Glass-Steagall Act separating investment and commercial banking (and other limitations as well) opened the floodgates of financialization, i.e. institutionalized fraud and embezzlement which reached full flower in the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown triggered by U.S. banks and other financial institutions.

3. President G.W. Bush's Invasion of Iraq and the launch of Endless War (tm).President Bush followed Johnson's playbook to a Tee: a "fake news" fictitious excuse for launching a full-blown war (weapons of mass destruction lurking in hidden bunkers, etc.), a wildly unrealistic understanding of the culture and politics on the ground (civilians would greet our conquering troops with flowers and smiles, etc.) and a propaganda machine spewing official fake news about our wonderful spreading of democracy via war.

The complete and utter failure of the invasion policy ushered in the current era of Endless War(tm). $3 trillion squandered and countless lives lost, and all for what geopolitical gains?

4. Presidents G.W. Bush and Obama's rescue of predatory parasitic banks in 2008-09. The nation had a once-in-a-century opportunity to eradicate the predatory parasite (the financial sector) that's killing the economy and democracy of the host (the USA) and replace the "too big to fail" aristocracy with 1,000 local and regional financial institutions with severely limited powers to institutionalize fraud and embezzlement and leverage fictitious collateral into unprecedented wealth and political power.

Instead, both Bush and Obama obediently knelt down and served up $16 trillion in taxpayer-funded bailouts, backstops and loan guarantees to rescue the "too big to fail" aristocracy from their well-earned collapse.

The crippling inequality and dysfunction plaguing our economy can be traced back to this abject and needless surrender of sovereignty to the financial sector.

The nation is failing as a direct consequence of these four catastrophic policies, policies that undermined our economy and system of governance, that introduced the poisons of official fake news and propaganda, that institutionalized the suppression of dissent and institutionalized the fraud and embezzlement of "too big to fail" financialization.

*  *  *

Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Book Sale: (September only) Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform is now $2.99 for the Kindle ebook, a 25% savings, and $6.95 for the print edition, a 22% savings.

Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It is now $2.99 for the Kindle ebook, a ridiculous 70% discount, and $10 for the print edition, a 50% savings. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free in PDF format. My new book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

Published:9/24/2018 4:04:33 PM
[Markets] Second Kavanaugh Accuser Emerges Alleging Sexual Misconduct; Feinstein Demands Hearing Cancelled

A second woman has come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct - this time while he was a Yale university during the 1983-1984 academic year, according to a new report by Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker

The woman, Deborah Ramirez, 53, claims that Kavanaugh waved his penis in her face during a drunken dormitory party and "caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away." 

For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.

Specifically, Ramirez recalls "a penis being in front of my face," and that despite being inebriated, someone encouraging her to "kiss it." 

Despite acknowledging "significant gaps in her memories of the evening" due to being incredibly drunk, Ramirez then recalls someone yelling down a hallway "Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face!"

She recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. “We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words, as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)

A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”  -New Yorker

Meanwhile, lawyer Michael Avenatti - best known for representing adult entertainer Stephanie Clifford - said on Twitter that he represents a woman "with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh," and that his client is not Ramirez. 

In response, Kavanaugh issued a statement saying that "This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations."

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement: "This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man. This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say."

Predictably, the entire hearing narrative has now been thrown into disarray, and late on Sunday night, Dianne Feinstein tweeted that "Thursday's hearing should be canceled in light of a disturbing new allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh. The FBI must investigate ALL allegations."

Feinstein sent the following letter to Chuck Grassley:

“I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh,” Feinstein wrote. “I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims.”

Her conclusion: "It is time to set politics aside. We must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward."

Published:9/24/2018 5:00:06 AM
[654a9120-bf2a-494e-9884-eebce821fde2] Michael Goodwin: Welcome to the snake pit: 'Deep state' leaves Trump no good options on FBI, Rosenstein The bombshell NY Times report on Rosenstein and the FBI is about a plot by power-mad individuals who aimed to overturn the 2016 election and thwart the will of voters. Published:9/24/2018 3:34:46 AM
[PAID] The Rebellion at Justice Don’t fire Rosentein, but do release the 2016 FBI-Justice documents. Published:9/23/2018 11:59:58 PM
[Markets] Gun Ownership Rights Aren't As Safe As Many Think

Authored by Jose Nino via The Mises Institute,

As discussed previously, gun-control regulation has a track record of facilitating repressive political regimes. Countries like the Soviet UnionNazi GermanyCuba, and present-day Venezuela have witnessed how gun control has given their respective governments a significant advantage in dishing out violence.

In recent decades states have acted in many cases to expand rights to gun ownership. There is no guarantee this will continue, however. If current trends are reversed, how could will it happen?

Why Gun Control in America Has Been Historically So Limited

At first glance, gun confiscation does not appear to be feasible in the United States. With nearly 400 millionguns in circulation, mass gun confiscation is already a tall order. It also helps that the United States’ federalist system fosters a strong degree of institutional competition between states.

Citizens and business entities can walk away from states with bad policies that regulate their favorite pastimes and commercial endeavors. Gun companies like Magpul and Mossberg made headlines after moving their operations to more gun-friendly states, when the states they were based in started passing stringent gun control legislation. Such competition between the states puts pressure on politicians to not infringe on their gun rights, lest they want to lose out on commercial activity.

Additionally, cultural factors behind gun ownership is heavily ingrained in the civic and cultural DNA of Americans. From hunting associations to grassroots lobbies, Americans have developed powerful civic institutions that are ready to confront the state should politicians try to transgress on their rights.

Are America Gun Rights Actually Safe from Tyranny?

But are gun rights truly in the clear?

There is reason to believe that gun rights do not possess a magical aura that protects them from government subversion. Although repealing the Second Amendment through the constitutional process of acquiring a two-thirds majority in both chambers of congress and having three-fourths of the states ratifying an amendment would be quite the undertaking, there is still another avenue gun controllers can exploit.

Through landmark Supreme Court decisions, gun controllers could have anti-gun judges re-interpret the Constitution in a way that disregards the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court has a long history of re-interpreting the Constitution as a way of justifying government overreach in matters traditionally belonging to the states. This has been the case with the Supreme Court’s acceptance of New Deal legislation and its creation of a federal “right” to abortion.

It also does not help that the Second Amendment’s original decentralized militia model has been gutted, thus exposing several chinks in the Second Amendment’s armor. The militia’s original concept—locally-controlled military units designed to keep federal standing armies in check—has been effectively neutered.

Even though private gun ownership can give standing armies problems, the castration of militia units gives the state a disproportionate advantage in its ability to carry out tyrannical acts like gun confiscation and quell potential unrest.

Last but not least, the power of ever-growing bureaucracies cannot be overstated. James Bovard raises excellent points in an article titled "Should Gun Owners Fear the Deep State?" The deep state, as described by James Bovard, “refers to the officials who secretly wield power permanently in Washington, often in federal agencies with vast sway and little accountability”.

The FBI, which is already mired in controversy in its attempts to undermine a sitting President of the United States, is also the agency in charge of federal background checks for firearms. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is the bedrock of federal gun control, and has remained in place for two decades despite evidence pointing to its ineffectiveness in stopping crime. Through NICS, the federal government has access to the personal information of gun buyers. However, the FBI supposedly destroys these records after a firearms transaction is approved.

So there’s nothing to be afraid of right?

The Ignored Threat of Bureaucratic Tyranny

Knowing the nature of bureaucracies, gun rights advocates must be prepared for the worst. Although economist Ludwig von Mises did not address gun rights with much profundity, his insights on bureaucracies and interventionism have carryover into the realm of gun regulation.

In the book Bureaucracy, Mises highlighted how bureaucratic tyranny is a whole different beast. Mises contended that the “worst law is better than bureaucratic tyranny.” He also recognized how difficult it is to roll-back government growth. In a passage from Socialism, Mises commented that it “is indeed one of the principal drawbacks of every kind of interventionism that it is so difficult to reverse the process.”

A solid citizen lobby can vote anti-gun politicians out of office, but they will face bigger challenges in holding bureaucracies accountable. In the most extreme cases, it may require a wholesale abolition of the agency in question, a tall order it today’s climate of explosive government growth.

The Long-Term Implications of Interventionism

Since we know that the nature of the government is to expand, we must ask the gun controllers an honest question:

How much more “common sense” gun control is needed?

Let’s face it, mass shootings still occur in many places where “common sense” gun control measures likeuniversal background checks are on the books. When those laws fail, what follow-up measures will be taken? We may not know what the gun controllers’ end game is, but given the nature of state growth over the past century, the pro-gun crowd’s “paranoia” may actually be warranted.

Even if the US were to pass gun registration and its political institutions remained intact, it would still not be off the hook in the long-term.

*  *  *

Jose Nino is a Venezuelan-American political activist based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Published:9/23/2018 8:28:27 PM
[Brett Kavanaugh] The FBI in nominee ambush cases, then and now (Paul Mirengoff) One of the Democrats’ main talking points regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh is that the FBI should investigate before the Senate Judiciary Committee hears from Ford and Kavanaugh. In support of this talking point, Democrats and their friends in the media note that the FBI investigated Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas prior to Hill and Thomas testifying before the Committee. Hill herself says the Published:9/23/2018 7:27:30 PM
[Markets] The Living Reality Of Military-Economic Fascism Exposed

Authored by Robert Higgs via The Mises Institute,

"The business of buying weapons that takes place in the Pentagon is a corrupt business - ethically and morally corrupt from top to bottom. The process is dominated by advocacy, with few, if any, checks and balances. Most people in power like this system of doing business and do not want it changed."

– Colonel James G. Burton (1993, 232)

In countries such as the United States, whose economies are commonly, though inaccurately, described as "capitalist" or "free-market," war and preparation for war systematically corrupt both parties to the state-private transactions by which the government obtains the bulk of its military goods and services.

On one side, business interests seek to bend the state's decisions in their favor by corrupting official decision-makers with outright and de facto bribes. The former include cash, gifts in kind, loans, entertainment, transportation, lodging, prostitutes' services, inside information about personal investment opportunities, overly generous speaking fees, and promises of future employment or "consulting" patronage for officials or their family members, whereas the latter include campaign contributions (sometimes legal, sometimes illegal), sponsorship of political fund-raising events, and donations to charities or other causes favored by the relevant government officials.

Reports of this sort of corruption appear from time to time in the press under the rubric of "military scandal" (see, for example, Biddle 1985, Wines 1989, Hinds 1992, "National Briefing" 2003, Pasztor and Karp 2004, Colarusso 2004, Calbreath and Kammer 2005, Wood 2005, Babcock 2006, Ross 2006, and "Defense Contractor Guilty in Bribe Case" 2006). On the other, much more important side, the state corrupts business people by effectively turning them into co-conspirators in and beneficiaries of its most fundamental activity — plundering the general public.

Participants in the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC) are routinely blamed for "mismanagement," not infrequently they are accused of "waste, fraud, and abuse," and from time to time a few of them are indicted for criminal offenses (Higgs 1988, 1990, xx-xxiii, 2004; Fitzgerald 1989; Kovacic 1990a, 1990b).

All of these unsavory actions, however, are typically viewed as aberrations — misfeasances to be rectified or malfeasances to be punished while retaining the basic system of state-private cooperation in the production of military goods and services (for an explicit example of the "aberration" claim, see Fitzgerald 1989, 197–98). I maintain, in contrast, that these offenses and even more serious ones are not simply unfortunate blemishes on a basically sound arrangement, but superficial expressions of a thoroughgoing, intrinsic rottenness in the entire setup.

It is regrettable in any event for people to suffer under the weight of a state and its military apparatus, but the present arrangement — a system of military-economic fascism as instantiated in the United States by the MICC — is worse than full-fledged military-economic socialism. In the latter, the people are oppressed, because they are taxed, conscripted, and regimented, but they are not co-opted and corrupted by joining forces with their rapacious rulers; a clear line separates them from the predators on the "dark side."

With military-economic fascism, however, the line becomes blurred, and a substantial number of people actively hop back and forth across it: advisory committees, such as the Defense Science Board and the Defense Policy Board and university administrators meet regularly with Pentagon officials (see Borger 2003 for a report of an especially remarkable meeting), and the revolving door spins furiously — according to a September 2002 report, "[t]hirty-two major Bush appointees are former executives, consultants, or major shareholders of top weapons contractors" (Ciarrocca 2002, 2; see also Hamburger 2003, Doward 2003, Stubbing 1986, 90, 96, and Kotz 1988, 230), and a much greater number cross the line at lower levels.

Moreover, military-economic fascism, by empowering and enriching wealthy, intelligent, and influential members of the public, removes them from the ranks of potential opponents and resisters of the state and thereby helps to perpetuate the state's existence and its intrinsic class exploitation of people outside the state. Thus, military-economic fascism simultaneously strengthens the state and weakens civil society, even as it creates the illusion of a vibrant private sector patriotically engaged in supplying goods and services to the heroic military establishment (the Boeing Company's slickly produced television ads, among others, splendidly illustrate this propagandistically encouraged illusion).

Garden-variety Military-Economic Corruption of Government Officials

We need not dwell long on the logic of garden-variety military-economic corruption. As pots of honey attract flies, so pots of money attract thieves and con men. No organization has more money at its disposal than the US government, which attracts thieves and con men at least in full proportion to its control of wealth. Unscrupulous private parties who desire to gain a slice of the government's booty converge on the morally dismal swamp known as Washington, DC, and take whatever actions they expect will divert a portion of the loot into their own hands. Anyone who expects honor among thieves will be sorely disappointed by the details of these sordid activities.

Although headlines alone cannot convey the resplendently lurid details, they can suggest the varieties of putrid sloughs that drain into the swamp:

  • Audit Cites Pentagon Contractors [for widespread abuse of overhead charges]

  • Ex-Unisys Official Admits Paying Bribes to Get Pentagon Contracts

  • Top Republican on a House Panel Is Charged With Accepting Bribes

  • Ex-Pentagon Officials Sentenced [for taking monetary bribes and accepting prostitutes' services from contractors]

  • Northrop Papers Indicate Coverup: Documents from '80s Show Accounting Irregularities Were Hidden from Pentagon

  • Revolving Door Leads to Jail: Former Acquisition Official Convicted of Steering Business to Boeing for Personal Gain

  • Contractor "Knew How to Grease the Wheels": ADCS Founder Spent Years Cultivating Political Contacts

  • Graft Lurks within Pentagon's "Black Budget": Top-secret Items Escape Oversight

  • Contractor Pleads Guilty to Corruption: Probe Extends Beyond Bribes to Congressman

  • From Cash to Yachts: Congressman's Bribe Menu; Court Documents Show Randall "Duke" Cunningham Set Bribery Rates

  • Defense Contractor Guilty in Bribe Case

(Sources for these headlines appear, respectively, in the citations given in the third paragraph of this article.) Anyone who cares to accumulate all such news articles may look forward to full employment for the rest of his life.

Yet, notwithstanding the many culprits who are caught in the act, one must realistically assume that a far greater number get away scot-free. As Ernest Fitzgerald, an extraordinarily knowledgeable authority with extensive personal experience, has observed, the entire system of military procurement is pervaded by dishonesty: "Government officials, from the majestic office of the president to the lowest, sleaziest procurement office, lie routinely and with impunity in defense of the system," and "the combination of loose procurement rules and government acquiescence in rip-offs leaves many a crook untouched" (1989, 312, 290).

Among the instructive cases now making their way through the justice system are several related to recently convicted congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham, a war hero and longtime titan of the MICC who currently resides in a federal penitentiary. Chief among the persons under continuing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is Brent Wilkes, a DC high-flyer who is alleged to have been involved tangentially in events leading to the recent sacking of former congressman and Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss. According to a May 7, 2006, report in the New York Daily News, ongoing FBI and CIA investigations of Kyle (Dusty) Foggo, formerly the third-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who resigned in May 2006 amid a swirl of allegations,

have focused on the Watergate poker parties thrown by defense contractor Brent Wilkes, a high-school buddy of Foggo's, that were attended by disgraced former Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham and other lawmakers.

Foggo has claimed he went to the parties "just for poker" amid allegations that Wilkes, a top GOP fund-raiser and a member of the $100,000 "Pioneers" of Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, provided prostitutes, limos and hotel suites to Cunningham.

Cunningham is serving an eight-year sentence after pleading to taking $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to cronies.

Wilkes hosted regular parties for 15 years at the Watergate and Westin Grand Hotels for lawmakers and lobbyists. Intelligence sources said Goss has denied attending the parties as CIA director, but that left open whether he may have attended as a Republican congressman from Florida who was head of the House Intelligence Committee. (Sisk 2006)

In your mind, multiply this squalid little scenario by one thousand, and you will begin to gain a vision of what goes on in the MICC's higher reaches. Evidently, the daily routine there is not all wailing and gnashing of teeth over how to defend the country against Osama bin Laden and his horde of murderous maniacs — our country's leaders require frequent periods of rest and recreation. If this sort of fun and games at taxpayer expense is your idea of responsible government, then you ought to answer "yes" when the pollster calls to ask whether you favor an increase in the defense budget. Our government is clearly at work — at work making chumps out of its loyal subjects and laughing at these rubes all the way to the bank.

Legal Corruption of Government Officials

The truly big bucks, of course, need not be compromised in the least by this sweaty species of fraud and workaday corruption (Kovacic 1990a,89–90, 103 n197; 1990b, 118, 130 n94–101). Just as someone who kills one person is a murderer, whereas someone who kills a million persons is a statesman, so the government officials who steer hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps without violating any law or regulation, to the Star Wars contractors and the producers of other big-ticket weapon systems account for the bulk of the swag laundered through the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. (Lest the latter organization be overlooked, see the enormously revealing account by Bennett 2006.)

I am not saying that this huge component of the MICC is squeaky clean — far from it — but only that the corruption in this area, in dollar terms, falls mainly under the heading of legal theft, or at least in the gray area (Stubbing 1986, 407). As a Lockheed employee once wrote to Fitzgerald, "the government doesn't really need this stuff. It's just the best way to get rich quick. If they really needed all these nuclear bombs and killer satellites, they wouldn't run this place the way they do" (qtd. in Fitzgerald 1989, 313; see also Meyer 2002). I personally recall Fitzgerald's saying to me twenty years ago at Lafayette College, "A defense contract is just a license to steal."

Absence of Proper Accounting Invites Theft

Indeed, Fitzgerald appeared as a witness at Senator Chuck Grassley's September 1998 hearings titled "License to Steal: Administrative Oversight of Financial Control Failures at the Department of Defense." At those hearings, Grassley released two new audit reports prepared by the General Accounting Office and another report prepared by his staff in cooperation with the Air Force Office of Financial Management. According to Grassley's September 21, 1998, press release, "These reports consistently show that sloppy accounting procedures and ineffective or nonexistent internal controls leave DoD's accounts vulnerable to theft and abuse. Failure by the DoD to exercise proper accounting procedures has resulted in fraud and mismanagement of the taxpayers' money."

Although this sort of complaint has become an annual ritual, dutifully reported in the press, the Pentagon has never managed to put its accounts into a form that can even be audited. Like Dick Cheney, who chose not to fight in the Vietnam War, the military brass seems to have had other priorities, even though for more than a decade the Defense Department has invariably stood in violation of the 1994 federal statute that requires every government department to make a financial audit (Higgs 2005, 55–61).

Testifying before a congressional committee on August 3, 2006, Thomas F. Gimble, the department's acting inspector general, emphasized "financial management problems that are long standing, pervasive, and deeply rooted in virtually all operations."

Expanding on this general observation with specific reference to the fiscal year 2005 agency-wide principal financial statements, he stated: "We issued a disclaimer of opinion for the statements because numerous deficiencies continue to exist related to the quality of data, adequacy of reporting systems, and reliability of internal controls."

Of the nine organizational components "required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to prepare and obtain an audit opinion on their FY 2005 financial statements," only one received an unqualified opinion and one a qualified opinion. "All the others, including the agency-wide financial statements, received a disclaimer of opinion, as they have every year in the past…. The weaknesses that affect the auditability of the financial statements also impact other DoD programs and operations and contribute to waste, mismanagement, and inefficient use of DoD resources. These weaknesses affect the safeguarding of assets and proper use of funds and impair the prevention and identification of fraud, waste, and abuse" (US Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General 2006, 1–2, emphasis added).

In Iraq since the US invasion in 2003, billions of dollars have simply disappeared without leaving a trace ("Audit: US Lost Track" 2005, Krane 2006). Surely they did not all evaporate in the hot desert sun. The accounts at Homeland Security are in equally horrible condition (Bennett 2006, 110–11).

No one knows how much money or specific property is missing from the military and homeland-security departments or where the missing assets have gone. If a public corporation kept its accounts this atrociously, the Securities and Exchange Commission would shut it down overnight. Government officials, however, need not worry about obedience to the laws they make to assure their credulous subjects that everything is hunky-dory inside the walls. When they are of a mind, they simply flout those laws with impunity.

PAC Contributions to Politicians and Their Parties Are Bribes

Political action committees (PACs) evolved and eventually obtained legal validation as vehicles for making lawful bribes to candidates for federal offices and to their political parties. Candidates now count on them for a large share of their campaign funds, and everyone over eleven years of age with an IQ above 70 understands that these contributions are made with an understanding that they will elicit a quid pro quo from the recipients who win the elections.

Military-economic interests have not been timid about forming PACs and transferring huge sums of money through them to the candidates. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, "defense" PACs transferred more than $70 million to candidates and parties in the election cycles from 1990 to 2006. Individuals and soft-money contributors (before soft-money contributions were outlawed after the 2002 elections) in the "defense" sector added more than $37 million, bringing the total to nearly $108 million (the figures are available here).

No one knows how much was added by illegal and hence unrecorded contributions made by military interests, but the addition might well have been substantial, if we may judge by the many accounts of individual instances of such contributions that have been brought to light over the years.

Figure 1 shows the amounts transferred during the past nine election cycles.

Figure 1. Contributions by "Defense" Interests in Federal Elections, 1990–2006

Source: Center for Responsive Politics Note: Soft money contributions (defined as those that do not explicitly urge voters to cast their ballots for specific candidates) after the 2002 elections were banned by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act.

One may deny, of course, that PAC contributions constitute a form of corruption, inasmuch as they are legal within the statutorily specified limits, but such a denial would elevate form over substance. Both the givers and the receivers understand these payments in exactly the same way that they understand illegal forms of bribery, even though they never admit this understanding in public — political decorum must be served, if only to protect the children.

How Government Corrupts Business

A brief review of the history of US military contracting helps to clarify my claim that military-economic transactions tend to corrupt business. The most important historical fact is that before 1940, except during wartime, such dealings amounted to very little. The United States had only a tiny standing army and no standing munitions industry worthy of the name. When wars occurred, the government supplemented the products of its own arsenals and navy yards with goods and services purchased from private contractors, but most such items were off-the-shelf civilian goods, such as boots, clothing, food, and transportation services.

To be sure, plenty of occasions arose for garden-variety corruption in these dealings — bribes, kickbacks, provision of shoddy goods, and so forth (Brandes 1997) – but such malfeasances were usually one-shot or fleeting transgressions, because the demobilizations that followed the conclusion of each war removed the opportunity for such corruption to become institutionalized to a significant degree in law, persistent organizations, or ongoing practice.

Like gaudy fireworks, these sporadic outbursts of corruption flared brightly and then turned to dead cinders. No substantial peacetime contracting existed to fuel enduring corruption of the military's private suppliers, and much of the contracting that did take place occurred within the constraints of rigid solicitations and sealed-bid offers, which made cozy deals between a military buyer and a private seller difficult to arrange. At late as fiscal year 1940, the War Department made 87 percent of its purchases through advertising and invitations to bid (Higgs 2006a, 39).

All this changed abruptly and forever in 1940, and the situation that existed during the so-called defense period of 1940–41, before the United States became a declared belligerent in World War II, and the manner in which it was resolved had an enduring effect in shaping the contours of the MICC and hence in establishing its characteristic corruption of business.

The Roosevelt administration, desperate to build up the nation's capacity for war after the breathtaking German triumphs in the spring of 1940, made an abrupt about-face, abandoning its relentless flagellation of businessmen and investors and instead courting their favor as prime movers in the buildup of the munitions industries. Most businessmen, however, having been anathematized and legislatively pummeled for the past six years, were reluctant to enter into such deals, for a variety of reasons, chief among them being their fear and distrust of the federal government (Higgs 2006a, 36–38).

To placate the leery businessmen by shifting the risks from them onto the taxpayers, the government adopted several important changes in its procurement laws and regulations. These included negotiated cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts, instead of contracts arrived at within the solicitation-and-sealed-bid system; various forms of tax breaks; government loan guarantees; direct government funding of plants, equipment, and materials; and provision of advance and progress payments, sparing the contractors the need to obtain and pay interest on bank loans.

All of these arrangements, with greater or lesser variations in their details from time to time, became permanent features of the MICC (US Senate, Committee on Armed Services 1985, 35, 42, 553–67).

Even more important, as the new system operated on a vast scale during World War II, the dealings between the military purchasers and the private suppliers took on a fundamentally new style. As described by Wilberton Smith, the official historian of the Army's economic mobilization during the war:

The relationship between the government and its contractors was gradually transformed from an "arm's length" relationship between two more or less equal parties in a business transaction into an undefined but intimate relationship — partly business, partly fiduciary, and partly unilateral — in which the financial, contractual, statutory, and other instruments and assumptions of economic activity were reshaped to meet the ultimate requirements of victory in war. Under the new conditions, contracts ceased to be completely binding; fixed prices in contracts often became only tentative and provisional prices; excessive profits received by contractors were recoverable by the government; and potential losses resulting from many causes — including errors, poor judgments, and performance failures on the part of contractors — were averted by modification and amendment of contracts, with or without legal "consideration," whenever required by the exigencies of the war effort. (1959, 312, emphasis added)

Although Smith was describing the system as it came to operate during World War II, almost everything he said fits the postwar MICC as well (Higgs 2006a, 31–33), especially his depiction of the buyer-seller dealings as constituting "an undefined but intimate relationship" and his recognition that "contracts ceased to be completely binding."

Thus, the institutional changes made in 1940–41 and the wartime operation of the military-industrial complex in the context of these new rules put permanently in place the essential features of the modern procurement system, which has repeatedly demonstrated its imperviousness to reform for the past sixty years — it was too good a deal to give up even after the demise of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, and with breathtaking chutzpah, the system's kingpins parlayed the box-cutter attacks of 9/11 into an excuse to pour hundreds of billions of additional dollars into purchases of Cold War weaponry (Sapolsky and Gholz 2001, Isenberg and Eland 2002, Higgs 2004, Makinson 2004).

Under the old, pre-1940 system, a private business rarely had anything to gain by wining and dining military buyers or congressmen. Unless a firm made the lowest-priced sealed-bid offer to supply a carefully specified good, it would not get the contract. The military buyer knew what he needed, and he had a tightly limited budget with which to get it. After 1940, however, the newly established "intimate relationship" opened up a whole new world for wheeling and dealing on both sides of the deal — often it was difficult to say whether the government agent was shaking down the businessman or the businessman was bribing the government agent.

In fact, until the military purchasing agency certified a company as qualified, the firm could not make a valid offer, even in the context of competitive bidding. In the post-1940 era, only a small fraction of all contracts emerged from formally advertised, sealed-bid competition, and most contracts were negotiated without any kind of price competition (Higgs 2006a, 39; Stubbing 1986, 226, 411).

Deals came to turn not on price, but on technical and scientific capabilities, size, experience, and established reputation as a military supplier — vaguer attributes that are easier to fudge for one's friends. From time to time, deals also turned on the perceived need to keep a big firm from going under. For example, Fen Hampson observes that in the early 1970s, "The bidding [for production of the C-4 (Trident I) missile] was not opened to other companies because Lockheed was encountering financial difficulties at the time and desperately needed the business" (1989, 92).

Indeed, scholars have identified an extensive pattern of rotating major contracts that has been dubbed a "follow-on imperative" or a "bailout imperative," a virtual guarantee against bankruptcy, regardless of mismanagement or other corporate ineptitude (Nieburg 1966, 201, 269; Kurth 1973, 142–44; Kaufman 1972, 289; Dumas 1977, 458; Gansler 1980, 49, 172, 227; Stubbing 1986, 185–89, 200–04).

Subcontracts could also be used to prop up failing firms, and in nearly every large-scale project they served as the principal means of spreading the political patronage across many congressional districts (Kotz 1988, 128–29; Mayer 1990, 218–31). In truth, deals — especially the many important changes introduced into them after their initial formulation ("contract nourishment"), permitting contractors to "buy in now, get well later" (Stubbing 1986, 179–84) — came to turn in substantial part on "who you know." In Richard Stubbing's words, "Often it is raw politics, not military considerations, which ultimately determines the winner" (1986, 165).

All the successful major prime contractors — such as Lockheed Martin (see Cummings 2007), General Dynamics (see Franklin 1986), Rockwell (see Kotz 1988), Bechtel (see McCartney 1988), and Halliburton (see Briody 2004), for example — demonstrated beyond any doubt that in the MICC, cultivating friends in high places yields a high rate of return. Indeed, without such friends, a firm may be hard pressed to survive in this sector at all.

The tight budget constraints of the pre-1940 peacetime periods became vastly looser as trillions of dollars poured out of the congressional appropriations process during the endless national emergency of the Cold War and its sequel, the so-called war on terror. As Nick Kotz observed, "Now that the stakes in profits and jobs were far higher than those of any government program in history, dividing the spoils ensured that the game of politics would be played on a grand scale" (1988, 50). (Of course, the game of politics in reality, as distinct from the high-school-civics idealization, is essentially the game of corruption.) In fiscal year 2007, for example, the Department of Defense anticipates outlays of approximately $90 billion for procurement, $162 billion for operations and maintenance, $72 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation, and $8 billion for military construction — components that sum to $332 billion (US Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense 2006, 15). Nearly all of this loot will end up in the pockets of private contractors; military personnel costs are separate from these accounts.

With plenty of money to go around, all that a would-be contractor needs is an old buddy in the upper reaches of a military bureaucracy or a friend on the House military appropriations subcommittee or in the Senate. (Nowadays, more than ever before, a single member of Congress can create magnificent gifts for his friends by making "earmarks," furtive amendments to an appropriations bill that everyone understands to be nothing but an individual legislator's pound of flesh taken out of the taxpayer's unfortunate corpus.)

If one does not have such a friend in high places, one can acquire him (or her, as the infamous Darleen Druyun illustrates [see Colarusso 2004]) by ponying up the various forms of bribes to which many Pentagon officials and members of Congress have shown themselves to be highly receptive. After all, it's not as if the bureaucrat or the member of Congress is giving away his own money.

To keep this gravy train on the track, contractors and their trade associations, as well as the armed forces themselves, devote great efforts to increasing the amount of money Congress appropriates in total for "defense," and now also for "homeland security." Their campaign contributions and other favors go predominantly to the incumbent barons — congressional leaders and committee chairmen — and to the "hawks" who've never met a defense budget big enough to please them. As Fitzgerald notes, "In Washington you can get away with anything as long as you have the high moguls of Congress as accessories before and after the fact" (1989, 91).

Furthermore, as Kotz observes, "[t]here is a multiplier effect as the different military services, members of Congress, presidential administrations, and defense industries trade support for each other's projects" (1989, 235). In other words, the defense budget is not simply the biggest logroll in Congress (Stubbing 1986, 98), but the biggest logroll in Washington, DC. Fen Hampson remarks: "bureaucratic and political interests approach weapons acquisition and defense budget issues as non-zero-sum games; that is, as games where there are rewards and payoffs to all parties from cooperation or collusion" (1989, 282). Only the taxpayers lose, but their interests don't count: they are not "players" in this game, but victims.

To give the public a seeming interest in the whole wretched racket, the contractors also spend substantial amounts of money cultivating the public's yearning to have the military dish out death and destruction to designated human quarry around the world — commies, gooks, ragheads, Islamo-fascists, narco-terrorists, and so forth — who are said to threaten the precious "American way of life."

For example, Rockwell, a military contractor whose massive secret contributions helped to reelect Richard Nixon in 1972 (Kotz 1988, 103–04, Fitzgerald 1989, 84), once mounted "a secret grass-roots campaign code-named Operation Common Sense" that included "a massive letter-writing campaign … solicitation of support from national organizations … and production of films and advertisements as well as prepared articles, columns, and editorials that willing editors could print in newspapers and magazines" (Kotz 1988, 134–35) — all the news that's fit to print, so to speak.

Much money goes into producing glorification of the armed forces, and reports of those forces' stupidities and brutalities in exotic climes are dismissed as nothing but the fabrications of leftists and appeasers or, if they cannot plausibly be denied, alleged to be nothing more than the isolated misbehavior of a few "bad apples" (Higgs 2006b).

Lest the armed forces themselves prove insufficiently imaginative in conceiving of new and even more expensive projects for the lucky suppliers to carry out, the contractors hire battalions of mad geniuses to design the superweapons of the future and regiments of former generals and admirals to market these magnificent creations to their old friends and subordinates currently holding down desks at the Pentagon.

Thus, as General James P. Mullins, former commander of the Air Force Logistics Command, has written, "the prime contractors are where the babies really come from." He explains: "[T]he contractor has already often determined what it wants to produce before the formal acquisition process begins…. The contractor validates the design through the process of marketing it to one of the services. If successful, the contractor gets a contract. Thus, to a substantial degree, the weapon capabilities devised by contractors create military requirements" (1986, 91; see also Stubbing 1986, 174).

In sum, the military-supply firms exemplify a fundamentally corrupt type of organization. Their income comes to them only after it has first been extorted from the taxpayers at gunpoint — hence their compensation amounts to receiving stolen property. They are hardly unwitting or unwilling recipients, however, because they are not drafted to do what they do. No wallflowers at this dance of death, they eagerly devote strenuous efforts to encouraging government officials to wring ever greater amounts from the taxpayers and to distribute the loot in ways that enrich the contractors, their suppliers, and their employees.

These efforts include both the licit and the illicit measures I have described, spanning the full range from making a legal campaign contribution to providing prostitutes to serve the congressman or the Pentagon bigwig after he has become bored with playing poker in the contractor's suite at a plush DC hotel.

(Note well: such "entertainment" expenses are likely to be accounted "allowable costs" by the defense contractor who bears them, and with only routine audacity he may add to them an "overhead" charge — the entire sum to be reimbursed ultimately by the taxpayers. [In general, "overhead proves to be a huge moneymaker for defense firms" (Stubbing 1986, 205).] Kotz [1988, 137], describes Rockwell's billing for entertainment, public relations, and lobbying in connection with its contract to build the B-1 bomber. Fitzgerald [1989, 197, 198–99] describes similar charges by General Dynamics, as well as boarding expenses for an executive's dog, and by Pratt and Whitney, including $7,085 for hors d'oeuvres at a Palm Beach golf resort and $2,735 for strolling musicians at another bash. Sometimes the contractors billed the government twice for the same outrageous expenses.)

Can Anything Be Done?

The short answer is "probably not." The MICC is deeply entrenched in the US political economy, which itself has been moving steadily closer to complete economic fascism for more than a century (Higgs 1987, 2007). Decades of studies, investigations, blue ribbon commission reports, congressional hearings and staff studies, and news media exposés detailing its workings from A to Z have scarcely dented it (Higgs 2004). For the most part, the official scrutiny is just for show, whereas the unofficial scrutiny is easily dismissed as the work of outsiders who don't know what they are talking about, not to mention that they are "America haters."

Official evaluations, at their frankest, conclude that "[p]ast mistakes — whether in the procurement of a weapon system or in the employment of forces during a crisis — do not receive the critical review that would prevent them from recurring…. The lessons go unlearned, and the mistakes are repeated" (US Senate, Committee on Armed Services 1985, 8). Such evaluations, though seemingly forthright and penetrating, strike me as far-fetched. Of course, people sometimes makes mistakes, but if people with the power to change an arrangement refrain from doing so for decades on end, the most reasonable conclusion is that they prefer things as they are — that is, as a rule, there are no long-lasting "failed policies," properly speaking.

To apply here what I wrote twelve years ago in regard to several other kinds of policies: "Government policies succeed in doing exactly what they are supposed to do: channeling resources bilked from the general public to politically organized and influential interest groups" (Higgs 1995; see also Kotz 1989, 242–45).

Therefore, one must conclude that the MICC serves its intended purposes well, however much its chronic crimes and intrinsic corruption sully its self-proclaimed nobility. What you and I call corruption is, after all, precisely what the military-economic movers and shakers call the good life.

Ultimately, the most significant factor is that the post-World War II US foreign policy of global hegemony and recurrent military intervention places a strong floor beneath the MICC and serves as an all-purpose excuse for its many malfeasances (Eland 2004, Johnson 2004).

As Ludwig von Mises observed, "The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest…. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war" (1966, 832; see also Higgs and Close 2007). Until the scope of the US government's geopolitical ambitions and hence the scale of its military activities are drastically reduced, not much opportunity will exist for making its system of military-economic fascism less rapacious and corrupt.

Published:9/23/2018 6:27:27 PM
[Markets] The New York Times As Judge And Jury

Authored by Joe Lauria via ConsortiumNews.com,

Seeking to maintain its credibility, The New York Times dispenses with the criminal justice system and basic principles of journalism to weigh in again on Russia-gate...

We’ve seen it before: a newspaper and individual reporters get a story horribly wrong but instead of correcting it they double down to protect their reputations and credibility - which is all journalists have to go on - and the public suffers.

Sometimes this maneuver can contribute to a massive loss of life. The most egregious example was the reporting in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Like nearly all Establishment media, The New York Times got the story of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction—the major casus belli for the invasion—dead wrong. But the Times, like the others, continued publishing stories without challenging their sources in authority, mostly unnamed, who were pushing for war.

The result was a disastrous intervention that led to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and continued instability in Iraq, including the formation of the Islamic State.

In a massive Times‘ article published on Thursday, entitled, “A Plot to Subvert an Election: Unravelling the Russia Story So Far,” it seems that reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti have succumbed to the same thinking that doubled down on Iraq.

They claim to have a “mountain of evidence” but what they offer would be invisible on the Great Plains.

With the mid-terms looming and Special Counsel Robert Mueller unable to so far come up with any proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election—the central Russia-gate charge—the Times does it for him, regurgitating a Russia-gate Round-Up of every unsubstantiated allegation that has been made—deceptively presented as though it’s all been proven.

Mueller: No collusion so far.

This is a reaffirmation of the faith, a recitation of what the Russia-gate faithful want to believe is true. But mere repetition will not make it so.

The Times’ unsteady conviction is summed up in this paragraph, which the paper itself then contradicts only a few paragraphs later:

“What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come. Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

But this schizoid approach leads to the admission that “no public evidence has emerged showing that [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia.”

The Times also adds: “There is a plausible case that Mr. Putin succeeded in delivering the presidency to his admirer, Mr. Trump, though it cannot be proved or disproved.”

This is an extraordinary statement. If it cannot be “proved or disproved” what is the point of this entire exercise: of the Mueller probe, the House and Senate investigations and even of this very New York Times article?

Attempting to prove this constructed story without proof is the very point of this piece.

A Banner Day

The 10,000-word article opens with a story of a pro-Russian banner that was hung from the Manhattan Bridge on Putin’s birthday, and an anti-Obama banner hung a month later from the Memorial Bridge in Washington just after the 2016 election.

On public property these are constitutionally-protected acts of free speech. But for the Times, “The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

Kremlin: Guilty, says NYT. (Robert Parry, 2016)

Why? Because the Times tells us that the “earliest promoters” of images of the banners were from social media accounts linked to a St. Petersburg-based click-bait farm, a company called the Internet Research Agency. The company is not legally connected to the Kremlin and any political coordination is pure speculation. IRA has been explained convincingly as a commercial and not political operation. Its aim is get and sell “eyeballs.”

For instance the company conducted pro and anti-Trump rallies and social media messages, as well as pro and anti-Clinton. But the Times, in classic omission mode, only reports on “the anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia.” Sharing with “millions” of people on social media does not mean that millions of people have actually seen those messages. And if they had there is little way to determine whether it affected how they voted, especially as the messages attacked and praised both candidates.

The Times reporters take much at face value, which they then themselves undermine. Most prominently, they willfully mistake an indictment for a conviction, as if they do not know the difference.

This is in the category of Journalism 101. An indictment need not include evidence and under U.S. law an indictment is not evidence. Juries are instructed that an indictment is merely an accusation. That the Times commits this cardinal sin of journalism to purposely confuse allegations with a conviction is not only inexcusable but strikes a fatal blow to the credibility of the entire article.

It actually reports that “Today there is no doubt who hacked the D.N.C. and the Clinton campaign. A detailed indictment of 12 officers of Russia’s military intelligence agency, filed in July by Mr. Mueller, documents their every move, including their break-in techniques, their tricks to hide inside the Democrats’ networks and even their Google searches.”

Who needs courts when suspects can be tried and convicted in the press?

What the Times is not taking into account is that Mueller knows his indictment will never be tested in court because the GRU agents will never be arrested, there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Russia and even if it were miraculously to see the inside of a courtroom Mueller can invoke states secrets privilege to show the “evidence” to a judge with clearance in his chambers who can then emerge to pronounce “Guilty!” without a jury having seen that evidence.

This is what makes Mueller’s indictment more a political than a legal document, giving him wide leeway to put whatever he wants into it. He knew it would never be tested and that once it was released, a supine press would do the rest to cement it in the public consciousness as a conviction, just as this Times piece tries to do.

Errors of Commission and Omission

There are a series of erroneous assertions and omissions in the Times piece, omitted because they would disturb the narrative:

  • Not mentioning that the FBI was never given access to the DNC server but instead gullibly believing the assertion of the anti-Russian private company CrowdStrike, paid for by the DNC, that the name of the first Soviet intelligence chief found in metadata proves Russia was behind the hack. Only someone wanting to be caught would leave such a clue.

  • Incredibly believing that Trump would have launched a covert intelligence operation on live national television by asking Russia to get 30,000 missing emails.

Trump: Sarcastically calls on Russia to get Clinton emails.

  • Ignoring the possible role of the MI6, the CIA and the FBI setting up Trump campaign members George Papadopoulos and Carter Page as “colluders” with Russia.

  • Repeating misleading statements about the infamous Trump Tower meeting, in which Trump’s son did not seek dirt on Clinton but was offered it by a music promoter, not the Russian government. None was apparently produced. It’s never been established that a campaign receiving opposition research from foreigners is illegal (though the Times has decided that it is) and only the Clinton campaign was known to have obtained any.

  • Making no mention at all of the now discredited opposition research dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC from foreign sources and used by the FBI to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page and potentially other campaign members.

  • Dismissing the importance of politicized text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page because the pair were “skewered regularly on Mr. (Sean) Hannity’s show as the ‘Trump-hating F.B.I. lovebirds.’”

  • Putting down to “hyped news stories” the legitimate fear of a new McCarthyism against anyone who questions the “official” story being peddled here by the Times.

  • Seeking to get inside Putin’s head to portray him as a petulant child seeking personal revenge against Hillary Clinton, a tale long peddled by Clinton and accepted without reservation by the Times.

  • Pretending to get into Julian Assange’s head as well, saying he “shared Mr. Putin’s hatred of Mrs. Clinton and had a soft spot for Russia.” And that Assange “also obscured the Russian role by fueling a right-wing conspiracy theory he knew to be false.”

  • Ignoring findings backed by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity that the DNC emails were leaked and not hacked.

  • Erroneously linking the timing of WikiLeaks’ Podesta emails to deflect attention from the “Access Hollywood” tape, asdebunked in Consortium News by Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who worked with WikiLeaks on those emails.

Distorts Geo-Politics

The piece swallows whole the Establishment’s geo-strategic Russia narrative, as all corporate media do. It buys without hesitation the story that the U.S. seeks to spread democracy around the world, and not pursue its economic and geo-strategic interests as do all imperial powers.

The Times reports that, “The United States had backed democratic, anti-Russian forces in the so-called color revolutions on Russia’s borders, in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004.” The Times has also spread the erroneous story of a democratic revolution in Ukraine in 2014, omitting crucial evidence of a U.S.-backed coup.

The Times disapprovingly dismisses Trump having said on the campaign trail that “Russia was not an existential threat, but a potential ally in beating back terrorist groups,” when an objective view of the world would come to this veryconclusion.

The story also shoves aside American voters’ real concerns that led to Trump’s election. For the Times, economic grievances and rejection of perpetual war played no role in the election of Trump. Instead it was Russian influence that led Americans to vote for him, an absurd proposition defied by a Gallup poll in July that showed Americans’ greatest concerns being economic. Their concerns about Russia were statistically insignificant at less than one percent.

Ignoring Americans’ real concerns exposes the class interests of Times staffers and editors who are evidently above Americans’ economic and social suffering.  The Times piece blames Russia for social “divisions” and undermining American democracy, classic projection onto Moscow away from the real culprits for these problems: bi-partisan American plutocrats. That also insults average Americans by suggesting they cannot think for themselves and pursue their own interests without Russia telling them what to do.

Establishment reporters insulate themselves from criticism by retreating into the exclusive Establishment club they think they inhabit. It is from there that they vicariously draw their strength from powerful people they cover, which they should instead be scrutinizing. Validated by being close to power, Establishment reporters don’t take seriously anyone outside of the club, such as a website like Consortium News.

But on rare occasions they are forced to take note of what outsiders are saying. Because of the role The New York Timesplayed in the catastrophe of Iraq its editors took the highly unusual move of apologizing to its readers. Will we one day read a similar apology about the paper’s coverage of Russia-gate?

Published:9/23/2018 5:58:45 PM
[2baafafb-4eb2-4a84-a53d-a6b07cb391db] Hillary Clinton appears on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' to ask FBI to investigate Kavanaugh As the nation continues to focus on the contentious process to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court amid accusations of sexual assault, Hillary Clinton appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and called on the FBI to investigate the situation. Published:9/23/2018 2:26:29 PM
[Markets] Dershowitz Damns Ford's "Outrageous" Demands: "Every Civil Libertarian Should Be Outraged...It's Insane"

We suspect after this weekend that liberal, Democrat, Harvard Law School professor, and civil-libertarian Alan Dershowitz will be persona non grata among the establishment cognoscenti.

Dershowitz did nothing to ingratiate himself with the 'deep state' when he proclaimed that there is no doubt that President Trump has the legal authority to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and then suggesting that he be grilled under oath:

“No president has to tolerate in his midst somebody who may have tried to pull off a palace coup, but we ought to have hearings on this. Put him under oath, put the other people who were in the room under oath.”

But it is his comments about the seemingly untouchable Christine Blasey Ford, who went public with her allegations of sexual abuse against Judge Brett Kavanaugh last week, that likely triggered more than a few #MeToo'ers to find their safe spaces.

TheGatewayPundit's Jim Holt reminds us of the current situation surrounding Ford's allegations:

  • There are no witnesses who have confirmed Ford's accusations.

  • Patrick Smyth, a former high school classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, has denied attending the alleged party where Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her in the 1980s.

  • Alleged witness Mark Judge defended Brett Kavanaugh again Tuesday in a letter through his lawyer to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

  • And now, Leland Ingham Keyser, a life-long friend of Christine’s has denied the accusations.

  • Judge Kavanaugh vehemently denies the allegations.

  • Ford's lawyer confirmed committed to open hearing at 10am Thursday, but notes key procedural, logistical issues remain unresolved.... "Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her."

And it appears to be the latter that triggered Dershowitz, who raged about Ford and her far-left activist lawyer's ridiculous demands in an interview on Fox Business Network.

"Every civil libertarian in the country, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, led by the Civil Libertarian Union should be outraged by this demand. It is so un-American.

You’re the accuser. You get on the witness stand. You testify. You make your accusation. You get cross-examined. THEN the accused responds.

It turns the entire legal system on its head. It is INSANE to ask an accused person to deny the accusation before he has heard the accusation being made and cross-examined.

Sure, the FBI should continue its background check.

It should also call everyone else who may have been at this party.

All of that is true.

But the idea that he goes first? I want to hear from the American Civil Liberties Union. Where are they? This is the most fundamental denial of due process."

 

Published:9/23/2018 1:00:52 PM
[Markets] Donald Trump's Rosenstein Dilemma

Authored by Mark Penn, op-ed via The Hill,

Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

That is the dilemma President Donald Trump faces as he decides whether to fire Rod Rosenstein following revelations that the deputy attorney general allegedly talked about taping the president and rounding up Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment. 

There were several people present at this meeting in the aftermath of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Despite the fact that Rosenstein wrote the key memo trashing Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, he reportedly was angry and uncertain after the president actually did it, using his memo as a justification. 

The prime source for this information appears to be none other than fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who faces investigation by a grand jury and whose memos are being declassified. McCabe appears to be even angrier at the Department of Justice (DOJ) brass who fired and humiliated him just for leaking and lying when he may have far worse on his comrades.

This is the deep state unraveling.

People bristle when I sometimes adopt and use that term: “deep state.” But as an outside observer, watching the unmasking of the actions of one official after another at the FBI, CIA and DOJ, I have come to accept that an unelected group of well-educated, experienced individuals running these departments became inebriated with their own power during the last election campaign and apparently came to believe they were on a mission to stop, defeat or remove President Trump and his associates for crimes they would find or, if necessary, manufacture.

Perhaps Rosenstein was joking when he referenced the 25th Amendment, as another meeting participant reports. But Rosenstein’s statement in response to the news accounts carefully avoids denying having discussed wiring himself or others in some effort to entrap Trump. This cabal is meeting and planning, post-Comey’s firing, despite the fact that Rosenstein himself in his memo to President Trump said Comey was “wrong” and the FBI could not regain lost public trust without a new director who understood his errors. 

It seems Rosenstein also may have believed we needed a new president. Just days into his expanded role and after these conversations, he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel with a still-secret charter to investigate the Trump campaign and administration; the precipitating act was the very firing he recommended. 

Whether it involved sending missiles to Syria after chemical attacks on civilians, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, or firing Comey, Trump actually has moved ahead and done some of the things that Washington elites complain about but go along with out of some extreme sense of caution and timidness. And those acts are then branded as some kind of lunacy.

Perhaps the true headline item in Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” is that Trump was so incensed at the murdering of women and children by Syria’s Bashar Assad that he actually raised the idea of taking out the dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people. Sheer madness? Hardly. President Obama stood idly by as mass murder happened in Syria, and President Clinton’s biggest regret is that he did too little to stop the massacres in Rwanda; he believes 300,000 lives could have been saved had he sent in troops earlier. It’s presidential inaction in the face of madness that has proven most dangerous to the world. Ask the Crimeans. 

I say this not to defend all of the actions of President Trump,  many of which I might disagree with, but to condemn the arrogance of those in the deep state who convinced themselves that they would rescue our country from ourselves. They were on a mission, it turns out, not to save our country but to undo our democracy, and Rosenstein finally has been unmasked as having the attitudes and conflicts we all suspected.

There has been an eerie pattern of events involving Rosenstein. Remember how he became downright testy in front of Congress when asked why he signed the fourth surveillance warrant against Carter Page and whether he even read it. In response to lawful demands for documents as to the origins of the investigation, he responded that he wouldn’t be “extorted” by Congress. And, in another one of his jokes (he appears to have quite a wry sense of humor), he raised turning the tables on Congress by reviewing the emails of members and staff who were there to gather information from the FBI. Just kidding. 

Until now, Rosenstein has escaped real scrutiny despite this series of defiant statements and actions. He managed to make it impossible for the president to step in and remove him, or for Congress to supervise him, claiming he reports to some higher authority that he defines as his commitment to the rule of law. 

And, yet, our laws and our Constitution set up no politically unaccountable officials in the executive or legislative branches of government. It is disappointing to see leaders like Sen. Charles Schumer(D-N.Y.) ignore the actions uncovered here in favor of anything that damages Trump, no matter how egregious the activities of these government officials.

Of course, the president is stuck here. Firing Rosenstein, even if deserved, would be spun like an act of impetuous madness just before the midterms. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who would have the acceptable power to do so, appears unable or unwilling to act in any bold manner. All Trump can do is get out all the documents and call upon the inspector general to fully investigate these reports.

After the midterms, though, he could instruct the attorney general to appoint — or, perhaps, do so directly himself — a second special prosecutor to investigate the actions of the FBI, CIA and DOJ in the Clinton and Trump investigations. Over 70 percent of Americans in the Harvard/CAPS poll believe such a counsel should be appointed now. If Democrats take over Congress, there will be no way without that appointment to continue investigations that have turned up real malfeasance of the sort by these officials. Democrats have other plans for their investigative powers, if they get them.

Whatever you want to call these well-heeled members of the intelligence community and Justice Department, many of whom now have book and speaking contracts, it is clear they all engaged in a conspiracy to bring down this administration on the basis of unverified information, and to turn the most basic acts of presidential power, like the firing of Comey, into obstruction of justice.

The more information that comes out here, the ever more egregious the actions of all of these officials appear in the light of day.

Published:9/23/2018 11:25:30 AM
[Markets] UK Begged Trump Not To Declassify Russia Docs; Cited "Grave Concerns" Over Steele Involvement

The British government "expressed grave concerns" to the US government over the declassification and release of material related to the Trump-Russia investigation, according to the New York Times. President Trump ordered a wide swath of materials "immediately" declassified "without redaction" on Monday, only to change his mind later in the week by allowing the DOJ Inspector General to review the materials first. 

The Times reports that the UK's concern was over material which "includes direct references to conversations between American law enforcement officials and Christopher Steele,the former MI6 agent who compiled the infamous "Steele Dossier." The UK's objection, according to former US and British officials, was over revealing Steele's identity in an official document, "regardless of whether he had been named in press reports." 

We would note, however, that Steele's name was contained within the Nunes Memo - the House Intelligence Committee's majority opinion in the Trump-Russia case.

Steele also had extensive contacts with DOJ official Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie, who - along with Steele - was paid by opposition research firm Fusion GPS in the anti-Trump campaign. Trump called for the declassification of FBI notes of interviews with Ohr, which would ostensibly reveal more about his relationship with Steele. Ohr was demoted twice within the Department of Justice for lying about his contacts with Fusion GPS. 

Perhaps the Brits are also concerned since much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soil throughout 2016. Recall that Trump aid George Papadopoulos was lured to London in March, 2016, where Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud fed him the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. It was later at a London bar that Papadopoulos would drunkenly pass the rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer (who Strzok flew to London to meet with). 

Also recall that CIA/FBI "informant" (spy) Stefan Halper met with both Carter Page and Papadopoulos in London. 

Halper, a veteran of four Republican administrations, reached out to Trump aide George Papadopoulos in September 2016 with an offer to fly to London to write an academic paper on energy exploration in the Mediterranean Sea.

Papadopoulos accepted a flight to London and a $3,000 honorarium. He claims that during a meeting in London, Halper asked him whether he knew anything about Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails.

Papadopoulos had other contacts on British soil that he now believes were part of a government-sanctioned surveillance operation. -Daily Caller

In total, Halper received over $1 million from the Obama Pentagon for "research," over $400,000 of which was granted before and during the 2016 election season. 

In short, it's understandable that the UK would prefer to hide their involvement in the "witch hunt" of Donald Trump since much of the counterintelligence investigation was conducted on UK soil. And if the Brits had knowledge of the operation, it will bolster claims that they meddled in the 2016 US election by assisting what appears to have been a set-up from the start.

Steele's ham-handed dossier is a mere embarrassment, as virtually none of the claims asserted by the former MI6 agent have been proven true. 

Steele, a former MI6 agent, is the author of the infamous and unverified anti-Trump dossier. He worked as a confidential human source for the FBI for years before the relationship was severed just before the election because of Steele’s unauthorized contacts with the press.

He shared results of his investigation into Trump’s links to Russia with the FBI beginning in early July 2016.

The FBI relied heavily on the unverified Steele dossier to fill out applications for four FISA warrants against Page. Page has denied the dossier’s claims, which include that he was the Trump campaign’s back channel to the Kremlin. -Daily Caller

That said, Steele hasn't worked for the British government since 2009, so for their excuse focusing on the former MI6 agent while ignoring the multitude of events which occurred on UK soil, is curious. 

Published:9/23/2018 10:26:27 AM
[Politics] Rosenstein's Fate Could Turn on Which Account Trump Believes The fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could turn on whether President Donald Trump believes the account of an ex-FBI official who, as Trump once asserted in a tweet, had "LIED! LIED! LIED!"Rosenstein discussed secretly recording Trump, though one person who was... Published:9/23/2018 6:24:58 AM
[Markets] Gowdy: No National Security Risk In Classified Russia Docs; DOJ Stonewalling Over Brennan, FBI Embarassment

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in a Thursday interview that the information contained in the Russia documents withheld by the Department of Justice (DOJ) pose no risk to national security, and would be embarrassing to former CIA Director John Brennan, the DOJ and the FBI. 

"I’ve read it. Some of it’s embarrassing for the Department of Justice — some of it’s embarrassing for the FBI. Embarrassment is not a reason to classify something," said Gowdy. "A lot of it should be embarrassing to John Brennan, and maybe therein lies why he is so adamant that this information not be released."

"I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind, but I’ve seen nothing in it that is going to jeopardize the national security interest of this country," Gowdy added. "Other than one document related to George Papadopoulos, I don’t think people are going to be that interested in it. And I don’t think any mind’s are going to be changed."

Watch:

Brennan, meanwhile, suggested in a Tuesday MSNBC interview that government officials should resign rather than comply with President Trump's order to release the records

Brennan, who now serves as an MSNBC contributor, has been a vocal critic of Trump’s over the past year. Trump recently responded by ordering Brennan’s security clearance revoked. Gowdy criticized Brennan, saying the Obama appointee is “part of the reason we are in this historic conundrum.” He did not describe what information in the classified documents will embarrass Brennan and other government officials. But as CIA director, Brennan was directly involved in gathering and sharing intelligence used to investigate whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

The documents in question are related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants obtained against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as well as FBI notes of interviews used to obtain the warrants. -Daily Caller

According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trump's order to declassify a broad swath of DOJ/FBI documents related to the Russia investigation will also expose the infamous "insurance policy" referred to in an August 15, 2016 text between former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. 

Speaking with Fox News's Laura Ingraham last week, Nunes said that declassification will provide exculpatory evidence, including a dozen or so 302 witness interview forms from DOJ official Bruce Ohr which may shed light on his significant relationship with former MI6 spy Christopher Steele and "many other rotten apples." 

"A lot of people think that the insurance policy was getting the FISA warrant on [former Trump campaign aide] Carter Page," Nunes told Ingraham, adding "We actually believe it was more explicit than that."

Trump also ordered the DOJ to release text messages from several key players in the Trump-Russia investigation, "without redaction," of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr. 

A spokesman from the Justice Department told Fox News that the DOJ and FBI "are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President's order," while ODNI spokesperson Kellie Wade told the network: "As requested by the White House, the ODNI is working expeditiously with our interagency partners to conduct a declassification review of the documents the President has identified for declassification."

Meanwhile, Trump agreed to delay the release on Friday - allowing the DOJ's Inspector General to review the documents prior to declassification. 

In Friday morning Tweets, Trump said: "I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!"

 So it looks like Brennan's embarrassment has been delayed...

Published:9/22/2018 9:22:16 PM
[Uncategorized] Revealed: The reason behind mysterious Sunspot Observatory closure Court document reveals FBI agents shut down the facility to conduct forensic computer analysis. Published:9/22/2018 6:52:07 PM
[Markets] Was NYT Story About Rosenstein 'Coup Attempt' A Setup?

Is the FBI trying to goad President Trump into firing the man in charge of supervising the Mueller probe? That's what Sean Hannity and a handful of  Trump's Congressional allies think.

According to a report in Politico, Republicans in Congress are approaching a story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attempting to organize a palace coup with extreme caution, despite having twice nearly gathered the votes to remove him in the recent past.

On Friday, the NYT reported a bombshell story alleging that Rosenstein had tried to recruit administration officials to secretly tape conversations with the president in order to help justify removing Trump under the 25th amendment. Rosenstein vehemently denied the story, which was largely based on confidential memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. And others who were reportedly in attendance at meeting between McCabe and Rosenstein said the Deputy AG was being "sarcastic" when he suggested that the president be taped.

Rosie

Meanwhile, Trump allies including Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz are saying that the story should be treated with suspicion. Jordan and Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows once filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein. But now, both Meadows and Jordan intend to proceed with caution, telling Politico that he would like to see the memos that the story was based on.

House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, who led a charge to impeach Rosenstein this summer, have said they want to hear from Rosenstein and see documents allegedly describing the comments before they decide what to do. That’s awarded Rosenstein a courtesy they’ve never given him in the past.

"I think Rod needs to come before Congress this week and explain under oath what exactly he said and didn't say," Meadows said at the Values Voters Summit Saturday.

The newfound hesitation to oust Rosenstein highlights a cautious approach Trump allies have adopted as the Republican party barrels toward a potential bloodbath in the midterms. Some Republicans fear Trump firing Rosenstein now would only further energize Democrats making the case to voters that the president is corrupt and needs to be reined in by a Democratic House.

[...]

In a Friday interview, Jordan, one of Rosenstein's fiercest critics in Congress, sidestepped questions about whether the House should revisit Rosenstein’s impeachment or try to hold him in contempt of Congress. Rather, he said, a more focused push to obtain sensitive documents from the Justice Department — which Trump's allies say would expose anti-Trump bias and corruption the FBI — is the most urgent priority.

"I want to see those memos and evaluate them," said Jordan, who has clashed publicly with Rosenstein over access to documents and accused him of threatening House Intelligence Committee staffers, an allegation Rosenstein denied.

Politico cites two possible explanations for lawmakers' hesitation: Republicans are running out of time before members devote themselves full-time to their reelection campaigns. Republicans are worried that the story could have been intentionally planted to provoke Rosenstein's firing in order to improve Democrats' chances of retaking the Senate AND the House (Trump actively moving to crush the Mueller probe would be quite the propaganda win for the Dems).

Sean Hannity took this latter theory a step further during his show on Friday evening, where he urged Trump not to fire Rosie and instead insisted that the story could have been a "trap". He added that he had been told by "multiple sources" that the story was planted by unspecified "enemies of Trump."

"I have a message for the president tonight," Hannity said Friday night. "Under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody...the president needs to know it is all a setup."

Still, a handful of conservative commentators, including Laura Ingraham, urged Trump to fire Rosenstein immediately. And for Trump's part, he hinted at a rally Friday night in Missouri that he planned to "get rid" of the "lingering stench" at the DOJ, which many interpreted as a hint that his firing is imminent.

Published:9/22/2018 6:22:50 PM
[US News] Nice try: Senate Democrats ask why Republicans supported an FBI investigation in 1991 but not now

What is it about the FBI's jurisdiction that people do not understand?

The post Nice try: Senate Democrats ask why Republicans supported an FBI investigation in 1991 but not now appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/22/2018 6:22:50 PM
[In The News] REPORT: Officials Inside White House Believe McCabe’s Team Planted Rosenstein Story

By DCNF -

White House insiders reportedly believe former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s team planted a story in the press suggesting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is conspiring against the president, according to Politico on Saturday.

REPORT: Officials Inside White House Believe McCabe’s Team Planted Rosenstein Story is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:9/22/2018 6:22:50 PM
[Markets] "A Lingering Stench..." - Trump Hints At Rosenstein Firing During Friday Night Rally

President Trump gave his clearest indication yet that he is preparing to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the NYT reported that Rosentein during a rally in Sringfield, Missouri. During the rally, Trump said that while his administration had cleaned house at the DOJ, a "lingering stench" has remained. But that too would soon be taken care of.

Trump's comments followed a revelation published by the New York Times about an attempted palace coup orchestrated by the Deputy Attorney General during the spring of 2017. After Trump cited a letter written by Rosenstein as justification for firing former FBI Director James Comey back in May 2017, Rosenstein reportedly felt embittered and "used" by the president. So he sought revenge by attempting to persuade members of the Trump cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from office. Rosenstein's plot quickly fizzled, but not before the deputy AG had suggested that the conspirators should attempt to surreptitiously record the president in the Oval Office.

News of the conspiracy, which was reportedly drawn from memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this year and may face criminal charges after purportedly lying to the DOJ inspector general, has provoked widespread calls for Rosenstein's ouster.

During Friday's rally, Trump emphasized that we have "great people" in the Department of Justice. And that, if his administration took a poll, "they'd probably be at 95%" support. "But there's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that group."

Trump has reportedly considered firing Rosenstein at least twice before, according to media reports, most recently after the FBI raided the home, hotel room and office of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Rosenstein is in charge of the ongoing Russia probe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last spring after Trump fired Comey, earning the enduring enmity of his boss.

Trump also continued to back his SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh during the rally.

"Fantastic man. Fantastic man," Trump said of the judge.

"And he was born – you talk about Central Casting – he was born, they were saying it 10 years ago about him, he was born for it. And it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen," Trump said, referring to Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The president made his appearance in the state to stump for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 6 midterm vote.

Published:9/22/2018 12:58:20 PM
[Trending Commentary] Gowdy: Russia Docs Are ‘Embarrassing’ For John Brennan, DOJ And FBI

By DCNF -

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy said the information in a batch of Russia investigation documents that President Donald Trump was considering for declassification will prove “embarrassing” for the Department of Justice, FBI and former CIA Director John Brennan.

Gowdy: Russia Docs Are ‘Embarrassing’ For John Brennan, DOJ And FBI is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:9/22/2018 12:07:33 PM
[Markets] Internal Notes Show Divergence Between Obama, FBI On Whether Russia Helped Trump

Newly released FBI communications from January, 2017 confirm that the Obama administration ignored the FBI's stance on whether Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election, and that former FBI agent Peter Strzok was worried that the White House would misconstrue their conclusion, reports The Hill's John Solomon. 

On Dec. 10, 2016, the FBI received an inquiry from a reporter about whether the FBI was uncertain about the emerging conclusion that Russia was trying to help Trump win. The reporter intended to report that FBI counterintelligence was “much less emphatic than the CIA about Russia intent.”

Strzok weighed in to help the FBI press office address the reporter’s question, an email that has now captured congressional investigators' fancy because it states clearly the FBI couldn’t distinguish that any one of three possible motives drove Russia’s meddling.

“The specific point I made was we did not have information to differentiate what their ultimate goal was,” Strzok emailed, adding that then-Director James Comey told Senate Intelligence something similar.

“In other words, the activity is one-sided and clear but we can’t say the sole and primary purpose was specifically intended to help someone, hurt someone else or undermine the process. The reality is all three,” he wrote. -The Hill

It's also clear that the FBI's upper echelon was concerned over sharing information with the White House and then-Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, over fears that it might result in political abuse. 

“He, like us, is concerned with over sharing. Doesn’t want Clapper giving CR cuts to WH. All political, just shows our hand and potentially makes enemies,” Strzok wrote to FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Jan. 3, 2017, relating a conversation he apparently had with then-Assistant Director William Priestap, the top counterintelligence official in the bureau.

Investigators aren’t certain yet what “CR cuts” refers to. Some, though, think it could be a reference to “classified raw” intelligence, such as the unverified Steele dossier or possible intercepts. Others wonder whether it could refer to budget cuts in a "continuing resolution" though no such budget was pending at the time. Whatever the case, the political distrust of colleagues is clear. “WH,” of course, refers to the White House. 

“Yeah, but keep in mind we were going to put that in the doc on Friday, with potentially larger distribution than just the dni,” Page texted back. Strzok answered back, escalating his concerns: “The question is should we, particularly to the entirety of the lame duck usic with partisan axes to grind.” "USIC" is an acronym for the United States Intelligence Community. -The Hill

The FBI's assessment is in stark contrast to the official intelligence assessment from the Obama administration released on January 6, 2017 which declared: "We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him." 

What's more, the National Security Agency (NSA) only had "moderate confidence" that Putin was trying to help Trump win, and the House Intelligence Committee concluded that they couldn't validate Putin's intentions either. 

In January, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) revealed a "jaw-dropping" email written in May 19 of 2017 from Strzok to his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page - which reads: "You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there’s no big there there."

When asked by the DOJ Inspector General what he meant by that, Strzok said that he couldn't be certain that there was a "broad, coordinated effort" to hijack the election.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general asked Strzok shortly before he was fired from the FBI what he meant by that text, and he offered a most insightful answer.

Strzok said he wasn’t certain there was a “broad, coordinated effort” to hijack the election and that the evidence of Trump campaign aides talking about getting Hillary Clinton dirt from Russians might have been just a “bunch of opportunists” talking to heighten their importance.

Strzok added that, while he raised the idea of impeachment in some of his texts to Page, “I am, again, was not, am not convinced or certain that it will,” he told the IG. -The Hill

And as we reported last week, a newly reported comment made by Page during her May testimony revealed that the FBI had no clue whether there was any collusion between Trumpworld and Russia. What's more, ex-FBI Director James Comey told the Senate shortly after he was fired that there was "not yet evidence to justify investigating Trump for colluding with Russia.

"When I left, we did not have an investigation focused on President Trump," said Comey. 

In short, James Comey, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have all said or implied that the FBI had nothing linking Trump to Russia. Which, as John Solomon concluded last week, raises the question: If there was no concrete evidence of collusion, why did we need a special prosecutor?

Published:9/22/2018 11:50:13 AM
[Markets] Kavanaugh Accuser Misses 10PM Deadline, Grassley Grants Demand For One More Day

Update: Grassley has granted Ford an additional day to decide on next week's testimony. 

In several late Friday tweets, Grassley wrote:

"Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story  Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u...

... 

Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive

...

With all the extensions we give Dr Ford to decide if she still wants to testify to the Senate I feel like I’m playing 2nd trombone in the judiciary orchestra and Schumer is the conductor"

After several intense days of negotiations between Congressional GOP and Christine Blasey Ford's legal team this week, the woman who at the 11th hour accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault over 35 years ago missed a 10PM deadline set by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. Instead, she has demanded an additional day to make up her mind after her attorney, Debra Katz, called the 10:00 p.m. deadline "arbitrary." 

Katz made the demand at the end of a strongly worded letter accusing the Judiciary committee of "aggressive and artificial deadlines" which caused "unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford." 

The ball is now firmly in Grassley's court in what is sure to be a nonstop weekend of rigorous debate over whether the Judiciary Committee Chairman will accede to Ford's latest demand.  

Earlier in the day, Grassley drew a hard line in the sand, allowing Ford's to decide by 10 p.m. whether or not she would appear for testimony next Wednesday, while Ford's team shot back a list of demands, including a Thursday testimony - and that the Committee of "11 old white men" question her instead of outside legal counsel. 

Ford's allies are doing their best to demonize Grassley and his committee of "11 old white men" for browbeating an alleged sexual assault victim into a rushed decision.

That said, many on the right have pointed out that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) waited over 6 weeks to report Ford's allegation to the FBI or any other authorities for investigation. Having employed several former FBI on her staff along with an alleged Chinese spy, Feinstein would have likely known of a number of flagpoles to fly Ford's accusation up to begin the investigative process. 

Congressional GOP agreed to skip the outside lawyer. 

Perhaps another factor bolstering GOP steadfastness on the issue is the Friday revalation that Ford's current political adviser - former Obama and Clinton White House official Ricky Seidman, had allegedly been working on Ford's situation since July - outlining a plan on a newly released audio tape to use the allegation as political fodder to derail Kavanaugh's confirmation, and if unsuccessful, at least politically harm Republicans during midterms

One might think that Ford, an ostensibly intelligent PhD, would have considered the likelihood of her eventual Congressional testimony the moment she decided to involve California legislators in her claims prior to the 11th hour of Kavanaugh's confirmation. 

Was Ford's account leaked?

Meanwhile, per the Washington Post, Ford now claims that Ed Whelan - a former Scalia clerk who posited a controversial theory that Ford may have mistaken Kavanaugh for a high school Doppelgänger, was creeping her Linkedin page before her accusation became public knowledge - suggesting that someone leaked her name to him. The White House denied the suggestion on Friday, stating that "neither Kavanaugh nor anyone in the White House gave Ford's name to Whelan before it was disclosed by the Post." 

And here we are, buckle up for a long weekend... 

Published:9/21/2018 11:17:23 PM
[Markets] Ilargi Meijer: "The News Just Ain't The News No More"

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Two thirds of Americans get at least some of their news on social media. Google and Facebook receive well over 70% of US digital advertising revenues. The average daily time spent on social media is 2 hours. Just a few factoids that have at least one thing in common: nothing like them was around 10 years ago, let alone 20. And they depict a change, or set of changes, in our world that will take a long time yet to understand and absorb. Some things just move too fast for us to keep track of, let alone process.

Those of us who were alive before the meteoric rise of the hardware and software of ‘social’ media may be able to relate a little more and better than those who were not, but even that is not a given. There are plenty people over 20, over 30, that make one think: what did you do before you had that magic machine? When you walk down the street talking to some friend, or looking at what your friends wrote on Facebook, do you ever think about what you did in such situations before the machine came into your life?

From 10% to 75% in 10 years

We’re not going to know what the hardware and software of ‘social’ media will have done to our lives, individually and socially, for a very long time. But in the meantime, their influence will continue to shape our lives. They change our societies, the way we interact with each other, in very profound ways; we just don’t know how profound, or how, period. There can be little question that they change us as individuals too; they change how we communicate, and in such a way that there is no way they don’t also change our very brain structures in the process.

Someone who walks down a street talking to someone else 10, 100, 1000 miles away, or sees messages from such a person come in in virtual real time, experiences things that were not available ever in human history. Our brains must adapt to these changes, or we will be left behind. And while for the over-20, over-30 crowd this takes actual adaptation, for those younger than that it comes quasi pre-cooked: they’ve never known anything else. Still, their brains were formed in completely different times too. Think hunter-gatherers. And that’s just the human part of the brain.

There are too many aspects to this development to cover here. One day someone will write a book, or rather, many someones will write many books, and they will all be different. Some will focus on people’s lives being saved because their smartphones allow them to either receive or send out distress signals. Others will tell stories of teenagers committing suicide after being heckled on ‘social’ media. With yin comes yang. Millions feel better with new-found ‘friends’, and millions suffer from abuse even if they don’t kill themselves.

With new media, especially when it goes from 1 to 100 in no time flat, it should be no surprise that the news it delivers changes too. We went from a few dozen TV- and radio stations and newspapers to a few hundred million potential opinions in the US alone. The media are no longer a one-way street. The first effect that has had is that the chasm between news and opinion has narrowed spectacularly. If their readers post their views of what they read and see, journalists feel they have the right to vent their opinions too.

And then these opinions increasingly replace the news itself. The medium is again the message, in a way, a novel kind of way. A hundred million people write things without being restricted by due diligence or other journalistic standards, and we see journalists do that too. They will come up with lies, half-truths, innuendo, false accusations, and moreover will not retract or correct them, except when really hard-pressed. After all, who has the time when you post a hundred+ tweets a day and need to update your Facebook pages too?

Obviously, Donald Trump is an excellent example of the changing media environment. His use of Twitter was a major factor in his election victory. And then his detractors took to Twitter to launch a huge campaign accusing him of collusion with Russia to achieve that victory. They did this moving in lockstep with Bob Mueller’s investigation of that collusion accusation. But almost two years after the election, neither Mueller not the media have provided any evidence of collusion.

That, ironically, is the only thing that is actually true about the entire narrative at this point. Sure, Mueller may still have something left in his back pocket, but if he had solid proof he would have been obliged to present it. Collusion with a foreign government is too serious not to reveal evidence of. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that in September 2018, Mueller has no such evidence. But what about the thousands of printed articles and the millions of Tweets and Facebook posts claiming collusion that were presented as true?

Funny you asked. What they prove is not collusion, but the changing media landscape. The anti-Trump echo-chamber that I’ve written about many times has been going strong for two years and shows no signs of abating. There are still lots of people posting a hundred (re-)tweets etc. daily who are being read by many others, all of them confirming their biases in a never fulfilled feeding frenzy.

This is not about Trump. And I’m not a Trump supporter. This is instead about the media, and the humongous difference interactivity has made. And about the fact that it hasn’t just added a hundred million voices, it has also altered the way traditional media report the news, in an effort to keep up with those hundred million.

The thing here that is about Trump, is that he’s everybody’s favorite meal ticket. He confirms everyone’s opinion, whether for or against him, by the way he uses media. And most importantly, they all make a lot of money off of him. The New York Times and WaPo and MSNBC would be in deep financial trouble without Trump. Like they were before he came along. Polarization of opinions saved them. Well, not the WaPo, Jeff Bezos can afford to run 1000 papers like that and lose money hand over fist. But for the NYT and many others a Trump impeachment would be disastrous. Funny, right?

Another thing that is obvious is that one thing still sells above all others: sex. The smear campaign against Julian Assange has been successful in one way only, and it’s been a smash hit: the rape allegations. Completely false, entirely made up, dragged out as long as possible, and turning millions, especially women, against him.

The accusations against Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh haven’t been around long enough to be discredited. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t. But read through newspaper articles, watch TV shows, follow Twitter, and you see countless voices already convinced ‘he did it’. And that ‘it’ is often labeled ‘rape’, though that’s not the accusation.

But it’s part of the Anti-Trump train, and the echo-chamber has gone into overdrive once again. Even if everyone understands that a 36-year old accusation must be handled with care. The accusing woman’s lawyer says the FBI must investigate, and everyone says: FBI! FBI!. Conveniently forgetting that the FBI has been far from impartial with regards to Trump, and the White House is not exactly waiting for another FBI role.

What’s wrong with waiting till you know the facts? Why judge a situation you know nothing about other than a woman accuses a man of assault 36 years ago, and doesn’t remember time, location etc.?

And that’s the thing all along, isn’t it? That people, both readers and journalists, all 200 million Americans of them, think they have acquired the right to judge any person, any situation they read a few lines about, just because they have purchased a smartphone. A faulty notion fed on a daily basis by the fact there are millions who think just like them.

We may want to rethink the terms ‘social’ media and ‘smart’ phone. They sound good, but they don’t cover the true nature of either. It’s hard to say where all this is going, but the sharply increasing polarization of society is certainly not a good sign. People feeling they have the right to accuse others without knowing facts, people building a Russiagate narrative without evidence, these are not things a society should welcome, whether they’re profitable or not.

Meanwhile, there are two people (there are many more, of course) who were banned from the platforms so many others use to draw baseless conclusions and spout empty accusations. And we miss them both, or we should: Alex Jones and Julian Assange. Have they really used ‘social’ media in worse ways than those 200 million Americans? Or were they banned because millions of Americans were following and reading their non-mainstream views?

We better get a grip on this, and on ourselves, or we won’t get another chance. What we have seen so far is that it’s not that hard to shape people’s opinions in a world with information overload. And that process is about to get a whole lot more intense. Until all you’re left with is the illusion that your opinion is actually your own.

Published:9/21/2018 6:51:39 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: "The Line Between Truth & Untruth Has Turned All Squishy"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

How hilarious is it in this pornography-saturated culture of anything-goes-and-nothing-matters that a long-ago session of awkward teenage necking becomes the most horrifying crime since Eve consorted with a snake in the original wayback?

One theory: having worked tirelessly to destroy behavioral boundaries in its quest to transform human nature for the greater good of society, the Prog-Left has no idea anymore how the world works or how to interpret what human beings actually do in it. Hence this effort to turn the Brett Kavanaugh nomination proceeding into a retroactive abortion of the nominee.

The Democratic Party seems to be afflicted with a vicious sort of PMS that has turned the brains of even its theoretically male members, Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, into polenta with red sauce on top. They see blood everywhere, and even appear to be thirsting for it like a gang of Old World Nosferatus, or giddy Jacobins merrily geeing up the guillotine blade in a frenzy of summary execution.

My own sense of the situation is that Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations are going exactly nowhere, no matter how carefully and elaborately conditions are set for her to lay out her case. It couldn’t be more firmly established that she doesn’t remember what year or what place the alleged necking happened in. Is she going to change that part of the story now?

Surely lawyers, gumshoes, and phrenologists on the Democratic Party payroll would like to engineer some magic memory retrieval so she’ll be supplied with dates and addresses when her turn at the microphone comes. By the way, the boundary between truth and untruth is one of the lines that has turned all squishy on them. Because they can’t tell anymore, they must assume nobody else can either.

Who knows if Ms. Ford is sturdy enough for this ordeal-by-testimony. CNN asserted last night that this episode has “destroyed her life.” Of course, that claim, too, might be viewed as just another manifestation of hormonal disturbance which, less face it, women of a certain age are subject to. She can always retreat to her “safe space” back at Palo Alto U, with all the perqs and emoluments of her professorship, or perhaps even make a run for congress. God knows, California could use another victim of white male sexual abuse to advance the project of getting rid of men altogether. Hollywood would sign on for that in a New York minute.

This might come as a shock to readers, but the time is not far off when the remaining not-insane cohort of adult Americans gets good and goddamn sick of political sex bombing. Especially given this case of shuck-and-jive. Consider that the same CNN this week produced an entire segment about the shape and size of the President’s generative organ (as reported by an expert in these matters, the porn star and prostitute known as Stormy Daniels). It must be a subject of extraordinary interest to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

On the other flank of the news this week is the much more perilous showdown between the Department of Justice (and the FBI), and Mr. Trump, the cis-hetero-white Golem who happens to be president. He has ordered these agencies to produce a set of un-redacted documents pertaining to the long-running Russia investigation, set into motion by personnel at these very places. It’s his prerogative under the constitution to do that. In turn, these agencies are being egged on by possibly culpable characters in this melodrama, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Cal), to stonewall the Golem. If I were president — and I may get there yet — I’d send federal marshals into Rod Rosenstein’s office to seize these documents before they are mysteriously “lost.”

A tremendous tension hangs over this transaction. Imagine the awful possibility that Mr. Trump may have to declare some kind of martial law to roust out these seditious rascals and clean up their departments. There’s your Fourth Turning horror show with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Published:9/21/2018 4:15:27 PM
[World] Trump Asks IG to Review FISA Documents on 'Expedited Basis': Matt Gaetz Reacts

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said President Trump was right to order the declassification of a number of key documents connected with the FBI's investigation of alleged Russian collusion with members of his campaign team.

Published:9/21/2018 2:16:32 PM
[Markets] Rosenstein Proposed Secretly Recording Trump, Invoking 25th Amendment

If this latest revelation from the New York Times doesn't drive President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, then we can't imagine what would.

Rosenstein

In a shocking report citing a bevy of anonymous DOJ officials, the NYT recounted on Friday an aborted mutiny attempt organized by Rosenstein, who allegedly tried to organize members of Trump's cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment to oust Trump from office. In an attempt to persuade the clearly reluctant members of Trump's cabinet, Rosenstein suggested that he had taped Trump "to expose the chaos" he said was engulfing the West Wing.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.

According to the NYT, this all happened during the spring of 2017, shortly after Trump cited a letter that Rosenstein had penned criticizing former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the Clinton probe as justification to fire Comey. Rosenstein reportedly felt he had been "used" by the president as an excuse to fire Comey.

Rosenstein also tried to recruit some of his would-be co-conspirators to surreptitiously record Trump in the Oval Office.

Mr. Rosenstein then raised the idea of wearing a recording device or "wire," as he put it, to secretly tape the president when he visited the White House. One participant asked whether Mr. Rosenstein was serious, and he replied animatedly that he was.

The Times said Rosenstein "appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional" during what can only be described as a coup attempt against a sitting president.

While Rosenstein and Trump clearly never saw eye to eye, the level of resentment that Rosenstein harbored toward the president was not previously known. Unsurprisingly, the story has already fired up speculation  that Rosenstein may have been the anonymous administration official who penned a critical op-ed that was published earlier this month in the New York Times.

Published:9/21/2018 1:26:41 PM
[Politics] Holder: I Would Have Fired Comey for Clinton Press Conference Former Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday said he would have fired former FBI Director James Comey for giving his controversial July 2016 press conference on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices. Published:9/21/2018 12:45:46 PM
[Politics] Wha? Trump BACKS AWAY from immediate release of classified documents on Russia probe… Well this is interesting. Trump has apparently been advised that an immediate release of the unredacted Carter Page FISA warrant pages and the next messages of the top Obama FBI agents related . . . Published:9/21/2018 12:45:45 PM
[Politics] Wha? Trump BACKS AWAY from immediate release of classified documents on Russia probe… Well this is interesting. Trump has apparently been advised that an immediate release of the unredacted Carter Page FISA warrant pages and the next messages of the top Obama FBI agents related . . . Published:9/21/2018 12:45:45 PM
[Markets] Trump Challenges Kavanaugh Accuser To Produce Actual Evidence Of Assault

In what will, we are sure, now become the liberal media's focus for the next 24hr news cycle, President Trump appears to have weighed in on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser's credibility.

Trump appeared to set the scene for his latest tweet by noting earlier that "Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C."

Which led to the following tweet, questioning the fact that if the attack was as bad we are led to believe, why did she or "her loving parents" not file with local law enforcement?

" I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn  date, time, and place!"

And cue the outraged accusations that he is attacking a poor woman who was too afraid to come forward at the time, because when it comes to this kind of crime accusation, as Trump says "facts don't matter" and you're guilty, period, or something.

However, Trump was not done. He doubled-down on his questioning of Ford's recollection of events, asking "Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"

Why indeed?

Published:9/21/2018 8:48:48 AM
[Science] Planet Earth Dodges a Bullet

A week ago, I wondered what was going on in Sunspot, New Mexico. The FBI had swept into this mountain-top solar observatory, complete with Black Hawk helicopters, ...

The post Planet Earth Dodges a Bullet appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

Published:9/20/2018 7:39:38 PM
[Markets] Nomi Prins: Donald In Wonderland - Down The Financial Rabbit Hole With President Trump

Authored by Nomi Prins via TomDispatch.com,

Once upon a time, there was a little-known energy company called Enron. In its 16-year life, it went from being dubbed America’s most innovative company by Fortune Magazine to being the poster child of American corporate deceit. Using a classic recipe for book-cooking, Enron ended up in bankruptcy with jail time for those involved. Its shareholders lost $74 billionin the four years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2001.

A decade ago, the flameout of my former employer, Lehman Brothers, the global financial firm, proved far more devastating, contributing as it did to a series of events that ignited a global financial meltdown. Americans lost an estimated $12.8 trillion in the havoc.

Despite the differing scales of those disasters, there was a common thread: both companies used financial tricks to make themselves appear so much healthier than they actually were. They both faked the numbers, thanks to off-the-books or offshore mechanisms and eluded investigations... until they collapsed.

Now, here’s a question for you as we head for the November midterm elections, sure to be seen as a referendum on the president: Could Donald Trump be a one-man version of either Enron or Lehman Brothers, someone who cooked “the books” until, well, he imploded?

Since we’ve never seen his tax returns, right now we really don’t know. What we do know is that he’s been dodging bullets ever since the Justice Department accused him of violating the Fair Housing Act in his operation of 39 buildings in New York City in 1973. Unlike famed 1920s mob boss Al Capone, he may never get done in by something as simple as tax evasion, but time will tell.

Rest assured of one thing though: he won’t go down easily, even if he is already the subject of multiple investigations and a plethora of legal slings and arrows. Of course, his methods should be familiar. As President Calvin Coolidge so famously put it, “the business of America is business.” And the business of business is to circumvent or avoid the heat... until, of course, it can’t.

The Safe

So far, Treasury Secretary and former Trump national campaign financechairman Steven Mnuchin has remained out of the legal fray that’s sweeping away some of his fellow campaign associates. Certainly, he and his wife have grandiose tastes. And, yes, his claim that his hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, used offshore tax havens only for his clients, not to help him evade taxes himself, represents a stretch of the imagination. Other than that, however, there seems little else to investigate -- for now. Still, as Treasury secretary he does oversee a federal agency that means the world to Donald Trump, the Internal Revenue Service, which just happens to be located across a courtyard from the Trump International Hotel on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue.

As it happens, the IRS in the Trump era still doesn’t have a commissioner, only an acting head. What it may have, National Enquirer-style, is genuine presidential secrets in the form of Donald Trump’s elusive tax returns. Last fall, outgoing IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that there were plans to relocate them to a shiny new safe where they would evidently remain.

In 2016, Trump became the first candidate since President Richard Nixon not to disclose his tax returns. During the campaign, he insisted that those returns were undergoing an IRS audit and that he would not release them until it was completed. (No one at the IRS has ever confirmed that being audited in any way prohibits the release of tax information.) The president’s pledge to do so remains unfulfilled and last year counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway noted that the White House was “not going to release his tax returns,” adding -- undoubtedly thinking about his base -- “people didn’t care.”

On April 17, 2018, the White House announced that the president would defer even filing his 2017 tax returns until this October. As every president since Nixon has undergone a mandatory audit while in office, count on American taxpayers hearing the same excuse for the rest of his term, even if Congress were to decide to invoke a 1924 IRS provision to view them.

Still, Conway may have a point when it comes to the public. After all, tax dodging is as American as fireworks on the Fourth of July. According to one study, every year the U.S. loses $400 billion in unpaid taxes, much of it hidden in offshore tax havens.

Yet the financial disclosures that The Donald did make during election campaign 2016 indicate that there are more than 500 companies in over two dozen countries, mostly with few to no employees or real offices, that feature him as their “president.” Let’s face it, someone like Trump would only create a business universe of such Wall Street-esque complexity if he wanted to hide something. He was likely trying to evade taxes, shield himself and his family from financial accountability, or hide the dubious health of parts of his business empire. As a colleague of mine at Bear Stearns once put it, when tax-haven companies pile up like dirty laundry, there’s a high likelihood that their uses aren’t completely clean.

Now, let’s consider what we know of Donald Trump’s financial adventures, taxes and all. It’s quite a story and, even though it already feels like forever, it’s only beginning to be told.

The Trump Organization

Atop the non-White House branch of the Trump dynasty is the Trump Organization. To comply with federal conflict-of-interest requirements, The Donald officially turned over that company’s reins to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr. For all the obvious reasons, he was supposed to distance himself from his global business while running the country.

Only that didn’t happen and not just because every diplomat and lobbyist in town started to frequent his money-making new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, according to the New York Times, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is considering pressing criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two of its senior officials because the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid off an adult film actress and a former Playboy model to keep their carnal knowledge to themselves before the election.

Though Cohen effectively gave Stormy Daniels $130,000 and Karen McDougal $150,000 to keep them quiet, the Trump Organization then paid Cohen even more, $420,000, funds it didn’t categorize as a reimbursement for expenses, but as a “retainer.” In its internal paperwork, it then termed that sum as “legal expenses.”

The D.A.’s office is evidently focusing its investigation on how the Trump Organization classified that payment of $420,000, in part for the funds Cohen raised from the equity in his home to calm the Stormy (so to speak). Most people take out home equity loans to build a garage or pay down some debt. Not Cohen. It’s a situation that could become far thornier for Trump. As Cohen already knew, Trump couldn’t possibly wield his pardon power to absolve his former lawyer, since it only appliesto those convicted of federal charges, not state ones.

And that’s bad news for the president. As Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, put it, “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

The bigger question is: What else is there? Those two payoffs may, after all, just represent the beginning of the woes facing both the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation, which has been the umbrella outfit for businesses that have incurred charges of lobbying violations (not disclosing payment to a local newspaper to promote favorable casino legislation) and gaming law violations. His organization has also been accused of misleading investors, engaging in currency-transaction-reporting crimes, and improperly accounting for money used to buy betting chips, among a myriad of other transgressions. To speculate on overarching corporate fraud would not exactly be a stretch.

Unlike his casinos, the Trump Organization has not (yet) gone bankrupt, nor -- were it to do so -- is it in a class with Enron or Lehman Brothers. Yet it does have something in common with both of them: piles of money secreted in places designed to hide its origins, uses, and possibly end-users. The question some authority may pursue someday is: If Donald Trump was willing to be a part of a scheme to hide money paid to former lovers, wouldn't he do the same for his businesses?

The Trump Foundation

Questions about Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, have abounded since campaign 2016. They prompted New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood to file a lawsuit on June 14th against the foundation, also naming its board of directors, including his sons and his daughter Ivanka. It cites “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct... occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”

As the New York Times reported, “The lawsuit accused the charity and members of Mr. Trump’s family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing, and illegal coordination with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.” It also alleged that for four years -- 2007, 2012, 2013, and 2014 -- Trump himself placed his John Hancock below incorrect statements on the foundation’s tax returns.

The main issue in question: Did the Trump Foundation use any of its funds to benefit The Donald or any of his businesses directly? Underwood thinks so. As she pointed out, it “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality.” Otherwise it seems to have employed no one and, according to the lawsuit, its board of directors has not met since 1999.

Because Trump ran all of his enterprises, he was also personally responsible for signing their tax returns. His charitable foundation was no exception. Were he found to have knowingly provided false information on its tax returns, he could someday face perjury charges.

On August 31st, the foundation’s lawyers fought back, filing papers of their own, calling the lawsuit, as the New York Times put it, “a political attack motivated by the former attorney general’s ‘record of antipathy’ against Mr. Trump.” They were referring to Eric Schneiderman, who had actually resigned the previous May -- consider this an irony under the circumstances -- after being accused of sexual assault by former girlfriends.

The New York state court system has, in fact, emerged as a vital force in the pushback against the president and his financial shenanigans. As Zephyr Teachout, recent Democratic candidate for New York attorney general, pointed out, it is “one of the most important legal offices in the entire country to both resist and present an alternative to what is happening at the federal level." And indeed it had begun fulfilling that responsibility with The Donald long before the Mueller investigation was even launched.

In 2013, Schneiderman filed a civil suit against Trump University, calling it a sham institution that engaged in repeated fraudulent behavior. In 2016, Trump finally settled that case in court, agreeing to a $25 million payment to its former students -- something that (though we don’t, of course, have the tax returns to confirm this) probably also proved to be a tax write-off for him.

These days, the New York attorney general’s office could essentially create a branch only for matters Trumpian. So far, it has brought more than 100 legal or administrative actions against the president and congressional Republicans since he took office.

Still, don’t sell the foundation short. It did, in the end, find a way to work for the greater good -- of Donald Trump. He and his wife, Melania, for instance, used the “charity” to purchase a now infamous six-foot portrait of himself for $20,000 -- and true to form, according to the Washington Post, even that purchase could turn out to be a tax violation. Such “self-dealing” is considered illegal. Of course, we’re talking about someone who “used $258,000 from the foundation to pay off legal settlements that involved his for-profit businesses.” That seems like the definition of self-dealing.

The Trump Team

The president swears that he has an uncanny ability to size someone up in a few seconds, based on attitude, confidence, and a handshake -- that, in other words, just as there’s the art of the deal, so, too, there’s the art of choosing those who will represent him, stand by him, and take bullets for him, his White House, and his business enterprises. And for a while, he did indeed seem to be a champion when it came to surrounding himself with people who had a special knack for hiding money, tax documents, and secret payoffs from public view.

These days -- think of them as the era of attrition for Donald Trump -- that landscape looks a lot emptier and less inviting.

On August 21st, his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convictedin Virginia of “five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account.” (On September 14th, he would make a deal with Robert Mueller and plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy.)  On that same August day, Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, also pled guilty to eight different federal crimes in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, including -- yep -- tax evasion.

Three days later, prosecutors in the Cohen investigation granted immunity to the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. A loyal employee of the Trump family for more than four decades, he had also served as treasurer for the Donald J. Trump Foundation. If anyone other than the president and his children knows the financial and tax secrets of the Trump empire, it’s him. And now, he may be ready to talk. Lurking in his future testimony could be yet another catalyst in a coming Trump tax debacle.

And don’t forget David Pecker, CEO of American Media, the company that publishes the National Enquirer. Pecker bought and buried stories for The Donald for what seems like forever. He, too, now has an immunity deal in the federal investigation of Cohen (and so Trump), evidently in return forproviding information on the president’s hush-money deals to bury various exploits that he came to find unpalatable.

The question is this: Did Trump know of Cohen’s hush-money payments? Cohen has certainly indicated that he did and Pecker seems to have told federal prosecutors a similar story. As Cohen said in court of Pecker, "I and the CEO of a media company, at the request of the candidate, worked together" to keep the public in the dark about such payments and Trump’s involvement in them.

The president’s former lawyer faces up to 65 years in prison. That’s enough time to make him consider what other tales he might be able to tell in return for a lighter sentence, including possibly exposing various tax avoidance techniques he and his former client cooked up.

And don’t think that Cohen, Pecker, and Weisselberg are going to be the last figures to come forward with such stories as the Trump team begins to come unglued.

In the cases of Enron and Lehman Brothers, both companies unraveled after multiple shell games imploded. Enron’s losses were being hidden in multiple offshore entities. In the case of Lehman Brothers, staggeringly over-valued assets were being pledged to borrow yet more money to buy similar assets. In both cases, rigged games were being played in the shadows, while vital information went undisclosed to the public -- until it was way too late.

Donald Trump’s equivalent shell games still largely remain to be revealed. They may simply involve hiding money trails to evade taxes or to secretly buy political power and business influence. There is, as yet, no way of knowing. One thing is clear, however: the only way to begin to get answers is to see the president’s tax returns, audited or not. Isn’t it time to open that safe?

Published:9/20/2018 7:39:38 PM
[World] Brett Kavanaugh Accuser Blasey Ford: Democrat Debates Harris Faulkner on FBI Investigation, Vote Delay

Harris Faulkner debated a Rhode Island Democrat who signed a letter pushing for a delay in Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation vote until an FBI investigation can be ordered.

Published:9/20/2018 4:23:21 PM
[The Blog] More Kirsten Gillibrand: A man who doesn’t want an FBI investigation probably isn’t innocent

McCarthyism.

The post More Kirsten Gillibrand: A man who doesn’t want an FBI investigation probably isn’t innocent appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/20/2018 3:38:51 PM
[Brett Kavanaugh] What is Dianne Feinstein hiding? (Paul Mirengoff) That letter Christine Blasey Ford gave to California Democratic lawmakers containing her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh must be a highly flawed document. First, Sen. Feinstein sat on it for months. She didn’t give it to the FBI. She didn’t publicize its contents. She didn’t even use the allegations when she had opportunities to question Kavanaugh. Feinstein could easily have done so without violating Ford’s request for confidentiality. For example, she Published:9/20/2018 2:38:23 PM
[Markets] FBI Had "Two Sets Of Records" On Trump Investigation; Comey, McCabe Implicated: Carter

Journalist Sara Carter told Sean Hannity during his Wednesday radio show that the FBI has two sets of records in the Russia investigation, and that "certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page" were aware of it - implicating former FBI Director James Comey and his #2, Andrew McCabe. 

Hannity: Sara, I’m hearing it gets worse than this–that there is potentially out there–if you will, two sets of record among the upper echelon of the FBI–one that was real one that was made for appearances. Is there any truth to this?

CarterAbsolutely, Sean. With the number of sources that I have been speaking with as well as some others that there is evidence indicating that the FBI had separate sets of books. 

I will not name names until all of the evidence is out there, but there were certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page that were aware of this. I also believe that there are people within the FBI that have actually turned on their former employers and are possibly even testifying and reporting what happened inside the FBI to both the Inspector General and possibly even a Grand Jury.

Listen:  

(h/t Christina Lalia @ Gateway Pundit)

Published:9/20/2018 11:39:35 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Multiple people SHOT in ‘active shooter situation’ in Maryland Details are now emerging of a shooting in Maryland that’s still be described by the FBI as an active shooter situation. Here’s what we know: We can confirm there was a shooting . . . Published:9/20/2018 10:07:51 AM
[Politics] UPDATE: 3 DEAD – Multiple people SHOT in ‘active shooter situation’ in Maryland Details are now emerging of a shooting in Maryland that’s still be described by the FBI as an active shooter situation. Here’s what we know: We can confirm there was a shooting . . . Published:9/20/2018 10:07:51 AM
[Crime] Why Isn’t The FBI Investigating George Soros?

George Soros is a real-life Dr. Evil, the only difference is that he's more dangerous and not as funny.

The post Why Isn’t The FBI Investigating George Soros? appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/20/2018 10:07:51 AM
[Crime] Why Isn’t The FBI Investigating George Soros?

George Soros is a real-life Dr. Evil, the only difference is that he's more dangerous and not as funny.

The post Why Isn’t The FBI Investigating George Soros? appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/20/2018 10:07:51 AM
[US News] HA! Does this tweet from Chuck Schumer about Ford and Kavanaugh (and Garland?) REEK of defeat or WHAT

Chuck Schumer has officially gone into whine/desperation mode about the Kavanaugh confirmation. Perhaps he’s known all along this Ford ‘Hail Mary’ wasn’t really going to work but now it’s too late, and he has to keep on pretending that this isn’t just another embarrassing loss for the Democrats. Dr Ford reasonably requested FBI bkgd check before […]

The post HA! Does this tweet from Chuck Schumer about Ford and Kavanaugh (and Garland?) REEK of defeat or WHAT appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/20/2018 8:36:46 AM
[Congress] Dems sweat declassification (Scott Johnson) On Monday President Trump ordered the declassification of 20 or 21 previously redacted pages from the Carter Page FISA applications. The declassification order also extends to the redactions made to text messages from senior Justice Department and FBI officials. Kelly Cohen covered the declassification order here. Democrats find this a profoundly alarming development. On Tuesday Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mark Warner sent a Published:9/20/2018 7:07:34 AM
[The Blog] Fox News sources: FBI won’t criminally investigate Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh

“This is a political issue, not a law enforcement one.”

The post Fox News sources: FBI won’t criminally investigate Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/19/2018 5:14:23 PM
[Kavanaugh] Calls for New FBI Probe of Kavanaugh Have No Precedent

An FBI inquiry into a California woman’s allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would be highly unusual, but wouldn’t necessarily delay a Senate vote... Read More

The post Calls for New FBI Probe of Kavanaugh Have No Precedent appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/19/2018 5:14:22 PM
[Politics] Grassley: GOP Is Investigating Kavanaugh, No FBI Probe Needed Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley says the FBI does not need to look into the sexual-assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh because Republicans are conducting their own investigation. Published:9/19/2018 1:32:46 PM
[Politics] Chuck Grassley says Ford’s claims ARE being investigated Today Chuck Grassley responded to both Ford and Democrats calling for an FBI investigation into her claims. Grassley essentially says he’s bending over backwards to accommodate Ford in any way she wants . . . Published:9/19/2018 1:32:46 PM
[Politics] Chuck Grassley says Ford’s claims ARE being investigated Today Chuck Grassley responded to both Ford and Democrats calling for an FBI investigation into her claims. Grassley essentially says he’s bending over backwards to accommodate Ford in any way she wants . . . Published:9/19/2018 1:32:46 PM
[Markets] FBI Will Not Launch Criminal Probe Into Kavanaugh Allegations

Following repeated demands from numerous parties for an official federal probe into the sexual assault allegations leveled against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Fox News reports that the FBI will not launch a criminal investigation according to highly-placed law enforcement sources.

The sources told Fox News that there were no allegations of a federal crime, therefore the bureau would not open a criminal investigation: "This is a political issue, not a law enforcement one," a source told Fox News.

In Christine Blasey Ford's allegations brought against Kavanaugh last week - which date back to the 1980s - she claimed the Supreme Court nominee, while in high school, pinned her down, tried to remove her bathing suit and put his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream. Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, said her client considered this to be “an attempted rape.”

Upon  learning of Ford’s claims, the Senate Judiciary Committee, overseeing the confirmation of Kavanaugh, invited her to testify under oath in a public or private setting, or even over the phone. Katz initially said her client would be willing to appear before the panel, but Tuesday evening, Ford demanded that the FBI investigate her claim before she accepted an invitation to share her story before the committee.

It now appears that won't happen.

It’s totally inappropriate for someone to demand we use law enforcement resources to investigate a 35-year-old allegation when she won't go under oath and can't remember key details including when or where it happened,” another source told Fox News.

A Justice Department spokesperson said that the FBI conducts background investigations prior to an appointed official’s confirmation to “determine whether the nominee could pose a risk to the national security of the United States."

In an FBI background investigation, the bureau is only responsible for finding information and passing it along, which they have done in the Kavanaugh case, a source said. The source said the FBI would not “investigate” the information found. “The FBI does not make any judgement about the credibility or significance of any allegation,” a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week.

According to the Justice Department, on Sept. 12, the FBI received a letter dated from July 2018, obtained by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., alleging that Kavanaugh “engaged in an incident of misconduct in the 1980s.”

“The FBI forwarded this letter to the White House Counsel’s Office,” the spokesperson said. “The allegation does not involve any potential federal crime. The FBI’s role in such matters is to provide information for the use of the decision makers.”

Since the bureau will not launch a criminal investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, according to February testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray, the only way the bureau would further probe the information as part of the background investigation would be if the White House requested a “follow-up” inquiry.

Wray was discussing the issue of former White House aide Rob Porter, and the allegations of domestic abuse brought against him.

“The background investigation process involves a fairly elaborate set of standards, guidelines, protocols, agreements, et cetera, that have been in place for 20-plus years,” Wray explained to the Senate Intelligence Committee this winter.

When asked whether he would direct the FBI to further investigate, Trump said “it would seem the FBI really doesn’t do that.”

“They’ve investigated him about six time before and it seems they don’t do that,” Trump said Wednesday to reporters. “I would let the senators take their course. Let the senators do it.”

Trump also said if Ford appears before the committee and “makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision” and added that  “if she shows up, that would be wonderful. If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate."

Meanwhile Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations brought against him.

“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making the accusation until she identified herself [Sunday.]”

Kavanaugh also said he is “willing” to speak to the committee “in any way” deemed appropriate to “refute this false allegation” and to defend his “integrity.”

* * *

The committee has already delayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, which was originally scheduled for Thursday. A hearing, which Ford has been invited to, is now slated for Monday. It is unclear if she will attend without an FBI investigation.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the hearing to examine the allegations set for Monday could be canceled if Ford does not accept the committee’s invitation. Grassley said that his office has reached out several times to Ford and her attorneys to discuss her allegations, but has not received a response.

Published:9/19/2018 12:34:36 PM
[The Blog] Chuck Grassley: Ford can testify in closed session, but FBI role is ‘complete’

"No other OUTSIDE investigation is necessary..."

The post Chuck Grassley: Ford can testify in closed session, but FBI role is ‘complete’ appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/19/2018 12:04:49 PM
[Politics] Trump grilled by reporters about Kavanaugh and accuser [VIDEO] Trump was grilled this morning by reporters on the phony Kavanaugh accusations on his way to come to North Carolina. They want to know why the FBI isn’t investigating the accusations and . . . Published:9/19/2018 10:32:10 AM
[Markets] Grassley Says He Won't Delay Kavanaugh Hearing As Moderate Republicans Fall In Line

Democrats' Hail Mary play to stymie the confirmation of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to fizzle out. As angry Dems demanded that a Monday hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate, turncoat Republicans (on whom the Dems had been depending for votes) instead withdrew their support and fell in line after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley declared that he would not honor Democrats' request. Grassley revealed his intention to stand firm late Tuesday after lawyers for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey, who is claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 35 years ago when the two were 17-year-old high school students, said their client wouldn't be wiling to appear at Monday's hearing. 

Grassley

According to the Hill, Grassley said Tuesday that there was "no reason" to delay the hearing now that Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify publicly. However, while Ford's attorneys have insisted that their client has taken a polygraph test and "deserves to be heard", Ford has bizarrely insisted that the FBI should have an opportunity to investigate her claims before she appears before the committee in order to spare her the "trauma" of confronting her alleged assailant.

Ford's lawyers conveyed her request in the form of a letter sent to the committee, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

Letter

But Grassley said he would refuse this request as several Republicans who had appeared to be on the cusp of defecting after saying that the confirmation hearing, initially scheduled for Thursday, should be delayed said they wouldn't support further delays should Ford prove unwilling to testify.

Here's the Hill:

"Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote," said GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who was one of the first Republicans to call for the Judiciary Committee to hit pause on Kavanaugh's nomination on Sunday.
 
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford's lack of response to the committee about testifying was "puzzling."
 
And GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn't given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn't appear.
 
"I think we'll have to move to the markup," he told CNN. "I hope she does (appear). I think she needs to be heard."

Kavanaugh has denied Ford's allegations and insisted he didn't attend the party where the physical assault allegedly took place. Patrick Smyth, a fellow former Georgetown Prep student whom Ford alleges was also in attendance during the party issued a statement via his lawyer standing up for Kavanaugh. And in a separate letter to Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, not only does Smyth repudiate Ford's allegations, but he adds that he doesn't remember this party even taking place.

Of course, Feinstein - who admitted last night that she couldn't say for certain that Ford's story is entirely truthful - sat on Ford's allegations for three months before referring them to the FBI and sharing them with other lawmakers (who purportedly "leaked" it to the press). President Trump on Tuesday said that he "feels sorry" for Kavanaugh, adding that he doesn't want to "play into [Democrats] hands", presumably by giving them more time to drag out the confirmation process.

"They should have done this a long time ago, three months ago, not now. But they did it now. So I don't want to play into their hands," Trump said.

Without the support of their Republican allies, Democrats will lack the votes on the committee to hold up the nomination past Monday. Though bizarrely, Kavanaugh himself hasn't said yet whether he would or wouldn't testify, which begs the question: If neither Kavanaugh nor Ford appear at the hearing, what exactly will lawmakers discuss?

Published:9/19/2018 10:02:09 AM
[Politics] Trump grilled by reporters about Kavanaugh and accuser [VIDEO] Trump was grilled this morning by reporters on the phony Kavanaugh accusations on his way to come to North Carolina. They want to know why the FBI isn’t investigating the accusations and . . . Published:9/19/2018 10:02:09 AM
[Markets] Trump Wants To Hear From Woman Accusing Kavanaugh

Joining the chorus of opinions over the biggest drama in Washington, President Trump said he wants to hear from the woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, saying it would be "unfortunate" if she doesn’t testify before a Senate committee.

"If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate," Trump told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina. "If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting."

As we reported overnight, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said Tuesday she wants the FBI to investigate her claims before she appears at a Senate hearing. However, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley responded that there’s no need for an FBI investigation and that the invitation for Ford to testify on Monday still stands.

As Bloomberg reported, Trump again repeated his defense of Kavanaugh, who strongly denies the allegation. The president said it’s "very hard" to believe Kavanaugh would do such a thing, and said the FBI doesn’t need to reopen its investigation of the nominee. Still, the president said, "I really would want to see what she has to say." The matter should be given all the time needed, he said.

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

In response to Ford's request, Grassley didn’t say late Tuesday if the hearing scheduled for Monday would go on without Ford or whether the panel would vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination without hearing her testimony. As we said earlier today, several moderate Republicans including Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said they see no reason to wait beyond Monday for Ford’s testimony, and that they want the Senate to vote next week.

Yet plowing ahead with the nomination, which seemed all but assured before going sideways less than a week ago, carries the risk of alienating moderate Republican senators, like Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Arizona’s Jeff Flake, in a chamber where the party holds a very narrow majority.

Responding to Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh was drunk at a house party in about 1982, pinned her down on a bed, tried to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming - which she described to a therapist in 2013 as a "rape attempt" according to the WaPo - Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House Monday that “this is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes -- to her or to anyone."

According to Bloomberg, he was at the White House again Tuesday, after spending about nine hours there on Monday.

Published:9/19/2018 9:31:35 AM
[Markets] FBI, DOJ To Defy Trump Order; Redactions Planned As Top 'Deep State' Dems Demand Insubordination

Despite President Trump's Monday order for the "immediate declassification" of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, "without redaction," the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter. 

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. -Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI's FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr. 

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on. 

"When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests," a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. "The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order."

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified "sources and methods" pertaining to the Russia investigation - which will put them in direct conflict with Trump's order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own. 

Trump's order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency. 

The FBI's spy...

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump's request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. 

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

In the letter, the lawmakers "express profound alarm" at the decision to "intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him." 

"Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us." 

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials "to anyone at the White House."  

In short, prepare for fireworks... 

Published:9/19/2018 9:14:25 AM
[Uncategorized] Kavanaugh Open Thread: Grassley Threatens to Cancel Monday’s Hearing if Ford Doesn’t Show Up Ford wants a full FBI investigation before talking to the Senate. Published:9/19/2018 8:35:02 AM
[Trump Administration] DOJ And FBI Plan Redactions For Sensitive Russia Investigation Materials Requested By Trump

By DCNF -

The FBI and the Department of Justice are reportedly planning redactions from certain Russia investigation materials for which President Donald Trump demanded declassification.

DOJ And FBI Plan Redactions For Sensitive Russia Investigation Materials Requested By Trump is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:9/19/2018 8:35:02 AM
[Politics] Anita Hill: FBI Investigation Is Needed Anita Hill says the Senate Judiciary Committee could be holding a "sham" hearing next week without an FBI investigation of a woman's sexual-assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Published:9/19/2018 8:01:17 AM
[The Blog] CNN: Ford refuses to testify until after an FBI investigation of alleged assault

Graham: It's a delay tactic.

The post CNN: Ford refuses to testify until after an FBI investigation of alleged assault appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/19/2018 8:01:17 AM
[Politics] Trump: Declassifying Russia Probe Records Might be Among 'Crowning Achievements' President Donald Trump said in a new interview he hopes that declassifying some of the documents that helped kick off the Russia probe will be one of the "crowning achievements" of his presidency because he said they will expose corruption at the FBI. Published:9/19/2018 3:11:47 AM
[Donald Trump] Trump Orders Immediate Declassification of FISA Warrants in Russia Probe

President Donald Trump has finally ordered the declassification and release of the FBI’s phony FISA warrants used to spur the fake “Russia investigation” now ongoing under special counsel Robert Mueller. The documents include a 21-page application for renewed surveillance against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as text messages from the two disgraced ...

The post Trump Orders Immediate Declassification of FISA Warrants in Russia Probe appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/18/2018 1:01:04 PM
[Donald Trump] Trump Orders Immediate Declassification of FISA Warrants in Russia Probe

President Donald Trump has finally ordered the declassification and release of the FBI’s phony FISA warrants used to spur the fake “Russia investigation” now ongoing under special counsel Robert Mueller. The documents include a 21-page application for renewed surveillance against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as text messages from the two disgraced ...

The post Trump Orders Immediate Declassification of FISA Warrants in Russia Probe appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/18/2018 1:01:04 PM
[Politics] Former FBI Official Andrew McCabe to Release Book Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is set to release a book on his time in the agency, with a focus on the administration of President Donald Trump. Published:9/18/2018 1:01:03 PM
[Markets] Spygate Operative Nellie Ohr To Testify Before Congress This Week About Work For Fusion GPS

Nellie Ohr will sit for an interview with Congress next week, according to Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). 

Ohr, an expert on Russia who speaks fluent Russian, is a central figure in the nexus between Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the "Steele Dossier " - and the Obama Justice Department - where her husband, Bruce Ohr, was a senior official. Bruce was demoted twice after he was caught lying about his extensive involvement with Fusion's activities surrounding the 2016 US election.

Notably, the Ohrs had extensive contact with Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 spy who authored the salacious anti-Trump dossier used to justify spying on the Trump campaign during the election, and later to smear Donald Trump right before he took office in 2017. According to emails turned over to Congress and reported in late August, the Ohrs would have breakfast with Steele on July 30 at the downtown D.C. Mayflower hotel - days after Steele had turned in several installments of the infamous dossier to the FBI. The breakfast took place one day before the FBI/DOJ launched operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the codename for the official counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. 

"Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce," Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. "Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help," referring to Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. 

No stranger to the US intelligence community, Nellie Ohr represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group in a 2010 "expert working group report on international organized crime" along with Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson.

Meanwhile, some have wondered if Nellie's late-life attraction to Ham radios was in fact a method of covertly communicating with others about the Trump-Russia investigation, in a way which wouldn't be surveilled by the NSA or other agencies. 

was Nellie Ohr’s late-in-life foray into ham radio an effort to evade the Rogers-led NSA detecting her participation in compiling the Russian-sourced Steele dossier? Just as her husband’s omissions on his DOJ ethics forms raise an inference of improper motive, any competent prosecutor could use the circumstantial evidence of her taking up ham radio while digging for dirt on Trump to prove her consciousness of guilt and intention to conceal illegal activities. -The Federalist

In mid-August, President Trump called Bruce Ohr a disgrace - tweeting: "Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!"

Needless to say, Congress will have no shortage of questions to ask Nellie.  

Published:9/16/2018 2:35:11 PM
[7862dd1b-93ef-4015-b0fa-fc3bdf487ff5] 'Predator' hits No. 1 at U.S. box office, needs win in international market to offset high cost "The Predator" is at the top of the food chain in its first weekend in theaters. Published:9/16/2018 12:56:51 PM
[Markets] FBI Had No Clue About Trump-Russia Collusion When Mueller Took Over: Lisa Page

A newly reported comment made by former FBI attorney Lisa Page during her May testimony to Congress has revealed a "momentous fact," according to The Hill's John Solomon: after nine months of investigations - which included the use of a well-paid spy to infiltrate the Trump campaign, The FBI had no clue whether there was any collusion between Trumpworld and Russia when the case was handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller. 

It’s a reflection of us still not knowing,” Page told Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) when questioned about texts she and Strzok exchanged in May 2017 as Robert Mueller was being named a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation.

With that statement, Page acknowledged a momentous fact: After nine months of using some of the most awesome surveillance powers afforded to U.S. intelligence, the FBI still had not made a case connecting Trump or his campaign to Russia’s election meddling.

Page opined further, acknowledging “it still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing” to connect Trump and Russia, no matter what Mueller or the FBI did. -The Hill

"As far as May of 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question," said Page at another point. 

In short - the FBI's lead attorney on the Trump-Russia investigation said the agency had no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, while special counsel Robert Mueller has yet to produce a shred of evidence either. 

Comey corroborates...

As Solomon notes, ex-FBI Director James Comey told the Senate shortly after he was fired that there was "not yet evidence to justify invstigating Trump for colluding with Russia." 

"When I left, we did not have an investigation focused on President Trump," Comey told Congressional investigators. 

Meanwhile, Page's lover Peter Strzok - who spearheadsed the FBI's counterintelligence investigation before Mueller took over, texted "there's no big there, there." 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general asked Strzok shortly before he was fired from the FBI what he meant by that text, and he offered a most insightful answer.

Strzok said he wasn’t certain there was a “broad, coordinated effort” to hijack the election and that the evidence of Trump campaign aides talking about getting Hillary Clinton dirt from Russians might have been just a “bunch of opportunists” talking to heighten their importance.

Strzok added that, while he raised the idea of impeachment in some of his texts to Page, “I am, again, was not, am not convinced or certain that it will,” he told the IG. -The Hill

In short, James Comey, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have all said or implied that the FBI had nothing linking Trump to Russia. Which, as John Solomon concludes, raises the question: If there was no concrete evidence of collusion, why did we need a special prosecutor?

Page's admission also sugests that the FBI and DOJ officials were likely behind a series of leaks to the media just before Mueller's appointment which made collusion evidence look far stronger than investigators knew it to be. It also suggests that the MSM - "perhaps longing to find a new Watergate," were "far too willing to be manipulated by players in a case that began as a politicial opposition research project funded by Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and led by a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, who despised Trump." 

At what point does Trump simply demand Mueller lay his cards on the table? 

Published:9/16/2018 12:26:38 PM
[2018 News] BREAKING: FBI Isn’t Investigating Brett Kavanaugh Over Content Of Vague Dianne Feinstein Document BREAKING: FBI Isn’t Investigating Brett Kavanaugh Over Content Of Vague Dianne Feinstein Document. ‘Cheap Shot’ Feinstein just got told to sit down and shut up. This isn’t Obama’s FBI anymore. Published:9/13/2018 8:56:16 PM
[Politics] Graham: New Strzok-Page Texts More Evidence a Second Special Counsel Needed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. argued during a new interview that a second special counsel needs to be appointed to investigate how the FBI and the Department of Justice as a whole kickstarted the Russia investigation. Published:9/13/2018 8:32:43 PM
[Markets] The Ritual Burial Of The US Constitution

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

In the wake of a number of the Lehman and 9/11 commemorations in America, and as a monster storm is once again threatening to cause outsize damage, we find ourselves at a pivotal point in time, which will decide how the country interacts with its own laws, its legal system, its Constitution, its freedom of speech, and indeed if it has sufficient willpower left to adhere to the Constitution as its no. 1 guiding principle.

The main problem is that it all seems to slip slide straight by the people, who are -kept- busy with completely different issues. That is convenient for those who would like less focus on the Constitution, but it’s also very dangerous for everyone else. Americans should today stand up for freedom of speech, or it will be gone, likely forever.

The way it works is that president Trump is portrayed as the major threat to ‘the rule of law’, which allows other people, as well as companies and organizations, to drop below the radar and devise and work on plans and schemes that threaten the country itself, and its future as a nation ruled by its laws.

Bob Woodward’s book “Fear: Trump in the White House” and the anonymous op-ed published in the NYT a day later serve as a good reminder of these dynamics. If you succeed in confirming people’s idea that Trump is such an unhinged idiot that an unelected cabal inside the White House is needed to save the nation from the president it elected, you’re well on your way.

Well on your way to separate the country from its own laws, that is. Not on your way to saving it. You can’t save America by suspending its Constitution just because that suits your particular political goals or points of view.

Late last night, Michael Tracey wrote on Twitter:

 “Trump’s preference to pull out of Afghanistan is depicted in the Woodward book as yet another crazy impulse that the “adults in the room” successfully rein in.”

 “We’re going to save you from yourselves, thank us later!”

Nobody voted for those adults in the room anymore than anyone voted for the Afghanistan ‘war’ to enter year 17.

Meanwhile Infowars said: 

“Several people within Trump’s inner circle know the threat to the mid-terms and his re-election chances that social media censorship poses, including Donald Trump Jr. and Brad Parscale, his 2020 campaign manager. However, older members of the administration are completely unaware of the fact that banning prominent online voices and manipulating algorithms can shift millions of votes and are oblivious to the danger. This ignorance has placed a temporary block on Trump taking action, despite the president repeatedly referring to Big Tech censorship in tweets and speeches over the last few weeks.”

Yes, Infowars, I know, everybody loves to hate Alex Jones. And perhaps for good reasons, at least at times. But does that mean he can be banned from a whole slew of internet platforms without this having been run by and through the US court system? Without even one judge having examined the ‘evidence’, if it even existed, that leads to such banning, blocking and shadowbanning?

Alex Jones is an ‘easy example’ because he’s so popular. Which is also, undoubtedly, why all the social media platforms ban him so easily, and all at the same time. ‘He’s a terrible person’, say so many of their readers. But that’s not good enough, far from it. Twitter and Facebook should never be allowed to ban anyone, using opaque ‘Community Standards’ or ‘Terms and Conditions’ interpreted by kids fresh out of high school.

These platforms have important societal functions. They are for instance the new conduits governments, police, armies use to warn people in case of emergencies and disasters. You can’t ban people from those conduits just because a bunch of geeks don’t like what they say. If you can at all, it will have to be done through the legal system.

That this is not done at present poses an immense threat to that legal system, and to the Constitution itself. But Americans, and indeed Congressmen and Senators, have been trained in a Pavlovian way to believe that it’s not Google and Facebook who threaten the Constitution, but that it’s Trump and his crew.

Meanwhile, Trump is being put through Bob Mueller’s Special Counsel legal wringer 24/7, while Alphabet, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg escape any such scrutiny at all. That discrepancy, too, is eating away at the foundations of American law.

And like it or not, Trump had it right when he said “You look at Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants and I made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting and rigged search results..”

America as a country cannot tolerate a few rich companies deciding whose voice can be heard, and whose will be silenced. It is entirely unacceptable. That goes for voices Trump doesn’t want to hear as much as it does for whoever Silicon Valley doesn’t. That’s why neither should be in charge of making such decisions. It kills the Constitution.

None of the above means that everyone should be free to post terrorist sympathies or hate speech on social media platforms. But it does mean that legislative and judicial systems must define what these things mean, that this not be left up to arbitrary ‘Community Standards’ interpreted by legally inept Silicon Valley interns, nor should it be left to secret algorithms to decide what news you see and what not.

America itself hangs in the balance, and so do many other western countries. What exactly is the difference between China’s overt internet censorship and America’s hidden one? That is what needs to be defined, and that can only be done by the legal system, by Congress, by the courts, by judges and juries.

And it’s not something that has to be invented from scratch, it can and must be tested against the Constitution. That is the only way forward. That social media have taken over the country by storm, and nary a soul has any idea what that means, can never be an excuse to leave banning and silencing voices over to private parties, whoever they are.

It’s not a unique American problem. In Europe there are all sorts of attempts to ban ‘hate speech’, but there are very few proposals concerning who will define what that is. And since Europe has no Constitution, but instead has 27 different versions of one, it will be harder there. Then again, it will also be easier to get away with all sorts of arbitrary bannings etc.

Hungary will be inclined to ban totally different voices than for instance Denmark and so on. And nobody over there has given any sign of understanding how dangerous that is. Banning ‘hate speech’ doesn’t mean anything if the term hasn’t been properly defined. But that also allows for banning voices someone simply doesn’t like. To prevent that from happening, we have legal systems.

It’s essential, it’s elementary, Watson. But it’s slipping through our fingers because our politicians are either incapable of, or unwilling to, comprehending the consequences. Why stick out your neck when nobody else does? It’s like the anti-thesis of what politics means: stay safe.

So the social media’s industry’s own lobbying has a good shot at getting its way: they tell Washington to let them regulate themselves, and everything will be spic and dandy. That would be the final nail in the Constitution’s coffin, and it’s much closer than you think. Do be wary of that.

In the end it comes down to two things I’ve said before. First, there is no-one who’s been as ferociously banned - and worse -  the way Julian Assange has. His ban goes way beyond Silicon Valley, but it does paint a shrill portrait of how far the US, CIA, FBI, is willing to go, and to step beyond the Constitution, to get to someone they really don’t like.

But has Assange ever violated and US law, let alone its Constitution? Not that we know of. Mike Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a ‘hostile intelligence service’, and the DOJ has said the 1st Amendment, and thereby of necessity the entire US Constitution, doesn’t apply to Assange because he’s not an American, but both those things are devoid of any meaning, at least in a court of law.

Bob Woodward has an idea of what Assange faces, and he’d do much better to focus on helping him than trying to put Trump down through anonymous sources. And that also leads me to why I, personally, have at least some sympathy for Alex Jones, other than because he’s being attacked unconstitutionally: Jones ran/runs a petition for Trump to free Julian Assange.

Come to think of it: it’s when that petition started taking off that Jones’s ‘real trouble’ started. Given how closely interwoven Silicon Valley and the FBI and CIA have already become, I’m not going to feign any surprise at that.

And before you feel any wishes and desires coming up to impeach Trump, do realize that he may be the only person standing between you and a complete takeover of America by the FBI/NSA/CIA/DNC and Google/Facebook/Twitter, which will be accompanied by the ritual burial of the Constitution.

Think Trump is scary? Take a step back and survey the territory.

Published:9/13/2018 7:55:16 PM
[] FBI: Why No, We're Not Going to Be Investigating an Anonymous, Third-Hand, Completely Evidence-Free Allegation of a Local Alleged Crime Allegedly Committed 40 Years Ago, Well Outside Any Statute of Limitations But that was never the point, was it? The point was to pour this bloody chum in the water so that the sharks would be attracted and go into frenzy. New -- FBI does not now plan to launch a... Published:9/13/2018 6:23:58 PM
[The Blog] Update on Feinstein’s mystery letter: FBI doesn’t plan to investigate Kavanaugh, will refer matter to White House

"We included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh's background file, as per the standard process."

The post Update on Feinstein’s mystery letter: FBI doesn’t plan to investigate Kavanaugh, will refer matter to White House appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/13/2018 5:14:24 PM
[Markets] FBI Won't Investigate Sexual Misconduct Allegation Against Kavanaugh

Update: According to the Washington Post, The FBI won't investigate the allegations lodged against Kavanaugh, so he'll simply be tainted with the spectre of a nebulous accusation for the rest of his career. 

Perhaps we can read about it someday the alleged victim's book. 

***

California Democratic Rep. Dianne Feinstein has released a frustratingly vague statement about a letter in her possession which allegedly accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of "an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school," reports The Intercept

"Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to view a Brett Kavanaugh-related document in possession of the panel’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, but the senior California senator has so far refused, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation." -The Intercept

The letter reads: 

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities” 

So Feinstein won't show her colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, however she did forward the allegations to the FBI, one week before the Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination

According to the New York Times, the incident involved possible sexual misconduct. 

Two officials familiar with the matter say the incident involved possible sexual misconduct between Judge Kavanaugh and a woman when they were both in high school. -NYT 

The Intercept reports that the letter took a "circuitous route to Feinstein," related to someone affiliated with Stanford University, who authored the letter "and sent it to Rep. Anna Eschoo," a local Democrat. 

Eshoo passed the letter to her fellow Californian, Feinstein. Word began leaking out on the Hill about it, and Feinstein was approached by Democrats on the committee, but she rebuffed them, Democratic sources said. Feinstein’s fellow senators want their own opportunity to gauge whether or not the letter should be made public, rather than leaving it to Feinstein to make that call unilaterally. The sources were not authorized to speak on the record, and said that no senators on the committee, other than Feinstein, have so far been able to view the letter. -The Intercept

Meanwhile, the anonymous accuser has reportedly lawyered up and is being represented by whistleblower attorney Debra Katz, who is also counsel to Weinstein company executive Irwin Reiter, along with two women who allege former NPR news exec Michael Oreskes sexually harassed them. 

Published:9/13/2018 4:41:30 PM
[The Blog] Dianne Feinstein: I’ve received a mysterious letter about Kavanaugh and referred it to the FBI

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court."

The post Dianne Feinstein: I’ve received a mysterious letter about Kavanaugh and referred it to the FBI appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/13/2018 1:46:19 PM
[] Desperate Democrats Try Ridiculous Hail Mary, Claiming There's an Eleventh Hour Accuser Against Kavanaugh And this letter is so explosive it's being kept secret, and being referred to the FBI, who will keep it confidential. But Democrats can allude to this Mystery Accusation as they agitate against Kavanaugh. BREAKING: Sen. Feinstein confirms @BuzzFeedNews report... Published:9/13/2018 1:12:08 PM
[Politics] Trump Rips Strzok, Page After New Report of Leaks President Donald Trump again blasted former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, saying newly revealed text messages between the two are "a disaster and embarrassment." Published:9/13/2018 9:23:43 AM
[Corruption] Strzok & Page Colluded To Leak Damaging Anti-Trump Stories To MSM

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) reveals new message exchanges which took place in April 2017 between the former FBI lovers Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page.

The post Strzok & Page Colluded To Leak Damaging Anti-Trump Stories To MSM appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/13/2018 8:09:56 AM
[Corruption] Strzok & Page Colluded To Leak Damaging Anti-Trump Stories To MSM

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) reveals new message exchanges which took place in April 2017 between the former FBI lovers Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page.

The post Strzok & Page Colluded To Leak Damaging Anti-Trump Stories To MSM appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:9/13/2018 8:09:56 AM
[Markets] "Leaking Like Mad": FBI-DOJ-MSM Collusion Went Far Deeper Than Previously Known

The FBI's coordination with the mainstream media surrounding the 2016 US election - a "media leak strategy" which was first first revealed Tuesday, goes far deeper than first reported, according to Fox Newswhich obtained "new communications between the former lovers." 

A December 15, 2016 email appears to discuss a "political" leaking operation, in which others were "leaking like mad" amid the Trump-Russia probe.

“Oh, remind me to tell you tomorrow about the times doing a story about the rnc hacks,” Page texted Strzok.

“And more than they already did? I told you Quinn told me they pulling out all the stops on some story…” Strzok replied.

A source told Fox News “Quinn” could be referring to Richard Quinn, who served as the chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in the Office of Public Affairs. Quinn could not be reached for comment.

Strzok again replied: “Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried, and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.

In one passage, Strzok apparently misreads a reference to "rnc" as "mc," and then, realizing his error, blames "old man eyes."

It is unclear at this point to whom Strzok was referring when he used the term “sisters.” -Fox News

"Sisters" may refer to sister agency.

“Sisters is an odd phrase to use,” retired FBI special agent and former FBI national spokesman John Iannarelli told Fox News Wednesday. “It could be any intelligence agency or any other federal law enforcement agency. The FBI works with all of them because, post 9/11, it’s all about cooperation and sharing.

The US intelligence community is comprised of 17 agencies, including the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the National Security Agency. 

Fox News notes that the "leaking like mad" reference was texted the same day that several US news outlets reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved - and personally approved, Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Several days before that, an article titled "Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says," was published in the New York Times, which cited "senior administration officials." 

Then, on January 10, 2017, The Times published another article which suggested that Russian hackers had "gained limited access" to the Republican National Committee (RNC) - the same day that BuzzFeed News published the "Steele Dossier" accusing President Trump of a variety of salacious and unproven ties to Russia. 

Following the text about “sisters leaking,” Strzok wrote to Page:

And we need to talk more about putting C reporting in our submission. They’re going to declassify all of it…

Page replied: “I know. But they’re going to declassify their stuff, how do we withhold…

We will get extraordinary questions. What we did what we’re doing. Just want to ensure everyone is good with it and has thought thru all implications,” Strzok wrote. “CD should bring it up with the DD.” 

A source told Fox News that “C” is likely in reference to classified information, whereas “CD” is Cyber Division, and DD could refer to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March for making an unauthorized disclosure to the news media, and "lacked candor" under oath on multiple occassions. 

It is unclear what “submission” Strzok and Page were referring to. -Fox News

A source also told Fox News that the messages were part of the newly released batch of Strzok-Page communications obtained by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who uncovered them as part of his investigation into the FBI's conduct in the Russia investigation. 

Published:9/13/2018 4:37:41 AM
[FBI] The FBI’s anti-Trump “leak strategy,” Part Two (Paul Mirengoff) In a previous post, I reproduced a letter that Rep. Mark Meadows sent to Rod Rosenstein about the FBI’s anti-Trump media leak strategy. Meadows cited, among things, an April 10, 2017 text in which Peter Strozk told Lisa Page, “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.” Recognizing the explosive nature Published:9/12/2018 11:03:49 PM
[] Lindsey Graham: Trump Is Right to Declassify DOJ/FBI RussiaGate Documents; Politicization of These Agencies Began Under Obama Obviously true. It is increasingly clear it was the Obama Administration who politicized the DOJ/FBI, not the Trump Administration.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 11, 2018 Trump has not yet declassified these documents, but is rumored by many to be nearing... Published:9/12/2018 5:35:46 PM
[World] Tucker Carlson: Texts Show FBI's Peter Strzok & Lisa Page 'Radically Abused Their Power'

Tucker Carlson said newly-revealed text messages between fired FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page are just more evidence of the anti-Trump bias that was prevalent at the FBI and Justice Department.

Published:9/12/2018 8:46:36 AM
[Politics] Dershowitz: Strzok's 'Leak Strategy" Likely Aimed at Damaging Trump Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said one-time FBI Agent Peter Strzok's email citing a "leak strategy" was not meant as a way to curb agency leaks. Published:9/12/2018 7:28:02 AM
[Markets] There Is No Patriot Or Spartacus Here - Just Politics

Authored by Peter van Buren via The American Conservative,

There are ways for officials to honorably dissent, like blowing a whistle, resigning, or penning a protest with your actual name on it.

The anonymous New York Times op-ed writer inside government thwarting Trump’s plans does not understand how government works. Amplified by worn accusations in Bob Woodward’s new book, the op-ed is nonetheless driving calls for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment to save America. But look closer: there are no patriots here, and little new; it’s all nasty politics.

You don’t join government to do whatever partisan thing you think is right; you serve the United States, and take an oath to a Constitution which spells out a system and chain of command. There is no Article 8 saying “but if you really disagree with the president it’s OK to just do what you want.”

I served 24 years in such a system, joining the State Department under Ronald Reagan and leaving during the Obama era. That splay of political ideologies had plenty of things in it my colleagues and I disagreed with or even believed dangerous. Same for people in the military, who were told who to kill on America’s behalf, a more significant moral issue than a wonky disagreement over a trade deal or a boorish tweet.

But the only way for America to function credibly was for us to work on her behalf, and that meant following the boss, the system created by the Constitution, and remembering you weren’t the one elected, and that you ultimately worked for those who did the electing. There were ways to honorably dissent, such as resigning, or writing a book with your name on the cover (my choice), and otherwise taking your lumps.

But acting as a wrench inside the gears of government to disaffect policy (the Washington Post warned “sleeper cells have awoken”) is what foreign intelligence officers recruit American officials to do, and that doesn’t make you a hero acting on conscience, just a traitor.

It seems odd someone labeled a senior official by the New York Times would not understand the difference before defining themselves forever by writing such an article. (Then again, Sen. Cory Booker didn’t seem to know the documents he was so bravely disclosing were already declassified before he called the gesture his “I am Spartacus moment.”)

So don’t be too surprised if the op-ed author turns out to be a junior official not in a position to know what they claim to know, a political appointee in a first government job reporting second- or third-hand rumors—maybe an ex-Bushie in over their head. That will raise important questions about whether the NYTexaggerated the official’s importance, and thus credibility, and whether anonymity was being used to buff up the narrative by encouraging speculation.

Next up: sorting out the “new” facts forming the underbelly of calls to end the Trump presidency. The op-ed’s release was set by the Times to perfectly dovetail with Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear (It would be interesting to know how much of this was created by the Times — did the paper encourage the heretofore unidentified ‘patriot’ to write? Did they have to be persuaded? How much editing was done? How far from the role of journalism into political activism did the Timesstray?)

Neither the book nor the op-ed breaks any new ground. Both are chock full of gossip, rumors, and half-truths present from Trump day one and already ladled out by Michael Wolff’s own nearly-forgotten book and Omarosa’s unheard recordings: the man is clinically insane, has the mind of a child, acts impulsively, and is thus dangerous. Same stuff but now 18 months shinier and sexier—Woodward! Watergate! Anonymous! Deep Throat! It’s clever recycling, a way to appear controversial without inviting skepticism by telling people what they already believe because they’ve already heard it. What seems like confirmation is just repetition.

There are plenty of accusations in Woodward’s book (“Trump is not smart“) that were quickly denied by those quoted (Jim Mattis and JohnKelly, for example.) But one new item, the claim that Gary Cohn, Trump’s former economic adviser, walked into the Oval Office and snatched a letter off Trump’s desk, suggests how sloppy the reporting is. Cohn supposedly stopped Trump from pulling out of a trade agreement with South Korea by stealing an implementing letter, preventing Trump from signing it. Woodard writes Cohn did the same thing on another occasion to stop Trump pulling out of NAFTA.

“Paper” inside government, especially for the president’s signature, does not simply disappear. Any document reaching a senior official’s desk has been tasked out to other people to work on. The process usually begins when questions are asked at higher levels and then sent down to the bureaucracy; no president is expected to know it’s Article 24.5 of an agreement that allows withdrawal. That request creates a paper trail and establishes stakeholders in the decision, for example, people standing by to implement a decision or needing to know ahead of negotiations with Seoul POTUS changed his mind.

So paper isn’t forgotten. I know, I had a job working as the Ambassador’s staff assistant in London where most of my day was spent tracking letters and memos on his behalf. Inside the State Department an entire office known as The Line does little else but keep track of paper flowing in and out of the Secretary of State’s actual In/Out boxes. This isn’t just bureaucratic banality at work; this is how things get done in government, as documents with the president’s signature instantly turn into orders.

So even if, playing to the public image of a dotard-in-chief, Trump didn’t remember calling for that letter on South Korea, and thus never missed it after Cohn allegedly stole it to change history, a lot of other people would have gone looking for it. Stealing a letter off the president’s desk is not the equivalent of hiding the remote to keep grandpa from changing channels. And that’s to call the claim absurd even before noting how few individuals the Secret Service allows into the Oval Office on their own to grab stuff. While the example of the stolen letter is a bit down in the bureaucratic weeds, it is important because what is being widely reported, and accepted, is not always true.

The final part of all this which doesn’t pass a sniff test is according to the op-ed, 25th Amendment procedures to remove the president from office were discussed at the Cabinet level. The 25th, passed after the Kennedy assassination, created a set of presidential succession rules, historically used for short handovers of power when a president has gone under anesthesia. Most relevant is the never-used full incapacitation clause.

An 2018 interpretation of that clause made popular by TV pundits is now the driver behind demands that Trump is so stupid, impulsive, and insane he cannot carry out his duties, and so power must be transferred away from him today. While the op-ed writer says the idea was shelved only to avoid a Constitutional crisis, in fact it makes no sense. The 25th’s legally specific term “unable” does not mean the same thing as the vernacular “unfit.” An unconscious man is unable (the word used in the Amendment) to drive. A man who forgot his glasses is unfit (not the word used in the Amendment), but still able, to drive, albeit poorly.

The use of the 25th to get Trump out of office is the kind of thing people with too much Google time, not senior officials with access to legal advice, convince themselves is true. The intent of the amendment was to create an administrativeprocedure, not a political thunderbolt.

But intent aside, the main reason senior officials would know the 25th is not intended to be used adversarially is the Constitution already specifies impeachment as the way to force an unfit president out. The 25th was not written to be a new flavor of impeachment or a do-over for an election. It has to be so; the Constitution at its core grants ultimate power to the people to decide, deliberately, not in panic, every four years, who is president. Anything otherwise would mean the drafters of the 25th wrote a backdoor into the Constitution allowing a group of officials, most of whom were elected by nobody, to overthrow an elected president they simply think turned out to be bad at his job.

The alarmist accusations against Trump, especially when invoking mental illness to claim Americans are in danger, are perfectly timed fodder, dropped right after Labor Day into the election season, to displace the grinding technicalities of a Russiagate investigation. Political opponents of Trump had been counting on Mueller by now to hand them November amid a wash of indictments, and thus tee up impeachment with a Democratic majority in the House.

The op-ed does indeed signal a crisis, but not a Constitutional one. It is a crisis of collusion, among journalists turned to the task of removing a president via what some would call a soft coup.

Because it’s either that, or we’re meant as a nation to believe an election should be overturned two years after the fact based on a vaguely-sourced tell-all book and an anonymous op-ed.

Published:9/11/2018 11:23:59 PM
[World] Alan Dershowitz on Peter Strzok Leak Strategy: Doesn't Pass the Giggle Test

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that FBI Agent Peter Strzok's claim that his 2016 reference to a "leak strategy" meant he wanted to prevent bureau leaks "doesn't pass the giggle test."

Published:9/11/2018 9:54:32 PM
[Markets] National Solar Observatory Mysteriously Closed As Geomagnetic Storm Looms

The National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico has been closed since last Thursday.

ABC-7 Monday spoke with Shari Lifson, who is with AURA, the company that co-manages the Observatory with NMSU.

“The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy who manages the facility is addressing a security issue at this time. We have decided to vacate the facility at this time as precautionary measure. It was our decision to evacuate the facility.”

Lifson told ABC 7 there is no time-table for the Observatory to be re-opened.

ABC-7 also reached out to the FBI, but did not hear back from the federal agency in time for deadline. The FBI did speak with local law enforcement about the length of the observatory closure.

“The FBI is refusing to tell us what’s going on. We’ve got people up there (at Sunspot) that requested us to standby while they evacuate it. Nobody would really elaborate on any of the circumstances as to why.

The FBI were up there. What their purpose was nobody will say. But for the FBI to get involved that quick and be so secretive about it, there was a lot of stuff going on up there.

There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers but nobody would tell us anything.”

The FBI did not tell Sheriff House the reason for the closure. Sheriff Benny House did tell ABC 7 that his local law enforcement did not have anything to do with either the observatory closure.

For the conspiracy-minded, Sunspot is a mere 130 miles from Roswell, New Mexico, and about 90 miles from the White Sands Missile Range. Established in 1958, the observatory predates the unincorporated area in the Sacramento Mountains that was named for it.

All of which would be odd enough, but as SHTFplan.com's Mac Slavo details below, the observatory is closed just as a massive hole has opened up in the Sun’s corona, which means we’re officially on watch for a geomagnetic storm.  Auroras will be likely across much of North America as the sun heads into a solar minimum.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a storm watch for a G2-level solar storm on September 11.

That’s a moderate storm on the 5-level scale, with G5 being the highest, according to Science Alert.  We’re currently heading into a solar minimum, the least active period of the Sun’s 11-year cycle. That means there will be a much lower sunspot, coronal mass ejection, and solar flare activity.

If you are one of those who loves seeing the aurora borealis or the “Northern Lights,” have your camera handy, because it could be a beautiful show. As the holes open up in the Sun’s corona, although these are cooler, less dense regions of plasma in the Sun’s atmosphere, they are also more dramatic with open magnetic fields. These open regions allow the solar winds to escape the Sun’s surface more easily, blowing electromagnetic radiation into space at high speeds. If Earth is in the way of those solar winds, we could experience some intense outcomes.

While the effects of this wind will be slightly stronger than those of a G1 storm, according to Science Alert, they’ll probably pass most of us by. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms due to surges from geomagnetically induced currents, and longer storms can cause transformer damage, but it looks like this storm will be a relatively short one. According to the British Met Office, the solar winds could travel at speeds of up to 600 kilometers per second (372 miles per second) in the next two days.

Spacecraft operations may be affected as the storm impedes GPS, which means corrections may need to be issued by ground control. And high-frequency radio propagation can fade at high latitudes.

The biggest effect will probably be the light show since the solar winds are responsible for auroras. As they blow in from space, they interact with charged particles (mainly protons and electrons) in our magnetosphere.

These charged particles then rain into the ionosphere and travel along the planet’s magnetic field lines to the poles, where interactions with other particles, such as oxygen and nitrogen, manifest as dancing lights in the sky. –Science Alert

According to a map released by NOAA, the auroras resulting from this storm will likely be visible from Alaska, as well as the states across the United States’s Northern border with Canada and as far south as Iowa and Illinois. There will also be aurora australis visible from Antarctica.

* * *

Just in case you were blowing off the tin-foil-hat views of the observatory closure, we note that all these solar/space cams down at the same time:

Published:9/11/2018 9:54:30 PM
[Politics] Report: FBI Trains Candidates, Campaigns on Cybersecurity To help candidates and campaigns guard against foreign cyber attacks in the November election, the FBI hosted a first-in-the-nation closed-to-the-public seminar Monday in Denver, according to a report in The Colorado Sun. Published:9/11/2018 7:18:15 PM
[Law] Newly Disclosed Strzok-Page Texts Shed New Light on “Media Leak Strategy” at FBI, Justice

Peter Strzok has been fired from his job at the FBI, but the hits from his text messages to his former mistress, former FBI lawyer... Read More

The post Newly Disclosed Strzok-Page Texts Shed New Light on “Media Leak Strategy” at FBI, Justice appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/11/2018 6:46:52 PM
[Politics] Graham: Obama to Blame for Politicizing DOJ, FBI Sen. Lindsey Graham blames the Obama administration for having "politicized" the Department of Justice and FBI - and supports President Donald Trump's reported intent to declassify documents related to ex-campaign adviser Carter Page and DOJ official Bruce Ohr. Published:9/11/2018 5:47:01 PM
[Markets] Intel Veterans Urge President Trump To Step Back From The Brink On Syria

Via ConsortiumNews.com,

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, warn that the potential for a U.S.-Russia confrontation has never been greater at a moment the White House has confirmed it's in the planning stages of a strike on Syria, claiming "new intelligence" that Assad has already "ordered" a chemical weapons attack, according to the WSJ

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria

Mr. President:

We are concerned that you may not have been adequately briefed on the upsurge of hostilities in northwestern Syria, where Syrian armed forces with Russian support have launched a full-out campaign to take back the al-Nusra/al-Qaeda/ISIS-infested province of Idlib.  The Syrians will almost certainly succeed, as they did in late 2016 in Aleppo.  As in Aleppo, it will mean unspeakable carnage, unless someone finally tells the insurgents theirs is a lost cause.

That someone is you. The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use US forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus. We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war.

Big Difference This Time 

Russian missile-armed naval and air units are now deployed in unprecedented numbers to engage those tempted to interfere with Syrian and Russian forces trying to clean out the terrorists from Idlib. We assume you have been briefed on that — at least to some extent. More important, we know that your advisers tend to be dangerously dismissive of Russian capabilities and intentions.

We do not want you to be surprised when the Russians start firing their missiles.  The prospect of direct Russian-U.S. hostilities in Syria is at an all-time high.  We are not sure you realize that.

The situation is even more volatile because Kremlin leaders are not sure who is calling the shots in Washington.  This is not the first time that President Putin has encountered such uncertainty (see brief Appendix below).  This is, however, the first time that Russian forces have deployed in such numbers into the area, ready to do battle.  The stakes are very high.

We hope that John Bolton has given you an accurate description of his acerbic talks with his Russian counterpart in Geneva a few weeks ago. In our view, it is a safe bet that the Kremlin is uncertain whether Bolton faithfully speaks in your stead, or speaks INSTEAD of you.

The best way to assure Mr. Putin that you are in control of U.S. policy toward Syria would be for you to seek an early opportunity to speak out publicly, spelling out your intentions.  If you wish wider war, Bolton has put you on the right path. 

If you wish to cool things down, you may wish to consider what might be called a pre-emptive ceasefire. By that we mean a public commitment by the Presidents of the U.S. and Russia to strengthen procedures to preclude an open clash between U.S. and Russian armed forces.  We believe that, in present circumstances, this kind of extraordinary step is now required to head off wider war.

FOR THE VIPS STEERING GROUP, SIGNED: 

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Philip Giraldi, CIA Operations Officer (retired)

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate Republican leadership (Associate VIPS)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, U.S. Air Force, Intelligence Officer, and former Master SERE Instructor (retired)

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and Former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC Iraq; Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret) (Associate VIPS)

David MacMichael, Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, Army/Infantry Intelligence Officer and CIA Presidential Briefer (retired)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (retired)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

* * *

Appendix: 

Sept 12, 2016:  The limited ceasefire goes into effect; provisions include separating the “moderate” rebels from the others. Secretary John Kerry had earlier claimed that he had “refined” ways to accomplish the separation, but it did not happen; provisions also included safe access for relief for Aleppo.

Sept 17, 2016: U.S. Air Force bombs fixed Syrian Army positions killing between 64 and 84 Syrian army troops; about 100 others wounded — evidence enough to convince the Russians that the Pentagon was intent on scuttling meaningful cooperation with Russia.

Sept 26, 2016:  We can assume that what Lavrov has told his boss in private is close to his uncharacteristically blunt words on Russian NTV on Sept. 26. (In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days earlier had showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (a key provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin).   Here’s what Lavrov said on Sept 26:

“My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the US military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the US Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia (he confirmed that during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin), apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”

Lavrov went beyond mere rhetoric. He also specifically criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia, “after the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama stipulated that they would share intelligence. … It is difficult to work with such partners. …”

Oct 27, 2016:  Putin speaks at the Valdai International Discussion Club
At Valdai Russian President Putin spoke of the “feverish” state of international relations and lamented: “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results.” He complained about “people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice” and, referring to Syria, decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

Published:9/11/2018 4:01:36 PM
[World] Tom Fitton on New Strzok-Page Texts: Robert Mueller Investigation Needs to Be Shut Down

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton newly revealed text messages between fired FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page are just more evidence of the anti-Trump bias that was prevalent at the FBI and Justice Department.

Published:9/11/2018 1:55:10 PM
[Politics] Trump: Dobbs, Carter Reports Cast Doubts on FBI, Justice Department President Donald Trump, in a pair of tweets Tuesday morning, noted a report from Fox News' Lou Dobbs casting doubt on the FBI and Justice Department. Published:9/11/2018 9:51:33 AM
[World] Peter Strzok-Lisa Page Texts Discuss Media Leak Strategy: Judge Napolitano Reacts

Judge Napolitano joined "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday to react to newly revealed text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which show the fired FBI official and former FBI attorney discussing the bureau's "media leak strategy."

Published:9/11/2018 9:13:04 AM
[The Blog] Wray: 17 years after 9/11, FBI better positioned for terror — and busy stopping it

Have we closed the imagination gap yet?

The post Wray: 17 years after 9/11, FBI better positioned for terror — and busy stopping it appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/11/2018 9:12:56 AM
[Politics] Meadows Letter: Strzok-Page Tweets Show Culture of Media Leaks Text exchanges between fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and ex-FBI attorney Lisa Page show an "apparent systemic culture of media leaking" among FBI and Department of Justice officials to harm President Donald Trump, Rep. Mark Meadows claimed in a letter . . . Published:9/11/2018 8:19:07 AM
[World] Carter Page Reacts to Peter Strzok Lisa Page Texts About Media Leaking Strategy

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page joined Sean Hannity on Monday to react to the FBI's "media leak strategy" discussed in text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Published:9/11/2018 2:29:26 AM
[FBI] The FBI’s anti-Trump “leak strategy” (Paul Mirengoff) In a letter to Rod Rosenstein, Rep. Mark Meadows says that text messages and documents obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show that senior members of the FBI and Department of Justice led a coordinated effort to leak information to the press regarding alleged collusion with Russia. The purpose was to damage the Trump administration. The text of Meadows’ letter is here. He writes: As you may Published:9/11/2018 2:29:24 AM
[Markets] Missing Link In Papadopoulos Conspiracy "May Be Deceased" 

A key player at the very beginning of the Obama administration's counterintelligence operation on the Trump campaign "is missing and may be deceased," according to Bloomberg, citing a late Friday court filing by Democratic National Committee (DNC) lawyers in their case against Russia over hacking during the 2016 election. 

Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud - who bragged last November that he was a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Foundation, told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016 that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton weeks before Papadopoulos would drunkenly repeat the same rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer on May 10

Downer's subsequent report to "five eyes" authorities resulted in the launch of Operation Crossfire Hurricane - the FBI/DOJ's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. Recall that former FBI agent Peter Strzok flew to London to meet with Downer in the summer of 2016. 

Mifsud has been missing since October, 2017 - while Papadopoulos was just sentenced to a grand two week stint in prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Maltese professor. 

The DNC stood by its claim in a statement to The Hill on Friday. The committee indicated that an investigator had been used to find Mifsud, who has been missing for months, and was told the Maltese professor may be dead.

“The DNC's counsel has attempted to serve Mifsud for months and has been unable to locate or contact him. In addition, public reports have said he has disappeared and hasn't been seen for months," DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said. -The Hill

Meanwhile, a close associate of Mifsud, Gianni Pittella, has been described by EU parliament as a "reliable ally" to George Soros

However, according to internal documents from George Soros Open Society Foundation leaked in 2016, Pittella is considered to be a close ally of George Soros. The 127-page document by the Open Society European Policy Institute, titled “Reliable allies in the European Parliament (2014 – 2019),” lists the names of 226 EU MEPs that are likely to support the Open Society Foundation and its many initiatives. Included among the names of 226 MEPs is that of Gianni Pittella. -Disobedient Media

Mifsud was also the link between Papadopoulos and his wife of six months, attorney Simona Mangiante - bolstering theories by some that he purposefully seeded the Russia-Clinton "dirt" rumor in order to lure the Trump campaign into a trap. 

Expanding this Twitter thread by user @rising_serpent, we find: 

2. That connection was Joseph Mifsud, a most mysterious former Maltese government official who ran an institute called the London Centre of International Law Practice in Britain. THE Joseph Mifsud now made infamous by her husbands indictment by Robert Muller.

3. Mangiante, started working at the organization after meeting Mifsud while she was employed at European Parliament in Brussels. Papadopoulos, who had worked for Mifsud’s organization as well, reached out to say he liked her profile picture.

(articleGeorge Papadopoulos, his bride-to-be, and the Russia-linked ‘professor’ who brought them together)

4. Mangiante left the London Centre of International law after three months, after concluding the law office was “a facade for something else.” But the two continued to talk over the Internet, before meeting in person for the first time in New York in spring 2017.

5. Mangiante was introduced to Mifsud in 2012 by Gianni Pittella, a well-known Italian MEP who in 2014 became president of the Socialists and Progressive Democrats group. “I always saw Mifsud with Pittella,” So, Mangiante knew Mifsud for many years before she did Papadopoulos

6. Mangiante worked for 2 European parliament officials, Mairead McGuinness, a vice-president & McGuinness’s Italian predecessor Roberta Angelilli. She was also admin to home affairs committee under Martin Schulz, then a German MEP & now leader of Germany’s Social Democrats

7. So Mangiante moved within the corridors of power within Europe's Italian Democrats & German social democrats. When her contract expired, Pittella suggested she go work for Mifsud in London who offered her a job in 2016 at the London Centre of International Law Practice

8. in September 2016, Mangiante received a message on the LinkedIn social network from George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos had worked at the same London Center of International law centre briefly before joining Trump’s campaign. That was the beginning of their acquaintance.

9. It appears that Mangiante started her job around September 2016, the same time as she started corresponding with Papadopoulos. Mangiante was not happy with her work in London.

(articleThe boss, the boyfriend and the FBI: the Italian woman in the eye of the Trump-Russia inquiry)

10. The entire institution seemed “fake”, “artificial”, with Mifsud interested solely in organising political meetings. “I didn’t smell a culture of academia" Mifsud’s diplomatic activity, Mangiante now believes, was a facade. “I never met any Russians there”

11. Mangiante quit her post there after three months, in November 2016. In the meantime, Mangiante’s romance with George began. After several unsuccessful efforts to get together in London, they met in March 2017 in New York. They hit it off, began dating and fell in love

12. Prior to meeting Mangiante, FBI had interviewed Papadopoulos Jan 2017 in connection with the collusion investigation. Papadopoulos gave federal agents a false account of his meetings with Mifsud. So he deleted his Facebook account and changed his cellphone number.

13. So almost 3 months prior to Papadopoulos actually meeting Mangiante he was already in the crosshairs of FBI, he was deleting facebook, changing phone numbers and like James Bond, was actively romancing a beautiful woman. Plausibility check # 1, what do you think ?

14. On the day Papadopoulos pleaded guilty, Mangiante was at her boyfriend’s family home in Chicago. There was a ring at the door. A casually dressed man informed her that he was a federal agent. He was serving her with a subpoena from Mueller.

15. Mangiante decided not to hire a lawyer after discovering they cost $800 an hour. She turned up alone at Chicago FBI headquarters. the FBI was interested in her relationship with Papadopoulos. Was it genuine? “They asked: “Do you love him?” “Yes”. They replied: ‘He is lucky’”

16. Plausibility check # 2. Do you think about how much lawyers cost when the FBI tells you that your boyfriend is chin deep in legal manure and you may be too? Stormy Daniels gets a lawyer for free, but someone being investigated by the FBI thinks about a lawyers cost?

17. March 2016 Papadopoulous learned he would be Trumps foreign policy advisors, he ended up meeting Mifusud on March 14 2016 while he was traveling in Italy (where Mangiante was, coincidentally). Important: He met Mifsud first in Italy, see indictment (click here)

18. Mifusd's interest is piqued when he learned that Papadopoulos was going to be involved with the Trump campaign. They meet again subsequently in London on March 24th 2016 when Mifusd was accompanied by the "Putins niece" Olga Vinogradova, who like Mifsud has now disappeared.

19. Papadopoulos met Mifusd again on April 24th 2016 for breakfast at a London hotel. This is the first time that Mifsud tells him he knows the Russians have "dirt" on Hillary. Mind you the DNC leaks weren't published till June/July 2016. Important point right there.

20. That DNC was hacked by the Russians remains a matter of great contention and those with exquisite expertise in cybersecurity don't agree with the assertion that Russians hacked it. Remember the only people that conducted the investigation into the hack were CrowdStrike

21. Now we turn the bizarre dial to 11, why did Papadopoulos say to Mangiante when he was looking at her LinkedIn profile that they worked for the same company? Two things wrong with this: I couldn't find any evidence that Paps worked for the London center of international law

22. and if he did, he would have known Mifsud from his work, so the whole theory of his being introduced to Mifusd falls flat.

23. The BIG question: by the time Papadopoulos began corresponding with Mangiante in Sept 2016, he was a part of the Trump Campaign, what was he looking at LinkedIn profiles of people working at the London center of international law for? What am I missing here? 

24. I have more questions than answers, but the timeline just doesn't add up, there is a lot missing here apart from my functioning neuronal circuitry. All of this is important in the context of Mangiante's recent media blitz and her asking for Trump to pardon Papadopoulos.

25. Feel free to add to what I have just outlined. Things are not only a little askew here but seems that we are seeing this whole matter askance and many facts are obscured by layers of hearsay disguised as factual information. -fin.

26. Addendum: anybody else find it most peculiar that Mangiante worked for Italian and German social democrats? Especially now that we know that MI6 (Downer/Steele/Halper) were probably involved with the genesis of the Steele dossier?

27. Mifusud appears to be more aligned with the UK than he is with the Russians, Mangiante herself said so. Also she has since dialed down her touting of her husbands role in the Trump campaign, why?

Fascinating... 

Published:9/8/2018 6:16:15 PM
[2018 News] FBI Kept From U.S. Spy Court Russian View of Carter Page as ‘an Idiot’ FBI Kept From U.S. Spy Court Russian View of Carter Page as ‘an Idiot.’ Just imagine what the Russians think of the FBI about now? Published:9/8/2018 12:49:37 PM
[Politics] Breaking! George Papadopolous SENTENCED in Mueller investigation!! One of Trump’s former campaign aides was sentenced today for lying to the FBI in the Mueller probe. He got a pretty light sentence: And that sounds about right because his lie . . . Published:9/7/2018 5:51:04 PM
[Politics] Breaking! George Papadopolous SENTENCED in Mueller investigation!! One of Trump’s former campaign aides was sentenced today for lying to the FBI in the Mueller probe. He got a pretty light sentence: And that sounds about right because his lie . . . Published:9/7/2018 5:51:04 PM
[US News] GOODBYE PARDON: Papadopoulos attempts to throw Trump under the bus as he’s sentenced to 14 days in prison

Former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday for lying to FBI agents investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election: BREAKING: @ChuckGoudieABC7 reports Chicagoan George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. — Ross Weidner (@RossWeidner) September 7, 2018 He also has to […]

The post GOODBYE PARDON: Papadopoulos attempts to throw Trump under the bus as he’s sentenced to 14 days in prison appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:9/7/2018 4:22:30 PM
[In The News] Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Brady Kenyon -

A Grand Jury has been impaneled to investigate fired Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, according to a new report by the Washington Post. Federal prosecutors in Washington are using a Grand Jury to investigate whether McCabe purposely misguided officials over his role in unauthorized disclosures to The Wall ...

Grand Jury Impaneled to Investigate Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:9/7/2018 4:53:39 AM
[Markets] Johnstone: Are We Being Played?

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

If any evidence existed to be found that Donald Trump had illegally colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election, that evidence would have been picked up by the sprawling surveillance networks of the US and its allies and leaked to the Washington Post before Obama left office.

Russiagate is like a mirage. From a distance it looks like a solid, tangible thing, but when you actually move in to examine it critically you find nothing but gaping plot holes, insinuation, innuendo, conflicting narratives, bizarre mental contortions to avoid acknowledging contradictory information, a few arrests for corruption and process crimes, and a lot of hot air. The whole thing has been held together by nothing but the confident-sounding assertions of pundits and politicians and sheer, mindless repetition. And, as we approach the two year mark since this president’s election, we have not seen one iota of movement toward removing him from office. The whole thing’s a lie, and the smart movers and shakers behind it are aware that it is a lie.

And yet they keep beating on it. Day after day after day after day it’s been Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. Instead of attacking this president for his many, many real problems in a way that will do actual damage, they attack this fake blow-up doll standing next to him in a way that never goes anywhere and never will, like a pro wrestler theatrically stomping on the canvass next to his downed foe.

What’s up with that?

As you doubtless already know by now, the New York Times has made the wildly controversial decision to publish an anonymous op-ed reportedly authored by “a senior official in the Trump administration.” The op-ed’s author claims to be part of a secret coalition of patriots who dislike Trump and are “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” These “worst inclinations” according to the author include trying to make peace with Moscow and Pyongyang, being rude to longtime US allies, saying mean things about the media, being “anti-trade”, and being “erratic”. The possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment is briefly mentioned but dismissed. The final paragraphs are spent gushing about John McCain for no apparent reason.

I strongly encourage you to read the piece in its entirety, because for all the talk and drama it’s generating, it doesn’t actually make any sense. While you are reading it, I encourage you to keep the following question in mind: what could anyone possibly gain by authoring this and giving it to the New York Times?

Seriously, what could be gained? The op-ed says essentially nothing, other than to tell readers to relax and trust in anonymous administration insiders who are working against the bad guys on behalf of the people (which is interestingly the exact same message of the right-wing 8chan conspiracy phenomenon QAnon, just with the white hats and black hats reversed). Why would any senior official risk everything to publish something so utterly pointless? Why risk getting fired (or risk losing all political currency in the party if NYTAnon is Mike Pence, as has been theorized) just to communicate something to the public that doesn’t change or accomplish anything? Why publicly announce your undercover conspiracy to undermine the president in a major news outlet at all?

What are the results of this viral op-ed everyone’s talking about? So far it’s a bunch of Democratic partisans making a lot of excited whooping noises, and Trump loyalists feeling completely vindicated in the belief that all of their conspiracy theories have been proven correct. Many rank-and-file Trump haters are feeling a little more relaxed and complacent knowing that there are a bunch of McCain-loving “adults in the room” taking care of everything, and many rank-and-file Trump supporters are more convinced than ever that Donald Trump is a brave populist hero leading a covert 4-D chess insurgency against the Deep State. In other words, everyone’s been herded into their respective partisan stables and trusting the narratives that they are being fed there.

And, well, I just think that’s odd.

Did you know that Donald Trump is in the WWE Hall of Fame? He was inducted in 2013, and he’s been enthusiastically involved in pro wrestling for many years, both as a fan and as a performer. He’s made more of a study on how to draw a crowd in to the theatrics of a choreographed fight scene than anyone this side of the McMahon family (a member of whom happens to be part of the Trump administration currently).

You don’t have to get into any deep conspiratorial rabbit hole to consider the possibility that all this drama and conflict is staged from top to bottom. Commentators on all sides routinely crack jokes about how the mainstream media pretends to attack Trump but secretly loves him because he brings them amazing ratings. Anyone with their eyes even part way open already knows that America’s two mainstream parties feign intense hatred for one another while working together to pace their respective bases into accepting more and more neoliberal exploitation at home and more and more neoconservative bloodshed abroad. They spit and snarl and shake their fists at each other, then cuddle up and share candy when it’s time for a public gathering. Why should this administration be any different?

I believe that a senior Trump administration official probably did write that anonymous op-ed. I do not believe that they were moved to write it out of compassion for the poor Americans who are feeling emotionally stressed about the president. I believe it was written and published for the same reason many other things are written and published in mainstream media: because we are all being played.

The more I study US politics, the less useful I find it to think of it in political terms. The two-headed one party system exists to give Americans the illusion of choice while advancing the agendas of the plutocratic class which owns and operates both parties, yes, but even more importantly it’s a mechanism of narrative control. If you can separate the masses into two groups based on extremely broad ideological characteristics, you can then funnel streamlined “us vs them” narratives into each of the two stables, with the white hats and black hats reversed in each case. Now you’ve got Republicans cheering for the president and Democrats cheering for the CIA, for the FBI, and now for a platoon of covert John McCains alleged to be operating on the inside of Trump’s own administration. Everyone’s cheering for one aspect of the US power establishment or another.

Whom does this dynamic serve? Not you.

If you belonged to a ruling class, obviously your goal would be to ensure your subjects’ continued support for you. In a corporatist oligarchy, the rulers are secret and the subjects don’t know they’re ruled, and power is held in place with manipulation and with money. As such a ruler your goal would be to find a way to manipulate the masses into supporting your agendas, and, since people are different, you’d need to use different narratives to manipulate them. You’d have to divide them, tell them different stories, turn them against each other, play them off one another, suck them in to the tales you are spinning with the theater of enmity and heroism.

As a result of the New York Times op-ed, if this administration engages in yet another of its many, many establishment capitulations (let’s say by attacking the Syrian government again), Trump’s supporters won’t see it as his fault; it will be blamed on the deep state insiders in his administration who have been working to thwart his agendas of peace and harmony. Meanwhile those who see Trump as a heel won’t experience any cognitive dissonance if any of the establishment agendas they support are carried out, because they can give the credit to the secret hero squad in the White House.

Would a billionaire WWE Hall of Famer and United States President understand the theater of staged conflict for the advancement of plutocratic interests, and willingly participate in it? I’m going to say probably.

*  *  *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalor buying my book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Published:9/6/2018 11:43:47 PM
[Politics] Prosecutors have just intensified their investigation into Andrew McCabe I do believe this is a good sign: WASHINGTON POST – Federal prosecutors have for months been using a grand jury to investigate former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — an indication . . . Published:9/6/2018 7:16:05 PM
[Politics] Prosecutors have just intensified their investigation into Andrew McCabe I do believe this is a good sign: WASHINGTON POST – Federal prosecutors have for months been using a grand jury to investigate former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — an indication . . . Published:9/6/2018 5:35:53 PM
[Markets] FBI Hid Fact That Russia Thought Carter Page Was An "Idiot" Unworthy Of Recruiting: Sperry

The FBI, in its ham-handed FISA application on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, somehow forgot to include the fact that Russian spies thought Page was an "idiot" who was unworthy of recruiting, according to Paul Sperry of RealClear Investigations

The FBI was aware of Russians’ skepticism that Page knew anything of value or was a significant player because the bureau had recorded them voicing such doubts in a wiretap, from an earlier espionage case involving three Russian spies working undercover for the Kremlin in New York. -RCI

The FBI of course used that 2013 case as part of the FISA application - claiming to have evidence of Page's recruitment by the Kremlin, however the "idiot" part was deliberately withheld. 

They have been made public only in redacted form, professing evidence that Page was “recruited" by Russian intelligence and had "coordinated" with the Russian government. But “that’s a mischaracterization of the facts in the case,” a congressional source said. -RCI

This vital detail was also omitted from three subsequent renewals of the wiretap warrant, at least one of which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on. The warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) enabled the DOJ/FBI to spy on Page and others he was in contact with for almost a year, according to Sperry's sources. 

As Sperry notes, when the FISA warrants are viewed in totality, it's clear that "the court was not alerted to this seemingly critical information," according to congressional sources, which happened despite the FBI and DOJ officials having full access to the 26-page court filing.

The FISA applications omit the fact that a Russian intelligence officer called page ‘an idiot,’ " one congressional source said. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity due to the still-classified nature of the information. -RCI

What's more, former FBI officials as well as agents familiar with FISA warrants say that the DOJ's affidavits for Page appear to be "material misrepresentations" which fail to adhere to so-called Woods Procedures which require the accuracy of facts from sworn declarants - procedures which were strengthened in 2003 by Robert Mueller, then director of the FBI

Withholding material and exculpatory evidence from the FISA applications may also have violated Page’s Fourth Amendment protections against omissions of material facts that would undermine or negate probable cause to search.

It is illegal,” said veteran FBI agent Michael Biasello. “The affiant" -- the person swearing to the affidavit -- "cannot cherry-pick only information favorable to the case.” -RCI

Who's exposed?

According to Sperry, if the DOJ ever prosecutes itself for this and other FISA abuses, senior officials who swore out the Page warrants could be subject to perjury and conspiracy charges, incluging James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein - who could all be barred from appearing before the FISA court as well. 

Read the rest here

Published:9/6/2018 5:12:47 PM
[] FOIA'd "Human Source Validation Report" Shows That FBI Had Doubts About Alleged SuperSpy Christopher Steele's "Dossier" FBI noted that Steele's dossier was only "minimally corroborated" and said they only had "medium confidence" in his work. This is a very, very long way from the public claims that the FBI viewed Steele as some kind of... Published:9/6/2018 3:28:51 PM
[Politics] Trump's Supporters in House Call on Him to Declassify FISA Application Some of President Donald Trump's biggest supporters in the House will ask him to declassify portions of the FBI's application for a surveillance warrant. Published:9/5/2018 2:19:50 PM
[Markets] Former Congressman: "The Deep State Is Real..& They Don't Like Trump's Disruption"

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

In his new book titled  “The Deep State: How an army of bureaucrats protected Barack Obama and is working to destroy Donald Trump,” Jason Chaffetz alleges that the deep state is very real. 

His book, which is set to be published on September 18, details the lengths the intelligence community is going to in an attempt to undermine Trump.

“The Deep State is real,” Chaffetz wrote, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. 

“They don’t like exposure, accountability or responsibility. They fight back, outlast and work the system for their advantage. And they certainly don’t like disruptive forces such as Donald Trump.”

Of course, this flies in the face of 'lying' former FBI Director James Comey, who exclaimed in May that:

There is no deep state, but there’s a deep culture and commitment to the rule of law that runs all the way down through not just the Department of Justice and the FBI but the military services and the intelligence community. It would be interesting to see what would happen next,” 

Chaffetz, a former congressman from Utah, resigned from Congress in June 2017. At the time, that was about six months into Trump’s presidency. Chaffetz then decided to take a job as a political analyst for the FOX News Channel and the FOX Business Network, according to USA Today.

Chaffetz says that the devastating Benghazi incident is what uncovered a larger problem in the corrupt government.

“Without exposing Benghazi we might never have learned that Hillary Clinton was using her private email server to conduct government business and transmit classified information,” Chaffetz wrote.

Benghazi was a symptom of a much deeper problem at the State Department. Their decisions were based not on a security calculation, but on a political one.” 

Chaffetz also tosses the Department of Justice firmly under the bus in his book as well. The DOJ is a frequent target of both Trump and the House Freedom Caucus.

“The DOJ should be protecting us,” Chaffetz wrote.

“And yet it is the federal agency that stands head and shoulders above the rest in enabling the Swamp.”

The leftists both in political positions and amongst the public see Chaffetz as going after Obama while allowing Trump to run free.

 “Despite issuing a steady stream of far-reaching subpoenas during the Obama Administration, the Oversight Committee has essentially gone dormant under the Trump Administration, and Chairman Chaffetz’s successor has not issued a single subpoena to anyone, on any issue, ever,” Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and the top Democrat on the  House oversight panel said.

Published:9/5/2018 2:19:50 PM
[Markets] How The CIA Undermined Civil Rights

Submitted by Disobedient Media

Although the Civil Rights Movement resulted in many well known changes at an institutional level, it is widely agreed that the movement did not succeed in a total transformation of American society. The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not fully realized. The exact reasons for this are subject to debate, which often unfortunately devolves into partisan blame shifting between conservatives and liberals. In contemplating this history, little attention is given to one of the most unfortunate reasons that the Civil Rights Movement lost steam – interference and attacks from American intelligence agencies bent on neutralizing what they saw as a force of change that could destabilize society.

Efforts to marginalize and degrade the success of the Civil Rights Movement has played out for many years, but took on an initial intensity during the 1960’s. CIA assets including Gloria Steinem were never far removed from a larger overall process in which black American civil rights leaders were targeted and African American society was disrupted. Agents like Steinem were directly involved with spreading propaganda like a virus during the 60’s and beyond. The effects on the black community in the United States have been so tragically consequential that they could safely be defined as an experiment in population control. An examination of the methods in which the Civil Rights Movement was targeted can teach us much about our history, and even more about what we must vigilantly watch for in the future.

I. Steinem’s History With The CIA

The beginning of Steinem’s history with the CIA is somewhat unclear, although the facts indicate she was recruited either during her university years or immediately afterwards. From 1956 to 1958, Steinem traveled to India as a Chester Bowles Asian Fellow. According to documentation of Steinem’s career, individuals she met with during her time there included Indian Communist Party founder M. N. Roy and a researcher who appeared to have been a CIA agent. Steinem’s “official” association with the CIA began upon her return to the United States in 1959 when she took charge of a front organization called the Independent Research Service where she was tasked with recruiting students to attend Soviet-controlled youth festivals in 1959 and 1962.

In 1978, feminist group Restockings wrote in the book Feminist Revolution that Steinem was listed as a co-director of an Independent Research Service pamphlet titled A Review of Negro Segregation in the United States which alleged that segregation of black Americans was at least partially self-perpetuated. When Feminist Revolution was first published, the CIA-connected Ford Foundation was among those to demand that publisher Random House remove all references to Steinem and the Independent Research Service.

The connection between Steinem, the Independent Research Service the CIA was not exposed until 1967 when the details of the clandestine support were leaked to Ramparts Magazine, then reported widely by the Washington Post and New York Times. Both the CIA and Steinem herself would ultimately acknowledge the connection in subsequent years, although they both insisted that their work aimed to combat Communism.

Steinem discusses her tenure with the CIA in the aftermath of its exposure

Steinem’s acknowledged tenure with the CIA resulted in a number of high profile connections with individuals involved in various CIA operations. Research from the University of Missouri-St. Louis lists the Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank chairman John McCloy, OSS psychological warfare expert and senior executive at Time, Inc. C.D. Jackson and Watergate-connected CIA operative Cord Meyer as individuals who supported her work with the Independent Research Service. Although the CIA placed some degree of trust in Steinem, other agencies were wary of her. A few years later the FBI warned the Justice Department’s civil rights division that Steinem was a security risk and an inadvisable hire due to what they considered to be unacceptable far left associations.

Although the relationship between Steinem and the CIA supposedly terminated after 1962, her associations with high profile figures controlling public policy continued. According to Julian Assange, Steinem dated Henry Kissinger during his years working for the Nixon administration. She would also spend nine years in a relationship with Stanley Pottinger, the former Assistant Attorney General with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division who insisted that there was no evidence of FBI involvement in the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

When Steinem founded Ms. Magazine in 1971, she chose Elizabeth Forsling Harris, a PR executive who helped with advance work for John F. Kennedy’s 1963 trip to Dallas, Texas as her co-founder and publisher. An examination of the effects and goal of her work throughout the late 1960’s and early 70’s gives the distinct impression that Steinem’s association with the CIA may not have ended, instead playing a role in the agency’s known attempts to undermine domestic Civil Rights groups during this period.

II. Targeting Of Black America And Civil Rights

The rapid initial success of the civil rights movement, and the promise it held to effectively disrupt the power structures in the United States at the height of the Cold War made it an obvious target for intelligence groups, both within the United States and abroad. Actions taken against the black community during these years included targeting civil rights leadership, drafting and deploying black males to fight in foreign conflicts and destruction of black society by targeting the family unit and promoting gender conflict.

A. Targeting Black Leaders

Black leaders had been targeted by intelligence and government agencies long before the 1960’s, but it was the 60’s that were marked by a series of targeted assassinations. Two of the most well known from this period are likely Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Although Malcolm X, a Black Nationalist, spent most of his career in opposition to MLK’s nonviolent approach to Civil Rights his opinions shifted just a year prior to his death. In May 1964, Malcolm was quoted in the New York Times as stating that his perspectives of white people had changed and that he would work with the younger generations to combat racism. He was assassinated in February 1965.

As one of the most iconic leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. was undoubtedly a high-priority target. Although Dr. King delivered a number of socialistic critiques of capitalism during his lifetime he was ardently opposed to communism. It was this opposition in fact that caused him to be the only high profile American to be targeted by intelligence agencies in both the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s KGB opposed Dr. King due to his unwillingness to allow Communist sympathizers to foment poor race relations. His death came several years after Malcolm X’s in 1968.

Civil rights leader Andrew Young (L) and others standing on balcony of Lorraine motel pointing in direction of assailant after assassination of civil rights ldr. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is lying at their feet. Joseph Louw—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

The removal of leadership figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X was essential to sideline individuals who might be more nationalistically minded or support American socialists over foreign supported extremism intended to deteriorate the Civil Rights situation.

B. Disrupting Black Society

Targeted assassinations of leadership figures coincided with the Vietnam War, which lead to a disproportionate number of black men being drafted or otherwise deployed to the war zone. The Oxford Companion to American Military History stated that although blacks represented 11% of the US population from 1965 to 1969, they made up 12.6% of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these served in the infantry where they suffered casualty rates of 14.9%.

It was statistics like these that caused Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders to denounce Vietnam as being “a white man’s war, a black man’s fight” where black men were far more likely to see combat. Deploying males to a war zone also had the effect of disrupting society in a manner similar to the Second World War.

C. Consolidation Of CIA Domestic Intelligence Programs Under Operation CHAOS

The Central Intelligence Agency has a long and tenured history of interfering in foreign politics. Their domestic operations, however, have been given considerably less attention in recent years. By the end of the 60’s the CIA began to centralize their various domestic operations under a single program known as Operation CHAOS. Officially begun in 1967, all existing CIA domestic programs were consolidated under CHAOS after Richard Nixon assumed the presidency in January 1969.

Operation CHAOS served as a means for the CIA to infiltrate and spy on groups and individuals they considered to be behaving in a manner that was “illegal and subversive.” Organizations that were targeted by the CIA included socialist-leaning student organizations, the Black Panther Party and Ramparts Magazine, the publication that first exposed Gloria Steinem’s relationship with the CIA.

On April 4th, 1969, Steinem published her “landmark” piece “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” in New York Magazine. The article’s main focus was to encourage women to break away from the Civil Rights movement and “start concentrating on their own problems.” With Civil Rights leadership weakened by targeted assassination and men of fighting age being shipped out to a foreign theater of combat her writings served to perpetuate these issues by causing gender conflict within the civil rights movement.

“After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” stood in total contrast to previous prevailing philosophies that supported societal models, which Steinem attacked as “patriarchal.” Leadership such as Dr. King preached that the cornerstone to building a strong black American community was the nuclear family. In 1966, King gave a speech where he stated that black America’s “very survival was bound” to their ability to create and foster strong families. “The whole of society,” King said, “rests on this foundation for stability, understanding and social peace.” With figures like King out of the way by 1969 there was clear opportunity to attack what he had seen as a cornerstone of the black society in America – healthy and harmonious families. The spark that was lit by Steinem’s article would inoculate the Civil Rights Movement with a new strain of feminism that spread like a pathogen.

III. Exposure Of Operation CHAOS And Coverup

The years following 1969 were marked by turbulence and increasing inter agency spats. While the FBI supplied the CIA with intelligence for Operations CHAOS, they refused to provide any context or analysis due to the perception that this would violate their charter. It’s possible that this tension contributed to the outbreak of the 1972 Watergate scandal, where an active CIA asset was arrested while bugging the DNC’s headquarters and a senior FBI official provided information exposing the scandal to the Washington Post.

With the increasing public scrutiny of covert domestic programs, Operation CHAOS was officially shut down in 1973. In 1974, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed the program with an investigative piece published in the New York Times. The expose caused enough public outrage for the establishment of committees in the House and Senate as well as the Rockefeller Commission, headed Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller. These investigations were marked by attempts from Ford Administration officials to block Congressional committees from accessing information and interview with officials and focusing on the more easily controlled Rockefeller Commission.

The Commission’s goal was not to reveal wrongdoing by US intelligence agencies but to mitigate damage caused by leaks. Famous revelations such as the disclosure of Project MKULTRA were in fact “safe” because CIA officials considered these programs to be failures. It is already public knowledge that some information including disclosures of the CIA’s involvement in assassination plots was removed from the final report by the Commission. The involvement of Nelson Rockefeller, whose family was involved with government calls for population control and funded Nazi-affiliated eugenics programs which maintained files on millions of Americans marked for genetic elimination was especially inappropriate and showed the pervasive interest of special interests in embedding themselves within the Rockefeller Commission for their own private purposes.

IV. Post-Rockefeller Commission

Targeting black communities continued long after the 1960’s. When disclosure of US bioweapon experimentationon American populations began in the 1970’s tragedies such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments showed that black Americans were specifically targeted by various bioweapon programs conducted by various government agencies. Much of the information surrounding these programs remains classified, “destroyed” or otherwise kept from the public sphere. It is impossible to know the full extent of these programs that used American citizens as guinea pigs for experiments in biological warfare and population control methods.

Reporters who exposed other CIA targeting of black American communities were singled out for discrediting and character assassination. Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance series published with The Mercury News alleged the involvement of the CIA in trafficking of crack cocaine that was rampantly distributed in black communities and resulted in disproportionate sentencing of black Americans. The high incarceration rates that resulted from these policies further contributed to the fragmentation of the black American family unit. Webb was attacked by almost every mainstream media outlet for his revelations and was ultimately found dead with two gunshots to the head.

The combined effect of legal, biological and sociological attacks on the black community has prevented them from realizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a black American society built on bedrock of stable family units. In 1960, two thirds of black children lived with two parents – today that number has been reduced to one third. Over 73% of black children are born out of wedlock according the data published by the Center for Disease Control in 2012 (a dramatic increase from 11% in 1938). These statistics are part of an overall decrease in fertility and birth rates that have continued uninterrupted to this day. This trend is alarming, given that social scientists have been observing since the 1960’s that the breakdown of the family unit was not due to economic factors. The obstacles created by the intelligence community and new social theories degraded the ability of black families to retain their cohesive structure, exposing generations to the struggles of single parenthood and continuous poverty.

Despite these factors that disrupt family structure and make life more difficult for black women, Gloria Steinem as recently as 2015 told the Huffington Post that she credited black women with “starting the feminist movement” she helped foster and spread in the 1960’s and 70’s. She has remained active in various social justice movements. In January 2017, she was a speaker at the Women’s March protests in Washington DC.

It seems that Operation CHAOS may have lingered on past 1973 in spirit if not in name. Certain members of the Reagan administration would eventually attempt to allow the CIA to resume domestic operations in the 1980’s. The proposal received strong criticism in the New York Times. In 2015, reports began to emerge highlighting claims that an activist crossing the Canadian border was “randomly selected” for a search as part of a program called “Operation Chaos.”

Published:9/4/2018 11:18:37 PM
[Markets] Google Notifies Users Of Court-Ordered Data Demands In Secret FBI Investigation

Dozens of people, possibly more, have received an email from Google informing them that the internet giant responded to a court-ordered FBI demand for the release of their data, according to Motherboard, citing several people who claim to have received the email. The notice did not say whether Google had already released the requested information to the FBI. 

The notice appears to be related to the case of Colton Grubbs, who has been indicted for selling a $40 remote access tool (RAT) which claims to be able to hack and control computers remotely. Last year Grubbs pleaded guilty to creating and distributing the hacking tool to thousands of people

Federal prosecutors say Colton Ray Grubbs of Stanford, Ky. conspired with others to market and distribute the LuminosityLink RAT, a $40 Remote Access Tool that made it simple for buyers to hack into computers to surreptitiously view documents, photographs and other files on victim PCs. The RAT also let users view what victims were typing on their keyboards, disable security software, and secretly activate the webcam on the target’s computer.

Grubbs, who went by the pseudonym “KFC Watermelon,” began selling the tool in May 2015. By mid-2017 he’d sold LuminosityLink to more than 8,600 customers, according to Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. -KrebsonSecurity 

Grubbs has been indicted on nine counts, including infringing on privacy, conspiracy and causing at least $5,000 in damage. He faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $750,000.

Several users on Reddit, Twitter and HackForums have reported receiving the email, which reads in part: 

“Google received and responded to legal process issue by Federal Bureau of Investigation (Eastern District of Kentucky) compelling the release of information related to your Google account." 

Contained within the email is a legal process number, which reveals that the judge in the legal action has sealed the case

Despite the lack of details in the email, as well as the fact that the case is still under seal, it appears the case is related to LuminosityLink. Several people who claimed to have received the notice said they purchased the software. Moreover, Grubbs’ case was investigate by the same district mentioned in the Google notice.

Luca Bongiorni, a security researcher who received the email, said he used LuminosityLink for work, and only with his own computer and virtual machines. -Motherboard

That said, the PACER court filing system did contain an unredacted indictment filed in Kentucky's Eastern District Court, which reads:

"Colton Grubbs together with others, knowingly and voluntarily joined and participated in a conspiracy to commit the crime of intentionally and without authorization accessing a computer used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, thereby obtaining information from a protected computer to further a tortious and criminal act."  

The indictment also confirms that the case is related to LuminosityLink, which "made it possible for purchasers to access and control victim computers; to view their files, login credentials, and personal identifying information; and to surveil and record user activity on victim computers.

Grubbs received approximately 115 bitcoin for the software, according to the complaint, worth approximately $845,000 at today's price, and $134,141 in "proceeds from the felony crimes." The Feds also want $52,482 in a JPMorgan Chase bank account, and $45,007 in cash found in Grubbs's bedroom. 

"It looks to me like the court initially ordered Google not to disclose the existence of the info demand, so Google was legally prohibited from notifying the user. Then the nondisclosure order was lifted, so Google notified the user. There's nothing unusual about that per se,” said Marcia Hoffman, a lawyer specializing in cybercrime. “It's common when law enforcement is seeking info during an ongoing investigation and doesn't want to tip off the target(s)." 

KFC Watermelon’s Skype profile (the “HF” in his Skype name is a likely reference to HackForums, where both Luminosity RAT and Plasma RAT were primarily sold and marketed). via Krebs

Of particular concern is that the FBI appears to be trying to "unmask" everyone who bought the software which may or may not be considered illegal. 

“If one is just buying a tool that enables this kind of capability to remotely access a computer, you might be a good guy or you might be a bad guy,” Gabriel Ramsey, a lawyer who specializes in internet and cybersecurity law, told Motherboard in a phone call. “I can imagine a scenario where that kind of request reaches—for good or bad—accounts of both type of purchasers.”

Published:9/4/2018 7:18:38 PM
[Markets] "Anatomy Of A Fusion Smear": WSJ Exposes Dirty Tactics Of "Steele Dossier" Firm

The Wall Street Journal editorial board has thrown one of their former journalists, Glenn Simpson, completely under the bus over his firm's political hit-jobs for hire - including feeding twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr damaging "misinformationin the Trump-Russia investigation. 

Now we’re learning how this misinformation got around, and the evidence points to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the outfit that financed the infamous Steele dossier. -WSJ

***

Via the WSJ Editorial Board

Anatomy of a Fusion Smear

Democrats and their media friends made false claims about a lawyer.

Cleta Mitchell is a top campaign-finance lawyer in Washington, D.C. This year she’s also been the target of a political and media smear that reveals some of the nastiness at work in the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Cleta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6, 2014. PHOTO: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A partner at Foley & Lardner, Ms. Mitchell was astonished to find herself dragged into the Russia investigation on March 13 when Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued an interim report. They wrote that they still wanted to interview “key witnesses,” including Ms. Mitchell, who they claimed was “involved in or may have knowledge of third-party political outreach from the Kremlin to the Trump campaign, including persons linked to the National Rifle Association (NRA).”

Two days later the McClatchy news service published a story with the headline “NRA lawyer expressed concerns about group’s Russia ties, investigators told.” The story cited two anonymous sources claiming Congress was investigating Ms. Mitchell’s worries that the NRA had been “channeling Russia funds into the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump.”

Ms. Mitchell says none of this is true. She hadn’t done legal work for the NRA in at least a decade, had zero contact with it in 2016, and had spoken to no one about its actions. She says she told this to McClatchy, which published the story anyway.

Now we’re learning how this misinformation got around, and the evidence points to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the outfit that financed the infamous Steele dossier. New documents provided to Congress show that Mr. Simpson, a Fusion co-founder, was feeding information to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. In an interview with House investigators this week, Mr. Ohr confirmed he had known Mr. Simpson for some time, and passed at least some of his information along to the FBI.

In handwritten notes dated Dec. 10, 2016 that the Department of Justice provided to Congress and were transcribed for us by a source, Mr. Ohr discusses allegations that Mr. Simpson made to him in a conversation. The notes read: “A Russian senator (& mobster) . . . [our ellipsis] may have been involved in funneling Russian money to the NRA to use in the campaign. An NRA lawyer named Cleta Mitchell found out about the money pipeline and was very upset, but the election was over.”

A spokesman for Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, says the “Minority did not speak with Mr. Simpson or Fusion GPS about this,” though he declined to disclose who named Ms. Mitchell. Our sources say they can’t remember Ms. Mitchell coming up in any of the documents collected or witness interviews conducted for the investigation. So how did Mr. Schiff get his tip? Fusion’s media friends? Mr. Ohr? The FBI? Fusion GPS and Mr. Simpson did not answer a request for comment.

Ms. Mitchell says the fallout for her goes beyond inconvenience and a false allegation. Mr. Schiff’s team in May sent her a letter demanding testimony and documents, though no one in Mr. Schiff’s office alerted her before naming her in an official document.

She received similar demands from Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, who wanted Ms. Mitchell to turn over records related to “the transfer of money, or anything of value” between her and several Russians. After Ms. Mitchell in May responded that she had no information related to any of those Russians and accused the committee of being duped by “Glenn Simpson & Co.,” she heard nothing more.

But social media attacks on her haven’t ended. “That allegation impugns my ethical integrity and professional reputation,” she says, one reason she’s calling for Mr. Simpson to be prosecuted for lying to a federal official.

The Russian collusion accusations ginned up by Fusion at the behest of a law firm working for the Clinton campaign haven’t been corroborated despite two years of investigations. But no one should forget the smears that they and their media mouthpieces peddled along the way.

Published:9/2/2018 2:53:20 PM
[Markets] Trump Allies Fume Over "Political Hand-Grenades" At Hyper-Partisan McCain Funeral

President Trump's allies, both in Washington D.C. and across the country, are fuming after the funeral for the late Sen. John McCain turned into an anti-Trump rally.

Meghan McCain, along with former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, used the somber event to take pot-shots at Trump - who was golfing during the ceremony while his daughter Ivanka sat through harsh criticism of her father - seated next to her husband, Jared Kushner.

McCain’s service was, on one level, a return to old Washington civility, with Republicans and Democrats, past presidents, friends and foes gathered in unity. But as its tributes echoed with overt criticism of the president, it only deepened the hostility between the city’s establishment and the outsider in the White House. -Politico

McCain was perhaps Trump's most prominent nemesis in Washington D.C. - first withdrawing support for Trump during the 2016 election after the Access Hollywood "pussy tape" was leaked, and later hand delivering the infamous "Steele Dossier" to former FBI Director James Comey (who already had a copy). McCain would fly back to Washington D.C. in July of last year to a standing ovation on the Senate floor - only to cast the deciding vote against Trump's repeal of Obamacare

And after Meghan McCain said during her father's eulogy that "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great," and former Presidents Obama and Bush took similar veiled shots at the President - albeit without mentioning him by name, Trump's allies across the country were left fuming. 

Following the Saturday spectacle, Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump ran for @POTUS ONE time and WON! Some people will never recover from  that. #SorryNotSorry Yes, #MAGA" 

American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp tweeted: "I hope I have lots of time but if not: anyone can come, will be about God and not politics, and celebrate."

Others echoed the disgust: 

 We're sure McCain would have wanted it this way. 

Published:9/2/2018 11:02:16 AM
[Jeff Sessions] Papadopoulos court filing reminds us why Sessions needed to recuse himself (Paul Mirengoff) CNN reports that George Papadopoulos, convicted of lying to the FBI, is saying through his lawyer that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions both “apparently supported” his proposal that Trump meet with Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign. According to papers filed by Papadopoulos’ legal team: While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and Published:9/1/2018 10:13:42 PM
[Markets] Russian Oligarch And Putin Pal Admits To Collusion, Secret Meetings

Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, has gone on record with The Hill's John Solomon - admitting to colluding with Americans leading up to the 2016 US election, except it might not be what you're thinking. 

Deripaska, rumored to be Donald Trump's "back channel" to Putin via the Russian's former association with Paul Manafort, says he "colluded" with the US Government between 2009 and 2016. 

In 2009, when Robert Mueller was running the FBI, the agency asked Deripaska to spend $25 million of his own money to bankroll an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent - Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped in 2007 while working on a 2007 CIA contract in Iran. This in and of itself is more than a bit strange. 

Deripaska agreed, however the Obama State Department, headed by Hillary Clinton, scuttled a last-minute deal with Iran before Levinson could be released. He hasn't been heard from since.

FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland. -The Hill

In other words - Trump's alleged "back channel" to Putin was in fact an FBI asset who spent $25 million helping Obama's "scandal free" administration find a kidnapped agent. Deripaska's admitted 

Steele, Ohr and the 2016 US Election

As the New York Times frames it, distancing Deripaska from the FBI (no mention of the $25 million rescue effort, for example), the Russian aluminum magnate was just one of several Putin-linked Oligarchs the FBI tried to flip.

The attempt to flip Mr. Deripaska was part of a broader, clandestine American effort to gauge the possibility of gaining cooperation from roughly a half-dozen of Russia’s richest men, nearly all of whom, like Mr. Deripaska, depend on President Vladimir V. Putin to maintain their wealth, the officials said. -NYT

Central to the recruiting effort were two central players in the Trump-Russia investigation; twice-demoted DOJ #4 official Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele - the author of the largely unverified "Steele Dossier." 

Steele, a longtime associate of Ohr's, worked for Deripaska beginning in 2012 researching a business rival - work which would evolve to the point where the former British spy was interfacing with the Obama administration on his behalf - resulting in Deripaska regaining entry into the United States, where he visited numerous times between 2009 and 2017.  

The State Department tried to keep him from getting a U.S. visa between 2006 and 2009 because they believed he had unspecified connections to criminal elements in Russia as he consolidated power in the aluminum industry. Deripaska has denied those allegations...

Whatever the case, it is irrefutable that after he began helping the FBI, Deripaska regained entry to the United States. And he visited numerous times between 2009 and 2017, visa entry records show. -The Hill

Deripaska is now banned from the United States as one of several Russians sanctioned in April in response to alleged 2016 election meddling. 

In a September 2016 meeting, Deripaska told FBI agents that it was "preposterous" that Paul Manafort was colluding with Russia to help Trump win the 2016 election. This, despite the fact that Deripaska and Manafort's business relationship "ended in lawsuits, per The Hill - and the Russian would have every reason to throw Manafort under the bus if he wanted some revenge on his old associate. 

So the FBI and DOJ secretly collaborated with Trump's alleged backchannel over a seven-year period, starting with Levinson, then on Deripaska's Visa, and finally regarding whether Paul Manafort was an intermediary to Putin. Deripaska vehemently denies the assertion, and even took out newspaper advertisements in the US last year volunteering to testify to Congress, refuting an AP report that he and Manafort secretly worked on a plan to "greatly benefit the Putin government" a decade ago. 

Soon after the advertisements ran, representatives for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees called a Washington-based lawyer for Mr. Deripaska, Adam Waldman, inquiring about taking his client up on the offer to testify, Mr. Waldman said in an interview.

What happened after that has been in dispute. Mr. Waldman, who stopped working for Mr. Deripaska after the sanctions were levied, said he told the committee staff that his client would be willing to testify without any grant of immunity, but would not testify about any Russian collusion with the Trump campaign because “he doesn’t know anything about that theory and actually doesn’t believe it occurred.” -NYT

In short, Deripaska wants it known that he worked with the FBI and DOJ, and that he had nothing to do with the Steele dossier.

Today, Deripaska is banned anew from the United States, one of several Russians sanctioned in April by the Trump administration as a way to punish Putin for 2016 election meddling. But he wants to be clear about a few things, according to a statement provided by his team. First, he did collude with Americans in the form of voluntarily assisting and meeting with the FBI, the DOJ and people such as Ohr between 2009 and 2016.

He also wants Americans to know he did not cooperate or assist with Steele’s dossier, and he tried to dispel the FBI notion that Russia and the Trump campaign colluded during the 2016 election. -The Hill

Interestingly, Steele's dossier which was partially funded by the Clinton campaign, relied on senior Kremlin officials

 

It would be most helpful if the Department of Justice could please investigate and then prosecute themselves and/or members of the previous administration, so that journalists like John Solomon, Sara Carter, Luke Rosiak, Chuck Ross and others don't have to continue to break stories that are seemingly ignored by all but a handful of Congressional investigators.

Published:9/1/2018 6:42:05 PM
[Markets] Papadopoulos Never Told Trump Campaign Of Kremlin "Dirt" On Hillary

In a Friday night court filing trying to spare their client from a lengthy prison sentence, attorneys for George Papadopoulos claim that he never told the Trump campaign about claims of Kremlin "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, and that a month before he knew about said dirt, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions positively responded to a March, 2016 proposal that the young energy consultant facilitate a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Eager to show his value to the campaign, George announced at the meeting that he had connections that could facilitate a foreign policy meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.

Other attendees at that meeting, "including former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon, say that Sessions shut down Papadopoulos' suggestion," according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross. Sessions himself testified in November 2017 that he "pushed back" against the proposal. 

A month later at an April 26, 2016 breakfast in London, Papadopoulos learned from Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (who bragged last year that he was on the Clinton Foundation - and has been missing since October 2017), that Moscow possessed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. 

According to Papadopoulos's Friday night court filing - he never told this to the Trump campaign, while continuing to push for a Trump-Putin meeting. 

Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents in a January 27, 2017 interview - claiming that Mifsud told him about the "dirt" on the Clinton campaign before he joined the Trump campaign. He also told federal investigators that he never revealed this to anyone within Trump's orbit: 

“He told the agents he was unaware of anyone in the campaign knowing of the stolen Hillary Clinton emails prior to the emails being publicly released,” reads the Friday night court filing.

Papadopoulos would later tell the Greek Foreign Minister about the Kremlin "dirt" on Clinton, as well as Australian diplomat Alexander Downer at a May 10, 2016 London dinner in which he "drunkenly" admitted that Russia had information that could hurt Trump's opponent. The FBI claims it was the meeting with Downer which resulted in the agency opening a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. 

Lawyers for Papadopoulos also argue that he didn't hamper the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling - and only "misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master." 

“In his hesitation, George lied, minimized, and omitted material facts. Out of loyalty to the new president and his desire to be part of the administration, he hoisted himself upon his own petard.”

Friday’s filing also reveals new details about the FBI’s initial interview with Papadopoulos. According to Papadopoulos’s lawyers, FBI agents showed up to interview Papadopoulos at his mother’s house in Chicago.

The agents asked Papadopoulos to accompany them to their office to answer “a couple questions” about “a guy in New York that you might know[,] [t]hat has recently been in the news.”

Papadopoulos believed that the agents wanted to ask him about Sergei Millian, a Belarus American businessman who is alleged to be a major source in the Steele dossier. Millian approached Papadopoulos in July 2016 and the pair met several times during the presidential campaign. -Daily Caller

FBI agents reportedly assured George that the focus of the discussion would be on Sergei Millian - however the conversation quickly turned to the Russian "dirt." 

"Less than twenty minutes into the interview, the agents dropped the Millian inquiry and turned to recent news about Russian influence in the presidential election. George told the agents he had no knowledge of anyone on the campaign colluding with the Russians and it would not have been in anyone’s interest to undermine the democratic process. George was surprised to be answering questions about Russian interference in the election and told the agents the topic caught him off guard. The FBI agent confirmed that the Sergei Millian inquiry was just a ruse to get him in a room when he told George that:"

… the reason we wanted to pull you in today and have that conversation because we wanted to know to the extent of your knowledge being an insider inside that small group of people that were policy advisors who, if anybody, has that connection with Russia and what, what sort of connections there were.

Read the filing below: 

Published:9/1/2018 2:21:03 PM
[Politics] Trump Quotes Judicial Watch: No FISA Hearings on Page Warrants President Donald Trump, in a pair of tweets Saturday, attacked FBI and Department of Justice officials about the surveillance warrants issued on his former campaign aide, Carter Page. Published:9/1/2018 11:18:38 AM
[Politics] Papadopoulos: Trump 'Nodded' at Suggestion of Putin Meeting President Donald Trump "nodded with approval" at the suggestion of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a court filing Friday night that seeks leniency for a former campaign aide who lied to the FBI. Published:9/1/2018 8:13:11 AM
[The Blog] FBI arrests all five adults from the New Mexico compound on gun charges

"The criminal complaint charges Jany Leveille with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition..."

The post FBI arrests all five adults from the New Mexico compound on gun charges appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/31/2018 8:05:19 PM
[Markets] FBI Arrests All Five New Mexico "Jihad Compound" Suspects

Five suspects who were arrested in a raid on a northern New Mexico compound have been taken into custody by the FBI after local prosecutors botched their case, resulting in the release of three of the individuals. 

The defendants, Jany Leveille, 35, a Haitian national illegally present in the United States, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40, are charged in a criminal complaint that was filed earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The criminal complaint charges Jany Leveille with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition in the District of New Mexico from Nov. 2017 through Aug. 2018. The criminal complaint charges the other four defendants with aiding and abetting Leveille in committing the offense, and with conspiring with Leveille to commit the offense. -KRWG

In other words, the feds have pinned firearms offenses on one of the women arrested at the compound - Jany Leveille, while the other four defendants - one of whom Police believe abducted and then ritualistically murdered his 4-year-old son on the property (and happens to be the son of a famous New York Imam), are charged with helping her. We didn't note any charges connected to the dead child, Abdul-ghani Wahha. If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a maximum of ten years in prison. 

So according to the FBI: 

Eleven children were found on the property in a state of malnourishment and squalor, who local authorities say were being trained to commit acts of terrorism. Children from the compound told police that Jany Leveille, 35 - the partner of the dead boy's father, Siraj Wahhaj, 40, "intended to confront 'corrupt' institutions or individuals, such as the military, big businesses, CIA, teachers/schools and reveal the 'truth' to these corrupt institutions or individuals." 

Police also found a "terrorist training manual" on the property: 

The handwritten document contained "instructions for 'The one-time terrorist,' instructions on the use of a 'choke point,' a location 'called the ideal attack site,' the 'ability to defend the safe haven,' the 'ability to escape-perimeter rings,' and 'sniper position detection procedure,'" according to the court filing.

Some of the children at the compound told police that Morten allegedly "stated he wished to die in Jihad, as a martyr," prosecutors said in the motion.

"At times, Jany Leveille would laugh and joke about dying in Jihad as would Subhanna Wahhaj," according to the court document. -CNN

The FBI had been surveilling the compound for several months prior to the August 3 raid by the Taos County Sheriff's Office - however they must not have been watching when the child was allegedly murdered. 

Twe weeks after the raid, the compound was mysteriously destroyed by authorities with no explanation, while an RV central to the property in which the suspects and the children were living was seized. 

The last time the FBI was found to have been surveilling radical Islamic terrorists in the Southwest was May 2015, when an undercover FBI agent was caught driving behind two armed Jihadis, filming them as they pulled up to a "Draw Muhammad" exhibit in Garland, Texas - ostensibly to attack the event. The would-be terrorists were shot dead on the spot by security guards, while the FBI agent - who encouraged one of the terrorists to "tear up Texas" in a text message, was arrested at gunpoint and later released

Published:8/31/2018 8:05:19 PM
[Markets] Bad Faith Nation: Jim Kunstler Exposes America's "Garbage Barge Of Toxic Politics"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler,com,

There’s a simple reason that the old US Ship-of-State has turned into a garbage barge of toxic politics: both sides are operating in obviously bad faith - making arguments and taking positions that they know are false - and it’s been on full display this past week.

For instance, the Trump rally in Evansville, Indiana, Thursday night. The Golden Gloating Golem of Greatness presided over the spectacle in full gloatissimo mode, playing his audience of economic losers like a Hammond B-3 organ at a roller rink. His performance was oddly like the sort of rant that Uber drivers must suffer through with a fare who has been tweaking cocaine for three days en route to a funeral or a foreclosure. And, yes, I know that the President is said to abstain from mind-altering substances, but it appears that his mind has been sufficiently altered by his bizarre life experience to produce a similar effect. How else could he stand before an audience of millions (if you include the folks watching TV) and bellow, “I’m president and they’re not!”

Radiating anger and, at times, actual malice, Mr. Trump presented exactly the lack of couth that drives his hypothetically more refined “blue” enemies up a tree. His rhetorical skills have not improved since 2016, but his demagogic self-confidence soars as he unwittingly launches himself into a one-man Space Force flying too close to the sun, claiming that he has magically made America great again, mission accomplished! Even the live audience of Hoosier clods appeared strangely restive and unconvinced after an hour of this bellowing, and one got a sense of Mr. Trump slip-sliding towards Hubrisville like some ass-clown pol in a Coen Brothers’ movie about to be run out of the grange hall on a rail.

His error: taking “ownership” of a financialized economy of hallucinated markets run by out-of-control algo robots into a twilight zone of default and insolvency. The “red” and “blue” constituencies at war with each other are essentially the losers and winners in this depraved system. When the hallucination dissolves, the winners will be the new losers and the old losers will be looking to string them up. That scenario remains to be played out as we say our official goodbyes to summer this holiday weekend and turn the corner into portentous autumn.

On the “blue” side of things, mendacity rules as usual lately, especially in the Deep State septic abscess that the Russia probe has become. Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, twice demoted but still on the payroll, went into a closed congressional hearing and apparently threw everybody but his mother under the bus, laying out an evidence trail of stupendous, flagrant corruption in that perfidious scheme to un-do the election results of 2016.

Most amazingly, it was revealed that Mr. Ohr had not been called to testify by special counsel Robert Mueller nor by the federal prosecutor John Huber, who is charged with investigating the FBI / DOJ irregularities surrounding the Russia probe. It is amazing because Mr. Ohr is precisely the pivotal figure in what now looks like an obvious conspiracy to politically weaponize the agencies against the Golden Golem. An awful lot of people have some ‘splainin’ to do on that one, starting with the Attorney General and his deputy. Who will put it to them?

The New York Times, once known as the Newspaper of Record, continued to ignore that story. Their bad faith specialty these days is stoking the fires of race war under the pretense of “social justice.”

For instance, the op-ed piece they ran today (Friday) titled The Religion of Whiteness Becomes a Suicide Cult. It’s hard to imagine a better way to send those Hoosier clods to the gun cabinet — and not to blow their own brains out, either, but to hunt down the very Wokesters who openly pledge to exterminate them. This isn’t even “fake news.” It’s more like racist sedition.

Published:8/31/2018 7:33:51 PM
[Politics] BREAKING!! FBI ARRESTS 5 ‘extremist Muslims’ of New Mexico compound… We were hoping that this was coming after the five suspects were released two days ago over a technicality, and here it is – the FBI has arrested them all on weapons . . . Published:8/31/2018 6:32:21 PM
[Politics] BREAKING!! FBI ARRESTS 5 ‘extremist Muslims’ of New Mexico compound… We were hoping that this was coming after the five suspects were released two days ago over a technicality, and here it is – the FBI has arrested them all on weapons . . . Published:8/31/2018 6:04:24 PM
[The Blog] Christopher Steele told Bruce Ohr in 2016 that Russia had Trump ‘over a barrel’

"That breakfast took place amid ongoing FBI concerns about Russian election interference..."

The post Christopher Steele told Bruce Ohr in 2016 that Russia had Trump ‘over a barrel’ appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/31/2018 5:06:17 PM
[Markets] China Using LinkedIn For Mass Spy Recruitment Of Americans With Security Clearances

After social media giants Facebook and Twitter have led efforts to purge what they deem to be Russian and Iranian foreign intelligence accounts, a bombshell new report says China is using LinkedIn to attempt mass recruiting of Americans with access to government and commercial secrets

In an interview with Reuters, a top US counterintelligence chief has claimed China is being "super aggressive" in its online recruitment efforts on the Microsoft-owned job networking and locator tool.

That a high ranking intelligence member would take the step of calling out a particular company by name, urging it to curtail Chinese influence, is rare even in the current environment hyper-anxiety and fears over Russian election hacking. 

The counterintelligence official, William Evanina described to Reuters that US agencies have confirmed that the Chinese are casting a broad dragnet on LinkedIn while seeking to lure Americans into personal interviews:

He said the Chinese campaign includes contacting thousands of LinkedIn members at a time, but he declined to say how many fake accounts U.S. intelligence had discovered, how many Americans may have been contacted and how much success China has had in the recruitment drive

Evanina, who heads the U.S. National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, has further called on LinkedIn to follow the lead of other online companies: “I recently saw that Twitter is cancelling, I don’t know, millions of fake accounts, and our request would be maybe LinkedIn could go ahead and be part of that,” according to Reuters.

LinkedIn has something approaching 600 million users on its site around the globe, including about 150 million members in the US. 

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has responded to the allegations of US intelligence by noting it is increasingly aware of such threats and says it's cooperating with authorities:

LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety, Paul Rockwell, confirmed the company had been talking to U.S. law enforcement agencies about Chinese espionage efforts. Earlier this month, LinkedIn said it had taken down “less than 40” fake accounts whose users were attempting to contact LinkedIn members associated with unidentified political organizations. Rockwell did not say whether those were Chinese accounts.

Rockwell told Reuters further that, “We’ve never waited for requests to act and actively identify bad actors and remove bad accounts using information we uncover and intelligence from a variety of sources including government agencies.”

But if the allegations of mass infiltration efforts to ensnare Americans with security clearances and access to sensitive information are true, it doesn't appear that LinkedIn has so much as begun to identify or put a dent in such activities. 

China for its part has vehemently denied the charges leveled by the US counterintelligence chief, saying through its foreign ministry: “We do not know what evidence the relevant U.S. officials you cite have to reach this conclusion. What they say is complete nonsense and has ulterior motives,” according to a statement. 

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Chinese intelligence did use LinkedIn to successfully recruit a retired CIA officer who is reported to have been facing financial hardship at the moment he was contacted by what he thought was a Shanghai think tank looking for fluent Mandarin speaker. 

Screenshot of Kevin Mallory's original LinkedIn account through which he was recruited by Chinese intelligence and ultimately convicted of espionage. 

Evanina cited Kevin Mallory's case specifically, as Mallory was convicted in June for espionage. In a relationship that started with someone claiming to be a headhunter on LinkedIn, Mallory eventually made two trips to China where he agreed to knowingly hand over US defense secrets to Chinese intelligence officers. 

Reuters describes in connection with Mallory's case: "U.S. officials said China’s Ministry of State Security has 'co-optees' - individuals who are not employed by intelligence agencies but work with them - set up fake accounts to approach potential recruits."

And reports further that "the targets include experts in fields such as supercomputing, nuclear energy, nanotechnology, semi-conductors, stealth technology, health care, hybrid grains, seeds and green energy."

Often bribery or prospects of major business deals or employment are used, or in the case of American academics with access to sensitive corporate or government studies, promises of huge grants or career advancement are made under false pretenses. 

Though the allegations of US intelligence can claim Kevin Mallory as a prime example of how the Chinese operation works, the only evidence thus far of the extent of the operations is as follows:

Some of those who set up fake accounts have been linked to IP addresses associated with Chinese intelligence agencies, while others have been set up by bogus companies, including some that purport to be in the executive recruiting business, said a senior U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the matter.

The Reuters report notes that up to 70 percent of China's espionage efforts are aimed at the American private sector, according to the head of the FBI's intelligence division. 

“They are conducting economic espionage at a rate that is unparalleled in our history,” the FBI's Joshua Skule said.

However, for now convictions and exposures of particular instances of successful penetration are few and far between. But it will be interesting if the next online "purge" targets China and online users linked with Chinese business and entities. 

Published:8/31/2018 11:35:51 AM
[Politics] Report: Ohr Kept FBI Officials 'In the Loop' on Dossier Justice Department official Bruce Ohr in 2016 kept senior FBI officials "in the loop" about a controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump and the individuals behind it, Fox News reported Thursday.According to Fox News, which cited unnamed sources, Ohr's broad... Published:8/30/2018 9:55:15 PM
[Markets] "Hard To Refute" FBI Leaked Stories To Media And Used Them To Obtain FISA Warrants

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Special Agent Jonathan Moffa testified last Friday behind closed doors and before the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee. Moffa said that FBI personnel would use media reports based on information they leaked to justify applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.

Moffa, who worked with controversial former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, did not come forward to the media, but according to a report by Fox News, a source familiar with his testimony has spoken about it.

When pressed by the committees on whether this was common practice at the FBI, Moffa acknowledged the FBI had at least engaged in this activity in other cases. However, the source also told Fox News that Moffa did not specifically confirm that the practice of using leaked information to bolster warrant applications was employed with regard to the dossier. 

The source told Fox News that Moffa acknowledged this “had been a practice in the past.”

Republicans have long questioned to what extent leaked information, related to the unverified anti-Trump dossier, was used as a basis for surveillance warrants against former Trump adviser Carter Page in 2016 — when the bureau was led by James Comey and deputy Andrew McCabe. Fox News

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, told Fox News on Tuesday that the committee had evidence of the FBI’s practice that would be “hard to refute,” and the FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News‘ request for comment.

 We know that some people at the Department of Justice and the FBI actually gave information to the media, then the stories were reported. Then they used those reports to justify further investigations,” Meadows said on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday. 

“You know, that’s like saying, we’re going to incriminate on one hand, and be the jury on the other. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Meadows also took to Twitter to announce this new information

The Daily Caller was the first to report on the specifics of Moffa’s claims.

Published:8/30/2018 9:55:15 PM
[47c7b91d-d3ec-4686-893f-bb19aaccf019] Mattel releases 'X-Files' Barbie dolls to mark show's 25th anniversary Fictional FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully can now investigate the paranormal and unexplained phenomena from inside your home. Published:8/30/2018 12:16:39 PM
[The Blog] Just how close will an FBI corruption probe come to Gillum?

"There's no shortage of weaponry for DeSantis to choose from."

The post Just how close will an FBI corruption probe come to Gillum? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/30/2018 11:21:43 AM
[US News] DAAAAMN! Jim Jordan takes the FBI APART point by BRUTAL point for what they knew and HID from the Court

There is so much noise about what is happening with Trump, Russia, Cohen, the FBI, Hillary, China, Steele … it’s all starting to read like stereo instructions. Written in Japanese. Rep. Jim Jordan spelling out the mess with the FBI (what they knew and HID from the Court) point by brutal point though is pretty […]

The post DAAAAMN! Jim Jordan takes the FBI APART point by BRUTAL point for what they knew and HID from the Court appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/30/2018 9:57:29 AM
[Markets] Is Trump Right About "Flipping"?

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

In the wake of the federal criminal conviction of former Trump official Paul Manafort and the guilty plea in federal court of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the mainstream press is singing the praises of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller and the Justice Department.

In the process, Trump’s critics are condemning his denunciation of “flipping,” the process by which federal prosecutors offer a sweet deal to criminal defendants in return for testifying against a “higher-up” who the feds are also prosecuting. The press and the anti-Trumpsters say that such a practice is part of the “rule of law” and essential to the proper administration of justice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever else might be said about Trump, he is absolutely right on this point. The process of offering sweetheart deals to people in return for their “cooperation” to get someone else convicted has long been one of the most corrupt aspects of the federal criminal-justice system, especially as part of the federal government’s much-vaunted (and much-failed) war on drugs.

Suppose a federal criminal defendant contacts a prospective witness in a case and offers him $50,000 in return for his “cooperation” in his upcoming trial. The money will be paid as soon as the trial is over. The defendant makes it clear that he wants the witness to “tell the truth” but that his “cooperation” when he testifies at trial would be greatly appreciated.

What would happen if federal officials learned about that communication and offer? They would go ballistic. They would immediately secure an indictment for bribery and witness tampering.

What if the defendant says, “Oh, no, I wasn’t tampering with the witness. I specifically told him that I wanted him to tell the truth when he took the witness stand. I was just seeking his friendly ‘cooperation’ with my $50,000 offer to him.”?

It wouldn’t make a difference. Federal prosecutors would go after him with a vengeance on bribery and witness-tampering charges. And it is a virtual certainty that they would get a conviction.

There is good reason for that. The law recognizes that the money could serve as an inducement for the witness to lie. Even though the defendant tells him to “tell the truth,” the witness knows that the fifty grand is being paid to him to help the defendant get acquitted, especially since it is payable after the trial is over. The temptation to lie, in return for the money, becomes strong, which is why the law prohibits criminal defendants from engaging in this type of practice.

Suppose a federal prosecutor says to a witness,

“You are facing life in prison on the charges we have brought against you. But if you ‘cooperate’ with us to get John Doe, we will adjust the charges so that the most the judge can do is send you to jail for only 5 years at most. If you are really ‘cooperative,’ we will recommend that the judge give you the lowest possible sentence, perhaps even probation. Oh, one more thing, we want to make it clear that we do want you to tell the truth.”

Do you see the problem? The temptation to please the prosecutor with “cooperation” becomes tremendous. If the witness can help secure a conviction of Doe, he stands to get a much lighter sentence for his successful “cooperation.” The inducement to commit perjury oftentimes takes over, notwithstanding the prosecutor’s admonition to the witness to “tell the truth.”

Defenders of this corrupt process say that without it, prosecutors could never get convictions. That’s pure nonsense. For one thing, prosecutors can secure a conviction against the witness and then force him to testify once his case is over. That’s because a person whose case is over is unable to rely on the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the case against John Doe.

Moreover, the prosecutor can give what is called “use immunity” to the witness, which then forces him to testify in the case against Doe. Use immunity is not full immunity from prosecution. It simply means that the prosecutor cannot use the witness’s testimony against Doe to convict the witness at his trial. The prosecutor must convict him with other evidence.

But even if it means that the prosecutor is unable to secure some convictions, the question has to be asked: Do we want prosecutors securing convictions in this way? After all, there is a related question that must be asked: How many innocent people are convicted by perjured testimony from a witness who is doing his best to “cooperate” with the prosecution in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?

Given all the accolades being accorded Mueller, it is a shame that he has chosen to go down the same corrupt road that all other federal prosecutors have traveled. He didn’t have to do that. He could have led the way out of this immoral morass by taking a firm and public stand against this corrupt procedure. The fact that he has chosen instead to participate in it is a shame, to say the least.

Published:8/30/2018 9:57:29 AM
[Politics] FBI DENIES Trump tweet that Hillary Clinton’s emails were HACKED by CHINA The lying liars at the FBI tossed out another lie just to serve their deep state masters and undermine President Donald J. Trump yet again!! Watch the lying liars at CNN repeat . . . Published:8/29/2018 10:16:08 PM
[Markets] PCR: According To The New York Times, Putin Rules America

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

When I first read this, I thought it was a caricature of fake news. Then I realized it was a New York Times article, and being fairly certain that the arrogant presstitute organization was not taking the piss out of itself, as it is one of the main purveyors of fake news, I found the conclusion unavoidable that Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg were so tightly bound inside The Matrix that they might actually believe the nonsense that they wrote.

Here is an overview of the fantasy that the two presstitutes have penned in the New York Times:

US intelligence (sic) had “informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin” who provided “urgent and explicit warnings about Russia’s intentions to try to tip the [2016] American presidential election.”

The NYT presstitutes do not say why nothing was done by US intelligence which had inside information from the Kremlin itself that Putin was about to steal for Trump the US election. Certainly CIA Director Brennan and FBI Director Comey, both of whom are Hillary’s allies, would not have approved of Putin stealing the election for Trump.

But there is no criticism from the NY Times’ presstitutes for this massive intelligence failure to act to prevent Putin from stealing the election from Hillary. Brennan and Comey sat on their hands and permitted Putin to steal the election for Trump. So, who is really guilty of “Russiagate?”

Obviously, this NY Times article is a hoax written by imbeciles. The claim that the Putin/Trump conspiracy was leaked to US intelligence from inside the Kremlin is an invention to help to provide a background history in an effort to boost the credibility of the Russiagate orchestation that is directed against President Trump. The presstitutes in their effort to boost Russiagate’s credibility inadvertently portrayed US intelligence as negligent in its duty.

Barnes and Rosenberg say that Putin is continuing with his dirty tricks, but the Russian traitors inside the Kremlin within Putin’s close circles “have gone silent,” depriving us of information about how the Russians are going to steal the midterm elections. The presstitutes suggest that Washington’s informers inside Putin’s government have “gone to ground” to avoid being murdered “like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.”

It is difficult to know what to make of presstitutes like Barnes and Rosenberg and the NYTimes who refuse to acknowledge the fact that there has been zero evidence produced that supports the alleged attack on the Skirpals, both of whom suvived a “deadly nerve agent.” There is no evidence whatsoever that the alleged deadly nerve agent was made in Russia, and there is no explanation why the deadly nerve agent was not deadly. The only possible conclusion from the total absence of any evidence is that no such attack occurred. It is just another propaganda hoax against Russia.

More proof that there was no such attack is provided by the refusal of the British government to share its investigation, if there actually was an investigation, with anyone, not even with the accused Russians. Accusations without a shred of evidence are not a good basis for a trusting relationship with a nuclear power.

Barnes and Rosenberg suggest that the House Intelligence Committee, encouraged by President Trump, chilled intelligence collection by “outing an FBI informant,” leaving Washington in the dark about Putin’s precise intentions.

No, this is not a conspiracy story from the National Inquirer, now a more reliable newspaper than the New York Times. This utter nonsense is published in the New York Times, “the newspaper of record.” What a false record historians are going to have.

What are the NYTimes’ sources for this fantasy? The presstitute organization cannot tell us.

“American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.”

But the NYTimes knows that Putin is up to something, because “senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.”

So here we have Trump’s own appointment, Dan Coats, undermining Trump’s effort to normalize relations with Russia. Who among Trump’s advisors advised him to appoint a Russiaphobic moron like Dan Coats? If Trump had any sense, he would fire both of them.

Washington routinely subverts democratic institutions in other countries, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Ukraine, Indonesia. Read Stephen Kinser’s The Brothers for a number of examples.

Washington finances opposition candidates who are bought and paid for by Washington and uses various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros, the International Republican Institute, and many other front groups for subversion of countries “uncooperative with Washington” in order to install a Washington puppet. Washington even has NGOs operating in Russia where they are even permitted by the Russian government to own newspapers. All anti-Putin protests are organized by Washington using the NGOs that Washington funds.

Russia, however, has no NGOs operating in the US, and, unlike Israel, does not own the US Congress and White House. So how exactly, Director of National Intelligence (sic) Dan Coats, are the Russians going to subvert “American democratic institutions?”

Don’t expect an answer.

Try to understand the insults to Trump voters of the charge that they are puppets at the end of Putin’s string: Trump voters are portrayed as morons who are not capable of thinking for themselves. If they were, they would have voted for Hillary so that America could demonstrate its escape from misogyny and male domination by electing its First Woman President on the heels of the First Half-Black President. Instead the minds of American voters were warped by Putin. The $100,000 dollars spent by a Russian Internet company trying to attract advertisers prevailed over the multi-billion dollars spent by the Democrats and Republicans and by American economic interests focused on capturing the government for their agendas. The Russian plot is so powerful that a dollar spent by Russia is thousands of times more powerful than a dollar spent by Wall Street, the military/security compex, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, etc., and so on.

In the official story, no American voted for Trump because his/her job was sent to Asia or Mexico by global US corporations pursuing high monetary rewards for executives and shareholders at the expense of the American work force. The “Trump Deplorables” voted for Trump because they were brainwashed by a few Russian Internet ads directed at maximizing clicks in order to attract advertisers.

No one voted for Trump because their son and daughter, on whose education the family used up its savings, acquired student loan debts and possibly a second mortgage, can only find a job as a waitress and bartender because the jobs for which they prepared at great expense are handed over to lowly paid foreigners in order that shareholders can receive large capital gains and a handful of corporate executives can receive multimillion dollar bonuses for raising profits by closing down America’s vaunted “opportunity society. Today Americans have debts and no opportunities.

Assuming you have some sense and some ability to think independently of the lies that are fed to you daily, can you possibly believe that Americans voted for Trump because Putin tricked them with Internet ads that are unlikely to have been seen by as many as one percent of voters?

Can you possibly believe that the loss of Trump voters’ jobs, their prospects, their children’s prospects, their home, their declining living standards, the insults heaped upon Americans by Hillary’s Democratic Party - “Trump deplorables,” “white male oppressors,” “Russia’s Fifth Column,” “misogynists,” “racists,” “homophobic,” “gun nuts” - had no impact on why Americans voted for Trump? How could any sentient American believe that Putin is the source of their problems?

The NY Times pressitutes report without any evidence alleged efforts of Russia to create chaos in America. I could not stop laughing. There is no Russian National Endowment for Democracy operating in the US. There is no Russian funded George Soros operating in America. There are no Russian funded Non-Governmental Organizations operating in America. Yet Russis is full of Washington-funded organizations doing everything in their power to sow chaos in Russia.

Why isn’t this most obvious of all truths reported in the NY Times?

The answer is that no truth whatsoever, not even a tiny morsel, fits the fabricated explanations in which the insouciant Western peoples live. Everywhere in the Western World people are shielded from reality by controlled explanations handed down to them by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, et. al, and the UK, EU, Canadian, and Australian newspapers, every one of which is a propagandist for American hegemony.

A few years ago a famous philosopher concluded that the world lives in a constructed virtual reality. At the time I thought he was crazy, but I have learned that he is correct. The entire world—even the Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians—live in a world shaped by American propaganda. The truth is that a country, the USA, which endorses freedom of determination, is in fact determined to control the world and smother all self-determination. Every country, whether Russia, China, Syria, Iran, India, Turkey, North Korea, Venezuela, that resists Washington’s hegemony is declared by Washington to be “a threat to the international order.”

The “international order” is Washington’s order. The “International Order” is Washinton’s hegemony over the word. Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and now Turkey and India are threats to “international order” because they do not accept Washington’s hegemony.

Barnes and Rosenberg report that Coats is concerned about Russia’s effort to “weaken and divide the United States.” There is no sign of Russia doing any such thing, and there is no explanation of how Putin conducts “a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy.” If the Director of National Intelligence is concerned about the forces of division in America, he should turn his attention to the divisive consequences of the Democratic Party’s Identity Politics, to ANTIFA, to the divisive consequences of the fabricated attack on President Trump by the military/security complex and presstitute media. Indeed, the constant drumbeat of lies from the New York Times alone has caused far move divisiveness than anything Russia is alleged to have done.

Divisiveness is what happens when the military/security complex and its media pimps turn on a President for threatening their budget by proposing peace with the enemy that they have constructed in order to justify their power and profit. It is this divisiveness that the United States is experiencing.

Published:8/29/2018 9:45:56 PM
[Markets] "It Was All A Set-Up" - Pentagon Whistleblower Exposes Russia Probe Reality

Via SaraCarter.com,

Adam Lovinger, a former Defense Department analyst, never expected that what he stumbled on during his final months at the Pentagon would expose an integral player in the FBI’s handling of President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged Russia collusion.

Lovinger, a whistleblower, is now battling to save his career. The Pentagon suspended his top-secret security clearance May 1, 2017, when he exposed through an internal review that Stefan Halper, who was then an emeritus Cambridge professor, had received roughly $1 million in tax-payer funded money to write Defense Department foreign policy reports, his attorney Sean Bigley said. Before Lovinger’s clearance was suspended he had taken a detail to the National Security Council as senior director for strategy. He was only there for five months before he was recalled to the Pentagon, stripped of his prestigious White House detail, and ordered to perform bureaucratic make-work in a Pentagon annex Bigley calls “the land of misfit toys.” His security clearance was eventually revoked in March 2018, despite the Pentagon “refusing to turn over a single page of its purported evidence of Lovinger’s wrongdoing,” Bigley stated. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the withheld records.

Lovinger also raised concerns about Halper’s role in conducting what appeared to be diplomatic meetings with foreigners on behalf of the U.S. government because his role as contractor forbids him from doing so, according to U.S. federal law.

An investigation by SaraACarter.com reveals that the documents and information Lovinger stumbled on and other documents obtained by this news site, raise troubling questions about Halper, who was believed to have worked with the CIA and part of the matrix of players in the bureau’s ‘CrossFire Hurricane’ investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Halper, who assisted the FBI in the Russia investigation, appears to also have significant ties to the Russian government, as well as sources connected directly to President Vladimir Putin.

Halper did not respond to requests for comment.

“When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD’s misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper’s spying activities,” Bigley told SaraACarter.com.

“Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors.”

And for that, Bigley said, Lovinger has paid the ultimate price in his 12-year career as a strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. According to Bigley, shortly after Lovinger began reporting and asking questions about suspicious contracts given to Halper and others, including one person closely associated Chelsea Clinton, his security clearance was suspended. Later, on April 3, 2018, the DoD’s Washington Headquarters Services Director Barbara Westgate sent a letter to Lovinger indefinitely suspending him from duty and pay status after his clearance was removed in March. The letter stated, “The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that I am proposing to indefinitely suspend you from duty and pay status in your position as a Foreign Affairs Specialist.”

Lovinger, who is married with three children and is the family’s primary breadwinner, has been living off the generosity of family members since his pay was removed.

The retaliation for whistleblowing was something Bigley expected. “So, we weren’t surprised when DoD bureaucrats moved shortly thereafter to strip Mr. Lovinger of both his security clearance and his detail to the National Security Council, where he had been Senior Director for Strategy as a by-name request of the incoming Trump Administration,” said the attorney.

“Yet, we were puzzled by the unprecedented ferocity of efforts to discredit Mr. Lovinger, including leaks from DoD of false and defamatory information to the press,” he said. “Our assumption was that the other contractor about whom Mr. Lovinger explicitly raised concerns – a close confidante of Hillary Clinton – was the reason for the sustained assault on Mr. Lovinger, and that certainly may have played a role.”

Bigley suspects it was more than the Clinton-connected contracts adding, “Mr. Lovinger unwittingly shined a spotlight on the deep state’s secret weapon – Stefan Halper – and threatened to expose the truth about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative than being plotted: that it was all a set-up.”

Halper’s Ties to Russian Officials Raise Serious Questions

Halper has had a long career and worked in government with several GOP administrations. At 73, the elusive professor spent a career developing top-level government connections–not just through academia but also through his work with members of the intelligence apparatus.

Those contacts and the information Halper collected along the way would eventually, through apparent circumstance, become utilized by the FBI against the Trump campaign. But, it was during his time hosting the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar at the University of Cambridge where Halper shifted from a professor and former government consultant to FBI informant on the Trump campaign.

In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI’s investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI’s radar, was accused of being sympathetic to Russia and sought better relations between the U.S. and Russian officials. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.

During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. The House Intelligence Committee Russia report and documents obtained by this outlet revealed that the bulk of the warrant against Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by Former British Spy Christopher Steele and the matter is still under congressional investigation. Steele, who was a former MI6 agent, also had ties to many of the same people, like former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who were part of the seminar.

Stefan Halper

Halper, along with Dearlove, left the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in December 2016, saying they were concerned about Russian influence. Halper had told reporters at the time that it was due to “unacceptable Russian influence.”

Ironically, documents obtained by SaraACarter.com suggest that Halper also had invited senior Russian intelligence officials to co-teach his course on several occasions and, according to news reports, also accepted money to finance the course from a top Russian oligarch with ties to Putin.

Several course syllabi from 2012 and 2015 obtained by this outlet reveal Hapler had invited and co-taught his course on intelligence with the former Director of Russian Intelligence Gen. Vladimir I. Trubnikov.

On May 4, 2012, the course syllabus states, “Ambassador Vladimir I. Trubnikov will comment on the challenges faced while directing the Foreign Intelligence Service, his tenure as Ambassador to India, President Putin and the likely course of Russia’s relations with Britain and the U.S.”

In May 2015, Trubnikov returned to teach with Halper at his seminar in Cambridge on “current relations between the Russian Federation and the West.” Other notable intelligence experts attended the event in 2015, including Major Gen.Peter Williams, a former British commander of the mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany.

Halper’s partner in the seminar, Cambridge Professor Neil Kent has also espoused better relations with Russia and Putin in his writings and told Russia Today in a 2014 interview that “everyone is attacking and demonizing Russia.” According to Kent’s biography, he was a professor from 2002 to 2012 at Russia’s St. Petersburg State Academic Institute.

Even more interesting are reports from the British Media outlet, The Financial Times, that state Halper received funds for the Cambridge seminar from Russian billionaire Andrey Cheglakov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cheglakov also funded Veruscript in 2016, which raised the suspicion of Dearlove and those connected to the seminar. Veruscript, a publisher for a Russian academic journal, was suspected by MI6 of being a front for Russian intelligence. Kent also happened to be the editor and chief of the journal. He published the inaugural article in the journal “The Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism”  blaming the West for the Russian invasion into Crimea but the journal closed down due to their suspicions.

Dearlove was also concerned “that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defense and security topics,” according to the Financial Times sources.

A former senior intelligence official told this news outlet, “It’s all smoke and mirrors. Halper was well aware when he was bringing in Trubnikov in 2012 that the Russian’s were already there at his invitation. The FBI uses Halper to get more information on Trump aides but it’s Halper who has the real connection to Russia.”

Lovinger raised concerns with top officials at the Pentagon in 2016 and noted that Halper went far beyond his work as a contractor after he discovered that the amount of money the professor was being paid for his research did not make sense. Lovinger stressed his concern that Halper was not just being utilized as a contractor, but that he was also conducting diplomatic work for the Pentagon “in violation of federal law,” according to Bigley.

In one email from Stephan Halper to Andrew May, the second highest ranking official in Lovinger’s office, Halper writes about a planned trip to conduct meetings in India.

“I am in Cambridge en route to India – arriving Saturday. So far 14 meetings have been scheduled with various parts of the political-military community. On Monday, a meeting is planned with the Delhi Policy Group where I will meet with Brigadier Seghal who is, apparently working with ONA (Office of Net Assessment) Can you tell me anything about him,” according to the document obtained by SaraACarter.com.

Halper and George Papadopoulos

Halper was not only spying on Page for the FBI in 2016, but he had also made contact in September 2016 with another Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. He invited Papadopoulos to London that September, luring him with a  $3,000 paycheck to work on a research paper under contract.  By this time the young Trump campaign volunteer had already been in contact London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who had basically informed him that the Russians had damaging material about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Misfud’s role has also come into question by Congress.

Eventually, Papadopoulos was swept into Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation and pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. His wife, Simona Papadopoulos, who’s been a vocal advocate for her husband, told SaraACarter.com that essentially he was forced to plead guilty because of threats from Mueller’s team and lack of financial resources.

After testifying behind closed doors last month to the House Intelligence Committee, Simona told this outlet that she testified to Congress “as far as George is concerned, he met with individuals following the same pattern of behavior….and all of a sudden (Halper) was asking if he was doing anything with Russians…. This is the case with Halper, who is now proven to be a spy, possibly with (Australian Ambassador) Alexander Downer” who her husband met with in London.

Halper and Michael Flynn 

Before Page and Papadopolous, there was the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn had been invited to Cambridge in February, 2014 for a a dinner hosted by both Dearlove and Halper.

But during that time, Flynn was already walking a fine line with the Obama Administration and battling President Obama and the CIA over his deep disagreement with the administration’s narrative that al-Qaeda and extremists groups, had been defeated or were on the run. Several months later Flynn was forced to resign early and ended his tenure as the director of the DIA.

Stefan Halper

“Flynn was pushed out by Obama and then became a thorn in the side of Obama and the Clintons when he joined the Trump campaign,” said a former senior intelligence source with knowledge of what happened. “The investigation into Trump didn’t start with Carter Page or George Papadapolous, but with Flynn. Flynn was already on the CIA and Clinton target list. Those same people sure as hell didn’t want him in the White House and they sure as hell didn’t want Trump to win.”

Flynn’s career with Trump ended as quickly as it came. He was forced to resign as Trump’s National Security Advisor 27 days after taking the job. The highly classified conversation between Flynn and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post in January 2017 and he was later questioned by the FBI on that conversation. According to former FBI Director James Comey, the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he was lying, but in the end, Flynn pled guilty to one count of lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He had already spent more than $1 million in lawyers fees and sold his home to help with the debt. According to sources, Flynn’s family was being threatened by the Mueller team.

Halper’s involvement in the bureau’s investigation started much earlier than the FBI’s opening of its Crossfire investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. He was already providing information on Page, Papadopolous, and Flynn earlier that year.

And it was in 2016 when Halper had told the FBI that he witnessed concerning interactions between Russian academic, Svetlana Lokhova, and Flynn at the February 2014 seminar dinner. This suspicion – without any proof – was then leaked to papers in London and eventually discussed in the U.S. media.  Lokhova told the BBC in May 2017 that when she first saw the allegations raised in the media she thought it was a joke.

Numerous sources with knowledge of the allegations Halper made about Flynn, said that they were “absolutely” false and that Flynn and Lokhova only spoke for a short time at the dinner. Several email exchanges between Lokhova, Flynn and his assistant that took place after the dinner were generic in nature, as Flynn had asked her for a copy of a historical 1930s postcard she had brought to the seminar.

“But it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the truth,” said the former senior intelligence official.

“It was already out there because of Halper’s allegations and the constant leaking and lying of false stories of those to the media.”

Published:8/29/2018 6:20:27 PM
[Markets] Christopher Steele Worked For Sanctioned Russian Oligarch While Composing Sham Dossier: Solomon

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele - the author of the largely unverified "Steele Dossier," worked as a subcontractor for Russian billionaire and aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska at the same time he was pontificating that Donald Trump's alleged (and still unproven) ties to Russia amounted to treason, according to The Hill's John Solomon. 

Steele's firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, was hired by a law firm working for Deripaska in 2012, marking the beginning of a relationship which extended at least throughout 2016 according to Solomon. Steele was tasked with researching a business rival of Deripaska, however Steele's work for the Russian billionaire evolved to the point where the former British spy was interfacing with the Obama administration on his behalf. 

To that end, Steele and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr communicated extensively about the Russian Oligarch as recently as February 2016, which included efforts to obtain a Visa for Deripaska to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting int he US. 

Deripaska is now banned from the United States as one of several Russians sanctioned in April in response to alleged 2016 election meddling. 

Ohr, meanwhile, was demoted twice after the DOJ's Inspector General discovered that he lied about his involvement with opposition research firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson - who employed Steele. Ohr's CIA-linked wife, Nellie, was also  employed by Fusion as part of the firm's anti-Trump efforts, and had ongoing communications with the ex-UK spy, Christopher Steele as well. 

What's more, Ohr met with Deripaska according to Solomon. 

By 2015, Steele’s work had left him friendly with one of Deripaska’s lawyers, according to my sources. And when Ohr, then the associate deputy attorney general and a longtime acquaintance of Steele, sought help getting to meet Deripaska, Steele obliged.

Deripaska, who frequently has appeared alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at high-profile meetings, never really dealt with Steele, but he followed his lawyer’s recommendations and met with Ohr, my sources say. -The Hill

The September 2015 meeting between Ohr, Deripaska and several FBI agents in New York sought the Russian billionaire's assistance regarding organized crime investigations. That meeting was facilitated by Steele.

To recap: Bruce Ohr = the #4 official at the DOJ, met with a billionaire friend of Vladimir Putin, in a sit-down arranged by Christopher Steele. Steele and the DOJ, meanwhile, were accusing Donald Trump of collusion with Putin - while the Obama administration used Steele's dodgy dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. 

Talk about actual collusion!

Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch's behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele's research and the oligarch's affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation. -Washington Examiner

Deripaska has denied any involvement with the Steele dossier, telling The Hill's Solomon in a statement: "The latest reckless media chatter proposes that I had some unspecified involvement in the so-called dossier. Like most of the absurd fantasies and smears that ricochet across the internet, it is utterly false. I had absolutely nothing to do with this project, and I never had any knowledge of it until it was reported in the media and I certainly wasn’t involved in any activity related to it." 

We're sure Jeff Sessions is all over this...

Meanwhile, Bruce Ohr looked somewhat spooked walking into yesterday's closed-door interview with Congressional investigators. 

Published:8/29/2018 2:13:33 PM
[US News] JUST IN: Anonymous FBI official disputes report from other anonymous source on Hillary-China-email story

The FBI is pushing back, anonymously, on a Daily Caller story referenced by President Donald Trump in multiple tweets from earlier this morning: Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, […]

The post JUST IN: Anonymous FBI official disputes report from other anonymous source on Hillary-China-email story appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/29/2018 1:46:40 PM
[Politics] Issa: Lawmakers Confirmed Ohr as 'Willing' Conduit With Fusion GPS, FBI Lawmakers confirmed that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr was a "willing and constant conduit" between Fusion GPS and the FBI, and even if his wife didn't work for Fusion, he still would have had a connection with the company, Rep. Darrell Issa said... Published:8/29/2018 1:18:02 PM
[Markets] Wife Of Trump Ethics Lawyer Fined After She Was Busted Boffing Inmate In Car

The CIA / FBI - linked wife of a prominent Washington D.C. attorney caught having sex in the backseat of her Maserati with a Fauquier County Jail inmate was fined $2,500 on Monday, reports NBC Washington

Teresa "Terri" Jo Burchfield, 53, pleaded no contest on Monday to charges of disorderly conduct after a concerned citizen called police to report "suspicious behavior" in September 2017. Upon arriving at the scene, deputies discovered Burchfield and 23-year-old inmate Garrett Portela in the car. Portela was allowed to work outside the jail under a trustee program. 

"Burchfield and the 23-year-old inmate were having sex in the car," reported the Fauquier Times shortly after her arrest, citing court records filed by police and prosecutors. 

Burchfield was initially charged with unauthorized delivery for giving Portela a bag of vitamins.

"The female subject was delivering unauthorized articles to the inmate," Maj. Jeremy Falls told News4.

Court documents reveal more details. Portela told investigators he had been meeting with Burchfield for a month. She would bring him cigarettes and they would have sex in her car, court documents say. -NBC Washington

According to Heavy, Teresa is an "independent research consultant" in the Washington D.C. area - and according to her Linkedin pageshe has consulted with the government, including the FBI and CIA, as well as several defense contractors, including Booz Allen Hamilton - which whistleblower Edward Snowden famously worked for, along with another employee accused of stealing NSA documents. 

She has worked a government information specialist at FCi Federal, Inc, which has a contract with the FBI. She also worked at USIS, another contractor that has worked with the FBI. Burchfield was a senior support specialist and consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton from 2008 to 2012 and a finance administrator at the CIA from 2006 to 2008.

Burchfield also worked for ObjectVideo, “a cutting edge firm working on key homeland security technologies,” according to her bio on a charity website. -Heavy

A two-year analyst for Goldman Sachs, Terri also worked for Congress on the Committee on Banking and Financial Services in the House, specializing in "financial derivatives" and other banking issues, as well as the Whitewater investigation, according to a bio on a charity website

Burchfield's husband, Bobby Burchfield, is listed on his firm's website as an ethics advisor to President Trump's businesses. Bobby, a partner at Washington's King and Spalding, also served as counsel to President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. Bush later appointed him to the Antitrust Modernization Commission. He has also been the chairman of Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, a GOP advocacy group. 

Since being cuckolded, Bobby Burchfield has filed for divorce. In an email obtained by NBC News, he cites his wife's arrest in the filing. 

In an email to her husband after she was arrested, Teresa Burchfield emailed Bobby with the subject line "please hire a crisis management firm" - which continues in the body "Which you should have done yesterday ... We could have put out a statement that I was not arrested for having sex in the back of a car. In fact we were just talking and I was arrested for the items."

In other words, the wife of this prominent DC attorney who was busted for her extramarital affair with a jail inmate was busting her husband's chops for failing to clean up her sticky situation. 

Burchfield was fined $2,500 with $1,000 suspended, and she has nine months to pay it. 

Just when you think you know a person... 

Published:8/29/2018 1:18:02 PM
[World] Hannity Monologue on Bruce Ohr FBI Knowingly Lying to FISA Court

In his Opening Monologue, Sean Hannity said Tuesday that testimony by demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr showed that the FBI knowingly lied to FISA court judges in obtaining a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign associate.

Published:8/29/2018 8:15:25 AM
[FBI] Bruce Ohr Testifies (John Hinderaker) Bruce Ohr, the number four official in Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, testified before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees today. Given what we know about his role in the DOJ/FBI scandal, his testimony should have been riveting. However, he testified in closed session, so this will be a short post. Fox News hints at what happened behind closed doors: While lawmakers told reporters that Ohr was being cooperative, Rep. Published:8/28/2018 8:07:43 PM
[] Chuck Ross: FBI Agent Told Congress That the Bureau Leaked Stories to the Press, and Would Then Use Press Write-Ups as "Independent" Sources to Justify FISA Warrants The most crucial part of being a True Conservative is having a childlike, cultish belief in the absolute infallibility of government agents. I think I read that somewhere. An FBI special agent told Congress earlier in August that the bureau... Published:8/28/2018 6:12:16 PM
[a22a8dd7-8974-466f-9a1f-ffeee443c96e] Gregg Jarrett: The scheme from Bruce Ohr and Comey's confederates to clear Clinton, damage Trump Director James Comey knew the FBI was incorruptible. This is precisely why he seized control of the investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email practices covering her time as secretary of state, instead of allowing the FBI field office to conduct the probe. Published:8/28/2018 5:17:39 PM
[] Poll: Majority Agree That John Brennan, James Comey Should No Longer Have Security Clearances Ohhhh. Another DNC-Media attack line fails. The survey showed 59 percent of registered voters felt Brennan should have lost his security clearance, while 64 percent said Comey and others at the FBI who were fired or demoted over their actions... Published:8/28/2018 4:45:38 PM
[World] Agent Says FBI Leaked Information to Press to Get FISA Warrants: Mark Meadows Reacts

Rep. Mark Meadows addressed on America's Newsroom a message he tweeted out that said FBI officials leaked information to the press in the past and would subsequently use stories about that information to obtain FISA warrants.

Published:8/28/2018 12:48:23 PM
[Politics] FBI agent ADMITS that the FBI will leak stories to get FISA warrants An FBI agent confirmed to Congress that agents at the agency would sometimes leak confidential information to the press in order to justify getting a FISA warrant. This agent wouldn’t say whether . . . Published:8/28/2018 12:48:22 PM
[Politics] FBI agent ADMITS that the FBI will leak stories to get FISA warrants An FBI agent confirmed to Congress that agents at the agency would sometimes leak confidential information to the press in order to justify getting a FISA warrant. This agent wouldn’t say whether . . . Published:8/28/2018 12:48:22 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Agent Told Congress Agency Leaked Stories and Used Them to Obtain FISA Warrants Apparently this is a common practice at the FBI. Published:8/28/2018 12:20:19 PM
[The Blog] FBI leaked information to the media, then used the leaks to get FISA warrants

"FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA's"

The post FBI leaked information to the media, then used the leaks to get FISA warrants appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:8/28/2018 12:20:19 PM
[Markets] China Hacked Clinton's Private Email Server: Daily Caller

A Chinese-owned firm with operations in Washington D.C. hacked Hillary Clinton's private server "throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails," reports the Daily Caller's Richard Pollock. 

The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.

The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant “courtesy copy” for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources. -Daily Caller

During a July 12 House Committee on the Judiciary hearing, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) disclosed that the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that virtually all of Clinton's emails from her homebrew server were funneled to a "foreign entity." Gohmert did not reveal the entity's identity - however he said it wasn't Russia. 

A government staff official briefed on the ICIG's findings told the Daily Caller that the Chinese firm which hacked Clinton's emails operates in Washington's northern Virginia suburbs, and that it was not a technology firm - but a "front group" for the Chinese government. 

Warnings ignored

Two ICIG officials, investigator Frank Ruckner and attorney Janette McMillan, repeatedly warned FBI officials of the Chinese intrusion during several meetings, according to the Daily Caller, citing a "former intelligence officer with expertise in cybersecurity issues who was briefed on the matter." 

Among the FBI officials warned was Peter Strzok - who was fired earlier this month from the agency over anti-Trump text messages he sent while spearheading an investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign. Strzok did not act on the ICIG's warning according to Gohmert - who added that Strzok and three other top FBI officials knew about an "anomaly" on Clinton's server

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton's email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton's emails were sent to a foreign entity - while IG Horowitz simply didn't want to know about it. 

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok. -Daily Caller

Gohmert: “It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn't remember the "specific" content of their discussion. 

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

Meanwhile, four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz "never returned the call."

Internal Pushback 

In November of 2017, IG McCullough - an Obama appointee - revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton's emails and other anomalies. 

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue. 

"It's absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information," he said.

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an "adversarial posture" from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

"I expected to be embraced and protected," he said, adding that a Hill staffer "chided" him for failing to consider the "political consequences" of the information he was blowing the whistle on. -Fox News

Published:8/28/2018 4:39:09 AM
[Featured News] FBI Agent: Bureau Leaked Stories To Media Then Used Them To Obtain Spy Warrants

By DCNF -

FBI coat of arms

An FBI special agent told Congress earlier in August that the bureau has used leaked news stories as justifications to obtain surveillance warrants against American citizens, a source familiar with the testimony tells The Daily Caller News Foundation.

FBI Agent: Bureau Leaked Stories To Media Then Used Them To Obtain Spy Warrants is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:8/28/2018 4:39:09 AM
[Markets] Meadows: "We've Learned NEW Information" Suggesting FBI/DOJ Leaked To Press, Used Articles To Obtain FISA Warrants

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) dropped a late-night bombshell on Monday suggesting there's evidence that the FBI and DOJ rigged their own FISA spy warrants by leaking information to the press, then using the resultant articles to obtain court authorization to surveil targets. 

"We've learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA's," tweeted Meadows. 

Until now, we've known that the creator of the so-called Steele Dossier, former UK spy Christopher Steele, leaked information directly to Yahoo! News journalist Michael Isikoff - whose article became a supporting piece of evidence in the FBI's FISA warrant application and subsequent renewals for Trump adviser Carter Page. 

So while we've known that Steele seeded Isikoff with information from his dubious dossier, and that the FBI then used both Steele's dossier and Isikoff's Steele-inspired article to game the FISA system, Rep. Mark Meadows now says that the FBI/DOJ directly leaked information to the press, which they then used for the same type of FISA scheme.

Strong evidence was discovered in January suggesting that former FBI employee Lisa Page leaked privileged information to Devlin Barrett, formerly of the Wall Street Journal and now with the Washington Post. Whether any of Barrett's reporting was subsequently used to obtain a FISA warrant is unknown. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Meadows's Monday night tweet comes hours before twice-demoted DOJ employee Bruce Ohr is set to give closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee. Ohr was caught lying about his involvement with opposition research firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson - who employed Steele. Ohr's CIA-linked wife, Nellie, was also  employed by Fusion as part of the firm's anti-Trump efforts, and had ongoing communications with the ex-UK spy, Christopher Steele as well. 

Based on new emails recently turned over to Congressional investigators, Ohr was revealed to have been feeding information to the FBI from Steele, long after the FBI had officially cut Steele off for inappropriate leaks to the press. 

Ohr’s role as a conduit between Steele and the FBI continued for months and resulted in 12 separate FBI interviews, including several after Trump’s inauguration. According to Ohr’s then-supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Ohr worked on the Russia probe without his permission and without his knowledge. -The Federalist

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy vowed that Tuesday's Ohr testimony would "get to the bottom of what he did, why he did it, who he did it in concert with, whether he had the permission of the supervisors at the Department of Justice." 

Last week, President Trump called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Ohr after his and Nellie's relationship with Simpson emerged. Trump tweeted: "Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  'Justice' Department? A total joke!"

Earlier in August, Trump called Ohr a "disgrace," and warned that he may be pulling his security clearance "very quickly." 

Trump's threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says "afraid they will be exposed." 

More Ohr questions remain. For example, why did Nellie Ohr obtain a Ham Radio license right in May, 2016? As Ham enthusiast George Parry wondered in The Federalist in March, was it to avoid detection while working on the anti-Trump effort? 

So, was Nellie Ohr’s late-in-life foray into ham radio an effort to evade the Rogers-led NSA detecting her participation in compiling the Russian-sourced Steele dossier? Just as her husband’s omissions on his DOJ ethics forms raise an inference of improper motive, any competent prosecutor could use the circumstantial evidence of her taking up ham radio while digging for dirt on Trump to prove her consciousness of guilt and intention to conceal illegal activities. -The Federalist

And since none of this apparently justifies the appointment of a second special counsel by the DOJ, perhaps Bruce can offer up some answers during Tuesday's session? Of course, we'll never know what he said unless someone leaks.

Published:8/27/2018 11:59:33 PM
[Politics] Watchdog: GSA Misleads Congress on WH Meeting for FBI Construction Plan A watchdog report released Monday said General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy misled Congress over the White House's involvement in its FBI headquarters plan, the Hill reports. Published:8/27/2018 8:58:18 PM
[Politics] Roger Stone Predicts Trump Jr. Will Be Indicted for 'Lying to the FBI' Political operative and longtime President Donald Trump ally Roger Stone thinks the president's eldest son will be indicted for "lying to the FBI."The stunning prediction came during an interview with The Political Insider posted last Friday. Published:8/27/2018 7:55:05 PM
[Politics] Author Claims Comey, Muller Leveraged Their Ties For Profit Former FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller both profited by using their relationship as a revolving door to gain "millions of dollars," author Seamus Bruner said on Fox's "Lou Dobbs Tonight."Bruner, who wrote the Government Accountability Institute's... Published:8/27/2018 3:36:19 PM
[Markets] John W. Huber: The Forgotten "Lone Ranger" Against The Deep State

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

With Russian “meddling” stalled in the dead letter office, The New York Times has apparently re-branded itself Floozie Central in its quixotic campaign to unseat the Golden Golem of Greatness by all means necessary.

The Stormy Daniels affair, and its slime-trail of payoffs, is the slender thread that the Resistance hopes to hang Donald Trump on.

The great legal minds of cable TV have been very busy trying to suss out which part of the $130,000 non-disclosure payoff might apply as a campaign financing violation. If Rudy Giuliani still had his wits about him, of course, he would claim that the money was just Ms. Daniel’s going rate for an overnight frolic amongst her legendary twin peaks, that is, a sex worker’s simple transaction fee.

Where does it say in the constitution that a president may not consort with tramps and hussies?

It was hilarious to discover that Mr. Trump’s erstwhile personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, picked DC Swamp attorney and Clinton insider, Lanny Davis, to represent him in negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It must be like the old days in the locker room of the Burning Tree Golf Club for Lanny and Bob. They go back at least to the days when the Clintons fended off accusations of issuing pardons to special friends for a $450,000 payoff on Bubba’s last day in office, January 19, 2001. And there must have been a reunion around 2010 on the Uranium One matter, in which a tidy $145-million from Russian Oligarch Central landed in the Clinton Foundation coffers after Madam Secretary Hillary signed onto a go-ahead with the U-1 deal.

Meanwhile, way out in Left Field - Salt Lake City, actually - a forgotten lone ranger named John W. Huber is ostensibly toiling away on a roster of allegations so far ignored by the Mueller team, namely the politicization of the FBI and the Department of Justice, and the actions taken deviously by senior employees there against Mr. Trump during and after the 2016 election.

Mr. Huber was tapped to carry out this assignment by Attorney General Jeff Sessions late in 2017.

Mr. Huber has plenty to work with.

The DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has already issued a formal report filled with well-documented findings of lying and leaking among many high officials in FBI and the DOJ. Several of the featured players have already been fired from the agencies or demoted on the basis of those findings: Stzrok, McCabe, Ohr, Page….

The big question is how come none of these characters have been called to testify in front of a grand jury?

The big answer is that a grand jury would have to be convened by the very agency that employed them  - raising a reasonable suspicion of inside baseball in these matters.

One might surmise that AG Sessions gave the commission to Mr. Huber out in the Utah boondocks precisely because he was so far removed from the inside baseball of the DC Swamp. Or maybe it’s just a more convenient new branch of the Dead Letter Office. Nobody knows. I doubt that 99.9 percent of the public, including reporters in the mainstream media, even remember that Mr. Huber is on the case.

A Google search of news for Mr. Huber turns up nothing after about April of this year. That is if you ignore the janky info coming out of a woo-woo website called Qanon, which claims that his office is sitting on thousands of indictments of Deep Staters distributed far-and-wide through the government. Things that sound too good to be true usually are.

The past week was one of triumphal celebration for the Trump-dumpers. Rachel Maddow fell into a multiple orgasm rapture over the Stormy Daniels payoff story and Anderson Cooper almost wet his smallclothes with each disclosure. The DNC made preparations for a November victory dance. Somehow this all seems fitting for the dog days of August, when even millionaire news readers look to get away from the roaring unreality of their jobs.

Published:8/27/2018 3:36:19 PM
[Media] WOW! Nothing to see here, just FBI informants who spied on Trump had LUCRATIVE contracts with the government

What a tangled web we weave … yadda yadda yadda. “Lovinger complained internally about the awards of questionable outside research contracts, specifically to ‘academic’ Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump camp. Halper received $411,000 in office of net assessment awards in 2016…” https://t.co/PwvOM03Vg6 — Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) August 27, 2018 From […]

The post WOW! Nothing to see here, just FBI informants who spied on Trump had LUCRATIVE contracts with the government appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:8/27/2018 1:57:42 PM
[Markets] "Terrorist Attack" Manual Targeting Atlanta Hospital Found At New Mexico Jihad Compound

A handwritten document titled "Phases of a Terrorist Attack" was found at a New Mexico encampment where the son of a famous New York Imam ritualistically murdered his three-year-old son and trained several children to commit acts of terrorism, reports CNN

The handwritten document contained "instructions for 'The one-time terrorist,' instructions on the use of a 'choke point,' a location 'called the ideal attack site,' the 'ability to defend the safe haven,' the 'ability to escape-perimeter rings,' and 'sniper position detection procedure,'" according to the court filing.

Some of the children at the compound told police that Morten allegedly "stated he wished to die in Jihad, as a martyr," prosecutors said in the motion.

"At times, Jany Leveille would laugh and joke about dying in Jihad as would Subhanna Wahhaj," according to the court document. -CNN

Prosecutors have asked judge Sarah Backus to reconsider an order granting bond to five adults arrested at the compound - citing "not only the death of three-year-old Abdul Ghani Wahhaj at the remote site, but also plans by the defendants to attack law enforcement and "specific targets such as teachers, schools, banks and other "corrupt" institutions." 

The defense, meanwhile, has asked Backus to dismiss the charges

Despite authorities finding a dead child's remains on the compound, and an alleged letter sent from one suspect to his brother inviting him to come to New Mexico and die as a martyr, Backus ruled that the state failed to meet the burden of showing the suspects were a danger to the community after several hours of testimony. She ordered the suspects - Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Lucas Morton, 40, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35 - released on $20,000 signature bond, meaning they didn't have to pay. 

Backus drew harsh rebuke from prosecutors, law enforcement and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who said she "strongly disagreed" with the decision to release the suspects on signature bail. "Unfortunately, it highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals." 

Children from the compound told police that Jany Leveille, 35 - the partner of the dead boy's father, Siraj Wahhaj, 40, "intended to confront 'corrupt' institutions or individuals, such as the military, big businesses, CIA, teachers/schools and reveal the 'truth' to these corrupt institutions or individuals." 

In particular, the Jihadis were targeting Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta - after Leveille in a journal "expressed her displeasure with Grady Hospital ... due to the treatment she and her mother received there," according to the document. 

The dead boy's father, Siraj Wahhaj, 40, and his partner, Jany Leveille, 35, have been charged with abuse of a child resulting in death, a first-degree felony with a penalty of up to life in prison, according to court documents. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit child abuse, also a first-degree felony.

The couple and three other adults -- Wahhaj's sisters, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj; and Lucas Morten -- were previously charged with 11 felony counts of child abuse. -CNN

Weapons Stash in Tunnel

CNN also reports that based on court filings, Siraj Wahhaj had "ordered the group to defend the compound with weapons in the event of a nighttime police raid."

The children from the compound told investigators in recent interviews that a tunnel found on the property was to be used as an "escape route" if police found the compound. 

"The guns located at the exit of the tunnel were stored there ... so that as the group exited the tunnel, the group could arm themselves with weapons and ammunition," the document said.

Authorities have said the property included a makeshift shooting range. Police said they recovered an AR-15 rifle, loaded 30-round magazines, four loaded pistols and many rounds of ammunition.

The court document said two children told an FBI agent that they had been trained in "advanced firearms handling and had been instructed to shoot law enforcement personnel when the time came and that they would be instructed in the future to attack specific targets such as teachers, schools, banks and other 'corrupt institutions.'" -CNN

Meanwhile, according to dashcam video and lapel audio obtained by CNN, the couple who owns the land, Tanya and Jason Badger, told a responding officer that the suspects had set up the compound - and had called authorities to report a possible missing child. The officer told the Badgers that one of the men living on the compound was on a "terror watch list," yet local authorities declined to respond to calls over the missing child due to an ongoing FBI investigation. 

"We've gotten multiple calls on this child but, at the same time, our hands are tied because the FBI has whatever they got going on up there with them,'" Officer Bryan Donis said in the recording.

"All I know is that he's on the terrorist watch list," Donis is heard saying.

"I know this boy is missing from Georgia and that this guy is on the terrorist watch list and that there is a group of people they're (FBI) keeping an eye on for whatever reason."

In mid-August, New Mexico authorities executed a court order to destroy the encampment

NBC News reported that police seized an RV where eleven children and five adults lived in what was described as squalor, while also bulldozing the entrance to an underground tunnel where authorities found the decomposing body of three-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahha - placed there by the suspects in the hopes that he would resurrect as Jesus and use his psychic powers to help the group target "corrupt institutions and people" with "violent actions."

Ammo and a bulletproof vest were discovered at the scene after the camp was broken down. 

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that during the initial serving of the search warrant, their tactical team came upon children holding boxes of ammo, and at least one child was armed when he was found. The defendants' attorney tried to downplay the "heavily armed" portion of the case.  

While cross-examining of Hogrefe, the suspects' defense attorneys each took their chance to try and distance the suspects as far from the weapons as possible, and the connotations of violence they imply. One defense attorney suggested it's "prudent" that children learn how to use firearms safely, which Hogrefe agreed to.

The sheriff also confirmed that Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the legalities surrounding the occupants' possession of firearms. 

Another defense attorney pointed out, and Hogrefe confirmed, that the compound's occupants did not shoot at the tactical team as they raided the compound. He did say, however, that Morton was "struggling" and "resisting" while being arrested by deputies. -KOB.com

For her decision to free the suspects, Backus says she has received over 200 threats, including death threats, which resulted in the evacuation of a New Mexico courthouse on Tuesday. 

Backus has received more than 200 threats, according to Barry Massey, a spokesman for New Mexico Courts. Callers have threatened physical violence against Backus, including some people who threatened to slit Backus' throat and smash her head, Massey said. People also lashed out on social media and also threatened court staff, Massey said. -CNN

Backus has been called an "Islamic terrorist sympathizer" and a "disgusting garbage human," according to Massey. 

Published:8/26/2018 3:40:56 PM
[Markets] McCain Will Lie In State At Capitol; Barack Obama, George W. Bush To Deliver Eulogies

John McCain requested that former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral, according to CBS News. McCain died at home on Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer at the age of 81, after his family announced on Friday that the Senator had chosen to discontinue medical treatment. 

McCain will lie in state at the Capital Rotunda and receive a full dress funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, and will also lie in state at the Arizona Capital, according to the New York Times. He will be buried in Annapolis, Md. according to a Republican official involved in the planning. 

More than 30 people have been honored by lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda, a gesture reserved for the country’s “most eminent citizens,” since the practice began in 1852 after the death of Henry Clay, the former House speaker and senator from Kentucky. Mr. McCain would be the 13th former senator to be granted the honor, according to the Architect of the Capitol. -NYT

Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential election, issued a statement after McCain's death which reads in part: "Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did .... But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own." 

George W. Bush, to whom McCain lost the 2000 GOP nomination, said "John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order."

Under initial plans for McCain's funeral, Vice President Mike Pence will attend, as the deceased Arizona Senator insisted that President Trump not appear, according to a May report from the Times. McCain, a harsh critic of President Trump who hand-delivered the controversial "Steele dossier" to FBI Director James Comey, returned to the Senate in July 2017 after emergency brain surgery to become the deciding vote that killed the GOP's repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

A controversial Vietnam war veteran who became a fierce advocate for US foreign military intervention and regime change, McCain has been lionized by the establishment on both sides of the aisle - in no small part due to his vehement opposition to President Trump.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Senate Democrat, said on Saturday that he would introduce a resolution to rename the Russell Senate Office Building — currently named for Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who often opposed civil rights legislation — in honor of Mr. McCain. -NYT

In July, the Navy expanded the name of guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, named after his father, to include the then-dying Senator.

lifelong war hawk and neoconservative (famously singing "bomb Iran" to warm up a crowd), McCain strongly advocated for military action in several countries, including; Iraq, Syria, Kosovo, North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran - as well as escalations with Russia. McCain supported the Al-Qaeda-aligned Free Syrian Army, calling for arming them with heavy weapons in order to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

McCain was a strong supporter of Israel, backing President Trump's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - writing on his website after the announcement "I have long believed that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel." The Senator also backed Israel's multiple offensives against Palestinians - including the 2014 bombardment of Gaza. 

While McCain was one of the most hawkish GOP during the 2003 Iraq War, he wrote in his 2018 memoir The Restless Wave that "The principal reason for invading Iraq, that Saddam had WMD, was wrong."

"The war, with its cost in lives and treasure and security, can't be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it."

Published:8/26/2018 11:07:53 AM
[Uncategorized] Report: Despite Comey Claims, FBI Never Examined Vast Bulk Of Weiner Laptop Emails Peter Strzok "hand-picked" the 3,000 of 700,000 emails the FBI examined Published:8/25/2018 5:07:01 PM
[Markets] Trump: "I May Have To Get Involved" To Get To "Bottom Of Crooked Hillary Corruption"

With his back against the well after longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity by US prosecutors one day after the National Enquirer's David Packer received a similar deal, on Saturday morning Trump continued his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accusing the former senator of not understanding "what is happening" at his Justice Department.

In a pair of tweets Saturday morning, the president wrote that Sessions was allowing Mueller "and his gang of 17 Angry Dems" to have a "field day" at the Justice Department with his decision last year to recuse himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign.

"Jeff Sessions said he wouldn’t allow politics to influence him only because he doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position. Highly conflicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 Angry Dems are having a field day as real corruption goes untouched. No Collusion!" the president wrote.

Trump then quoted Sen. Lindsay Graham speaking about the possibility of a new attorney general, suggesting that the president may be considering Sessions' firing.

“Every President deserves an Attorney General they have confidence in. I believe every President has a right to their Cabinet, these are not lifetime appointments. You serve at the pleasure of the President," Trump added, quoting Graham.

Trump's criticism of Sessions had escalated in recent days after the guilty verdicts handed down in the trial of Paul Manafort and the guilty plea from Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen. In a rare statement on Thursday, Sessions appeared to rebuke Trump and pledged to remain untainted by political bias in his work at the agency. “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action,” Sessions said.

It is unclear if Trump will fire his Attorney General; some media reports are suggesting that Trump may certainly try to do so, although probably not before the midterm elections.

Trump then continued the attack on Twitter, and referenced a recent report by investigative journalist Paul Sperry according to which FBI Director James Comey was incorrect when he told Congress that the bureau had “reviewed all of the communications” from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin on her disgraced husband, and in fact "a technical glitch prevented FBI technicians from accurately comparing the new emails with the old emails. Only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information."

Citing Fox News, Trump tweeted that “The FBI only looked at 3000 of 675,000 Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails.” They purposely didn’t look at the disasters. This news is just out."

He then predicted that "we will soon be getting to the bottom of all of this corruption" involving "tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails, many of which are REALLY BAD" and warned that "At some point I may have to get involved!"

"The FBI looked at less than 1%” of Crooked’s Emails!" Trump concluded.

With the Mueller probe getting a second wind, if not into Russian collusion then certainly into Trump's allegedly illicit financial dealings, we expect that Trump will escalate his attempts at distraction; and with attacks on Syria no longer serving as a key distraction to the US population while Russian sanctions remain largely ignored, Trump may have no choice but to make good on his threat to "get involved" in cracking down on "crooked Hillary" and "getting to the bottom of all of the corruption" under his attorney Sessions.

In either case, fireworks are assured.

Published:8/25/2018 9:32:00 AM
Top Searches:
books
-1'
FBI
obama
obamacare
NASA
dow
Casey
books1111111111111' UNION SELECT CHAR(45,120,49,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,50,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,51,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,52,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,53,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,54,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,55,45
dow1111111111111' UNION SELECT CHAR(45,120,49,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,50,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,51,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,52,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,53,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,54,45,81,45),CHAR(45,120,55,45,8

Jobs from Indeed

comments powered by Disqus