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[Crime] 10 Things I Learned From The 1st Half Of The Carter Page FISA Warrant

Last night the FBI released a redacted version of the FISA application that started it all, the warrant to spy on Carter page. The full document is 412 pages and embedded below.  Although I have only read about half the document so far, there is much to learn.  Much of what I have seen raises ...

The post 10 Things I Learned From The 1st Half Of The Carter Page FISA Warrant appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:7/24/2018 11:27:49 PM
[Markets] Moon-Strzok No More, Lisa Page Spills The Beans

Authored by Ray McGovern via ConsortiumNews.com,

The meaning of a crucial text message between two FBI officials appears to have been finally explained, and it’s not good news for the Russia-gate faithful...

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page has reportedly told a joint committee of the House of Representatives that when FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok texted her on May 19, 2017 saying there was “no big there there,” he meant there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It was clearly a bad-luck day for Strzok, when on Friday the 13th this month Page gave her explanation of the text to the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees and in effect threw her lover, Strzok, under the bus.

Strzok’s apparent admission to Page about there being “no big there there” was reported on Friday by John Solomon in the Opinion section of The Hill based on multiple sources who he said were present during Page’s closed door interview.

Strzok’s text did not come out of the blue. For the previous ten months he and his FBI subordinates had been trying every-which-way to ferret out some “there” — preferably a big “there” — but had failed miserably. If Solomon’s sources are accurate, it is appearing more and more likely that there was nothing left for them to do but to make it up out of whole cloth, with the baton then passed to special counsel Robert Mueller.

The “no there there” text came just two days after former FBI Director James Comey succeeded in getting his friend Mueller appointed to investigate the alleged collusion that Strzok was all but certain wasn’t there. 

Strzok during his public testimony earlier this month.

Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of Consortium News whom Solomon described to me last year as his model for journalistic courage and professionalism, was already able to discern as early as March 2017 the outlines of what is now Deep State-gate, and, typically, was the first to dare report on its implications. 

Parry’s article, written two and a half months before Strzok texted the self-incriminating comment to Page on there being “no big there there,” is a case study in professional journalism. His very first sentence entirely anticipated Strzok’s text: “The hysteria over ‘Russia-gate’ continues to grow … but at its core there may be no there there.”(Emphasis added.) 

As for “witch-hunts,” Bob and others at Consortiumnews.com, who didn’t succumb to the virulent HWHW (Hillary Would Have Won) virus, and refused to slurp the Kool-Aid offered at the deep Deep State trough, have come close to being burned at the stake — virtually. Typically, Bob stuck to his guns: he ran an organ (now vestigial in most Establishment publications) that sifted through and digested actual evidence and expelled drivel out the other end.

Those of us following the example set by Bob Parry are still taking a lot of incoming fire — including from folks on formerly serious — even progressive — websites. Nor do we expect a cease-fire now, even with Page’s statement (about which, ten days after her interview, the Establishment media keep a timorous silence). Far too much is at stake.

As Mark Twain put it, “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” And, as we have seen over the past couple of years, that goes in spades for “Russia-gate.” For many of us who have looked into it objectively and written about it dispassionately, we are aware, that on this issue, we are looked upon as being in sync with President Donald Trump.

Blind hatred for the man seems to thwart any acknowledgment that he could ever be right about something—anything. This brings considerable awkwardness. Chalk it up to the price of pursuing the truth, no matter what bedfellows you end up with.

Courage at The Hill 

Page: Coughs up the meaning of ‘there.’

Solomon’s article merits a careful read, in toto. Here are the most germane paragraphs:

“It turns out that what Strzok and Lisa Page were really doing that day [May 19, 2017] was debating whether they should stay with the FBI and try to rise through the ranks to the level of an assistant director (AD) or join Mueller’s special counsel team. [Page has since left the FBI.] 

“‘Who gives a f*ck, one more AD [Assistant Director] like [redacted] or whoever?’” Strzok wrote, weighing the merits of promotion, before apparently suggesting what would be a more attractive role: ‘An investigation leading to impeachment?’ …

“A few minutes later Strzok texted his own handicap of the Russia evidence: ‘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 there’s no big there there.’

“So the FBI agents who helped drive the Russia collusion narrative — as well as Rosenstein’s decision to appoint Mueller — apparently knew all along that the evidence was going to lead to ‘nothing’ and, yet, they proceeded because they thought there was still a possibility of impeachment.”

Solomon adds: “How concerned you are by this conduct is almost certainly affected by your love or hatred for Trump. But put yourself for a second in the hot seat of an investigation by the same FBI cast of characters: You are under investigation for a crime the agents don’t think occurred, but the investigation still advances because the desired outcome is to get you fired from your job. Is that an FBI you can live with?”

The Timing

As noted, Strzok’s text was written two days after Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017. The day before, on May 16,The New York Times published a story that Comey leaked to it through an intermediary that was expressly designed (as Comey admitted in Congressional testimony three weeks later) to lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Hmmmmm.

Had Strzok forgotten to tell his boss that after ten months of his best investigative efforts — legal and other—he could find no “there there”?

Comey’s leak, by the way, was about alleged pressure from Trump on Comey to go easy on Gen. Michael Flynn for lying at an impromptu interrogation led by — you guessed it — the ubiquitous, indispensable Peter Strzok.

In any event, the operation worked like a charm — at least at first. And — absent revelation of the Strzok-Page texts — it might well have continued to succeed. After Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller, one of Comey’s best buddies, to be special counsel, Mueller, in turn, picked Strzok to lead the Russia-gate team, until the summer, when the Department of Justice Inspector General was given the Strzok-Page texts and refused to sit on them.

A Timeline

Here’s a timeline, which might be helpful:

2017

May 16: Comey leak to NY Times to get a special counsel appointed

May 17: Special counsel appointed — namely, Robert Mueller.

May 19: Strzok confides to girlfriend Page, “No big there there.”

July: Mueller appoints Strzok lead FBI Agent on collusion investigation.

August: Mueller removes Strzok after learning of his anti-Trump texts to Page.

Dec. 12: DOJ IG releases some, but by no means all, relevant Strzok-Page texts to Congress and the media, which firstreports on Strzok’s removal in August.

2018

June 14: DOJ IG Report Published.

June 15; Strzok escorted out of FBI Headquarters.

June 21: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces Strzok has lost his security clearances.

July 12: Strzok testifies to House committees. Solomon reports he refused to answer question about the “there there” text.

July 13: Lisa Page interviewed by same committees. Answers the question.

Earlier: Bob Parry in Action

Journalist Robert Parry

On December 12, 2017, as soon as first news broke of the Strzok-Page texts, Bob Parry and I compared notes by phone. We agreed that this was quite big and that, clearly, Russia-gate had begun to morph into something like FBI-gate. It was rare for Bob to call me before he wrote; in retrospect, it seemed to have been merely a sanity check.

The piece Bob posted early the following morning was typical Bob. Many of those who click on the link will be surprised that, last December, he already had pieced together most of the story. Sadly, it turned out to be Bob’s last substantive piece before he fell seriously ill. Earlier last year he had successfully shot downother Russia-gate-related canards on which he found Establishment media sorely lacking — “Facebook-gate,” for example.

Remarkably, it has taken another half-year for Congress and the media to address — haltingly — the significance of Deep State-gate — however easy it has become to dissect the plot, and identify the main plotters. With Bob having prepared the way with his Dec.13 article, I followed up a few weeks later with “The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate,” in the process winning no friends among those still suffering from the highly resistant HWHW virus.

VIPS

Parry also deserves credit for his recognition and appreciation of the unique expertise and analytical integrity among Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and giving us a secure, well respected home at Consortium News.

It is almost exactly a year since Bob took a whole lot of flak for publishing what quickly became VIPS’ most controversial, and at the same time perhaps most important, Memorandum For the President; namely, “Intelligence Veterans Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence.”

Critics have landed no serious blows on the key judgments of that Memorandum, which rely largely on the type of forensic evidence that Comey failed to ensure was done by his FBI because the Bureau never seized the DNC server. Still more forensic evidence has become available over recent months soon to be revealed on Consortium News, confirming our conclusions.

Published:7/24/2018 10:23:48 PM
[Markets] Fusion GPS Had Major Doubts About "Pee Tape" Dossier Source, Included Anyway

Last weekend's release of a FISA warrant application to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was quite revealing - perhaps most of all because we learned that the FBI in relied heavily on the Steele dossier, contrary to claims that it played a minor role. 

What's even more troubling, as noted by Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller, is a report contained in a new book by two journalists involved in the ordeal, David Corn and Michael Isikoff, who state that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson had serious doubts about one of the sources used in the Steele Dossier.

Simpson called dossier source Sergei Millian a "big talker" who overstated his connections to Trump, and had a "fifty-fifty" chance of being accurate. 

“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” Isikoff and Corn, who are good friends with Simpson. Isikoff notably wrote a Yahoo! News article containing claims directly from Christopher Steele - a relationship the FBI lied about in Carter Page's FISA application when they said Isikoff did not directly receive the information from the former MI6 spy, while Isikoff said he did in a February podcast.

Millian is both Source D and Source E in the dossier, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In the 35-page document, Source D alleged that the Russian government is blackmailing Donald Trump with video of a sexual tryst with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel room. Source E described an alleged “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership.”

“This was managed on the TRUMP side by the Republican candidate’s campaign manger, Paul MANAFORT, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries,” reads the dossier. -Daily Caller

Millian, meanwhile, operates a shadowy trade group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. He denies being a dossier source, though he has refused to speculate as to whether he may have unwittingly provided claims that ended up in the report. 

Millian did have one known link to the Trump campaign. In late July 2016, he reached out to George Papadopoulos, the Trump adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the timing of his contacts with an alleged Russian agent.

Sources close to Papadopoulos have told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he met Millian for the first time several days after Millian reached out to the campaign aide on LinkedIn. Sources close to Papadopoulos have also said that Millian offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month for a business deal that would require him to remain in the Trump orbit. Papadopoulos rejected the idea, according to TheDCNF’s sources.  -Daily Caller

Millian, a Belarusian American businessman, has denied being a Russian spy, though he does admit to having Kremlin contacts, and told the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross that he was one of the "very few people who have insider knowledge of Kremlin politics...who has been able to successfully integrate in American society." 

While the 412-page release of Page's FISA application and subsequent renewals were heavily redacted, GOP lawmakers who have seen less redacted copies say that the redacted portions don't provide any evidence that they verified the dossier whatsoever, while it remains unclear what efforts - if any, the FBI undertook to corroborate any of the claims. 

What's more, the FBI stated several dossier claims as fact within the FISA application. 

For example, the FBI says in the application that Page secretly met with Kremlin insiders Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin during a July 2016 trip to Moscow - a claim directly out of the dossier, which Page has vehemently disputed. 

Another approach used to beef up the FISA application's curb appeal was circular evidence, via the inclusion of a letter from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to former FBI Director James Comey, citing information Reid got from John Brennan, which was in turn from the Clinton-funded dossier

The FBI also went to extreme lengths to convince the FISA judge that Steele ("Source #1"), was reliable when they could not verify the unsubstantiated claims in his dossier - while also having to explain why they still trusted his information after having terminated Steele's contract over inappropriate disclosures he made to the media.

"Not withstanding Source1's reason for conducting the research into Candidate1's ties to Russia, based on Source1's previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source 1s reporting herein to be credible

Millian, meanwhile, is Sure that Trump likes Russia, "because he likes beautiful Russian ladies... He likes talking to them, of course. And he likes to be able to make lot of money with Russians, yes, correct.”

Trump also likes paying them to urinate on beds, according to Millian, allegedly. 

Published:7/24/2018 9:26:05 PM
[Markets] WaPo: "God Bless The Deep State" For Standing Between Us And The Abyss

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

Last Thursday, Eugene Robinson – MSNBC analyst and writer for the Washington Post – published a column criticizing President Trump for failing to side with the U.S. intelligence community over their conclusion on Russian meddling in the 2016 election during a diplomatic summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Remember when the “deep state” was written off as a conspiracy theory? How times have changed.

Robinson writes:

With a supine Congress unwilling to play the role it is assigned by the Constitution, the deep state stands between us and the abyss.

Throughout his article, Robinson defends the integrity and reputation of U.S. intelligence agencies – the same organizations that concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and launched us into a decade-long quagmire in the Middle East.

That isn’t to say the entirety of the United States intelligence communities are dishonorable and lack integrity. However, if the top brass in the agencies is anything to go by – the intentions and aims of our intelligence organizations could certainly be called into question.

Look for no further evidence of that notion than…

Former CIA Director, John Brennan

Brennan is no stranger to the spotlight; from appearances on major cable news networks to his dismal outbursts on Twitter, the former CIA Director steadily attempts to control and shape the narrative.

Last week, Tucker Carlson blasted Brennan, labeling him as an “out of the closet extremist” and “cable news shouter” – deriding the fact Brennan still has a top secret security clearance. Tucker detailed that Brennan is “a passionate ideologue with a documented history of dishonesty” and “as CIA director… lied about spying on senate staffers and killing civilians with drone strikes… and about the Steele dossier…”

Furthermore, Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal penned a great exposéon Brennan’s role in the virtually ignored 2016 spying scandal of Trump and his transition team. Strassel calls Brennan out as “partisan” and notes his close history with Obama. 

Former DNI Director, James Clapper

Clapper is cut from the same cloth as Brennan regarding former intelligence officials turned cable news commentators. In August of 2017, Clapper was hired at CNN as an analyst – after he allegedly leaked the Steele dossier to the network.

Even after giving a bogus dossier to CNN in a bid to undermine an incoming Presidentthe ethics and principles of Clapper sadly remained unchallenged.

Of the infamous dossier, Clapper took the same route as Brennan in defending it:

But at the same time, some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our intelligence community assessment which from other sources in which we had very high confidence to it. I think with respect to the dossier itself, the key thing is doesn’t matter who paid for it.

To note, the dossier remains uncorroborated and unverified despite Clapper’s erroneous claim.

For all you need to know about Clapper, this short clip from 2013 speaks volumes on his character:

Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions… of Americans?”

Clapper: “No, sir.”

Of his comments under oath, Clapper said he responded in “what [he] thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner.” Clapper remained DNI director through Obama’s last term despite calls for criminal charges of perjury to be brought against him, suffering no consequences for lying to Congress.

James Comey, Robert Mueller, and Peter Strzok; Top FBI Brass

The FBI’s integrity and impartiality has been shredded to tatters and blown into the wind thanks to these three men.

The nature of these top officials at the agency has been well documented. For instance, FMShooter reported in September 2017 that then-FBI Director, James Comey wrote his public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton from her federal investigation months before she was even interviewed by the FBI.

Recently, it was revealed that none other than Peter Strzok changed the language in the FBI’s public statement, lessening Clinton’s charges of using a personal e-mail server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”.

Let’s not forget the fact that the FBI – with Robert Mueller as Director – uncovered a Russian bribery plot in 2009 that benefited Barack Obama and the Clintons:

According to government documents and interviews, before approving the controversial Uranium One deal with Russia, the Obama administration participated in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering with Russian officials – all with the aim to expand Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the U.S.

This, and more, comes from a bombshell report from The Hill that details the corruption via eyewitness accounts and internal documents. E-mails showed that Moscow compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks – which is in direct violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices act.

Mueller, the one investigating Trump’s supposed Russian ties, ignored and allowed bribery and a lucrative Uranium deal with Russia when it involved the Clintons and then-President Obama. Instead of admitting they were at fault, top Democrats pushed Russia as a scapegoat when they are the only ones guilty of any actual collusion. 

Just a month before the 2016 election, Obama directly told Trump to “stop whining” about election rigging and that “there is no serious person out there that would suggest… you could even rig America’s elections”…

Yet after Trump’s win in November, the narrative shifted. Russia, without a doubt, hacked our democracy and installed an illegitimate President into the White House, according to U.S. intelligence agencies and the political Establishment.

However, pundits like WaPo’s Eugene Robinson are ignoring the elephant in the room. Though not every facet of U.S. intelligence agencies is hackless and partisan, the top officials across three of our main organizations certainly are.

With officials like Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Mueller having run these agencies – is it any wonder Trump wasn’t quick to side with their findings? After all, he’s been the focus of an overdrawn, completely partisan investigation by Mueller for the better part of two years now, with no evidence of collusion with Russia found and the actual collusion ignored.

As usual, the Fake News mainstream media has spun and de-contextualized Trump’s actual comments to use them against him – another case of manufactured hysteria that far too many Americans have fallen victim to.

Published:7/24/2018 8:28:12 PM
[Markets] Seagram Heiress Arrested In Sex Cult Investigation

Back in March, we brought you the story of Keith Raniere, who was the co-founder and leader of a secretive self-help cult called NXIVM, who was arrested by the FBI in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking. Raniere was arrested in Mexico in March and charged with sex trafficking, conspiracy and forced labor and is being held without bail.

Raniere allegedly created a "secret society" within the organization in 2015 that recruited women from within the group to serve as "slaves" overseen by "masters," according to prosecutors. Prosecutors allege Nxivm operated like a pyramid scheme, charging participants thousands of dollars for courses while encouraging them to sign up for more and recruit others.

While NXIVM described itself as a self-help business that has helped thousands of people "reach their potential" through various courses, the women’s-only "inner sanctum" led by Raniere is known as 'DOS', which stood for “dominus obsequious sororium" - Latin for “master over the slave women”. Once they are a member - or “slave” - they are allegedly encouraged to recruit new women into their “slave pods”, stop dating, and be on call 24 hours a day to their “master”.

As a reminder, DOS required female members to give their recruiter - or "master," naked pictures or other compromising material which could be used as blackmail before being branded with Raniere's initials below the hip using a cauterizing iron. 

Smallville actress Allison Mack who played Chloe Sullivan is (or was) allegedly a "master" in the cult, and required to obey orders from Raniere - including finding women to sleep with him. 

Mack would require that prospective "slaves" place compromising collateral into a Dropbox account -- one of whom was India Oxenberg, the daughterr of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg - who met with prosecutors in New York and presented evidence against Raniere. 

Fast forward to today when Bloomberg reports that an heiress to the Seagram fortune was arrested today in the widening probe of the "self-help organization" that prosecutors now say operated as "a secretive cult that branded its victims and forced them to participate in sexual acts."

Clare Bronfman, the daughter of former Seagram chairman Edgar M. Bronfman, was one of four women charged Tuesday in connection with the investigation of Nxivm, an Albany, New York-based multi-level marketing company founded by Keith Raniere, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney.

Smallville actress Allison Mack, an actress who allegedly recruited slaves for Raniere, was apprehended shortly after Raniere was arrested in Mexico in March and charged with similar crimes. Both have pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, the four arrested women - Bronfman, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman - were members of Raniere’s "inner circle" along with Mack, and recruited and groomed sexual partners for him. Bronfman is one of seven children of her father, a second-generation heir who captained Seagram’s expansion during his years leading the company.

Claire Bronfman

Recruits were expected to provide "collateral" before joining - including damaging information about friends and family, nude photographs and rights to assets - that could be used against them if they revealed the existence of the organization or tried to leave, prosecutors said.

The four women are scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn and Albany later Tuesday.

The court filing is below:

Published:7/24/2018 3:54:24 PM
[Markets] Trump Would Agree To Interview With Mueller If No Obstruction Questions

On Monday night, Rudy Giuliani told Bloomberg that he indicated to special counsel Robert Mueller that President Trump would agree to an interview if questions were focused only on whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

Giuliani also said that the interview would only proceed if questions about obstruction of justice were excluded. That's because the president's legal team is concerned that Mueller might believe witnesses who contradicted Trump’s account, such as former FBI Director James Comey, which could leave the president vulnerable to a perjury charge, Giuliani added. 

Mueller has not yet responded to Giuliani's proposal, Bloomberg reported.

Previously, the president said on the record that he would be willing to talk with Mueller for his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In an interview with CBS News last week, Trump reiterated that he's "always wanted to do an interview, because, look, there’s been no collusion."

However, he said his lawyers were responsible for working out such an interview. Giuliani, meanwhile, has repeatedly cast doubt on the chances Trump will sit for an interview. He said earlier this month that an interview is "probably further away" than before following congressional testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from Mueller's probe after he was found to have sent texts critical of Trump during the 2016 election.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the inquiry as a “witch hunt" and over the weekend, he used the release of a surveillance application on an adviser during his campaign to renew his claims of a “rigged” FBI investigation.

Mueller has thus far filed charges against more than 20 Russian nationals, including 12 Russian intelligence officials, for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election. He has also obtained guilty pleas or indictments against four former Trump associates thus far.

Published:7/24/2018 5:25:45 AM
[World] Donald Trump Says Take Security Clearances from Brennan Clapper Comey: Rand Paul Reacts 2012 Intel Operation

Senator Rand Paul said Monday on "The Story" that he supports President Donald Trump's call to revoke security clearances of former government agents.

The White House named several specific former officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden.

He said there is a "great danger" to have former officials work as "talking heads" on television while still holding access to classified information that they could accidentally disclose.

Published:7/23/2018 7:39:16 PM
[d75c9cd6-a6c5-488c-a559-4e30e62396ba] Gregg Jarrett: Comey and Strzok -- Two key players in the scheme to clear Clinton and frame Trump In one of the more stunning revelations contained in the report compiled by the Justice Department’s watchdog, former FBI Director James Comey claimed he doesn’t remember the moment he decided – and put down in writing -- that Hillary Clinton had committed crimes. Published:7/23/2018 3:46:51 PM
[In The News] FBI Seized 12 Audio Recordings During Michael Cohen Raid

By DCNF -

Michael Cohen

  by Chuck Ross Twelve audio files recorded by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen were handed over to federal prosecutors on Friday, according to a document filed Monday in federal court. Barbara S. Jones, who is serving as special master in a review of documents seized from Cohen in an ...

FBI Seized 12 Audio Recordings During Michael Cohen Raid is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/23/2018 3:46:50 PM
[Markets] Trump To Revoke Security Clearance For Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, & Rice

President Trump is exploring ways to strip several former Obama officials of their security clearances over politicized statements, including John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Susan Rice, and Andrew McCabe, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 

Responding to a question about comments tweeted earlier in the day by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) that former CIA Director Brennan should have his clearance stripped, Sanders replied: 

"Not only is the President looking to take away Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice and McCabe," said Sanders, reading from a prepared statement, "because they've politicized, and in some cases, monetized their public service and security clearances. Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia, against the President, is extremely inappropriate." 

"The fact that people with security clearances are making these basless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence." 

Earlier in the day, Senator Rand Paul tweeted: "Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump ?" 

Brennan, a senior national security and intelligence analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, said that President Trump's comments following the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin "rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors," adding "It was nothing short of treasonous."

James Clapper, meanwhile, is an employee of CNN, while former FBI Director James Comey has been traveling around the country peddling his book, telling people to vote Democrat - just not "Socialist Democrat.

Published:7/23/2018 2:18:03 PM
[2016 Presidential Election] The FBI disgraced (Scott Johnson) I hold with Byron York that the release of the heavily redacted FISA warrant application documents on Carter Page have vindicated Devin Nunes. By the same token, Andrew McCarthy now judges that the documents disgrace the FBI. As always, Andy knows what he is talking about. His must-read NR column is “FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier.” With the skills of a natural teacher who Published:7/23/2018 1:45:00 PM
[Celebrities on Twitter] Michael Ian Black Calls Mike Cernovich a ‘Colossal Asshole’ After Twitter Attack "It's a little bit scary when it goes so far as people are contacting Child Protection Services or the FBI," Black told Observer. Published:7/23/2018 1:17:54 PM
[Politics] Andrew McCarthy: How the FBI manipulated the FISA courts using the salacious Steele dossier Andrew McCarthy gives us his take on the redacted FISA warrant documents that came out over the weekend, saying that the documents confirm that the FBI used the unverified Steele dossier as . . . Published:7/23/2018 1:17:54 PM
[Politics] Andrew McCarthy: How the FBI manipulated the FISA courts using the salacious Steele dossier Andrew McCarthy gives us his take on the redacted FISA warrant documents that came out over the weekend, saying that the documents confirm that the FBI used the unverified Steele dossier as . . . Published:7/23/2018 1:17:54 PM
[Politics] Trump Slams 'Fake Dirty Dossier' Used in FISA Warrants President Donald Trump on Monday posted several tweets slamming the FBI for its reported use of an unverified dossier to gain surveillance warrants against a former aide of the president's. Published:7/23/2018 7:44:47 AM
[Markets] FBI, CIA Sound Alarm Over China Cold War, Warn "Most Significant" Threat Facing US

"At the end of the day, the Chinese fundamentally seek to replace the United States as the leading power in the world." -Michael Collins, CIA Dep. Asst. Dir. East Asia Mission Center

Forget the Russian hysteria: according to Michael Collins, the CIA’s deputy assistant director for the East Asia Mission Center, it is China that is waging a "quiet cold war" against the United States, using all its resources to try to replace America as the leading power in the world.

"Beijing doesn’t want to go to war", he said during a speech at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Friday, but the current communist government, under President Xi Jingping, is subtly working on multiple fronts to undermine the U.S. in ways that are different than the much-publicized activities being employed by a far weaker Russia, and which the media is obssesed with.

Collins also warned that rising U.S.-China tension goes beyond the trade dispute playing out in a tariff tit-for-tat between the two nations, according to AP.

Among the numerous concerns over China subtle efforts to steal influence he cited pervasive efforts to steal business secrets and details about high-tech research being conducted in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Chinese military is expanding and being modernized even as the U.S., as well as other nations, have complained about China’s construction of military outposts on islands in the South China Sea, which Collins said he "would argue that it’s the Crimea of the East."

Collins’ comments track warnings about China’s rising influence issued by others who spoke earlier this week at the security conference. The alarm bells come at a time when Washington needs China’s help in ending its nuclear standoff with North Korea.

* * *

Earlier in the week, FBI Director Christopher Wray also underscored US concerns about China, which he said represents the "broadest and most significant threat America faces." During an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt at the Aspen Ideas Forum on Wednesday, Wray said that the FBI has economic espionage investigations in all 50 states that trace back to Chinese activity.

“It covers everything from corn seeds in Iowa to wind turbines in Massachusetts and everything in between,” said Wray. “The volume of it. The pervasiveness of it. The significance of it is something that I think this country cannot underestimate."

And yet, when Trump cracks down on Chinese policies across various fields including trade and theft of various trade, military, government and corporate secrets (i.e. espionage), he gets promptly vilified.

The chorus of anti-China sentiment grew to three when National Intelligence Director Dan Coats also warned of rising Chinese aggression, warning that the U.S. must stand strong against China’s effort to steal business secrets and academic research.

Others joined in: Marcel Lettre, former undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said China has the second-largest defense budget in the world, the largest standing army of ground forces, the third-largest air force and a navy of 300 ships and more than 60 submarines.

“All of this is in the process of being modernized and upgraded,” said Lettre, who sat on a panel with Collins and Thornton.

He said China also is pursuing advances in cyber, artificial intelligence, engineering and technology, counter-space, anti-satellite capabilities and hypersonic glide weapons. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a congressional committee earlier this year that China is developing long-range cruise missiles — some capable of reaching supersonic speeds.

“The Pentagon has noted that the Chinese have already pursued a test program that has had 20 times more tests than the U.S. has."

Franklin Miller, former senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said China’s weapons developments are emphasizing the need to have a dialogue with Beijing.

"We need to try to engage,” Miller said. “My expectations for successful engagement are medium-low, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try."

* * *

Here we bring readers' attention back to what we wrote back in May when we said that for all the talk of the escalating confrontation between the US and China, Bank of America's Chief Investment Officer Mike Hartnett believes that the "trade war" of 2018 should be recognized for what it really is: the first stage of a new arms race between the US & China to reach national superiority in technology over the longer-term via Quantum Computing, Artificial  Intelligence, Hypersonic Warplanes, Electronic Vehicles, Robotics, and Cyber-Security.

This is hardly a secret: China's long-term strategy is laid out in its "Made in China 2025" blueprint: It aims to transform “China’s industrial base” into a “smart manufacturing” powerhouse via increased competitiveness and eroding of tech leadership of industrial trading rivals, e.g. Germany, USA, South Korea; this is precisely what Peter Navarro has been raging against (even if his message is in need of some refinement) and hoping to intercept China's ascent early on while it's still feasible.

At the forefront of China ambitious growth plan, Beijing's investments in "advanced internet and communication technologies, embedded systems and intelligent machines" aim to ensure that 40% of China’s mobile phone chips, 70% of industrial robots, 75% of basic core components and 80% of renewable energy equipment are “Made in China” by 2025.

Meanwhile, the China First strategy will be met head-on by an America First strategy.  Hence the "arms race" in tech spending which in both countries is intimately linked with defense spending. Note military spending by the US and China is forecast by the IMF to rise substantially in coming decades, but the stunner is that by 2050, China is set to overtake the US, spending $4tn on its military while the US is $1 trillion less, or $3tn.

This means that some time around 2038, roughly two decades from now, China will surpass the US in military spending, and become the world's dominant superpower not only in population and economic growth - China is set to overtake the US economy by no later than 2032  - but in military strength and global influence as well.

And as Thucydides Trap clearly lays out, that kind of unprecedented superpower transition - one in which the world's reserve currency moves from state A to state B - always takes place in the context of a real - not trade, not currency  - war.

Which explains BofA's long-term strategic recommendation: "We believe investors should thus own global defense, tech & cybersecurity stocks, particularly companies seen as “national security champions” over the next 10-years."

And here's the reason why:

Because one might as well make some money before the next world war breaks out...

Published:7/22/2018 9:19:43 PM
[Markets] Tony Podesta Offered Immunity To Testify Against Paul Manafort: Report

Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, has reportedly been offered immunity by special counsel Robert Mueller to testify against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, according to Fox's Tucker Carlson. 

Manafort and Podesta both made millions together as unregistered agents on a pro-Russia project in Ukraine. While Podesta had the uncanny foresight to retroactively file as a foreign agent last April, Manafort did not, and is currently on trial for his failure to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) - created decades ago to curb Nazi propaganda in the US, as part of a 12-count indictment handed down last October.

"In other words, for a near identical crime, Bill and Hillary's friend could escape and emerge completely unscathed while Paul Manafort may rot in jail. Only one of them made the mistake of chairing Donald Trump's presidential campaign," said Carlson.

One week after Mueller announced he was targeting Manafort and an unnamed "Company B" in October, Podesta resigned from his position as chairman of the Podesta Group, which he co-founded with his brother Tony in 1988.

Manafort and Podesta worked with the Pro-Russia European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU)a Brussels based think tank tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych which was pushing for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union. While Manafort oversaw the ECMU project during which the Podesta Group made some $1.2 million, Manafort's firm also earned $17 million between 2012 – 2014 consulting for Yanukovych’s centrist, pro-Russia ‘Party of Regions.’ Yanukovych fled from Ukraine to Russia after he was unseated in a 2014 coup.

The Podesta Group received more than $1.2 million from the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine for its work from 2012 to 2014, according to the new disclosures. The Podesta Group’s work included meetings with State Department officials Tom Nides and Jake Sullivan and staffers of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), as well as contacting congressional staff, reporters and think tank researchers. -Politico

As Mueller began to close in on Paul Manafort, Podesta Group clients became spooked.

Before dawn on Monday Oct. 23, 2017, NBC News reported that Mr. Mueller was preparing to indict Mr. Manafort and implicate Mr. Podesta regarding the Ukraine work. The phones started ringing: Clients wanted to know what was going on. The firm’s bank wanted to discuss its account.

The following night, Mr. Podesta threw himself a birthday party, serving hundreds of guests pizza from a brick-oven stove in his backyard in Kalorama. -WSJ

Podesta's problems began long before Mueller's probe grazed his orbit. During the summer of 2016, SunTrust bank severed ties with the Podesta Group over their work for a U.S. subsidiary of a sanctioned Russian bank - presumably Russia’s Kremlin-owned Sberbank - which paid the Podesta group $170,000 over a 6 month period through September 2016 to lobby against  economic sanctions handed down by the Obama administration over the 2014 annexation of Crimea

SunTrust Banks Inc. sought to sever ties with the firm over the sanctioned Russian bank. The Podesta Group’s chief executive sent an exasperated email to a colleague. “Tony thinks these types of clients have no repercussions on the firm,” she said, but “this should really provide evidence that we have to take the clients we bring on seriously.”

Following Mrs. Clinton’s defeat that November, the Podesta Group cut bonuses and commissions. -WSJ

Fast forward to October, 2017 - just one day after US prosecutors announced the indictments of Manafort and Gates, "an official with the firm's new bank, Chain Bridge Bankdemanded $655,000 in cash or collateral within 24 hours - or it would cut the firm's credit line."

Mr. Trump, who occasionally pointed an unwelcome spotlight on the firm, tweeted that day: “The biggest story yesterday, the one that has the Dems in a dither, is Podesta running from his firm.” -WSJ

Finally, in April of this year, the Podesta Group shuttered its doors in what the Wall Street Journal described as a "calamitous collapse":

Then he fella calamitous collapse propelled by unexpected blows, delivered by fate and made worse by hubris. Financial problems, legal threats and the election of President Donald Trump took it all away—the clients, the firm and, finally, Mr. Podesta’s position as one of Washington’s most influential players. -WSJ

Last but not least; in October 2017 a "long time" former Podesta Group executive with "direct personal knowledge" of the operation divulged several other aspects of life inside Tony Podesta's lobbying machine to Tucker Carlson, after he says he was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Perhaps he felt his testimony would end up on the cutting room floor, which detailed potential money laundering through Tony's art collection, Clinton Foundation links to Uranium One, and claims that the Russians were trying to establish inroads to the Obama White House through the Podestas. 

Notably, Tony Podesta visited the White House at least 114 times during the Obama administration according to White House visitor logs, and was said to have had ‘special access‘ to the administration through his brother, John Podesta, while lobbying for various pro-Kremlin interests.

Some of the ex-employee's allegations include: 

  • In 2013, John Podesta allegedly recommended that Tony hire David Adams, Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser at the State Department, giving them a “direct liaison” between the group’s Russian clients and Hillary Clinton’s State Department
  • Manafort worked with the Podesta Group since at least 2011 on behalf of Russian interests, and was at the Podesta Group offices "all the time, at least once a month," peddling Russian influence through a shell group called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU).
  • In late 2013 or early 2014, Tony Podesta and a representative for the Clinton Foundation reportedly met to discuss how to help Uranium One – the Russian owned company that controls 20 percent of American Uranium Production – and whose board members gave over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.
  • Tony Podesta was basically part of the Clinton Foundation.”
  • Believing she would win the 2016 election, Russia considered the Podesta Group’s connection to Hillary highly valuable.
  • Podesta Group was a nebulous organization with no board oversight and all financial decisions made by Tony Podesta. Carlson's source said payments and kickbacks could be hard for investigators to trace, describing it as a "highly secret treasure trove." One employee's only official job was to manage Tony Podesta's art collection, which could be used to conceal financial transactions.

Uranium One

The Podesta group also earned $180,000 lobbying for Russian-owned mining company Uranium One (U1) during the same period that the Clinton Foundation was receiving millions from individuals connected to the U1 transaction.

So - after Russia took control of the Uranium, the Podesta Group received $180,000 to lobby for Uranium One during the same period that the Clinton Foundation was receiving millions from U1 interests, and after Russia took majority ownership in the “20 percent” deal (source – you have to add up the years).

So while Paul Manafort sits in a jail cell for 23 hours per day during his trials (there are two), Tony Podesta has just been offered immunity to flip on him. How Swampy. 

Published:7/20/2018 6:52:52 AM
[Markets] Luongo: "US Politics Is Reaching A Breaking Point"

Authored by Tom Luongo,

It’s become clear to me U.S. politics is reaching a breaking point.  The level of hysteria over Donald Trump’s summit with Vladimir Putin is wholly disproportionate to what actually occurred.

Putin declared the Cold War over.  Pat Buchanan agrees and so do I.  For as much grief as I give Donald Trump for his many missteps in foreign policy, his going to first Singapore and then Helsinki in the service of peace and better relations is more than commendable.

It was necessary.

Donald Trump may not be the President many of us wanted.

But, like it or not, he is both the president we have and the one we deserve.  Our politics have been on a collision course with the bottom of the cesspit since 9/11.

We have bathed in the waters of “the archipelago of War Party think tanks beavering away inside the Beltway,” as Buchanan put it in his recent article, and come out stinking like either liberal interventionists or neoconservatives.

Or do I repeat myself.

Both are in service of a greatly-expanded Deep State and corrupted political and financial class that is the height of what Sam Francis termed “Anarcho-Tyranny.”  Lawlessness for those with power and both ends of the truncheon for those without.

The net result is a corporate media that is the very definition of fascism. I’m talkin Mussolini here, not the meaningless pablum of the frothing Twitterati of Soros’ and Brock’s “Resistance.”

Just take the phrase “All within the State, nothing outside the State” and replace ” the State” with “our State of Insanity,” and you’ve got it nailed.

As I wrote recently for Strategic Culture Foundation:

“Trump’s opponents both from members of the Deep State and media as well as those citizens supporting ‘The Resistance’ are so unhinged they have become indistinguishable from Colonel Jack T. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove.

I swear I saw a tweet from Obama Administration CIA Director John Brennan discussing bodily fluids, but I may have misread it.

They have nurtured their own angst and denial at having lost an election and erected a bogeyman in Vladimir Putin as the only way in which the disgusting Trump could possibly have won.”

Given the best these people can do is hang Trump with the term ‘traitor’ so casually is prima facia evidence of 1) their desperation and 2) their insanity.  Trump cannot be a traitor for going out and executing one of the main functions of the President, meeting with foreign leaders.

The insanity stoked by real traitors like James Comey, John Brennan, Bill Browder, and John McCain who did conspire with foreign governments (the U.K., Ukraine and yes, Russia) to bring down a sitting President has people still believing that they can overturn the election and award the Presidency to Hillary Clinton ex post facto.

As lawless as the United States has become, even that is a little beyond the pale… but only just a little.

From Russia With Love

Vladimir Putin took a cue from Trump’s masterful handling of the media to inject a few tons of reality into the minds of people all around the world.  Remember, most people in the U.S. have never heard Putin speak.

Most only see him the way the media and want you to see him, since most Americans are quite busy people living their over-stuffed and over-stressed lives. But, many understand the importance of Trump and Putin sitting down to air grievances and exchange offers.

Because they are still rational enough to fear two nuclear powers not on speaking terms.

Putin declared the Cold War over, even though it wasn’t of his design.  Trump, for his part, said U.S./Russian relations have never been worse but that changed a few hours previous.

A collective sigh of relief went up from billions around the world as the Two Most Hated Men in the Western World mutually declared that peace between us was far more important than politics.

And the only thing the political class could do was wail.

Putin took every opportunity to speak directly to Trump’s base, knowing that if he mentioned something they would look into it.

This is why he specifically brought up Misters Browder and George Soros.   He wants the coverage of Russia and himself to change.  And those two men, along with David Brock, spend a lot of time maintaining the Putin-as-Cthulhu meme.

If anything this was the most influential thing a Russian has done to affect a U.S. election since the fall of the Soviet Union, given the size of the audience.

Nothing some Russian internet trolls or even members of his Intelligence Services could come close.  That we have become so brittle, so thin-skinned and frankly so childish as to believe that some guys poking around in John Podesta’s e-mail box is the height of national security says more about us than about them.

Trump is Truly Pro-Life

At the end of the day Trump made the salient point about the investigation into Russia’s interference into the election by bringing up the servers that the FBI still has not examined.

Trump said simply, “Prove the allegation.  Prove that there was malfeasance and I’ll take that to Mr. Putin.”  But, they can’t prove it.

And in all of the foaming condemnation of Trump for refusing to accept the word of the intelligence agencies on this issue one very important point seems to be forgotten.

If Trump is so illegitimate because of Russian interference in our election, which is now a given according to Paul Ryan and if the proof exists and the Intelligence agencies who are without reproach have this proof then can someone on the Gods Green Earth Tell Me...

...WHY IS THIS MAN STILL PRESIDENT?

If our hard-working, salt-of-the-earth members of Federal Law Enforcement and Intelligence Community are so competent that it is “treasonous” to suggest otherwise by their boss, then why have they allowed this ‘traitorous scumbag’ to continue discharge his duties of the Office of the President of the United States?

If they know this and can prove it why haven’t they done this yet?  To not do so, knowing a traitor sits in the White House acting on behalf of a foreign government is itself treason.

Those of you reading this who just know in your heart of hearts that Trump is a Russian spook, secretly in the employ of Putin, I ask you why is it so hard for you to confront this basic question?

You base this ‘knowledge’ on the fact that 17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies said they are confident Russia interfered with the election.  And yet, these same people cannot and will not indict Trump or coerce him into resigning.

Nixon resigned when he was caught.  It was obvious to everyone.

The problem is that now, after all this time, there is no credible argument against Trump.  And every day those crying ‘treason’ are doing so to a smaller and smaller echo chamber.

Just like Misters Soros and Browder are speaking to a smaller and smaller group of people who believe Vladimir Putin is the devil himself.  Soros came out and admitted recently that he’s losing on all fronts.

“I’m standing for principles whether I win or lose,” Soros told me this spring. But, he went on, “unfortunately, I’m losing too much in too many places right now.”

The net is closing on Browder as the sun is setting on his influence in Congress.  John McCain is dying, there will be a complete overhaul of The House and Senate this fall which will eventually lead to the repeal of the odious Magnitsky Act.

Browder is scared that Trump makes good on Putin’s offer to Mr. Mueller so he’s on every dead-legacy news outlet with fewer viewers than QVC at 3am pleading his case.

Millions just went to Putin’s awful Russia and had the time of their lives.

The real traitors are squawking today because they know who they are.  Trump and Putin spoke to a world tired of their games and tired of the lies.

While things still suck, thanks to both of them for now at least, we can be reasonably sure the bombs will stay in their silos.

And this is something the New Dr. Strangelove’s of the Left are lamenting.

*  *  *

Please support the production of content like this and my ability to turn it into tangible, forward-thinking investment opportunities by joining my Patreon and subscribing to the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter.

Published:7/18/2018 7:14:34 PM
[Media] Butina butts in (Scott Johnson) On Monday the Department of Justice (Main Justice) announced that it has charged Russian national Maria Butina with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russia. The complaint charging Butina — there isn’t much to it — is posted here. The Department of Justice press release is posted here. Whatever meat is on this particular bone comes from the supporting affidavit of FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson. It is Published:7/18/2018 11:39:27 AM
[Politics] Twitter SCORCHES activist James Comey after he tweeted some revealing advice James Comey, former FBI Director turned political activist, had some revealing advice for Twitter late last night and it didn’t go over well. Here’s the tweet: Just in case that tweet by . . . Published:7/18/2018 9:34:29 AM
[Congress] The Comey endorsement (Scott Johnson) This just in! Former FBI Director James Comey endorses the takeover of Congress by Democrats — in the name of the Founding Fathers, or at least in the name of Publius. Those of us who have been following the the exploits of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies working to undermine the Trump presidency will not be greatly shocked by this. Those of us who find Comey a rich source Published:7/18/2018 9:34:29 AM
[Markets] Democrats Call Russia Meddling "Act Of War", Urge Cyber Attack On Moscow Banks In Retaliation

President Trump's refusal to condemn Russia for allegations of meddling in the 2016 US election while accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial has triggered many on the left along with never-Trump conservatives in a blind rage. 

After declaring Trump "treasonous" and calling for a coup, many on the left are now calling Russia's alleged hacking an act of war, with some suggesting it was a modern Pearl Harbor. Aside from the 2,403 Americans who died in Pearl Harbor that just had their deaths casually compared to an alleged cybercrime, sure. 

Former Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Adviser to President Bush and CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Frances Townsend is one of those people - tweeting on Tuesday night: "Putin's Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor. It was an Act of War and we should recognize it as such.

Politico drew the same copmparison with their article: "Putin's attack on the US is new Pearl Harbor," while trotting out the "Act of War" language as well.

Members of the House and Senate have been briefed, but remain deadlocked in partisan bickering. Some in the House have spent more time investigating the investigators than they have in trying to hold Russia accountable. Trump’s suggestion to accept Russian investigators into this process adds a new layer to the sideshow. When right of the boom feels like left of the boom, it’s easy to miss the fact that what the Kremlin did—is doing—was, and is, an act of war. -Politico

Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN) - the guy who wanted to give disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok the Purple Heart - told The Hill's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball that Russian interference was clearly an act of war, and that the U.S. should have hit back with attacks on Russian targets

It was a foreign interference with our basic Democratic values. The underpinnings of Democratic society is elections, and free elections, and they invaded our country. A cyber attack that made Russian society valueless. They could have gone into Russian banks, Russian government. Our cyber abilities are such that we could have attacked them with a cyber attack that would have crippled Russia. -The Hill

Meanwhile, as Breitbart's Josh Caplan notes, CNN's Chris Cuomo is stoking the fire: 

CNN New Day host Chris Cuomo repeatedly accused Russia of “election hacking” to wage war against the U.S. “The big, ugly white elephant in the room will be the U.S. election hacking,” Cuomo speculated. “We’ve been calling it meddling, but I’m trying to stay away from the word because it’s just way too mild. This is an act of war.

The CNN host described the Russian hacking allegations as “the truth”: “How does [Donald Trump] raise the act of war of the hacking and different attacks during the U.S. election when Vladimir Putin knows damn well that President Trump doesn’t really believe the truth and doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in the event itself?” -Breitbart

Marketwatch's Rex Nutting suggested that "Russia's ongoing attack on our democracy amounts to an act of war," while criticizing President Trump's meeting with Putin.

Russia’s ongoing attack on our democracy amounts to an act of war. But instead of confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin at a joint press conference in Finland on Monday, Donald Trump praised him. Instead of standing up to Putin, Trump stood by him. By his actions, Trump is violating his oath, in which he “solemnly swore” to not only “faithfully execute” his duties as president and commander in chief of the armed forces, but also to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution. -MarketWatch

Not everone's on the warpath...

Business Insider senior editor Josh Barro injected some common sense into the debate, tweeting "People like to throw this term around, "act of war." I don't think they're being very thoughtful about what that means. An act of war justifies military action."

Author Michael Malice offered some perspective: 

Others questioned the sanity of the MSM and politicians alike for casually throwing around the notion of war:

And Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York offers up some suggestions for why President Trump does not accept the Intelligence Community's assessment on Russian election interference: 

Is every country whose elections the United States meddled in now entitled to retaliate for our "acts of war"? 

Published:7/18/2018 9:34:28 AM
[Politics] Twitter SCORCHES activist James Comey after he tweeted some revealing advice James Comey, former FBI Director turned political activist, had some revealing advice for Twitter late last night and it didn’t go over well. Here’s the tweet: Just in case that tweet by . . . Published:7/18/2018 9:07:59 AM
[Russia investigation] Devin Nunes unplugged (Scott Johnson) House Intelligence Committee Chairman sat for an interview with his Wisconsin colleague Sean Duffy. The interview was recorded for Rep. Duffy’s Plaidcast interview. Adam Kredo reports on the interview for the Washington Free Beacon in “Intel Chair: FBI, DOJ Obstructing Trump Probe in Hope of Dem Takeover in Congress.” I have tracked down an embeddable version of the podcast and posted it below (about 30 minutes). I have found Rep. Published:7/18/2018 5:32:21 AM
[Markets] Pepe Escobar: Russophobia Is A 24/7 Industry

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

US President stirs up a hornet's nest with his press conference alongside his Russian counterpart, but it seems that no 'grand bargain' was struck on Syria, and on Iran they appear to strongly disagree

"The Cold War is a thing of the past.” By the time President Putin said as much during preliminary remarks at his joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, it was clear this would not stand. Not after so much investment by American conservatives in Cold War 2.0.

Russophobia is a 24/7 industry, and all concerned, including its media vassals, remain absolutely livid with the “disgraceful” Trump-Putin presser. Trump has “colluded with Russia.” How could the President of the United States promote “moral equivalence” with a “world-class thug”?

Multiple opportunities for apoplectic outrage were in order.

Trump: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago.”

Putin: “The United States could be more decisive in nudging Ukrainian leadership.”

Trump: “There was no collusion… I beat Hillary Clinton easily.”

Putin: “We should be guided by facts. Can you name a single fact that would definitively prove collusion? This is nonsense.”

Then, the clincher: the Russian president calls [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller’s ‘bluff’, offering to interrogate the Russians indicted for alleged election meddling in the US if Mueller makes an official request to Moscow. But in exchange, Russia would expect the US to question Americans on whether Moscow should face charges for illegal actions.

Trump hits it out of the park when asked whether he believes US intelligence, which concluded that Russia did meddle in the election, or Putin, who strongly denies it.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

As if this was not enough, Trump doubles down invoking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server. “I really do want to see the server. Where is the server? I want to know. Where is the server and what is the server saying?”

It was inevitable that a strategically crucial summit between the Russian and American presidencies would be hijacked by the dementia of the US news cycle.

Trump was unfazed. He knows that the DNC computer hard-drives – the source of an alleged “hacking” – simply “disappeared” while in the custody of US intel, FBI included. He knows the bandwidth necessary for file transfer was much larger than a hack might have managed in the time allowed. It was a leak, a download into a flash-drive.

Additionally, Putin knows that Mueller knows he will never be able to drag 12 Russian intelligence agents into a US courtroom. So the – debunked – indictment, announced only three days before Helsinki, was nothing more than a pre-emptive, judicial hand grenade.

No wonder John Brennan, a former CIA director under the Obama administration, is fuming. “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to exceed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

How Syria and Ukraine are linked

However, there are reasons to expect at least minimal progress on three fronts in Helsinki: a solution for the Syria tragedy, an effort to limit nuclear weapons and save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty signed in 1987 by Reagan and Gorbachev, and a positive drive to normalize US-Russia relations, away from Cold War 2.0.

Trump knew he had nothing to offer Putin to negotiate on Syria. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) now controls virtually 90% of national territory. Russia is firmly established in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially after signing a 49-year agreement with Damascus. 

Even considering careful mentions of Israel on both sides, Putin certainly did not agree to force Iran out of Syria.

No “grand bargain” on Iran seems to be in the cards. The top adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was in Moscow last week. The Moscow-Tehran entente cordiale seems unbreakable. In parallel, as Asia Times has learned, Bashar al-Assad has told Moscow he might even agree to Iran leaving Syria, but Israel would have to return the occupied Golan Heights. So, the status quo remains.

Putin did mention both presidents discussed the Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and essentially they, strongly, agree to disagree. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have written a letter formally rejecting an appeal for carve-outs in finance, energy and healthcare by Germany, France and the UK. A maximum economic blockade remains the name of the game. Putin may have impressed on Trump the possible dire consequences of a US oil embargo on Iran, and even the (far-fetched) scenario of Tehran blocking the Strait of Hormuz.

Judging by what both presidents said, and what has been leaked so far, Trump may not have offered an explicit US recognition of Crimea for Russia, or an easing of Ukraine-linked sanctions.

It’s reasonable to picture a very delicate ballet in terms of what they really discussed in relation to Ukraine. Once again, the only thing Trump could offer on Ukraine is an easing of sanctions. But for Russia the stakes are much higher.

Putin clearly sees Southwest Asia and Central and Eastern Europe as totally integrated. The Black Sea basin is where Russia intersects with Ukraine, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Or, historically, where the former Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires converged.

A Greater Black Sea implies the geopolitical convergence of what’s happening in both Syria and Ukraine. That’s why for the Kremlin only an overall package matters. It’s not by accident that Washington identified these two nodes – destabilizing Damascus and turning the tables in Kiev – to cause problems for Moscow.

Putin sees a stable Syria and a stable Ukraine as essential to ease his burden in dealing with the Balkans and the Baltics. We’re back once again to that classic geopolitical staple, the Intermarium (“between the seas”). That’s the ultra-contested rimland from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south – and to the Caucasus in the east. Once, that used to frame the clash between Germany and Russia. Now, that frames the clash between the US and Russia.

In a fascinating echo of the summit in Helsinki, Western strategists do lose their sleep gaming on Russia being able to “Finlandize” this whole rimland.

And that brings us, inevitably, to what could be termed The German Question. What is Putin’s ultimate goal: a quite close business and strategic relationship with Germany (German business is in favor)? Or some sort of entente cordiale with the US? EU diplomats in Brussels are openly discussing that underneath all the thunder and lightning, this is the holy of the holies.

Take a walk on the wild side

The now notorious key takeaway from a Trump interview at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland, before Helsinki, may offer some clues.

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”

Putin certainly knows it. But even Trump, while not being a Clausewitzian strategist, may have had an intuition that the post-WWII liberal order, built by a hegemonic US and bent on permanent US military hegemony over the Eurasian landmass while subduing a vassal Europe, is waning.

While Trump firebombs this United States of Europe as an “unfair” competitor of the US, it’s essential to remember that it was the White House that asked for the Helsinki summit, not the Kremlin.

Trump treats the EU with undisguised disdain. He would love nothing better than for the EU to dissolve. His Arab “partners” can be easily controlled by fear. He has all but declared economic war on China and is on tariff overdrive – even as the IMF warns that the global economy runs the risk of losing around $500 billion in the process. And he faces the ultimate intractable, the China-Russia-Iran axis of Eurasian integration, which simply won’t go away.

So, talking to “world-class thug” Putin – in usual suspect terminology – is a must. A divide-and-rule here, a deal there – who knows what some hustling will bring? To paraphrase Lou Reed, New Trump City “is the place where they say “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

During the Helsinki presser, Putin, fresh from Russia’s spectacular World Cup soft power PR coup, passed a football to Trump. The US president said he would give it to his son, Barron, and passed the ball to First Lady Melania. Well, the ball is now in Melania’s court.

Published:7/17/2018 7:02:35 PM
[] Nunes Unchained: DOJ and FBI Have Bet All Of Their Chips on Democrats Winning the House, Which Will End Investigations Into Their Misbehavior; 90% of Reporters "Essentially an Arm of the Democrat Party" FBI and DOJ are putting all their chips on Republicans losing the House so that their Democratic allies can shut down the longstanding Intelligence Committee probe, which has unearthed information disputing claims of ?collusion? in recent months. https://t.co/04DrTak9xa— Nick Short... Published:7/17/2018 6:10:14 PM
[Media] Fact-checking the fact-checkers: Byron York looks into Trump’s claim about those DNC servers

The DNC never turned over its hacked servers to the FBI, so why are fact-checkers so quick to dismiss Trump's claim as "unmoored from reality"?

The post Fact-checking the fact-checkers: Byron York looks into Trump’s claim about those DNC servers appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/17/2018 4:16:30 PM
[National Security] Intel Chair: FBI, DOJ Obstructing Trump Probe in Hope of Dem Takeover in Congress

The chair of the House Intelligence Committee accused the FBI and Department of Justice of stonewalling a sprawling investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia with the hope of running out the clock until the November elections, when they anticipate Democrats will regain control of the House and dissolve an ongoing probe that has uncovered evidence U.S. officials sought to cripple Trump's campaign.

The post Intel Chair: FBI, DOJ Obstructing Trump Probe in Hope of Dem Takeover in Congress appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/17/2018 3:45:46 PM
[Politics] Issa: Trump Trusts FBI, Dealing With 'Bad Actor' in Strzok President Donald Trump trusts the members of the FBI, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Tuesday, but the United States is "dealing with a bad actor or a few bad actors" with people like agent Peter Strzok. Published:7/17/2018 2:59:02 PM
[Markets] "Detente Bad, Cold War Good"

Authored by Craig Murray,

The entire “liberal” media and political establishment of the Western world reveals its militarist, authoritarian soul today with the screaming and hysterical attacks on the very prospect of detente with Russia. Peace apparently is a terrible thing; a renewed arms race, with quite literally trillions of dollars pumped into the military industrial complex and hundreds of thousands dying in proxy wars, is apparently the “liberal” stance.

Political memories are short, but just 15 years after Iraq was destroyed and the chain reaction sent most of the Arab world back to the dark ages, it is now “treason” to question the word of the Western intelligence agencies, which deliberately and knowingly produced a fabric of lies on Iraqi WMD to justify that destruction.

It would be more rational for it to be treason for leaders to blindly accept the word of the intelligence services.

This is especially true on “Russia hacking the election” when, after three years of crazed accusations and millions of man hours by lawyers and CIA and FBI investigators, they are yet to produce any substantive evidence of accusations which are plainly nuts in the first place. This ridiculous circus has found a few facebook ads and indicted one Russian for every 100,000 man hours worked, for unspecified or minor actions which had no possible bearing on the election result.

There are in fact genuine acts of election rigging to investigate. In particular, the multiple actions of the DNC and Democratic Party establishment to rig the Primary against Bernie Sanders do have some very real documentary evidence to substantiate them, and that evidence is even public. Yet those real acts of election rigging are ignored and instead the huge investigation is focused on catching those who revealed Hillary’s election rigging. This gets even more absurd – the investigation then quite deliberately does not focus on catching whoever leaked Hillary’s election rigging, but instead seeks to prove that the Russians hacked Hillary’s election-rigging, which I can assure you they did not. Meanwhile, those of us who might help them with the truth if they were actually interested, are not questioned at all.

The Russophobic witch hunt has its first real life victim in 29 year old Maria Butina, whose life is to be destroyed for chatting up members of the NRA in order to increase Russian influence. With over 20 years of diplomatic experience, I can tell you that every country, including the UK and US, has bit part players of its own nationals who self-start in a country to make their way, and if they gain any traction are tapped by their national security service as potential “agents of influence”. I could name quite literally scores of such people, but have no desire to get anyone in trouble.

The elevation of Butina into a huge threat and part of a gigantic plot, is to ignore the way the United States and the United Kingdom and indeed all major governments’ Embassies behave around the globe.

The war-hawks who were devastated by the loss of champion killer Hillary now see the prospect of their very worst fear coming true. Their very worst fear is the outbreak of peace and international treaties of arms control. Hence the media and political establishment today has reached peaks of hysteria never before seen. Pursuing peace is “treason” and the faux left now stand starkly exposed.

Published:7/17/2018 1:59:12 PM
[3aac5aed-3438-4840-a0d4-75214f9e3210] After Helsinki, here's the speech Trump should give Here's just some of what I wished President Trump would say in a speech to the nation: I am moved to act tonight in good part by last week’s spectacle on Capitol Hill featuring former FBI romantic partners Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. Published:7/17/2018 1:01:44 PM
[Markets] Ilargi Meijer : Treason? Get A Life!

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Yeah, just keep ’em coming, right, so that when the last one falls flat on its face people will have already forgotten about it and instead focus on the new one. It’s been the modus operandi of the US MSM ever since Donald Trump emerged as an actual presidential candidate, and they haven’t let go.

They realize by now that it divides the nation, it costs them a large chunk of their potential readers and viewers, and creates chaos all around, but the bottom line is it makes them money. Because those people who fall into the echo chamber trap, tumble into it fast and furious, and will gladly pay to read yet another installment of how bad the man really is.

But it is getting out of hand, guys and gals, it is becoming a real and present danger to the -formerly- United States. The anti-Russia propaganda machine far predates Trump, but manufacturing an ever closer link between the two has proven to be a masterstroke of media genius.

That Vladimir Putin is an existential threat to the US and indeed the entire western world is a narrative taken straight out of Edward Bernays’ playbook. And it works like a charm. The problem is, it is also the biggest threat to peace anywhere on the globe that we have ever seen since WWII.

Putin is a patriot who came to the fore in mostly unexplained ways, named by American puppet Boris Yeltsin as his successor, only to save his country from US-induced plundering and restore Russia as a functioning country. Far from perfect, but functioning. Don’t forget that Russian life-expectancy fell by many years in the post-Gorbachev era. And then look now.

Yes, Putin uses some hard-handed tactics from time to time. He has no choice: the US threat to Russia is an ongoing one. There’s still a huge economic threat, of which US sanctions are but a minor part, there’s an intelligence threat, there’s NATO encroaching upon Russia’s borders.

Thus far, Putin has been able to counter them all. And his popularity among Russia’s population is far higher than that of any western politician. His people understand and recognize what he’s done and why he’s done it. He refuses for his country to be overrun and sold off to the highest bidders.

Just a few of the points of contention:

Crimea – The US tried to take away Russia’s only warm water port. Putin countered with what through non-western eyes was tactical masterpiece; no violence, no shots fired, an election that saw an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to (re-)join Russia.

Connected to Crimea is Ukraine. Putin had -and has- to protect Russian-speaking people in the region. Who were going to be under threat from the very dubious, neo-nazi linked government installed by the US after the coup. All Putin has been able to achieve so far is a very brittle stand still. But ‘his’ people in Eastern Ukraine have strong links to the Russian area just across the border. He’s not going to sell them out.

Connected to Ukraine is MH17. The Netherlands commemorates the victims of the shooting down again today. Several years of investigating have come up with no conclusive proof, even if they say it has. The problem is that the investigation was -is- led by The Netherlands itself. You don’t let the biggest victim conduct an investigation. What’s worse: the Ukraine was actively involved in the investigation, even when it was a potential culprit. Try to write that scenario into the plot of one of your favorite TV crime series. Won’t fly.

Then the novichok ‘events’ in the UK. Again, no evidence, but tons of allegations. And if Russia says it’s not guilty, everyone says and writes: of course they would say that. They get accused anyway. Still, no evidence is no evidence. the time that intelligence agencies were believed on their word is over. And they did it to themselves.

In the regard, it’s useful to see that Robert Mueller was one of the people who ‘swore’ that the Weapons of Mass Destruction ‘evidence’ against Saddam Hussein was real. We now know it was complete and utter fiction. Intelligence has overplayed its hand, and they won’t get it back for a long time.

People now realize they cannot be trusted. Well, not those who read and view the MSM, but then that’s sort of the entire point, isn’t it? That’s where the dividing line is being drawn. The CIA, FBI et al present a view of the world in concoction with the media that they think a sufficient number of people will swallow, and that’s really all they care for.

And boy, it is successful. The vitriol spewed over the Helsinki summit is something to behold. #TreasonSummit was a trending hashtag. For a meeting that was long overdue and aimed at calming down tensions. The by now very poorly named ‘social’ media play an ever bigger role in these things.

People can say whatever they want on them, without feeling they’ll ever actually be tested on their claims. One after the other, and each one trying to outdo the last. It all leads up to one particular worldview at the exclusion of all others. And again, that is very dangerous.

Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russians, which just happened to coincide with the first meeting of American and Russian presidents in an exceptionally long time, has been shot full of holes by many commentators, see for instance Adam Carter and Aaron Mate, but those views won’t make it to CNN or the NYT.

But despite the fact that the indictment is hollow and riddled with holes, it’s been a large part of why people call Trump a traitor for meeting with Putin. It ties together their opinions, carefully built along Bernays principles over the past two years. It’s a Matrix, it’s a trap. But then they throw in another story, of a 29 year-old Russian(!) girl arrested for allegedly setting up links between Russia and the NRA when she was 24 or so, and that replaces the Mueller indictment in most attention spans. And so the carrousel goes on. The torture never stops.

See, the idea is that you get yourself informed and then form your own opinion. Not that you let others pre-cook and pre-chew your opinions for you. Still, once you’re inside the deafening echo chamber, that’s what inevitably happens. Because there’s so much one-sided innuendo in there, your head aches and you just give up all resistance. Just to have a quiet moment.

And so very many Americans end up believing that indeed their president is guilty of treason. Because so many pundits claim that he is. But how many of them understand what treason really is, how serious an allegation it is? Is doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? Because all those others say he is, and they can’t all be wrong. And the echo chamber gives you a headache.

This is where I should say that somebody better do something about this, but it’s hard to see what. The divide has grown into a chasm. And that both sides are equally to blame for that doesn’t excuse either side’s wilful blindness. But yes, I hear you, it makes them money.

Still, if a US president can no longer talk to another president without being accused of treason, you’re in a scary predicament.

At some point you’re going to need real proof. And Bob Mueller is not going to get it for you. That’s what his indictment of the 12 Russians, as well as the moment he released it, makes abundantly clear. Mueller is -forever- going to hide behind the ‘Trust me, I’m the FBI’ line. Well, he betrayed you before. Wisen up. Demand evidence.

We know Mueller betrayed America when he made false claims over WMD. We have no evidence that Trump betrayed his country, we have only allegations. He may be a poor choice for president, but that’s not the same thing.

Published:7/17/2018 12:02:47 PM
[Markets] Rod Rosenstein Summoned To White House

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was summoned to the White House Tuesday morning, four days after he indicted 12 Russian Intelligence officers for hacking the 2016 US election. The indictment came one business day before President Trump held a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

It is unclear if Rosenstein met with President Trump, who is reportedly still in the residence and had not made an appearance in the West Wing.

Rosenstein's White House appearance comes amid reports that members of the GOP House Freedom Caucus have drafted articles of impeachment for Rosenstein, calling it a "last resort," as frustrations mount over the DOJ "slow walking" or delaying the delivery of documents vital to congressional investigations into the FBI's conduct during the 2016 US election. 

On Monday, Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan also urged DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate whether Rosenstein threatened congressional staffers with "subpoena" earlier in the year.  

“This notion Mr. Rosenstein threatened to use his official investigative powers as Deputy Attorney General to retaliate against rank-and-file staff members for sending written oversight requests raises concerns he has abused his authority in the context of this investigation,” the two Republican lawmakers wrote, in a letter obtained by Fox News.

The letter comes after Rosenstein apparently threatened to “subpoena” emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff on a Republican-led House committee during a meeting earlier this year, according to emails reviewed and first reported by Fox News.

The congressmen said in the letter that two witnesses can provide contemporaneous notes and sworn statements of the meeting where the alleged threats were made by Rosenstein. The deputy AG recently testified to the House Judiciary and Oversight committees and denied making any threats. -Fox News

Speculation also mounted last year that President Trump might fire Rosenstein, after FBI agents conducted raids at the home and office of his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, according to The Hill

Meanwhile, Rosenstein has called for a unified approach to countering foreign meddling.

"When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans," he said. "Our response must not depend on who was victimized."

Published:7/17/2018 11:31:21 AM
[Markets] Mish: "Mass Hysteria"

Submitted by Mike Mish Shedlock

My article Congratulations to President Trump for an Excellent Summit with Putin spawned numerous some I could not tell if they were sarcastic or not.

For example, reader Brian stated " There is zero doubt now that Putin stole the election from Hillary. So much so that she MUST be given the nomination again in 2020. All potential challengers must step aside. To refuse her the 2020 nomination would be evidence of traitorous activities with Putin."'

I congratulated Brian for brilliant sarcasm but he piled on. It now seems he was serious.

Mainstream media, the Left an the Right were in general condemnation.

Numerous cries of treason emerged from the Left and the Right (see the above link)

It Happened - No Trial Necessary

A friend I highly respect commented "There is simply no question that they did it. You can legitimately claim that it’s not important or that there has been no tie to Trump shown. On the Russians’ side, they can say, screw off, we were pursuing our interests. But you can’t take the view it did not happen. It happened."

There is a question who did it. Indictments are just that, not proof.

The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him.

They Are All Liars

It's a mystery why anyone would believe these proven liars. That does not mean I believe Putin either. They are all capable liars.

Let's step back from the absurd points of view to reality.

US Meddling

The US tries to influence elections in other countries and has a history of assisting the forcible overthrow of governments we don’t like.

  • Vietnam
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Drone policy

All of the above are massive disasters of US meddling. They are all actions of war, non-declared, and illegal.

I cannot and do not condone such actions even if they were legal.

911 and ISIS resulted from US meddling. The migration crisis in the EU is a direct consequence of US meddling. The Iranian revolution was a direct consequence of US meddling.

Now we are pissing and moaning that Russia spent a few million dollars on Tweets to steal the election. Please be serious.

Let's Assume

Let's assume for one second the DNC hack was Russia-based.

Is there a reason to not be thankful for evidence that Hillary conspired to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination?

Pity Hillary?

We are supposed to pity Hillary?

The outrage from the Right is amazing.

It's pretty obvious Senator John McCain wanted her to win. Neither faced a war or military intervention they disapproved of.

Common Sense

Let's move on to a common sense position from Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept.

  1. Debate: Is Trump-Putin Summit a “Danger to America” or Crucial Diplomacy Between Nuclear Powers?
  2. Greenwald vs. Cirincione: Should Trump Have Canceled Summit After U.S. Indictment of Russian Agents?

Greenwald vs. Joe Cirincione

?GLENN GREENWALD: In 2007, during the Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama was asked whether he would meet with the leaders of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions. He said he would. Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t, because it would be used as a propaganda tool for repressive dictators. And liberals celebrated Obama. It was one of his greatest moments and one of the things that I think helped him to win the Democratic nomination, based on the theory that it’s always better to meet with leaders, even if they’re repressive, than to isolate them or to ignore them. In 1987, when President Reagan decided that he wanted to meet with Soviet leaders, the far right took out ads against him that sounded very much just like what we just heard from Joe, accusing him of being a useful idiot to Soviet and Kremlin propaganda, of legitimizing Russian aggression and domestic repression at home.

GLENN GREENWALD: It is true that Putin is an authoritarian and is domestically repressive. That’s true of many of the closest allies of the United States, as well, who are even far more repressive, including ones that fund most of the think tanks in D.C., such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. And I think the most important issue is the one that we just heard, which is that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well.

?JOE CIRINCIONE: Right. Let’s be clear. Glenn, there’s nothing wrong with meeting. I agree with you. Leaders should meet, and we should be negotiating with our foes, with those people we disagree with. We’re better off when we do that. And the kind of attacks you saw on Barack Obama were absolutely uncalled for, and you’re right to condemn those.

?JOE CIRINCIONE: What I’m worried about is this president meeting with this leader of Russia and what they’re going to do. That’s what’s so wrong about this summit coming now, when you have Donald Trump, who just attacked the NATO alliance, who calls our European allies foes, who turns a blind eye to what his director of national intelligence called the warning lights that are blinking red. About what? About Russian interference in our elections. So you just had a leader of Russia, Putin, a skilled tactician, a skilled strategist, interfere in a U.S. election. To what? To help elect Donald Trump.

GLENN GREENWALD: I think this kind of rhetoric is so unbelievably unhinged, the idea that the phishing links sent to John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee are the greatest threat to American democracy in decades. People are now talking about it as though it’s on par with 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that the lights are blinking red, in terms of the threat level. This is lunacy, this kind of talk. I spent years reading through the most top-secret documents of the NSA, and I can tell you that not only do they send phishing links to Russian agencies of every type continuously on a daily basis, but do far more aggressive interference in the cybersecurity of every single country than Russia is accused of having done during the 2016 election. To characterize this as some kind of grave existential threat to American democracy is exactly the kind of rhetoric that we heard throughout the Bush-Cheney administration about what al-Qaeda was like.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Why does Donald Trump feel that he has to meet alone with Putin? What is going on there? I mean, that—when Ronald Reagan met with Gorbachev at Reykjavik, at least he had George Shultz with him. The two of them, you know, were meeting with Gorbachev and his foreign minister at the time. This is—it’s deeply disturbing. It makes you feel that Trump is hiding something, that he is either trying to make a deal with Putin, reporting something to Putin. I tell you, I know U.S. intelligence officials—I’m probably going right into Glenn’s wheelhouse here. But U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about what Donald Trump might be revealing to the Russian leader, the way he revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister when he met privately with him in the Oval Office at the beginning of his term. No, I don’t like it one bit.

GLENN GREENWALD: I continue to be incredibly frustrated by the claim that we hear over and over, and that we just heard from Joe, that Donald Trump does everything that Vladimir Putin wants, and that if he were a paid agent of the Russian government, there’d be—he would be doing nothing different. I just went through the entire list of actions that Donald Trump has taken and statements that he has made that are legitimately adverse to the interest of the Russian government, that Barack Obama specifically refused to do, despite bipartisan demands that he do them, exactly because he didn’t want to provoke more tensions between the United States and Russia. Sending lethal arms to Ukraine, bordering Russia, is a really serious adverse action against the interest of the Russian government. Bombing the Assad regime is, as well. Denouncing one of the most critical projects that the Russian government has, which is the pipeline to sell huge amounts of gas and oil to Germany, is, as well. So is expelling Russian diplomats and imposing serious sanctions on oligarchs that are close to the Putin regime. You can go down the list, over and over and over, in the 18 months that he’s been in office, and see all the things that Donald Trump has done that is adverse, in serious ways, to the interests of Vladimir Putin, including ones that President Obama refused to do. So, this film, this movie fairytale, that I know is really exciting—it’s like international intrigue and blackmail, like the Russians have something over Trump; it’s like a Manchurian candidate; it’s from like the 1970s thrillers that we all watched—is inane—you know, with all due respect to Joe. I mean, it’s—but it’s in the climate, because it’s so contrary to what it is that we’re seeing. Now, this idea of meeting alone with Vladimir Putin, the only way that you would find that concerning is if you believed all that.

JOE CIRINCIONE: So, Trump knew that this indictment was coming down, before he went to Europe, and still he never says a word about it. What he does is continue his attacks on our alliances, i.e. he continues his attacks on our free press, he continues his attacks on FBI agents who were just doing their job, and supports this 10-hour show hearing that the House of Representatives had. It’s really unbelievable that Trump is doing these things and never says one word about it. He still has not said a word about those indictments.

GLENN GREENWALD: That’s because the reality is—and I don’t know if Donald Trump knows this or doesn’t know this, has stumbled into the truth or what—but the reality is that what the Russians did in 2016 is absolutely not aberrational or unusual in any way. The United—I’m sorry to say this, but it’s absolutely true. The United States and Russia have been interfering in one another’s domestic politics for since at least the end of World War II, to say nothing of what they do in far more extreme ways to the internal politics of other countries. Noam Chomsky was on this very program several months ago, and he talked about how the entire world is laughing at this indignation from the United States—”How dare you interfere in our democracy!”—when the United States not only has continuously in the past done, but continues to do far more extreme interference in the internal politics of all kinds of countries, including Russia.

GLENN GREENWALD: The United States funds oppositional groups inside Russia. The United States sent advisers and all kinds of operatives to try and elect Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s, because they perceived, accurately, that he was a drunk who would serve the interests of the United States more than other candidates who might have won. The United States interferes in Russian politics, and they interfere in their cyber systems, and they invade their email systems, and they invade all kinds of communications all the time. And so, to treat this as though it’s some kind of aberrational event, I think, is really kind of naive.

GLENN GREENWALD: It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton in 2016 who lost this election. The entire Democratic Party has collapsed as a national political force over the last decade. They’ve lost control of the Senate and of the House and of multiple statehouses and governorships. They’re decimated as a national political force. And the reason is exactly what Joe said. They become the party of international globalization. They’re associated with Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires and corporate interests, and have almost no connection to the working class. And that is a much harder conversation to have about why the Democrats have lost elections than just blaming a foreign villain and saying it’s because Vladimir Putin ran some fake Facebook ads and did some phishing emails. And I think that until we put this in perspective, about what Russia did in 2016 and the reality that the U.S. does that sort of thing all the time to Russia and so many other countries, we’re going to just not have the conversation that we need to be having about what these international institutions, that are so sacred—NATO and free trade and international trade organizations—have done to people all over the world, and the reason they’re turning to demagogues and right-wing extremists because of what these institutions have done to them. That’s the conversation we need to be having, but we’re not having, because we’re evading it by blaming everything on Vladimir Putin. And that, to me, is even more dangerous for our long-term prospects than this belligerence that’s in the air about how we ought to look at Moscow.

Indictments and First Year Law

Mish: I now wish to return to a statement my friend made regarding the idea "No question Russia did it".

From Glenn Greenwald

As far as the indictments from Mueller are concerned, it’s certainly the most specific accounting yet that we’ve gotten of what the U.S. government claims the Russian government did in 2016. But it’s extremely important to remember what every first-year law student will tell you, which is that an indictment is nothing more than the assertions of a prosecutor unaccompanied by evidence. The evidence won’t be presented until a trial or until Robert Mueller actually issues a report to Congress. And so, I would certainly hope that we are not at the point, which I think we seem to be at, where we are now back to believing that when the CIA makes statements and assertions and accusations, or when prosecutors make statements and assertions and accusations, unaccompanied by evidence that we can actually evaluate, that we’re simply going to believe those accusations on faith, especially when the accusations come from George W. Bush’s former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who repeatedly lied to Congress about Iraq and a whole variety of other issues. So, I think there we need some skepticism. But even if the Russians did everything that Robert Mueller claims in that indictment that they did, in the scheme of what the U.S. and the Russians do to one another and other countries, I think to say that this is somehow something that we should treat as a grave threat, that should mean that we don’t talk to them or that we treat them as an enemy, is really irrational and really quite dangerous.

Mish - Six Questions

  1. Is this a trial or a witch hunt?
  2. Do we need to see the evidence or do we believe known liars?
  3. Is Trump guilty of treason? Before we even see proof Putin was involved?
  4. Is the CIA incapable of fabricating evidence?
  5. Even if Russia interfered in the election, why should anyone have expected otherwise?
  6. Has everyone forgotten the US lies on WMDs already?

Irrational and Dangerous

I don't know about you, but I have no reason to believe known liars and hypocrites.

I disagree with Trump all the time, in fact, more often than not.

The amount of venom on Trump over this is staggering.

Adding a missing word, I stand by my previous statement: "Nearly every political action that generates this much complete nonsense and hysteria from the Left and Right is worthy of immense praise."

If you disagree please provide examples. The only two I can come up with are Pearl Harbor and 911. In both, the US was directly attacked.

For rebuttal purposes I offer Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Iran, WWI, treatment of Japanese-American citizens in WWII, and McCarthyism.

Greenwald accurately assesses the situation as "really irrational and really quite dangerous."

Indeed.

And if indictments and accusations were crimes, we wouldn't need a jury.

Published:7/17/2018 6:26:22 AM
[World] Peter Strzok's smirk a gold nugget for GOP

Enough of the smirking already.

When Peter Strzok, shamed FBI agent, sat before Congress with his smirky, smug expression and gave smirky, smug answers to valid questions voters wanted answered, seriously now, was there anyone in America, save the anti-President Donald Trumpers and hard-core leftists, who didn't want to slap ... Published:7/17/2018 4:27:39 AM

[US News] In other news: Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page testified again Monday, was ‘very forthcoming’

One congressman said that Lisa Page was significantly more cooperative than Peter Strzok.

The post In other news: Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page testified again Monday, was ‘very forthcoming’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/16/2018 7:23:17 PM
[Markets] US Officials Robbed Of Plutonium And Dirty Bomb Materials

We wish we could say this is from The Onion but it's a now viral story that's but the latest representation of extreme government incompetence in handling deadly radioactive materials. Two Department of Energy security officials tasked with transporting deadly substances left plutonium in the back of their Ford Expedition, where it was promptly stolen from a Marriott parking lot in San Antonio.

And over a year later and after what appears to be a ham-handed investigation that was prematurely shut down perhaps for fear of public embarrassment, authorities still have no clue as to the whereabouts of what the government admits are "bomb-usable materials".

Marriott parking lot, site of the Plutonium theft. San Antonio police said they responded to 87 thefts there in 2016 and 2017 alone. Via MySanAntonio

An investigative report by the watchdog group, the Center for Public Integrity, details a March 2017 "sensitive mission" by two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to transport dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit lab in San Antionio back to a high-secure government facility in Idaho. 

This involved specialized equipment, which the report describes as "a plastic-covered disk of plutonium, a material that can be used to fuel nuclear weapons, and another of cesium, a highly radioactive isotope that could potentially be used in a so-called 'dirty' radioactive bomb."

The moment where the theft is recounted is worth viewing in the original report, given how unbelievable the scenario:

But when they stopped at a Marriott hotel just off Highway 410, in a high-crime neighborhood filled with temp agencies and ranch homes, they left those sensors on the back seat of their rented Ford Expedition. When they awoke the next morning, the window had been smashed and the special valises holding these sensors and nuclear materials had vanished.

More than a year later, state and federal officials don’t know where the plutonium — one of the most valuable and dangerous substances on earth — is. Nor has the cesium been recovered.

Of course none of these embarrassing details were publicized by Department of Energy officials or the FBI, but by government watchdog researchers with the Center for Public Integrity, who were able to piece together the events based on obtaining local police reports which matched a blurb found in an internal Department of Energy memorandum. 

San Antonio police, the only law enforcement group to be forthcoming about the details of the case, told the report's authors they were "dumbfounded" that the Idaho lab experts didn't take more precautions in safeguarding the deadly substances. They “should have never left a sensitive instrument like this unattended in a vehicle,” a spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department said.

The lab security "experts" presumably had an immense amount of taxpayer provided resources at their disposal to safeguard the substances, according to the report:

The personnel from Idaho National Laboratory whose gear was stolen were part of the Off-Site Radioactive Source Recovery Program based at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, with an annual budget of about $17 million. Overseen by the National Nuclear Security Administration, the program has scooped up more than 38,000 bits of radioactive material loaned to research centers, hospitals and academic institutions since 1999 — averaging 70 such missions a year. No state has returned more borrowed nuclear materials than Texas, where the recovery program has collected 8,566 items. 

But apparently they preferred the security of their rented Ford Expedition to safeguard the most valuable and dangerous substances on earth.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission/Department of Energy: "The image on the left depicts plutonium samples, comparable in size to one that's been missing from Idaho State University for at least 14 years, beside a U.S. quarter. On the right, a Ludlum 3030 radiation meter like the one shown here was stolen from Idaho National Laboratory employees along with other detectors and samples of plutonium and cesium in March 2017." Via The Center For Public Integrity

When the Idaho lab — one of the many locations across the US where government and military nuclear material is stockpiled — was questioned by investigating San Antonio police about how much plutonium and cesium went missing, a spokesperson responded that "it wasn’t an important or dangerous amount”. And further, no official connected with the incident has indicated just what quantities were actually stolen, but merely downplayed it, saying "there is little or no danger from these sources being in the public domain," according to the Idaho lab spokesperson.

And it appears that FBI joint terrorism taskforce investigators contacted by local detectives may not have ever bothered to show up at the scene of the crime, as San Antonio police spokesman "Ortiz said the department called an FBI liaison to a joint terrorism taskforce, who advised them to take as many fingerprints in the car as possible. But detectives found no useable prints, no worthwhile surveillance video of the crime, and no witnesses. A check of local pawn shops — to see if someone had tried to sell the sensors — turned up nothing." 

The police spokesman further said they were told to close the investigation to avoid "chasing a ghost" as the Idaho National Laboratory deemed the missing quantities of material insignificant. 

But perhaps most shocking (or not shocking at all, considering this is federal bureaucracy at work) is that it doesn't appear there were any negative repercussions for the two security officials responsible for the loss:

Lab documents state that a month after the incident, one of the specialists charged with safeguarding the equipment in San Antonio was given a “Vision Award” by her colleagues. “Their achievements, and those of their colleagues at the laboratory, are the reasons our fellow citizens look to INL to resolve the nation’s big energy and security challenges,” Mark Peters, the lab director, said in an April 21, 2017, news release.

The specific lab contractor that oversaw the botched San Antonio transfer, Battelle Energy Alliance LLC, was also given formal recognition by the Energy Department, which called their overall performance "excellent". The recognition resulted in increase in bonuses and the extension of their government contract for another 5 years. 

Unsurprisingly, similar incidents involving missing radioactive material from government stockpiles or loss during transfer have been on the rise in recent years, though perhaps few as absurd as the San Antonio incident. 

The Energy Department’s inspector general concluded in 2009 – the most recent public accounting – that at least a pound of plutonium and 45 pounds of highly-enriched uranium that had gone missing in the prior half-decade (since 2004) "were significant" and could be used by terrorists. The inspector general's report stated, “Considering the potential health risks associated with these materials and the potential for misuse should they fall into the wrong hands, the quantities written off were significant.

The 2009 report also harshly criticized the Energy Department for neglecting prior internal calls to correct poor accounting procedures which reportedly resulted in other loss incidents. The department still “may be unable to detect lost or stolen material” the inspector general said in its report — something now 100% confirmed in the San Antonio incident. 

And who knows how many other incidents have occurred wherein plutonium, uranium, or other radioactive materials were "lost" or "stolen" or "misplaced" that the public will never find out about? 

Published:7/16/2018 6:53:45 PM
[2018 News] House Democrat calls for ‘military folks’ to stop Trump House Democrat calls for ‘military folks’ to stop Trump. Trump Derangement Syndrome is out of control. Their previous attempt at a coup using the FBI and who knows who else failed. Now they’re outright calling for a military coup. This ass should be locked up and put on bread and water for about 50 years. Published:7/16/2018 5:51:08 PM
[Politics] Former Lying CIA Director accuses Trump of TREASON There have been a lot of names and insults aimed at Trump flying around today in the wake of his comments today with Putin. But one of the more ridiculous ones comes . . . Published:7/16/2018 5:21:37 PM
[Politics] Former Lying CIA Director accuses Trump of TREASON There have been a lot of names and insults aimed at Trump flying around today in the wake of his comments today with Putin. But one of the more ridiculous ones comes . . . Published:7/16/2018 4:52:16 PM
[Media] FBI’s former senior intelligence adviser wondering when that ‘shadow government’ is going to emerge

Would it be OK with everyone at CNN if we just kept the president and representatives we elected in charge?

The post FBI’s former senior intelligence adviser wondering when that ‘shadow government’ is going to emerge appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/16/2018 4:21:37 PM
[Markets] 'Murica: The "Rule-Of-Law-Optional" Nation

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

So, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page declined to testify before a congressional committee because she didn’t feel like it. Apparently we’re now a rule-of-law-optional nation. Until recently, we were merely reality-optional. That was fun, but when officers of the country’s leading law enforcement agency go optional on standard legal procedure, like answering subpoenas, then we’re truly in the land where anything goes (and nothing matters).

After two years of Trump-inspired hysteria, it’s pretty obvious what went on in the bungled Obama-Hillary power handoff of 2016 and afterward: the indictable shenanigans of candidate Hillary and her captive DNC prompted a campaign of agit-prop by the US Intel “community” to gaslight the public with a Russian meddling story that morphed uncontrollably into a crusade to make it impossible for Mr. Trump to govern.

And what’s followed for many months is an equally bungled effort to conceal, deceive, and confuse the issues in the case by Democratic Party partisans still in high places. It was very likely begun with the tacit knowledge of President Obama, though he remained protected by a shield of plausible deniability. And it was carried out by high-ranking officials who turned out to be shockingly unprofessional, and whose activities have been disclosed through an electronic data evidence trail.

Mr. Trump’s visit to confer with Russian President Putin in Helsinki seems to have provoked a kind of last-gasp effort to keep the increasingly idiotic Russian election meddling story alive - with Robert Mueller’s ballyhooed indictment of twelve “Russian intel agents” alleged to have “hacked” emails and computer files of the DNC and Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The gaping holes in that part of the tale have long been unearthed so I’ll summarize as briefly as possible:

1) the bandwidth required to transfer the files has been proven to be greater than an internet hack might have conceivably managed in the time allowed and points rather to a direct download into a flash drive device.

2) the DNC computer hard drives, said to be the source of the alleged hacking, disappeared while in the custody of the US Intel Community (including the FBI).

3) the authenticity of the purloined emails by Mr. Podesta and others has never been disputed, and they revealed a lot of potentially criminal behavior by them.

4) Mr. Mueller must know he will never get twelve Russian intel agents into a US courtroom, so the entire exercise is a joke and a fraud. In effect, he’s indicted twelve ham sandwiches with Russian dressing.

Tragically, the American public is led to take this ploy seriously by a morally compromised news media, especially CNN and the The New York Times. The latter outfit is so afflicted with a case of the Russian meddling vapors that it ran this laughable headline at the top of its front page yesterday: “Just Sitting Down With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” Gosh, what’s the message there? Don’t even bother talking to foreign heads of state, especially in the interest of improving relations?

The salient question that persons in authority might ask out-loud is how come so many officers of the Intel Community have not been hauled in front of grand juries to answer for their obviously incriminating behavior. Mr Mueller is perhaps too busy chasing Russian phantoms to draw up a bill of particulars against characters such as former CIA chief (now CNN shill) John Brennan, who apparently orchestrated the early chapters of the Russian meddling ruse, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, who ushered the DNC’s Steele Dossier into the FBI’s warrant machinery, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who managed the Steele Dossier and its spinoff mischief as an “insurance policy” against Mr. Trump, Peter Strzok, who executed the “insurance policy,” and, of course, Ms. Page, his paramour, who decided that testifying before Congress was beneath her dignity. These and probably many others.

Tragically, also, these matters can only be fully corrected by the very Department of Justice that includes under its management the rogue FBI. Who else can formally and legally bring these cases before grand juries? The DOJ appears intent on preventing that from ever happening. Congress has so far omitted enforcing its subpoenas or using its impeachment power to dislodge obdurate DOJ officials. Mr. Trump, for now apparently, has declined to use his inherent executive powers to clean out this rats nest, say by removing secrecy shields from many of the documents at issue in the DOJ’s possession - most likely because he can’t afford to be seen “meddling” in the tangled proceedings.

The net result of all this subterfuge, inaction, and gaslighting, is the defeat of the rule-of-law generally in American life. This ought to be taken seriously. If it’s asking too much of the system, then the system itself will eventually not be taken seriously, and that will be the end of the republic as we knew it.

Published:7/16/2018 3:53:52 PM
[Markets] Hall-Of-Fame Quarterback's Private-Equity Firm Accused Of Covering Up Fraud

A private equity firm co-founded in 2007 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young has been accused of covering up a massive fraud at one of its portfolio companies. The accusations, which came in the form of a civil suit filed by the acquirer of the firm where the fraud allegedly took place, have prompted the FBI to investigate, potentially placing Young, his partners and his employees in hot water, per the New York Post.

Steve
Steve Young

HGGC, where Young is a managing director, purportedly helped falsify test results at Citadel Plastics, according to the lawsuit, which was brought by plastics manufacturer A Schulman, which bought Citadel in 2015 for $800 million.

The PE firm, HGGC (which was formerly known as Huntsman Gay Capital Partners), where Young is a managing director, "falsified test results" at its Citadel Plastics company, according to a lawsuit filed by rival plastic manufacturer A. Schulman, which bought Citadel for $800 million in 2015.

Citadel allegedly had been selling products with the claim that they met Underwriters Laboratories specs, when they did not, according to court testimony.

A civil trial over the alleged fraud started in April, and Judge Travis Laster is expected to rule on the liabilities portion of the suit as early as the end of this month.

Schulman, is seeking damages of up to $275 million. What's worse, federal investigators are probing the alleged fraud. Already, the FBI has issued more than five subpoenas.

Federal investigators are also probing the alleged antics at Lucent Polymers — purchased by HGGC’s Citadel in 2013, court papers reveal. The FBI has issued more than five subpoenas in the matter. Young was not among those subpoenaed — nor is he one of the executives named in the suit, although his PE firm is.

The lawsuit "came back into focus" last week after Young - a hall of fame quarterback - said during an interview that his firm's strengths include its ability to form partnerships with its portfolio companies.

Schulman’s 2016 lawsuit came back into focus last week after Young said in a TV interview that a major ingredient of his PE firm’s recipe for success is forming partnerships with its portfolio companies.

"We’re really attacking the market in an old-school way: We really look for partnership," Young, known for his stand-out years as a San Francisco 49er, told CNBC.

HGGC has denied knowledge of the fraud, arguing that its role has been to provide "financial oversight" of Citadel, as well as "helping with M&A. An executive director at the firm also said he didn't notice any "red flags" when he served as chairman at Citadel.

"I think there is a certain level of arrogance at HGGC that surprises me," said one source close to Schulman, who said Young’s TV appearance caught his attention.

In the court battle, Schulman claims HGGC at least knew about the potential for fraud at Lucent because the PE firm’s Citadel team flagged potential problems with the highly profitable Lucent product lines, according to court filings.

HGGC Executive Director Gary Crittenden, who was also chairman of Citadel, said during court testimony that he did not see any red flags at Lucent when the company was bought - or during the period it owned it.

The trial started in April, and a ruling on whether HGGC is liable for the fraud could be handed down in the coming weeks.

Published:7/16/2018 2:53:46 PM
[Trending Commentary] Judicial Watch: Why is Mueller probe still ongoing with corruption?

By Brady Kenyon -

“I don’t understand why the Mueller operation is still going given the corruption evidence,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton on Thursday. Appearing on Foxs’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fitton discussed the Mueller which is currently investigating alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign team and Russia. In addition, Fitton also addressed FBI ...

Judicial Watch: Why is Mueller probe still ongoing with corruption? is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/16/2018 11:50:12 AM
[Markets] Trump, Putin Arrive In Helsinki Ahead Of Historic Summit

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Helsinki late Sunday night for his long-awaited summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Financial Times. And though the two leaders have met before, Monday's summit will mark the first sit down meeting between the two leaders since Trump's inauguration. In an interview that aired yesterday, Trump cautioned that he has "low expectations" going into the summit, because no matter what he accomplishes, the media and Trump's political opponents will treat him like it wasn't enough.

Trump said Friday during his press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May that he expects to discuss Syria, Ukraine and terrorism with Putin. He said later that he would consider asking Putin about the possibility of extraditing the more than two dozen Russians who have now been indicted by the DOJ over allegations of interference in the 2016 election.

Trump

Just hours before meeting with Putin, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the so-called Russian interference during the election because Obama knew about the interference but chose to do nothing, and slammed his political opponents for allowing the US's relationship with Russia to deteriorate to a point where it "has never been worse."

Following Friday's latest round of indictments against a dozen Russian military intelligence officials, Democratic lawmakers slammed Trump for refusing to cancel the meeting.

And while Trump berated his political opponents for taking advantage of the indictments and their timing to try and foil the long-anticipated meeting between the two world leaders, National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Sunday that the president had been briefed in advance about the indictments of the Russian intelligence agents. According to Reuters, Trump appeared upbeat during a breakfast meeting with Finland’s president before the meeting with Putin in the Finnish capital, even tweeting his thanks to his hosts for their hospitality.

Shortly before the meeting was set to begin, Putin was filmed getting off his presidential aircraft in Helsinki.

The Kremlin has said it doesn't expect an easy meeting after pushing back against President Trump's criticisms of a planned Russian gas pipeline to Germany, while suggesting it could be difficult to find common ground on Syria thanks to tensions over Iran.

Published:7/16/2018 5:50:02 AM
[Politics] Lawfare blog SUED to get FBI survey of agents – here’s what it SAYS… It’s been really difficult to navigate between the two sides in the debate about the “deep state” bias at the department of justice and the FBI. It would be very helpful to . . . Published:7/15/2018 9:16:16 PM
[Politics] Lawfare blog SUED to get FBI survey of agents – here’s what it SAYS… It’s been really difficult to navigate between the two sides in the debate about the “deep state” bias at the department of justice and the FBI. It would be very helpful to . . . Published:7/15/2018 9:16:16 PM
[Markets] Mueller Prepares To Target Key Individuals Once Special Counsel Probe Wraps Up

As special counsel Robert Mueller faces pressure to wrap up his investigation with or without the illusive collusion charge, the Washington Post reports that the Department of Justice and Mueller's team have been preparing to pass the baton of various ongoing investigations once the probe is complete.

Meanwhile, inside the Justice Department, law enforcement officials have discussed several scenarios in which the prosecutions of people who may be charged as a result of Mueller’s investigation are farmed out to other offices to handle any future trials.

In those scenarios, these people said, some prosecutors on Mueller’s team could move with their cases to Justice Department headquarters or individual U.S. attorney offices, these people said. -Washington Post

The Post also reveals that "the transferring of some cases has already begun," while Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Friday that Mueller's case against 12 indicted Russian military officers would be handled by DOJ prosecutors at the Justice Department headquarters (it also doesn't take that much to sit on a case that will never see a courtroom, and the open file may linger for years, but we digress). 

There are also practical reasons to begin shuffling cases and attorneys over to the DOJ. For one, President Trump could fire Mueller if this continues to drag on - a prospect made more and more likely as time goes on without the emergence of any actual evidence of collusion. But the most logical answer is that the investigation may simply be nearing its natural end, as cases against several individuals targeted by the probe are approaching resolution. Sentencing dates have already been set for two people who cooperated with Mueller's probe and pleaded guilty to charges; George Papadopoulos and Richard Pinedo - a California man who was charged with operating a Russian internet trolling outfit. The Sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, however, has been pushed back several times, with the next court appearance being August 24. 

Then there are all the loose strings with Paul Manafort, the Podesta Group (ah who are we kidding), Michael Cohen and others the public may or may not know about. Mueller's probe ballooned in size as "mission creep" set in and investigatory avenues led to yet more investigations - requiring more attorneys. 

In the past six months, the number of prosecutors working on cases he has brought has expanded significantly, with new additions casting light on the special counsel’s potential priorities and focuses. Court filings show that at least half a dozen new names are participating in Mueller’s work, all current Justice Department prosecutors. Their backgrounds vary widely, from prosecuting violent crimes to cyber attacks.

Sol Wisenberg, who worked on Ken Starr’s independent counsel investigation of the Clinton White House, told The Daily Beast that the expansion of Mueller’s probe was to be expected. -Daily Beast

“I don’t think it’s unusual at all,” says Wisenberg. “That’s what happened with us. You get more cases or your cases become more complex, you need more prosecutors and you need more agents.”

“They wouldn’t bring them on if they didn’t need them,” he added. “They’re not bringing them on for grins. There’s work there that needs to be done or they would not be bringing them in.”

About that Trump interview

Member Trump's inner circle and legal team tell the Post that Mueller may decide against a lengthy subpoena battle for Trump to testify - while Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, leery of a "perjury trap," has insisted that the president not be required to answer certain questions. 

Among them: that Mueller not ask any questions about actions Trump has taken as president, including his private discussions with then-FBI Director James B. Comey.

Giuliani said Trump does not recall asking Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and he does not want the president to be accused of lying about the episode. -Washington Post

The president firmly believes he didn’t say it,” Giuliani said.

“He doesn’t recall it. .?.?. But Mueller could come out the other way,” he added. “They’ll say he’s lying. We don’t want to expose him to perjury [accusations].”

Trump's attorneys haven't received a response from Mueller regarding their terms, however one person briefed on the discussions doesn't expect Mueller to agree to them. "But if he did, well, then we'd face a really interesting choice.

Published:7/15/2018 1:14:55 PM
[Politics] FBI Survey: Declining Confidence in Leadership Since Comey Firing President Donald Trump said the FBI had lost its confidence of James Comey's leadership, but the events and revelations of the past year have led to declining scores in confidence of FBI leadership since Comey's firing, The New York Times reported.The FBI internal survey is... Published:7/15/2018 12:47:13 PM
[Markets] Trump May Ask Putin To Extradite Intel Officials During "Low Expectations" Summit

Donald Trump said he had "low expectations" of his Monday summit with Vladimir Putin, just days after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by the DOJ for hacking the Democrats ahead of the 2016 election, which in turn prompted Trump to blast "where is the DNC server", the missing link of evidence that has never been turned over to the FBI.

"I go in with low expectations", Trump told CBS News in an interview which will be released Sunday. “I’m not going with high expectations. I'll let you know after the meeting," he answered when asked about his goals. "I think it's a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings. ... Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out."

After the DOJ said that Trump had been briefed on the indictments last week during his European trip, the president said in the interview he hadn’t considered asking Putin to extradite the agents to the U.S.

Speaking to CBS, Trump also said he may ask Vladimir Putin to extradite the 12 Russian intel officials named in the indictment.

"Well, I might," Trump said after CBS News anchor Jeff Glor asked about it.

"I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration."

The indictment, which while revealing explicit details of the Kremlin’s election influence operation, including the names of the intelligence agents alleged to be involved, once again provided neither any tangible evidence not the names of any agents who were involved in the alleged bust - have overshadowed the summit.

Trump on Saturday blamed the Obama administration for the Russian election meddling.

“The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” the president tweeted from Scotland. “Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”

Trump continued this line of attack, and on Sunday he told CBS News that the Democratic Party was also to blame for not better securing its computer equipment.

“The DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses and they were able to be hacked. But I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans too. But -- and this may be wrong -- but they had much stronger defenses.”

Members of Congress in both parties have called on Trump to either confront Putin over Moscow’s interference in the election or cancel the meeting altogether in protest. The president’s critics fear the summit could lead to him relaxing U.S. sanctions against Russia, recognizing Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, or other concessions. Some democrats, such as Sen. Mark Warner even said other Americans need to be in the room.

Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he would be "stunned" if Trump doesn't call out Putin's or Russia's "bad behavior" at Monday's meeting between the two leaders. But Warner said he fears Putin could take advantage of Trump in a one-on-one sit-down.

"Frankly, one of the things I'm most worried about is we need to have other Americans in the room," Warner told CNN's Jake Tapper. "Vladimir Putin is a trained KGB agent, he may come in with maps of Syria, maps of Ukraine. And frankly, I think he'll take advantage of this president whom we know doesn't do much prep work before these meetings."

"We need other individuals from his administration in the room so we know at least someone will press the Russians on making sure they don't interfere in future U.S. elections," he added.

Responding to Democrat demands, Trump told Glor that he hasn’t decided whether to meet alone with Putin to start their summit, as he said he would last week.

The two leaders will hold a news conference to conclude the summit, where they are all but certain to face multiple questions about the indictment from U.S. reporters.

Finally, in a statement that will likely outrage the EU (even more), Trump called the European Union a “foe” of the United States. The president also said Russia is a “foe in certain respects” and China"“is a foe economically."

Published:7/15/2018 9:53:08 AM
[World] Peter Strzok House Hearing: Judge Jeanine Pirro Says He Is the Personification of the Deep State

In her Opening Statement, Judge Jeanine Pirro blasted FBI agent Peter Strzok, who last week testified before GOP lawmakers regarding his alleged bias against President Trump.

Published:7/15/2018 8:11:07 AM
[Politics] Why won’t DNC chair Tom Perez answer this ONE very SIMPLE question? OK this is truly weird. There has been somewhat conspiratorial theories surrounding why the DNC refuses to turn over the server that was supposedly hacked by the Russians to the FBI. And . . . Published:7/14/2018 9:44:59 PM
[Markets] The True Meaning Of "Collusion" Exposed

Authord by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

The indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose task it is to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and ‘Russians’, that was released yesterday by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, raises so many questions one has to be picky.

Many people have already stated that the report contains no proof of anything it claims, and that Mueller doesn’t have to prove a thing, because the 12 Russians he accuses will never show up in a US court. Many of course also have at least questioned the timing of the release, 3 days before the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki, of information Mueller and Rosenstein have allegedly been sitting on for months.

The idea that the event was not coordinated to inflict maximum damage to the summit seems indeed far-fetched.

But something else struck me in the report: the role of WikiLeaks (labeled “Organization 1”). Mueller very much focuses on both Julian Assange -though he doesn’t get named and is not indicted- and his presumed links to the indicted Russians, who -allegedly- posed as Guccifer 2.0:

Use of Organization 1

47. In order to expand their interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Conspirators transferred many of the documents they stole from the DNC and the chairman of the Clinton Campaign to Organization 1. The Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases with Organization 1 to heighten their impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

a. On or about June 22, 2016, Organization 1 sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to “[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” On or about July 6, 2016, Organization 1 added, “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.” The Conspirators responded, “ok . . . i see.” Organization 1 explained, “we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”

b. After failed attempts to transfer the stolen documents starting in late June 2016, on or about July 14, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent Organization 1 an email with an attachment titled “wk dnc link1.txt.gpg.” The Conspirators explained to Organization 1 that the encrypted file contained instructions on how to access an online archive of stolen DNC documents. On or about July 18, 2016, Organization 1 confirmed it had “the 1Gb or so archive” and would make a release of the stolen documents “this week.”

48. On or about July 22, 2016, Organization 1 released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators. This release occurred approximately three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention. Organization 1 did not disclose Guccifer 2.0’s role in providing them. The latest-in-time email released through Organization 1 was dated on or about May 25, 2016, approximately the same day the Conspirators hacked the DNC Microsoft Exchange Server.

49. On or about October 7, 2016, Organization 1 released the first set of emails from the chairman of the Clinton Campaign that had been stolen by LUKASHEV and his co-conspirators. Between on or about October 7, 2016 and November 7, 2016, Organization 1 released approximately thirty-three tranches of documents that had been stolen from the chairman of the Clinton Campaign. In total, over 50,000 stolen documents were released.

This means Mueller et al claim that WikiLeaks received the DNC files from Russian parties which had hacked into DNC(-related) servers. Something Julian Assange has always denied. Now, remember that the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of former US intelligence professionals, as well as others, have said that the speed with which the files were downloaded from the server(s) indicates that they were not hacked, but put onto a hard drive.

The person who is supposed to have done that is Seth Rich. Who was murdered on July 10 2016. Kim Dotcom has long claimed to have evidence that Seth Rich was indeed the person who provided the files to Assange. Today he said on Twitter that his lawyers warned him about exposing that evidence, citing his safety and that of his family.

Half a year after Rich’s -never solved- murder, in the first months of 2017, the US Department of Defense was involved in negotiations with Assange in which the latter was offered -temporary- ‘safe passage’ from the Ecuador Embassy in London where he is holed up, in exchange for Assange ‘redacting’ a batch of files on the CIA known as Vault 7.

These negotiations were suddenly halted in April 2017 through the interference of James Comey -then FBI chief- and Mark Warner, a US Senator (D-VA). In the talks, Assange had offered to prove that no Russians were involved in the process that led to WikiLeaks receiving the files.

Today, of course, Assange is completely incommunicado in the Ecuador embassy, so he cannot defend himself against the Mueller accusations. Mueller really doesn’t have to prove anything: he can say what he wants. Comey and Warner prevented Assange from providing evidence exonerating ‘the Russians’, and Assange has been shut down.

Let me repeat once again: Assange is fully aware that the smallest bit of non-truth or half-lie would mean the end of WikiLeaks. It is based on ultimate trust. Nobody would ever offer a single file again if they wouldn’t have full confidence that Wikileaks would treat it -and them- with the utmost respect. So the American approach is to smear Assange in any way possible, rape allegations, collusion with Russian agents, anything goes.

And ‘the Russians’ can be ‘freely’ accused in a 29-page indictment released on the eve of the first summit President Trump is supposed to have with his Russian counterpart a year and a half into his presidency, where his predecessors all had such meetings much earlier into their presidencies. With many lawmakers calling on him to cancel it.

Do we all still remember the true meaning of ‘collusion’?

Published:7/14/2018 9:44:59 PM
[Politics] What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

It has been a rancorous political week with Democrats apoplectic over President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination, his frank comments to U.S. allies over defense spending and trade, and in the House of Representatives where committees interviewed demoted FBI official Peter Strzok about bias against the Trump Campaign in the 2016 election. 

Published:7/14/2018 9:30:18 PM
[Politics] Why won’t DNC chair Tom Perez answer this ONE very SIMPLE question? OK this is truly weird. There has been somewhat conspiratorial theories surrounding why the DNC refuses to turn over the server that was supposedly hacked by the Russians to the FBI. And . . . Published:7/14/2018 9:30:17 PM
[Politics] 5 Takeaways from FBI Agent's Explosive Congressional Hearing The cameras were on, and the theatrics were high.In an explosive, hourslong congressional hearing Thursday, FBI agent Peter Strzok was defiant as Republicans unleashed blistering attacks, saying his anti-Trump sentiment - captured in personal text messages - is evidence of... Published:7/12/2018 8:23:08 PM
[Democrats] The Democrats Disgrace Themselves (John Hinderaker) As Paul noted earlier, Peter Strzok testified today–sort of–before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees. The hearing crashed on takeoff and never recovered. After giving an opening statement lauding his own patriotism, Strzok refused to answer questions on the ground that an FBI lawyer had told him not to. What followed was a farce–a farce deliberately created and sustained by the Democratic members of the committee. Published:7/12/2018 7:05:55 PM
[Opinion] Trump Hating FBI Agent Peter Strzok Testifies!!!

By Jim Clayton -

                             The long awaited testimony by Peter Strzok finally happened before the House Oversight Committee. Strzok is the former Trump hating FBI agent who was second in charge on Mueller’s committee investigating Russian collusion in to the ...

Trump Hating FBI Agent Peter Strzok Testifies!!! is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/12/2018 6:45:49 PM
[Politics] VIDEO: Democrat tells Peter Strzok that he deserves a PURPLE HEART! Democratic House member Steve Cohen literally told Peter Strzok today that he deserved a purple heart. Watch: What an insult to wounded service members: Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen tells disgraced FBI agent . . . Published:7/12/2018 6:07:15 PM
[Politics] VIDEO: Democrat tells Peter Strzok that he deserves a PURPLE HEART! Democratic House member Steve Cohen literally told Peter Strzok today that he deserved a purple heart. Watch: What an insult to wounded service members: Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen tells disgraced FBI agent . . . Published:7/12/2018 6:07:15 PM
[World] Peter Strzok Hearing: NJ Dem Bonnie Watson Coleman Rips Trey Gowdy, Donald Trump

A New Jersey Democratic congresswoman interrupted House Oversight Committee Chariman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, telling him he was "out of control" at FBI Agent Peter Strzok's hearing.

Published:7/12/2018 4:37:01 PM
[Politics] CNN Political Chief: Of Course Strzok Showed Bias in Texts Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok drew fire from CNN on Thursday and should have been more careful with his text messaging habit, according to CNN political director David Chalian. Published:7/12/2018 4:19:28 PM
[Opinion] Peter Strzok Denies Bias Impacted Any of His Actions: “It’s Not Who I Am”

By Brady Kenyon -

During testimony Thursday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, Peter Strzok denied that his own political bias has ever affected his conduct as an FBI agent over the span of his 26-year career. “Let me be clear, unequivocally, and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of ...

Peter Strzok Denies Bias Impacted Any of His Actions: “It’s Not Who I Am” is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/12/2018 4:19:28 PM
[World] Louie Gohmert Rips Peter Strzok in Congressional Hearing Democrats Rip for Lisa Page Reference

Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert sparked outrage among a slew of Democrats in the joint House hearing featuring embattled FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Published:7/12/2018 3:45:58 PM
[48b41ec6-e2d8-4b05-8793-310bb55599ea] Jason Chaffetz: Strzok testifies, but ex-lover Lisa Page snubs Hill subpoena thanks to a bad call by Sessions The decision this week by a former FBI lawyer who was Peter Strzok’s lover to defy a subpoena to give a closed-door deposition is getting far less attention than it deserves. Published:7/12/2018 3:45:57 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Peter Strzok says he didn’t leak information about Trump-Russia probe before election The FBI agent under fire for text messages that show his animus to President Donald Trump on Thursday testified that he never leaked the fact that the president was under investigation over his campaign’s ties to Russia.
Published:7/12/2018 3:06:38 PM
[2016 Presidential Election] Strzok testifies (Paul Mirengoff) Peter Strzok appeared today before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees. The event lived up to expectations in its contentiousness. Here are few highlights, with commentary. Immediately after the opening statements, Trey Gowdy, House Oversight Committee Chairman, asked Strzok how many people he interviewed during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation (between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016). Strzok responded that he had Published:7/12/2018 3:06:38 PM
[World] Steve Cohen Slams GOP 'Attack' on Strzok: 'If I Could Give You Purple Heart, I Would'

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) defended embattled FBI official Peter Strzok at a House hearing Thursday, accusing his GOP colleagues of "attacking" Strzok and the Mueller probe.

Published:7/12/2018 2:36:37 PM
[Politics] Jeffrey Lord: 'Partisan' Peter Must Get the Ax FBI agent Peter Strzok’s contentious testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday shows he remains a “partisan” witness who is toying with his interrogators, Jeffrey Lord told Newsmax TV. Published:7/12/2018 2:36:33 PM
[Entertainment] ‘Unprecedented CONTEMPT for America!’ James Woods sums Peter Strzok and Dems up in 1 BRUTAL tweet

James Woods nailed Peter Strzok’s repugnant behavior today during the Congressional Hearing. He also slammed the Democrats as well. The #Democrats and their mole didn’t disappoint today. They and he showed unprecedented arrogant contempt for America and our values of integrity and transparency in law. I feel sorry that fellow members of the FBI had […]

The post ‘Unprecedented CONTEMPT for America!’ James Woods sums Peter Strzok and Dems up in 1 BRUTAL tweet appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/12/2018 2:36:32 PM
[World] Faulkner Presses House Democrat: How Can Strzok Prove He Wasn't Acting on Anti-Trump Bias?

On "Outnumbered Overtime" on Thursday, Harris Faulkner pressed Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) on embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok's claim that his professional actions were not affected by political bias.

Published:7/12/2018 2:06:16 PM
[World] Herridge: Big Headline From Strzok Hearing Is His Explanation of 'We'll Stop' Trump Text

Catherine Herridge said the big headline from Peter Strzok's testimony to Congress was the embattled FBI official's explanation of his infamous text in which he wrote "we'll stop" a Trump presidency.

Published:7/12/2018 2:00:33 PM
[World] Trey Gowdy Clashes With Peter Strzok at House Hearing on FBI Bias

Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok clashed with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) at a House hearing, where GOP lawmakers grilled Strzok on his alleged bias against President Trump.

Published:7/12/2018 1:05:47 PM
[World] Peter Strzok Testimony Before Congress: Elijah Cummings Highlights Mueller Probe Guilty Pleas

During FBI agent Peter Strzok's testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) highlighted the number of guilty pleas and indictments secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Published:7/12/2018 12:12:59 PM
[World] Peter Strzok Testifies Before Congress on Capitol Hill: Live Video, Analysis, Reaction

Controversial FBI agent Peter Strzok is testifying before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill.

Published:7/12/2018 9:37:59 AM
[Politics] Goodlatte: Ex-FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Agrees to Private Interview Former FBI attorney Lisa Page did not appear Wednesday to answer a subpoena, but she has voluntarily agreed to appear for a private interview with the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Thursday. Published:7/12/2018 9:37:58 AM
[Markets] Watch Live: Peter "We'll Stop Trump" Strzok Grilled By House Judiciary Committee

Despite President Trump hearing rumors that the "FBI loverbirds" were getting cold feet, FBI agent Peter Strzok is finally appearing to publicly testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing begins at 10 am ET.

Strzok, who has been accused of committing "treason" by Trump, is expected to be grilled about his anti-Trump text messages sent to his then-mistress, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, during the 2016 campaign. In one text message, Strzok told Page they would "stop" Trump from becoming president. After the text messages came to light, Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, and reportedly put on desk duty.

Watch the testimony live below:

In a report released earlier this year, the DOJ's inspector general found no "documentary of testimonial evidence" to suggest that political bias impacted the investigation, though Trump has repeatedly pointed out that the details of the IG investigation seem to contradict the conclusion. Lawyers for Page said Thursday that she would also comply with the subpoenas.

According to his prepared testimony, Strzok will blame everything on, who else: Vladimir Putin: "today's hearing is just another victory notch in Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart."

Here are some other excerpts:

"In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign."

"This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind."

Strzok: "Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took."

The reporting on those remarks has raised some interesting questions.

In a letter,  Strzok's attorney reportedly said his client may not be able to answer some questions about the Russia probe because he and his client were unable to get a meeting with the FBI and the Hill to discuss which topics would be off limits. Meanwhile, House Democrats are calling on House Republicans to release Strzok's closed-door testimony, and have released some statistics about the questions that Strzok was asked.

Published:7/12/2018 8:55:16 AM
[Featured News] Watch Live: Peter Strzok testifies on Capitol Hill

By R. Mitchell -

FBI Agent Peter Strzok, accused of bias while handling key investigations at the bureau, publicly testifies before Congress Thursday.

Watch Live: Peter Strzok testifies on Capitol Hill is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/12/2018 8:55:16 AM
[Markets] Dancing FBI Agent Who Shot A Bystander Will Get His Gun Back, Judge Rules

Considering the range of fireable offenses for most any job, shooting someone while on or off the job would easily and obviously rank high up as something warranting immediate termination with no questions asked. 

Apparently this is not the case with federal government employees, however, and specifically the FBI. 

Last month we featured the viral video of FBI agent Chase Bishop accidentally shooting a bystander at a Colorado bar while busting a move that included a backflip in the middle of a boozed up crowd. During the bizarre dance move, the agent's gun ejected out of his holster onto the floor and as he lunged to pick it up, the gun went off, seriously wounding nearby bar patron Tom Reddington, who was treated and eventually released from a hospital.

FBI agent Chase Bishop, who lives and works in Washington D.C., will get his gun back while awaiting his court hearing. 

Common sense might dictate this is a man who shouldn't be carrying a gun while awaiting his court hearing after he was charged with one count of second-degree assault in connection with the June 2 shooting. 

But a Denver judge has ruled he can now carry his weapon again on or off duty as Bishop considers a possible plea deal and future court date of August 21st. 

According to the Denver Post:

Chase Bishop, 29, had his protection order amended by a Denver judge during a Tuesday court appearance, said Ken Lane, Denver District Attorney spokesman.

The amendment was modified to let Bishop carry his service weapon on and off duty, “so long as it is done in a manner pursuant to FBI policy,”Lane said.

Naturally, we might ask: what would it take for an FBI agent under criminal investigation to be barred from carrying a firearm? 

The Denver Post notes further that "The FBI also has not released any information about its policy for agents carrying weapons while off duty and in alcohol establishments."

What's more is that FBI policy was actually invoked favorably to help convince the judge that the agent should arm himself, as the New York Post reports:

Bishop’s lawyer, David Goddard, told Judge Fran Simonet that the FBI strongly encourages its agents to carry the service weapons when they are not working. Prosecutors did not object, so Simonet said Bishop could be armed both on and off duty.

The victim, Tom Reddington, who was reportedly shot through an arterytold ABC News last month that he does not blame Bishop, saying “I’m not vindictive at all. I don’t want to ruin his life. At this point, there’s nothing we can do to fix it. So, let’s just move on and deal with it as best we can.”

Aftermath of the accidental shooting at the Denver bar Mile High Spirits. Image source: CBS

Well at the very least the FBI or the court could take away his gun. Police investigated whether or not Bishop was drunk at the time, but a blood alcohol test was never made public and investigators decided to file the second-degree assault charge without the test results.

The Denver, Colorado bar where the incident took place, Mile High Spirits, previously issued a statement saying the bar's owners looked forward to speaking with the FBI “so we can come to understand (the agent’s) presence and his need to be armed in our establishment,” in violation of the business’ rules.

The bar also announced the shooting victim will be “welcome at Mile High Spirits to enjoy complimentary drinks forever.”

Published:7/11/2018 5:58:00 PM
[Politics] Ex-FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Defies Congressional Subpoena

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page will defy a congressional subpoena to appear for a deposition on Wednesday, her lawyer said in a statement. The House... Read More

The post Ex-FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Defies Congressional Subpoena appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/11/2018 4:55:53 PM
[Markets] Michael Cohen Declares "Independence" From Trump According To Clinton-Pal Attorney

Michael Cohen's new attorney said that Cohen, previously known as Donald Trump's "fixer," declared "independence" during a July 2 interview with George Stephanopoulos when he said he would not be a "punching bag" for Trump's defense strategy.

“I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,” Cohen told Stephanopoulos. “I am not a villain in any story and won’t allow others to try and depict me in that way.”

Lanny Davis - Cohen's attorney and longtime friend of the Clintons, made the comment during an interview with The Hill's Rising which aired Wednesday. 

"There's a reason that he said at the very end of the interview with Mr. Stephanopoulos that he took these contrary positions to Mr. Trump, who he previously said he would take a bullet for, a comment that I believe he would not say today," Davis said, adding "The reason he said is, 'I will not be a punching bag as part of somebody else's defense strategy.’ This was a declaration of independence two days before July 4."

Stephanopoulos asked Cohen if Trump had directed him to make that $130K hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen previously claimed he paid the cash out of own pocket without direction from Trump or any promise of reimbursement. This time Cohen answered, “I want to answer. One day I will answer. But for now I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”

“A very, very big signal,” Stephanopoulos translated this morning on GMA. 

Similarly, Cohen signaled he would have something to say in “official form” about whether President Trump knew in advance of that Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and a Russian attorney with entourage, the latter team allegedly promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump has insisted he was not aware of the meeting. -Deadline Hollywood

Davis then rattled off a list of reasons why Cohen and Trump are nowhere near agreement on various official government positions.

He [Cohen] mentioned the FBI and said he respected the FBI as an institution, and actually thanked them even though they raided his offices. Donald Trump has said the opposite. 

He then said he believes the intelligence community's assessment unanimously that Russia meddled in the election, and then he went on to say anyone that believes Mr. Putin can't sustain that position. Exactly the opposite from Mr. Trump. 

Then he said that he does not understand that Trump tower meeting, he thought it was a dumb decision - something that Mr. Trump wouldn't necessarily like to hear. -Lanny Davis

When asked to opine on the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election and whether he thought there was any criminal behavior described in the Inspector General's report, Davis said he saw no criminal behavior by any of the subjects of the report, and that former FBI Director James Comey's "terrible judgement" cost Hillary the election. 

I think Mr. Comey showed such poor judgement because of the narcissistic view that whatever he decides is right must be right. He gets to violate justice department rules going back 50 years to speak within 11 days of an election. That's a violation. He gets to hold a press conference offering his opinion on criminal investigatory evidence. That's in violation. He should have been fired right after that July 5th press conference. And I hold the Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responsible for not having the courage to enforce Justice Department policy. 

On the prospect of Hillary Clinton running in 2020, Davis said: 

no idea, she's a longtime friend of mine and I love her as a friend. After about 47 years from when we first met - she's a great human being, and for her sake and her family's sake - she has so much to give in public service I hope she doesn't put herself through it again. 

Watch an excerpt below:

Published:7/11/2018 4:55:53 PM
[] John Solomon: Hillary Clinton and Fusion GPS Just Kept Sending Fresh Copies Of the "Dossier," Using Stooges as Deliverymen to Hide Their Role, Until the FBI Finally Bit Hillary's operation just kept using different stooges (or dupes) to keep pestering the FBI with their opposition research smear. Among those stooges and/or dupes: Christopher Steele, obviously. Glenn Simpson says he didn't, but a Peter Strzok email says he did.... Published:7/11/2018 4:55:53 PM
[In The News] Chairman Goodlatte: ‘It appears that Lisa Page has something to hide’

By Brady Kenyon -

“It appears Lisa Page has something to hide,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA.) on Tuesday. Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page plans to defy a subpoena from the U.S. Congress by refusing to appear for her deposition but she has no excuse for her failure to appear says, ...

Chairman Goodlatte: ‘It appears that Lisa Page has something to hide’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:7/11/2018 2:26:33 PM
[World] Lisa Page Refuses to Testify Before Congress; Goodlatte Says She May Be Hiding Something

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says Lisa Page's refusal to appear for a private interview with two House committees despite being subpoenaed is a sign that the former FBI attorney has something to hide.

 

Published:7/11/2018 2:00:48 PM
[World] Judge Napolitano: Lisa Page's Refusal to Comply With Congressional Subpoena Is 'a Head-Scratcher'

Judge Andrew Napolitano said that former FBI attorney Lisa Page's plan to defy a subpoena to testify before lawmakers is confusing.

Published:7/11/2018 12:22:50 PM
[Markets] China Steals Secrets Behind Apple's Self-Driving Car

The US has arrested a former Apple employee who allegedly tried to abscond with sensitive proprietary information from the company's closely guarded self-driving car project, according to the Financial Times. Xiaolang Zhang, who had recently left his position at Apple under suspicious circumstances, was arrested by FBI agents as he tried to board a plane bound for mainland China.

Zhang joined Apple in December 2015, and was arrested on July 7. US prosecutors allege that he had downloaded sensitive information about the company's self-driving car research without permission. During his time at the company, Zhang worked "to develop software and hardware for use in autonomous vehicles."

The charges against Zhang represent the latest in a series of arrests made by federal authorities of Chinese spies carrying out what the US government calls "economic espionage" that date back to 2006.

China

And with President Trump intensifying efforts to stop China from extracting intellectual property from foreign corporate partners trying to gain a foothold in Chinese markets, it's hardly surprising that China is stepping up its espionage programs. Zhang initially aroused suspicion when he told Apple that he would be returning to China to take a job with Xiaopeng Motors, a Chinese electric-car startup that also has offices in the Bay Area.

The complaint against Mr Zhang said about 5,000 of Apple’s 135,000 full-time employees have security clearance for Titan, although that figure may include staff across the company working on artificial intelligence technology, as well as hundreds of people working on the car project itself.

Mr Zhang allegedly told Apple on April 30 that he intended to resign after returning from paternity leave. He told his supervisor he was moving back to China to be closer to his mother, who he said was ill. Later in the meeting, he said he intended to work for XMotors, according to the filing on Tuesday.

His comments apparently raised the suspicions of his supervisor. Mr Zhang was asked to turn over his Apple-owned devices and escorted from its campus, his network and building access revoked, the filing said.

Apple began an internal investigation and allegedly found he had downloaded information about its autonomous vehicle project. CCTV footage showed he had also taken a large box from Apple’s self-driving car lab shortly before informing his supervisor about his resignation, the US government claimed.

After his arraignment on Monday, a judge ordered that Zhang be held until his trial, presumably because he presents a serious flight risk (Chinese authorities would

US prosecutors alleged he had downloaded information from a database for Apple’s self-driving car project - including data on power requirements, battery system and drivetrain suspension mounts - shortly before informing Apple in April that he was resigning.

He allegedly told the company he intended to return to China and take a job with Xiaopeng Motors, a Chinese electric car start-up with offices in Guangzhou and Palo Alto, California.

Mr Zhang appeared in court in San Jose, California, on Monday and was remanded in custody, according to a separate filing. He was assigned a public defender, who did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

Xiaopeng Motors, also known as XMotors, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. According to the filing on Tuesday, Mr Zhang claimed to have joined XMotors’ California office after leaving Apple.

Not much is publicly known about Apple's secretive self-driving car program, codenamed Project Titan. According to the FT, it's presently focusing on the underlying software for autonomous cars.

Details started to emerge about Apple’s secret project to create an electric vehicle in early 2015, as it poached staff from carmakers including Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. Since then, Apple has rarely discussed its plans but regulatory filings, including its permit to test autonomous vehicles in California last year, have hinted at its strategy.

Codenamed Project Titan, the effort underwent a shift in strategy in mid-2016, after its initial leader Steve Zadesky was replaced by Apple veteran Bob Mansfield.

At the moment, Apple is focusing on developing the underlying systems required for autonomous driving, rather than the vehicle itself. That includes a plan to test a self-driving shuttle to ferry employees around its offices in Silicon Valley.

As the US said in the document unveiling its latest round of proposed tariffs, the Trump administration has been seeking to stymie China's "Made in China 2025" plan - a government-backed initiative to establish China as a leader in several key industries like artificial intelligence - at every turn. Under Trump, the US has been more aggressive about blocking Chinese companies attempting to acquire US firms in an effort to siphon off their valuable technology. So China has been working on other methods for surreptitiously stealing the technology.

"Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously," an Apple spokesperson said. "We’re working with authorities on this matter and will do everything possible to make sure this individual and any other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions."

XMotors, Zhang's erstwhile employer, is one of the dozens of startups working on electric and autonomous vehicles in Silicon Valley. Its purported involvement in the espionage case is made even more galling by the fact that its backers include some of the most well-known Chinese firms like Alibaba. This year, the company hired a former senior banker at JPMorgan to be the company's vice chairman and president. WSJ reported on Wednesday that China is considering other methods of retaliating against President Trump in the battle over trade, including holding up licenses for US firms operating in the Chinese market, to enforcing customs delays while also delaying approval of deals like Qualcomm's planned takeover of NXP Semiconductors. 

By some estimates, China has 20,000 intelligence operatives embedded in the US ready to commit economic espionage at every conceivable opportunity. China also employs sophisticated hackers like the group that recently infiltrated a military contractor and stole military secrets. And as trade tensions intensify, expect China to press its espionage advantage as President Xi Jinping is determined to make "Made in China 2025" a resounding success.

Published:7/11/2018 11:53:31 AM
[2018 News] Parkland shooter’s mother allowed him to buy the AR-15 used in the massacre even though mental health counselors told her not to Parkland shooter’s mother allowed him to buy the AR-15 used in the massacre even though mental health counselors told her not to. But let’s all go through mass histrionics and blame guns. Real cause, mother, cowardly cop, stupid sheriff, FBI. Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly shot dead 17 high school students with an AR-15 rifle The gun […] Published:7/11/2018 11:24:16 AM
[Markets] A New World Order: Brought To You By The Global-Industrial Deep State

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“There are no nations. There are no peoples ... There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.”—Network (1976)

There are those who will tell you that any mention of a New World Order government - a power elite conspiring to rule the world - is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

I am not one of those skeptics.

What’s more, I wholeheartedly believe that one should always mistrust those in power, take alarm at the first encroachment on one’s liberties, and establish powerful constitutional checks against government mischief and abuse.

I can also attest to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have studied enough of this country’s history—and world history—to know that governments (the U.S. government being no exception) are at times indistinguishable from the evil they claim to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

And I have lived long enough to see many so-called conspiracy theories turn into cold, hard fact.

Remember, people used to scoff at the notion of a Deep State (a.k.a. Shadow Government), doubt that fascism could ever take hold in America, and sneer at any suggestion that the United States was starting to resemble Nazi Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

We’re beginning to know better, aren’t we?

The Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) is real.

We are already experiencing fascism, American-style.

Not with jackboots and salutes, as Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution notes, “but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac ‘tapping into’ popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.”

And the United States is increasingly following in Nazi Germany’s footsteps, at least in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

Given all that we know about the U.S. government—that it treats its citizens like faceless statistics and economic units to be bought, sold, bartered, traded, and tracked; that it repeatedly lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn; and that it wages wars for profit, jails its own people for profit, and has no qualms about spreading its reign of terror abroad—it is not a stretch to suggest that the government has been overtaken by global industrialists, a new world order, that do not have our best interests at heart.

Indeed, to anyone who’s been paying attention to the goings-on in the world, it is increasingly obvious that we’re already under a new world order, and it is being brought to you by the Global-Industrial Deep State, a powerful cabal made up of international government agencies and corporations.

It is as yet unclear whether the American Police State answers to the Global-Industrial Deep State, or whether the Global-Industrial Deep State merely empowers the American Police State. However, there is no denying the extent to which they are intricately and symbiotically enmeshed and interlocked.

This marriage of governmental and corporate interests is the very definition of fascism.

Where we go wrong is in underestimating the threat of fascism: it is no longer a national threat but has instead become a global menace.

Consider the extent to which our lives and liberties are impacted by this international convergence of governmental and profit-driven interests in the surveillance state, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry, the intelligence sector, the technology sector, the telecommunications sector, the transportation sector, and the pharmaceutical industry.

All of these sectors are dominated by mega-corporations operating on a global scale and working through government channels to increase their profit margins: Walmart, Alphabet (formerly Google), AT&T, Toyota, Apple, Exxon Mobil, Facebook, Lockheed Martin, Berkshire Hathaway, UnitedHealth Group, Samsung, Amazon, Verizon, Nissan, Boeing, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Citigroup… these are just a few of the global corporate giants whose profit-driven policies influence everything from legislative policies to economics to environmental issues to medical care.

The U.S. government’s deep-seated and, in many cases, top secret alliances with foreign nations and global corporations are redrawing the boundaries of our world (and our freedoms) and altering the playing field faster than we can keep up.

Global Surveillance

Spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA), which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, the surveillance state has come to dominate our government and our lives. 

Yet the government does not operate alone.

It cannot.

It requires an accomplice.

Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy.

Take AT&T, for instance. Through its vast telecommunications network that crisscrosses the globe, AT&T provides the U.S. government with the complex infrastructure it needs for its mass surveillance programs. According to The Intercept, “The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s ‘extreme willingness to help.’It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it ‘has access to information that transits the nation,’ but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.”

Now magnify what the U.S. government is doing through AT&T on a global scale, and you have the “14 Eyes Program,” also referred to as the “SIGINT Seniors.” This global spy agency is made up of members from around the world (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India and all British Overseas Territories).

Surveillance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these global alliances, however.

Global War Profiteering

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its best buyers and sellers. In fact, as Reuters reports, “[President] Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry.”

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth. For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour). That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

The illicit merger of the global armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today. America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world's population, America boasts almost 50% of the world's total military expenditure,  spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors. Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

It’s not just the American economy that is being gouged, unfortunately.

Driven by a greedy defense sector, the American homeland has been transformed into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. Trump, no different from his predecessors, has continued to expand America’s military empire abroad and domestically, calling on Congress to approve billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war-on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that pander to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

Global Policing

Glance at pictures of international police forces and you will have a hard time distinguishing between American police and those belonging to other nations. There’s a reason they all look alike, garbed in the militarized, weaponized uniform of a standing army.

There’s a reason why they act alike, too, and speak a common language of force.

For example, Israel—one of America’s closest international allies and one of the primary yearly recipients of more than $3 billion in U.S. foreign military aid—has been at the forefront of a little-publicized exchange program aimed at training American police to act as occupying forces in their communities. As The Intercept sums it up, American police are “essentially taking lessons from agencies that enforce military rule rather than civil law.”

Then you have the Strong Cities Network programFunded by the State Department, the U.S. government has partnered with the United Nations to fight violent extremism “in all of its forms and manifestations” in cities and communities across the world. Working with the UN, the federal government rolled out programs to train local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism, as well as address intolerance within their communities, using all of the resources at their disposal. The cities included in the global network include New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Paris, London, Montreal, Beirut and Oslo.

What this program is really all about, however, is community policing on a global scale.

Community policing, which relies on a “broken windows” theory of policing, calls for police to engage with the community in order to prevent local crime by interrupting or preventing minor offenses before they could snowball into bigger, more serious and perhaps violent crime. 

It sounds like a good idea on paper, but the problem with the broken windows approach is that it has led to zero tolerance policing and stop-and-frisk practices among other harsh police tactics.

When applied to the Strong Cities Network program, the objective is ostensibly to prevent violent extremism by targeting its source: racism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, etc. In other words, police—acting ostensibly as extensions of the United Nations—will identify, monitor and deter individuals who exhibit, express or engage in anything that could be construed as extremist.

Of course, the concern with the government’s anti-extremism program is that it will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist. Keep in mind that the government agencies involved in ferreting out American “extremists” will carry out their objectives—to identify and deter potential extremists—in concert withfusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the private sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

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

Are you starting to get the picture now?

We’re the sitting ducks in the government’s crosshairs.

On almost every front, whether it’s the war on drugs, or the sale of weapons, or regulating immigration, or establishing prisons, or advancing technology, if there is a profit to be made and power to be amassed, you can bet that the government and its global partners have already struck a deal that puts the American people on the losing end of the bargain.

Unless we can put the brakes on this dramatic expansion, globalization and merger of governmental and corporate powers, we’re not going to recognize this country 20 years from now.

It’s taken less than a generation for our freedoms to be eroded and the police state structure to be erected, expanded and entrenched.

Rest assured that the U.S. government will not save us from the chains of the global police state.

The current or future occupant of the White House will not save us.

For that matter, anarchy, violence and incivility will not save us.

Unfortunately, the government’s divide and conquer tactics are working like a charm.

Despite the laundry list of grievances that should unite “we the people” in common cause against the government, the nation is more divided than ever by politics, by socio-economics, by race, by religion, and by every other distinction that serves to highlight our differences.

The real and manufactured events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more divided, more distrustful, and fearful of each other.

What we have failed to realize is that in the eyes of the government, we’re all the same.

In other words, when it’s time for the government to crack down—and that time is coming—it won’t matter whether we voted Republican or Democrat, whether we marched on Washington or stayed home, or whether we spoke out against government misconduct and injustice or remained silent.

When the government and its Global-Industrial Deep State partners in the New World Order crack down, we’ll all suffer.

If there is to be any hope of freeing ourselves, it rests—as it always has—at the local level, with you and your fellow citizens taking part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level.

One of the most important contributions an individual citizen can make is to become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, “Think globally, act locally.” 

America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments, which is a far cry from the colossal federal bureaucracy we have today. Yet if our freedoms are to be restored, understanding what is transpiring practically in your own backyard—in one’s home, neighborhood, school district, town council—and taking action at that local level must be the starting point.

Responding to unmet local needs and reacting to injustices is what grassroots activism is all about. Attend local city council meetings, speak up at town hall meetings, organize protests and letter-writing campaigns, employ “militant nonviolent resistance” and civil disobedience, which Martin Luther King Jr. used to great effect through the use of sit-ins, boycotts and marches.

And then, as I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, if there is any means left to us for thwarting the government in its relentless march towards outright dictatorship, it may rest with the power of communities and local governments to invalidate governmental laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

Nullification works.

Nullify the court cases. Nullify the laws. Nullify everything the government does that flies in the face of the principles on which this nation was founded.

We could transform this nation if only Americans would work together to harness the power of their discontent.

Published:7/11/2018 1:19:17 AM
[Politics] Mark Meadows blasts ‘INDEFENSIBLE’ response from FBI lovebird Lisa Page to subpoena Mark Meadows is not happy with the response from anti-Trump FBI legal lovebird Lisa Page to the congressional subpoena to testify tomorrow. Ut oh. So is this another stalling tactic from the . . . Published:7/10/2018 10:25:15 PM
[Politics] Mark Meadows blasts ‘INDEFENSIBLE’ response from FBI lovebird Lisa Page to subpoena Mark Meadows is not happy with the response from anti-Trump FBI legal lovebird Lisa Page to the congressional subpoena to testify tomorrow. Ut oh. So is this another stalling tactic from the . . . Published:7/10/2018 9:48:54 PM
[Markets] Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Whose Imprisonment Sparked Deadly 41-Day Standoff

President Trump pardoned a father and son from Oregon on Tuesday who were imprisoned after setting fire to federal land during what were intended to be controlled burns. The imprisonment - which followed a multi-decade feud with the federal government, resulted in approximately 100-150 armed militia members taking control of a closed wildlife park headquarters in a 41-day standoff led by three brothers from the Cliven Bundy family. Read more about the case here.

76-year-old Dwight Hammond and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted of arson in 2012 for fires burned on federal land in 2001 and 2006 and originally sentenced to three months and one year respectively. 

In October 2015, however, an appellate judge ruled that the sentences were too short based on federal minimum sentencing laws of five years, and re-sentenced to serve out the longer terms.

The Hammond Family

The resentencing sparked protests led by the cattle ranching Bundy family and others, who took up arms and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Southeastern Oregon ranch owned by the Hammonds from Jan 2 to Febn 11, 2016. 

During the standoff, FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita reportedly began firing off shots during the arrest of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. The agent was later accused of falsely denying he fired the shots at Finicum or his truck, and pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and three counts of making a false statement. 

Finicum was killed in the incident. 

“The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land,” the White House said in a statement. “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.”

"Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency," the statement also reads. 

Dwight has so far served about three years in prison and Steven has served about four years. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit. -Fox News

This marks Trump's 7th and 8th pardon or commutation since taking office - the first being Arizona sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Other recipients of a pardon or commutation include; "Scooter" Libby, Dinesh D'Souza, and Kristian Mark Saucier - a former US Navy sailor who was convicted of unauthorized retention of national defense information and sentenced to one year in prison for taking photographs of classified engineering areas of nuclear attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN-757). 

Published:7/10/2018 8:28:48 PM
[Markets] Ex-Sailor Pardoned By Trump, Sues Obama And Comey For Not Prosecuting Hillary

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

The former Navy sailor pardoned by President Donald Trump after serving a year in federal prison for taking photos of classified sections of his submarine filed a lawsuit on Monday against Obama administration officials. The ex-sailor is alleging that he was subject to unequal protection of the law and cites Comey and Obama’s willingness to not prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama and former FBI director James Comey let Hillary off the hook before the election, while Kristian Saucier served hard time.  Saucier says that that action was “unfair” and “unequal” compared to the corruption and criminal activity of Hillary Clinton.  Saucier told Fox News he was scapegoated by Obama officials who found themselves under fire for not aggressively responding to Clinton’s handling of classified information through her private email servers.

According to Fox News, Saucier’s federal lawsuit alleges that the United States government was “overzealous” in prosecuting him for “mishandling classified information” while going easy on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for more serious violations of the same law. Saucier’s lawsuit names as defendants former President Barack Obama, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who led the inquiry into Clinton’s email account.

“I could have just taken the pardon by President Trump and gone on with my life,”Saucier said to Fox News, adding that he feels an obligation to get to the truth of what he sees as a double standard that let Clinton get off scot-free. “The U.S. Constitution clearly states that all citizens are born with inalienable rights to be free from persecution by the government,” Saucier said. “My conviction and subsequent sentence for a minor military infraction compared to the treatment of politically connected individuals is a glaring example of a violation of the rights of all Americans to have equal protection under the law.”

The former Navy sailor is acting as his own attorney after the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court New York barred his lawyer, Ronald Daigle, from practicing for one year. The court’s move came just as Daigle was helping Saucier prepare to file the lawsuit, prompting the navy sailor to accuse New York officials of trying to hinder his court fight against Obama, Comey, and others. –Fox News

Saucier said that he realizes he had erred in taking the photos of the submarine, which he said he wanted to show only to his family so that they could see where he worked. He has also lashed out at Obama officials, saying that his prosecution was politically motivated, prompted by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton’s emails.

Published:7/10/2018 6:48:06 PM
[Markets] "Dystopia" In Chinese Surveillance... Looks A Lot Like US Surveillance

Authored by Jim Naureckas via Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting,

There’s a category of story we call “Them Not Us” - US media reporting on problems abroad, and seemingly not noticing that they have the same problems at home. There’s a great example of that in the New York Times (7/8/18), headlined “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: AI, Shame and Lots of Cameras.”

Reporter Paul Mozur writes:

Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

Is it really so unprecedented, though? The US National Security Agency in 2011 described its “New Collection Posture” toward global electronic communication as “Know It All…Collect It All…Process It All…Exploit It All.” Hard to get much vaster than that, isn’t it?

In China, the New York Times (7/8/18) sees facial recognition as a sign of dystopia; in the West, the Times (7/9/18) reports on Amazon‘s promotion of the same technology as a “reputational risk.”

As for embracing technologies like facial recognition with crucial help from a thriving technology industry, here’s a headline from the Guardian (7/6/18) that came out two days before the Times piece:

Thanks to Amazon, the Government Will Soon Be Able to Track Your Face

Mozur went on to write, “Other systems…track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.” “Even car travel in some places”? It sounds like China is playing catch-up to the US when it comes to surveilling its motorists, as media activist Tracy Rosenberg recently described to CounterSpin (6/29/18):

On license plate readers, these are sort of ubiquitous. In the past decade, they really have been set up in probably the majority of cities and counties in the US. And they take a photograph of the front of a car—they’re usually pole-mounted on traffic lights—as it goes by. And, essentially, if you are one of those people who happens to drive back and forth, every single day, past one of these, it can geolocate you in time and space, based on your license plate, on a fairly regular basis.

The Times article on China reports,  “Invasive mass-surveillance software has been set up in the west to track members of the Uighur Muslim minority and map their relations with friends and family, according to software viewed by the New York Times.” Has the Times viewed the software contract that Reuters Thompson—parent company of the Reuters news agency—signed with ICE? This software will

securely process and return aliens’ information and addresses using the following types of specified data: FBI numbers; State Identification Numbers; real time jail booking data; credit history; insurance claims; phone number account information; wireless phone accounts; wire transfer data; driver’s license information; vehicle registration information; property information; pay day loan information;  public court records; incarceration data; employment address data; Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) data; and employer records.

Or Mozur could just read back issues of his own paper, like a nearly five-year-old piece by James Risen and Laura Poitras (9/28/13) that started off:

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The China piece does have a couple of acknowledgements that these issues are not totally foreign to the United States. At one point it notes: “Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.” Not noted: China has a bit more than four times the population of the United States. At another point, it mentions that the US director of national intelligence held an “open contest for facial recognition algorithms” in 2017—which a Chinese company won. But you won’t likely see New York Timesheadlines about the “dystopian dreams” of the US surveillance state.

In an indication that surveillance isn’t the only area where the Times has the ability to report on woes in other countries without recognizing that its own country has troubles that are similar or worse, the article describes the impetus behind China’s population-monitoring drive: “China’s economy isn’t growing at the same pace. It suffers from a severe wealth gap.”

As it happens, by the standard measure of inequality, the GINI coefficient, the US and China are almost exactly as unequal—41 vs. 42.2, according to the World Bank—and China’s GDP is growing almost twice as fast. Would the New York Times ever cite the US’s wealth gap and slowing growth as an explanation for the expansion of the NSA’s powers?

Published:7/10/2018 6:17:58 PM
[World] Illegal Immigrant Roberto Garza Palacios Fined for Fatal 2017 Crash

The wife of an FBI agent who was killed in a crash involving an illegal immigrant last year called the mere $280 fine ordered to be paid by the Guatemalan national a "slap in the face" to her family.

Published:7/10/2018 1:17:24 PM
[2018 News] Trump pardons cattle ranchers whose arson convictions sparked 41-day armed police standoff with infamous Bundy clan Trump pardons cattle ranchers whose arson convictions sparked 41-day armed police standoff with infamous Bundy clan. Too bad he can’t pardon LaVoy Finicum, who was killed by the FBI. Published:7/10/2018 11:47:28 AM
[Markets] Pop-Up Protests, Liberal Meltdown Erupts After Trump Picks Kavanaugh For SCOTUS

Following President Trump's Monday evening nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy's now-vacant seat, hundreds of protesters outside the Supreme Court broke open boxes of pre-printed "Stop Kavanaugh" signs - wasting a tremendous amount of paper as the other Supreme Court nominees' pre-printed protest banners went unused (photograph by Breitbart's Amanda House, who was there).

In other words, it didn't matter who Trump picked - this was always going to be the response.

Those opposed to the selection flipped to their anti-Kavanaugh talking points and filled in the blanks on their prepared statements - for the most part. 

As The Daily Caller reports, Rush Limbaugh producer Bo Snerdley, made his own prophetic prediction, and call to action, before Trump made his pick:

And sure enough, the 'resistance' really sprang into action from billionaire Tom Steyer to Bill de Blasio and Kamala Harris - with one voice decrying this terrible human being:

 

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) showed up to speak along with other prominent Democrats, only to be interrupted by a man with a bullhorn shouting "Abortion is murder." 

Also at the protest were Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.). Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

During her prepared speech, Warren politically appropriated a portion of Trump's July 5th speech at a Montana rally - echoing the President's battle cry of "We won't back down, we won't give in," down to the cadence of his voice. 

Afterwards, Warren called Kavanaugh a "political animal" on MSBC's The Last Word when asked about a legal opinion he wrote which concluded that Warren's brainchild - the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), had been handed "enormous executive power" through the 2010 Dodd-Frank act. 

Created on July 21, 2011, the CFPB was accused by an anonymous consultant of funnelling over $5 billion in collected penalties to "community organizers aligned with Democrats" as part of a multi-billion dollar slush fund, the New York Post's Paul Sperry reported in December.

The fund was shut down in January by Trump's budget chief Mick Mulvaney.

Cause of Action Institute, for example, has drawn attention to a $14 million CFPB contract with GMMB Inc., a powerful media consulting shop that has produced political ads for Obama and 2016 runner-up Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Cause of Action counsel Eric R. Bolinder cheered Mulvaney’s move to review the spending, especially the millions in educational funds.

“Given CFPB’s history of stark, unabashed partisanship, as exhibited by Richard Cordray’s final bizarre gambit to try to seize control of the agency and put it in the hands of [deputy] Leandra English, it is great news that Acting Director Mulvaney is rooting out political bias, beginning with a comprehensive review of all spending,” he told the Washington Examiner. -Washington Examiner

The protest in front of the Supreme Court became so volatile that Fox News reporter Shannon Bream felt too threatened to go live from the scene, tweeting "Very few times I’ve felt threatened while out in the field. The mood here tonight is very volatile. Law enforcement appears to be closing down 1st Street in front of SCOTUS." 

Protesters outside Trump tower were arrested after the Supreme Court pick. Note that none of their signs say Kavanaugh.

Meanwhile the death threats are already starting to roll in. In response to Bernie Sanders' tweet stating "We must do everything we can to stop this nomination," Twitter user THE Gentleman, (@Abovethelaw187) whose profile which contains a #GSU18 hashtag suggesting he's a 2018 graduate of Georgia State University, tweeted "let's grab our rifles and assassinate him! #Whoswithme?!"

Those on the right, meanwhile, appeared to be having a pleasant Monday evening for the most part. 

We look forward to a few news cycles full of pundits on CNN and MSNBC frothing at the mouth over [insert name here] Judge Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court.

Published:7/10/2018 7:21:59 AM
[Markets] Mueller's "Pit Bull" Attorney Arranged Secret "Black Ledger" Meeting With AP Reporters

Documents released Friday by the Department of Justice confirm that a DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller's "pit bull" arranged an April 11, 2017 meeting with journalists to discuss their investigation into Paul Manafort in which information may have been leaked back and forth concerning the case.

At question is the FBI's relationship with AP - and whether or not the FBI leaked information about the Manafort case to them or vice-versa.

According to memos written by FBI agents, Special Counsel attorney Andrew Weissmann, Mueller's #2 (who donated $6,600 to the DNC, Obama and Clinton campaigns and reportedly attended a Clinton election night party in NYC), arranged a meeting between DOJ/FBI officials and four reporters from the Associated Press - who told the FBI about a storage locker owned by Manafort and then gave the FBI a passcode to access it

The memos also show that one of the AP journalists gave the FBI an unusual detail about a storage unit in Alexandria, Virginia that Manafort used to keep records of his worldwide business dealings. Both memos say the AP revealed a code number to access the unit, although one memo says the reporters declined to share the unit number of the locker or its street address. -Politico

Manafort's attorneys received the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a Virginia federal court filing as part of a push for a hearing into possible leaks of sealed grand jury information, false reports and potentially classified materials. 

The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” wrote Manafort attorney Kevin Downing in a motion requesting the hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”

One of the memos written by FBI Supervisory Special Agent Karen Greenaway reveals "The meeting was arranged by Andrew Weissmann," who goes on to note that Weissmann provided guidance to the reporters

According to Greenaway, Weissmann suggested that the reporters ask the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority, a Cypriot government agency, if it had provided the Department of Treasury with all of the documents they were legally authorized to provide regarding Manafort. -Daily Caller

AP director of media relations Lauren Easton defended the FBI briefing in a statement toi the Daily Caller News Foundation

"Associated Press journalists met with representatives from the Department of Justice in an effort to get information on stories they were reporting, as reporters do. During the course of the meeting, they asked DOJ representatives about a storage locker belonging to Paul Manafort, without sharing its name or location."

Originally reported by journalist Sara Carter in January, the meeting between AP and DOJ officials was confirmed for the first time on June 29 in a pre-trial hearing at which FBI special agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer admitted that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid on a storage locker rented by Manafort. 

The AP journalists, Chad Day, Ted Bridis, Jack Gillum and Eric Tucker, were conducting an extensive investigation of Manafort, including payments he received through various shell companies set up in Cyprus.

Day and Gillum published an article a day after the meeting laying out some of the allegations against Manafort, including that he was listed in a “black ledger” that documented illicit payments from a Ukrainian political party allied with the Russian government. -Daily Caller

Manafort will go on trial July 25 for a litany of bank fraud and money laundering charges connected to a 2012-2014 lobbying effort for a pro-Ukraine think tank tied to former president Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych fled from Ukraine to Russia after he was unseated in a 2014 coup. 

Manafort’s firm earned $17 million consulting for Yanukovych’s centrist, pro-Russia ‘Party of Regions.’ During the same period, he oversaw a lobbying campaign for the pro-Russia “Centre for a Modern Ukraine,” (ECMU) a Brussels based think tank linked to Yanukovych which was pushing for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.

Of note, the now defunct Podesta group, operating under Manafort, earned over $1.2 million as part of that effort.

While the Podesta group and Paul Manafort both failed to file paperwork related to the Pro-Russia Centre for a Modern Ukraine, retroactive disclosures filed by the Podesta group on August 17 revealed dozens of previously unreported communications with high level democrat officials related to the lobbying campaign – including Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the office of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Read the motion by Manafort's attorneys here: 

Published:7/9/2018 11:43:36 AM
[Robert Mueller] Collusion real and imagined (Scott Johnson) If the Trump campaign somehow colluded with the friends of Vladimir Putin like the Clinton campaign did, one should think that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had something do with it. The Special Counsel appointed to continue the counterintelligence investigation undertaken by the FBI has brought two indictments against Manafort. The first case is set to go to trial before Judge Ellis on July 25 in the Eastern District Published:7/9/2018 7:13:42 AM
[] Sunday Overnight Open Thread (7/8/18 ) ***** The Quotes of The Day Quote I “I was surrounded by armed people all day long. If I wasn’t safe in the hands of the FBI, then our country was really in trouble.” Former FBI Director, James Comey.... Published:7/8/2018 9:35:47 PM
[FBI] “Hurry the F up pressure” to Stop Trump (John Hinderaker) The FBI has slowly been producing documents to the DOJ Inspector General and various Congressional committees. As the process continues, more information comes out about the FBI’s attempt to cement the 2016 presidential election for Hillary Clinton. This piece by John Solomon in The Hill is two days old, but I don’t think it has received as much attention as it deserves. Solomon’s reporting evidently is based on information from Published:7/8/2018 6:05:02 PM
[Markets] "That Wouldn't Be Fair" - Giuliani Refuses To Rule Out Possibility Of Cohen Pardon

After a brief media absence, Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned to the Sunday shows with a vengeance this weekend with appearances on ABC's "This Week", CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" to offer an official response to Michael Cohen's claim that he would put "family and country first" when deciding whether to cooperate with prosecutors who are reportedly investigating him for bank fraud and possible campaign finance violations following raids on his office, hotel and home.

During his interview with George Stephanopoulos, the former Bill Clinton Press Secretary asked Giuliani about who knew what regarding the payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels, Giuliani insisted that Cohen "should cooperate with investigators" and that attorneys for Trump and Cohen didn't find anything that could incriminate either man after sifting through the more than one million documents seized during the Cohen raids.

"As long as he tells the truth, we're home free" Giuliani insisted.

He offered a similar defense during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union," where he said "I don't know what he has to flip over. What I do know is there is no evidence of wrongdoing with President Trump."

But while Giuliani maintained his defensive tone during the interview, he also managed to slip in a brief soundbite that could go a long way toward convincing Cohen to stand his ground. To wit, when asked by Stephanopoulos about the possibility of a pardon, Giuliani said that, while there hasn't been any discussion of a pardon for Cohen up until this point, the president and his legal team haven't ruled it out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Has the president or anybody on his team had any conversations with Cohen about a possible pardon?

GIULIANI: "No not at all. I've advised the president which he understands no discussion of pardons. You can't abridge your power to do it, that's something you can decide down the road one way or the other.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not going to rule it out in the future?

GIULIANI: Well I don't think you should, that wouldn't be fair for the president, it wouldn't be fair to Cohen and it wouldn't be fair to future presidents. But, the fact is there's no reason for a pardon right now or even to consider it - and quite honestly it would just confuse everything.

Anybody who has been following the Cohen legal saga (a drama that has been surprisingly intense considering that no charges have been filed since the raids back in April) should recognize that Giuliani has effectively thrown Cohen, who has publicly fretted about the impact the investigation is having on his family and finances, a life preserver. That's because the incessant stream of leaks about Cohen's purported dissatisfaction with his treatment by the president have sounded more like subtle hints from Cohen that he needs some assurance that Trump will have his back should he refuse to turn on his former boss.

But for now, the White House line remains the same: Cohen did nothing wrong - and the fact that Mueller "handed off" the investigation to federal prosecutors in New York shows that even the special counsel himself didn't see Cohen as a significant part of his case (because if it was, Mueller presumably would've kept the Cohen probe "in house").

STEPHANOPOULOS: What was the president's reaction to that interview with Michael Cohen?

GIULIANI: Same as mine which is fine, Michael Cohen should cooperate with the government. We have no reason to believe he did anything wrong. The president did nothing wrong with him so we've gone through every document we can, we see no evidence of it...also, Mueller himself has indicated there's nothing here because he wouldn't have given it away. I hope Michael is able to clear himself because what is being done to him is really unfair.

Giuliani also added that Cohen hasn't "flipped on the president" because, if he did, the case would need to be sent back to Mueller because Rod Rosenstein has "made the decision" that the "presidential part of this" must be handled by the special counsel's office.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I just want to be very clear: You have no concerns that Michael Cohen will flip on the president? 

GIULIANI: I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth...the way you'd find out that he decided to flip on the president...the case would have to go back to Mueller because Rosenstein has made the decision that the presidential part of this must be handled by the independent counsel.

While President Trump initially denounced the investigation into Cohen as "an attack on our country" shortly after the raids took place, he was conspicuously silent following Cohen's interview with Stephanopoulos a week ago, which marked the first time that Cohen had spoken out publicly about his legal issues since the raid. Clearly, the president understands that there are some sensitive topics where it's better to let the attorneys do the talking.

Published:7/8/2018 10:02:30 AM
[Markets] Political Smear Job? Law Firm Investigating Accusations Against Jim Jordan Steeped In Partisanship

Authored by Jon Hall via Free Market Shooter blog,

Over the July 4th holiday, NBC News posted an article detailing alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State University. At the center of the story, NBC News implicated one of the most well-known members of the Republican party, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Former wrestlers that Jordan coached over two decades ago at OSU accuse him of failing to stop the team doctor from molesting students.

It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that Jim Jordan is on the rise. Already a member of the Freedom Caucus, his name has been thrown around by many for the next Speaker of the House. Jordan has also led the charge against the corruption at the FBI and DOJ – known for many heated debates in hearings.

To note, the University opened an investigation into the accusations that Dr. Richard Strauss – who died in 2005 – abused students when he was the doctor for the wrestling team during his tenure from the mid-70’s to late 90’s back in April. The timing of Jordan’s name being thrown into the mess is not the only suspect element regarding this scandal…

Enter Perkins Coie, the firm heavily involved in the investigation into whether or not Russia influenced the 2016 Presidential election. When DNC servers were hacked, Perkins Coie did not go to authorities with proof of the hack but instead hired Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm with ties to Hillary Clinton, to investigate the breach.

As FMShooter reported back in 2017:

On top of all of this, Crowdstrike was the only one to come to a conclusion on the “Russia” conspiracy. The FBI never even inspected the hacked DNC servers and simply went off of Crowdstrike’s conclusion that Russian hackers did infiltrate DNC servers when there is absolutely no proof behind their claim.

Perkins Coie also sits at the center of the FISA abuse scandal. The Steele dossierwas the first piece of evidence used in FISA warrants to surveil former Trump team member, Carter Page. Both the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee helped fund research into the Steele dossier through Perkins Coie – the very same law firm that is now looking into the accusations against Strauss and Jim Jordan.

For proof, OpenSecrets has Perkins Coie’s major contributions laid bare.

Of course, the DNC tops the list with Hillary For America, Obama for America, and Priorities USA Action – David Brock’s former PAC – also making appearances; along with many other high-profile Democratic fundraising efforts. 

Notably, Perkins Coie was hired by OSU to investigate the accusations less than a month after the University shut down their office that helped sexual-assault victimsIn a statement, OSU said:

To date, Perkins Coie has interviewed more than 150 former students and witnesses and is engaged in further investigative efforts. Ohio State has shared all additional information that has come to the attention of the university with the independent investigators whose work is ongoing.

This isn’t even mentioning the shaky history of Jordan’s accusers, raising questions about their authenticity.

One of the accusers, Mike DiSabato is being accused by the widow of a marine for intimidating and bullying her over a memorial fund set up in her husband’s name. Another accuser served time in prison for a $1.8 million fraud scheme.

While OSU did notify local police and prosecutors, it’s strange that they immediately selected a law firm (and stranger that it was Perkins Coie) instead of letting police handle the investigation. Perkins Coie has no power to convene a grand jury or bring charges of perjury; nor do they have police powers or are able to compel someone to testify.

Certainly, an investigation into these accusations is warranted. However, giving the case to a law firm with proven bias isn’t how to go about getting to the truth. Perkins Coie are already involved in numerous scandals and being involved in this investigation further complicates the process. Perkins Coie has proven that politics is more important than the truth – therefore, can any conclusion they reach in this case really be trusted?

* * *

Editor’s note: After this article was posted, a member of the FMShooter team uncovered more about Perkins Coie:

The quoted text is as follows:

In recent years, a group of attorneys have been fighting to keep their recruited immigrant clients eligible for naturalization as delays have mounted. Some have been successful, including nearly 50 recruits who were granted a type of temporary status while their background investigations are being completed.

“Some of our clients have finally emerged through the system and at least are doing basic training,” said Donald Friedman, a Washington attorney with Perkins Coie.

The firm has certainly engaged in far more legal actions supporting liberal causes than the few listed against Rep. Jordan. 

Published:7/7/2018 9:31:40 PM
[Politics] Rosenstein Growing 'Steel in the Spine' as Criticism Grows Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump and on down since he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian activities during the 2016 election, appears to be fighting back, Washington insiders are... Published:7/7/2018 3:28:39 PM
[Politics] Trump Lawyers Call Comey 'Machiavellian' in Note to Mueller Lawyers for President Donald Trump unleashed a blistering attack on former FBI Director James Comey in a confidential memo last year to the special counsel, casting him as "Machiavellian," dishonest and "unbounded by law and regulation" as they sought to undermine the... Published:7/7/2018 12:27:51 PM
[FBI] Still waiting (Scott Johnson) In her weekly Wall Street Journal column yesterday Kim Strassel wondered if the FBI would come clean about the origin of the 2016 Trump investigation. She noted that a House resolution had set yesterday “as the deadline for the Justice Department to come clean on the beginning of its investigation into the Trump campaign.” If the subpoenaed documents were produced by the end of the day, we would “find out Published:7/7/2018 8:57:48 AM
[Media] Jeopardy! FAIL triggers CNN’s John King over the Russia investigation in a BIG WAY

So, there was an amusing moment on Jeopardy last week when all three contestants, 2 hilariously so, had no idea who this answer was referring to: “In 2017, this ex-national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.” Watch here as the first contestant answers, “Kelly” while the second one answers, “Sebastian Gorka”: Via […]

The post Jeopardy! FAIL triggers CNN’s John King over the Russia investigation in a BIG WAY appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:7/7/2018 6:55:41 AM
[Markets] Kunstler: "Constitutional 'Crisis' May Be Too Mild For What Comes Next..."

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The golden Colossus of Trump looms over the national scene this summer like one of Jeff Koons’s giant, shiny, balloon-puppy sculptures — a monumental expression of semiotic vacancy. At the apogee of Trumpdom, everything’s coming up covfefe. The stock market is 5000 points ahead since 1/20/17. Little Rocket Man is America’s bitch. We’re showing those gibbering Asian hordes and European café layabouts a thing or two about fair trade. Electric cars are almost here to save the day. And soon, American youth will be time-warping around the solar system in the new US Space Corps!

Enjoy it while you can. Events are converging ominously this summer in the direction of unwinding expectations and serial train wrecks of finance and politics. Mr. Trump has made hubris simple by bragging on the supposed triumphs of “his” economy. When it blows up, he’ll own that, too, and the second half of 2018 liable to be a debris-field of shattered national economies, zombie corporations, and floundering institutions.

A new supreme court justice will be the very apex of Trump triumphalism, but whoever the pick is will goad the Democratic “progressives” to new depths of antagonism, so expect more street-fighting by the black-masked Antifa forces during the senate confirmation debate. Some sort of martial law will be invoked by a governor, or perhaps even the president himself. Initially that would amount to little more than curfews, but they’ll be ignored, and then the fun will really begin. Think: national guard troops and angry clashes.

The tone will be low, and sinking fast.

If Antifa acts up the way I anticipate, it will drag the Democratic Party closer to extinction. The party celebrated a week ago over the rise of Evita Peron wannabe, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her youth and glamour intersect with her socialism, a doctrine that caused more human deaths in the 20th century than all the religious wars of the previous centuries. What’s not to like about it?

The blowup of the bond and stock markets later this year will put to a gloomy rest the ludicrous notion that America has been enjoying a great economic boom. It’s actually been an engineered hallucination, thanks to the global monetary authorities applying the magic of limitless credit to a bad habit of credulous speculation. The central banks have launched a program of so-called “quantitative tightening (QT)” — an idiotic phrase meant to counterpoise the equally fatuous “quantitative easing (QE),” PhD economist-speak for grotesque interference in the bond markets — that will choke down the credit supply at exactly the moment that governments and giant corporations need new loans to pay the interest on old loans. The trajectory there is obvious.

The big question, of course — hardly ever asked in the public arena — is what that will do to currencies, i.e., money. It can really only go two ways: either make money very scarce, in which case a lot of people and enterprises go broke, or, if the monetary authorities respond to the predicament by enabling a return to bottomless credit issuance, the money will become worthless — they’ll be plenty of it, but it won’t buy much. Such a turn of events will make an already-unhinged nation fly apart.

Lurking in the background of all this are several other consequential movements, trends, and troubles.

One is the fate of the European Union. The quarrel over migrants from the Middle East and Africa will not be resolved happily. Germany and France will not succeed in bullying countries like Austria, Hungary, and Poland into absorbing more of these strangers. The more the EU pushes, the more they will feed nationalist sentiment in these places. And of course all the Big Dawgs of the EU are already stuck with millions of newcomers they foolishly invited the past several years, and all the problems they brought with them.

Another plot-line deep in this summer’s story is the movement of oil markets. Recently, the trend has been for rapidly rising oil prices. As they approach the “magic” $75-a-barrel mark, you can be sure they will squash economic activity — which is already being hammered by the uncertainty unleashed by trade-and-tariff shenanigans. If the oil price heads back over $100/barrel you can just forget about maintaining the business status quo — and even at that price the shale oil companies won’t make a red cent. Of course, they’ll also have a tough time getting new loans, which is the only thing that kept their operations going for the past ten years.

Oh, yes, there is also that Hieronymus Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights known as the Mueller Investigation, with its dreary outposts in the executive suite of the FBI, and all the tangled mysteries entailed there. Mr. Mueller will come up with someone to indict on something, even if it’s ninety-seven ham sandwiches. I suspect Mr. Trump will manage to dump Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. And then the pardons will fly, like so many winged demons flapping from the mouth of Hades. Constitutional crisis may be too mild a word for what ensues.

 

By holiday time in early winter, much will clarified about the actual direction of the country. By then, the “Walk Away” movement may even include the obdurate shills at CNN and The New York Times, and the Intellectual-Yet-Idiots on the college campuses. And the Golden Golem of Greatness will lie upended in the swamp that he just didn’t try hard enough to drain.

Published:7/6/2018 4:23:37 PM
[Markets] "Hurry The F Up": New Strzok-Page Email Reveals FBI Scramble For Dirt On Trump Campaign

Congressional investigators have received a trove of new communications between embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok and his counterintelligence team which reveal "troubling" evidence that the FBI was rushing at breakneck speed to dig up any possible dirt on the Trump campaign, reports The Hill's John Solomon, after the communications were described to him.

Memos the FBI is now producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as “damning” or “troubling” evidence.

They show Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find “derogatory” information from informants, or a “pretext” to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president. -The Hill

One of the FBI's targets, of course, was Trump campaign aide Carter Page - an energy consultant from New York who briefly volunteered as a foreign policy adviser for the GOP nominee's campaign, and who visited Moscow the summer prior to the election. 

The new batch of messages reveal Strzok, his reported lover, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and others on the counterintelligence team monitoring news articles in September 2016 which revealed that the FBI was probing Page's Moscow trip. 

Said news articles prompted Page to send a letter to then-FBI director James Comey to complain about the "completely false leak," which Strzok and Page then seized on as a "pretext" to sink their hooks into the Trump adviser

At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview,” Strzok wrote to Lisa Page on Sept. 26, 2016.

Within weeks, that “pretext” — often a synonym for an excuse — had been upsized to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant, giving the FBI the ability to use some of its most awesome powers to monitor Carter Page and his activities.

To date, the former Trump adviser has been accused of no wrongdoing despite being subjected to nearly a year of surveillance. -The Hill

More internal FBI memos shed light on the frustrations Strzok shared with Page over the Department of Justice (DOJ)'s slow response time. In one email exchange with the subject line "Crossfire FISA," Strzok and Page strategized on the best way to get former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to convince a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the FISA warrant to spy on Page. 

At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Lisa Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.

Four days later the same team was emailing about rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation code-named “Dragon.”

Still an expedite?” one of the emails beckoned, as the FBI tried to meet the requirements of a process known as a Woods review before a FISA warrant can be approved by the courts.

“Any idea what time he can have it woods-ed by?” Strzok asked Lisa Page. “I know it’s not going to matter because DOJ is going to take the time DOJ wants to take. I just don’t want this waiting on us at all.” -The Hill

As The Hill's Solomon points out, there are multiple ongoing reviews of whether FBI agents' political bias affected the Trump-Russia collusion case. Until all the reviews are complete, we won't know exactly why the counterintelligence team "who normally take a methodical approach to investigation" were in such a mad scramble to find dirt on Trump - though we have our suspicions. 

Were they concerned about losing a chance to gather evidence at a critical moment? Or maybe, as some Republicans long have suspected, they wanted to impact the election? -John Solomon

Two weeks after the "hurry the F up pressure" was a success and the agents got their FISA warrant for Page in October, 2016 - Democrats in congress such as then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) along with many in the MSM were talking about the FBI "withholding word of a probe" that could hurt Trump. Solomon reports that the FBI agents monitored these reports as well. 

After Trump won

In another batch of FBI emails between Strzok and Page the day after Trump's upset win on November 9, 2016 - the two discuss a new mission to dig into Trump's team. 

We need ALL of their names to scrub, and we should give them ours for the same purpose,” Strzok emailed Lisa Page on Nov. 10, 2016, citing a Daily Beast article about some of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s allegedly unsavory ties overseas.

“Andy didn’t get any others,” Lisa Page wrote back, apparently indicating then-Deputy Director McCabe didn’t have names to add to the “scrub.”

“That’s what Bill said,” Strzok wrote back, apparently referring to then-FBI chief of counterintelligence William Priestap. “I suggested we need to exchange our entire lists as we each have potential derogatory CI info the other doesn’t.” CI is short for confidential informants. -The Hill

And as John Solomon notes, "It’s an extraordinary exchange, if for no other reason than this: The very day after Trump wins the presidency, some top FBI officials are involved in the sort of gum-shoeing normally reserved for field agents, and their goal is to find derogatory information about someone who had worked for the president-elect." 

As the Trump administration prepared for the post-election transition into the White House, the FBI made yet another odd move which has captured the attention of congressional investigators: "It named an executive with expertise in the FBI’s most sensitive surveillance equipment to be a liaison to the Trump transition." 

This is odd - as agents skilled in technical surveillance and espionage typically aren't the first picks for "plum political assignments," as Solomon writes. Even more odd was that the FBI counterintelligence team in charge of the Trump-Russia collusion probe were involved in the liaison's appointment. 

As Solomon notes: 

Yet, now, irrefutable proof exists that agents sought to create pressure to get “derogatory” information and a “pretext” to interview people close to a future president they didn’t like.

Clear evidence also exists that an investigation into still-unproven collusion between a foreign power and a U.S. presidential candidate was driven less by secret information from Moscow and more by politically tainted media leaks.

And that means the dots between expressions of political bias and official actions just got a little more connected.

We're sure all that and more will be outlined in "damning" detail in the upcoming Inspector General's report on FISA abuse, which will then conclude that the Boy and Girl Scouts at the FBI were able to compartmentalize their bias.

Published:7/6/2018 12:20:07 PM
[Markets] Today Is The Deadline For The FBI To "Come Clean"

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter  the  liberal mainstream media's anti-Trump-ness, dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs, exposing the real 'constitutional crisis', and refusing to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth and hold those responsible, accountable; in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as 'Alt-Right' or 'Nazi' or be 'punished' by search- and social-media-giants.

And once again Kimberley Strassel - who by now has become the focus of social media attacks for her truth-seeking reporting - does it again this morning, as she asks - rhetorically, we assume - will the FBI come clean?

In the trench war between congressional Republicans and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we have arrived at a crucial battle. A House resolution sets Friday as the deadline for the Justice Department to come clean on the beginning of its investigation into the Trump campaign. We’ll find out if the FBI has been lying to the public.

That is, if the department complies. It has flouted so many subpoenas, and played so many games with redactions and deadlines, that the entire House GOP united last week to vote for the resolution demanding submission to Congress’s requests for documents. The vote was an order but also a warning—that this is the last chance to comply, and the next step will be to hold officials in contempt. It is a measure of the stakes that even that threat doesn’t guarantee cooperation.

At issue is the FBI’s “origin story,” in which it claims its full-fledged investigation into a presidential campaign was conducted, as it were, by the book. According to this narrative, the FBI did not launch its probe until July 31, 2016, only after Australia tipped it to a conversation junior Trump aide George Papadopoulos had with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in the spring of 2016 in London. Only after this formal commencement of a counterintelligence probe—Crossfire Hurricane—did the FBI begin to target U.S. citizens with spying, wiretapping and other tools usually reserved for foreign infiltrators. Or so the story goes.

This account, relayed by the New York Times in December 2017, has proved highly convenient for the FBI. The Australian “government” connection allowed the bureau to infuse the meaningless Papadopoulos conversation with significance, justifying the probe. The origin story suggested the FBI had followed procedure. Mostly, it countered the growing suspicion that the bureau had been snooping on a presidential campaign on the basis of truly disreputable info—a dossier of salacious information compiled by an opposition research firm working for the rival campaign.

The story is full of holes, and they are widening. No one has explained why two months passed between the Papadopoulos-Downer conversation and the July 31 probe. We’ve learned that it wasn’t Australian intelligence that passed along the info, but Mr. Downer personally, to State Department personnel in violation of procedure. And a growing list of Trump officials now relate moments when they were approached by suspicious figures before July 31.

That’s why congressional investigators have come to suspect the real origin story is very different. They believe the FBI was investigating Trump officials well before July 31, on the basis of the dossier and dubious information from State Department officials. They think the bureau was employing a variety of counterintelligence tools before there was an official counterintelligence probe—and that this included deploying spies against political actors. They suspect that only when the FBI decided that it wanted to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Trump aide Carter Page (which requires an official investigation) did it surface the Downer information (collected back in May) and make it the official pretext in July.

This theory is at the heart of the standoff with the Justice Department, which focuses on FBI actions prior to July 31. I’m told that multiple senior congressional members have repeatedly asked Justice Department leadership to affirm that the department had provided Congress everything relevant with regard to the Trump investigation. The department has said yes. Yet investigators have credible evidence pointing to the use of FBI informants against the Trump campaign earlier than July 31, and last week’s resolution requires the department to answer whether that is true, and if so, on what basis they were used.

The FBI and its media allies have waged a ceaseless campaign to lower the bar on what counts as appropriate.

We are told it is OK that the government opened a counterintelligence probe into a presidential campaign. OK that it obtained a warrant to spy on a U.S. citizen. OK that it based that warrant on an unverified dossier from the Democratic campaign, and then hid that true origin from the FISA court. OK that it paid a spy to target domestic political actors.

It’s not OK. Not so long ago, the FBI would have quailed at the idea of running an informant into any U.S. political operation—even into, say, a congressman under criminal investigation for bribery or corruption. These are the most sensitive of lines. But Mr. Trump’s opponents, in government and media, have a boundless capacity to justify any measures against the president.

And finally, Strassel has some advice on how to resolve this... Mr. Trump has an even quicker way to bring the hostility to an end.

If it turns out that the Justice Department and FBI lied about how and when this all started, that is scandalous. Worse if it comes out that senior officials lied to Congress about whether they had complied with its demands for information. And once again, it is a reason for Mr. Trump to step in and declassify everything.

Just what will the deep state do to avoid this eventuality? Do they have anything left to throw at Trump?

Published:7/6/2018 10:52:38 AM
[Markets] Former US Ambassador Confirms Intel Report On Russian Interference "Politically Motivated"

Authored by Jack Matlock via JackMatlock.com,

Did the U.S. “intelligence community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed.

Reports that President Putin denied involvement in the election are scoffed at, usually with a claim that the U.S. “intelligence community” proved Russian interference. In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”

I spent the 35 years of my government service with a “top secret” clearance. When I reached the rank of ambassador and also worked as Special Assistant to the President for National Security, I also had clearances for “codeword” material. At that time, intelligence reports to the president relating to Soviet and European affairs were routed through me for comment. I developed at that time a “feel” for the strengths and weaknesses of the various American intelligence agencies. It is with that background that I read the January 6, 2017 report of three intelligence agencies: the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

This report is labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment,” but in fact it is not that. A report of the intelligence community in my day would include the input of all the relevant intelligence agencies and would reveal whether all agreed with the conclusions. Individual agencies did not hesitate to “take a footnote” or explain their position if they disagreed with a particular assessment. A report would not claim to be that of the “intelligence community” if any relevant agency was omitted.

The report states that it represents the findings of three intelligence agencies: CIA, FBI, and NSA, but even that is misleading in that it implies that there was a consensus of relevant analysts in these three agencies. In fact, the report was prepared by a group of analysts from the three agencies pre-selected by their directors, with the selection process generally overseen by James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Clapper told the Senate in testimony May 8, 2017, that it was prepared by “two dozen or so analysts—hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.” If you can hand-pick the analysts, you can hand-pick the conclusions. The analysts selected would have understood what Director Clapper wanted since he made no secret of his views. Why would they endanger their careers by not delivering?

What should have struck any congressperson or reporter was that the procedure Clapper followed was the same as that used in 2003 to produce the report falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein had retained stocks of weapons of mass destruction. That should be worrisome enough to inspire questions, but that is not the only anomaly.

Clapper (far right): Picked who he wanted. (Office of Director of National Intelligence)

The DNI has under his aegis a National Intelligence Council whose officers can call any intelligence agency with relevant expertise to draft community assessments. It was created by Congress after 9/11 specifically to correct some of the flaws in intelligence collection revealed by 9/11. Director Clapper chose not to call on the NIC, which is curious since its duty is “to act as a bridge between the intelligence and policy communities.”

Unusual FBI Participation

During my time in government, a judgment regarding national security would include reports from, as a minimum, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) of the State Department. The FBI was rarely, if ever, included unless the principal question concerned law enforcement within the United States. NSA might have provided some of the intelligence used by the other agencies but normally did not express an opinion regarding the substance of reports.

What did I notice when I read the January report? There was no mention of INR or DIA! The exclusion of DIA might be understandable since its mandate deals primarily with military forces, except that the report attributes some of the Russian activity to the GRU, Russian military intelligence. DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, is the U.S. intelligence organ most expert on the GRU. Did it concur with this attribution? The report doesn’t say.

The omission of INR is more glaring since a report on foreign political activity could not have been that of the U.S. intelligence community without its participation. After all, when it comes to assessments of foreign intentions and foreign political activity, the State Department’s intelligence service is by far the most knowledgeable and competent. In my day, it reported accurately on Gorbachev’s reforms when the CIA leaders were advising that Gorbachev had the same aims as his predecessors.

This is where due diligence comes in.

The first question responsible journalists and politicians should have asked is “Why is INR not represented? Does it have a different opinion? If so, what is that opinion?" Most likely the official answer would have been that this is “classified information.” But why should it be classified? If some agency heads come to a conclusion and choose (or are directed) to announce it publicly, doesn’t the public deserve to know that one of the key agencies has a different opinion?

The second question should have been directed at the CIA, NSA, and FBI: did all their analysts agree with these conclusions or were they divided in their conclusions? What was the reason behind hand-picking analysts and departing from the customary practice of enlisting analysts already in place and already responsible for following the issues involved?

State Department Intel Silenced

As I was recently informed by a senior official, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research did, in fact, have a different opinion but was not allowed to express it. So the January report was not one of the “intelligence community,” but rather of three intelligence agencies, two of which have no responsibility or necessarily any competence to judge foreign intentions. The job of the FBI is to enforce federal law. The job of NSA is to intercept the communications of others and to protect ours. It is not staffed to assess the content of what is intercepted; that task is assumed by others, particularly the CIA, the DIA (if it is military) or the State Department’s INR (if it is political).

The second thing to remember is that reports of the intelligence agencies reflect the views of the heads of the agencies and are not necessarily a consensus of their analysts’ views. The heads of both the CIA and FBI are political appointments, while the NSA chief is a military officer; his agency is a collector of intelligence rather than an analyst of its import, except in the fields of cryptography and communications security.

One striking thing about the press coverage and Congressional discussion of the January report, and of subsequent statements by CIA, FBI, and NSA heads is that questions were never posed regarding the position of the State Department’s INR, or whether the analysts in the agencies cited were in total agreement with the conclusions.

Let’s put these questions aside for the moment and look at the report itself. On the first page of text, the following statement leapt to my attention:

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

Now, how can one judge whether activity “interfered” with an election without assessing its impact? After all, if the activity had no impact on the outcome of the election, it could not be properly termed interference. This disclaimer, however, has not prevented journalists and politicians from citing the report as proof that “Russia interfered” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

As for particulars, the report is full of assertion, innuendo, and description of “capabilities” but largely devoid of any evidence to substantiate its assertions. This is “explained” by claiming that much of the evidence is classified and cannot be disclosed without revealing sources and methods. The assertions are made with “high confidence” or occasionally, “moderate confidence.” Having read many intelligence reports I can tell you that if there is irrefutable evidence of something it will be stated as a fact. The use of the term “high confidence” is what most normal people would call “our best guess.” “Moderate confidence” means “some of our analysts think this might be true.”

Guccifer 2.0: A Fabrication

Among the assertions are that a persona calling itself “Guccifer 2.0” is an instrument of the GRU, and that it hacked the emails on the Democratic National Committee’s computer and conveyed them to Wikileaks. What the report does not explain is that it is easy for a hacker or foreign intelligence service to leave a false trail. In fact, a program developed by CIA with NSA assistance to do just that has been leaked and published.

Retired senior NSA technical experts have examined the “Guccifer 2.0” data on the web and have concluded that “Guccifer 2.0’s” data did not involve a hack across the web but was locally downloaded. Further, the data had been tampered with and manipulated, leading to the conclusion that “Guccifer 2.0” is a total fabrication.

The report’s assertions regarding the supply of the DNC emails to Wikileaks are dubious, but its final statement in this regard is important: Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”  

In other words, what was disclosed was the truth! So, Russians are accused of “degrading our democracy” by revealing that the DNC was trying to fix the nomination of a particular candidate rather than allowing the primaries and state caucuses to run their course. I had always thought that transparency is consistent with democratic values. Apparently those who think that the truth can degrade democracy have a rather bizarre—to put it mildly–concept of democracy.

Most people, hearing that it is a “fact” that “Russia” interfered in our election must think that Russian government agents hacked into vote counting machines and switched votes to favor a particular candidate. This, indeed, would be scary, and would justify the most painful sanctions. But this is the one thing that the “intelligence” report of January 6, 2017, states did not happen. Here is what it said:

DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.”

This is an important statement by an agency that is empowered to assess the impact of foreign activity on the United States. Why was it not consulted regarding other aspects of the study? Or—was it in fact consulted and refused to endorse the findings? Another obvious question any responsible journalist or competent politician should have asked.

Prominent American journalists and politicians seized upon this shabby, politically motivated, report as proof of “Russian interference” in the U.S. election without even the pretense of due diligence. They have objectively acted as co-conspirators in an effort to block any improvement in relations with Russia, even though cooperation with Russia to deal with common dangers is vital to both countries.

This is only part of the story of how, without good reason, U.S.-Russian relations have become dangerously confrontational. God-willing and the crick don’t rise, I’ll be musing about other aspects soon.

(Thanks to Ray McGovern and Bill Binney for their research assistance.)

*  *  *

Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Since retiring from the Foreign Service, he has focused on understanding how the Cold War ended and how the lessons from that experience might be applied to public policy today.

Published:7/5/2018 2:45:23 AM
[Markets] How To Make Your Life A Declaration Of Independence

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

A couple of centuries ago, our country’s Founding Fathers wrote and signed a declaration of our independence from another country. They included a bill of the rights that they wished to ensure for their descendants. While not perfect people, by any means, they tried to create a nation of liberty that would go on for centuries to come.

What people seem to be missing is that the Bill of Rights isn’t a list of 'privileges' granted to us by gray-haired rich men in the 1700s. We are endowed with natural human rights from the moment we are born.  We also bear the responsibility to protect our independence from those who would subjugate us.

Fast forward to our current day. Human ingenuity has come so far in many ways, but at the same time, many have lost that spark of liberty, that sense of compassion, and that pride that urges us to achieve even greater things. There are so many people in our country who are just ready to turn over all control of their lives and wait for a handout.

Our education system has had a great hand in this. These days, many educators are more likely to wax poetic over the joys of socialism than to tempt students to greatness with the benefits of capitalism. And decades of indoctrination is beginning to overcome centuries of liberty-minded ideals.

Lately, the 4th of July simply makes me sad.

I was trying to summon up a rush of pride to write about what makes our country great, and all I could think about was how far we’ve sunk. How distant we’ve ventured from those original settlers who said, “No more!” and declared their independence. They fought and sacrificed to be free of a government that oppressed them, taxed them, stole from them, and enforced rules without any type of representation upon them.

We have somehow forgotten what freedom really means and so we have lost it, incrementally and for many people, voluntarily.

Here we stand today, on July 4, 2018, with a government that has systematically crushed the rights that were demanded more than 240 years ago when the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. And I’m not just talking about the current administration. This stuff has been going on for decades, if not longer.

  • They tax us unreasonably, and if we don’t pay, they will take the money right from our bank accounts or steal our possessions.

  • In many states, we must ask for permission to catch a fish, drive a car, own a gun, or build an extra room onto our homes, just to name a few.

  • Permits and licenses are big revenue generators from start to finish – and if you proceed without asking permission, they will extort more money from you in the form of fines. If you refuse to pay the fines (or if you can’t) they’ll kidnap you and lock you in a cage, where you’ll be forced to perform manual labor for 10 cents an hour for whatever length of time the legal authorities feel is sufficient to teach you a lesson.

  • Then there’s civil asset forfeiture. In many instances, without due process or a trial, our possessions and money can be taken from us on the “suspicion” that they are the benefits of some crime we haven’t been convicted of.

  • We’re unable to voice our opinions without incurring the wrath of so-called social justice warriors, who may actually mean well in an idealistic kind of way, but end up causing more oppression when they try to right a wrong by forcing people to abide by their way of thinking. And this is only if we get it past the censors on social media.

And yet, people comply. They truly believe that this is what freedom looks like. When they lose freedoms they comfort themselves with, “This is the price we pay to live somewhere safe and civilized.”

Every time a bad act occurs, people plead to give away even more of their freedom because they believe it will make them safer.  They are willing to be fondled and naked-body-scanned by the TSA in order to board a plane. They want to make a phone call and wait for the police to save them instead of picking up their own firearm and refusing to be a victim. They want to be surrounded by gun free zones, rainbows, and armed guards instead of taking responsibility for their own safety.

Somehow, this land of rugged individuals has become populated with scared children, who expect to be cared for, fed, protected, and made to feel good about themselves, all by government mandate. Many people seem to have no desire whatsoever to earn their keep, provide for their families, or take responsibility for their own safety. They expect the workplace to be one of sunshine and lollipops, with ample time off, equal pay for all, and. don’t forget, lots of kind words for everyone.

Our culture is just so incredibly dependent.

Freedom is terrifying to most people because it means that they and they alone, are responsible for the actions that they take. An independent person succeeds or fails on his or her own merit. Independence by its very nature means that the possibility of failure exists. It requires a sense of adventure, confidence, and the ability to fail and get right back up again, and it seems like these things are being bred right out of the American people.

What “independence” actually means

“Independent”, by definition, is the opposite of dependent. Here’s a whole list of definitions:

1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself.

2. not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free

3. not influenced by the thought or action of others.

4. not dependent; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.

5. not relying on another or others for aid or support.

6. rejecting others’ aid or support; refusing to be under obligation to others.

7. possessing a competency.

So, if you are, at heart, a free person, the above is a description of your character.

Maybe you read that list and realized it doesn’t describe you. With some hard work and a big dose of courage, it can. Here’s how:

You must reduce your dependence on everything that is out of your control.

You must reduce your dependence on the government, the large corporations, the transportation system, money, the banking system, entities like the FDA and the USDA. All of these are marketed to us to make it seem like we can’t survive without them.

Those who signed the Declaration of Independence, hundreds of years ago, knew this was the case. When Britain tried to coerce them and convince them that they needed help and governance from the other side of the ocean, those patriots decided that there was not one single thing that England could provide for them that they needed enough to remain under the rule of the King. (Here’s how high the cost of freedom was for some of those men.)

Once you decide that there’s nothing that you need, then the boogeymen who would control us all lose their power. That’s why nearly everything you need to do to become self-sustaining is either illegal or strongly discouraged: milk straight from the cow, water collection, front-yard vegetable gardens, carrying a firearm.  They need you to need them.

“Government” is a giant scam.

The government is not really made up of the elected officials that it purports. It’s made up, mostly, of people who sell their souls to huge corporations that have an interest in beneficial laws being passed and laws that would harm their businesses shut down before they ever reach the desk of the presidents.

As well, the supposed watchdog entities, like the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Department of Agriculture are also populated by those who have been hand-picked to support corporations, no matter what the detriment to the American people whom they pretend to protect. If Congress was like Nascar, the members would have to wear uniforms emblazoned with their sponsors. However, Washington DC does not have the transparency of professional car racing, so we must guess at the sponsors of our members.

We are buried under ridiculous laws with the sole purpose of generating revenue or adding to the slave labor force in the for-profit prison system. We must work most of our waking hours to be able to pay for our basic necessities. We are convinced repeatedly that we must have things that our ancestors would never have considered owning, much less requiring.

Hand in hand, the mega-corporations and the government entities work together to keep us subservient and in our places. The corporations create products, the watchdog agencies “test” the products, and the government mandates an artificial need for these products.

They have most people convinced that they must follow the food pyramid, the vaccine schedule, and the rules that force us to have licenses for every darned thing we do. We must pay for and be granted permission to feed ourselves, transport ourselves, build shelters for ourselves, unite in matrimony, and even to own pets.

Like some kind of frighteningly authoritarian parent, they assure us that it’s for our own safety, these breaches into our independence and that we must comply or face the consequences.  They ground us by taking away our licenses. They send us to our rooms that just happen to be located in for-profit prisons. They don’t “allow” us to pursue life, liberty, and happiness because once we taste that sweet freedom, we won’t want to be under their oppressive thumbs anymore.

But some of us have seen the corporate government for what it is: a bully that reigns through fear of reprisal. They hold over us these fears:

  • We will die if we don’t eat things that were inspected and approved by them.

  • We will be jailed, fined, or have our children taken from us if we don’t toe the line.

  • We are unable to figure things out for ourselves because we are not “experts” and therefore we must suppress our own judgments and bow to their far greater knowledge.

  • We will die if we don’t follow their expert health and nutrition advice.

  • We’ll be murdered by scary foreign terrorists if we don’t allow the TSA to fondle our private parts, make us walk barefoot for 30 feet, and perform x-rays that show us naked before we fly.

Because some people fear these things and believe these tales so thoroughly, they allow the government to enforce ridiculous, unconstitutional laws “for our own safety.” They say, “Better that I give up my rights as a human being and save the world from a terrorist.” They justify, “These agents are only doing their jobs.”  Heck, I’ve even heard people in line at the airport thank the TSA for patting them down.

Stockholm Syndrome and the government

Our government strives to create in its citizens a dependency. They want us to feel as though we actually can’t survive without them.

There’s a name for this: Stockholm Syndrome.

Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological term that was coined after a 6-day siege at a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. The 4 hostages began to feel affection, even love, for their captors.

The phrase was reported to have been coined by criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot. Psychiatrist Dr Frank Ochberg was intrigued by the phenomenon and went on to define the syndrome for the FBI and Scotland Yard in the 1970s…

…His criteria included the following: “First people would experience something terrifying that just comes at them out of the blue. They are certain they are going to die.

“Then they experience a type of infantilisation – where, like a child, they are unable to eat, speak or go to the toilet without permission.”

Small acts of kindness – such as being given food – prompts a “primitive gratitude for the gift of life,” he explains.

“The hostages experience a powerful, primitive positive feeling towards their captor. They are in denial that this is the person who put them in that situation. In their mind, they think this is the person who is going to let them live.” (source)

Stockholm Syndrome is defined as “feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.”

Sounds familiar, right?

So here’s how the government does it.

The corporate system is constructed around making us feel as though we need what they are offering.  They want us to believe we need their expertise, their handouts, their approvals, and their protection. They want us to feel that we are not capable of making our own decisions without their input.

Once they create this insecurity in you, then you have become their slave.

You must work, almost non-stop, to be able to afford the lifestyle they tell you to have. Your home must meet their standards, your dependence upon the grid is absolute, and you must never, ever partake of a food that has not passed their approval process. You should call the experts to protect you, via 911, as opposed to taking care of your own security. Your children must be supervised constantly, unable to grow and seek adventures, in order to create the next generation of adults who submit without even realizing they are doing so.

When it’s put like that, you can see how absolutely ridiculous it all is, right?

Let’s take food, for example.

Historically, in nearly every takeover of the modern world, food was involved.  Think of communist China in the early 1960s or the Holodomor, for two examples. The government took control of the farms “for the good of the people.” They controlled all of the food – every single bite. If you complied, you ate. If you rebelled, you starved.

Back 100 years ago, people drank milk. You got it from cows as opposed to the store. Now, the substance they drank is called “raw milk” and it’s the subject of taboos, warnings, and legal hoops that must be jumped through. It’s a million times easier to purchase a known carcinogen (cigarettes) or a mood-altering substance (alcohol) than it is to get fresh, creamy milk from a cow and drink it. We’ve been brainwashed into believing our milk must be heated to the point that the good bacteria is exterminated and then approved by the USDA before we’re able to drink it. Milk is controlled like a dangerous Level 1 narcotic, for crying out loud. But pasteurized milk from the store, which often originates from cows that have been given recombinant bovine growth hormone and antibiotics, is perfectly fine. It’s “USDA approved.”

In a million small ways, folks are being brainwashed that we require permission to do nearly everything. Think of an abusive relationship, because our relationship with the government is a classic example of such a thing.

The abuser says things like this to the victim:

  • “You’d never survive without me.”

  • “You obviously need me to take care of you because you aren’t smart enough to take care of yourself.”

  • “Why did you do that without my permission? Now, you’re going to be punished.”

  • “I’m doing this for your own good.”

The abuser keeps track of your time, makes you account for your earnings,  seizes your personal belongings, coerces you into doing things you don’t want to do, and harshly discourages any vestiges of independence. Because if you are independent, they have lost control of you. Compliance is rewarded and rebellion is punished.

Let the TSA pat you down, you are allowed to travel. Refuse to be groped and you lose the price of your plane ticket and your opportunity to go to your cousin’s wedding by air.  Sell a homemade edible product that hasn’t been “inspected” and approved by local officials, they will fine your business out of existence. Not only this, but occasionally we’re allowed to feel we’re independent and do these things, and we pay extra for the privileges for living our lives, traveling, and earning a living.

There IS something you can do.

Whether you call it freedom, liberty, sovereignty, or self-governance, the point remains the same: if you’re reading this, you probably want to determine your own life, whether the result is success or failure. You want to have control over your ability to live, truly live, and not merely exist as a slave to the powers that be.

There actually is something we can do.

We can say no.

Hell, no.

We can be the squeaky wheel.

We can be louder than those dependent, noisy individuals who want to throw away liberty. We can.

You may feel like you aren’t in the right place in life to declare your independence. Perhaps you don’t have room to raise your own food. Perhaps you have a physical handicap that bars you from living 30 miles from civilization in a yurt located down a dirt road, over a creek, and in the woods. Maybe it’s all you can do financially to keep the refrigerator full of groceries for the week.

But wherever you are right now, that’s okay. Wherever you are, know that every single person, even the very free-est person you know, started at a place that was less free than where they are right now. The most important thing is to begin to recognize the chains that are on you so that you can begin, link by link, to break them.

How do you break free of the life that nearly every single person around you lives?

It’s simple, yet so complicated. Here it is, the ultimate act of insurrection:

You have to need less.

When you need less, you have less to fear.

Now, every year when I write about this topic, a few people come out of the woodwork to claim, “It’s not enough.”

Well, not everyone is a warrior. But taking steps to become freer than you were the day before is a cause for celebration.

It is simply reality that most of us cannot make a stand in every single aspect of our lives. We have children that could be taken away from us. We have homes that could be seized. We fear being imprisoned in a cage. I get that, truly. I don’t want to lose my daughter or my home or be thrown in jail either. The folks in control have done their job in that respect, but we can work around it.

We can refuse to eat the poisoned apple that they graciously hand to us. We can stop sending our children to public schools for “free” education. We can all stop purchasing processed food that originated as the bastard child of factory farming and a chemistry project. We can refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, K-mart, or any of those corporate discount stores that have their products manufactured in sweatshops overseas so that they can undercut the Mom & Pop stores right out of business.

I raise vegetables. I collect rainwater. I have things repaired instead of replaced. I don’t pay interest to the banks, heck – I don’t even leave money in the bank if I can help it. 911 is not my default for home security. I don’t have Obamacare, cable TV,  a maxed-out credit card, or a home phone. I live my life quietly, and without many of the things that others consider “necessities.” I live frugally so I don’t have to sell the majority of the hours in my day for enough money to survive the other hours.

Every single day, I strive to reduce my vulnerability to coercion.  Because the less I need, the more difficult I am to manipulate.

And you?

You don’t need this stuff they are offering, either. There is so much that you can do to free yourself from them.

You have a natural human right to be free.

This freedom is also supposed to be protected by our Constitution, which gets undermined on a regular basis. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty. Part of the power that the government holds over people is the fact that they hold the keys to the stuff we need. Look at Venezuela, where the government controls access to food, water, and electricity.

True independence is to not need the stuff they have.  When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then coercing you becomes much more difficult.

Make your life a declaration of independence.

Here are 20 ways to make yourself less dependent on the whims of the economy, the government, and corporate interests. Don’t worry if they seem impractical to you. They may not all be possible right this moment. Pick one and act on it, then another.  Every journey begins with the decision to start the trip.

  1. Question absolutely everything you hear on the news. Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates. The “news” is a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power.  The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week.  These people and others like them are the ones that decide what the rest of us get to see.

  2. Call out the media.  When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it.  Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage.  If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.

  3. Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank,” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you.  When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.” (Remember what happened to account holders in Cyprus?)

  4. Educate others.  At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs.  If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper.  Be calm and present intelligent arguments.

  5. Get others involved in the fight.  For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor.  When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down.  Remember the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook? Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet.  It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grassroots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.

  6. Grow your own food.  Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act.  Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence.  When you educate yourself (and others) about  Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA and USDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods.

  7. Take control of your health.  It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment.  Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma.  Millions of children are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day.  Americans spent HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS on psychiatric drugs in 2013 and the booming industry is only getting bigger. (source)  You have the right to weigh the risks and benefits of a suggested medical treatment and seek second and third opinions before making a medical decision.

  8. Refuse to comply.  If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you.  You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.

  9. Don’t overlook the little things.  Governments like to chip away at rights a tiny bit at a time until one day you wake up and realize that all of those little things add up to a really big deal.  Today, the bulk purchase of ammo might be limited. Tomorrow, you might not be able to buy it at all. Today, home births might be subject to a set of rules. Tomorrow, those rules might be expanded to the point that the birth of your child is totally legislated.

  10. Embrace your right to bear arms.  Be responsible for your own safety and security.

  11. Don’t be in debt.  No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high-interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy.  Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.

  12. Be prepared for disaster.  Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.

  13. Be involved in your children’s education.  For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others, this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school.  Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.

  14. Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes.  Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.

  15. Buy locally.  Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system. You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.

  16. Develop multiple streams of income.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Figure out several ways to bring in income. You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims.  If one business fails or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head. (Learn more HERE)

  17. Say thanks, but no thanks.  There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out.  Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached.  Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand.  Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.

  18. Collect water. Either harvest it with rain barrels, store it in a cistern, or create a source for it on your property (digging a well, for example.)  Water is life.

  19. Don’t take the easy road.  Power hungry entities like to seduce people with simplicity.  “If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say.  “This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you.  “By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.”  The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster.  Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself.  Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself.

  20. Know that anything you give up, you will never get back.

The way you lead your life every single day can be a personal Declaration of Independence.

We don’t have to bow our heads in submission. We don’t have to live like wage slaves and bury ourselves ever deeper in debt. We don’t have to hate our neighbors and fight on the internet with people whom we’ve never met. We don’t have to be like “everyone else.”

We can be different than today’s norm.  We can be kinder. We can be independent. And maybe, just maybe, we can teach others by our example.

By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.

This only requires one thing: your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.

Make that decision today and you will really have something to celebrate on Independence Day.

Go ahead. Be free.

Published:7/4/2018 6:17:26 PM
[Markets] James Comey Interview: More Gun Control For The Peasants

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

During a recent interview, fired FBI director James Comey called for more gun control against the peasants, but not for the ruling class he was a part of for so long.  Comey also said the NRA propagates “lies” in order to keep Americans armed against their rulers.

“Surely there are things we can agree upon that relate to who’s able to buy a weapon, what kind of weapon and at what age, what the capabilities of the weapon are, how many rounds does it hold, and things like that, that in no way threaten the rights under the US constitution of people to keep and bear arms,” Comey said during an interview with the UK’s iNews. 

Except, based on the very working of the second amendment, all gun laws are “unconstitutional,” of course, the ruling class doesn’t care what they do to those underneath them.

iNews quoted Comey indicating he is not for an all-out ban on private on gun ownership, but he does support making some rather strict changes to the current law, including an increase in the legal age for gun purchases.

According to The Hill, Comey also harshly criticized the NRA as standing in the way of securing these controls, saying,

“One of the worst things that goes on in the U.S. is the current voice of the National Rifle Association because it sells fear in the wake of any incident.”

He specifically mentioned the NRA’s opposition to the gun controls which were pushed in the wake of the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Sells fear? Unlike the government who literally sells fear of gun rights to the left and then demands Americans simply disarm to be at the whims of those who claim the right to rule over them? The irony of that could cure the world of anemia.

While the visit to a local gun shop by an FBI Counterterrorism agent is no surprise, it should serve as a stark reminder that the U.S. government is vastly concerned about a well-armed populace. Gun rights have been gradually eroded in the United States for decades. –Activist Post

Comey added:

“I own guns. And yet I, like I hope all thoughtful gun owners, recognize that on the one hand it’s a right guaranteed in the US constitution, but like all rights in the constitution, it’s appropriately subject to reasonable regulation and restriction.

Comey, a government agent owns guns? That’s not a big surprise.  But notice he didn’t say he would be willing to give up any of his guns or restrict himself or the militarized police. Following the law is for those who are deemed less worthy of self-defense – especially against the government which is seeking to expand their power over everyone else.

What the government, James Comey included, hope people never figure out, is that everyone has the natural or God-given right to defend themselves against aggression. The Constitution doesn’t grant anyone rights, it merely lists them as a way to keep the government from abusing those people who they claim the right rule over. 

Published:7/4/2018 5:15:21 PM
[Markets] Strzok May Tell House To Pound Sand After Tuesday Subpoena

Beleaguered FBI agent Peter Strzok may not comply with a Congressional subpoena issued Tuesday to testify in public at a joint hearing slated for 10 a.m. on July 10.

Speaking with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, Strzok's attorney Aitan Goelman said "My client will testify soon, somewhere, sometime. We just got this subpoena today, so I don't know whether or not we are going to be testifying next Tuesday in front of these two particular House subcommittees."

When asked by Cuomo why the answer wasn't an "automatic yes," Goelman replied "Because we have come to the conclusion, forced to come to the conclusion, that this is not a search for truth, it is a chance for Republican members of the House to preen and posture before their most radical, conspiracy-minded constituents."

To be clear, Peter Strzok's attorney just suggested that members of Congress who suspect that his client's well-documented hatred of Donald Trump affected the Trump investigation he spearheaded are "radical" and "conspiracy-minded." 

"From our experience with the committee thus far, it is obvious that they don't want the truth. They don't want to hear what Pete has to say," added Goelman. 

Actually, we suspect they do - as evidenced by the subpoena for open testimony from "Pete." 

As we reported on Tuesday, Strzok testified last Wednesday in a closed door session a week after declaring he would do so "without immunity" and without invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself during questioning over his anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias while heading up investigations into both candidates.

On Monday, Goelman said in a letter to the committee that they have "sharpened their knives behind closed doors" and will spring a trap on Strzok by seizing "on any tiny inconsistencies" with last week's testimony "to 'prove' that he perjured himself or made false statements," Goelman wrote in the letter somehow obtained by CNN

Having sharpened their knives behind closed doors, the Committee would now like to drag back Special Agent Strzok and have him testify in public — a request that we originally made and the Committee denied” 

Sounding suspiciously like Rudy Giuliani, he continued: “What’s being asked of Special Agent Strzok is to participate in what anyone can recognize as a trap.”

In his email, Goelman wrote that it was “generous to characterize many of these inquiries as ‘questions’” — suggesting instead that the GOP’s closed-door queries had been “political theater and attempts to embarrass the witness” through various leaks.

Among the questions Goelman complained Republicans put to Strzok were one about whether he loved Lisa Page, the recipient of his anti-Trump texts with whom he was having an affair, and another asking “what DO Trump supporters SMELL like, Agent?” — a reference to an August 2016 text Strzok sent in which he told Page he could “SMELL the Trump support” at a Walmart in southern Virginia. -WaPo

Gunpowder and freedom?

Published:7/4/2018 1:14:53 PM
[Markets] Bill Bonner Asks "Would The Founding Fathers Recognize Modern America?"

Authored by Bill Bonner via Bonner & Partners,

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is one of the most remarkable things in nature. The animal apparently digests itself, using enzymes triggered by hormones. Then, from the pupa, a whole new animal develops – one with wings.

Time and growth produce changes in institutions, too. Sometimes, they merely get bigger and older. Sometimes, they go through a metamorphosis and change into something very different.

We recently moved back to France for the summer. We lived here for nearly 20 years… and still have a house in the country, to which we retire every summer.

Here, we find our old friends and acquaintances… our old clothes and shoes… our tools and workshop… our tractor… and our favorite office.

And what a pleasure… there, on the table next to the bed, was a copy of Michel De Jaeghere’s great book, Les Derniers Jours: La Fin de l’Empire Romain d’Occident (The Last Days: The End of the Roman Empire in the West).

We picked it up and found where we left off a year ago… page 321.

Roman Example

Many of the founders of the American Republic were readers and scholars. “I can’t live without books,” said Jefferson.

He, Monroe, Madison, Adams, and others were much more aware of Roman history than our leaders today. Most had studied Latin and/or Greek.

They had read Plutarch, Seneca, Sallust, Suetonius, and Cicero.

Much was known about the Roman era... and much was discussed. People believed they could learn from it and do better.

In the same year that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the transition – natural, and perhaps inevitable – from republic to empire. They had studied it in the Roman example. They had seen how it drew power into a few hands… and corrupted them.

They tried to prevent it from happening in the New World, putting in place limits… circuit breakers… and checks and balances… to keep the government from becoming too big, too ambitious, or too powerful.

Even then, they were doubtful that it would stick. “We give you a republic...” Franklin wrote to posterity, “if you can keep it.”

America did keep it... for nearly 100 years. Maybe a few more. Then, the metamorphosis occurred. And, like Rome, it was not very pretty.

Metamorphic Change

When a man has a wife, he has a more or less agreeable situation, depending on the circumstances. But if he has two wives, he doesn’t simply have twice as much wife. Or twice as much marriage. Or twice as much satisfaction. Or twice as much misery, such as the case may be. It is something altogether different.

Likewise, going to a small airport is very different from going to a large one. And a small, modest country has little in common with a big, aggressive, worldwide empire.

The point we have been making in our Diary is that time and scale have changed the nature, not just the age and the size, of the United States of America. It has become something the Founding Fathers had tried to avoid... and almost certainly wouldn’t like.

It was a metamorphic change, not just more of the same thing. But unlike Jesus, who turned water into wine... or nature, which turns an ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly... the change from modest republic to aggressive empire was not necessarily for the better.

The Constitution was twisted into a new shape; like when an alcoholic chaperones a school party after he has had a few drinks, the kids can get away with anything.

The Bill of Rights, too, was run through the wringer. Citizens still have the right to life, liberty, and property – but only to the extent that the feds allow.

They can keep their firearms, for example, but under the Obama Doctrine, the feds can label them terrorists… and kill American citizens.

They still have the right to express themselves under the protection of the First Amendment, unless their opinions are considered “hate speech,” or the feds – or their agents at Facebook and Google – just don’t like what they say.

Your property is still safe, too; but under the doctrine of civil forfeiture, the police can take your money, your cars, and your house… with no due process of law.

Thus, were Americans mugged, mangled, and manacled. And then, the feds hit them in the face with a shovel.

Beginning in 2008, they distributed nearly $4 trillion to America’s wealthy stock- and bond-owners. Trillions more were taken from savers (most of us) by reducing interest rates… and given to big borrowers (corporations, Wall Street, and the feds themselves).

Is it any wonder that ordinary Americans are feeling a little testy?

Almost everything seems to be subject to the law of declining marginal utility. Power is no exception. And like desserts, wives, and shots of whiskey, it doesn’t take too long before the returns to additional power diminish so much that they are no longer positive.

They fall below the zero line. There, another drink is not merely useless, it could be fatal… and more power turns you into a Hell-bound bully.

Evolution of Power

That is the insight we’ve struggled to bring to light. As America evolved into an aging empire, it left behind it the laws, rules, customs, and instincts of its youth, much like Rome did after the death of Crassus in 53 BC.

The U.S. empire is now more than 100 years old. It began in the late 1890s, with the annexation of the Philippines. (Some people put the start date much earlier… when the North brought the South into imperial submission.)

Empires are very different from republics. They are no longer by, for, and of the people. They’re too big… too complex… with too many fingers in too many pies for the people or their elected representatives to keep up with.

So power migrates to the center. There, where the CIA, NSA, Pentagon, NIH, FBI, IRS, and dozens of other agencies… along with the corporate headquarters of hundreds of big industries… and thousands of pressure groups, lobbyists, factotums, hacks, think tanks, NGOs, powerful families, and apparatchiks reside, is where the real power flows.

There, too, in Rome as in Washington, the power congeals.

De Jaeghere... along with hundreds of other historians, ancient and modern... brings the process to light.

After reading them, reading the news today is almost like watching an old movie. We’ve seen it before, but we may still laugh… or shed a tear.

Published:7/4/2018 12:44:46 PM
[Politics] Strzok's Lawyer Bashes House Panel, 'This Is Not a Search for the Truth' Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok's lawyer hedged Tuesday on whether his client would comply with a subpoena to testify publicly before two House committees next week, charging "this is not a search for the truth." Published:7/3/2018 10:08:17 PM
[Markets] Amazon's Fusion With The State Shows Neoliberalism's Drift To Neo-Fascism

Authored by Elliott Gabriel via MintPressNews.com,

In Part 1 of our investigative series on Surveillance Capitalism, MPN spoke to author Yasha Levine and Monthly Review editor John Bellamy Foster about the rise of the Amazon.com empire and its fusion with the U.S. state apparatus.

In our next installments, we will continue exploring the rise of Surveillance Capitalism and the implications of Amazon-fueled spying technology, both in the workplace and in U.S. city streets.

“Capitalism is a system that seeks to transgress all boundaries in its production and sale of commodities, commodifying everything in existence, which today, in the age of monopoly-finance capital and surveillance capitalism, means intruding into every aspect of existence,” John Bellamy Foster told MPN.

This year may go down in history as a turning-point when the world finally woke up to the dark side of the ubiquitous presence of popular Silicon Valley companies in our daily lives. One can only hope so, at least.

From Amazon to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and PayPal – among others – revelations poured out confirming the ongoing abuse of user data by monopolistic corporations, as well as their growing role as vendors of surveillance technology to the U.S. police state, military, and migrant detention agencies.

In March, the lid was blown off of the violation of user data on Facebook, with Cambridge Analytica mining user information for the purpose of providing millions of detailed “psychological profiles” to the Trump campaign, among others. Scarcely two weeks later, the Google campus was in an uproar over the development of its “Project Maven,” which was building an AI-fueled platform to vastly upgrade the automatic targeting abilities of the U.S. military’s global drone fleet. Faced with public outrage and internal dissent, the company pulled out of bidding to renew its Pentagon contract, which ends next year.

Now, employees and shareholders of Amazon.com – the world’s largest online marketer and cloud-computing provider – are demanding that chief executive Jeff Bezos halt the sale of its facial recognition or Amazon Web Services (AWS) Rekognition service to law enforcement agencies across the U.S., including to the Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE).

“As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used,” the letter said. “We learn from history, and we understand how IBM’s systems were employed in the 1940s to help Hitler.

“IBM did not take responsibility then, and by the time their role was understood, it was too late,” it continued, referring to collusion with the operation of Nazi extermination camps during the Second World War. “We will not let that happen again. The time to act is now.”

Unveiled in November 2016 as a part of the AWS cloud suite, Rekognition analyzes images and video footage to recognize objects while providing analytics to users. It also lets clients “identify people of interest against a collection of millions of faces in near real-time, enabling use cases such as timely and accurate crime prevention,” according to promotional material. Law enforcement agencies like the Washington County Sheriff’s Department pay as little as $6 to $12 a month for access to the platform, giving deputies the ability to scan its mugshot database against real-time footage.

Amazon employees cited a report from the ACLU that notes that AWS Rekognition “raises profound civil liberties and civil rights concerns” owing to its “capacity for abuse.” Its uses could include monitoring protest activity, as well as the possibility that ICE could employ the technology to continuously track immigrants and advance its “zero tolerance” policy of detaining migrant families and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the letter distributed on email list “we-won’t-build-it,”  Amazon employees lay out their opposition to their employer’s collusion with the police and the DHS-ICE migrant-capture and mass-incarceration regime:

We don’t have to wait to find out how these technologies will be used. We already know that in the midst of historic militarization of police, renewed targeting of Black activists, and the growth of a federal deportation force currently engaged in human rights abuses — this will be another powerful tool for the surveillance state, and ultimately serve to harm the most marginalized.”

The furor surrounding AWS Rekognition is hardly a revelation to journalist Yasha Levine. Instead, as is the case with Google and other flagship firms’ work for Washington, it’s just another chapter in Silicon Valley’s long-time integration into the repressive state apparatus.

“This isn’t so much a big step to some ‘Surveillance Apocalypse,’ it’s just an indication of where we’ve been for a long time,” Levine told MintPress News.

Yet the Amazon workers’ outrage was likely provoked by recent headlines highlighting the Trump administration’s separation of Central American migrant families at the concentration camps along the Southern border - along with the key role Amazon plays for ICE’s data “ecosystem,” crucial to the operation of ICE’s immigrant enforcement, mass incarceration, and removal regime.

In their letter, Amazon’s employees decried the role the company plays in the platform Palantir provides for ICE:

We also know that Palantir runs on AWS. And we know that ICE relies on Palantir to power its detention and deportation programs. Along with much of the world we watched in horror recently as U.S. authorities tore children away from their parents. Since April 19, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security has sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers...

In the face of this immoral U.S. policy, and the U.S.’s increasingly inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants beyond this specific policy, we are deeply concerned that Amazon is implicated, providing infrastructure and services that enable ICE and DHS.“

In 2014, ICE gave Palantir a $41 million contract for the Investigative Case Management (ICM) system, which expanded its capacity for data-sharing between the bureau and other agency databases including those of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among others. The contract allowed ICE to significantly boost its ability to capture and incarcerate unauthorized migrants based on the disparate data Palantir collated and hosted on Amazon Web Services’ servers.

Watch | Palantir 101

“What Amazon has simply done is allow everyone to lease that [Rekognition] capability the way that you would lease its web space, or have a pay-as-you-go plan with Amazon,” Levine commented.

In his new book, Surveillance Valley: The Hidden History of the Internet, Levine details the romance enjoyed between Big Data and the U.S. repressive state. In the introduction to his book, he notes :

From Amazon to eBay to Facebook — most of the Internet companies we use every day have also grown into powerful corporations that track and profile their users while pursuing partnerships and business relationships with major U.S. military and intelligence agencies. Some parts of these companies are so thoroughly intertwined with America’s security services that it is hard to tell where they end and the U.S. government begins.”

Having conquered retail and the internet, Amazon looks to the state and says “Forward”

President Barack Obama shakes hands with workers after speaking at the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., July 30, 2013. Susan Walsh | AP

Conceived by founder Jeff Bezos as an “everything store” selling products from books to DVDs and music, Amazon has long been a scourge to the traditional brick-and-mortar marketplace, spending the late 1990s and the 2000s sweeping big and small booksellers alike into the ash-heap of retail history.

Amazon has now become the de facto store for everything in America –  it’s shocking to think about how much we buy from it and how much money we give away to it,” Levine said, adding that the company’s power as a business “is kind of depressing.”

The company has also become the world’s premier internet hosting firm through its Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform. From 2006 on, AWS played a similar role to Amazon.com’s retail platform in regard to small-fry-displacing traditional corporate data centers and information technology (IT) professionals, providing a previously unimaginable level of centralization in terms of data storage and IT functionality at a low cost. For some time even Dropbox found shelter under the AWS cloud.

Watch | Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos In 1999

The company’s success as the world’s biggest retailer and cloud computing service was closely related to Amazon’s surveillance efforts directed not only toward consumers, but against its huge and heavily-exploited employee workforce. As Levine detailed in his book:

[Amazon] recorded people’s shopping habits, their movie preferences, the books they were interested in, how fast they read books on their Kindles, and the highlights and margin notes they made. It also monitored its warehouse workers, tracking their movements and timing their performance.

Amazon requires incredible processing power to run such a massive data business, a need that spawned a lucrative side business of renting out space on its massive servers to other companies.”

In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, AWS software provided nearly all aspects of then-incumbent President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign software and big-data analysis, ranging from web management to mailing-list management, data modeling, volunteer dispatching, voter-information database maintenance and “massive transaction processing” for donations.

Watch | Obama for America on AWS

By early 2013, a secretive deal awarded Amazon a 10-year, $600-million contract to provide cloud services to the Central Intelligence Agency and the 17 agencies comprising the intelligence community.

Langley’s contract with such a commercially-oriented company as Amazon, rather than rival bidder IBM, sent shockwaves through the tech industry, but the company boasted that it reflected the “superior technology platform” it could provide to the CIA along with its ability to deliver “the confidence and security assurance needed for mission-critical systems.”

Amazon’s platform will soon be the venue for a major intelligence project by the CIA dubbed “Mesa Verde,” which will see the agency’s AWS-built C2S cloud software deployed in multiple experiments meant to parse thousands of terabytes of data, including public web data, using natural language processing tools, sentiment analysis, and data visualization.

According to a Bloomberg Government report in May, AWS is the only private cloud platform granted clearance to store agency information marked “Secret.”

Amazon’s CIA partnership: Surveillance Capitalism in action

Rev. Paul Benz, center, and Shankar Narayan, legislative director of the ACLU of Washington, right, stand with others as they wait to deliver petitions at Amazon headquarters, June 18, 2018, in Seattle. Representatives of community-based organizations urged Amazon at a news conference to stop selling its face surveillance system, Rekognition, to the government. They later delivered the petitions to Amazon. Elaine Thompson | AP

Amazon’s partnership with Langley is just another case of surveillance capitalism in action, according to sociology professor and author John Bellamy Foster, the editor of the venerable independent socialist journal Monthly Review.

Speaking to MintPress News, Foster explained:

Amazon now seems to be landing one contract after another with the military and intelligence sectors in the United States...

[The CIA cloud] is built on the premises of a private corporation, a kind of ‘walled castle’ for intelligence [spy] agency communication separate from the rest of the Internet, but principally operated by a for-profit corporation. Amazon also has a $1 billion contract with the Security and Exchange Commission, works with NASA, the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies.”

In a 2014 essay for Monthly Review, Foster and Robert W. McChesney introduced the term surveillance capitalism in reference to the process of finance capital monetizing data extracted through surveillance operations performed in collusion with the state apparatus. The two trace the political-economic roots of the the data-driven Information Age from the early stages of the military-industrial complex to the 1950s fusion of consumer capitalism – corporations, ad agencies, and media – with the permanent warfare state, eventually leading to the birth of satellite technology, the internet, and the domination of a handful of monopolist tech firms during the present era of neoliberal globalization.

From the tech sector’s role in police-state operations to the expansion of “Smart” technology like Amazon’s Alexa into our homes, the use of drones and AI for keeping tabs on the entire population, and the manipulation of Facebook user data by the Trump campaign’s partnership with Cambridge Analytica, Foster is unequivocal in his judgment of surveillance capitalism’s metastasizing growth and its omniscient role in our daily lives:

The implications for the future are staggering.”

Not everyone shares Foster’s pessimistic perspective. To former CIA cybersecurity researcher John Pirc, the agency contract with Amazon represented the removal of a “clouded judgment”-based stigma over cloud computing security. Speaking to The Atlantic, Pirc commented:

You hear so many people on the fence about cloud, and then to see the CIA gobble it up and do something so highly disruptive, it’s kind of cool.”

Holy Disruption and the “Gale Force of Creative Destruction”

Creation, epiphany, genesis, prophecy, rapture, sacrifice, wrath; such sacred words pepper the Old and New Testaments and still carry divine significance for the faithful. Beloved by clergy and revered by the flock, such consecrated terms hardly apply to Apple’s bitten-fruit logo or Alexa’s profanely secular robotic voice.

But in today’s cult of high technology and the internet — where entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have been elevated to the level of prophets or pharaohs, and start-ups are evangelized at TED Talks as the panacea to problems ranging from physical fitness to refugee crises — a new ecclesiastical lexicon is used. Central to this pseudo-religion of Big Data is the phrase disruption, an oft-invoked term signifying the replacement of old markets and business models by new technological innovations.

As Silicon Valley pioneer, computer scientist, and critic Jaron Lanier noted in his 2013 book Who Owns the Future?:

The terminology of ‘disruption’ has been granted an almost sacred status in tech business circles...

To disrupt is the most celebrated achievement. In Silicon Valley, one is always hearing that this or that industry is ripe for disruption. We kid ourselves, pretending that disruption requires creativity. It doesn’t. It’s always the same story.”

For Lanier – a fervent defender of capitalism —  the D-word is misused to convey the liberating potential of new technology, when in fact the reign of big tech firms has led to a shrunken market dominated by “a small number of spying operations in omniscient positions.” Thus the digital landscape has become the fiefdom of monopoly firms who exercise an iron grip on competitors and Big Data’s primary commodities – internet users and their data.

To Foster, this process is little more than neoliberalism – the prevailing capitalist ideology dictating the unimpeded control over all aspects of public life by finance capital and the market. Foster notes that neoliberal orthodoxy is rooted in the concept of creative destruction, the concept from which the “disruption” buzzword is derived.

Creative destruction was introduced in 1942 by Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter to describe a process of constant change under capitalism, whereby emerging entrepreneurs act as “innovation powerhouses” through a “perennial gale of creative destruction” that disorganizes and displaces competition, reshapes global markets, and paves the way to an emergence of new monopolies such as, for example, Silicon Valley’s leading firms.

Watch | Greenspan on Schumpeter’s “Creative Destruction”

“One of the key components of neoliberal ideology has been the opening up of the system to the unrestricted growth of monopolistic corporations and monopoly power,” Foster said to MintPress News, adding:

The neoliberal age has thus seen one of the greatest periods of growth of monopoly power, particularly in the cyber or digital realm, in all of history. If you take Google, Amazon, and Facebook, none of them even existed 25 years ago, and Facebook didn’t exist 15 years ago. Amazon had a 51 percent increase in market capitalization between 2016 and 2017 alone. These are giant monopolistic enterprises.”

Continuing, Foster explained:

In general, capitalism is a system that seeks to transgress all boundaries in its production and sale of commodities, commodifying everything in existence — which today, in the age of monopoly-finance capital and surveillance capitalism, means intruding into every aspect of existence as a means of manipulating not only the physical world, but also the minds and lives of everyone within it. It is this that constitutes the heart of surveillance capitalism.

But this same system of monopoly-finance capital has as its counterpart a growing centralization of power and wealth, increasing monopoly control, expanding militarism and imperialism, and an expansion of police power. It is what the political theorist Sheldon Wolin called ‘inverted totalitarianism,’ the growth of totalizing control of the population, and the destruction of human freedom under the mask of an ideology of individualism.”

As Amazon now approaches its 25-year anniversary, Foster notes, it’s become “a vast cultural (or anti-cultural) commodity empire” – and its ownership of The Washington Post has made clear the monopoly firm’s fusion with the state apparatus of U.S. imperialism.

Amazon clutches the “Newspaper of Record,” or “Democracy Dies in Darkness”

The front page of the Washington Post is displayed outside the Newseum in Washington, , 2013, a day after it was announced that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. Evan Vucci | AP

Since Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, the leading newspaper of the U.S. capital has stood at the ramparts of Fortress Amazon. Beyond any elite squadron of lobbyists or contracts with the Homeland Security or National Security State, the newspaper’s influential role shaping public and policymaker opinion gives Jeff Bezos and his fellow Amazon executives unparalleled access to the halls of imperial power.

“Of course it’s a problem when a powerful, monopolistic business like this with a very controlling owner is in the media business as well,” Yasha Levine commented, adding:

Let’s be honest, Amazon is a major CIA contractor now, and now this major contractor owns one of the most important newspapers in the country – which also happens to report on the CIA and national security issues.”

Since President Donald Trump came to power last January, “Amazon Washington Post” has been the target of the former reality-TV star’s ire as a top example of “fake news media.” While many of Trump’s attacks on the Post have been his standard Twitter outbursts against legitimate journalistic scrutiny, the newspaper once celebrated for publishing the groundbreaking 1971 Pentagon Papers is now both a bully pulpit for the president’s detractors in the Beltway liberal “resistance” and a mouthpiece of an aggressively neoliberal wing of the U.S. establishment.

“The Washington Post was always a liberal-capitalist paper, an arbiter of capitalist ideology and a defender of U.S. empire, [but] it has now become, as part of the Bezos empire, something worse,” Foster observed.

Scarcely a day passes without the Post publishing a torrent of stories seeking to expose “Russian interference” favoring Trump through social media or “fake news.” Citing the “experts” in “nonpartisan” media criticism group PropOrNot, the Post has smeared MintPress News and publications like Black Agenda Report, CounterPunchand Truthout as propaganda platforms tied to the Kremlin without citing so much as a shred of evidence. Through its de facto blacklist, the group has also attempted to tie disparate independent media organizations to hard-right and white-supremacist outlets like Alex Jones’ Infowars and neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.

Watch | WaPo refuses to add disclosure about $600M CIA contract

The Washington Post has generally waged what amounts to an ideological war on basic progressive causes, Foster explained:

It recently ran an article describing the ‘far left’ as those who believed in single-payer health insurance or protecting national parks, as if even these traditional left-liberal causes were now far outside the range of acceptable political discourse — a stance clearly designed to ratchet the political discourse further to the right. Bezos and Amazon are simply symbols of this social retrogression, as is the current autocrat in the White House.

To Levine, the trend – like the ownership of muckraking news website The Intercept by billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar — goes beyond the Post alone. Levine commented:

It’s a larger issue of Silicon Valley coming into its own, and businesses built on top of the internet dominating business; and if you dominate business, you dominate society and news media coverage – that’s just the way things work.

Foster agrees, and minces no words depicting the danger Amazon’s growing power in U.S. society represents:

Democracy can be judged in various ways, but no definition of democracy – no matter how specious – is consistent with a society in which such vast class and monopoly power exist, and where the infrastructure of genuine democracy (education, communications, science, culture, public discourse, means of public protest) is demolished.

For this and other reasons, U.S. society and much of the capitalist world is shifting from neo-liberalism to something better described as neo-fascism.”

In our next installments, we will continue exploring the rise of Surveillance Capitalism and the implications of Amazon-fueled spying technology, both in the workplace and in U.S. city streets.

Published:7/3/2018 9:35:00 PM
[Markets] Caution: Americans Should Be Prepared For Anything On The 4th Of July

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

Folks will want to be especially alert on the 4th of July this year for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, it will just be a peaceful day of barbecues, parades, and fireworks, but there are some current events that you should consider before making plans to be out there with the crowds.

While there are no specific or credible immediate threats, with all the craziness going on in our countrylately, it pays to be vigilant on the 4th of July. Personally, I tend to think that at some point in the not-so-distant future, things are going to boil over. Will it be this week during the Independence Day celebrations? I have absolutely no idea, but I’m not taking any chances and I felt compelled to share my thoughts with you.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been protesting.

This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans protested the United States’ immigration policies in cities across the country.

More than 750 “Families Belong Together” marches took place in all 50 US states and Twitter showed sister demonstrations in London, Munich, Paris, Hamburg, Tokyo, and others cities around the globe. (source)

Most of the protests were uneventful and peaceful. And it’s important to remember that even if you disagree with the reasons behind the protest, it is absolutely the right of the people and the American way. But in some places, things got ugly. Other concurrent protests were going on, counterprotesters showed up, and what began as peaceful events turned into riots.

Most notably, in Portland, Oregon, things really escalated.

Last week, protesters blocked access to the ICE building, effectively shutting it down. They pitched tents and “occupied” the facility.

photo credit: CNN

DHS formed a line to stop the demonstrators and then officers in riot gear began to remove the protesters. Arrests were made and tents were taken down. (source) Protesters have vowed to return.

Then on the weekend, the Patriot Prayer group staged a demonstration in Portland. The group is generally described as a “far-right” group by the mainstream media. Their Facebook page describes their mission:

“Patriot prayer is about using the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception.” (source)

During their demonstration, Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson says they were “charged” by Antifa counter-protesters, which caused police to revoke their permit to protest and declare the event a riot. A video shows that the event devolved into extreme violence.

With tensions about immigration high and violent revolution against the current administration threatened, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to suspect that some rather heated Independence Day gatherings could be possible. In fact, a couple of planned events have already made the headlines.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has called for protests on the 4th.

This is Fourth of July week and I’m calling it ‘First Amendment Fourth’ where we can get out and talk about families and where they belong…I want you to know that as long as I have the honor to represent you, there is zero chance we are going to stop speaking out against these injustices and zero chance we will stop pushing back against the callous treatment of families in America and we will keep pushing back until all families have a safe haven in America. (source)

And it isn’t just immigration that folks are planning to protest. In Chicago, Father Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest, is rallying his followers for an anti-gun protest that will shut down the busy Dan Ryan Expressway on the weekend following Independence Day. He believes the act of civil disobedience is necessary to bring awareness to his demands for “resources for communities, national common sense gun laws, jobs, excellent schools and economic development.”

Also on the weekend following the 4th, protests are planned outside NYC’s Trump Tower.

As I’ve written before, Americans have been encouraged to hate and fear one another, so it’s no surprise that this is starting to bubble over.

A man connected to al Qaeda was just arrested for his violent 4th of July plans.

The FBI has arrested Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, for planning an explosion during a Cleveland, Ohio 4th of July parade.  Pitts has ties to al Qaeda and an extensive criminal background. Hw has been charged with “attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization.” (source)

Federal authorities say they’ve arrested a man who talked about setting off a bomb at a Fourth of July parade in Cleveland and attacking people watching fireworks.

Officials said Monday that the man who’s an American citizen often expressed his support for al-Qaida and said he wanted to kill members of the U.S. military…Authorities have charged Demetrius Pitts with attempted support of a terrorist organization…FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony says Pitts scouted out locations this past week for a site to attack in downtown Cleveland.

Anthony says it’s not clear how close Pitts was to carrying out his threats, but he says authorities couldn’t sit back and wait. (source)

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to wonder whether Pitts is the only guy who has considered something like this.

Every year, Americans are warned of the potential of attacks.

No other day is more symbolic of the United States than the 4th of July, and an enemy of the country would take pleasure in selecting that particular day to inflict death and terror. Not only is there the symbolism, but there’s also plenty of opportunities, what with parades, fireworks, and festivities.

We can’t forget that the United States has really stirred up foreign relations of late, and have provoked many different countries for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are trade wars and sanctions.

The FBI, Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center generally recommend heightened security due to the potential threats to Independence Day celebrations.

As well, the US State Department has updated a “Worldwide Caution” for American travelers. It reads:

As terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad…

…U.S. government facilities worldwide remain in a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens wherever they are. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target U.S. government and private interests. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons, to effectively target crowds. Extremists increasingly aim to assault “soft” targets, such as:

  • high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)

  • hotels, clubs, and restaurants

  • places of worship

  • schools

  • parks

  • shopping malls and markets

  • tourism infrastructure

  • public transportation systems

  • airports

In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. The Department also remains concerned that terrorists could again seek to down aircraft using concealed explosives or hijack commercial flights. (source)

Some 4th of July safety tips

Of course, I don’t believe the threat of terrorism and riots means we need to stop living our lives and should hide out in our bunkers. Life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced. However, when it seems like the threat level could be higher than usual, we might need to adjust our plans.

Here are a few tips to keep the ones you love safe this Independence Day.

  • Avoid large crowds. Or as a terrorist would call it, “target-rich environments.” This may not be the best year to go to huge fireworks displays and Independence Day extravaganzas in larger cities.  Instead of going to the huge metropolitan events, see what’s going on in the small towns.

  • Hang out near the edges. If you feel you must join a large crowd, hang around the periphery. The last thing you want to do is get trapped in the middle of a crowd that could panic. This leads to the risk of being trapped or trampled as you try to make your escape. (See stories from the audience at the Vegas shooting.)

  • Know where the exits are. Again, if you are in a crowd at a concert or other event, make sure you know where the exits are and always have a plan to make a hasty retreat.

  • Be aware. Watch for behaviors or things that are out of place. Do you see some dude in a parka when it’s 105 degrees outside? Is there something strange going on? Is that noise fireworks, gunshots, or explosives? Keep your eyes open.

  • Pay attention.  Don’t be one of those people who are completely oblivious to their surroundings. You don’t want to be glued to your phone or intoxicated when you are in a place that could potentially be risky.

  • Consider having a get-together at home. Maybe this is the year to have a party at home for the people you love, complete with a barbecue, sparklers, and maybe your own fireworks show.

  • Find another place to watch fireworks. My daughter and I found a parking lot that is uphill (by several miles) from the park with the public fireworks. We plan to take snacks and go watch from the top of the mountain.

Being a prepper doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun or that you have to forsake all things popular culture. It just means you need to be vigilant while doing so.

Published:7/3/2018 7:04:16 PM
[Markets] Strzok Slapped With Subpoena To Testify In Public After Getting Cold Feet

Embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok has been subpoenaed by two powerful House committees to testify in public at a joint hearing slated for 10 a.m. on July 10. 

It is unknown whether Strzok will comply with the order issued by the House Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, however it didn't look promising on Tuesday. His attorney, Aitan Goelman, said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee that Strzok may decline their invitation to testify, despite previously expressing interest in doing so - over what Goelman said would be a trap.

As we reported on Tuesday, Strzok testified last Wednesday in a closed door session a week after declaring he would do so "without immunity" and without invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself during questioning over his anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias while heading up investigations into both candidates. None of that mattered, however, as those present say "It was a waste after Strzok kept hiding behind a "classified information" excuse, while DOJ attorneys prevented Strzok from answering anything remotely entering productive territory. 

Now, Goelman says the committee has "sharpened their knives behind closed doors" and will spring a trap on Strzok by seizing "on any tiny inconsistencies" with last week's testimony "to 'prove' that he perjured himself or made false statements," Goelman wrote in a letter to the panel somehow obtained by CNN

Having sharpened their knives behind closed doors, the Committee would now like to drag back Special Agent Strzok and have him testify in public — a request that we originally made and the Committee denied,” Goelman wrote.

Sounding suspiciously like Rudy Giuliani, he continued: “What’s being asked of Special Agent Strzok is to participate in what anyone can recognize as a trap.”

In his email, Goelman wrote that it was “generous to characterize many of these inquiries as ‘questions’” — suggesting instead that the GOP’s closed-door queries had been “political theater and attempts to embarrass the witness” through various leaks.

Among the questions Goelman complained Republicans put to Strzok were one about whether he loved Lisa Page, the recipient of his anti-Trump texts with whom he was having an affair, and another asking “what DO Trump supporters SMELL like, Agent?” — a reference to an August 2016 text Strzok sent in which he told Page he could “SMELL the Trump support” at a Walmart in southern Virginia. -WaPo

Goelman also called for a transcript of last week's 11 hours of testimony, and while he didn't rule out testimony in front of other committees, it is unclear whether Strzok will accept the House Judiciary Committee's invitation to testify unless the transcript is released. 

Goelman anticipated that Strzok would be criticized for refusing to testify on July 10, writing that Strzok “is willing to testify again, and he is willing to testify publicly. Any suggestion that he is trying to avoid doing so is an outright lie.”

But Goelman suggested that he would not consider Strzok to be bound by the Judiciary Committee’s demands that he not speak to other congressional panels before their work was done — leaving an opening for other congressional panels to attempt to schedule interviews with Strzok. -WaPo

Perhaps Goelman realized how absurd it would look if Strzok kept de-facto pleading the fifth with the phrase: "On the advice of FBI counsel, I can't answer that question." 

Published:7/3/2018 4:33:14 PM
[Markets] Imran Awan Gets Sweetheart Plea Deal; DOJ Won't Prosecute Alleged Spy Ring, Cybercrimes

The Department of Justice won't prosecute Imran Awan, a former IT administrator for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and dozens of other Democrats, for allegations of cybersecurity breaches, theft and potential espionage, as part of a plea agreement one one count of unrelated bank fraud. 

After the entry of your client’s plea of guilty to the offense identified in paragraph 1 above, your client will not be charged with any non-violent criminal offense in violation of Federal or District of Columbia law which was committed within the District of Columbia by your client prior to the execution of this Agreement -Awan Plea Agreement

Awan withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars after lying on a mortgage application and pretending to have a medical emergency that allowed him to drain his wife's retirement account. He then wired large sums of money to Pakistan in January, 2017.

When word of a plea agreement emerged last week, President Trump was none too pleased: 

Awan and several family members worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz along with 20% of House Democrats as IT staffers who held - as the House Inspector General called it - the "keys to the kingdom," when it came to accessing confidential information on Congressional computer systems. 

And while ample evidence of potential crimes were found by the House Inspector General, the DOJ says they found no evidence of wrongdoing.

The Department of Justice said it “found no evidence that [Imran] illegally removed House data from the House network or from House Members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus Server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information.”

That statement appears to take issue — without explaining how — with the findings of the House’s Nancy Pelosi-appointed inspector general, its top law enforcement official, the sergeant-at-arms, and the statements of multiple Democratic aides.

In September 2016, the House Office of Inspector General gave House leaders a presentation that alleged that Alvi, Imran, brothers Abid Awan and Jamal Awan, and a friend were logging into the servers of members who had previously fired him and funneling data off the network. It said evidence “suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity” and that their behavior mirrored a “classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization.”

Server logs show, it said, that Awan family members made “unauthorized access” to congressional servers in violation of House rules by logging into the servers of members who they didn’t work for. -Daily Caller

Awan was arrested at Dulles airport while attempting to flee the country - one day after reports emerged that the FBI had seized a number of "smashed hard drives" and other computer equipment from his residence. While only charged with bank fraud, there is ample evidence that the Awans were spying on members of Congress through their access to highly-sensitive information on computers, servers and other electronic devices belonging to members of Congress. 

Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller has compiled the most comprehensive coverage of the Awan situation from start to finish - and outlines exactly why the Awans' conduct warranted serious inquiry. 

On Feb. 3, 2017, Paul Irving, the House’s top law enforcement officer, wrote in a letter to the Committee on House Administration that soon after it became evidence, the server went “missing.”

The letter continued: “Based upon the evidence gathered to this point, we have concluded the employees are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems.”

Imran, Abid, Jamal, Alvi and a friend were banned from the House network the same day Kiko sent the letter.

The alleged wrongdoing consisted of two separate issues.

The first was the cybersecurity issues. In an April 2018 hearing spurred by the Awan case, Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko testified: “The bookend to the outside threat is the insider threat. Tremendous efforts are dedicated to protecting the House against these outside threats, however these efforts are undermined when these employees do not adhere to and thumb their nose at our information security policy, and that’s a risk in my opinion we cannot afford.”

The second was a suspected theft scheme. Wendy Anderson, a former chief of staff for Rep. Yvette Clarke, told House investigators she believed Abid was working with ex-Clarke aide Shelley Davis to steal equipment, and described coming in on a Saturday to find so many pieces of equipment, including iPods and Apple TVs, that it “looked like Christmas.

Meanwhile, as we noted in June, the judge in the Awan case, Tanya Chutkan, was appointed to the D.C. US District Court by President Obama on June 5, 2014, after Chutkan had contributed to him for years.

Opensecrets.org

Prior to her appointment to the District Court, she was a partner at law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner (BSF) where she represented scandal-plagued biotechnology company Theranos - which hired Fusion GPS to threaten the news media. Because of this, Chutkan had to recuse herself from two cases involving Fusion GPS.

Meanwhile, BSF attorney and crisis management expert Karen Dunn - who prepped Hillary Clinton for debates and served as Associate White House Counsel to Obama - represents Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Another BSF attorney, Dawn Smalls, was John Podesta's assistant while he was Obama's Chief of Staff. And if you still had doubts over their politics, BSF also republished an article critical of Donald Trump in their "News & Events" section.

In short, the Judge in the Awan case - appointed by Obama after years of contributing to him, was a partner at a very Clinton-friendly law firm. It should also be noted that Obama appointed Chutkan's husband, Peter Krauthammer, to the D.C. Superior Court in 2011. 

The left has, of course, seized upon the plea deal to suggest that there was no wrongdoing. 

Published:7/3/2018 3:02:46 PM
[Markets] NYT Shuffles "House Of Cards" Journo Who Slept With Congressional Staffer

?The New York Times is reassigning a reporter at the center of a federal leak investigation who likened herself to the fictional House of Cards character Zoe Barnes - a young reporter who has an affair with an older member of congress. 

Following a deep internal probe, journalist Ali Watkins, 26, will be transferred to the NYT's main office in New York City - where she will spend her time under a mentor on a new beat, the Times reported on Wednesday.

Federal authorities seized Watkins's phone and email records as part of a probe into Congressional leaks, which led to the arrest and indictment of James Wolfe, 57, the longtime director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wolfe was booked on charges of giving false statements to FBI agents in 2017 about reported contacts with three reporters, according to the Washington Examiner.

Watkins has been covering national security for the Times since December, while her romantic relationship with Wolfe began in 2013 when she was an intern at McClatchy, ended last year. Watkins claims she didn't receive information from the 58-year-old married Wolfe during the affair.

The Times said on Tuesday that it was conducting a review of Ms. Watkins’s involvement in the case, including the nature of her relationship with Mr. Wolfe, and what she disclosed about it to her prior employers. Ms. Watkins informed The Times about the prior relationship after she was hired by the paper, and before she began work in December. She has said that Mr. Wolfe did not provide her with information during the course of their relationship.

Journalists are supposed to abide by ethical rules that stipulate they cannot have personal relationships - including romantic relationships - with their sources. But Watkins claims she didn't receive any information from Wolfe while they were together, according to the Times.

DOJ investigators seized emails and phone records belonging to Watkins in what the NYT described as the first instance of the Trump administration seizing the personal communications of a journalist. Watkins was later informed of the seizures in a letter that she received in February, which informed her that "years worth of records for two email accounts and a phone number of hers" had been accessed as part of the investigation.

According to the New York TimesWatkins was approached by FBI agents back in December and asked about the nature of her relationship with Wolfe - questions that she (wisely) declined to answer at the time. Watkins says she was also approached last June by somebody claiming to be a government agent, and who also brought up Wolfe. The man later told her that he was aware of her relationship with Wolfe, and asked if she could help him ferret out leakers. The Washington Post reported this week that the man who approached Watkins was Jeffrey Rambo.

After the encounter with Rambo - which she said unnerved her - Watkins disclosed the nature of her romantic relationship with Wolfe to her editors at Politico.

The Feds say Wolfe lied about the nature of his relationship with Watkins until he was confronted with a photograph of the two of them together. However, Wolfe was in regular contact with multiple journalists who covered the committee, including meeting them at restaurants and bars as well as the office building where he worked. Wolfe pleaded not guilty to three counts of making false statements to a government agency - charges on which he could face up to 15 years in federal prison.

Published:7/3/2018 1:34:08 PM
[Security] Terror Plot 104 Targets the Fourth of July

On July 1, the FBI arrested Demetrius Pitts for planning a terrorist attack in Cleveland on the Fourth of July. This plot was the 104th ... Read More

The post Terror Plot 104 Targets the Fourth of July appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/3/2018 12:06:23 PM
[Markets] Strzok Gets Cold Feet; Public Testimony In Jeopardy As Lawyer Cries "Trap"

Peter Strzok's attorney says the beleaguered FBI agent may decline a House Judiciary Committee invitation to testify on July 10, despite previously expressing interest in doing so - over what his attorney Aitan Goelman said would be a trap.

Strzok testified last Wednesday in a closed door session a week after declaring he would do so "without immunity" and without invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. None of that mattered, however, as those present say "It was a waste after Strzok kept hiding behind a "classified information" excuse, while DOJ attorneys prevented Strzok from answering anything remotely entering productive territory. 

Now, Goelman says the committee has "sharpened their knives behind closed doors" and will spring a trap on Strzok by seizing "on any tiny inconsistencies" with last week's testimony "to 'prove' that he perjured himself or made false statements," Goelman wrote in a letter to the panel somehow obtained by CNN.

Having sharpened their knives behind closed doors, the Committee would now like to drag back Special Agent Strzok and have him testify in public — a request that we originally made and the Committee denied,” Goelman wrote.

Sounding suspiciously like Rudy Giuliani, he continued: “What’s being asked of Special Agent Strzok is to participate in what anyone can recognize as a trap.”

In his email, Goelman wrote that it was “generous to characterize many of these inquiries as ‘questions’” — suggesting instead that the GOP’s closed-door queries had been “political theater and attempts to embarrass the witness” through various leaks.

Among the questions Goelman complained Republicans put to Strzok were one about whether he loved Lisa Page, the recipient of his anti-Trump texts with whom he was having an affair, and another asking “what DO Trump supporters SMELL like, Agent?” — a reference to an August 2016 text Strzok sent in which he told Page he could “SMELL the Trump support” at a Walmart in southern Virginia. -WaPo

Goelman also called for a transcript of last week's 11 hours of testimony, and while he didn't rule out testimony in front of other committees, it is unclear whether Strzok will accept the House Judiciary Committee's invitation to testify unless the transcript is released. 

Goelman anticipated that Strzok would be criticized for refusing to testify on July 10, writing that Strzok “is willing to testify again, and he is willing to testify publicly. Any suggestion that he is trying to avoid doing so is an outright lie.”

But Goelman suggested that he would not consider Strzok to be bound by the Judiciary Committee’s demands that he not speak to other congressional panels before their work was done — leaving an opening for other congressional panels to attempt to schedule interviews with Strzok. -WaPo

Perhaps Goelman realized how absurd it would look if Strzok kept de-facto pleading the fifth with the phrase: "On the advice of FBI counsel, I can't answer that question." 

Published:7/2/2018 8:22:12 PM
[Markets] Attkisson: Rosenstein Conflicts Undermine Legitmacy Of Mueller's Investigation

Authored by Sharyl Attkisson, op-ed via The Hill,

In his recent testimony to Congress, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein undoubtedly intended to sound reassuring. “I am quite confident,” he proclaimed, “about my conduct throughout this investigation.”

Rosenstein may have reason to feel confident. He’s in a difficult position and his conduct may indeed be above board. And, under normal circumstances, Congress and the public might be comforted by his guarantee.

But that’s the rub: These circumstances are far from normal.

We’re in the midst of one of the most important scandals in memory: Our intel agencies and some public officials within them are suspected of abusing power and misusing sensitive tools under their control as political weapons. The allegations reach far beyond the 2016 campaign and transcend party politics, which makes them all the more insidious in nature.

Combine that with the probes into Trump-Russia “collusion” and Hillary Clinton’s classified email practices, and the result may well be the most tangled web of overlapping investigations and competing conflicts of interest we’ve ever seen.

In this context, it seems unreasonable to be expected to uncritically accept assurances from Rosenstein or other figures and federal agencies — such as the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) — whose behavior is under the microscope. Yet, they currently control much of the evidence at issue and are making crucial determinations about everything from what to turn over to Congress and what to withhold or redact, the propriety of wiretaps and other surveillance, possible prosecutions, whether they should recuse themselves for conflicts of interest, to appointment(s) of special counsel(s) who could investigate their conduct.

For his part, Rosenstein has several potential conflicts of interest - at least in perception. And in the realm of legal ethics, perception counts.

Rosenstein recommended that President Trump fire FBI Director James Comey — then handpicked Robert Mueller to investigate why Trump fired Comey. It’s akin to you or I being allowed to hire the guy who’s going judge our own actions. Not only that, Rosenstein’s pick — Mueller — is a longtime colleague of Comey’s, whose own behavior was found to be “extraordinary and insubordinate,” according to the recent DOJ’s inspector general report.

Rosenstein reviewed and signed off on controversial wiretaps of Trump associate Carter Page, who was never charged with a crime despite being tracked under four FBI wiretap approvals.

The wiretaps Rosenstein signed had relied, in part, on anti-Trump political opposition research known as the “Steele dossier.” The FBI reportedly had not strictly verified the research as required under the FBI’s Woods Procedures. If that’s the case, Rosenstein (or those who work under him) could be implicated in possible violations of those procedures.

Rosenstein is in the position to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the man who provided the anti-Trump “oppo” research used for the wiretaps that Rosenstein approved: Christopher Steele. But implicating Steele — an FBI source — could call into question the actions of Rosenstein himself and his colleagues. Rosenstein has taken no public action on a criminal referral against Steele sent to him almost six months ago by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Under Rosenstein, the Department of Justice and FBI have withheld and improperly redacted information Congress requested. One key withheld text exchange was dated Aug. 9, 2016. It  was between the FBI’s former top counterespionage official, Peter Strzok, and his reported mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page. “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page wrote to Strzok. “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” Strzok answered. After the texts and other possible misconduct were known internally, both Strzok and Page were allowed to remain on the job.

All that — and yet, the clear message delivered at last week’s hearing was: We’re not to worry. Material isn’t being provided to Congress? We’re told nobody’s hiding anything, it’s just that it’s part of “an ongoing investigation.” We’re to trust, without the ability to independently verify, that blacked-out passages in emails and other evidence are legitimately withheld — although the ones making those decisions are the feds themselves who are potentially under investigation. As for previous improper redactions? We’re told we’re paranoid or conspiratorial if we’re dubious about the next batch. When we ask who was responsible for the improper redactions in the first place, the question is diverted. We can assume the same people are still on the job — but that would be conspiratorial.

And most of all, even in the face of the DOJ’s inspector general faulting dozens of top officials, lawyers and ethics officials at the FBI and Justice Department, we’re to believe that any who are still there (and their friends) will do the right thing, even if it comes down to exposing their own misconduct.

Lastly, during his testimony, Rosenstein assured Congress that he would certainly discuss with Mueller if there were any conflicts of interest.

Don’t worry. He’ll take care of it.

Published:7/2/2018 3:56:39 PM
[Markets] 7 Months After Fake Flynn Story "Epic Mistake", ABC Quietly Lets Brian Ross Go

Seven months after ABC News' Brian Ross crashed stocks with a fake news story about Michael Flynn being prepared to testify against Trump, the veteran reporter/producer has quietly left the 'news' organization.

As a reminder, in early December 2017, ABC News was forced to correct Ross' earlier report, that Michael Flynn is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to contact the Russians as president-elect, not as a candidate.

ABC News issued a statement that night:

We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday.

The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process.

As a result of our continued reporting over the next several hours ultimately we determined the information was wrong and we corrected the mistake on air and online.

It is vital we get the story right and retain the trust we have built with our audience –- these are our core principles.

We fell far short of that yesterday.

Effective immediately, Brian Ross will be suspended for four weeks without pay.

After the suspension - which President Trump praised - things went quiet. Ross kept the same title, but moved to another unit of ABC, Lincoln Square Productions, with offices blocks from the news division, to work on “long-term projects,” plus “20/20” and “Nightline.”

And now, as PageSix reports that Ross on Monday announced he’s leaving the network. His longtime executive producer Rhonda Schwartz is also exiting.

“The time has come to say good-bye,” said the duo in a letter to staff with an announcement by ABC News president James Goldston.

After a great run of 24 years, we have decided to pack up and move on from ABC News, an organization that has meant so much to us. We leave with enormous gratitude for all those who supported us and helped build the industry’s most robust and honored investigative unit.” They added: “While we are signing off from ABC News, we are hardly leaving investigative journalism. There is much more to do.”

So seven months after his "epic mistake," Ross is finally out.

We look forward to Trump's response.

This is the second purveyor of fake news to fall in the last few days.

As The Daily Caller reports, a reporter at a Massachusetts-based newspaper resigned Friday after falsely claiming in a tweet Thursday that the man who killed five employees at the Capital Gazzete newspaper left a “Make America Great Again” hat at the crime scene.

“Shooter who killed 4 people at Annapolis newspaper dropped his #MAGA hat on newsroom floor before opening fire,” Conor Berry, a reporter at The Republican in Springfield, Mass., wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

Berry, who covered politics and crime for The Republican, apologized for the “stupid” and “regrettable” tweet Friday, adding that it made his 21-year career as a journalist come to a “screeching halt.”

“I am ashamed of my tweet, which taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere,” Berry said.

At least he admitted his mistake and left on his own terms, taking responsibility for his actions.

Published:7/2/2018 1:57:41 PM
[Markets] FBI Arrests Ohio Man Who Plotted July 4 Bombings In Cleveland, Philadelphia

An Ohio man who was radicalized in the US has been nabbed by the FBI after reportedly planning to plant a bomb during Fourth of July celebrations in Cleveland then stand nearby and "watch it go off," Reuters reported. Demetrius Pitts, a 48-year-old man who expressed allegiance to Al Qaeda, was arrested on Sunday after a meeting with an undercover FBI agent whom Pitts believed to be an Al Qaeda sympathizer.

Pitts
Demetrius Pitts

Pitts, who lives in the Cleveland suburb of Maple Heights, told the agent that he planned to plant the bomb at a July 4 parade, while also targeting other locations in Cleveland and Philadelphia. The holiday fireworks, the man reasoned, would provide good cover for the attack. The undercover agent who nabbed Pitts helped him pick locations that would've been near multiple US government buildings.

Pitts told his would-be accomplice that he wanted to be downtown when the bombs exploded so he could watch the chaos unfold.

"I’m gonna be downtown when the – when the thing go off. I’m gonna be somewhere cuz I wanna see it go off," Pitts told an undercover FBI agent who he believed was affiliated with al Qaeda, the FBI said in court documents.

In a sickening twist to his plot, Pitts raised the idea of giving the children of military personnel remote control cars packed with explosives, turning them into unwitting accomplices.

Pitts was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and is facing up to 20 years in prison. The undercover agent who brought Pitts in gave the man a bus pass and a phone to help him carry out surveillance ahead of the planned attack. Pitts and the FBI agent also discussed him possibly traveling to San Francisco.

"This defendant, by his own words and by his own deeds, wanted to attack our nation and its ideals," said Justin Herdman, the US attorney for northern Ohio.

Pitts is an American citizen, and his arrest follows the apprehension back in 2015 of 10 people who were plotting a slew of attacks in the name of Islamic State. It wasn't immediately clear whether Pitts had retained a lawyer, Reuters said.

Published:7/2/2018 1:27:17 PM
[CIA] The Brennan factor (Scott Johnson) I have followed the Trump-Russia collusion farce obsessively, but I forget the critical role played by institutions other than the FBI in the still mysterious origin of the counterintelligence investigation. In his Wall Street Journal column this past Saturday, Holman Jenkins reminds us of the role of James Comey, to be sure, but also of CIA Director John Brennan and of DNI James Clapper as well: The FBI’s Mr. Comey, Published:7/2/2018 10:27:30 AM
[The Blog] FBI: July 4th terror attack on Cleveland thwarted

Fireworks.

The post FBI: July 4th terror attack on Cleveland thwarted appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:7/2/2018 9:27:37 AM
[Clinton emails] Senator Johnson has a few questions (Scott Johnson) Senator Ron Johnson is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. In that capacity he has closely reviewed the report of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email “investigation.” I posted the IG report here on Power Line. Having reviewed the Inspector General’s report, Senator Johnson has a few questions for Horowitz that he posed in a letter on Friday. We have Published:7/2/2018 8:27:08 AM
[Markets] Israeli Dual Citizen Convicted Of Making Hundreds Of Hoax Bomb Threats Against Jewish Centers

?An court in Israel has convicted a 19-year-old American-Israeli man of making hundreds of threats to bomb or otherwise attack Jewish schools and community centers. 

Michael Ron David Kadar of Southern Israel attempted to conceal his identity to make threatening phone calls and electronic threats to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia - forcing evacuations, emergency airplane landings and prompting concern over a surge in anti-Semitism. 

Kadar was also found guilty of extortion, money laundering and assaulting a police officer. He was arrested in the Israeli town of Ashkelon in March 2017 following a joint investigation by the Israeli and US authorities, including the FBI.

He was accused of making more than 2,000 bomb threats to Jewish institutions, airlines, airports, police stations, hospitals and sporting events. -BBC

"As a result of these threats, planes were forced to land in different airports, schools were evacuated and emergency forces were alerted," said Israeli state prosecutor Yoni Hadad.

"He essentially created panic, terrorised many people and disrupted their lives."

While the calls reportedly began in 2015, Kadar was only tried for calls he made beginning in 2016 when he turned 18. 

Several Jewish schools in the UK were targeted in February 2017 - as well as the Jewish Museum in London, which was evacuated due to bomb threats attributed to Kadar. He also made threats towards British Airways flights between New York and London. 

Kadar's parents have called him a "helpless person" after arguing that a brain tumor which caused autism is to blame, along with other mental problems, and that their son is not competent to stand trial. 

"The fact that they determined that he was fit to stand trial was a lie and a conspiracy against a helpless person. We have been raising this child for 18 years," his father said in a Thursday hearing. "He is incapable of telling good from bad. His discretion is horrible. There is a conspiracy here."

Judge Zvi Gurfinkel had none of it, rejecting the claim and stating "The defendant changed his version according to his needs. He is well aware of the consequences of his actions. He understands what it means and keeps changing his version according to the convenient defence line."

Kadar was accused of making active shooter and bomb threats to several Florida Jewish community centers, as well as the Israeli embassy and Anti-Defamation League in Washington DC. Additionally, he stands accused of cyber-stalking and conveying false information to Georgia police. 

Published:6/30/2018 8:45:09 PM
[Markets] As Manafort Battles FBI, Mueller Gives Flynn Another Unexpected Reprieve

Recent developments in separate cases against former Trump officials Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn have left many scratching their heads.

On Friday, Politico reported that the Associated Press may have tipped off the FBI to a storage locker that the bureau then raided, according to an FBI agent who gave an unexpected testimony at a federal court hearing in Alexandria, Virginia.

A meeting last year where Associated Press reporters discussed with federal officials the news outlet’s investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s finances may have led the FBI to a storage locker the bureau raided, an FBI agent testified Friday. -Politico

Congressional investigators have inquired into the April 2017 meeting between AP and officials from both the DOJ Criminal Division and the FBI. 

Manafort's attorneys have sought to suppress the materials obtained through the searches as part of a broader attempt to discredit the Mueller investigation.

In response to an earlier question about how the FBI became aware that Manafort had a secret storage locker used for all of his business-related files, FBI agent Jeff Pfeiffer said "Either through my investigative efforts or through a meeting that occurred with reporters of The Associated Press." 

Present at the meeting with the Associated Press was Mueller investigator Andrew Weissmann - who is also a top prosecutor in the Criminal Division's Fraud section.

It was Weissman’s presence in the meeting with Associated Press reporters that first generated interest from congressional Republicans. In a January letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes indicated he was interested in obtaining “records related to the details of an April 2017 meeting between DOJ Attorney Andrew Weissmann … and the media.” The disclosure of the meeting in Nunes’ letter led to speculation among Trump allies that Weissmann had aided the reporters’ stories. -Politico

AP's director of media relations, Lauren Easton, confirmed that AP journalists met with DOJ officials "in an effort to get information on stories they were reporting, as reporters do," and claimed that the journalists asked the DOJ about the storage locker but never identified its location.

Following the FBI's meeting with AP, Manafort assistant Alex Trusko eventually helped federal officials obtain access to the locker and consented to its search. While Manafort's attorneys have argued that Trusko lacked the authority to grant access, he was listed as the "occupant" on the locker's lease, and he had a key to it. 

Flynn gets another reprieve

Meanwhile, special counsel Mueller has asked for yet another delay in the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to court documents filed on Friday - the third such request

Mueller's team asked for two more months before scheduling his sentencing - with a request to file another status report by August 24. 

“Due to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” reads a joint status report filed on Friday in a D.C. federal court. 

Flynn worked on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and was briefly Trump's national security adviser before being fired for misleading Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. While an incoming national security director communicating with Russia would be absolutely expected - Flynn's statements to White House officials and the FBI led to his firing and subsequent prosecution by the special counsel. 

McCabe didn't think they had a case

In May, an unredacted House Intel Committee report revealed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told Congressional investigators that the FBI had virtually no case against former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and "The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying[.]" 

"[N]ot [a] great beginning of a false statement case." McCabe told the Committee. 

The same House Intel report revealed that James Comey contradicted himself in a Fox News interview when he denied telling lawmakers those agents thought Flynn was telling the truth, when in fact he did. Meanwhile, there has been an unconfirmed rumor that McCabe instructed agents to alter their "302" forms from the Flynn interview, effectively changing their written accounts. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been zeroing in on the Flynn interview - demanding the 302 forms, as well as a sit-down with Special Agent Joe Pientka who Grassley revealed as the second FBI agent in the Flynn interview aside from Peter Strzok

Grassley demanded a transcribed interview with Pientka - who would be able to testify as to whether or not McCabe had him alter his 302 formwhich would send things nuclear.

Thus far, the DOJ has told Grassley to pound sand...

Published:6/30/2018 6:45:04 PM
[Markets] Congressman Investigating FISA Abuse, Awan Says DOJ Spying On Him

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says that agents working for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have been spying on his office, Gohmert told WMAL's "Morning on the Mall" Friday.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that he has people who have been looking into my background. I’ve been told as much by some other folks,” said the Congressman, who added that he did not believe such an operation was overseen by Rod Rosenstein personally. 

“There’s always deniability,” he said.

Gohmert recounted a fiery exchange with Rosenstein during Congressional testimony last week in which the Congressman grilled the Deputy AG over not having read a FISA warrant renewal he signed. 

"If I were a FISA judge," Gohmert told WMAL, "now that we have him on record refusing to say that you even read it - I would never accept an application signed by you again, because you don't even know what you were signing

Gohmert also expressed frustration over the DOJ's efforts to stall Congressional investigations. 

"He think that if they drag their feet long enough like Eric Holder did with fast and furious, we won't do anything about it," suggesting that Rosenstein would seek to run out the statute of limitations on various allegations. 

Awans

Gohmert has been tirelessly pushing for the DOJ to investigate the Pakistani IT family which had unprecedented access to top secret information via computers and other electronic devices belonging to House Democrats. 

Gohmert gave a rousing speech in early June, imploring the DOJ to act on the Awan case, noting that there are "dozens and dozens" of potential felonies involved.

“The FBI has had opportunities to have those invoices presented to them, and each time, they have instructed, ‘Don’t bring any of those documents; we don’t want to see any of that, we just want to talk to [him],’” Gohmert said. Instead, the FBI has insisted that there's “no evidence of anything other than this false statement.”

They have instructed, ‘We don’t want to see the documents that proved those cases.’ They’re readily available, for any federal officer that wants to see them, but [the FBI] don’t want to see them, so they can keep reporting to the new U.S. attorney that there’s no evidence, nothing there,” Gohmert said.

And for his efforts to get to the bottom of two massive D.C. scandals, Rep. Louie Gohmert now says he's being spied on. 

Published:6/30/2018 4:45:01 PM
[Markets] "Frantic, Nervous, Upset, Emotional" Rosenstein Was "Overwhelmed" During Comey Firing, Mueller Appointment

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was deeply conflicted about recommending that former FBI Director James Comey be fired, according to the New York Times, citing four people "familiar with his outbursts."

In public, Mr. Rosenstein has shown no hint that he had second thoughts about his role — writing a memo about Mr. Comey’s performance that the White House used to justify firing him. “I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it,” Mr. Rosenstein said to Congress last year.

But in meetings with law enforcement officials in the chaotic days immediately after Mr. Comey’s dismissal, and in subsequent conversations with colleagues and friends, Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, according to the four people. -NYT

Rosenstein "alternately defended his involvement, expressed remorse at the tumult it unleashed, said the White House had manipulated him, fumed how the media had portrayed the events and said the full story would vindicate him," according to the four people (familiar with his outbursts). 

Another person familiar with Rosenstein's state of mind during that time period said he sounded "frantic, nervous, upset and emotionally dis-regulated," while becoming "visibly upset" with former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe at one point.

His public and private views demonstrate the dueling forces pulling at Mr. Rosenstein in the special counsel’s investigation of the president and his associates.

Mr. Rosenstein is both the ultimate supervisor of that case — and will determine what information is eventually provided to Congress — and a key participant in the matter being investigated. Mr. Trump’s lawyers also regard him as one of the essential witnesses for the president’s defense because Mr. Rosenstein, they say, wanted to get rid of Mr. Comey. -NYT

DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores disputes the accounts of Rosenstein's behavior - stating that if he was agitated, it was only because Andrew McCabe hid the existence of the Comey memos detailing his interactions with President Trump. 

“To be clear, he was upset not because knowledge of the existence of the memos would have changed the DAG’s decision regarding Mr. Comey, but that Mr. McCabe chose not to tell him about their existence until only hours before someone shared them with The New York Times,” Ms. Flores said.

Late night texts

The Times also reports that Rosenstein has been concerned about his reputation - texting people at all hours of the night to discuss people who are targeting him, "according to people who spoke to him." 

Stepping on Sessions' toes

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he felt "blindsided" by Rosenstein's decision to appoint Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. 

On the afternoon that Mr. Mueller’s appointment was announced, Mr. Sessions was in the Oval Office with the president discussing candidates to be F.B.I. director when they both learned that Mr. Rosenstein had made his decision. Mr. Trump erupted in anger, saying he needed someone overseeing the investigation who would be loyal to him. Mr. Sessions offered to resign.

Mr. Sessions felt blindsided by Mr. Rosenstein’s decision. After leaving the White House, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, Jody Hunt, confronted Mr. Rosenstein, demanding to know why he had not given them advance warning, according to a lawyer briefed on the exchange. Mr. Rosenstein has told others that he was worried at the time he would be fired by the president. -NYT

“The White House put Greyhound tire tracks on his back,” said Andrew White, a former federal prosecutor who has worked with Rosenstein and remains close. “They threw him under the bus.”

During Thursday's Congressional testimony, Rosenstein angrily pushed back against suggestions that he lacked integrity. 

"You should believe me because I'm telling the truth and I'm under oath," he said.

Poor Rod, just a misunderstood Deputy AG trying to make the world a better place.

Published:6/30/2018 11:43:37 AM
[Politics] Shannon Bream PRESSES Rep. Gaetz on whether Republicans are ‘SHOWBOATING’ for the cameras Shannon Bream had a pretty fair interview with Rep. Gaetz, one of the most vociferous GOP defenders of Trump and critics of the DOJ and FBI last night. She straight up asks . . . Published:6/30/2018 9:13:21 AM
[Politics] Shannon Bream PRESSES Rep. Gaetz on whether Republicans are ‘SHOWBOATING’ for the cameras Shannon Bream had a pretty fair interview with Rep. Gaetz, one of the most vociferous GOP defenders of Trump and critics of the DOJ and FBI last night. She straight up asks . . . Published:6/30/2018 9:13:21 AM
[Politics] Nunes Calls for FBI, DOJ Officials to Testify on Surveillance Abuse Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is calling for 17 current and former Justice Department and FBI officials to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about "relevant information" they may possess about intelligence abuses during the 2016 election, Fox News... Published:6/29/2018 9:11:28 PM
[Markets] Reuters Global Editor Apologizes Over Deleted Tweet Blaming Trump For Capital Gazette Shooting

?Reuters Global editor Rob Cox has issued a four-part apology for a now-deleted tweet blaming Donald Trump for Thursday's Annapolis newsroom shooting which left five dead and two wounded.

Cox tweeted "This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul."

Once it became clear that Ramos' long-standing feud with The Gazette was the motive, Cox deleted his tweet and apologized

When I saw the news today that a mass shooter had targeted the employees of a newspaper in Maryland I responded emotionally and inappropriately. Though my comments were entirely personal, they were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles and my own standards for letting facts, not snap judgments, guide my understanding. My experience as a member of the community of Newtown, Connecticut in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, combined with the possibility that my colleagues in the press were being targeted, pushed me into a state of emotional distress. I am sorry for my comments, which I quickly deleted and have disavowed, and especially remorseful if they did anything to distract from the thoughts and love we must send to the community of Annapolis.

As Fox News notes, Reuters touts itself as the "world's largest international multimedia news provider," reaching over one billion people on a daily basis.

Editor-in-chief Steve Adler issued a statement which reads in part: 

"Mr. Cox’s actions were inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias. We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.

Still, questions are being raised :

It wasn't just Cox...

And as The Federalist's Mollie Hemmingway notes: "Various journalists and other members of the resistance began tweeting that President Donald Trump had “blood on his hands” since he has harshly and regularly condemned “fake news” and its purveyors.

Here are some more "blue checks" of Journalism weighing in via The Federalist.

Seems like they'd have fit right in working for Comey's FBI. Who knows, maybe some of them were!

Published:6/29/2018 4:41:53 PM
[] Presumed Left-Wing California Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Children of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Over Net Neutrality Another avid Rachel Maddow watcher, I presume. A 33-year-old California man who told the FBI he was upset about the repeal of net neutrality regulations has been arrested on charges of threatening to kill the family of Federal Communications Commission... Published:6/29/2018 4:41:52 PM
[Markets] Jim Kunstler Exposes The "Hidden Figures"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The fabulous Coen Brothers of Hollywood couldn’t come up with a wackier Deep State than the one depicted on Cable News this week. Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing had Congressman Jim Jordan (R- Ohio) in the role of “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski doing battle with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as “Osborne Cox” in Burn After Reading. Rosenstein was sure burning, or at least smoldering in his seat, as Jordan badgered him about threatening House staffers by subpoenaing their emails and phone calls…!

The gotcha moment: “You can’t subpoena a phone call,” Rosenstein answered, trying to suppress his mirthful smirk… as in, listen to me, you dim, Rotarian, Buckeye clod, with your worthless JD from the most obscure law school in the darkest corner of your meth-and vicodan-addled state… you can’t subpoena a phone call, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…!

Had Mr. Jordan been a little more nimble of mind in his Dude role, had he not, say, downed that Red Bull and Ayahuasca “pick-me-up” before the committee session, he might have come back smartly at Mr. Rosenstein with a simple, “…yes, but you can subpoena the records of phone calls, can’t you?” Schwing. Only the poor clod muffed it, and Rosenstein’s praetorian guard of attorneys in the seats behind him joined in the mirthful smirkery, grand fellows of the Deep State are we, we eat Buckeyes for breakfast!

Now, Mr. Trey Gowdy (R – SC) is a different breed of porpoise among congressmen, kind of legal man-eating orca. In look and demeanor, he comes off as a cross between Atticus Finch and the young feller who played the banjo so well in the opening scenes of Deliverance. Mr. Rosenstein didn’t dare lay any mirthful smirky trips on Mr. Gowdy, who radiated the consolidated wrath of the legislative branch at this flock of executive branch popinjays. Mr. Gowdy, who is declining to run for his seat this year, may be bound for bigger things. Some say he may be the next Attorney General.

In case you’ve forgotten, Rod Rosenstein is not the Attorney General, he’s the Deputy AG. His boss is Mr. Jeff Sessions, an elusive figure for months now in the malarial DC backwaters, like that Louisiana Swamp Thang that turns up in the fake Bigfoot documentaries, looming hairily through the night-vision goggles in a cypress slough. Maybe three or four people have laid eyes on him since sometime back in April. Better check his office, make sure he isn’t hunched over face-down in a take-out order of tonkatsu ramen.

It’s rumored that our president, the Golden Golem of Greatness, can, shall we say, put the Department of Justice and its subsidiary, the FBI, out of their current misery by finally firing a few of these conniving top dawgs. Order Rosenstein to release un-redacted files he’s been sitting on for a year, and fire his ass for cause when he refuses. In the case of Mr. Sessions, for Godsake, call the undertaker.

The figures most hidden these days go by the names Barack Obama, Hillery Clinton, Bill Clinton, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, Huma Abedin, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

If or when the dark, tangled, matrix of “matters” at the FBI ever manage to get unraveled, these characters will come tumbling out with the yarn, dropping into the harsh daylight like little squirming larva of Tineola bisselliella, the common wool moth.

Personally, I can’t imagine that the mighty mischief at DOJ and the FBI the past two years was not initially approved before 1/20/17 in some fashion by Mr. Obama and with his explicit knowledge.

There’s little doubt that the “Steele Dossier” was the “insurance policy” that FBI Counter-espionage Chief Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page referred to in their famous text exchange about how to deal with the “terrifying” specter of a possible President Trump. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz needs to explain under oath how her humble IT employee, a Pakistani national, become a real estate millionaire in the DC burbs while servicing, shall we say, her laptop. Hillary, of course, is like some mythical Cave of Seven Winds — a boundless dark realm of winged beasts and crawling things. Loretta Lynch still has some public ‘splainin’ to do about meeting certain folks on tarmacs.

The grand juries are begging to be convened.

Published:6/29/2018 1:43:12 PM
[] Jim Jordan: Peter Strzok Says That, On the Advice of Counsel, He Cannot Answer If He's Ever Talked to Fusion Head Glenn Simpson. But He Freely Discloses He Spoke to Bruce Ohr Three Times. Why? "When I asked Peter Strzok if he ever communicated with Glenn Simpson, he responded on the advice of FBI counsel that he couldn?t answer that question. Why couldn?t he answer that? When I asked him if he talked to Bruce... Published:6/29/2018 1:09:47 PM
[Politics] Rep. Nadler on FBI Testimony: We Didn't Learn Anything New Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said that testimony from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray failed to provide new information about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Published:6/29/2018 12:12:11 PM
[Entertainment] Seriously. KNOCK it off: Laura Loomer BLISTERED for calling Capital Gazette shooting ‘convenient for Dems’

Laura, please don’t do this. Seriously. Just don’t. The shooting in #Annapolis is changing the news cycle. Now nobody is going to talk about Maxine Waters or the FBI/ Rosenstein testimony that occurred on Capitol Hill today. How convenient for the Democrats. — Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) June 28, 2018 There is NOTHING convenient about people being […]

The post Seriously. KNOCK it off: Laura Loomer BLISTERED for calling Capital Gazette shooting ‘convenient for Dems’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/28/2018 6:33:20 PM
[Markets] "Finish It The Hell Up": Gowdy Slams Rosenstein Over Never-Ending Russia Probe

A visibly frustrated Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) unleashed on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray during Congressional testimony on Thursday, lashing out at FBI agent Peter Strzok's bias against Donald Trump while investigating him - before telling Rosenstein that the ongoing Russia investigation is tearing the country apart.

Transcript follows:

For Peter Strzok - at precisely the same time that Bob Mueller was appointed - precisely the same time, Peter Strzok was talking about his "unfinished business" and how he needed to fix and finish it so Donald Trump did not become President. He was talking about impeachment within three days of special counsel Mueller being appointed! 

Three days! That's even quicker than MSNBC and the Democrats were talking about impeaching him. Within three days, the lead FBI agent is talking about impeaching the president. 

We're two years into this investigation, we're a year and a half into the presidency. We're over a year into the special counsel. You have a counterintelligence investigation that's become public. You have a criminal investigation that's become political. You have more bias than I have ever seen manifest in a law enforcement officer in the 20 years I used to do it for a living. And four other DOJ employees who had manifest animus towards the person they were supposed to be neutrally and detachedly investigating

More than 60 Democrats have already voted to proceed with impeachment before Bob Mueller has found a single solitary damn thing! More than 60 have voted to move forward with impeachment! And he hasn't presented his first finding! 

Russia attacked this country, they should be the target. But Russia isn't being hurt by this investigation right now, we are. This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided. We've seen the bias. We need to see the evidence

If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If you have evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people.

There's an old saying: "Justice delayed is justice denied." I think right now that all of us are being denied. 

Watch: 

A defensive Rosenstein pushed back after Gowdy's speech, responding that he has "heard suggestions that we should just close the investigation. I think the best thing we can do is finish it appropriately and reach a conclusion." 

Thursday's Congressional testimony was full of contentious moments. In one exchange described by CNN's ever-impartial Jason Morrell as "Rosenstein skillfully SMACKS DOWN" Rep. Jim Jordan," the Deputy AG elicited laughter when he told the Congressman "There's no way to subpoena phone calls."  

Jordan also pressed Rosenstein over a variety of other issues.

- Slow document delivery from the DOJ 

- "Why did you hide the fact that Peter Strzok and Judge Contreras were friends?" (The original judge in Mike Flynn case)

- "Did you threaten staffers on the House Intelligence committee?" 

- Peter Strzok's Wednesday testimony which FBI attorneys repeatedly muzzled

Full exchange here: 

In another segment, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) grilled Rosenstein over demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS in an effort to produce opposition research on Candidate Trump. Gaetz also asked whether or not Rosenstein had read the FISA warrant renewal he signed, reauthorizing an ongoing surveillance operation on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. 

In short, GOP sabre rattling was met with smug indignancy as a visibly annoyed and very confident Rosenstein batted their questions away like gnats. 

Published:6/28/2018 2:03:07 PM
[Markets] House Passes Measure To Force DOJ Documents While Rosenstein Grilled In Heated Testimony

The House passed a resolution on Thursday demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) hand over a trove of sensitive documents related to the FBI's investigations into both Hillary Clinton's email probe and the Russia investigation.

The floor vote passed 226-183, representing a further escalation in an ongoing feud between Congressional investigators and the DOJ. The demand sets a July 6 deadline for outstanding materials, which Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said on Wednesday that failure to comply could result in holding Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in contempt, or even impeachment. 

Moments before the resolution was passed, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein traded barbs in a fiery exchange during Congressional testimony - with Jordan accusing Rosenstein of keeping information from Congress. 

“I am not keeping any information from Congress,” Rostenstein insisted, before being cut off.

“In a few minutes, Mr. Rosenstein, I think the House of Representatives is gonna say something different,” Jordan fired back.

“I don’t agree with you … If they do, they will be mistaken,” replied Rosenstein.

Rosenstein then launched into Jordan - defending redactions in various documents, and said "the use of this to attack me personally, is deeply wrong," adding "I’m telling the truth and I'm under oath." 

The House panels have been feuding with Rosenstein for months over the documents.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said in his opening statement in a hearing with Rosenstein on Thursday that his panel’s oversight “has been hampered” by the Justice Department and FBI’s “lack of consistent and vigorous production” of documents. -Washington Examiner

“[I]t has felt like pulling teeth much of the time to obtain and review relevant documents,” said Goodlatte (R-VA). 

Published:6/28/2018 11:30:43 AM
[US News] ‘We’ve seen the bias’! Trey Gowdy goes OFF at FBI, DOJ & Dems during hearing about Russia probe

"Finish the hell up."

The post ‘We’ve seen the bias’! Trey Gowdy goes OFF at FBI, DOJ & Dems during hearing about Russia probe appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/28/2018 11:00:32 AM
[World] Gingrich: Peter Strzok Was 'Dedicated to Clinton Winning and Stopping Trump If They Could'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday the American people deserve answers on whether the top levels of the Justice Department and FBI were "corrupted" in 2016.

Published:6/28/2018 10:00:55 AM
[Markets] Netflix Reportedly Under Investigation For Streaming Child Pornography

A disturbing clip from an Argentinian movie that purports to show two young girls engaged in sexual activity has caught the attention of PJ Media, which reported it to the FBI and Department of Justice, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In response to the tip, the DOJ has reportedly launched an investigation.

The scene is from a movie titled "Desearas" - or "Desire," in English. In it, two young girls who look to be about seven and nine are playing with two pillows when the older girl begins to masturbate, as the younger one watches. The scene includes a disturbing closeup of the child's face in slow motion. The film was directed by Diego Kaplan. 

Netflix

PJ Media advises anybody thinking about sharing the clip to abstain: Sharing child pornography - even if you're trying to "raise awareness" or get help for the victims - is considered distribution and could carry heavy legal penalties.

Child pornography is clearly defined by the Department of Justice in Section 2256, Title 18 of the US Code:

Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).  Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor.  Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.

Notably, the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity.  A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.  Additionally, the age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.

Here's a link to the movie's IMBD page. And the promotional photo can be found below:

Desearas

Published:6/28/2018 10:00:54 AM
[FBI] In search of the origin (3) (Scott Johnson) Disgraced former FBI counterintelligence head Peter Strzok is a key witness to the origin of the investigation culminating in the Mueller Switch Project, and he is a Trump hater in the first degree. Yesterday he appeared behind closed doors for questioning by the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. It is tough to come by news of his appearance. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte ducked out briefly during the tenth Published:6/28/2018 9:00:25 AM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: FBI Director and Deputy AG testify before Judiciary committee In just a few minutes, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify before the House Judiciary committee in a hearing on the “Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions . . . Published:6/28/2018 8:30:09 AM
[Markets] Trump: "Lover Strzok" Got "Poor Marks" On Testimony For "Refusing To Answer Questions"

After Peter Strzok failed to address the concerns of Republicans by trying to explain away his anti-Trump texts as "just an intimate conversation" with his mistress (former FBI lawyer Lisa Page) during yesterday's marathon closed-door session, President Trump chimed in this morning with a tweet claiming that Strzok had been given "poor marks" on the hearing because he "refused to answer many questions."

The president also reaffirmed that there was "no Collusion and the Witch Hunt, headed by 14 Angry Democrats and others who are totally conflicted, is Rigged!"

The president then turned his attention to the DNC Server, asking once again why the FBI wasn't allowed to closely examine it? The DNC never furnished an explanation, despite Wikileaks emails revealing that former spy Christopher Steele had once filed a memo claiming that 
"Russian agents within the Democratic party structure itself" were involved with the theft.

What's even more suspicious is the fact that the DOJ is refusing to release intercepted material that could reveal that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch conspired to rig the Clinton investigation. This, even as Senate is trying to subpoena her.

Published:6/28/2018 7:30:26 AM
[Politics] Trump Says Strzok Given 'Poor Marks' for Testimony President Donald Trump opened Thursday tweeting with his keen assessment of the closed-door testimony of rogue FBI agent Peter Strzok, saying he was given "poor marks." Published:6/28/2018 6:59:51 AM
[Politics] Strzok refused to answer some questions from Congress – Dems want transcript released Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok was grilled today in Congress: House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members grilled embattled, anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok behind closed doors on Capitol . . . Published:6/27/2018 10:28:18 PM
[World] Bob Goodlatte: Peter Strzok Answers Anti-Trump Text Questions Not Believable

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) reacted to a closed-door hearing his committee held with FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Published:6/27/2018 9:57:43 PM
[Politics] Strzok refused to answer some questions from Congress – Dems want transcript released Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok was grilled today in Congress: House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members grilled embattled, anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok behind closed doors on Capitol . . . Published:6/27/2018 9:57:42 PM
[Markets] Head Of Charity Against Sexual Violence Charged For Attempting To Arrange Rape Of Children

Via Elizabeth Lea Vos of Disobedient Media  

Joel Davis, chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, has been arrested in New York. He faces charges of enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of child pornography and receipt and distribution of child pornography.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:

“Joel Davis started an organization devoted to stopping sexual violence, while allegedly engaged in the duplicitous behavior of sharing explicit images of infants engaged in sexual activity. Davis also allegedly solicited an undercover officer – whom he thought to be a willing participant – to send sexually explicit videos of his nine-year-old daughter, and even to set up a sexual encounter between himself and a two-year-old. The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening, and as this case demonstrates, law enforcement will keep its watchful eye on the darkest corners of the internet to bring predators to justice.”

“During the course of these conversations, DAVIS told the undercover officers that he was sexually interested in children of all ages.  DAVIS sent the undercover officers sexually explicit photographs of infants and toddlers, including photographs in which the infants and toddlers were engaged in sexual activity with adults. ”

The Daily Mail recounts that  FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. stated: “Having started an organization that pushed for the end of sexual violence, Davis displayed the highest degree of hypocrisy by his alleged attempts to sexually exploit multiple minors… As if this wasn’t repulsive enough, Davis allegedly possessed and distributed utterly explicit images of innocent infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults.”

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York commented on the arrest via Twitter: "Joel Davis started an organization devoted to stopping sexual violence, while allegedly engaged in the duplicitous behavior of sharing explicit images of infants engaged in sexual activity. Davis also allegedly solicited an undercover officer – whom he thought to be a willing participant – to send sexually explicit videos of his nine-year-old daughter, and even to set up a sexual encounter between himself and a two-year-old."

Disobedient Media obtained a full copy of the complaint against Davis, with segments of the document included below, which depict the horrific nature of his conversations with agents who he believed were fellow child abusers: Warning - Contains Triggering Material:

TRIGGERING MATERIAL

 

The charity Davis headed, the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, describes their work: “With over 5,000 members, we are the first ever global collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict.”

According to the group’s website, the charity has sent delegations to: “The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and Colombia, built an extensive network of Survivors United for Action, and demanded fearless political leadership on behalf of victims everywhere.” 

In light of Davis’ horrific statements as recorded in the criminal complaint against him, the contrast between that evidence and the humanitarian sentiments of the Campaign’s website speaks volumes as to the all-too-common facade of humanitarian efforts and the stark reality of abuse against the most vulnerable.

As noted by Lori Handrahan via Twitter, the Campaign’s Steering Committee includes Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Global Fund for Women, Youth to End Sexual Violence, The Italian Mine Campaign, Promundo, Every Woman Everywhere, Sofepadi, and Change Center for Health and Gender Equity.

Davis delivered a TEDx talk only two months prior to his arrest. During his address, he states that his first task in the sphere of humanitarian work around sexual violence involved transcribing the stories of rape victims in the Congo. He described one interview in particular, saying: “It was with a nurse, who was representing a victim [of rape] who died in her care. A six-month-old baby girl.” In light of Davis’ recent arrest, the hypocrisy of these sentiments is truly beyond the power of words to express.

Lori Handrahan, a respected humanitarian aid worker, expressed her disgust towards Davis via Twitter, writing:"I know Joel Davis. He had asked me for help starting his career. He was arrested for attempting to arrange the rape of 2 & 9 year girls and trading in videos/images of infant rape."

Handrahan previously reported on the revelations of abuse in aid work, including the arrest of Peter Dalglish. Disobedient Media spoke with Handrahan, who told us:

“In April I wrote about what the arrest on child sex abuse charges of high-level former UN employee Peter Dalglish’s meant for the #AidToo movement within the humanitarian community. Yesterday, a younger version of Peter Dalglish, Joel Davis, was arrested in New York as he was arranging a meeting with a father with the intent of raping a 2-year-old and an nine-year-old girl. Davis has also been charged on child pornography related charges that included trading in infant rape.

“Davis, like Dalglish, groomed the humanitarian community in order to advance his own criminal agenda of committing crimes against vulnerable children.”

“I expect every organization that hired Davis and supported his organization, Stop Rape in Conflict, to issue a strong and immediately public statement about Davis’s crimes and to take concrete action to ensure they do not continue to support an environment within their institutions that allows pedophiles to groom their staff, board members, and other employees with the intent of using that institution as a cover for child rape.”

Unfortunately, the arrest of Joe Davis is far from the first leader of a charity to be arrested for sex abuses against children.

Disobedient Media previously reported on a particularly infamous scandal that unfolded in 1987, in which the operation of a child porn and child trafficking operation was discovered to have been run from the basement of the UNICEF building in Brussels, Belgium. In that case, the Director of the national committee of UNICEF was charged with “offenses involving what police suspect is an international child prostitution ring.”

Report from the Daily Express, 26th January 1988

In that case, 
press reports indicated that the youngest child known to have been abused was just eight months old, while the oldest child was twelve years old. This sickening historical precedent should educate the public as to the chronic and systemic issue of predators at the helms of charities, NGO’s, and other entities and institutions that claim to protect children and the vulnerable but which can all too easily become a vehicle for predation.

Disobedient Media also reported on the testimony of Greg Bucceroni last year. He described in detail the harmful role played by philanthropic organizations in Philadelphia during the 1970’s and 1980’s, recounting the methods by which multiple organizations were used by well-connected pedophiles to access vulnerable youth under the guise of helping them.

In a very real and tragic sense, the arrest of Joe Davis represents the continuation of a sick and parasitic norm in charitable work, non-governmental organizations and other entities who claim to protect the vulnerable, but whose leaders are exposed as predators of the worst kind.

Published:6/27/2018 8:28:40 PM
[Politics] Goodlatte: FBI Lawyers Blocked Strzok's Answers in Hearing Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, demands answers from the FBI as to why its lawyers told FBI agent Peter Strzok not to answer many of the panel's questions during a lengthy Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday. Published:6/27/2018 8:28:40 PM
[Markets] "Just An Intimate Conversation": Strzok Downplays Anti-Trump Texts During Closed Door Testimony

Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation over anti-Trump bias, appeared before a closed door session in front of two House committees on Wednesday, where he tried to explain anti-Trump text exchanges with his FBI mistress as "Just an intimate conversation between intimate friends," according to Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, quoting Strzok's description of the controversial messages.

While Jackson Lee gladly accepted Strzok's answer, Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina wasn't buying it: 

While Jackson Lee said she believed Strzok’s account that his “intimate” messages didn’t reflect political bias in his work, Republican Representative Mark Meadows said, “None of my concerns about political bias have been alleviated based on what I’ve heard so far.” -Bloomberg

If you have intimate personal conversations between two people, that normally would show the intent more so than perhaps something that would be said out in public,” said Meadows.

Meadows said that some of the questions on Wednesday revolved around "who knew what when - and what was the genesis of the Russia collusion investigation," into Trump's campaign. 

Strzok and his paramour Lisa Page - known as the FBI "lovebirds" - harbored extreme political bias for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump while actively involved in cases against each candidate during the 2016 US election. 

Their raging hatred of Donald Trump was discovered in a trove of over 50,000 texts between Strzok and Page which were discovered by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. While Strzok was relegated to the HR department and marched out of his FBI office in mid-June, Page tendered her resignation in May.

In one of the most controversial text exchanges - perhaps because the DOJ withheld it until it came to light in the Inspector Genera's report, Page asks Strzok whether Trump will ever become President: 

Page: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.

After the Inspector Genera's report came out in mid-June, President Trump tweeted: "The IG Report totally destroys James Comey and all of his minions including the great lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who started the disgraceful Witch Hunt against so many innocent people."

The Judiciary Committee will be meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday to discuss the OIG report. Moreover, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is expected to bring a House floor vote demanding that the DOJ turn over documents.

Also Thursday, a Republican resolution demanding that Rosenstein and the Justice Department turn over more internal documents is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote. It will be a test of how widely Republicans back the push by party conservatives to probe inner workings of the FBI and Justice Department and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the continuing Russia probe.  -Bloomberg

 "All we are asking for are documents we deserve to get -- and they are giving us the finger," said Jordan. 

Meanwhile, every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to protest Jordan's resolution on "emergency bias," as they say that it shows the committee "has been hijacked by its most extreme majority members at the expense of upholding longstanding committee rules and minority rights."

It was not exactly clear how Congress asking the DOJ to see documents related to a massive political scandal constitute a hijacking.

Published:6/27/2018 6:00:45 PM
[Politics] McCarthy: Strzok Would Have Been 'Deeply Involved' in Page Warrant FBI agent Peter Strzok "would have been deeply involved" in obtaining the FISA application that was obtained to conduct surveillance on President Donald Trump's former adviser Carter Page, National Review contributing editor Andy McCarthy said Wednesday. Published:6/27/2018 1:25:03 PM
[FBI] In search of the origin (2) (Scott Johnson) Lee Smith is a keen and sober analyst of matters including the Mueller Switch Project. Having pieced together public evidence and related interviews, he speculates that the Mueller probe represents the culmination of a series of FBI stings on the Trump campaign. This is the burden of Lee’s RealClearPolitics column “Seven mysterious preludes to the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.” It’s an important column that should remain of interest as more evidence Published:6/27/2018 12:55:43 PM
[World] Peter Strzok Congress Hearing: Andrew McCarthy Says He's Likely to Testify

Fox News contributor and former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy said he predicts FBI Agent Peter Strzok "will talk" when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday.

Published:6/26/2018 10:22:16 PM
[Markets] House Approves Resolution Demanding DOJ/FBI Docs

Authored by Sara Carter,

The House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.

The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the frontlines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote.

“If they don’t comply with the resolution they know the remedies the House has, contempt and impeachment,” said Jordan.

“If we don’t get that information entitled to us, everybody knows that we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

Jordan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., were the authors of the resolution. Both members have criticized Rosenstein and the FBI for failing to deliver documents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has also been fighting the Justice Department for documents and has threatened as well to hold Rosenstein in contempt or impeachment if they are not produced.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

The resolution does not include a penalty but Jordan noted that the lawmakers are prepared to file impeachment or contempt against Rosenstein. The resolution is expected to sit on the House floor until members return from their break after the next week.

Rosenstein, who is known for his quick temper with lawmakers during negotiations, has stonewalled numerous members of Congress questioning the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

On Thursday, Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray are expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where they will be asked questions regarding their failure to comply with the oversight committees.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said last week they are not taking contempt charges off the table. He told reporters on Tuesday “we do expect full compliance very, very soon, and if we do not get that then we will keep every single option available to us.”

Published:6/26/2018 7:21:29 PM
[Politics] Trump Quotes Napolitano: Was Strzok at Center of FBI, DOJ Conspiracy? President Donald Trump Tuesday tweeted out what Judge Andrew Napolitano said he finds to be the "most profound question of our era" — Was FBI agent Peter Strzok at the center of a conspiracy to deny Trump the White House? Published:6/26/2018 9:48:12 AM
[FBI] In search of the origin (Scott Johnson) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has sought documents and information bearing on the origin of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation. The official origin of the probe is dated July 31, 2016, yet the FBI had its wheels in spin well before then. At RealClearPolitics Lee Smith has now set forth “The Mysterious Seven Preludes of the FBI’s Trump-Russia Probe.” The House subpoenaed relevant documents. The Department of Justice dragged its Published:6/26/2018 7:48:02 AM
[Markets] George Papadopoulos Was Interviewed By FBI's Anti-Trump "Resistance" Lawyer

FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who sent anti-Trump text messages and was "numb" after Trump won the 2016 election, was revealed to have interviewed Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos who pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI, reports Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller

Papadopoulos, a 30-year-old energy consultant, was interviewed twice last year prior to his arrest on July 27, 2017. The first interview was conducted on Jan. 26, 2017. He was interviewed again on Feb. 16, 2017. Clinesmith was not present for the first interview, TheDCNF is told.

On Oct. 5, 2017 Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during his first interview about the timing of his contacts with Mifsud.

Before joining the Trump campaign in March 2016 as a foreign policy advisor, Papadopoulos lived in London, working as a researcher for the Hudson Institute think tank, and later as an independent energy consultant. 

Meanwhile, it was Papadopoulos' May 10 alleged "drunken barroom admission" to former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos was originally told of the alleged Russian plot two weeks earlier on April 26, by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud (missing since October 2017) - whose organization George Papadopoulos met his wife through.

Papadopoulos was then approached by FBI informant spy Stefan Halper in the fall of 2016, who lured him to London and paid him $3,000 for his work on an energy policy paper. 

And then Kevin Clinesmith interviewed him... 

Clinesmith, referred to in a DOJ Inspector General's report as "FBI Attorney 2" and "doxxed" by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) last week, texted several colleagues lamenting the "destruction of the Republic" after former FBI Director James Comey reopened the Clinton email investigation, and said he was "numb" after Donald Trump won the 2016 US election.

In response to a colleague asking he had changed his views on Trump, Clinesmith responded "Hell no. Viva le resistance" (sic) a reference to the Trump opposition movement that clamed to be coordinating with officials inside the Trump administration. 

“I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” reads another text believed to be about the Clinton email investigation - internally known as the "Midyear Review" or "MYE."

Don't worry though - none of Clinesmith's bias was a factor in the Trump investigation according to the Inspector General. Another FBI agent whose pro-Clinton / anti-Trump bias surely didn't factor into the agency's investigations was "Agent 1" who referred to Hillary Clinton as "the President" after interviewing her during the Email "matter." 

Agent 1 later married FBI "taint team" expert Sally Moyer - known as "Agent 5" in the IG report. Moyer notably texted "fuck Trump," "screw you trump" and said that if Hillary didn't win, "I'm gonna be walking around with both of my guns."

And then there's FBI special agent Peter Strzok - who was in charge of the Clinton email investigation and then probed Trump for "Russian collusion" while texting his lover Lisa Page that "we'll stop" Trump from becoming president.

Strzok, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on January 24, 2017 and may have altered or destroyed his "302" form documenting the session, was escorted out of his FBI office earlier this month. The good news is that as per the OIG's report, is none of the bias harbored by the FBI agents investigating Clinton and Trump translated into their efforts. 

Published:6/25/2018 9:45:48 PM
[] Oh: FBI Lawyer Who Texted "Viva La Resistance" Just Happened to Conduct Interview of George Papadopolous Before getting to the new news, let's review what we know about "FBI Attorney 2" and "Agent 5." A House Republican Tuesday unmasked two of the five FBI investigators cited in the recently released inspector general?s report for expressing anti-Trump... Published:6/25/2018 6:16:07 PM
[World] Judge Napolitano: House Intelligence Committee Won't Get Justice Department Documents on FBI Informant

Judge Andrew Napolitano said that unless the House Intelligence Committee subpoenas the FBI and Department of Justice, it's unlikely it will get to see the documents it requested related to an informant within Trump's 2016 campaign.

Published:6/25/2018 2:46:23 PM
[Politics] Comey Hopeful Trump Won’t Be Re-elected: The American People ‘Will Tire of Him’

Former FBI Director James Comey was cautiously hopeful President Donald Trump won't be re-elected in a recent interview, saying he felt the American people "will tire of him" because he "threatens what is essentially America."

The post Comey Hopeful Trump Won’t Be Re-elected: The American People ‘Will Tire of Him’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/25/2018 2:46:22 PM
[Markets] Garrison: 'Trump Derangement Syndrone' Has Reached Epidemic Proportions

Authored by Ben Garrison via GrrrGraphics.com,

Trump Derangement Syndrome, otherwise known as “TDS,” has become an epidemic among the left.

In their restless delirium, the carriers shriek out their hatred of President Trump. We’ve all been made well aware of their disease, which is widespread among Democrats, the corporate legacy media, Hollywood, and most disturbingly, security agencies such as the FBI. The Deep State has a deep case of TDS.

Earlier this week we witnessed a fresh outbreak. People come to our country illegally and they bring their children along while doing it. Naturally, those kids don’t go to jail, but the fact they get separated has caused great outrage and bitter scolding from those afflicted with TDS. (Never mind Obama had the exact same policy).

Hillary Clinton used the artificial outrage to ask for donations to a fund that rewards and encourages more illegal aliens. She’s also the one that brought about the mass hysteria that somehow Trump is Putin’s puppet. Those convinced of that hallucination almost always have TDS.

Peter Fonda actually encouraged criminal acts against Barron Trump. He’s since apologized for becoming so unhinged, but calling for violence against our president and his family is a TDS symptom common to many in the entertainment industry.

Jim Carrey is another good example. Once beloved by many Americans, he’s become a miserable, hectoring scold. He expresses his hatred of Trump by scrawling bitter, ham-fisted cartoons. TDS has stripped him of his humor and popularity.

Robert De Niro is another washed-up star whose anti-Trump profanity does nothing except give many a reason to stop watching his old gangster movies.

Rachel Maddow spewed crocodile tears while on air, thereby making her virtue signaling seem more sincere. She shed tears for the border children, but her eyes remain dry for the millions of unborn children aborted each year.

Bill Maher wished for a recession to hurt Trump’s presidency. He continually says Trump is a ‘threat to our democracy’ without any real supporting evidence.

Speaking of Maher, his show should be renamed “The Trump Derangement Syndrome Show,” because it has devolved into nothing but a parade of hatred toward our president and his family. On a recent show, Maher talked about Trump’s tax ‘giveaway’—and one of his guests also expressed outrage that undeserving people (to her) were ‘given’ money. Wrong. People work hard for their money. They earn it and are forced to cough a great deal of it up to the IRS. If they get any back, they’re getting their own money back. The progressive left always wants more taxes and more government, not less. People such as Michael Moore, another severe sufferer of TDS, wants 97 percent of wages taxed. Like Bernie Sanders, he wants communism.

The TDS sufferers look for Trump’s impeachment as a cure. Instead, they may get a red wave, followed by his reelection in 2020.

Published:6/25/2018 2:13:22 PM
[World] Mark Meadows: FBI, DOJ Have a Decision to Help With Cover-Up or Cleanup

Republican lawmakers have given the Justice Department and FBI a deadline of 5:00pm ET Monday to give Congressall requested documents related to an FBI informant in contact with members of his campaign in 2016.

Published:6/25/2018 11:15:18 AM
[Politics] Trump Hits DOJ, FBI for Not Turning Over Documents President Donald Trump continued to stay clear of the Russia investigation by smacking his own Justice Department and FBI for not turning over documents related to the Russia investigation. Published:6/25/2018 8:11:37 AM
[Media] ‘Pick-and-choose ethics’: NY Times says reporter Ali Watkins had ‘multiple’ relationships with sources she covered

The New York Times is reporting that its reporter Ali Watkins, who was dating James Wolfe, a “former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with journalists,” had “multiple” relationships with sources she covered: The @NYTimes says its reporter @AliWatkins had not just one relationship, but multiple relationships, with […]

The post ‘Pick-and-choose ethics’: NY Times says reporter Ali Watkins had ‘multiple’ relationships with sources she covered appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/24/2018 9:10:57 PM
[Robert Mueller] Mueller mulls it over (Scott Johnson) The Mueller Switch Project has turned into a tedious farce. Thomas Lifson puts it this way: “The Mueller special counsel investigation purportedly was instigated to discover possible illicit Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election but now is backing away from the only indictments aimed at Russian entities, leaving only alleged process crimes (such as General Flynn’s alleged false statement to the FBI) and alleged crimes that occurred long before Published:6/24/2018 10:06:34 AM
[Free Speech] We Hear You: LGBT ‘Pride,’ the FBI’s Clinton Probe, the Singapore Summit, and Tucker on Trump

Editor’s note: Our audience had some things to say about Rachel del Guidice’s account of what she saw at the recent LGBT pride parade in... Read More

The post We Hear You: LGBT ‘Pride,’ the FBI’s Clinton Probe, the Singapore Summit, and Tucker on Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/24/2018 5:35:29 AM
[World] Peter Strzok to Testify Before Congress: Ron DeSantis Says He Is Walking Into a Buzzsaw

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said that Peter Strzok has done more damage than any other modern-day FBI agent because of his anti-Trump conduct.

Published:6/23/2018 1:31:26 PM
[2018 News] AntiTrump FBI Agent 5 identified and photographed by Daily Mail Anti-Trump FBI “Agent 5” identified and photographed by Daily Mail. Her name is Sally Moyer. While working on the Hillary Clinton investigation Sally sent lovely text messages like “Fuck Trump” and called Trump voters retarded. Two points: 1. How does a jelly-bodied stringy-haired slacker who would likely have a heart attack if she tried to […] Published:6/23/2018 10:32:52 AM
[Markets] Strzok Subpoenaed, Must Appear Before Congress In Five Days

FBI special agent Peter Strzok is having a very bad June. After being physically escorted out of his FBI office last Friday and losing his security clearance this week, per Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the anti-Trump "lovebird" has been subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-IA).

Strzok agreed to testify earlier, however Grassley issued the subpoena to appear on June 27 at 10:00 a.m. after the FBI agent would not commit to a date.  

Strzok, was in charge of both FBI investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, harbored extreme animus towards the latter - as revealed within a batch of 50,00 text messages he sent to his mistress - FBI attorney Lisa Page, including one in which Strzok says he will stop Trump from becoming President.

Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his investigation into Russia's election meddling after the texts were discovered - many of which contained overt bias against then candidate Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton, which was documented in a DOJ Inspector General report released last week. 

While Strzok's career at the FBI now finally appears over (with possible disciplinary consequences to follow), many questions remain including some revelations made later in day by the Inspector General Horowitz, who during a hearing on Tuesday said that he's no longer convinced the FBI was collecting all of Strzok's and Page's text messages even outside the 5-month blackout period when it archived none of the texts due to a technical "glitch", which means a number of other Strzok responses to Page are likely missing.

Maybe Grassley will get to the bottom of that and much, much more...

We are excited for the questioning to begin...

Published:6/22/2018 7:26:32 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: "Don't Cry For Me, Rachel Maddow"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The latest artificial hysteria cranked up by the Offendedness Cartel - re: detention of juvenile illegal immigrants — is the most nakedly sentimental appeal yet by the party out-of-power, a.k.a. “the Resistance.”

I have a solution: instead of holding these children in some sort of jail-like facility until their identity can be sorted out, just give each one of them an honorary masters degree in Diversity Studies from Harvard and let them, for God’s sake, go free in the world’s greatest job market.

Before you know it, we’ll have the next generation of Diversity and Inclusion deans, and America will be safe from racism, sexism, and Hispanophobia.

I won’t waste more than this sentence in arguing that official policy for the treatment of juvenile illegal immigrants is exactly what it was under Mr. Obama, and Mr. Bush before him.

I didn’t hear Paul Krugman of The New York Times hollering about the various federal agencies acting “like Nazis” back in 2014, or 2006.

You’d think that ICE officers were taking these kids out behind the dumpster and shooting them in the head.

No, actually, the kids are watching Marvel Comics movies, playing video games, or soccer, and getting three square meals a day while the immigration officials try to figure out who their parents are, or how to repatriate them to their countries-of-origin if they came here without any parents — say, with the assistance of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

By the way, these make up the majority of kids detained in the latest wave of mass border crossings.

Actual political leadership among “the Resistance” is AWOL this week. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer failed to offer up any alternative legislative plan for sorting out these children differently.

One can infer in the political chatter emanating from the Offendedness Cartel that immigration law is ipso-facto cruel and inhuman and that the “solution” is an open border.

In theory, this might play to the Democratic Party’s effort to win future elections by enlisting an ever-growing voter base of Mexican and Central American newcomers. But it assumes that somehow these newcomers get to become citizens, with the right to vote in US elections - normally an arduous process requiring an application and patience - but that, too, is apparently up for debate, especially in California, where lawmakers are eager to enfranchise anyone with a pulse who is actually there, citizen or not.

Krugman of The Times really hit the ball out of the park today with his diatribe comparing US Immigration enforcement to the Nazis treatment of the Jews.

As a person of the Hebrew persuasion myself, I rather resent the reckless hijacking of this bit of history for the purpose of aggrandizing the sentimentally fake moral righteousness of the Resistance. It actually diminishes the meaning of the Nazi campaign against European Jews. I daresay that commentary like Krugman’s will only serve to amplify a growing resentment of Jewish intellectuals in this country — including myself, increasingly the target of anti-Jewish calumnies and objurgations. You’d think the Mr. Trump had offered to blow up Ellis Island the way the Resistance is clamoring to pull down statues of Thomas Jefferson.

One also can’t fail to notice that this latest hysteria was ginned up the very same week that the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in congress about the gross and astounding misconduct in the executive suites of those sister agencies — literally a bastion of the Resistance (or Deep State bureaucracy).

Some kind of giant worm is turning in that circle of the three-ring-circus US politics has become.

A lot of the characters who politicized the FBI - turned it into a chop-shop for election campaign shenanigans - will be headed for grand juries and some of them maybe even jail. It may be the sort of jail in the federal system that offers ping pong and bocce ball, but it won’t be the same as practicing law on K Street in a wainscoted office with coffered ceilings and lunch of poulet chasseur sent up from the brasserie downstairs.

Those confined will have plenty of time to commiserate with the kids from south-of-the-border who were dragged into the USA one way or another by people who didn’t care what happened to them, or reckon on it if they did care.

Published:6/22/2018 4:27:43 PM
[Law] It Took Too Long for FBI to Act on Strzok. When Corruption Arises, the Agency Must Act Swiftly.

News Tuesday that FBI agent Peter Strzok was escorted from the FBI building and effectively suspended from his duties was long overdue and a welcome development. Strzok... Read More

The post It Took Too Long for FBI to Act on Strzok. When Corruption Arises, the Agency Must Act Swiftly. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:6/22/2018 1:24:53 PM
[Markets] Tom Arnold Teaming Up With Michael Cohen To "Take Down" Trump

D-list celebrity Tom Arnold says he's teaming up with President Trump's former longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to "take down" the president. 

"I say to Michael, 'Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together, and he’s so tired he’s like, 'OK,' and his wife is like, 'OK, f*** Trump,'" Arnold said, laughing. -NBC News

Arnold, the ex-husband of Roseanne Barr, tweeted a picture of himself and Cohen on Thursday with the caption "I love New York."

After languishing in near obscurity for over a decade doing bit-parts and cameos, Arnold was tapped by Vice in May for a new show called "The Hunt for the Trump Tapes," which will investigate the existence of long-rumored tapes claiming to show President Trump saying or doing compromising things. 

Arnold would not say whether Cohen was planning to give him any tapes he might have of conversations with Trump.

But he added, "This dude has all the tapes — this dude has everything." -NBC News

Arnold admitted that tweeting the photo with Cohen was "indiscreet" - but that Cohen has been betrayed by Trump after many years of loyalty. 

"Michael Cohen showed up and worked diligently above and beyond and sacrificed and Donald Trump is like I don’t even know who he is. You think Michael doesn’t notice that?" Arnold said.

On Friday, Arnold backpedaled "clarified" that "Michael Cohen didn’t say Me & him were teaming up to take down Donald Trump! Michael has enough Trump on his plate. I’m the crazy person who said Me & Michael Cohen were teaming up to take down Trump of course. I meant it." FYI this is what a "tap on the shoulder" looks like... 

Cohen, often described as Trump's "fixer," is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York over various business dealings - including a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence over an alleged affair she had with President Trump. Trump has denied the claims.

The probe was launched based on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump campaign and who has secured indictment against other Trump allies.

Cohen, who has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime, has already talked to congressional investigators. In October, he was questioned about a scuttled plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and emails he received in 2015 from Felix Sater, a former Trump associate, about the real estate deal. -NBC News

Sater - who works for the FBI, sat down with Tom Arnold in early May where they "shared stories about NY real estate, our mutual friend, visiting our mutual friend on the set of the Apprentice, Russia & Video tapes." 

Cohen reportedly hired a new attorney earlier this week - a former prosecutor for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan - following a dispute over legal bills with his prior legal team. His law office and hotel room were raided in April, where boxes of documents, phones, electronic devices and computer equipment were seized. 

At a recent court hearing, prosecutors said they were still sorting through the material and needed more time to piece together the contents of a shredder and gain access to a BlackBerry.

Even before the raids, federal investigators had been monitoring Cohen's phone lines, multiple senior officials and individuals with knowledge of the legal proceedings have told NBC News.

The calls were logged by what is commonly referred to as a pen register, which records the number of the phone that made the call and the number that received it, but does not record the contents of any conversation.

Cohen has denied wrongdoing. -NBC News

Will a C-list celebrity (perhaps best known for his former wife, Roseanne) take down the president with the help of Michael Cohen? Tune in and find out on the next episode of whatever timeline this is.

Published:6/22/2018 12:25:22 PM
[US News] RUH ROH! OIG investigating ‘growing body of evidence’ that FBI tampered with documents in Russia/Hillary probes

"Incredibly troubling."

The post RUH ROH! OIG investigating ‘growing body of evidence’ that FBI tampered with documents in Russia/Hillary probes appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/22/2018 12:25:22 PM
[Politics] Dershowitz: FBI Agent Peter Strzok Should Be Fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok should no longer be part of the agency following the revelations about his bias against President Donald Trump, and he should "be fired," Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said Friday. Published:6/22/2018 11:24:29 AM
[Policy] Supreme Court decision requires warrant to obtain cellphone records for tracking The United States Supreme court issued a decision this morning required police to obtain a warrant from a judge in order to track individuals through cellphone records. The 5-4 ruling is being regarded as a win for privacy advocates in the U.S. The decision derived from a 2011 case in which FBI agents used three […] Published:6/22/2018 10:24:03 AM
[Politics] Comey: Trump a Humorless '1 Out of 10 President' Former FBI director James Comey says on a scale of 1 to 10, President Donald Trump ranks at the very bottom and is a humorless and egotistical commander in chief. Published:6/22/2018 9:24:37 AM
[The Blog] YouGov: FBI’s popularity plunges since February as plurality of independents now view agency unfavorably

Bias.

The post YouGov: FBI’s popularity plunges since February as plurality of independents now view agency unfavorably appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/21/2018 9:51:35 PM
[Politics] Grassley Wants to Subpoena Lynch, Comey Over Hillary Probe Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is weighing congressional subpoenas to former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for their roles in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Published:6/21/2018 7:20:53 PM
[Markets] Flynn Evidence May Have Been Tampered With By FBI: GOP Lawmaker

Rep Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested on a Thursday interview with The Hill that evidence in the Mike Flynn case may have been tampered with - something long hinted at by insiders close to the Congressional investigations. 

Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of President Trump's, said he and other lawmakers are finding evidence of possible tampering, an allegation he previously made at a House hearing where Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified. -The Hill

"Justice should be meted out evenly, and yet we’re finding that evidence could have been tampered with," Meadows said.

In particular, Meadows pointed to the "302" reports - which are summaries of FBI interviews with suspects or witnesses. 

"I brought this up with the inspector general the other day.  Some of those key witness will be asked to appear before House Oversight," he added.

The question about the FBI interview reports, he said, was "were they changed to change the outcome of prosecution decisions. I think they might have."

"We’re not going to yield until we get an answer," he added. -The Hill

During Tuesday testimony in front of a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Oversight committee, IG Horowitz said he is investigating allegations that FBI officials "edited" agents' 302 forms. 

It has been long suspected that fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe had agents edit or delete the "302" forms created after former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's interview. 

Journalist Sara Carter - known of late for her access to leaks by "white hat" actors in the intelligence community, sat down with Sean Hannity in late January where she discussed McCabe's firing and suggested "there's indicators right now that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302's

Hannity: A source of mine told me tonight that when Wray read this, it shocked him to his core.

Sara Carter: Shocked him to his core, and not only that, the Inspector General's report - I have been told tonight by a number of sources, there's indicators right now that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302's - those are their interviews with witnesses. So basically every time an FBI agent interviews a witness, they have to go back and file a report. 

As we noted on Tuesday, altered 203 forms may also explain why the judge in Flynn's case ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller to turn over any "exculpatory evidence" to Flynn's defense team. Flynn's legal team did not make this request. Instead, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order "sua sponte," or at his discretion, invoking the "Brady Rule" - which requires prosecutors to turn over previously unfiled evidence that might have a material impact on a defendant's case. Interestingly, two days before the order Mueller filed a motion for an agreed-upon protective order regarding the use of evidence in the case, including "sensitive materials," provided to Flynn's lawyers by the office of the Special Counsel.

It may also explain why Mueller has agreed to postpone Flynn's sentencing "due to the status of the special counsel's investigation." 

Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Some have suggested he did so in order to avoid a lengthy and costly legal battle with the DOJ, while others think he did so in order to protect his son, Michael Flynn Jr., from enhanced FBI probing. 

Published:6/21/2018 7:20:53 PM
[FBI] Did the FBI Frame Flynn? (John Hinderaker) The criminal case against Gen. Michael Flynn for lying to FBI agents was incredibly weak. At the time, I assumed that the charges against him were based on an audio tape or court reporter’s transcript of his interview. I wrote that the transcript should be made public so that we can all judge whether anything he said was actually untrue. While Flynn ultimately pled guilty to a single count of Published:6/21/2018 6:50:36 PM
[Markets] Strzok Stripped Of Security Clearance By FBI

FBI special agent Peter Strzok has been stripped of his security clearance, days after he was physically escorted out of his FBI office, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Speaking with radio host Howie Carr and first reported by Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller, Sessions said "Mr. Strzok, as I understand, has lost his security clearance.

Strzok, was in charge of both FBI investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, harbored extreme animus towards the latter - as revealed within a batch of 50,00 text messages he sent to his mistress - FBI attorney Lisa Page. 

Page quit shortly before the publication of a report by the DOJ's Inspector General, while Strzok - who had been relegated to the HR department following his removal from special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia probe, stayed on with the FBI - only to be escorted out last Friday and has now reportedly lost his security clearance. 

As we noted on Tuesday, shortly after the IG report was released, Strzok's attorney confirmed the report saying that Strzok was escorted from the building amid an internal review of his conduct.

"Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks," his attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement.

It gets better: in the layer letter, attorney Goelman writes that "Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process, and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks."

But wait, it gets even better, because in the very next line Strzok's attorney complains about the "impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence." Yes, this coming from the "impartial" and "unbiased" FBI agent who led a failed coup against the president, vowing to "stop" Trump, an act which in another time would have much more serious consequences than simple termination and being expelled from the FBI.

And speaking of that, the lawyer next complained that "instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure." We are confident that everyone will be very interested in watching the "impartial" disciplinary process play out fully in the coming months.

Goelman's conclusion: "Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings." It was not clear how Pete could not have complied with being escorted from the building but we'll leave it at that.

While Strzok's career at the FBI now finally appears over (with possible disciplinary consequences to follow), many questions remain including some revelations made later in day by the Inspector General Horowitz, who during a hearing on Tuesday said that he's no longer convinced the FBI was collecting all of Strzok's and Page's text messages even outside the 5-month blackout period when it archived none of the texts due to a technical "glitch", which means a number of other Strzok responses to Page likely missing.

Most importantly however, Horowitz ended an MSM talking point, clarifying that "we did NOT find no bias in regard to the October 2016 events." Strzok's choice to make pursuing the Russia espionage case a bigger priority than reopening the Clinton espionage case suggested "that was a BIASED decision." In other words, as we noted last week, Strzok was clearly biased in his pursuit of Trump and dismissal of Clinton: a perversion of the entire FBI process.

To all this, all we can add is that while there is still zero evidence that Trump "colluded" with Russia, Strzok's expulsion from the FBI building - and now losing his security clearance - is a serious indicator that the FBI was engaged in what effectively amounts to collusion, if not conspiracy, against a democratically elected US president.

Published:6/21/2018 6:20:30 PM
[The Blog] AG Sessions: Peter Strzok was escorted out of the FBI because he lost his security clearance

"it is possible that escorting him out meant that the inspector general’s Russia investigation is going to be brutal for him"

The post AG Sessions: Peter Strzok was escorted out of the FBI because he lost his security clearance appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/21/2018 5:49:55 PM
[Markets] Is The United States On A Road To Becoming Ungovernable?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

For a long time I have observed the rancor in modern American political discourse, and I have become concerned about where all of this anger and frustration is taking us.  In order for any society to function, there must be some form of government.  And in order for government to function, a certain percentage of the population has to be willing to submit to the authority of that government. 

For example, there will always be a few tax protesters out there that refuse to pay their taxes, but if every single American suddenly decided to stop paying taxes our system of taxation would collapse overnight.  Sure, the government could prosecute thousands of us, but if that crackdown still didn’t motivate people to start paying their taxes there is not much that could be done. 

The only reason any form of government works is because enough people buy into the narrative that the government is legitimate and should be respected.  Here in the United States, fewer and fewer people are buying into that narrative.

The Pew Research CenterGallup, and NPR have all run polls that show that faith in government is near all-time lows in the United States.  A lot of us have been let down so many times, and most of us simply do not “believe in America” like we once did.  Yes, we may still believe in “the people” or “the values” that the nation was founded upon, but at our core we just do not have faith in our governmental institutions.

But simply being disillusioned is not going to be enough to make us ungovernable.  Generations of Americans have complained about government, but they have always gone along with the system.  Unfortunately, things are changing in a fundamental way.  Instead of just complaining about government, Americans are being trained to think of government as the enemy.  We certainly witnessed a great deal of this under Barack Obama, and without a doubt Obama was absolutely terrible, but now under Donald Trump things have gone to an entirely new level.

We literally have millions of people in this country that truly believe that President Trump is the moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler and that the Republican Party is a bunch of fascists. 

Of course some conservatives have been saying similar things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democrats for years.  But with Trump we are witnessing something that we have never seen before.  The mainstream media is actually pounding the drumbeats of hatred for our president day after day, and when you say something long enough and loud enough some people are going to believe you.

If you truly believe that someone is just like Adolf Hitler, the logical response would be to do whatever is necessary to end the tyranny.  And this is precisely what we have seen from Antifa – their open embrace of violence is justified in their eyes because of the “enemy” that they are fighting.

And it isn’t just Trump that the left is targeting.  Just this week a deranged man in Ohio was arrested for threatening U.S. Congressman Brian Mast

A Stuart man was arrested Tuesday after a federal complaint states he threatened U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s children over the Trump administration’s child-separation immigration policy.

Laurence Key called Mast’s Washington office Monday and said, “I’m going to find the congressman’s kids and kill them,” an intern who took the call told the FBI, according to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. “If you are going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids.”

For those of you that don’t know, Congressman Mast is a double amputee.  He lost both legs serving our nation overseas, and he has a young girl and two young boys that are all younger than 8.

Are you starting to understand why more good people don’t run for office in this country?

Now that President Trump has signed an executive order that will keep immigrant families together at the border, the left has got to come up with something else to keep the rancor going.  So now we are being told that President Trump is inhumane for “putting entire families in cages” at the border, when that is not true at all.

But it really doesn’t matter what the truth is – the key is to keep the narrative going.

We have already reached a point where a certain percentage of the population is not going to recognize the legitimacy of our government no matter who is sent to the White House.  Millions upon millions of Americans refer to Donald Trump as “not my president”, and there are millions of us that never accepted the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.

So who would the American people accept?

Someone in the middle?

Sadly, the truth is that Barack Obama and Donald Trump are “the middle” today.  There is no longer a single set of values that unites our nation, and America is becoming more deeply divided with each passing day.

The only thing that is really holding us back from mass rioting and chaos on a constant basis is our massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living.

As long as people have plenty of food to eat and lots of entertainment to keep them sedated, a complete and total societal meltdown is unlikely.

But if our food and entertainment were to be taken away, the American people are primed for the biggest temper tantrum in the history of our nation.

We have never had a president that is hated as much as President Trump, and the mainstream media keeps feeding that hatred on a daily basis.  Whatever goes wrong over the next few years will be blamed on him, and the moment a real crisis hits we will start to see cities burn all over the country.

The second president of the United States, John Adams, once made the following statement

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Today, the American people are not very religious and they certainly are not moral.  Suicide rates are absolutely soaring, and we are very deeply unhappy as a nation.

It would be wonderful if we could unite behind the values that this nation was built upon, but we discarded those values long ago.

So now we face a very uncertain future, and it is only a matter of time before someone lights a spark that sets off mass societal unrest all across the United States.

Published:6/21/2018 4:20:15 PM
[Politics] Lindsey Graham Seeks Info on Strzok's 'Insurance' Text on Trump The texts of embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok, who mentioned "an insurance policy" against Republican Donald Trump's election in November 2016, are of interest to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Published:6/21/2018 3:50:58 PM
[2018 News] Unbelievable! It Was Rosenstein Who Hid the “Stop Trump” Texts Unbelievable! It Was Rosenstein Who Hid the “Stop Trump” Texts. Per testimony it was not the first time he’s hid things. It sounds like he should be escorted from the FBI building, too. Published:6/21/2018 12:18:35 PM
[Politics] Why Wasn't Most Incriminating Strzok Text Released Earlier? The Justice Department Inspector General this week addressed why the most incriminating text sent by FBI official Peter Strzok, in which he said "we'll stop" President Donald Trump's election, wasn't made public earlier. Published:6/21/2018 11:20:09 AM
[Politics] Suicide of the West Will Be Averted by the Policies of Trump It is distasteful to return to my exchange with my esteemed National Review colleague Jonah Goldberg about the column he wrote several weeks ago likening President Trump's reference to the implantation of FBI informers in his campaign as "Spygate" to McCarthyism. He replied on June 6, citing some of what I had written, and putting me in the category of those who had criticized his column because he "should have endorsed 'Spygate' in toto."I neither wrote nor implied anything of the kind. My... Published:6/21/2018 7:18:57 AM
[fa43deb2-c27e-417d-bd01-a896c7877a86] Judge Andrew Napolitano: Can the FBI be independent? When President Donald Trump appointed Atlanta lawyer Christopher Wray to succeed James Comey as the director of the FBI, my initial reaction was not positive. Published:6/20/2018 11:15:09 PM
[Politics] Rep. King Equates Anti-Trump Bias to KKK Convicting Black Man During a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., equated the FBI's alleged bias of President Donald Trump to that of a jury of Klansmen wrongfully convicting a black person. Published:6/20/2018 3:44:17 PM
[Markets] "Things Have Changed" - Giuliani Says Decision On Trump-Mueller Interview Coming In July

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has offered yet another update on the ongoing negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team over the terms of a possible presidential interview, according to the Washington Post. And Mueller likely won't be happy. A final decision on whether Trump will assent to an interview won't be made until mid- or late-July, Giuliani said. Although, at this point, it sometimes seems like Giuliani is just taunting and stalling, and that Trump has already decided to forgo an interview and dare Mueller to try issuing a presidential subpoena. After all, Giuliani said last week that a decision would arrive by the end of this month.

"I’m advising him to stay put, to hold our horses a little," Giuliani told The Washington Post in an interview, about an hour after Giuliani said he spoke with Trump. "I doubt August, and I doubt too far into July. But I do think things have changed."

"I’d like to get it done, our part over to them by July 4," he said, but added that developments at the Justice Department could lead him to advise the president to hold off.

Of course, Giuliani and Trump obviously feel that the Inspector General's report, which highlighted extreme anti-Trump political bias within the ranks of the FBI - though it ultimately exonerated the DOJ and the bureau's senior leadership and opted not to impugn the Mueller probe - has bought the president some time. Last week, Giuliani said he'd use the report to undermine the special counsel's probe. Giuliani added that, if talks collapse in the coming weeks, he's unsure whether Mueller would try to subpoena the president, which would likely trigger a legal battle that would rise all the way to the Supreme Court.

GIuliani

Giuliani denied that Mueller was pressing Trump's team to make a decision.

"We just don’t know," Giuliani said. "They have an argument for it and against it. It could blow up in their face and they’d have to just file a report. At this point, they’re not pressing us."

Mueller has reportedly promised that, if the president agrees to a sit-down interview, he could finish a report on whether Trump tried to obstruct the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election within 90 days.

Then again, Giuliani has also scoffed at the suggestion that he'd let Trump sit down with Mueller.

"Do I look crazy?" Giuliani responded. "So far, you know, I still have all my senses, and I’m a heck of a lawyer. And I get drummed out of the profession if I did. I mean, the reality is, you don’t put your client in a kangaroo court."

We imagine we'll hear more from Giuliani next week, when he announces yet another delay on Trump's long-awaited decision on whether to meet Mueller face-to-face.

Published:6/20/2018 1:13:00 PM
[Markets] Comey Hits Back At Hillary: "She Doesn't Understand What Her Case Was About"

?James Comey hit back at Hillary Clinton after the former secretary of state sniped at him over a Justice Department inspector general report which revealed that the former FBI director used a private email address to conduct official business - while his FBI was investigating Hillary for her own use of private systems. 

In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Comey refused to apologize to Clinton - stressing the difference between his personal use of email for unclassified information vs. her use, which involved classified information. 

“No. And here’s why," Comey said when asked if he would apologize. "I don’t want to criticize her, but it shows me that even at this late date, she doesn’t understand what the investigation in her case was about.

“It was not about her use of a personal email system, and she didn’t get that during the investigation, because she used to say ‘Colin Powell when he was secretary of state used AOL,’ that was not what it was about,” Comey explained. “It was about communicating about classified topics on that system when those topics have to be done on a classified system.

Comey defended his use of personal email - saying he only used it for things like sending himself drafts of speeches.

“What I would do, is when I had to write speeches—I would write my own speeches—I would type them at home and then gmail them into my government account,” Comey said. “Or, if I still had to work on the draft, I would send it home so I could work on it on my laptop.”

I was not talking about anything remotely classified and the inspector general didn’t say that as well,” Comey said. “But I get why the tweet, and I get why people are focused on it, but it’s a totally different thing.”

The former FBI Director also touched on the text messages uncovered between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who were having an extramarital affair together and harbored extreme anti-Trump / pro-Clinton bias.

"We archive the texts, so maybe it's a sign we don't have the brightest people working at our organization," joked Comey, adding "I never saw any indication of bias and Peter Strozk did the first draft of my letter to Congress on October 28th that Hillary Clinton blames for her losing the election, so how exactly is he trying to get Donald Trump?"

"I don't see any evidence of a conspiracy, if the president and his allies want to claim a conspiracy they have to encompass all the data, I don't see how you could approach this and conclude we were on Hillary Clinton's side or on Donald Trump's side and I never saw any indication from those two people," he said.

Comey initially responded to the Inspector General's report in a New York Times op-ed last week, the day the report came out. He was sure to point out that the IG report "found no evidence that bias or improper motivation affected the investigation," and said that "in hindsight I think we chose the course most consistent with institutional values."

Whatever those are...

 

 

Published:6/20/2018 12:12:33 PM
[World] Bob Goodlatte: 'Subpoena Is Coming' for Peter Strzok to Testify Before Congress

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Tuesday that a subpoena will be issued to former top anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Published:6/20/2018 10:42:12 AM
[Markets] Tether Responds To Bitcoin Manipulation Charges, Confirms "All Tethers Backed By US Dollars"

One week ago, cryptos tumbled when a new iteration of a well-known allegation of bitcoin manipulation reemerged: a research paper claimed to have found a pattern whereby tethers were being spent to prop up bitcoin at key moments, which to the authors suggested manipulation.

As the research reported published by John Griffin, a University of Texas professor known for flagging suspicious activity in the VIX benchmark, "Tether seems to be used both to stabilize and manipulate Bitcoin prices."

To be sure, as we have noted repeated and as Bloomberg wrote last week, questions about Tether and Bitfinex had dogged the cryptocurrency world since last year, when Bitfinex lost banking relationships yet continued to operate. The CFTC eventually subpoenaed both firms in December, seeking proof that Tether is backed by a reserve of U.S. dollars, as it claims.

Last week's allegations prompted the following response from Bitfinex Chief Executive Officer JL van der Velde: “Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of Bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex."

A bigger question was whether every tether - a so-called "stablecoin" that depends on full USD backing to maintain its peg to $1. - actually has said dollar backing.

And in what should come as good news to the crypto community, on Wednesday morning Tether said its bank deposits of $2.55 billion were confirmed by the law firm co-founded by FBI director Louis Freeh as the company seeks to reassure investors that its cryptocurrency is backed by U.S. dollars. According to the Tether release, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP (FSS), confirmed that all Tethers (USDT) in circulation are sufficiently backed by U.S. dollar (USD) reserves.

The FSS report, based on a random date balance inspection and a full review of relevant bank account documentation, confirms that all Tethers in circulation as of June 1, 2018 are fully backed by existing USD reserves.  

Quoted by Bloomberg, Tether CEO Jan Ludovicus van der Velde said that "despite speculation, we have consistently stated that Tether is backed by USD reserves at or exceeding the Tethers in circulation at a given moment, and we’re glad to have independent verification of this to answer some of the questions posed by the public."

“We are by no means done with our efforts to promote increased transparency at Tether. We are planning to build on this report moving forward and, despite the challenges of applying current accounting and assurance standards to cryptocurrency clients, we continue discuss these issues with potential audit partners.”

While Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP didn’t conduct an official audit, they had access to Tether’s accounts at two banks for weeks and released data on how much money the company held on a single day, June 1, Tether’s general counsel said in an interview. That amount is nearly equal to the value of all Tether digital coins in circulation that day, $2.54 billion, according to Tether executives who spoke to the law firm.

Why not a full audit? “The bottom line is an audit cannot be obtained,” Stuart Hoegner, Tether’s general counsel, told Bloomberg  in a phone interview Tuesday. The cryptocurrency market looks too nascent for large accounting firms to consider taking on clients who offer digital coins, he added.

“The big four firms are anathema to that level of risk,” he said in the interview. “We’ve gone for what we think is the next best thing.”

In its report released Wednesday, FSS said it picked June 1 as the day to analyze without Tether’s knowledge. It was given online access to Tether’s bank accounts, statements and to employees at the financial institutions, Hoegner said, adding that he can’t name the two banks, in part due to privacy concerns. “Banking relationships are private,” and as a non-public firm Tether has no requirement to name them, he said.

Tether engaged the Washington, DC-based law firm in March to conduct an independent review of its bank account balances. The law firm was granted full access to all relevant bank and account documentation, and selected a random date for review without Tether’s knowledge or involvement. On that review date, FSS examined its bank balances and compared it to Tethers in circulation. FSS selected June 1, 2018 as its random review date, confirming that Tether’s bank balances totaled $2,545,067,236.82. On that date, there were $2,538,090,823.52 worth of USDTs in circulation. The report concludes that “FSS is confident that Tether’s unencumbered assets exceed the balance of fully-backed USD Tethers in circulation as of June 1st, 2018.”

Some questions remains: although FSS didn’t name the banks Tether is using, it did note that Eugene Sullivan, one of the law firm’s partners and a former federal judge, is on an advisory board for one of them. Its investigation also relied on phone and in-person interviews with Tether executives and bank representatives to reach its conclusions.

The law firm included several caveats to its findings. “FSS is not an accounting firm and did not perform the above review and confirmations using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles,” according to its report. “FSS has not performed any procedures or made any conclusions for activity prior to or subsequent to June 1st, 2018, Close of Business.”

The firm added: “FSS has assumed, without further inquiry, that the bank personnel providing the confirmations were duly authorized to provide such confirmations, and that the confirmations were correct.”

In response to the report, cryptos have seen a modest bounce:

The full report can be found here.

Published:6/20/2018 9:11:47 AM
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