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[Markets] Beware The Sound Of Shoes Dropping In The Night Beware The Sound Of Shoes Dropping In The Night

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

It was interesting to watch the Cable News divas go incandescent under the glare of their own gaslight late yesterday when they received the unpleasant news that the Barr & Durham “review” of RussiaGate had been officially upgraded to a “criminal investigation.”

Rachel Maddow’s trademark pouty-face got a workout as she strained to imagine “…what the thing is that Durham might be looking into.” Yes, that’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, all right… with a sputtering fuse sticking out of it. Welcome to the Wile E. Coyote Lookalike Club, Rache. You’ll have a lot of competition when the Sunday morning news-chat shows rev up.

Minutes later, the answer dawned on her:

“It [the thing] follows the wildest conspiracy theories from Fox News!”

You’d think that someone who invested two-plus years of her life in the Mueller report, which blew up in her pouty-face last spring, might have felt a twinge of journalistic curiosity as to the sum-and-substance of the thing. But no, she just hauled on-screen RussiaGate intriguer David Laufman, a former DOJ lawyer who ran the agency’s CounterIntel and Export Control desk during the RussiaGate years, and also helped oversee the botched Hillary Clinton private email server probe.

“They have this theory,” Rachel said, “that maybe Russia didn’t interfere in the election….”

“It’s preposterous,” said Laufman, all lawyered up and ready to draw a number and take a seat for his own grand jury testimony.

Over in the locked ward of CNN, Andy Cooper and Jeff Toobin attempted to digest the criminal investigation news as if someone had ordered in a platter of shit sandwiches for the green room just before air-time. Toobin pretended to not know exactly who the mysterious Joseph Misfud was, and struggled to even pronounce his name: “…Mifsood? Misfood…? You mean the Italian professor?” No Jeff, the guy employed by several “friendly” foreign intelligence agencies, and the CIA, to sandbag Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, and failed. I guess when you’re at the beating heart of TV news, you don’t have to actually follow any of the stories reported outside your locked ward, and maybe entertain a few angles outside your purview, i.e. your range of thought and experience.

Next Andy hauled onscreen former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (now a paid CNN “contributor”) to finesse a distinction between the “overall investigation of the Russian interference” or “the counterintelligence investigation that was launched by the FBI.” Consider that Mr. Clapper was right in the middle between the CIA and the FBI. Since he is known to be a friend of Mr. Comey’s and a not-friend of Mr. Brennan’s one can easily see which way Mr. Clapper is tilting. One can also see the circular firing squad that this is a setup for. And, of course, Mr. Clapper himself will be a subject in Mr. Durham’s criminal case proceedings. I predict October will be the last month that Mr. Clapper draws a CNN paycheck — as he hunkers down with his attorneys awaiting the subpoena with his name on it.

The New York Times story on this turn of events Friday morning is a lame attempt to rescue former FBI Director Jim Comey by pinning the blame for RussiaGate on the CIA, shoving CIA John Brennan under the bus. The Times report says: “Mr. Durham has also asked whether C.I.A. officials might have somehow tricked the F.B.I. into opening the Russia investigation.” There’s the next narrative for you. Expect to hear this incessantly well into 2020.

I wonder if there is any way to hold the errand boys-and-girls in the news media accountable for their roles as handmaidens in what will be eventually known as a seditious coup to overthrow a president. We do enjoy freedom of the press in this land, but I can see how these birds merit charges as unindicted co-conspirators in the affair. One wonders if the various boards of directors of the newspaper and cable news outfits might seek to salvage their self-respect by firing the executives who allowed it happen. If anything might be salutary in the outcome of this hot mess, it would be a return to respectability of the news media.

As for impeachment, ringmaster Rep. Adam Schiff is surely steaming straight into his own historic Joe McCarthy moment when somebody of incontestable standing denounces him as a fraud and a scoundrel… and the mysterious workings of nonlinear behavior tips the political mob past a criticality threshold, shifting the weight of consensus out of darkness and madness. It has happened before in history. Two centuries before Joe McCarthy, the French national assembly suddenly turned on the Jacobins Robespierre and St. Just after their orgy of beheading 17,000 enemies. The two were quickly dispatched themselves to the awe of their beloved guillotine and the Jacobin faction was not heard of again —until recently in America, where it first infected the Universities and then sickened the polity at large almost unto death.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/25/2019 - 14:26
Published:10/25/2019 1:29:36 PM
[Law] FISA Abuse Report Is ‘Lengthy’ and Has ‘Few’ Redactions, DOJ Watchdog Tells Congress

The Justice Department inspector general’s report on possible FBI abuse of the foreign surveillance process is “lengthy,” and is likely to be made public with... Read More

The post FISA Abuse Report Is ‘Lengthy’ and Has ‘Few’ Redactions, DOJ Watchdog Tells Congress appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/25/2019 12:03:49 PM
[In The News] CNN Fails To Disclose Key Facts About Andrew McCabe In Interview About DOJ Criminal Investigation

By Chuck Ross -

CNN Media Bias Logo

CNN interviewed Andrew McCabe on Friday about developments in a Justice Department criminal investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, but the network failed to disclose that the former FBI deputy director is suing the Justice Department and is under criminal investigation himself. Interviewed by CNN’s Jim Sciutto, McCabe, ...

CNN Fails To Disclose Key Facts About Andrew McCabe In Interview About DOJ Criminal Investigation is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/25/2019 11:02:23 AM
[International events] TICK TOCK: IG Horowitz’s report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses ‘will shed light on why Durham’s probe now a criminal inquiry’

Ruh-roh, John Brennan. Ruh-roh, James Comey. Ruh-roh, Hillary Clinton. Ruh-roh, Obama administration in general. “One source added that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why Durham's probe has become a criminal inquiry.”https://t.co/S6s3vlFgvj — Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) October […]

The post TICK TOCK: IG Horowitz’s report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses ‘will shed light on why Durham’s probe now a criminal inquiry’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/25/2019 7:27:46 AM
[In The News] BREAKING: FISA Abuse Report Is ‘Lengthy’ And Has ‘Few’ Redactions, DOJ Watchdog Tells Congress

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department inspector general’s report on possible FBI abuse of the foreign surveillance process is “lengthy,” and is likely to be made public with “few” redactions, the inspector general told lawmakers on Thursday, according to a letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, ...

BREAKING: FISA Abuse Report Is ‘Lengthy’ And Has ‘Few’ Redactions, DOJ Watchdog Tells Congress is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/25/2019 6:01:01 AM
[Markets] The DOJ's Russiagate Probe Just Turned Into A Criminal Investigation The DOJ's Russiagate Probe Just Turned Into A Criminal Investigation

What began as an administrative review by the Justice Department into the origins of Russiagate has "shifted" to a criminal inquiry, according to the New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The move will allow prosecutor John H Durham the power to subpoena documents and witnesses, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges. Durham's progress has been closely monitored by Attorney General William Barr, who appointed the veteran investigator in May, tasking him with looking into FBI and CIA intelligence gathering operations surrounding the 2016 US election.

US Attorney John Durham

As the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross notes, Barr said on April 10 that he believed "spying" had taken place against the Trump campaign, and that he doesn't buy former FBI officials' version of how the collusion investigation began.

Little is known about Durham’s activities so far in the investigation. The Times report said it is unclear when the investigation took on a criminal element, or what specific crime Durham is investigating.

Durham accompanied Barr to Italy late in September as part of an inquiry into U.S. intelligence agents’ activities there during the 2016 campaign. They also inquired about Joseph Mifsud, a mysterious Maltese professor who established contact with Trump aide George Papadopoulos in 2016. -Daily Caller

Just over three weeks ago, the Times also reported that President Trump asked the Australian Prime Minister to help Barr uncover the origins of "Russiagate," a move which Justice Department officials said "would be neither illegal nor untoward for Trump to ask."

And according to NBC News, Durham has set his sights on former CIA Director John Brennan and former national intelligence director James Clapper.

Durham's investigation has been running parallel to a probe by Justice Department Inspector General (and registered Democrat) Michael Horowitz, who told Congress on Thursday that he expects his report to be "lengthy," but able to be made mostly available to the public.

The Durham probe is similar to a Justice Department inspector general’s investigation into the FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, told Congress on Thursday that the report of that investigation is “lengthy” and that he anticipates most of it will be made public.

Horowitz has been investigating whether the FBI misled the foreign surveillance court in spy applications against Page. Investigators relied heavily on the Steele dossier in the applications, though information in that document was largely unverified. Unlike Durham, Horowitz has not had subpoena power, and cannot use a grand jury as part of his investigation. -Daily Caller

And of course, with Durham's administrative review turning into a criminal probe, the Times has already given away the predictable response from the left; Barr is investigating the Obama intelligence community to help Trump win in 2020. Nothing to see here folks, right?

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/25/2019 - 06:36
Published:10/25/2019 6:01:01 AM
[Markets] Zombie Nation? The Democratic Party Is Dead, And Everyone Knows It But Them Zombie Nation? The Democratic Party Is Dead, And Everyone Knows It But Them

Authored by Helen Buyniski via HelenOfDestroy.com,

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, thought to have finally retired from politics after an embarrassing electoral loss to a politically-inexperienced reality show personality, is threatening to enter the 2020 race, serving up reheated Cold War fearmongering and an ironclad sense of royal privilege to a Trump-weary populace. A morally and fiscally bankrupt Democratic Party is poised to enable this sick drama with the help of a spineless and compliant media.

How could this possibly happen? Surely Democrats learned their lesson after their decision to take Clinton’s money in order to stay financially solvent in 2016 required them to rig the primaries in her favor, a crime that likely tanked her candidacy when it was revealed by WikiLeaks? Surely the mainstream media realizes that, three years on, the preposterous Russiagate conspiracy theory they cooked up to defend her has ripped the last shreds of journalistic integrity out of the mainstream media establishment?

Just kidding — the Democratic Party and its media handmaidens bargained away their morals long ago. They’re aiding and abetting a Clinton comeback, wheeling her out to give her opinion on everything from the latest steps toward peace in Syria (bad, needs more war) to the 2020 candidates. Last week, she took aim at Tulsi Gabbard, the best hope the party has of getting voters excited enough to show up in 2020, claiming (without a shred of evidence) that the National Guard major and former DNC chair is being groomed by Russia to act as a third-party spoiler, handing the election to Trump. Had such a claim come from anyone else, the DNC would have slapped it down. But they know on which side their bread is buttered. They’d rather lose than defy their queen.

Let’s do the time warp again

This month’s primary debates proved that, if nothing else, the party has refused to move on from 2016. Candidates clamored to distinguish themselves as the biggest Trump-hater and impeachment zealot, with not one appearing to comprehend that next in line behind their favorite punching bag is Mike Pence. The vice president is a man so possessed by religious sexual phobia that he refuses to be alone in a room with a woman. A Christian Zionist, he is even more willing than Trump to send US soldiers to fight Israel’s battles — the better to hasten the Rapture. Only Andrew Yang — a party outsider — dared speak the truth: “When we are talking about Donald Trump, we’re losing.”

Indeed, everything about the 2020 election is signaling a repeat of the last one. The DNC is broke again, ripe for a Clinton rescue that will once again require the rigging of the primary in return for her kindness. Naysayers who once laughed at the idea of yet another Clinton candidacy are reconsidering their scorn, and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon insists she is, in fact, running — merely waiting for the right moment to officially declare her candidacy. Certainly the media blitz of the past few weeks — ostensibly to promote a book co-written with her do-nothing daughter, but in reality a string of opportunities for her to denounce the “illegitimate” president and remind America that the position is rightfully hers — looks like a campaign publicity tour.

i’ll take “sore loser” for $1.2 billion, please

For all that Clinton says she empathizes with current Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, currently being accused of corruption, she has, in these interviews, always brought the conversation back around to 2016, insisting that “the most outrageously false things” were said about her as well (and lamenting that “enough people believed them” to rob her of the presidency). Biden, like Clinton, is still being pushed as the 2020 favorite, despite coming with decades of baggage including flagrant corruption (threatening to withhold $1 billion in IMF loans from Ukraine until it fired the prosecutor probing an energy company that gave his son a no-show job is only the tip of the iceberg).

Even the New York Times has pointed out the similarities between their two candidacies — both physically deteriorating before voters’ eyes, uninterested in changing the status quo, and embraced by the wealthy donors that keep the party afloat. Biden’s Ukraine problem is as massive and impossible to avoid as Clinton’s email problem. Biden, like Clinton, is positioning himself as not the best candidate, but the only one who can beat Trump — embracing his identity as, he hopes, the lesser of two evils. Both have a long history in politics, dozens of skeletons in the closet (literally, in Clinton’s case), and a string of failed presidential attempts. Both cringingly pander to working-class and minority voters despite a history of racism (“superpredators,” the 1994 crime bill, close friendship with segregationists) and classism (NAFTA).

If at first you don’t succeed…

Ever the strategist, Clinton is likely biding her time until the facts come out about Biden’s involvement in Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma during impeachment hearings and sink his candidacy. She’ll then swoop in, volunteering to take his place as the crusty old standard-bearer of the Democratic pack. Biden’s suicidal stubbornness all but ensures he’ll go down in flames (despite his son Hunter’s admitted drug problems and the obvious nepotism and corruption behind his receiving a $60,000/month directorship just months after being kicked out of the Navy Reserves for cocaine use, Biden insists Hunter will join him on the campaign trail).

Clinton feels the presidency is hers by divine right — that it’s “her turn” to take the reins, like she was promised after Obama snatched it out from under her in 2008. Having paid her dues as First Lady, the long-suffering wife and enabler of serial rapist Bill Clinton occupied a Senate seat just long enough to present herself to the public as a stateswoman in her own right, then made a run at the glass ceiling of the presidency — only to be rejected in favor of a spray-tanned novice without her baggage. Patiently serving as Secretary of State, she oversaw the destruction of Libya, once the jewel of the Middle East under Gaddafi with the highest standard of living on the African continent, turning it into the failed state with open-air slave markets it is today. Thwarted in her efforts to do the same in Syria, she left the White House in 2012.

a rare shot of Cthulhu in his sea-floor auditorium practicing his political speeches

Clinton transformed the State Department into an extension of the Pentagon via her misleadingly-named “smart power” philosophy. The agency once tasked with solving America’s foreign policy problems diplomatically now merely provides diplomatic cover for regime-change operations like the one she helped engineer in Ukraine in 2014 (while she left the State Department in 2013, the processes she set in motion would culminate in the Maidan revolution that saw actual Nazis take over in Kiev) and the one currently trying to pry Hong Kong from China’s grasp.

She also monetized the position, selling access to the presidency through the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons vastly enriched themselves at the expense of the rest of the world, having never met a dictator they didn’t like. But while they elevated corruption to an art form, their actions were wholly in keeping with the modus operandi of the Democratic Party. Swaddle oneself in the appearance of helping the less fortunate (Clinton has appeared with countless ‘save the children’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ type groups like Somaly Mam’s AFESIP, which notoriously invented Cambodian child brothel horror stories out of whole cloth) while exploiting them to within an inch of their lives (Haitians still protest outside Clinton events over the Foundation’s decision to give over 90 percent of the $13.3 billion given in response to the 2010 earthquake to foreign contractors and Foundation donors while Haitians starved and died).

The rot goes to the core

Clinton wouldn’t be able to get away with this sort of thing if her party wasn’t fully on board with such moral depravity. The current impeachment circus is merely the latest proof that they do not believe anything they say in public. For the entire party and its stenographers in the media to turn on a dime from accusing Trump of colluding with Russia to accusing him of engaging in quid-pro-quo with Ukraine (an enemy of Russia, if one is paying attention) suggests they don’t believe either scandal is necessarily based on facts, but that, to quote congressman and impeachment fanboy Al Green, “if we don’t impeach the president, he will get reelected.”

After losing its collective mind with the 2016 defeat, the Democratic Party, led by Clinton and outgoing President Obama along with CIA director John Brennan and FBI chief James Comey, cobbled together Russiagate as their revenge. Relying on a network of spooks and paid operatives, they conjured up a half-baked menace from the depths of Americans’ collective Cold War memories, light on facts but heavy on the implications, with just enough salacious material to ensure it would go viral. The intention was to cripple Trump’s presidency — if they couldn’t remove him from office, they could at least ensure he played by their rules rather than follow through on wild promises to end the wars in Syria and Afghanistan and normalize relations with Moscow. The status quo held until the release of special counsel Mueller’s Russiagate report meant the media could no longer claim with a straight face that Trump was scheduled to be executed for treason any second now. But top Democrats were unfazed when it was exposed as a hoax — they’d invented it in the first place.

actual post-election moment

If not a sense of moral outrage that the president is colluding with a foreign power, what has driven the party leadership and its enablers in the media to pursue Trump to the ends of the earth? Democrats’ choice of impeachment issues is proof they lack any sort of moral center — as fake as Russiagate and Ukrainegate are, there are dozens of issues that could potentially be used to skewer Trump. The sky-high civilian casualty rates and record number of bombs dropped on his watch don’t faze Democrats — after all, Bush and Obama started those wars, and neither were impeached for the atrocities committed under their watch.

If anything, Democrats are clamoring for more war, shrieking after Trump announced the latest attempt at a troop pullout from Syria that such an action was unthinkable. Weeping and gnashing their teeth over the impending “genocide” of the Kurds, they spun on a dime when Trump announced a five-day ceasefire with Turkey last week, claiming such a deal — which gave Kurdish militias ample time to vanish from the Turkish border area without being attacked — somehow “discredited” American foreign policy. The Democrat-controlled House even voted to condemn the troop pullout — perhaps forgetting they’d never authorized the deployment of troops to Syria in the first place, an easy mistake to make as the US military has been industriously building up a base infrastructure in flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

The Trump administration’s blatant nepotism — Jared Kushner, a pampered princeling who has never held a real job in his life, was tasked with making peace between Israel and Palestine, despite blatant partiality toward the Netanyahu government (Bibi slept at the Kushners’ home in New Jersey) — didn’t bat a single Democratic eyelash. After all, Hunter Biden got his own lucrative sinecure in Ukraine with as few credentials. The massive deregulation that has seen the deficit skyrocket as corporations and the wealthy pay even less taxes than they did before bothers no one — Democratic donors benefited as much as Republicans, even though billionaires now pay a lower tax rate than the working class. Trump spitting in the face of international law by “declaring” first Jerusalem and then the Golan Heights the property of Israel went down smoothly as can be — no surprise when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself has said that she would back Israel “even if the Capitol crumbles to the ground.” Democrats’ problem has always been finding an “impeachable offense” Trump was committing that they were not also guilty of.

relevance is Russian

The devil’s rejects

Perhaps Democrats’ awareness that they’re morally as well as fiscally bankrupt is what drives them to make the same mistakes they did four years ago. Just as they did with Bernie Sanders, the party is doing its utmost to sideline Tulsi Gabbard at every opportunity, barring her from September’s debate despite her polling higher than several candidates who were included and refusing to speak up for her in the face of Clinton’s baseless smear. Their hypocrisy is transparent, preaching identity politics until a Hindu woman emerges championing antiwar policies. Gabbard is the only one bringing fresh ideas to the table, ideas that have excited many voters sick of the shame they feel knowing their country is the number one killer since World War II. Spike her, and they’re almost guaranteed to lose.

As if to prove that point, Clinton pounced on the Hawaii congresswoman last week with her “Russian asset” smear — not referring to Gabbard by name, but making it clear she was talking about no one else. Her spokesman Nick Merrill, asked if Clinton was really saying Gabbard — who served in the Iraq war — was an agent, confirmed the smear: “If the nesting doll fits…” In a sane society, Clinton’s disapproval would be a badge of honor (and to her credit, Gabbard appears to be wearing it as such) — but in the mainstream media hothouse, it’s another strike against her — along with the guilt-by-association smears that come with a 4chan fan club and even her looks.

Sanders might be able to muster a win against Trump, but at 78, his health is failing, and his base is wary after he betrayed them in 2016. Despite stolen primaries in New York and California, he sat mutely, throwing his own supporters under the bus during the convention. After a solid year of slamming Clinton for giving secret speeches to Goldman Sachs, voting to bail out the banks in 2008, and backing every war in the past three decades, Sanders turned on his supporters and implored them to vote for her. He remained silent while his supporters demanded a legal reckoning. Some have forgiven him and returned to cheer him on in 2020, but many have not.

Nevertheless, he is head and shoulders above most Democrats, who are completely for sale to the highest bidder, whether it’s Israel, the arms industry or Big Pharma. They violate the Constitution on a daily basis, whether it’s by voting to make participation in boycotts of Israel illegal (a blatant violation of the First Amendment, as a Texas court recently found; passing a law permitting indefinite detention without trial for American citizens (as Obama did in 2011, backed by a supine Congress, in violation of the Sixth Amendment); or outlawing religious vaccine exemptions (a violation of both the First Amendment and the Geneva Convention).

In perhaps the most shocking betrayal of the party’s liberal and progressive wing, Democrats have embraced the CIA, the FBI, and the entire intelligence apparatus that has infiltrated and destroyed leftist movements since the 1960s. Once the home of the counterculture, the Party now clings to authority, enthusiastically licking the boots they believe will curb-stomp Trump. Bereft of historical perspective — even the torture revelations of the early 2000s have vanished amid the onslaught of Orange Man Bad — Democrats ironically calling themselves the Resistance wear slogans like “It’s Mueller time!” and “Comey is my homey,” broadcasting their allegiance to men who’ve covered up monumental crimes and even committed a few themselves. It’s no surprise to see the mainstream media taking the side of the intelligence agencies — assets like Anderson Cooper, Ken Dilanian, and Wolf Blitzer have been keeping newsrooms safe for democracy for decades. But never before have ordinary voters leapt to embrace their oppressors quite so openly. The phenomenon can’t even be described as selling out — because selling out implies getting something in return for one’s soul.

A hive of lesser evils

Even if Clinton does not run, her influence permeates the party. “I’ve talked to most of them,” she revealed on ABC’s The View earlier this month, slyly hinting that previous contests’ frontrunners a year before the election had failed to secure the nomination. Instead of Sanders and Gabbard, the Democratic National Committee is propping up Biden and grooming as his second Elizabeth Warren, the neoliberal wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to steal Sanders’ thunder by insisting she’s all he represents plus a pair of X chromosomes. Decked out in borrowed rhetoric and forged identity politics credentials, she earnestly presents herself as a leftist, hoping no one remembers she was registered as a Republican until her 40s.

still more authentic than Hillary

Lest anyone be fooled by Warren’s “radical” act, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently gushed “I know she’s pragmatic, just wait.” Such an endorsement should be a death knell for her progressive support, especially after the revelation that she has been in constant contact with Clinton. Warren emphasizes in communications with donors that she doesn’t actually intend to upend the status quo, and has flip-flopped repeatedly on accepting big-dollar donors and PACs, only rejecting them once she’d stockpiled a healthy war chest from those very donors.

Many of Clinton’s 2016 campaign operatives have chosen California Senator Kamala Harris as their standard-bearer, and Harris exhibits many Clintonesque characteristics. Her enthusiasm for locking up black men for minor drug offenses (she bragged about increasing drug dealers’ conviction rate from 56% to 74% in just three years) — and black women for their truant children (she supported a law that imprisoned mothers if their kids skipped school, then lied about it on the campaign trail) — is worthy of the woman who called black kids “superpredators.” Harris has praised Clinton for “putting our country first” and “serving with distinction” while calling for Trump to be banned from Twitter for his “irresponsible” language.

The other candidates are largely distractions aimed at getting the selection process at the 2020 convention to a second ballot. With voters clamoring for reform after the 2016 disaster, the party obliged by doing away with superdelegates on the first round, but for any round beyond that, they’re fair game — and the DNC refuses to leave the selection up to chance, or anything so small-d democratic as a vote. With a handful of votes thrown to Pete Buttigieg — the anti-Gabbard, a gay pro-war vet — and Beto O’Rourke — the face of privilege whose Spandering caused the cringe heard ‘round the world in the first primary debate — the convention will progress to a second round, and the superdelegates will slither out of their holes to crown their king — or queen.

Status quo defenders

As much as those Democratic establishment stalwarts with presidential ambitions — Clinton and the two dozen-odd candidates determined to dislodge Trump in 2020 — want to get rid of the Bad Orange Man, the benchwarmers in Congress have learned to love him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer can merely rail against Trump instead of actually governing, floating whatever irresponsible fantasy bills they want with the knowledge that they’ll die in the Republican-controlled Senate or — at worst — be vetoed by Trump. House Democrats got the chance to virtue-signal about ending the war in Yemen, helping voters forget Obama had gotten the US involved in the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, knowing Trump would kill the bill to serve their shared Saudi paymasters. And pearl-clutching about kids in cages on the border (cages built, again, by Obama) while calling for open borders attracts the votes of recent immigrants while ensuring they’ll never have to cash the checks they’re writing.

Michael Moore, once a progressive darling, recently appeared on ‘comedian’ Bill Maher’s program to lambaste his fellow ex-progressive about abandoning his own liberal credentials. Maher complained that the “Squad” — progressive congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — were unpopular, that Medicare for All was less desirable than Obamacare, and that a leftward shift would sink the party. Moore whimpered that if the election was held today, Trump would win, just as he had predicted in 2016. But where was Moore in 2016? Pleading on Democracy Now for Sanders supporters to go to the polls for Clinton, even though “she is to the right of Obama.”

The exchange between the two millionaire entertainers was a disturbing window on the utter alienation of the Democratic Party, insulated by layers of money, from its constituents — and increasingly ex-constituents, as nearly 40 percent of Americans disavow both parties. Maher represents the McCarthyite neoliberal centrism that has taken the mainstream media by storm, in which any flicker of anti-war or pro-working class sentiment is viewed as Russian. And Moore represents the thought-leaders who, despite knowing better, have led the party into its current moral sinkhole, insisting it’s the only pragmatic route.

the tweet heard ‘round the world

Moore knows Clinton is — as Gabbard declared — the Queen of Warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long. He just doesn’t care as long as he gets paid. Moore, like Clinton, took money from casting couch predator Harvey Weinstein despite his predation being an ‘open secret’ in the industry. As late as 2015, he called the molesting mogul “one of the best people to work with in this town” in a tweet he quickly deleted after it was dug up in October 2017 following Moore’s belated decision to speak out against Weinstein’s crimes. Even after the New York Times story in which several actresses first went public with their accusations was published, it took Moore weeks to climb aboard the dump-Weinstein bandwagon, likely out of concern it would hurt his film — Fahrenheit 11/9 — about the Trump presidency. The bottom line — not morality, or even being factually correct — is his chief concern.

In that respect, Moore is the Democratic Party writ large. Caught in a vicious cycle of selling out to wealthy donors to keep the lights on, it has sealed itself off to the working class, the minorities whose voice it still claims a monopoly on, and the young people just now awakening to the fact that they’ve been cheated out of a future. There has been barely any pushback against the DNC’s relentless trudge to the right from the mainstream media and the party establishment. Van Jones appeared on CNN calling out Clinton’s red-baiting of Gabbard, pointing out the smear contained “no facts” and that Gabbard had been the party chairman before she was demonized for backing Sanders in 2016, but the rest of the #Resistance remained silent as Clinton insisted that opposition to war was anti-American. Even the few candidates who defended Gabbard from her slurs did not mention Clinton in their rebuttals. No one dares to oppose the party’s owners.

Until someone does, the Democratic Party is dead. And it’s all but turned Trump into the lesser evil.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/24/2019 - 19:55
Tags
Published:10/24/2019 7:00:16 PM
[Markets] Trump-Haters, Not Trump, Are The Ones Wrecking America's Institutions, WSJ's Strassel Says Trump-Haters, Not Trump, Are The Ones Wrecking America's Institutions, WSJ's Strassel Says

Authored by Irene Luo and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times,

The anti-Trump “Resistance” has devastated core American institutions and broken longstanding political norms in seeking to defeat and now oust from office President Donald Trump, said Kimberley Strassel, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and member of the Journal’s editorial board.

“And this, to me, is the irony, right? We’ve been told for three years that Donald Trump is wrecking institutions,” Strassel said in an interview with The Epoch Times for the “American Thought Leaders” program.

But in terms of real wreckage to institutions, it’s not on Donald Trump that public faith in the FBI and the Department of Justice has precipitously fallen. That’s because of Jim Comey and Andy McCabe. It’s not on Donald Trump that the Senate confirmation process for the Supreme Court is in ashes after what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. It’s not on Donald Trump that we are turning impeachment into a partisan political tool.”

The damage inflicted by the anti-Trump Resistance is the subject of Strassel’s new book, “Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America.”

Strassel uses the term “haters” deliberately, to differentiate this demographic from Trump’s “critics.”

In Strassel’s view, all thoughtful critics of Trump - and she counts herself among them - would look at Trump the same way that they have examined past presidents - namely, to call him out when he does something wrong, but also laud him when he does something right.

The ‘haters’ can’t abide nuance. To the Resistance, any praise - no matter how qualified - of Trump is tantamount to American betrayal,” Strassel writes in “Resistance (At All Costs).”

She told The Epoch Times: “Up until the point at which Donald Trump was elected, what happened when political parties lost is that they would retreat, regroup, lick their wounds, talk about what they did wrong.

“That’s not what happened this time around. Instead, you had people who essentially said we should have won.”

From the moment Trump was elected, this group believed Trump to be an illegitimate president and therefore felt they could use whatever means necessary to remove him from office, Strassel said.

‘Unprecedented Acts’

“One thing I try really hard to do in this book is enunciate what rules and regulations and standards were broken, what political boundaries were crossed, because I think that that’s where we’re seeing the damage,” Strassel said.

The “unprecedented acts” of the Resistance have caused the public to lose trust in longstanding institutions such as the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, and cheapened important political processes like impeachment, she said.

The Resistance fabricated and pushed the theory that it was Trump’s collusion with Russia that won him the presidency, not the support of the American people, and lied about the origins of the so-called evidence—the Steele dossier—that was used by the FBI to justify a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, Strassel said.

“We have never, in the history of this country, had a counterintelligence investigation into a political campaign,” she said.

In an anecdote that Strassel recounts in her book, she asked former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) if there was anything in America’s laws that could have prohibited this situation.

Nunes, who had helped write or update many laws concerning the powers of the intelligence community, replied, “I would never have conceived of the FBI using our counterintelligence capabilities to target a political campaign.

“If it had crossed any of our minds, I can guarantee we’d have specifically written: ‘Don’t do that.’”

In Strassel’s view, the Resistance is partially fueled by deep-seated anger, or what others have termed “Trump derangement syndrome”—an inability to look rationally at a man so far outside of Washington norms.

But at the same time, in Strassel’s view, much of the Resistance is motivated by a desire to amass political power using whatever means necessary.

“That involves removing the president who won. That involves some of these other things that you hear them talking about now: packing the Supreme Court, getting rid of the electoral college, letting 16-year-olds vote,” she said.

“These are not reforms. Reforms are things that the country broadly agrees are going to help improve stuff. This is changing the rules so that you get power, and you stay in power.”

The impeachment inquiry into the president, based on his phone call with Ukraine’s president, is just another example of how the Resistance is violating political norms and relying on flimsy evidence to try to remove him from office, she said.

Testimony in the inquiry has taken place behind closed doors, led by three House committees, and Democrats have so far refused to release transcripts from the depositions of former and current State Department employees.

“[Impeachment] is one of the most serious and huge powers in the Constitution. It was meant always by the founders to be reserved for truly unusual circumstances. They debated not even putting it in because they were concerned that this is what would happen,” Strassel said.

In the impeachment inquiries against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Strassel said, American leaders “understood the great importance of convincing the American public that their decision to use this tool was just and legitimate.

“So if you look back at Watergate, they had hundreds of hours of testimony broadcast over TV that people tuned into and watched. It’s one of the reasons that Richard Nixon resigned before the House ever held a final impeachment vote on him, because the public had been convinced. He knew he had to go,” she said.

But now, instead of access to the testimonies, the public is receiving only leaked snippets and dueling narratives.

“You have Democrats saying, ‘Oh, this is very bad.’ And Republicans saying, ‘Oh, it’s not so bad at all.’ What are Americans supposed to think?” Strassel said.

Bureaucratic Resistance

Within the federal bureaucracy, there is a “vast swath of unelected officials” who have “a great deal of power to slow things down, mess things up, file the whistleblower complaints, leak information, actively engage against the president’s policies,” Strassel said.

“It’s their job to implement his agenda. And yet a lot of them are part of the Resistance, too,” she said.

Data shows that in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, government bureaucrats overwhelmingly contributed toward the Clinton campaign over the Trump campaign.

Ninety-five percent, or about $1.9 million, of bureaucrats’ donations went to Clinton, according to The Hill’s analysis of donations from federal workers up until September 2016. In particular, employees at the Department of Justice gave 97 percent of their donations to Clinton. For the State Department, it was even higher—99 percent.

“Imagine being a CEO and showing up and knowing that 95 percent of your workforce despises you and doesn’t want you to be there,” Strassel said.

Strassel pointed to when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, publicly questioned the constitutionality of Trump’s immigration ban and directed Justice Department employees to disobey the order.

“It was basically a call to arms,” Strassel said. “What she should’ve done is honorably resigned if she felt that she could not in any way enforce this duly issued executive order.

“It really kicked off what we have seen ever since then: The nearly daily leaks from the administration, the whistleblower complaints,” as well as “all kind of internal foot-dragging and outright obstruction to the president’s agenda.”

According to a report by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, in Trump’s first 126 days in office, his administration “faced 125 leaked stories—one leak a day—containing information that is potentially damaging to national security under the standards laid out in a 2009 Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama.”

Activist Media

Strassel says the media has played a critical role in bolstering the anti-Trump Resistance.

“I’ve been a reporter for 25 years,” Strassel said.

“I’ve always felt that the media leaned left. That wasn’t a surprise to anyone. “But what we’ve seen over the past three years is something entirely different. This is the media actively engaging on one side of a partisan warfare. It’s overt.”

Along the way, the media have largely abandoned journalistic standards, “whether it be the use of anonymous sources, whether it be putting uncorroborated accusations into the paper, whether it’s using biased sources for information and cloaking them as neutral observers,” she said.

Among the many examples of media misinformation cited in Strassel’s book is a December 2017 CNN piece that claimed to have evidence that then-candidate Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. had been offered early access to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. But it turned out the date was wrong. Trump Jr. had received an email about the WikiLeaks release one day after WikiLeaks had made the documents public.

“If it hurts Donald Trump, they’re on board,” Strassel said. And in many cases, the attacks on Trump have been contradictory.

“He’s either the dunce you claim he is every day or he’s the most sophisticated Manchurian candidate that the world has ever seen. You can’t have it both ways.

“He’s either a dictator and an autocrat who is consolidating power around himself to rule with an iron fist, or he’s the evil conservative who’s cutting regulations.”

Contrary to claims of authoritarianism, Trump has significantly decreased the size of the federal government. Notably, he reduced the Federal Register, a collection of all the national government’s rules and regulations, to the lowest it’s been since Bill Clinton’s first year in office.

“You can’t be a libertarian dictator,” Strassel said.

In addition to the barrage of attacks on Trump, the media has actively sought to “de-legitimize anybody who has a different viewpoint than they do, or who is reporting the facts and the story in a way other than they would like them to be presented.”

“They would love to make it sound as though none of us are worthy of writing about this story,” she said.

“The media is supposed to be our guardrails, right? When a political party transgresses a political boundary, they’re supposed to say ‘No, that’s beyond the pale.’”

Instead, “they indulged this behavior,” Strassel said.

“We had a media cheerleading the FBI for meddling in American politics. Can you ever imagine a time in American history where the media would have played such a role?

“In a way, I blame that for so much else that has gone wrong.”

Long-Term Consequences

Strassel says the actions taken by the Resistance will have long-term consequences for America.

“I keep warning my friends on the other side of the aisle: Think about the precedent you are setting here,” Strassel said.

For example, if Joe Biden wins the presidency in 2020 but Republicans take back the House, would the Republican-dominated House immediately launch impeachment proceedings against Biden for alleged corruption in Ukraine?

“I wouldn’t necessarily use the word [corruption], but there’s a lot of Republicans who happily would. And if they thought they’d get another shot at the White House, why not?” Strassel said.

It’s short-term thinking, she said, just like Sen. Harry Reid’s decision in 2013 to drop the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster for lower-court judges.

“Did he really stop to think about the fact that it paved the way for Republicans to get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court judges?” Strassel said.

If there’s any rule in Washington, “it’s that when you set the bar low, it just keeps going lower,” Strassel said.

“Donald Trump is going to be president for at most another five years. But the actions and the destruction that’s coming with some of this could be with us for a very long time,” she said.

“Should anyone allow their deep disregard for one particular man to so change the structure and the fabric of the country?”

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/24/2019 - 17:15
Tags
Published:10/24/2019 4:28:31 PM
[Markets] Never Mind The Algos: Fund Manager Earns 10%+ Returns Using FBI Interview Techniques Never Mind The Algos: Fund Manager Earns 10%+ Returns Using FBI Interview Techniques

Australian money manager Rhett Kessler learned the art of negotiation from the masters: professional FBI Agents who work with terrorists, master criminals and desperate psychopaths who got in way over their head.

Now, the senior fund manager of the $727 million Pengana Australian Equities Fund, is telling Bloomberg that the FBI's interview techniques for getting under the skin of CEOs during criminal investigations - a tool used to catch them in lies, exaggerations and deflections of blame for their actions - can also be useful for investment analysts seeking to evaluate companies and their management.

Rhett Kessler

In a way, Kessler's hedge fund is a lot like the FBI: They're constantly investigating targets, only the fund's targets are usually public companies, not criminals. Like the FBI, "We have a dossier on each management team.”

Here's how Kessler puts these tools to work: Before looking too deeply into a company, he first tries to gauge whether they're trustworthy and competent. The approach has yielded amazing returns for Kessler: his fund has posted double-digit returns, on average, since it was founded in 2008.

But what's most important here is that Kessler's interview technique appears to be producing reliable, steady returns at a time when the hottest funds of the day are dumping millions of dollars into building complex algorithms and embracing other quant-driven techniques to try and gain an edge over the competition. Kessler has apparently found an edge just by talking to people, a much less expensive strategy.

Here's more from BBG:

The Pengana Australian Equities Fund has gained 10.4% per year, net of fees, since July 2008, topping a 6.7% advance in the Australian Stock Exchange All Ordinaries Index, according to the fund’s most recent report on its website. Kessler says the rush into passive investing and quantitative strategies in recent years will "create a better environment for stock pickers as the herd gets bigger."

Then again, the fact that Kesslerr has millions of dollars at his disposal makes it easier to gain access to key figures within companies.

Many of Kessler's best-performing names are small companies involved in ostensibly "boring" businesses.

Kessler’s fund counts among its top holdings stocks such as Aristocrat Leisure Ltd., which sells gaming machines to casinos and clubs, and CSL Ltd., a maker of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products derived from human plasma. Aristocrat is up 45% this year, while CSL has risen 35%.

Here's a rundown of their top holdings:

Presently, Kessler's main fund has 15% of its assets in cash - wary of deteriorating economic data in Australia and high stock valuations. If any young investors ever have an opportunity to take a similar class with FBI instructors, they should jump at the chance. Among the techniques that Kessler learned: Asking questions to which you already know the answers.

This allows Kessler to determine whether the CEO is honest, or prone to exaggeration. These personality traits, Kessler found, can have a tremendous impact on how an individual runs a business.

"For every 10 questions we are going to ask, we all know the answers to three or four of them," he said. Some of them will be to show the person in a good light. Some of them will be to show the person in a bad light. And we know the answers. "

Another technique he employs: What they call "A, B, C, D" questions.

He sometimes asks what he calls the “A, B, C, D question.” In this, the fund manager has deliberately missed the point, leaving out one piece of information that’s crucial to understanding the situation - something that reflects badly on the executive. He’s checking if the interviewee will point it out.

"That’s why we call it the A, B, C, D question," Kessler said. "Are they a volunteer of bad information or not?"

That question is supposed to gauge whether executives will easily volunteer information that reflects poorly on them or the company. Readers can probably imagine how this might be helpful.   

Bottom line: If you ever have the opportunity to take a class about interrogation techniques, take it.                                                                                                                  

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/23/2019 - 22:10
Published:10/23/2019 9:19:44 PM
[Politics] UH OH: Durham’s probe expanded BECAUSE new evidence and he has two Obama officials in his sights… Fox News is reporting tonight that Durham’s investigation into the origins of FBI’s counterintelligence probe that spied on the Trump campaign did indeed expand, and it was because of new evidence uncovered . . . Published:10/22/2019 9:45:25 PM
[Politics] UH OH: Durham’s probe expanded BECAUSE new evidence and he has two Obama officials in his sights… Fox News is reporting tonight that Durham’s investigation into the origins of FBI’s counterintelligence probe that spied on the Trump campaign did indeed expand, and it was because of new evidence uncovered . . . Published:10/22/2019 9:45:25 PM
[Markets] The Top U.S. States In Gun Sales The Top U.S. States In Gun Sales

Due to a patchwork of state and federal laws, it has always been difficult to put a precise number on U.S. gun sales. But, as Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, a new analysis entitled "Gun Country" from website security.org used information contained in the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System and an industry-accepted formula to estimate the number of gun sales in a given year.

The research found that 972,860 guns were sold in Texas in 2018, making it the state with the highest total.

When it comes to sales per 1,000 inhabitants, however, things look different with Texas only coming 34th with 46.5 guns sold.

Infographic: The Top U.S. States In Gun Sales | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Montana comes first with 141.9 firearms sold per 1,000 of its inhabitants, followed by Alaska (140.1) and South Dakota (129.9).

It’s notable that some of the states with the highest population-adjusted rates of gun purchases (Montana, South Dakota and others) are among the states where guns are used the least in violent crimes.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/22/2019 - 20:25
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Published:10/22/2019 7:43:44 PM
[Markets] "Russia" Is All They've Got - Exposing The Agents Of Empire "Russia" Is All They've Got - Exposing The Agents Of Empire

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

– Arundhati Roy

Last week, Hillary Clinton called Tulsi Gabbard (and Jill Stein) Russian agents on a podcast. More specifically:

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians,” said Clinton, apparently referring to Rep. Gabbard, who’s been accused of receiving support from Russian bots and the Russian news media. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.” She added: “That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset—I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”

Tulsi subsequently responded to this slanderous accusation with a series of devastating blows.

Her tweets set off a firestorm, and even if you’re as disillusioned by presidential politics as myself, you couldn’t help but cheer wildly that someone with a major political platform finally stated without any hint of fear or hesitation exactly what so many Americans across the ideological spectrum feel.

Of course, this has far wider implications than a high profile feud between these two. The “let’s blame Russia for Hillary’s loss” epidemic of calculated stupidity driven by Ellen-Democrats and their mouthpieces across corporate mass media began immediately after the election. I know about it on a personal level because this website was an early target of the neoliberal-led new McCarthyism courtesy of a ridiculous and libelous smear in the Washington Post over Thanksgiving weekend 2016 (see: Liberty Blitzkrieg Included on Washington Post Highlighted Hit List of “Russian Propaganda” Websites).

This is when it became clear it wasn’t just political operatives pushing fake news about Russian influence, but that “respected” mass media would be leading the charge for them. The rest is pretty much history. MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, etc have been spewing outlandish Russiagate nonsense for three years straight, and despite the complete failure of special counsel Robert Mueller to find any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, these agents of empire refuse to stop. The whole charade seems more akin to an intelligence operation than journalism, which shouldn’t be surprising given the proliferation of former intelligence agents throughout mass media in the Trump era.

Here’s a small sampling via Politico’s 2018 article: The Spies Who Came in to the TV Studio

Former CIA Director John Brennan (2013-17) is the latest superspook to be reborn as a TV newsie. He just cashed in at NBC News as a “senior national security and intelligence analyst” and served his first expert views on last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press. The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN, which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity. Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV’s grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James B. Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush, at CBS News. CNN’s bulging roster also includes former FBI agent Asha Rangappa; former FBI agent James Gagliano; Obama’s former deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken; former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers; senior adviser to the National Security Council during the Obama administration Samantha Vinograd; retired CIA operations officer Steven L. Hall; and Philip Mudd, also retired from the CIA.

Americans like to sneer at more transparently unfree societies around the world, but when you think about the disturbing implications of former spooks delivering news to the public, one can’t help but conclude that mass media in 2019 looks like a gigantic propaganda campaign targeting U.S. citizens. Moreover, as can be seen by the recent attacks by Clinton and her allies in the media on Gabbard, they aren’t easing up.

Which brings us to the crux of the issue. Why are they doing this? Why is Clinton, with zero evidence whatsoever, falsely calling a sitting U.S. Congresswoman, a veteran with two tours in Iraq, and someone polling at only 2% in the Democratic primary a “Russian asset.” Why are they so afraid of Tulsi Gabbard?

It’s partly personal. Tulsi was one of only a handful of congressional Democrats to set aside fears of the Clintons and their mafia-like network to endorse Bernie Sanders early in 2016. In fact, she stepped down from her position as vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee to do so. This is the sort of thing a petty narcissist like Hillary Clinton could never forgive, but it goes further.

Tulsi’s mere presence on stage during recent debates has proven devastating for the Ellen Degeneres wing of the Democratic party. She effectively ended neoliberal darling Kamala Harris’ chances by simply telling the truth about her horrible record, something no one else in the race had the guts to do.

In other words, Tulsi demolished Kamala Harris and put an end to her primary chances by simply telling the truth about her on national television. This is how powerful the truth can be when somebody’s actually willing to stand up and say it. It’s why the agents of empire — in charge of virtually all major institutions — go out of their way to ensure the American public is exposed to as little truth as possible. It’s also why they lie and scream “Russia” instead of debating the actual issues.

But this goes well beyond Tulsi Gabbard. Empire requires constant meddling abroad as well as periodic regime change wars to ensure compliant puppets are firmly in control of any country with any geopolitical significance. The 21st century has been littered with a series of disastrous U.S. interventions abroad, while the country back home continues to descend deeper into a neo-feudal oligarchy with a hunger games style economy. As such, an increasing number of Americans have begun to question the entire premise of imperial foreign policy.

To the agents of empire, dominant throughout mainstream politics, mega corporations, think-tanks and of course mass media, this sort of thought crime is entirely unacceptable. In case you haven’t noticed, empire is a third-rail of U.S. politics. If you dare touch the issue, you’ll be ruthlessly smeared, without any evidence, as a Russian agent or asset. There’s nothing logical about this, but then again there typically isn’t much logic when it comes to psychological operations. They depend on manipulation and triggering specific emotional responses.

There’s a reason people like Hillary Clinton and her minions just yell “Russia” whenever an individual with a platform criticizes empire and endless war. They know they can’t win an argument if they debate the actual issues, so a conscious choice was made to simply avoid debate entirely. As such, they’ve decided to craft and spread a disingenuous narrative in which anyone critical of establishment neocon/neoliberal foreign policy is a Russia asset/agent/bot. This is literally all they’ve got. These people are telling you 2+2=5 and if you don’t accept it, you’re a traitorous, Putin-loving nazi with a pee pee tape. And these same people call themselves “liberal.”

Importantly, it isn’t just a few trollish kooks doing this. It’s being spread by some of the most powerful people and institutions in the country, including of course mass media.

For example:

This inane verbal vomit is considered “liberal” news in modern America, a word which has now lost all meaning. Above, we witness a collection of television mannequins questioning the loyalty of a U.S. veteran who continues to serve in both Congress and the national guard simply because she dared call out America’s perpetually failing foreign policy establishment.

To conclude, it’s now clear dissent is only permitted so long as it doesn’t become too popular. By polling at 2% in the primary, it appears Gabbard became too popular, but the truth is she’s just a vessel. What’s really got the agents of empire concerned is we may be on the verge of a tipping point within the broader U.S. population regarding regime change wars and empire. This is why debate needs to be shut down and shut down now. A critical mass of citizens openly questioning establishment foreign policy cannot be permitted. Those on the fence need to be bullied and manipulated into thinking dissent is equivalent to being a traitor. The national security state doesn’t want the public to even think about such topics, let alone debate them.

Ultimately, if you give up your capacity for reason, for free-thought and for the courage to say what you think about issues of national significance, you’ve lost everything. This is what these manipulators want you to do. They want you to shut-up, to listen to the “experts” who destroy everything they touch, and to be a compliant subject as opposed to an active, empowered citizen. The answer to such a tactic is to be more bold, more informed and more ethical. They fear truth and empowered individuals more than anything else. Stand up tall and speak your mind. Pandering to bullies never works.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 10/22/2019 - 18:05
Tags
Published:10/22/2019 5:13:26 PM
[Politics] REPORT: John Brennan is a FOCUS of John Durham’s probe… According to Natasha Bertrand with Politico, John Brennan is being investigated by John Durham who is probing the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign: NEW: Sources believe John . . . Published:10/22/2019 10:43:46 AM
[Politics] REPORT: John Brennan is a FOCUS of John Durham’s probe… According to Natasha Bertrand with Politico, John Brennan is being investigated by John Durham who is probing the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign: NEW: Sources believe John . . . Published:10/22/2019 10:43:46 AM
[Markets] Has Pierre Delecto Killed Mitt Romney's Political Career? Has Pierre Delecto Killed Mitt Romney's Political Career?

Authored by Graham Noble via LibertyNation.com,

To begin with an entirely objective statement: Rational people, when considering the worth of any politician, find nothing more distasteful than the politico in question deliberately concealing his or her true feelings, opinions, or policy agenda. All of us want our political representatives to be “real”: to stand on principle, say what he or she means, and mean what he or she says.

How many currently elected politicians measure up to that expectation is debatable, of course, and it is difficult, for most, to judge them fairly. Supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would no doubt argue that she is entirely principled and honest about her political intentions. Her detractors, meanwhile, would describe her as evasive at best and downright dishonest at worst. Similarly opposing views might be applied to President Donald Trump or to any member of Congress.

Delecto?

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who – it could be argued – suffered an almost inexplicable loss to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, is one of those politicians who has tried hard to portray himself as eminently principled, morally upstanding, and an all-around decent man. To be sure, he has done things in his personal life that lend credibility to such an image. What if it turned out, though, that Romney – until now – had secret social media persona for the primary purpose of defending and boosting the image of none other than Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney

Enter (on Twitter) Pierre Delecto. Sounding more like a 1970s porn star, Delecto is the Mr. Hyde to Romney’s Dr. Jekyll – only, we must presume, without the homicidal tendencies. As Delecto, Romney spent most of his time trying to make himself look good, defending himself to reporters, and bashing Trump. He may or may not also have been delivering pizzas or cleaning the pools of shapely but lonely wives. If Pierre had a PhD, we might have expected Dr. Delecto to be plotting world domination from a secret, high-tech bunker beneath a volcano.

To be fair, the senator is not the first politician or senior government official to use a false identity online. Former FBI Director James Comey, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Trump himself have all done so – and they are just a few of the ones we know about. Obama communicated by email with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton under a false name – presumably so that he could deny any knowledge of the latter’s use of private email accounts to conduct official business.

Romney’s Delecto, though, was focused on praising and defending himself and on undermining a sitting president from his own party. This makes the ruse all the more disdainful – especially from a man so obviously concerned with public image.

In fact, Delecto is known to have tweeted only ten times since December 2015, so it would not be fair to make this matter into a constitutional crisis. It is worth speculating, though, about how much damage Romney might have attempted to inflict upon the current president in the run-up to a possible impeachment trial and the 2020 election had Delecto not been exposed.

Tiring Of Secrecy

As popular as he may be within the Republican establishment (and that is no more than speculation), Romney is not at all popular among conservative voters. He has always been a “never-Trump” Republican, which hurts him even more in the current climate. The outing of Pierre Delecto may be the final nail in the coffin of his political future – if for no other reason than the pure ridiculousness of it.

More than ever, Americans are growing wearing of secrecy and duplicity. The feeling that almost nobody within the interlocking circles of politics and media can be trusted is looming ever larger in the conscience of voters: The anonymous sources, the so-called whistleblowers, the leakers, the fake social media accounts: All add up to a widely shared consensus that the nation’s lawmakers and reporters cannot be relied upon to present the nation with the unvarnished truth. Is it not time for America’s journalists and politicians to be held fully accountable – in the court of public opinion, at least – for their own words and actions, without hiding behind secretive informants and fictitious personas?

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:15
Tags
Published:10/22/2019 9:43:49 AM
[Markets] Will The Democratic Party Exist After 2020 Election? Will The Democratic Party Exist After 2020 Election?

Authored by Renee Parsons via Off-Guardian.org,

Even before Rep. Tulsi Gabbard threatened to boycott the October 15th Dem debate as the DNC usurps the role of voters in the Democratic primacy 2020 election and with an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on the table, the Swamp was stirred and its slimy muck may be about to come to the surface as never before.

If so, those revelations are long overdue.

It is no secret to the observant that since the 2016 election, the Democratic Party has been in a state of near-collapse, the victim of its own hubris, having lost their moral compass with unsubstantiated Russisgate allegations; those accusations continue as a futile exercise of domestic regime change.

Today’s Dems are less than a bona fide opposition party offering zero policy solutions, unrecognizable from past glories and not the same political party many of us signed up for many years ago. Instead, the American public is witnessing a frenzied, unscrupulous strategy.

Desperate in the denial of its demise, confronting its own shadow of corruption as the Dems have morphed into a branch of the CIA – not unlike origins of the East German Stasi government.

It should not be necessary to say but in today’s hyper volatile political climate it is: No American should be labelled as anything other than a loyal American to be deeply disturbed by the Democrat/CIA collusion that is currently operating an unprecedented Kangaroo Court in secret, behind closed doors; thus posing an ominous provocation to what remains of our Constitutional Republic.

As any politically savvy, independent thinking American might grasp, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and their entire coterie of sycophants always knew that Russiagate was a crock of lies.

They lied to their willing Democratic rank n file, they lied to American public and they continue to lie about their bogus Impeachment campaign.

It may be that whistleblower Ed Snowden’s revelations about the NSA surveillance state was the first inkling for many Americans that there is a Big Problem with an out-of-control intelligence community until Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that Trump was being ‘really dumb” in daring to question Intel’s faulty conclusion that Russia hacked the 2016 election.

“Let me tell you. You take on the intelligence community = they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Inescapably, Schumer was suggesting  that the Congress has no oversight, that there is no accountability and that the US has lost its democratic roots when a newly elected President does not have the authority to question or publicly disagree with any of the Intel agencies.

Since the 2016 election, there has been a steady drumbeat of the US Intel’s unabashed efforts to undermine and otherwise prevent a newly elected President from governing – which sounds like a clear case of insubordination or some might call it treasonous.

The Intel antipathy does not appear to be rooted in cuts to a favorite social services program but rather protecting a power, financial and influence agenda that goes far deeper and more profound than most Americans care to contemplate.

Among a plethora of egregious corporate media reactions, no doubt stirred by their Intel masters, was to a July, 2018 summit meeting between Russian President Putin and Trump in Helsinki emblematic of illegitimate censures from Intel veterans and its cronies: 

Trump sides with Putin over US Intelligence” – CNN

Did Trump Commit Treason at Putin Meeting?” – Newsweek, and

Trump Slammed Over Disgrace, Disgusting Press Conference with Putin – Newsweek.

Not one praised Trump for pursuing peace with Russia.

And yet, fellow Americans, it is curious to consider that there was no outrage after the 911 attacks in 2001 from any member of Congress, President Bush or the Corporate Media that the US intelligence community had utterly failed in its mission to keep the American public safe.

There was no reckoning, not one person in authority was held accountable, not one person who had the responsibility to ‘know’ was fired from any of the Intel agencies. Why is that?

As a result of  the corrupt foundation of the Russiagate allegations, Attorney General Bob Barr and Special Investigator John Durham appear hot on the trail with law enforcement in Italy as they have apparently scared the bejesus out of what little common sense remains among the Democratic hierarchy as if Barr/Durham might be headed for Obama’s Oval Office.

Barr’s earlier comment before the Senate that “spying did occur’ and that ‘it’s a big deal’ when an incumbent administration (ie the Obama Administration) authorizes a counter-Intelligence operation on an opposing candidate (ie Donald Trump) has the Dems in panic-stricken overdrive – and that is what is driving the current Impeachment Inquiry.

With the stark realization that none of the DNC’s favored top tier candidates has the mojo to go the distance, the Democrats have now focused on a July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which Trump allegedly ‘pressured’ Zelenskyy to investigate Joe Biden’s relationship with Burisma, the country’s largest natural gas provider.

At issue is any hanky panky involving Burisma payments to Rosemont Seneca Partners, an equity firm owned by Joe’s errant son, Hunter, who served on Burisma’s Board for a modest $50,000 a month.

Zelenskyy, who defeated the US-endorsed incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in a landslide victory, speaks Russian, was elected to clean up corruption and end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.  The war in the Donbass began as a result of the US State Department’s role in the overthrow of democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Trump’s first priority on July 25th was Crowd Strike, a cybersecurity firm with links to the HRC campaign which was hired by the DNC to investigate Russian hacking of its server. 

The Dems have reason to be concerned since it is worth contemplating why the FBI did not legally mandate that the DNC turn its server over to them for an official Federal forensic inspection. 

One can only speculate…those chickens may be coming home to roost.

Days after an anonymous whistleblower (not to be confused with a real whistleblower like Edward Snowden) later identified as a CIA analyst with a professional history linked to Joe Biden, publicly released a Complaint against Trump. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the initiation of an ambiguous Impeachment Inquiry campaign with little specificity about the process.  The Complaint is suspect since it reads more like a professionally prepared Affidavit and the Dems consider Pelosi’s statement as sufficient to initiate a formal process that fails to follow the time-honored path of a full House vote predicating a legitimate impeachment inquiry on to the Judiciary Committee.

Of special interest is how the process to date is playing out with the House Intelligence Committee in a key role conducting what amounts to clandestine meetings, taking depositions and witness statements behind closed doors with a still secret unidentified whistleblower’s identity and voice obscured from Republican members of the Intel Committee and a witness testifying without being formally sworn in – all too eerily similar to East Germany.

The pretense of shielding the thinly veiled CIA operative as a whistleblower from public exposure can only be seen as an overly-dramatic transparent performance as the Dems have never exhibited any concern about protecting real whistleblowers like Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Julian Assange, Jeffrey Sterling and others who were left to fend for themselves as the Obama Administration prosecuted more true, authentic whistleblowers than any other administration since the Espionage Act of 1917.

As the paradigm shift takes its toll on the prevailing framework of reality and our decayed political institutions, (the FBI and DOJ come to mind as the Inspector General’s report is due at  week’s end), how much longer does the Democratic Party, which no longer serves a useful public purpose, deserve to exist?

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/21/2019 - 23:05
Tags
Published:10/21/2019 10:08:05 PM
[Markets] First Time Since 1934 - Hitler's "Mein Kampf" To Be Reprinted In France First Time Since 1934 - Hitler's "Mein Kampf" To Be Reprinted In France

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio continues to pitch the idea that the global business cycle is headed for economic doom, sort of like what happened in the 1930s. Dalio warns of populism and nationalism spreading throughout the world and is most analogous to the years before World War II.

History seldom repeats, but there are instances where it rhymes -- and maybe Dalio is right about the direction the world is headed. 

As the rise of nationalism and populism flourishes throughout Europe, several reports, mostly from French sources, say for the first time since 1934, a publisher in France will start selling "Mein Kampf" ("My Fight"), the book written by Adolf Hitler in 1925. 

The book will be released to the public in France in 2020, will be accompanied by a critical edition written by fifteen French and German historians, reported Le Journal du Dimanche

Initially, the reissue of "Mein Kampf," was announced in 2015, but the news of it caused a tremendous uproar that plans for reissue were quickly shelved by publishing house, Fayard. "The Fayard publisher intends to carry out as planned the publication of "Mein Kampf "- which falls into the public domain in January 2016 - in a new translation by Olivier Mannoni that will be authoritative," said the publisher in 2015.

The book is "considered as one of the engines of Nazism," is "struck with a kind of taboo because we are so afraid of the lies it contains that we refuse to talk about it," Mannoni said in 2015.

News of the reissue circulated Twitter like wildfire last week. Many users agreed that the new book could be a terrible idea. 

Some users said the book is already available online. Amazon is selling several translations for under $20. 

The book was banned in Germany for seven decades for its anti-Semitic text before it was reissued in 2016. 

The rhythm of the 1930s is possibly getting louder, well, at least maybe in Dalio's mind. 

But there are similar trends of populism and nationalism gaining momentum in Europe and across the world at the moment -- similar to what was seen in the 1930s when "Mein Kampf" circulated across Europe. 

Today, like the 1930s, failed central banking across the world could be leading to the next global downturn. Failed monetary policy has produced the widest economic inequality between rich and poor on record, another reason for the rise of nationalism and populism. On top of it all, the threat of war in certain parts of the world is the highest ever.

And with that being said, the last time "Mein Kampf" was printed in France, populism and nationalism were soaring, several years before World War II. Does all of this mean that the 2020s will be an extremely volatile period for the world?

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/21/2019 - 02:45
Published:10/21/2019 2:06:20 AM
[In The News] British Intelligence Questioned Christopher Steele’s Judgment In Assessment Given To FBI

By Chuck Ross -

British intelligence told the FBI that dossier author Christopher Steele sometimes showed questionable judgment regarding investigative targets, according to a new report that could preview some of the findings in a highly-anticipated Justice Department watchdog report of FBI surveillance against the Trump campaign. The New York Times reports that investigators ...

British Intelligence Questioned Christopher Steele’s Judgment In Assessment Given To FBI is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/20/2019 5:32:23 PM
[Markets] CIA Analysts Lawyer Up As Brennan, Clapper Ensnared In Expanding Russiagate Probe CIA Analysts Lawyer Up As Brennan, Clapper Ensnared In Expanding Russiagate Probe

CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment of Russia's activities during the 2016 US election have begun to hire attorneys, as Attorney General William Barr expands his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, led by US Attorney John Durham.

US Attorney John Durham

The prosecutor conducting the review, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, has expressed his intent to interview a number of current and former intelligence officials involved in examining Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James Clapper, Brennan told NBC News. -NBC

NBC learned of the 'lawyering up' from three former CIA officials "familiar with the matter," while two more anonymous leakers claim there's tension between the Justice Department and the CIA over what classified documents Durham has access to

With Barr’s approval, Durham has expanded his staff and the timeframe under scrutiny, according to a law enforcement official directly familiar with the matter. And he is now looking into conduct past Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, a Trump administration official said.

One Western intelligence official familiar with Durham's investigation leaked that Durham has been asking foreign officials questions related to former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who was fed the rumor that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton by a Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud. While US media has sought to portray Mifsud as a Russian asset, the self-described member of the Clinton foundation has far stronger ties to the West.  

According to congressional testimony given by Papadopoulos last October as well as statements he's made over Twitter, the whole thing was an FBI setup - as a 'woman in London, who was the FBI's legal attache in the UK' and "had a personal relationship to Bob Mueller after 9/11" was the one who recommended that he meet with Mifsud in Rome. 

As the theory goes; Mifsud, a US intelligence asset, feeds Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia has Hillary Clinton's emails shortly after he announces he's going to join the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos repeats the email rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who alerts Australia's intelligence community, which notifies the FBI, which then launches operation "Crossfire Hurricane" during which the FBI sent multiple spies (including a 'honeypot') to infiltrate the Trump campaign. Notably, former FBI employee Peter Strzok flew to London to meet with Downer the day after Crossfire Hurricane was launched - while Strzok's boss, Bill Priestap was in London the day before the Downer-Papadopoulos encounter

And if this is all true, Durham has a lot to untangle - including the Clinton / DNC-funded Steele Dossier. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/19/2019 - 14:30
Tags
Published:10/19/2019 1:53:42 PM
[Markets] CME Slams "Patently False" Vanity Fair Trump-Frontrunning-Trades Allegations CME Slams "Patently False" Vanity Fair Trump-Frontrunning-Trades Allegations

Writing in Vanity Fair earlier this week,  former Goldman Sachs employee William Cohan penned an explosively titled article - “The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trades” - that raises the possibility traders were tipped off to what President Trump was about to tweet ahead of time and bought massive S&P 500 futures positions right before big market swings.

The president’s talk can move markets - and it’s made some futures traders billions. Did they know what he was going to say before he said it?

“There is definite hanky-panky going on, to the world’s financial markets’ detriment,” One longtime CME trader says, who has been watching with disgust says he’s never seen anything quite like these trades, not at least since al-Qaida cashed in before initiating the September 11 attacks.

“This is abysmal.”

Notably we did not run a comment on the article upon its release because of our initial skepticism of Cohan's version of events, and as Bloomberg reports, experts who examined the story said any implication that people traded on inside information fell short of being proven.

“Typically these stories focus on the times you’re right. No one writes about people buying a couple hundred million of e-minis and the market doesn’t do anything,” said Max Gokhman, the head of asset allocation for Pacific Life Fund Advisors.

“Volume spikes happen all the time.”

...attributing sinister intent to a handful of trades that quickly became money-makers ignores how common such large trades are in the futures market, said industry pros. Given how often people move tens of thousands of futures contracts at once -- and how often people like President Donald Trump send stocks reeling -- someone looking for suspicious timing is guaranteed to find it.

Even CNBC got in the act, with the traders raising significant doubts about Cohan's version of events, and reminding the former Clinton-whispering author that massive kneejerk swings in futures have been happening for a decade and, the markets' reaction to a tweet or comment is entirely unpredictable.

 

Just as we saw a week ago when the US-China trade deal was finally agreed (or not as the case may be)...

Additionally, as Bloomberg reports, one trading expert, the chief executive officer of a major quantitative shop who asked not to be identified, said an analysis by his firm suggests no giant trades like the ones the article described appear to have happened.

The story says that in the last 10 minutes of trading on Aug. 23, someone bought 386,000 of the September S&P 500 contracts. That number is close to the total volume for September e-minis from 3:50 p.m. to 4 p.m. New York time, spread over thousands of trades -- unlikely to be the work of a single person.

And Michael O’Rourke, JonesTrading’s chief market strategist said “I don’t see where the dots are connected."

“Unless you have the trading records, which you don’t, you can’t tie one and one together to make two the way this story is laid out.”

And as a final nail in Cohan's conspiracy coffin, CME rules prohibit anyone from owning more than 60,000 e-minis at a time. Besides, such a trade would’ve been gargantuan: worth nearly $60 billion. That’s big enough to send the stock market sharply higher and probably trigger trading halts, according to the CEO. That didn’t happen.

Despite the widespread rejection (and even mockery among many market participants), Cohan, said “of course I’m standing by my reports,” which reflected the accounts of sources in Chicago trading pits, claiming he was not making allegations - which for anyone with any cognitive ability is clearly a lie.

“I don’t make any allegations, I don’t know what really happened. I was just being reportorial about what traders in the pit were seeing,” he said.

“Do I trust my sources? Absolutely. Are they vastly experienced? Absolutely. Does everybody see things differently? Probably. What I’m saying is ‘Hey, there are regulators whose job it is to see these things and investigate them.’”

However,  shortly after the close on Friday night, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange issued a brief press release to clarify their findings on Cohan's "fantastical" story:

"CME Group regularly monitors its markets for suspicious activity.

As it relates to the Vanity Fair article published on October 17, 2019, regarding activities in the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, the allegations about the trading activity are patently false.

These transactions were entered into by a significant number of diverse market participants."

But, if the purpose of Cohan's article was simply more of the same sycophantic anti-Trump suspicion-raising, he has achieved his goal - no matter how ridiculous the street, or regulators, think his 'story' is, as the politicians have already pounced on the farce. Former prosecutors Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) sent letters to the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission calling for an investigation.

In the letters, the Members write:

We write to urge you to investigate potentially unlawful behavior related to the trading of electronically traded futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the last several months.

On October 16, Vanity Fair reported on numerous instances in which individuals or groups of individuals made millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in profits by trading large numbers of Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P) e-mini futures contracts immediately prior to major geopolitical events. In each of these instances, the e-mini contracts were traded within days, and often within hours, of the S&P rising or falling sharply. The trades preceded such events as the Saudi Aramco attack as well as announcements related to progress in talks between the United States and China over the trade war and the withdrawal of the extradition bill in Hong Kong. In one case occurring in August, the trader or traders made $1.5 billion when the S&P rose after President Trump lied about phone calls taking place between United States and Chinese officials.

While the aforementioned trades may be purely coincidental, their timing and scale raise serious suspicions about whether the traders received material nonpublic information that would affect the S&P and how they received such information. We urge you to swiftly investigate whether trading on insider information or any other fraudulent behavior occurred in relation to these trades.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.

*  *  *

Presumably, the CME's vehement rejection of Cohan's implications will be enough to dampen this narrative - but then again after two years of investigation and a collusion-less Mueller Report, some people just can't help themselves from repeating the same worn old narratives.

How long before #FrontrunGate is trending on Twitter?

Finally, as a gentle reminder to the doubters, The Obama White House told the world in 2014:

"If I were you, I wouldn't invest in Russian equities right now."

And of course no one will ever forget President Obama's advice to the investing world in 2009:

“What you’re now seeing is profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal, if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.”

Presumably he had his Series 7 and 63 all tucked away before he provided this sensitive risky information to the world.

We give the final word to JonesTrading’s O’Rourke:

“Millions of futures contracts trade a day, billions of dollars trade a day, so to make a connection, I feel like it’s very hard to do... To me the article just speaks more about the national sentiment about the office of the president.

Cohan's fantasy article is a blueprint for how the resistance works: publish bull$shit sourced anonymously, launch a probe, expand probe in the hopes of finding some real dirt, rinse, repeat.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/19/2019 - 12:30
Published:10/19/2019 11:53:50 AM
[Michael Flynn] Calling Mr. Mifsud (John Hinderaker) The full story of the plot by the FBI and the CIA, along with others in the Obama administration, to swing the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton and then, having failed at that, to disable President Trump’s administration, has not yet been told. And it may never be. U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation represents the best hope that most if not all of the true story will come out. Durham Published:10/18/2019 7:53:00 PM
[Markets] The FBI Wants Your Info...And They're Getting It! The FBI Wants Your Info...And They're Getting It!

Authored by Kelli Ballard via LibertyNation.com,

How private is your personal life? If you answered, “not very,” you would still be far from the truth. The fact is, with the invention of the internet and social media platforms, privacy is almost extinct. Some of this is because we put all of our personal information out there for the world to see. Going on vacation? Sure, let’s tell all our 300-plus friends on Facebook and broadcast it to burglars that our home will be vacant while we sip Mai Tais and catch some sun rays. But, constitutionally, by way of the Fourth Amendment, we do have a right to privacy, and according to the courts, Big Brother has been taking advantage of that.

Just in case we need a little reminder on the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In 2018, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court ruling found that the FBI had been searching records that had been collected by the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program. The now recently redacted documents say American citizens’ constitutional rights may have been violated because the FBI searched millions of records without warrants.

The NSA’s program, which has been in play since 2008 (and made known to the world by Edward Snowden in 2013), was supposed to capture communications between Americans and foreigners, but only as long as the foreigners are the main ones under scrutiny. The agency is supposed to target data once it leaves the country, but in so doing much of our domestic communication is captured as well.

An update in 2018 to the act makes it so that the FBI is required to obtain a warrant whenever it wishes to use data in connection with a criminal investigation, as that apparently hasn’t been happening. In 2017, the FBI ran approximately 3.1 million searches on American citizens and foreign nationals residing in the US, and then the NSA and CIA conducted 7,500 searches.

To make matters worse, many of the searches were not even related to ongoing criminal investigations. In fact, in one example, the agency apparently searched for data associated to 70,000 people related to the FBI, which essentially means spies were spying on each other. Another instance claims an agency contractor actually conducted a search on himself and relatives, and at other times, staff routinely searched for potential witnesses and informants who were not even involved in any criminal cases.

The FBI doesn’t appear to agree that what they are doing is considered abusing the system and refer to the actions as “fundamental misunderstandings” of the FISA. It also claimed that having to justify each warrantless search would “hinder the FBI’s ability to perform its national security and public safety missions.”

The ruling suggests that the FBI was using the NSA’s database to spy on people first to see if they wanted or needed to get a warrant to get the information they already have as well as look deeper. To most, this isn’t really surprising; there’s a reason the government is referred to as Big Brother. The deeper question is: Now that the courts have ruled and apparently found them guilty of violating the Fourth Amendment, will anything be done about it?

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/17/2019 - 19:05
Tags
Published:10/17/2019 6:12:05 PM
[Markets] School-To-Prison-Pipeline Exposed As 30,000 Kids Under Age 10 Arrested Since 2013 School-To-Prison-Pipeline Exposed As 30,000 Kids Under Age 10 Arrested Since 2013

Authored by Jack Burns via The Free Thought Project,

Arrests of children have skyrocketed over the last decade according to the latest statistics published by the FBI. Gone are the days of sending children to the principal’s office for a paddling. Now children as young as 6 are getting arrested in Police State USA.

The statistics, complied from 2013 to 2018, revealed more than 30,000 children under the age of 10 have been arrested, averaging more than six thousand kids per year. Equally disturbing is students 10-12 years of age topped 266,000.

In the past, students and children were disciplined with consequences such as time out and paddling. As more and more schools replace handling things internally with external police state options like school resource officers, children are ending up with arrest records and their fingerprints stored in databases.

Often referred to as the “school to prison pipeline”, the principal players in the funneling of kids from school to jail are the school resource officers (SROs), and it’s got parents at their wits end.

Fortunately, the number of students arrested year to year are on the decline from 2014 until now. ABC News writes:

While the FBI’s latest crime report released on Monday shows the numbers of children arrested under the age of 10 have continue to gradually declining in the past five years from a high in 2014 of 6,458 to 3,501 in 2018, experts say it is still too many.

What may seem like routine policing or modern-day policing methods to some, others see as a human-rights violation, a slippery slope leading to a criminal life, and a poor use of school resources. Standing in the gap for children, some would say, are advocates of Restorative Justice (RJ). For example, instead of calling a school resource officer when a fight breaks out on campus at a K-12 facility, security officers (often teachers) will bring the kids and teens into a community of concerned advocates for keeping kids out of the school to prison pipeline.

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, RJ programs are accepted by advocacy groups and others who are highly critical of the presence of school resource officers on campuses. The institute writes:

Restorative justice (or RJ) treats incidents in which people are harmed (like, say, school fights) as requiring healing rather than punishment. It focuses on the actual harm that occurred and the need for healing, rather than on the breaking of a rule.

Instead of calling gun toting badge wearing members of society to deal with unruly children, the RJ team is called.

When an incident arises, the parties come together for a restorative circle that includes students, staff, community members, and a restorative justice practitioner. They address the harms together and try to arrive at a solution.

RJ programs are catching on in schools where discipline issues have historically been a major problem.

A growing number of school districts nationwide, from Oakland, California to Washington, D.C., are implementing these practices.

The results are promising with referrals for school discipline down across campuses, students no longer have to fear going to jail. But such a lack of fear has reportedly caused even more disruptions in the classroom. We spoke with several teachers who wish to remain anonymous who say the RJ programs have created a “lack of consequences” on campuses with students now getting away with incredibly disruptive, disrespectful behavior.

So, therein lies the delicate see-saw balancing act at work. Do schools involve SRO’s to deal with behavior issues (often linked to emotional issues) or do they work as a community to ensure arrests in school never take place?

According to a recent research study evaluating the outcomes of restorative justice, it is working. The authors write:

The bottom line for restorative justice programs and practices is that the evidence is promising, suggesting possible but still uncertain benefits for the youth participants in terms of reduced future delinquent behavior and other non-delinquent outcomes. Victim participants in these programs, however, do appear to experience a number of benefits and are more satisfied with these programs than traditional approaches to juvenile justice.

While additional research needs to be done to evaluate whether or not the RJ approach to disciplining children is the best way to go, almost everyone should be able to agree on one thing. Police have no business placing 6-year-olds in handcuffs.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/16/2019 - 22:35
Tags
Published:10/16/2019 9:38:12 PM
[Markets] Paul Craig Roberts: Controlled Explanations Rule The Western World Paul Craig Roberts: Controlled Explanations Rule The Western World

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Now that the lying machine that comprises the US and Western media has failed with the Russiagate propaganda, the machine has switched to Chinagate.

The least trusted American Institution, other than the CIA, is the FBI.  

McClatchy news reports that the FBI has “expanded its task force on election security beyond examining Russian efforts ahead of the 2020 race to include intelligence activities by China, Iran and North Korea.”

“A White House official told McClatchy that the National Security Council stands by its assessment made public in June that Beijing intends to influence the election to suit its interests.”

In other words Trump is being set up by his own National Security Council so that if Trump wins reelection it will be because he was elected by  China, Iran, and North Korea.  

Notice that there is no investigation of Israel’s enormous influence on US elections.

What kind of “intelligence” idiots think that Americans can be influenced in their vote by thoroughly demonized China, Iran and North Korea?

If this is intelligence, the agencies are a total waste of money.  Close the useless agencies and pay for national health.

The function of the FBI is to protect the handful of the ruling elite and to persecute on  false charges every American who dares to speak the truth. No FBI indictment is believeable.  The FBI is nothing but the servant of the ruling class.  The greatest enemies of America are the FBI, CIA, Justice (sic) Department, Israel Lobby, Democrtic National Committee, presstitute media, and military/security complex. These self-serving entities are destroying America. 

Horny President Bill Clinton was ensnared by Epstein, a likely CIA/Mossad  agent, in numerous underage female sexual acts, and in exchange for protection from exposure, or for money, gave over the American media—90% of it—to control by 6 mega-companies. This was a violation of US anti-trust law and of the American tradition of a dispersed and varied media. It was the end of any media independence. Ever since they all sing the same song and tell the same lies. 

This is why Americans have no reliable information. 

Americans were told that they would benefit from corporations sending their middle class jobs to China.

They are told that there is no harm from 5G and vaccinations.

They are told that a few fanatical Muslims defeated the national security of the United States and humiliated the world’s only superpower.

Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan were blamed.  Then the blame was shifted to Saddam Hussein and Iraq was the next invaded.  Then tribes in Pakistan were bombed and then Libya destroyed. The next were to be Syria and Iran, but for now the Russians have prevented Washington’s attacks.  Somalia was bombed, and hundreds of thousands of “refugees” have been dumped on Minnesota and Maine and doubtless elsewhere.

Then it was Russiagate to get rid of Trump who threatened to make peace with Russia, thus reducing the orchestrated threat that keeps the military/security complex’s budget full of people’s money who can’t afford medical care.  

Now it is Impeach-gate with Chinagate in reserve if the former fails.

What future can people stupid enough to believe this string of lies possibly have?

The Western world consists of weak impotent men incapable rising up and defending their heritage and their ethnic existence. The semi-men of the Western world, scared to death by “political incorrectness” and “identity politics,” are a finished race that won’t be around much longer, not that anyone will notice their demise.  Already women in Sweden can’t leave their homes without being raped by the immigrant invaders with which their Swedish-hating, pro-immigrant-invader government has imported into Sweden.

Everywhere the West is turning into a Tower of Babel.  Will there be a holocaust? Was Enoch Powell correct when he predicted rivers of blood?

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/16/2019 - 19:55
Tags
Published:10/16/2019 7:07:00 PM
[Markets] "Don't Be A Fool ... I Will Call You Later": Trump Warns Turkey's Erdogan Against 'Slaughtering Thousands' "Don't Be A Fool ... I Will Call You Later": Trump Warns Turkey's Erdogan Against 'Slaughtering Thousands'

President Trump shot off a very direct letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, according to Fox News's Trish Regan, who obtained a copy.

Trump warned the Turkish president doesn't want to be responsible "for slaughtering thousands of people," and that Trump - consequently, doesn't "want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy," adding "and I will.

"I have worked hard to solve some of your problems," Trump continues. 

"Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal. General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they never would have made in the past."

"History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way," Trump said, adding "It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen." 

"Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! 

I will call you later." 

The letter follows Erdogan's Wednesday refusal to speak with Vice President Mike Pence regarding a cease-fire agreement in Syria, after Trump said he would send Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to negotiate.  

Erdogan told Sky News, "I'm not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I'll be talking." National security advisor Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, are also slated to be on the trip. 

Perhaps the NSA / CIA / NSC and FBI will fill us in on the details of Trump's next call with the Turkish leader, which the White House will have to correct with a transcript. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/16/2019 - 16:54
Published:10/16/2019 4:11:28 PM
[2019 News] HUGE! FBI Employees Conducted 3.1 Million Questionable and Illicit Searches, Including Searches on US Citizens in 2017-2018 HUGE! FBI Employees Conducted 3.1 Million Questionable and Illicit Searches, Including Searches on US Citizens in 2017-2018. Oh look. Another benefit of living under the Obama regime. According to a new declassified ruling from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), FBI personnel systematically abused National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance data in both 2017 and […] Published:10/16/2019 2:37:37 PM
[Markets] Lira Tumbles After US Charges Turkey's Halkbank For Participating In Iran "Sanctions Evasion Scheme" Lira Tumbles After US Charges Turkey's Halkbank For Participating In Iran "Sanctions Evasion Scheme"

One day after the US announced a menu of sanctions and tariffs on Turkey, the Turkish lira rallied as the US response to Erdogan's invasion of northern Syria was less dramatic than some expected. All that changed moments ago, when the Lira tumbled nearly 300 pips in seconds after the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced it charged Turkey's Halkbank, one of the country's largest banks, for its participation in a "mltibillion-dollar Iranian sanctions evasion scheme."

According to the statement released just after 4pm ET, Halkbank, Turkey's 7th largest bank, was charged in a six-count Indictment with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses related to the bank’s participation in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Richard M. Berman.

In other words, yesterday's initial sanctions levied on Turkey were just the beginning. Sure enough, moments after the announcement, Senator Lindsay Graham said he will introduce a bill on Thursday sanctioning Turkey for its Syria incursion.

Meanwhile, at roughly the same time, Erdogan made it clear he was seeking to arb his foreign policy options, with Anadolu reporting that Erdogan just held a phone call with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

In immediate response to these latest developments, the Turkish lira tumbled to session lows just below 5.92.

Below we excerpt from the full press release charging Halkbank:

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “The facts that emerged at the full, fair, and public trial of Halkbank’s deputy general manager, which culminated in a jury’s January 2018 guilty verdict against him, illustrated senior Halkbank management’s participation in this brazen scheme to circumvent our nation’s Iran sanctions regime.  As alleged in today’s indictment, Halkbank’s systemic participation in the illicit movement of billions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil revenue was designed and executed by senior bank officials.  The bank’s audacious conduct was supported and protected by high-ranking Turkish government officials, some of whom received millions of dollars in bribes to promote and protect the scheme.  Halkbank will now have to answer for its conduct in an American court.” 

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said:  “Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, allegedly conspired to undermine the United States Iran sanctions regime by illegally giving Iran access to billions of dollars’ worth of funds, all while deceiving U.S. regulators about the scheme.  This is one of the most serious Iran sanctions violations we have seen, and no business should profit from evading our laws or risking our national security.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As we allege today, Halkbank, a Turkish financial institution whose majority shareholder is the government of Turkey, willfully engaged in deceptive activities designed to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran.  Halkbank illegally facilitated the illicit transfer of billions of dollars to benefit Iran, and for far too long the bank and its leaders willfully deceived the United States to shield their actions from scrutiny.  That deception ends today.  The FBI will aggressively pursue those who intentionally violate U.S. sanctions laws and attempt to undercut our national security.”  

According to the allegations in the Indictment, returned today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

From approximately 2012, up to and including approximately 2016, TÜRKIYE HALK BANKASI A.S. (“Halkbank”) was a foreign financial institution organized under the laws of and headquartered in Turkey.  The majority of Halkbank’s shares are owned by the Government of Turkey.  Halkbank and its officers, agents, and co-conspirators directly and indirectly used money service businesses and front companies in Iran, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere to violate and to evade and avoid prohibitions against Iran’s access to the U.S. financial system, restrictions on the use of proceeds of Iranian oil and gas sales, and restrictions on the supply of gold to the Government of Iran and to Iranian entities and persons.  Halkbank knowingly facilitated the scheme, participated in the design of fraudulent transactions intended to deceive U.S. regulators and foreign banks, and lied to U.S. regulators about Halkbank’s involvement.

High-ranking government officials in Iran and Turkey participated in and protected this scheme.  Some officials received bribes worth tens of millions of dollars paid from the proceeds of the scheme so that they would promote the scheme, protect the participants, and help to shield the scheme from the scrutiny of U.S. regulators.

The proceeds of Iran’s sale of oil and gas to Turkey’s national oil company and gas company, among others, were deposited at Halkbank, in accounts in the names of the Central Bank of Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (“NIOC”), and the National Iranian Gas Company.  During the relevant time period, Halkbank was the sole repository of proceeds from the sale of Iranian oil by NIOC to Turkey.  Because of U.S. sanctions against Iran and the anti-money laundering policies of U.S. banks, it was difficult for Iran to access these funds in order to transfer them back to Iran or to use them for international financial transfers for the benefit of Iranian government agencies and banks.  As of in or about 2012, billions of dollars’ worth of funds had accumulated in NIOC and the Central Bank of Iran’s accounts at Halkbank.

Halkbank participated in several types of illicit transactions for the benefit of Iran that, if discovered, would have exposed the bank to sanctions under U.S. law, including (i) allowing the proceeds of sales of Iranian oil and gas deposited at Halkbank to be used to buy gold for the benefit of the Government of Iran; (ii) allowing the proceeds of sales of Iranian oil and gas deposited at Halkbank to be used to buy gold that was not exported to Iran, in violation of the so-called “bilateral trade” rule; and (iii) facilitating transactions fraudulently designed to appear to be purchases of food and medicine by Iranian customers, in order to appear to fall within the so-called “humanitarian exception” to certain sanctions against the Government of Iran, when in fact no purchases of food or medicine actually occurred.  Through these methods, Halkbank illicitly transferred approximately $20 billion worth of otherwise restricted Iranian funds.

Senior Halkbank officers, acting within the scope of their employment and for the benefit of Halkbank, concealed the true nature of these transactions from officials with the U.S. Department of the Treasury so that Halkbank could supply billions of dollars’ worth of services to the Government of Iran without risking being sanctioned by the United States and losing its ability to hold correspondent accounts with U.S. financial institutions.

The purpose and effect of the scheme in which Halkbank participated was to create a pool of Iranian oil funds in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates held in the names of front companies, which concealed the funds’ Iranian nexus.  From there, the funds were used to make international payments on behalf of the Government of Iran and Iranian banks, including transfers in U.S. dollars that passed through the U.S. financial system in violation of U.S. sanctions laws.

*                *                *

Halkbank is charged with (1) conspiracy to defraud the United States, (2) conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), (3) bank fraud, (4) conspiracy to commit bank fraud, (5) money laundering, and (6) conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Office has previously charged nine individual defendants, including bank employees, the former Turkish Minister of the Economy, and other participants in the scheme.   See S4 15 Cr. 867 (RMB).  On October 26, 2017, Reza Zarrab pled guilty to the seven counts with which he was charged.  On January 3, 2018, a jury convicted former Halkbank deputy general manager Memet Hakkan Atilla of five of the six counts with which he was charged, following a five-week jury trial.   The remaining individual defendants are fugitives. 

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, and the Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit and Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Sidhardha Kamaraju, David W. Denton Jr., Jonathan Rebold, and Kiersten Fletcher are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/15/2019 - 16:57
Published:10/15/2019 4:01:36 PM
[Markets] Matt Taibbi: "We're In A Permanent Coup" Matt Taibbi: "We're In A Permanent Coup"

Authored by Matt Taibbi via UntitledGate blog,

Americans might soon wish they just waited to vote their way out of the Trump era...

I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.

The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who’s got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who’s writing tonight’s newscast?

When the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin’s crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars, beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. A key moment came when one of Yeltsin’s men, Alexander Rutskoi – who two years later would himself lead a coup against Yeltsin – prevailed upon a Major in a tank unit to defy KGB orders and turn on the “criminals.”

We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.

That’s all over, in the Trump era.

On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have “peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden” were arrested at Dulles airport on “campaign finance violations.” The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing “dirt” on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will be asked to give depositions to impeachment investigators. They’re reportedly going to refuse. Their lawyer John Dowd also says they will “refuse to appear before House Committees investigating President Donald Trump.” Fruman and Parnas meanwhile claim they had real derogatory information about Biden and other politicians, but “the U.S. government had shown little interest in receiving it through official channels.”

For Americans not familiar with the language of the Third World, that’s two contrasting denials of political legitimacy.

The men who are the proxies for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in this story are asserting that “official channels” have been corrupted. The forces backing impeachment, meanwhile, are telling us those same defendants are obstructing a lawful impeachment inquiry.

This latest incident, set against the impeachment mania and the reportedly “expanding” Russiagate investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, accelerates our timeline to chaos. We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs.

My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president.

The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

The first big shot was fired in early January, 2017, via a CNN.com headline, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” This tale, about the January 7th presentation of former British spy Christopher Steele’s report to then-President-elect Trump, began as follows:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

Four intelligence chiefs in the FBI’s James Comey, the CIA’s John Brennan, the NSA’s Mike Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, presented an incoming president with a politically disastrous piece of information, in this case a piece of a private opposition research report.

Among other things because the news dropped at the same time Buzzfeed decided to publish the entire “bombshell” Steele dossier, reporters spent that week obsessing not about the mode of the story’s release, but about the “claims.” In particular, audiences were rapt by allegations that Russians were trying to blackmail Trump with evidence of a golden shower party commissioned on a bed once slept upon by Barack Obama himself.

Twitter exploded. No other news story mattered. For the next two years, the “claims” of compromise and a “continuing” Trump-Russian “exchange” hung over the White House like a sword of Damocles. 

Few were interested in the motives for making this story public. As it turned out, there were two explanations, one that was made public, and one that only came out later. The public justification as outlined in the CNN piece, was to “make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him [were] circulating among intelligence agencies.”

However, we know from Comey’s January 7, 2017 memo to deputy Andrew McCabe and FBI General Counsel James Baker there was another explanation. Comey wrote:

I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted [Trump] to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.

Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report complied by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won’t give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news.

Now imagine if that news came out on Fox days later. Imagine further that within a year, one of the four officials became a paid Fox contributor. Democrats would lose their minds in this set of circumstances.

The country mostly did not lose its mind, however, because the episode did not involve a traditionally presidential figure like Obama, nor was it understood to have been directed at the institution of “the White House” in the abstract.

Instead, it was a story about an infamously corrupt individual, Donald Trump, a pussy-grabbing scammer who bragged about using bankruptcy to escape debt and publicly praised Vladimir Putin. Audiences believed the allegations against this person and saw the intelligence/counterintelligence community as acting patriotically, doing their best to keep us informed about a still-breaking investigation of a rogue president.

But a parallel story was ignored. Leaks from the intelligence community most often pertain to foreign policy. The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.

It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.

The agencies’ new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The “intel chiefs” meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. A sample:

  • February 14, 2017: “four current and former officials” tell the New York Times the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence.

  • March 1, 2017: “Justice Department officials” tell the Washington Post Attorney General Jeff Sessions “spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador” and did not disclose the contacts ahead of his confirmation hearing. 

  • March 18, 2017: “people familiar with the matter” tell the Wall Street Journal that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a “contact” with a Russian at Cambridge University, an episode that “came to the notice of U.S. intelligence.”

  • April 8, 2017, 2017: “law enforcement and other U.S. officials” tell the Washington Post the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had ruled there was “probable cause” to believe former Trump aide Carter Page was an “agent of a foreign power.” 

  • April 13, 2017: a “source close to UK intelligence” tells Luke Harding at The Guardian that the British analog to the NSA, the GCHQ, passed knowledge of “suspicious interactions” between “figures connected to Trump and “known or suspected Russian agents” to Americans as part of a “routine exchange of information.”

  • December 17, 2017: “four current and former American and foreign officials” tell the New York Times that during the 2016 campaign, an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer told “American counterparts” that former Trump aide George Papadopoulos revealed “Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

  • April 13, 2018: “two sources familiar with the matter” tell McClatchy that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has evidence Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016, “confirming part of [Steele] dossier.”

  • November 27, 2018: a “well-placed source” tells Harding at The Guardian that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

  • January 19, 2019: “former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation” tell the New York Times the FBI opened an inquiry into the “explosive implications” of whether or not Donald Trump was working on behalf of the Russians.

To be sure, “people familiar with the matter” leaked a lot of true stories in the last few years, but many were clearly problematic even at the time of release. Moreover, all took place in the context of constant, hounding pressure from media figures, congressional allies like Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, as well as ex-officials who could make use of their own personal public platforms in addition to being unnamed sources in straight news reports. They used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible.

A shocking number of these voices were former intelligence officers who joined Clapper in becoming paid news contributors. Op-ed pages and news networks are packed now with ex-spooks editorializing about stories in which they had personal involvement: Michael MorellMichael HaydenAsha Rangappa, and Andrew McCabe among many others, including especially all four of the original “intel chiefs”: Clapper, RogersComey, and MSNBC headliner John Brennan.

Russiagate birthed a whole brand of politics, a government-in-exile, which prosecuted its case against Trump via a constant stream of “approved” leaks, partisans in congress, and an increasingly unified and thematically consistent set of commercial news outlets.

These mechanisms have been transplanted now onto the Ukrainegate drama. It’s the same people beating the public drums, with the messaging run out of the same congressional committees, through the same Nadlers, Schiffs, and Swalwells. The same news outlets are on full alert.

The sidelined “intel chiefs” are once again playing central roles in making the public case. Comey says “we may now be at a point” where impeachment is necessary. Brennan, with unintentional irony, says the United States is “no longer a democracy.” Clapper says the Ukraine whistleblower complaint is “one of the most credible” he’s seen.

As a reporter covering the 2015–2016 presidential race, I thought Trump’s campaign was disturbing on many levels, but logical as a news story. He succeeded for class reasons, because of flaws in the media business that gifted him mass amounts of coverage, and because he took cunning advantage of long-simmering frustrations in the electorate. He also clearly catered to racist fears, and to the collapse in trust in institutions like the news media, the Fed, corporations, NATO, and, yes, the intelligence services. In enormous numbers, voters rejected everything they had ever been told about who was and was not qualified for higher office.

Trump’s campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes. That he was insincere and full of it and irresponsible, at first at least, when he attacked the “deep state” and the “fake news media,” doesn’t change the reality of what’s happened since. Even paranoiacs have enemies, and even Donald “Deep State” Trump is a legitimately elected president whose ouster is being actively sought by the intelligence community.

Trump stands accused of using the office of the presidency to advance political aims, in particular pressuring Ukraine to investigate potential campaign rival Joe Biden. He’s guilty, but the issue is how guilty, in comparison to his accusers.

Trump, at least insofar as we know, has not used section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor political rivals. He hasn’t deployed human counterintelligence “informants” to follow the likes of Hunter Biden. He hasn’t maneuvered to secure Special Counsel probes of Democrats.

And while Donald Trump conducting foreign policy based on what he sees on Fox and Friends is troubling, it’s not in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.

Trump’s tinpot Twitter threats and cancellation of White House privileges for dolts like Jim Acosta also don’t begin to compare to the danger posed by Facebook, Google, and Twitter – under pressure from the Senate – organizing with groups like the Atlantic Council to fight “fake news” in the name of preventing the “foment of discord.”

I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.

CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness.

Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/13/2019 - 15:10
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Published:10/13/2019 2:20:56 PM
[Markets] The CIA Versus Donald J. Trump The CIA Versus Donald J. Trump

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

It’s both pathetic and laughable that Democrats, the mainstream press, and Trump critics are referring to the CIA agent who turned in Trump for his telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “whistleblower.”

It’s pathetic because it denigrates real whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, and William Binney. Those people are the courageous ones. They risked their careers, their liberty, and even their lives to expose criminal wrongdoing within the national-security state agencies they were working for.

That’s not what that supposed CIA agent did when he filed his complaint against Trump. He didn’t blow the whistle on his agency, the CIA, by exposing some secret dark-side practices, such as MK-Ultra drug experimentation on unsuspecting Americans, secret assassinations of Americans, secret assets within the mainstream press, or secret destruction of torture videotapes of incarcerated inmates at a top-secret CIA prison center in some former Soviet-bloc country.

If he had done that, the CIA would have come after him with all guns blaring, just as the national-security establishment has gone after Snowden and those other genuine whistleblowers. In fact, that’s how one can usually identify a genuine whistleblower. That’s obviously not happening here. Instead, the national-security establishment is hailing this “whistleblower” as being a brave and courageous hero for disclosing supposed wrongdoing by Trump, not by the CIA.

That anti-Trump CIA agent isn’t a whistleblower at all. Instead, he’s nothing more than a spy and a snitch. He is obviously a spy. After all, he works for the CIA, the premier spy agency in the world. And by turning in Trump in an obvious attempt to get him into trouble, he’s also obviously a snitch.

A “gotcha” moment

In fact, the entire episode has a “gotcha” feeling to it. For almost three years, Americans have been made to suffer under a constant stream of speeches, commentaries, op-eds, and editorials about what Trump rightly called the “collusion delusion” theory. Democrats, the mainstream press, and Trump critics were 100 percent certain that their real-life hero Robert Mueller, the special counsel, was going to find evidence that Trump conspired with Russian officials to deny Hillary Clinton her rightful place as president of the United States. They had impeachment plans set in place, ready to go.

And then Mueller dashed their hopes. His report disclosed that the collusion delusion was the biggest conspiracy theory in U.S. history, one openly promoted by Democrats, the mainstream press, and Trump critics on a daily basis for almost three years.

All they needed and wanted was an opportunity — any opportunity — to apply their impeachment process to another set of a facts. Fortunately for them, Trump himself gave them that opportunity. That supposed CIA agent was ready with a “gotcha!” and proceeded to snitch on Trump with his “whistleblower” complaint.

Trump is obviously a smart man, both businesswise and politically. But to make that telephone call to Zelensky and request him to investigate Joe Biden, while holding up a foreign aid package to Ukraine, immediately after being exonerated by Mueller of the collusion delusion allegation, was about the dumbest thing he could do. How could he not realize that his enemies would be looking for any opportunity to set their impeachment process into motion against him?

The likely explanation lies with arrogance and hubris. After Trump got his exoneration on the collusion delusion accusation, he figured that he was now all-powerful and could do whatever he wanted. The fact that he was, at the same time, exercising such dictatorial powers as raising tariffs, starting trade wars, building his Berlin Wall along the border, and imposing sanctions and embargoes, all without the consent of Congress, was also making him feel omnipotent and untouchable. His admiration for foreign dictators no doubt filled his mind with the same sense of totalitarian, untouchable power.

That’s what likely caused Trump to give his enemies the “gotcha” episode for which they were clearly thirsting. Trump turned out to be his own very worst enemy.

National security enmity toward Trump

Despite his campaign rhetoric against “endless wars,” Trump has kept U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East, where they have continued to kill, die, and wreak massive destruction. He has also authorized the continuation of the Pentagon’s and CIA’s assassination program. He has also continued the Pentagon’s and CIA’s indefinite detention and torture center at Guantanamo Bay. He has done nothing to rein in the NSA and its secret surveillance schemes. The fact is that Trump’s term in office, despite his “America First” rhetoric, has proven to be nothing more than a continuation of the Bush-Obama administrations.

That’s what he should be impeached for, but unfortunately his critics feel that those high crimes don’t rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

But it’s also true that Trump has failed to demonstrate the complete deference to authority of the national-security establishment that Hillary Clinton and other Washington, D.C., political elites have. Trump’s failure to bend the knee to the national-security establishment made him suspect from the very beginning, especially since the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI were certain that their chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, was going to be the new president.

Thus, there has been a war between Trump and the national-security establishment from even before he was elected and especially after he was elected. In a remarkable moment of candor and honesty, Congressman Charles Schumer, commenting on the war between Trump and the national-security establishment, stated, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

One way of getting back at Trump is, of course, through assassination, a power that the Supreme Court has confirmed that the national-security state wields against American citizens, so long it is necessary to protect “national security.”

Another way of getting back at Trump is smear tactics through the use of assets within the mainstream press. The CIA’s Operation Mockingbird comes to mind.

Coup through impeachment 

And other option to get back at Trump is through impeachment and conviction, especially through assets within Congress. But before any collusion-delusion proponent cries “conspiracy theory,” recall that President Eisenhower warned Americans in his 1961 Farewell Address about the threat that the “military-industrial complex” poses to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people. Actually, Ike planned to use the term “military-industrial-congressional complex” but changed his mind at the last minute. He was referring to the intimate, integrated relationship between members of Congress and the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Eisenhower is not perceived to be a “conspiracy theorist,” the term that the CIA popularized to keep people from examining the Kennedy assassination too closely.

Speaking of the Kennedy assassination, early in his administration Trump announced that he intended to comply with the deadline for releasing the CIA’s long-secret records relating to the assassination. At the very last minute, Trump folded and granted the CIA’s request for continued secrecy.

Why did Trump do that?

One possibility is that he became convinced that “national security” would be jeopardized if the American people were to see the CIA’s long-secret JFK assassination records.

Another possibility is that he struck some sort of secret negotiated deal with the CIA.

A third possibility is that he figured that if he would ingratiate himself with the CIA in the hope that they would leave him alone. If that was the case, Trump might well go down as one of the most naïve presidents in history.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/12/2019 - 22:50
Tags
Published:10/12/2019 10:13:31 PM
[Markets] The "Safe Drivers Act" Is A Real-Time National Driver Surveillance Program The "Safe Drivers Act" Is A Real-Time National Driver Surveillance Program

Via MassPrivateI blog,

A new Senate bill would create a real-time national driver surveillance program that would allow law enforcement to know anything and everything about a driver at the click of a button.

A recent article in WCVB Channel 5 revealed that the “Safe Drivers Act” is designed for one purpose and that is to share everything a motorist has ever done with law enforcement nationwide.

Outside the Danvers branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday, Congressman Seth Moulton publicly announced legislation he’s filed in hopes of making it easier for traffic safety officials to share information about drivers across state lines.

How Moulton plans to make it easier to share drivers’ personal information with law enforcement across the country is frightening.

The ultimate goal of the bill is to help lead to the creation of a national, real-time data sharing program, Moulton’s office said.

Apparently, knowing a driver’s Social Security Number, address, date of birth, checking their driving record and running their name against a national criminal database is not enough.

There are few places in America that do not use Automatic License Plate Readers to track our every movement and even that does not appear to be enough for Big Brother’s insatiable desire to know everything about everyone.

The Salem News revealed that the bill would “incentivize states” into creating a national real-time driver sharing program.

Moulton said, “the goal is to incentivize states to modernize their systems and work together to make sure their databases are compatible to improve communication on dangerous drivers.”

WCVB Channel 5 explains how the U.S. DOT would offer states more than $50 million to help create a national real-time data sharing program.

Moulton’s bill would also create a $50 million competitive grant program that would allow states to bid for additional grant money and would enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to connect states that have similar modernization needs.

One has to ask, why would states need bribes grant money to help create a national driver surveillance program?

According to The Salem News, this bill would also give law enforcement, real-time alerts of every driver.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has also called for the creation of a nationwide system to alert states when one of their drivers incurs a violation that could trigger a suspension in another jurisdiction.

Will Amber Alerts become a thing of the past? Because this bill would give law enforcement real-time alerts about every driver.

I wonder if they will be called Bad Driver alerts?

THE SAFE DRIVERS ACT IS A PRIVACY NIGHTMARE

H.R. 4531 would also give law enforcement access to videos of accidents a driver was involved in and much more.

Developing or acquiring programs to identify, collect, and report data to State and local government agencies, and enter data, including crash, citation or adjudication, driver, emergency medical services or injury surveillance system, roadway, and vehicle, into the core highway safety databases of a State.

Collecting and storing court judgments of any auto accident a motorist has been involved in will give law enforcement unprecedented access to a motorist’s driving records.

It would link core highway safety databases of a State with such databases of other States or with other data systems within the State, including systems that contain medical, roadway, and economic data.

Calling this a national, real-time data sharing program really doesn’t do it justice. It should be renamed and called a real-time national driver surveillance program.

You can bet that this bill will be modified to monitor motorists in ways that we haven’t dreamed of yet, making the “Safe Drivers Act” even more of a privacy nightmare.

By storing and tracking everything a motorist has ever been involved in, we are turning every driver into a suspected criminal, and that scares the you-know-what out of me.

Americans do not need or want another national surveillance program. We already have a national ID program called Real-ID, which gives law enforcement an unprecedented look into everyone’s personal lives.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/12/2019 - 19:50
Published:10/12/2019 7:13:33 PM
[Politics] NYT: Comey Kept Place Card From Infamous 2017 Trump Dinner James Comey reportedly keeps in his home office the place card from his fateful 2017 dinner at the White House, where President Donald Trump said he'd "need" and "expect" the former FBI director's loyalty.During an interview with the New York Times, Comey pointeds to the... Published:10/12/2019 2:42:02 PM
[Markets] Pat Buchanan Asks "Is Impeachment Now Inevitable?" Pat Buchanan Asks "Is Impeachment Now Inevitable?"

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader,” is a remark attributed to a French politician during the turbulent times of 1848.

Joe Biden’s Wednesday declaration that President Donald Trump should be impeached is in that tradition. Joe is scrambling to get out in front of the sentiment for impeachment in the party he professes to lead.

Several factors surely influenced Biden’s change of mind.

Beset by gaffes and mental lapses while campaigning, which rivals like Cory Booker have seized upon to imply that Biden, at 76, is losing it and may not be up to the demands of the presidency, the former vice president has been on a steady slide in the polls.

This week, he was displaced as Democratic front-runner by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And the $15 million Biden boasts of raising in the third quarter was eclipsed by the $25 million raised by Warren.

Moreover, with Bernie Sanders hospitalized after a heart attack, the possibility of a stampede to Warren as the socialist-progressive flag-bearer of the party has become real.

Biden concluded that he could not remain ambivalent and allow his rivals to appear tougher on Trump, especially when the cause of impeachment unites and animates the party and media establishment as powerfully as it does.

By taking his stand, Biden has made the question — Where do you stand on impeaching Trump? — the big issue in Tuesday’s Democratic debate.

Declaring for impeachment also gives Biden a way to deflect questions about what son Hunter did for that $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian energy company, while Joe Biden was Barack Obama’s point man battling corruption in Ukraine.

So it was that Biden came to tell a rally in New Hampshire:

“To preserve our constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached. … He’s shooting holes in the constitution … we cannot let him get away with it.”

With polls showing a majority of Americans favoring an inquiry, and a Fox News poll showing a majority favoring Trump’s conviction and removal, impeachment appears inevitable.

What is Trump’s defense strategy?

Earlier this week, with a defiant letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone dismissing the House inquiry as a fraud and a farce, Trump seemed to signal a strategy of massive resistance.

Wrote Cipollone:

“Your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections. … The Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it.”

By Wednesday, however, Trump had backed away from Armageddon.

His new position: If the full House votes to open an impeachment inquiry, and he is given the same rights and protections Richard Nixon was given in 1974, he, Trump, would respect House subpoenas, while retaining the right to challenge them in the Supreme Court.

Thus, as Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats seek to ram through a bill of impeachment by Thanksgiving, based on Trump’s July 25 phone call to Ukraine’s president, Trump is preparing for siege warfare.

As Trump has himself conceded, impeachment is probable, even if the outcome of this historic collision between the president and Congress, which will decide the fates of Pelosi, Trump and Biden alike, is, as of yet, undetermined.

Yet in this struggle, Trump is not without assets.

The first is Adam Schiff, who has become the prosecution’s face in the impeachment battle. This is good news for the White House. For Schiff’s visceral hatred of Trump and desire to see him impeached, convicted, deposed, disgraced and imprisoned is a matter of record.

As long as Schiff heads up the impeachment inquiry, many will see it as simply a savage, partisan and vindictive exercise.

Then are also two potentially explosive inquiries into the roots of the Mueller investigation that are well-advanced. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been looking into allegations that the FBI and DOJ abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to launch the probe and kick-start the Russia investigation.

The Horowitz report is expected to be released within weeks.

U.S. Attorney John Durham has also spent months investigating the origins of the counter-intelligence investigation of Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Among Durham’s questions: Were intel agents of Britain, Italy and Australia enlisted to spy on Americans by U.S. intelligence agencies? For any counterintelligence operation against a presidential campaign would have required a signoff by then-President Obama.

Administration officials have also told Fox News that when Robert Mueller met with Trump in May 2017, Mueller was pursuing the open post as director of the FBI, something the former special counsel denied under oath during his congressional testimony.

Emails released this month through a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch indicate Mueller knew he could be named as special counsel if he wasn’t chosen as FBI director.

Russiagate consumed the first three years of Trump’s presidency. “Ukrainegate” and impeachment give promise of dominating the fourth.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/11/2019 - 15:30
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Published:10/11/2019 2:40:30 PM
[US News] Gosh, this seems sorta IMPORTANT –> Andrew McCabe admits Steele told FBI he couldn’t vouch for all materials in the dossier

Reading this tweet from Chuck Ross on how Andrew McCabe nonchalantly told a bunch of people at an event that Steele told the FBI he could not vouch for all of the materials in the dossier, (you know, the one they used to obtain surveillance warrants) all this editor can do is scratch her head. […]

The post Gosh, this seems sorta IMPORTANT –> Andrew McCabe admits Steele told FBI he couldn’t vouch for all materials in the dossier appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:10/11/2019 11:37:21 AM
[In The News] Andrew McCabe Opens Up About Steele Dossier, Origins Of Trump-Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

Andrew McCabe offered his most candid remarks to date on the FBI’s decision to open the Trump campaign investigation, as well as about the Steele dossier The former FBI deputy director was largely defensive of both, but he said that dossier author Christopher Steele acknowledged he could not vouch for ...

Andrew McCabe Opens Up About Steele Dossier, Origins Of Trump-Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/11/2019 9:37:00 AM
[Markets] America's Political Implosion America's Political Implosion

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The polarization in American politics has become so extreme there seems no longer to be any center ground. The political establishment is consequently imploding into an abyss of its own making.

President Trump is being driven into an impeachment process by Democrats and their media supporters who accuse him of being “unpatriotic” and a danger to national security.

Trump and Republicans hit back at Democrats and the “deep state” whom they condemn for conspiring to overthrow the presidency in a coup dressed up as “impeachment”.

The White House is being subpoenaed, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wants to access transcripts to all of Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blasted congressmen for “harassing the State Department” in their search of evidence to indict Trump. Trump calls the impeachment bid a “witch-hunt”.

Republican Representatives protest that the US is facing a dark day of constitutional crisis, whereby opposing Democratic party leaders are abusing their office by accusing Trump of “high crimes” without ever presenting evidence.

It’s an Alice in Wonderland scenario writ large, where the gravest verdict is being cast before evidence is presented, never mind proven; the president is guilty until proven innocent.

Trump, in his turn, has berated senior Democrat Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, for “treason” – a capital offense. Are federal police obliged to arrest him? Schiff is accused of colluding with a supposed CIA whistleblower in concocting the complaint that Trump tried to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

There seems no end to this political civil war in the US. The American political class is literally tearing itself apart, destroying its ability to govern with any normal function.

So-called liberal media outlets, in lockstep with the Democrats, inculpate Trump for wrongdoing, while they staunchly assert that credible reports of Joe Biden abusing his former vice presidential office to enrich his son over Ukraine gas business are false. Many Americans don’t see it that way. They see Biden as being up to his neck in past corruption; they also see a flagrant double-standard of the establishment protecting Biden from investigation while hounding Trump at every possible opportunity, even when evidence against Trump is scant.

What Trump is being subjected to is the same “highly probable” paranoia that Russia has been subjected to by Washington over recent years. Guilt is asserted without evidence. It becomes a “fact” by endless repetition of baseless claims, such as Russia allegedly interfering in US elections, or allegedly destabilizing Ukraine. Hundreds of economic sanctions have been imposed on Moscow as a result of this blame game, a game that, ironically, Trump has also indulged.

Ironically, Trump and the very highest political office of president is getting the same phobic treatment. No matter that the two-year Mueller Report into alleged Trump-Russia collusion collapsed in a pile of dust for lack of evidence, the Democrats and their media, as well as their deep state patrons, have persisted to accuse the president of enlisting a foreign power, Ukraine, to boost his electoral chances.

The transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s Zelensky back in July shows he did not make a quid pro quo demand linking US military aid to a requested investigation into alleged corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden. Nevertheless, Democrats and their political establishment allies are relentless in pursuing the impeachment of Trump. Based on such flimsy reasoning, this impeachment process looks like a euphemism for “coup” – to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election. The so-called “Russiagate” debacle failed for lack of evidence; now it is “Ukrainegate” that is the pretext for pushing the coup attempt.

Under freedom of information release, Judicial Watch in the past week has uncovered categorical proof that the Mueller probe was a coup attempt to oust Trump. Unsealed communications between the Department of Justice, FBI and liberal media outlets show a clear motive and deliberate orchestration to topple Trump based on no evidence of wrongdoing.

America’s democracy and constitution is being trashed by unelected shadowy forces, aided and abetted by prestigious media outlets like the New York Times. These forces presume to know better or have more privilege than their fellow Americans who “voted the wrong way”.

The inescapable conclusion is that powerful political forces within the US simply do not recognize the democratic rights of the electorate who voted Trump into office. Not only do these forces not respect democratic principle, they also, patently, do not respect due legal process or the high offices of their own government. This is a lurking ideology of dictatorship and fascism. Paradoxically, these labels are pinned on the maverick Trump. More accurately, they apply to the politicians and media who claim to be “liberal” and “democrats”.

The accelerating political implosion in the US nails the lie to oft-repeated American proclamations about their nation being the paragon of “sacred” democratic virtue and rule of law. And the people who are doing the damage to US politics and its constitution are “patriotic” Americans, not Russia or any other imagined foreign adversary.

Is that not poetic justice after all the decades of calumny, deception and self-declared “exceptional” American vanity.

America is at war with itself. It is Americans themselves who destroying their own political system, and perhaps even the very society, with their own hands and their addled, paranoid brains – without any assistance from a “foreign enemy”.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/10/2019 - 23:45
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Published:10/10/2019 11:01:53 PM
[8731348b-0494-5ccf-838a-9b7127f08746] Holly Hunter joins James Comey miniseries cast as Sally Yates Holly Hunter, best known for her roles in "Broadcast News" and "The Piano," has joined the cast of CBS' forthcoming miniseries based on former FBI Director James Comey's book "A Higher Loyalty." Published:10/10/2019 9:31:51 PM
[Markets] Will The Clintons Destroy The Democratic Party? Will The Clintons Destroy The Democratic Party?

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

History is full of ironies, and perhaps it will suit the irony gods for The Donald to take down the Republican Party and the Clinton dynasty to destroy the Democratic Party.

Let's start by stipulating my bias: I would cheer the collapse of both self-serving, venal political parties, which have stood by for decades as the rich have become immeasurably richer and the politically powerful few have disempowered the many. The transparent "populist" bleatings of both parties--"we serve the people!"--sound increasingly like stale, pathetically disconnected from reality Soviet-era propaganda.

Let's say I'm a relatively disinterested observer other than my fervent wish that both corrupt, self-serving parties slide into the dustbin of history, the sooner the better.

The Republicans were hijacked by Donald Trump and given a binary choice: accept Trump as their candidate and have a chance of winning, or reject him and guarantee losing. After surveying the wreckage left by the Bush dynasty and Romney's loss, the Repubs swallowed their distrust and distaste for The Donald and chose winning over losing--the easily predictable choice for all politicos.

The Democrats chose to enact a Greek tragedy featuring off-the-charts hubris. Despite Hillary's private email server, the Clinton Foundation's shameless shakedowns for millions of dollars in "contributions" (the polite word for influence peddling), and her delight in mocking those who chose not to vote for her as "deplorables," the Democrats were supremely confident that the Clinton dynasty would sweep them to an easy and overwhelming victory.

As the Greek dramatists understood, hubris doesn't just invite disaster, it welcomes disaster. The Democrats were then handed a binary choice: either cast the Clintons adrift with a few provisions and a hearty cheer and move on, or set the course of the Party for the next four years to the Clintons' Ahab-like obsession: we wuz robbed, and the terrible error of history (Hillary losing the 2016 election) would have to be corrected regardless of the cost.

To aid their mono-maniacal campaign, the Democrats partnered with the most anti-Democratic and corrupting force in America, the alphabet agencies of Imperial Pretensions, the CIA et al., who are institutionally bound to view the citizenry's right to choose its government and its government's policies with utter disdain: we rule the Empire, and democracy is only acceptable as long as it rubber-stamps our rule.

This aligned perfectly with the Clinton dynasty's view, and so the unending campaign to unseat The Donald was launched.

For better or worse, this unholy alliance put the Democratic Party's legitimacy on the gambling table. The Democratic Party, whether it accepts or understands this reality or not, has devolved to an absurdist cable-channel devoted exclusively to unseating The Donald, regardless of the cost and regardless of the sacrifices required to pursue what is increasingly a quixotically misguided venture.

Wittingly or unwittingly, every institution allied with the Democrats has also put its legitimacy on the gaming table, the most important of which is the mainstream media, including the quasi-public Propaganda Broadcast Service (PBS). The corporate media and PBS have been reduced to late-night TV programming, selling the same flimsy gadgets with the same tired pitch: "But wait--there's more!"

All of which leads us to the question: will the Clintons destroy the Democratic Party, or perhaps even more saliently: have the Clintons already sealed the fate of the Democratic Party?

We won't know the voters' judgment until November 2020, but judging by campaign contributions, the delegitimizing ill-will being generated by the Party's transparent suppression of Tulsi Gabbard, its Ahab-like obsession with impeachment and its bad-karma reliance on the FBI and CIA's most treacherous operatives, the Party's leadership might not hold a winning hand.

History is full of ironies, and perhaps it will suit the irony gods for The Donald to take down the Republican Party and the Clinton dynasty to destroy the Democratic Party.

*  *  *

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF). My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/10/2019 - 18:25
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Published:10/10/2019 5:30:41 PM
[Markets] Ukrainian Government Will 'Happily" Investigate Pro-Hillary Election Interference, President Says Ukrainian Government Will 'Happily" Investigate Pro-Hillary Election Interference, President Says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country will "happily" investigate whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US elections - telling reporters on Thursday that "we can't say yes or no" without first looking into the matter. 

Zelensky said that it was in Ukraine's best interest to determine what happened, according to the Associated Press.

During a July 25 phone call, President Trump asked Zelensky to look into various accusations of Democrat malfeasance in Ukraine, which Trump's political enemies have seized upon as the foundation of an informal impeachment inquiry against Trump. 

Last month, a CIA whistleblower claimed Trump abused his office by pressuring Zelensky to initiate probes into former Vice President Joe Biden and the election interference claims - suggesting that valuable US assistance was used as leverage. 

On Thursday, however, Zelensky insisted that there was "no blackmail," telling reporters from AP that he learned that the US had paused nearly $400 million in military aid after the July 25 phone call. 

Trump asked Zelenskiy during the call to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine.

Zelenskiy said he thought the call would lead to an in-person meeting with Trump and wanted the American leader to come to Ukraine. -AP via WaPo

Zelensky's comments came amid an all-day "press marathon" he's giving in order to answer questions about current events. 

Election interference?

In an appearance on Fox News in early October, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said: "What I’m talking about, this, it’s Ukrainian collusion, which was large, significant, and proven with Hillary Clinton, with the Democratic National Committee, a woman named Chalupa, with the ambassador, with an FBI agent who’s now been hired by George Soros who was funding a lot of it.

According to The Hill, Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly confirmed that DNC contractor of Ukrainian heritage, Alexandra Chalupa, approached Ukraine seeking information on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's dealings inside the country, in the hopes of exposing them to Congress. 

Chaly says that, at the time of the contacts in 2016, the embassy knew Chalupa primarily as a Ukrainian-American activist and learned only later of her ties to the DNC. He says the embassy considered her requests an inappropriate solicitation of interference in the U.S. election.

The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement issued by his embassy. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter.

All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador explained. -The Hill

Chalupa, who told Politico in 2017 that she had "developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives," said she "occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton's campaign."

Giuliani also said that former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, Biden had fired, "dropped the case on George Soros’ company called AntAC," adding "AntAC is the company where there’s documentary evidence that they were producing false information about Trump, about Biden. Fusion GPS was there,” Giuliani added. “Go back and listen to Nellie Ohr’s testimony. Nellie Ohr says that there was a lot of contract between Democrats and the Ukraine. (via the Daily Wire)

Meanwhile, Ukrainians donated the most cash of any country to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 - 2014, followed closely by Brits and Saudis. 

If Hillary does run again in 2020, her Ukraine ties may be her downfall. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/10/2019 - 11:45
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Published:10/10/2019 10:59:25 AM
[Markets] Church Of England: The UK Must Ban "Pointy Knives" Church Of England: The UK Must Ban "Pointy Knives"

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

The Church of England is demanding that the United Kingdom use force and violence to ban pointy knives. A religious organization is now insisting that crime be reduced by further enslaving the population.

Last year, London’s murder rate briefly overtook that of New York City, a feat likely to be repeated as crime continues its decline in the U.S. while the latest U.K. figures show an increase in violent crimes committed with both guns and knives. In spite of all the laws restricting ownership of anything that could constitute a weapon, violent crimes are getting much worse. Instead of giving people more freedom and the human dignity of being able to defend themselves against these attacks, religious organizations and the government want to take steps to make sure only those committing violent acts have the means to do so.

“We the undersigned are professionals and community leaders from across the UK who call on Government to see the sale of pointed domestic kitchen knives as a thing of the past,” reads the not-a-parody open letter from the Diocese of Rochester, signed by church leaders, lawmakers, psychiatrists, academics, and the like. “Historically we needed a point on the end of our knife to pick up food because forks weren’t invented. Now we only need the point to open packets when we can’t be bothered to find the scissors.”

When the human condition resists perfection through legislation, the answer always seems to be more - and stupider - laws.

J.D. Tuccille, Reason

Just months ago, a Conservative member of Parliament made headlines when he took a different, but equally restrictive, approach to regulating sharp pieces of metal, reported Reason. 

 “Every knife sold in the UK should have a GPS tracker fitted in the handle,” insisted Scott Mann. “It’s time we had a national database like we do with guns.”

Mann took a lot of ribbing for the proposal, and even admitted that it was “a bit of a shit idea.”

But that’s just because he was a step ahead of the mob. If he’d stuck with grinding off the pointy bits, he would likely have been hailed as a model of responsible opinion.

UK: Kitchen Knives Are Too Sharp! Filing Them Down Will Stop Stabbing Violence

Knife control is supposed to be a joke—where control freaks take their next efforts when gun laws prove unenforceable and criminals decline to discontinue their efforts just because they’ve been rendered even more illegal. But British politicians took that joke and turned it into national policy. Now they want to double down on that policy because the bad guys still won’t play along. 

J.D. Tuccille, Reason

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/10/2019 - 03:30
Published:10/10/2019 3:00:45 AM
[Markets] Forget Facial Recog: DHS New Amazon-Based Database Uses Scars, Tattoos, & Your Voice To ID You Forget Facial Recog: DHS New Amazon-Based Database Uses Scars, Tattoos, & Your Voice To ID You

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

These days, you can’t really go anywhere without encountering cameras.  Going into a store? Chances are there are security cameras. Getting money at an ATM? More cameras. Driving through the streets of a city? More cameras still. Your neighbors may have those doorbells from Amazon that are surveilling the entire neighborhood.

And many of these cameras are tied into facial recognition databases, or the footage can be quite easily compared there if “authorities” are looking for somebody.

But as it turns out, it isn’t just facial recognition we have to worry about.

DHS has a new recognition system called HART.

Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology system is the alarming new identity system being put in place by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS is retiring its old system that was based on facial recognition. It’s being replaced with HART, a cloud-based system that holds information about the identities of hundreds of millions of people.

The new cloud-based platform, called the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is expected to bring more processing power, new analytics capabilities and increased accuracy to the department’s biometrics operations. It will also allow the agency to look beyond the three types of biometric data it uses today—face, iris and fingerprint—to identify people through a variety of other characteristics, like palm prints, scars, tattoos, physical markings and even their voices. (source)

Incidentally, the cloud hosting for HART is being done by none other than Amazon – you know, the ones with surveillance devices like the Ring doorbell and the Alexa home assistant and the Nest home security system. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Also note that Amazon Web Services also hosts data for the CIA, the DoD, and NASA.

More about HART

As HART becomes more established, that old saying “you can run but you can’t hide” is going to seem ever more true. The DHS is delighted at how much further the new system can take them into surveilling Americans.

And by freeing the agency from the limitations of its legacy system, HART could also let officials grow the network of external partners with whom they share biometric data and analytics capabilities, according to Patrick Nemeth, director of identity operations within Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.

“When we get to HART, we will be better, faster, stronger,” Nemeth said in an interview with Nextgov. “We’ll be relieved of a lot of the capacity issues that we have now … and then going forward from there we’ll be able to add [capabilities].” (source)

The DHS wants to break free of the limitations of the old system with their new and “improved” system. HART will use multiple pieces of biometric data to increase identification accuracy.

Today, when an official runs a person’s face, fingerprint or iris scans through IDENT’s massive database, the system doesn’t return a single result. Rather, it assembles a list of dozens of potential candidates with different levels of confidence, which a human analyst must then look through to make a final match. The system can only handle one modality at a time, so if agent is hypothetically trying to identify someone using two different datapoints, they need to assess two lists of candidates to find a single match. This isn’t a problem if the system identifies the same person as the most likely match for both fingerprint and face, for example, but because biometric identification is still an imperfect science, the results are rarely so clear cut.

However, the HART platform can include multiple datapoints in a single query, meaning it will rank potential matches based on all the information that’s available. That will not only make it easier for agents to analyze potential matches, but it will also help the agency overcome data quality issues that often plague biometric scans, Nemeth said. If the face image is pristine but the fingerprint is fuzzy, for example, the system will give the higher-quality datapoint more weight.

“We’re very hopeful that it will provide better identification surety than we can provide with any single modality today,” Nemeth said. And palm prints, scars, tattoos and other modalities are added in the years ahead, the system will be able to integrate those into its matching process. (source)

HART will also use DNA.

Remember a while back when we reported that DNA sites were teaming up with facial recognition software? Well, HART will take that unholy alliance even further.

The phase-two solicitation also lists DNA-matching as a potential application of the HART system. While the department doesn’t currently analyze DNA, officials on Wednesday announced they would start adding DNA collected from hundreds of thousands of detained migrants to the FBI’s criminal database. During the interview, Nemeth said the agency is still working through the legal implications of storing and sharing such sensitive data. It’s also unclear whether DNA information would be housed in the HART system or a separate database, he said. (source)

Nifty.

The DHS is operating without any type of regulation.

Currently, there’s no regulation or oversight of government agencies collecting and using this kind of data. Civil liberty activists and some lawmakers are alarmed by this, citing concerns about privacy and discrimination. This hasn’t slowed down the DHS one iota, however.

Critics have taken particular issue with the government’s tangled web of information sharing agreements, which allow data to spread far beyond the borders of the agency that collected it. The Homeland Security Department currently shares its biometric data and capabilities with numerous groups, including but not limited to the Justice, Defense and State departments.

In the years ahead, HART promises to strengthen those partnerships and allow others to flourish, according to Nemeth. While today the department limits other agencies’ access to IDENT to ensure they don’t consume too much of its limited computing power, HART will do away with those constraints. (source)

Mana Azarmi, the policy counsel for the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology is one of those people voicing concern.

A person might give information to a single agency thinking it would be used for one specific purpose, but depending on how that information is shared, they could potentially find themselves subjected to unforeseen negative consequences, Azarmi said in a conversation with Nextgov.

“The government gets a lot of leeway to share information,” she said. “In this age of incredible data collection, I think we need to rethink some of the rules that are in place and some of the practices that we’ve allowed to flourish post-9/11. We may have overcorrected.” (source)

You think?

Many people voluntarily provide biometric data.

Many folks provide biometric data without giving it a second thought. They cheerfully swab a cheek and send it into sites like Ancestry.com, providing not only their DNA, but matches to many relatives who never gave permission for their DNA to be in a database.

Then there are cell phones. If you have a newer phone, it’s entirely possible that it has asked you to set up fingerprint login, facial recognition, and even voice recognition. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe that those samples are shared with folks beyond the device in your hand. Add to this that your device is tracking you every place you go through a wide variety of seemingly innocuous apps, and you start to get the picture.

You can’t opt-out.

Back in 2013, I wrote an article called The Great American Dragnet.  At that time, facial recognition was something that sounded like science fiction or some kind of joke. Our drivers’ licenses were the first foray into creating a database but even in 2013, it far exceeded that.

Another, even larger, database exists. The US State Department has a database with 230 million searchable images.  Anyone with a passport or an immigration visa may find themselves an unwilling participant in this database.   Here’s the breakdown of who has a photo database:

  • The State Department has about 15 million photos of passport or visa holders

  • The FBI has about15 million photos of people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes

  • The Department of Defense has about 6 million photos, mainly of Iraqis and Afghans

  • Various police agencies and states have at least 210 million driver’s license photos

This invasion of privacy is just another facet of the surveillance state, and should be no surprise considering the information Edward Snowden just shared about the over-reaching tentacles of the NSA into all of our communications. We are filing our identities with the government and they can identify us at will, without any requirement for probable cause. (source)

Some people don’t even seem to mind that their identities have been tagged and filed by the US government. And even those of us who do mind have no option. If you wish to drive a car or travel outside of the country or have any kind of government ID, like it or not, you’re in the database. Six years ago, I wrote:

The authorities that use this technology claim that the purpose of it is to make us safer, by helping to prevent identity fraud and to identify criminals.  However, what freedom are we giving up for this “safety” cloaked in benevolence? We are giving up the freedom of having the most elemental form of privacy – that of being able to go about our daily business without being watched and identified.  And once you’re identified, this connects to all sorts of other personal information that has been compiled: your address, your driving and criminal records, and potentially, whatever else that has been neatly filed away at your friendly neighborhood fusion center.

Think about it:  You’re walking the dog and you fail to scoop the poop – if there’s a surveillance camera in the area, it would be a simple matter, given the technology, for you to be identified. If you are attending a protest that might be considered “anti-government”, don’t expect to be anonymous.  A photo of the crowd could easily result in the identification of most of the participants.

Are you purchasing ammo, preparedness items, or books about a controversial topic?  Paying cash won’t buy you much in the way of privacy – your purchase will most likely be captured on the CCTV camera at the checkout stand, making you easily identifiable to anyone who might wish to track these kinds of things.  What if a person with access to this technology uses it for personal, less than ethical reasons, like stalking an attractive women he saw on the street?  The potential for abuse is mind-boggling.

If you can’t leave your house without being identified, do you have any real freedom left, or are you just a resident in a very large cage? (source)

When I wrote that, it still seemed far-fetched but remotely possible, even to me. This was before we were really aware of anything like the social credit program in China or how crazy the censorship was going to become or how social media would change the very fabric of our society.

Now, it’s here and it looks like there’s no stopping it.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/09/2019 - 23:45
Published:10/9/2019 10:57:47 PM
[Markets] Secretary Of Defense, Incorporated Secretary Of Defense, Incorporated

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TruthDig.com,

The man is so beautifully bland. In fact, I’d wager that only a tiny segment of Americans could name the current Secretary of Defense—and far fewer could pick him out of a lineup. Perhaps that’s the point. President Trump, a celebrity ham, has tired of sharing the stage with big-name advisers such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton. So they’re both gone. In their place, Trump has installed faceless bureaucrats to run the most powerful national security state in human history. And the rest of us hardly notice.

Trump’s appointment of Mark Esper as head of the largest and most active Cabinet department, and the new Defense Secretary’s near unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate, is no less of a scandal than Trump’s apparent efforts to seek foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Only it isn’t.

Still, the nomination of Esper, a recent lobbyist for the defense contracting corporation Raytheon, ranks as one of the most egregious illustrations of the “revolving door” between lobbyists and the Defense Department. It’s crony capitalism in fatigues, and while nothing new, a clear indication that things have only worsened under our reality-show-mogul-president.

Of course, seen through the rose-colored glasses of American empire, Esper is highly qualified to head the Defense Department. He’s a West Point graduate, former Army infantry officer, recipient of a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard and a doctorate in public policy from George Washington University, and has past experience working in the Pentagon.

If one digs further, however, Esper is wildly problematic—loaded with conflicts of interest, a veteran of the (should be) discredited neoconservative Bush-era DOD, and little more than a corporate “company man.” He didn’t just work for Raytheon, he lobbied on the defense contractor’s behalf only recently. Under rather sharp questioning by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during his confirmation hearings, Esper refused to recuse himself from participating in government business involving Raytheon. In typically lifeless language, Esper replied that “On the advice of my ethics folks at the Pentagon, the career professionals: No, their recommendation is not to.” How’s that for accepting responsibility? No matter, he was swiftly and quietly confirmed by a vote of 90-8 in the Senate.

Expect another banner year for Raytheon. It’s already the third-largest U.S. defense contractor, and produces, among other tools of destruction, Paveway precision-guided missiles—the very weapons that Congress recently sought to stop shipping to Saudi Arabia due to (rather tardy) concerns about the heads of Yemeni civilians upon which they’re dropped.

I predict more deals and more taxpayer billions for Raytheon with Esper at the Defense helm. Not that the company has done poorly during the Trump years. In 2018, Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy candidly quipped that “It’s the best time that we’ve ever seen for the defense industry.” Not for indebted taxpayers, bombed-out Middle Easterners or U.S. soldiers still dying in endless wars, it’s not. But sure, it truly is the best of times for what prominent American leaders—once upon a time—labeled the “merchants of death.”

Conflicts of interest, sliding seamlessly between defense contracting boards and the Pentagon, and securing post-government largesse on corporate boards, that’s an old story indeed. Looking back to 2001, most Defense Secretaries have troublesome private sector connections. Donald Rumsfeld entered the Pentagon after a 24-year business career; Robert Gates was on the board of directors of Fidelity Investments and the Parker Drilling Company; Chuck Hagel served on the boards of Chevron and Deutsche Bank; Ash Carter—an exception—was mostly an academic and a bureaucratic wonk, but still consulted for Goldman Sachs. All made millions.

That covers the Bush and Obama years. What we’ve seen in the Trump administration, is, however, something far more brazen. His three Secretaries of Defense (one of whom, Patrick Shanahan, was only acting head) have been unapologetically ensconced in the world of defense contracting and corporate lobbying.

“Saint” Jim Mattis had, while still a general, encouraged the military to buy the blood test products of Theranos, then dropped the service and joined its corporate board. But Theranos’ products did not work, the deal described by the Securities and Exchange Commission as an “elaborate, years-long fraud.” Mattis also served, both before and after his Pentagon stint, on the board of General Dynamics, the nation’s fifth largest defense contractor. Nonetheless, Mattis easily slid through his confirmation and was praised by all types of mainstream media as the administration’s “adult in the room.”

After Mattis resigned, he being unable to countenance even Trump’s hints at modest withdrawal from the wars in Syria and Afghanistan, Patrick Shanahan stepped in as interim defense chief. Unlike his predecessor, Shanahan didn’t emerge from the military, but rather from yet another defense contractor, Boeing, for which he’s worked some 30 years. Trump thought that was dandy and nominated him to officially replace Mattis, but Shanahan decided to withdraw due to alleged personal scandals. Enter Mark Esper, Raytheon lobbyist extraordinaire.

Esper’s in good company in Washington’s military-industrial swamp. Recent reports by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO)—a vital organization that hardly any American has heard of—identified “645 instances in the past 10 years in which a retired senior official, member of Congress or senior legislative staff member became employed as a registered lobbyist, board member or business executive at a major government contractor.” POGO also noted that “those walking through the revolving door included 25 generals, nine admirals, 43 lieutenant generals and 23 vice admirals.”

All of which begs some questions and provides some disturbing answers. Perhaps we ought to ditch the myth that the Defense Secretary simply heads the Pentagon, and admit that Esper is really the emperor of a far grander military-industrial complex that includes a veritable army of K-Street lobbyists and venal arms dealers. Maybe it’s time to concede that unelected national security czars, and not a stalemated bought-and-sold Congress, run national defense and set the gigantic Pentagon budget. Perhaps we should confess to ourselves that the nation’s vaunted soldiers are little more than political pawns in a game that’s far bigger, far more Kafkaesque, than those troopers could begin to fathom. And, finally, let’s admit one last thing: Few of us care.

*  *  *

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army Major and regular contributor to Truthdig. His work has also appeared in Harper’s, The LA Times, The Nation, Tom Dispatch, The Huffington Post and The Hill. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, “Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.” He co-hosts the progressive veterans’ podcast “Fortress on a Hill.” Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/09/2019 - 22:25
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Published:10/9/2019 9:29:23 PM
[Law] Grassley Seeks Update After Referring Avenatti, Swetnick to Justice Department for Kavanaugh Claims

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa asked the Department of Justice and FBI Tuesday for an update on the criminal referrals he submitted against witnesses... Read More

The post Grassley Seeks Update After Referring Avenatti, Swetnick to Justice Department for Kavanaugh Claims appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:10/9/2019 12:53:06 PM
[Markets] John Lennon Vs. The Deep State: One Man Against The "Monster" John Lennon Vs. The Deep State: One Man Against The "Monster"

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“You gotta remember, establishment, it’s just a name for evil. The monster doesn’t care whether it kills all the students or whether there’s a revolution. It’s not thinking logically, it’s out of control.”—John Lennon (1969)

John Lennon, born 79 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.

He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.

Long before Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files illegally collected on his activities and associations.

For a while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon’s assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI at the time, directed the agency to spy on the musician. There were also various written orders calling on government agents to frame Lennon for a drug bust.

“The FBI’s files on Lennon … read like the writings of a paranoid goody-two-shoes,” observed reporter Jonathan Curiel.

As the New York Times notes, “Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. ‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ … is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined.”

Indeed, all of the many complaints we have about government today - surveillance, militarism, corruption, harassment, SWAT team raids, political persecution, spying, overcriminalization, etc. - were present in Lennon’s day and formed the basis of his call for social justice, peace and a populist revolution.

For all of these reasons, the U.S. government was obsessed with Lennon, who had learned early on that rock music could serve a political end by proclaiming a radical message. More importantly, Lennon saw that his music could mobilize the public and help to bring about change. Lennon believed in the power of the people. Unfortunately, as Lennon recognized: “The trouble with government as it is, is that it doesn’t represent the people. It controls them.”

However, as Martin Lewis writing for Time notes: “John Lennon was not God. But he earned the love and admiration of his generation by creating a huge body of work that inspired and led. The appreciation for him deepened because he then instinctively decided to use his celebrity as a bully pulpit for causes greater than his own enrichment or self-aggrandizement.”

For instance, in December 1971 at a concert in Ann Arbor, Mich., Lennon took to the stage and in his usual confrontational style belted out “John Sinclair,” a song he had written about a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. Within days of Lennon’s call for action, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released.

What Lennon did not know at the time was that government officials had been keeping strict tabs on the ex-Beatle they referred to as “Mr. Lennon.” Incredibly, FBI agents were in the audience at the Ann Arbor concert, “taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song.”

The U.S. government, steeped in paranoia, was spying on Lennon.

By March 1971, when his “Power to the People” single was released, it was clear where Lennon stood. Having moved to New York City that same year, Lennon was ready to participate in political activism against the U. S. government, the “monster” that was financing the war in Vietnam.

The release of Lennon’s Sometime in New York City album, which contained a radical anti-government message in virtually every song and depicted President Richard Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Tse-tung dancing together nude on the cover, only fanned the flames of the conflict to come.

The official U.S. war against Lennon began in earnest in 1972 after rumors surfaced that Lennon planned to embark on a U.S. concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar organizing and voter registration. Nixon, fearing Lennon’s influence on about 11 million new voters (1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote), had the ex-Beatle served with deportation orders “in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement.”

Then again, the FBI has had a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures. Most notably among the latter are such celebrated names as folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.

Among those most closely watched by the FBI was Martin Luther King Jr., a man labeled by the FBI as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” With wiretaps and electronic bugs planted in his home and office, King was kept under constant surveillance by the FBI with the aim of “neutralizing” him. He even received letters written by FBI agents suggesting that he either commit suicide or the details of his private life would be revealed to the public. The FBI kept up its pursuit of King until he was felled by a hollow-point bullet to the head in 1968.

While Lennon was not—as far as we know—being blackmailed into suicide, he was the subject of a four-year campaign of surveillance and harassment by the U.S. government (spearheaded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), an attempt by President Richard Nixon to have him “neutralized” and deported. As Adam Cohen of the New York Times points out, “The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics.”

As Lennon’s FBI file shows, memos and reports about the FBI’s surveillance of the anti-war activist had been flying back and forth between Hoover, the Nixon White House, various senators, the FBI and the U.S. Immigration Office.

Nixon’s pursuit of Lennon was relentless and in large part based on the misperception that Lennon and his comrades were planning to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. The government’s paranoia, however, was misplaced.

Left-wing activists who were on government watch lists and who shared an interest in bringing down the Nixon Administration had been congregating at Lennon’s New York apartment. But when they revealed that they were planning to cause a riot, Lennon balked. As he recounted in a 1980 interview, “We said, We ain’t buying this. We’re not going to draw children into a situation to create violence so you can overthrow what? And replace it with what? . . . It was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is, and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They’re all lunatics.”

Despite the fact that Lennon was not part of the “lunatic” plot, the government persisted in its efforts to have him deported. Equally determined to resist, Lennon dug in and fought back. Every time he was ordered out of the country, his lawyers delayed the process by filing an appeal. Finally, in 1976, Lennon won the battle to stay in the country when he was granted a green card. As he said afterwards, “I have a love for this country.... This is where the action is. I think we’ll just go home, open a tea bag, and look at each other.” 

Lennon’s time of repose didn’t last long, however. By 1980, he had re-emerged with a new album and plans to become politically active again.

The old radical was back and ready to cause trouble. In his final interview on Dec. 8, 1980, Lennon mused, “The whole map’s changed and we’re going into an unknown future, but we’re still all here, and while there’s life there’s hope.”

The Deep State has a way of dealing with troublemakers, unfortunately. On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman was waiting in the shadows when Lennon returned to his New York apartment building. As Lennon stepped outside the car to greet the fans congregating outside, Chapman, in an eerie echo of the FBI’s moniker for Lennon, called out, “Mr. Lennon!”

Lennon turned and was met with a barrage of gunfire as Chapman—dropping into a two-handed combat stance—emptied his .38-caliber pistol and pumped four hollow-point bullets into his back and left arm. Lennon stumbled, staggered forward and, with blood pouring from his mouth and chest, collapsed to the ground.

John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had finally been “neutralized.”

Yet where those who neutralized the likes of John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and others go wrong is in believing that you can murder a movement with a bullet and a madman.

Thankfully, Lennon’s legacy lives on in his words, his music and his efforts to speak truth to power. As Yoko Ono shared in a 2014 letter to the parole board tasked with determining whether Chapman should be released: “A man of humble origin, [John Lennon] brought light and hope to the whole world with his words and music. He tried to be a good power for the world, and he was. He gave encouragement, inspiration and dreams to people regardless of their race, creed and gender.”

Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the world since Lennon walked among us.

Peace remains out of reach. Activism and whistleblowers continue to be prosecuted for challenging the government’s authority. Militarism is on the rise, with local police dressed like the military, all the while the governmental war machine continues to wreak havoc on innocent lives across the globe. Just recently, for example, U.S. military forces carried out drone strikes in Afghanistan that killed 30 pine nut farmers.

For those of us who joined with John Lennon to imagine a world of peace, it’s getting harder to reconcile that dream with the reality of the American police state.

Meanwhile, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, those who dare to speak up are labeled dissidents, troublemakers, terrorists, lunatics, or mentally ill and tagged for surveillance, censorship, involuntary detention or, worse, even shot and killed in their own homes by militarized police.

As Lennon shared in a 1968 interview:

“I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal means. If anybody can put on paper what our government and the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing. I think they’re all insane. But I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

So what’s the answer?

Lennon had a multitude of suggestions.

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“War is over if you want it.”

“Produce your own dream…. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders…. You have to do it yourself. That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”

“If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.”

And my favorite advice of all:

“Say you want a revolution / We better get on right away / Well you get on your feet / And out on the street / Singing power to the people.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 22:45
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Published:10/8/2019 9:52:38 PM
[18ef8b5d-e8f1-55d6-acbb-59e6796eace9] Brendan Gleeson to play Trump, Jeff Daniels to play Comey in 'A Higher Loyalty' adaptation Former FBI Director James Comey's best-selling book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" is being adapted for the small screen. Published:10/8/2019 7:49:40 PM
[] Administration Officials: Robert Mueller Lied Under Oath to Congress; Despite His Denials, He Was Interviewing for FBI Job, and Was Turned Down Such straight arrow, so many integrity. EXCLUSIVE ? Multiple administration officials tell Fox News that when Robert Mueller met with President Trump in May of 2017, Mueller was indeed pursuing the open post as the director of the FBI ?... Published:10/8/2019 6:19:26 PM
[Markets] FBI Use Of Foreign-Surveillance Tool Violated Privacy Rights: FISA Court FBI Use Of Foreign-Surveillance Tool Violated Privacy Rights: FISA Court

The FBI's use of electronic surveillance tools violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans whose communications were swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. 

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching through a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal

The ruling, made last year, was disclosed on Tuesday. 

The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. -WSJ

According to the FISA court, tens of thousands of improper searches were conducted by the Bureau in 2017 and 2018. They were deemed improper in part due to the involvement of data relating to tens of thousands of emails or phone numbers. Moreover, the FBI was potentially using the intelligence information to vet personnel and cooperating sources. Per federal law, the database can only be searched by the FBI while seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.  

In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed.

The Trump administration failed to make a persuasive argument that modifying the program to better protect the privacy of Americans would hinder the FBI’s ability to address national-security threats, wrote U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who serves on the FISA Court, in the partially redacted 167-page opinion released Tuesday. -WSJ

"The court accordingly finds that the FBI’s querying procedures and minimization procedures are not consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment," concluded Judge Boasberg. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 15:10
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Published:10/8/2019 2:17:42 PM
[Politics] WOOPS! Comey’s former FBI spokesman accepted gifts from a CNN reporter and then lied about it under oath It turns out former top FBI spokesman under Comey accepted gifts from a CNN reporter he worked closely with and then lied about it multiple times to the inspector general: DAILY CALLER . . . Published:10/8/2019 12:48:32 PM
[Politics] WOOPS! Comey’s former FBI spokesman accepted gifts from a CNN reporter and then lied about it under oath It turns out former top FBI spokesman under Comey accepted gifts from a CNN reporter he worked closely with and then lied about it multiple times to the inspector general: DAILY CALLER . . . Published:10/8/2019 12:48:32 PM
[] Remember That FBI Employee Who Lied to the IG About Gifts He Had Taken From CNN, and Then Quietly Resigned...?Yeah It Turns Out That Was James Comey's Spokesman So many integrity. An FBI senior official who resigned under mysterious circumstances last year accepted baseball game tickets from a CNN reporter in 2016 and lied about it to investigators, according to a report obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller... Published:10/8/2019 12:19:35 PM
[Markets] Joe And Hunter Biden Could Be Forced To Testify During Trump Impeachment Trial Joe And Hunter Biden Could Be Forced To Testify During Trump Impeachment Trial

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter could be forced to testify if the Senate moves to hold an impeachment trial of President Trump, according to the Washington Times, citing congressional aides "who questioned whether Democrats have thought through the full implications of their impeachment drive." 

Not only could Mr. Biden be forced to be in D.C. at a critical moment in the presidential campaign, but so could many of his chief rivals — the half-dozen senators also vying for Democrats’ presidential nomination, impeachment experts said.

For that matter, if the House chooses to impeach Mr. Trump on charges stemming from the special counsel’s Russia investigation, aides said it could open the door to witnesses such as fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok or even major figures from the Obama administration.

Mr. Trump could even be present for the entire spectacle. Experts said the Senate would have a hard time refusing him if he demanded to confront the witnesses against him. -Washington Times

If the House votes to impeach - a step which Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't committed to yet, then it would move to the Senate for a formal trial in which a 2/3 majority would be required to convict and formally remove President Trump. They would also get to force the whistleblowers accusing Trump of improper behavior to testify publicly, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Graham also suggested that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) could become a witness in any impeachment trial for hiding his office's interactions with one of the whistleblowers.

"I don’t think the Dems have thought this through at all," one staffer told the Times - which notes that the GOP-dominated Senate would have "full control over what an impeachment trial would look like."

According to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a Senate trial would largely be defined by what articles the House passes. 

"If Trump is impeached on the Ukrainian call, the Bidens would be fair game, particularly Hunter," said Turley. "While I do not agree that the evidence supports the allegation against Biden in pushing the termination of the prosecution, there is little question that the Hunter Biden deal smacks of profiteering on his father’s position."

If House Democrats loop in Russiagate, Turley said things could get even crazier. 

Mr. Turley said that could give Mr. Trump a chance to raise all the lingering questions about decisions made by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and the FBI. Several ongoing investigations are expected to find major fault with how investigators pursued Mr. Trump, beyond the already embarrassing text exchanges between Mr. Strzok and his paramour, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

He said that might explain Mrs. Pelosi’s reluctance to pull the impeachment trigger over the Russia accusations, and her insistence on trying to keep things focused on Ukraine.

“The optics of this Senate trial could be quite grotesque. You could have the Democrats beating Trump with the Ukraine call, you could have Trump beating the Democrats up over Biden,” he said. -Washington Times

According to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), if the House does impeach Trump, the Senate will be forced to take the matter up, saying "The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader.

That said, the Examiner suggests that Senate GOP might "allow a spectacle to embarrass Democrats" with how things go. 

"Democrats could object, but they’re in the minority and there’s not a lot they can do about that," said impeachment expert Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina and author of "Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know."

"I expect it’ll be Sen. McConnell’s show. But the president might well say ‘I want to be there, I want to ask questions.

And of course, the best part according to Gerhardt: "It will be televised.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:26
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Published:10/8/2019 11:48:31 AM
[Markets] Homicides In The US Fall For Second Year As Murder-Rate Drops In 38 States Homicides In The US Fall For Second Year As Murder-Rate Drops In 38 States

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

As 2018 came to an end, politicians and media pundits insisted that "gun violence" was growing and hitting crisis levels .

While a homicide rate of anything greater than zero is an measure of very-real human misery, it nonetheless turns out that fewer people were murdered in 2018 than in the year before. Moreover, 2018 was the second year in a row during which the homicide rate declined.

According to new homicide statistics released by the FBI last month, the homicide rate in the United States was 5 per 100,000 people. That was down from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2017 and down from 5.4 in 2016. In 2014, the homicide rate in the US hit a 57-year low, dropping to 4.4 per 100,000, making it the lowest homicide rate recorded since 1957.

At 5 per 100,000, 2018's homicide rate has been cut nearly in half since the 1970s and the early 1990s when the national homicide rate frequently exceeded nine percent.

The regions with the largest declines were New England and the Mountain west where homicide rates decreased 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively. The only region reporting an increase was the Mid Atlantic region, with an increase of one percent. This was driven largely by an increase in homicides in Pennsylvania.

At the state level, the homicide rate went down in 38 states, and increased in 12.

The states with the lowest homicide rates were South Dakota, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. The states with the lowest rates were nearly all found in New England and in the West. For additional context, I have graphed US states with Canadian provinces (in red):

Indeed, when we map the states by homicide rate, we can see some clear regional differences:

In American political discourse, it is fashionable to insist that those places with the most strict gun control laws have the least amount of violence.

This position, of course, routinely ignores the fact that large regions of the US have very laissez faire gun laws with far lower levels of violent crime than those areas with more gun regulations. Moreover, if we were to break down the homicide rates into even more localized areas, we'd find that high homicide rates are largely confined to a relatively small number of neighborhoods within cities. Americans who live outside these areas — that is to say, the majority of Americans — are unlikely to ever experience homicide either first-hand or within their neighborhoods.

We can see the lack of correlations between gun control and homicide, for instance, if we compare state-level homicide rates to rankings of state-level gun laws published by pro-gun-control organizations.

For example, using the Giffords Center's rankings of state gun policy, many of the states with the lowest homicide rates (South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Utah) are states with the most laissez faire gun policies. The Giffords Center naturally ranks these states the lowest for gun policy, giving Maine and Utah grades of "F" and "D-", respectively, although both states are two of the least violent places in all of North America.

Homicide vs. "Gun Violence"

As is so often the case when dealing with gun statistics put out by pro-gun-control groups, the Giffords Center attempts to fudge the numbers by measuring "gun deaths" rather than homicides. By design, this number includes suicides — which then makes violence rates look higher — while excluding all forms of homicide not involving guns.

Thus, a state with higher homicide rates overall — but with fewer gun homicides — will look less violent than it really is.

Meanwhile, a state with little violent crime, but with relatively high homicide rates, will be counted as a state with many "gun deaths." These nuances are rarely explained in the public debate however, and the term "gun deaths" is just thrown around with the intent of making places with looser gun laws look like they have more crime.

Moreover, the attempt to use suicide to "prove" more guns lead to more suicides is easily shown to be baseless at the international level: the US has totally unremarkable suicide rate even though it is far easier to acquire a gun in the US than many countries with far higher suicide rates.

Mass Shootings

As the total number of homicides in the US has gone down in recent decades, many commentators have taken to fixating on mass shooting events as evidence that the United States is in the midst of an epidemic of shootings.

Mass shootings, however, occur in such small numbers as to have virtually no effect on nationwide homicide numbers.

According to the Mother Jones mass shootings listing, for examples, there were 80 deaths resulting from mass shootings in 2018, or 0.5 percent of all homicides. That was down from the 117 mass-shooting total in 2017, which was 0.7 percent of all mass shootings. And how will 2019 look? So far this year, there have been 66 mass-shooting deaths. On a per-month basis, mass shootings have so far been deadlier in 2019 than in 2018. But we could also note that although there have been 66 mass shooting victims this year, the total number of homicides in Maryland alone fell by 68 from 2017 to 2018.

And then, of course, there is the issue of crime prevention through private gun ownership. Since only averted crimes are not counted in any government statistic, we only know how many homicides occur, but not how many are averted due to the potential victim being armed. Pro-gun-control advocates insist that the number is very low. But, again, there is no empirical evidence showing this. Some gun control activists will point to studies that conclude more homicides occur in areas with more guns. These studies may be getting the causality backwards, however, since we'd expect more gun ownership to result in areas that are perceived to be more crime-ridden.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 10:45
Published:10/8/2019 9:48:12 AM
[Markets] Rare Fox News Segment Details Saudi State Sponsorship Of 9/11 Attacks Rare Fox News Segment Details Saudi State Sponsorship Of 9/11 Attacks

During an episode this past week, Tucker Carlson of Fox News laid out the growing evidence of Saudi state sponsorship of 9/11, based on additional details coming out of the 9/11 victims families' lawsuit against the kingdom. 

Noting that the US increasingly appears "on the brink of bombing Iran" he questioned, "why are we doing that?" Carlson answered, "well we're primarily doing that to protect Saudi Arabia."

"Iran had nothing to do with 9/11," he noted in his opening comments. "Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, was so connected to 9/11 that the families of many 9/11 victims are seeking justice  payment as recompense for the Saudis' role. So How exactly does the country and its government get to ignore this?"

Saudi Arabia knowingly provided al Qaeda with support, financing and resources that were material, substantial and critical to the success of the September 11th Attacks — 9/11 victims families' lawsuit.

"A heavily redacted 2012 [government] report describes the support Saudi government officials gave to two hijackers after they arrived in Los Angeles. The officials gave the two al Qaeda members 'assistance in daily activities'..." Carlson explained. 

The Fox host also referenced a sworn testimony by a high ranking FBI agent privy to the investigation who admitted the hijackers "would have had zero chance for success without a support structure waiting for them."

"The families still want more information declassified about Saudi involvement and feel as if their own government has betraed them," Carlson continued in his report. 

Relative of one 9/11 victim, Brett Eagleson, said during the segment, "One would like to think that the FBI works for the American people and not the interests of Saudi Arabia."

Carlson added shockingly as part of his report that "Shortly after the attacks the Bush administration allowed more that a hundred Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family to leave the country on chartered airplanes."

"And two years ago the Trump administration cautioned a retired FBI agent from working for the 9/11 families," Carlson added. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/07/2019 - 20:05
Tags
Published:10/7/2019 7:12:41 PM
[Markets] Taibbi Trounces Ukraine-Gate Protagonist As "Insult To Real Whistleblowers" Taibbi Trounces Ukraine-Gate Protagonist As "Insult To Real Whistleblowers"

Authored by Matt Taibbi via RollingStone.com,

The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t

It’s an insult to real whistleblowers to use the term with the Ukrainegate protagonist

Start with the initial headline, in the story the Washington Post “broke” on September 18th:

TRUMP’S COMMUNICATIONS WITH FOREIGN LEADER ARE PART OF WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT THAT SPURRED STANDOFF BETWEEN SPY CHIEF AND CONGRESS, FORMER OFFICIALS SAY

The unnamed person at the center of this story sure didn’t sound like a whistleblower. Our intelligence community wouldn’t wipe its ass with a real whistleblower.

Americans who’ve blown the whistle over serious offenses by the federal government either spend the rest of their lives overseas, like Edward Snowden, end up in jail, like Chelsea Manning, get arrested and ruined financially, like former NSA official Thomas Drake, have their homes raided by FBI like disabled NSA vet William Binney, or get charged with espionage like ex-CIA exposer-of-torture John Kiriakou. It’s an insult to all of these people, and the suffering they’ve weathered, to frame the ballcarrier in the Beltway’s latest partisan power contest as a whistleblower.

Drake, who was the first to expose the NSA’s secret surveillance program, seems to have fared better than most. He ended up working in an Apple Store, where he ran into Eric Holder, who was shopping for an iPhone.

I’ve met a lot of whistleblowers, in both the public and private sector. Many end up broke, living in hotels, defamed, (often) divorced, and lucky if they have any kind of job. One I knew got turned down for a waitressing job because her previous employer wouldn’t vouch for her. She had little kids.

The common thread in whistleblower stories is loneliness. Typically the employer has direct control over their ability to pursue another job in their profession. Many end up reviled as traitors, thieves, and liars. They often discover after going public that their loved ones have a limited appetite for sharing the ignominy. In virtually all cases, they end up having to start over, both personally and professionally.

With that in mind, let’s look at what we know about the first “whistleblower” in Ukrainegate:

  • He or she is a “CIA officer detailed to the White House”;

  • The account is at best partially based upon the CIA officer’s own experience, made up substantially by information from “more than a half dozen U.S. officials” and the “private accounts” of “my colleagues”;

  • “He or she” was instantly celebrated as a whistleblower by news networks and major newspapers.

That last detail caught the eye of Kiriakou, a former CIA Counterterrorism official who blew the whistle on the agency’s torture program.

“It took me and my lawyers a full year to get [the media] to stop calling me ‘CIA Leaker John Kirakou,” he says.

“That’s how long it took for me to be called a whistleblower.”

Kirakou’s crime was talking to ABC News and the New York Times about the CIA’s torture program. For talking to American journalists about the CIA, our federal government charged Kiriakou with espionage. That absurd count was ultimately dropped, but he still did 23 months at FCI Loretto in Western Pennsylvania.

When Kiriakou first saw the “whistleblower complaint,” his immediate reaction was to wonder what kind of “CIA officer” the person in question was.

“If you spend a career in the CIA, you see all kinds of subterfuge and lies and crime,” he says.

“This person went through a whole career and this is the thing he objects to?”

It’s fair to wonder if this is a one-person effort. Even former CIA official Robert Baer, no friend of Trump, said as much in an early confab on CNN with Brooke Baldwin:

BAER: That’s what I find remarkable, is that this whistleblower knew about that, this attempt to cover up. This is a couple of people. It isn’t just one.

BALDWIN: And on the people point, if the allegation is true, Bob, what does it say that White House officials, lawyers, wanted to cover it up?

BAER: You know, my guess, it’s a palace coup against Trump. And who knows what else they know at this point.

That sounds about right. Actual whistleblowers are alone. The Ukraine complaint seems to be the work of a group of people, supported by significant institutional power, not only in the intelligence community, but in the Democratic Party and the commercial press.

In this century we’ve lived through a president lying to get us into a war (that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and the loss of trillions in public treasure), the deployment of a vast illegal surveillance program, a drone assassination campaign, rendition, torture, extralegal detention, and other offenses, many of them mass human rights violations.

We had whistleblowers telling us about nearly all of these things. When they came forward, they desperately needed society’s help. They didn’t get it. Our government didn’t just tweet threats at them, but proceeded straight to punishment.

Bill Binney, who lost both his legs to diabetes, was dragged out of his shower by FBI agents. Jeffrey Sterling, like Kiriakou, was charged with espionage for talking to a reporter. After conviction, he asked to be imprisoned near his wife in St. Louis. They sent him to Colorado for two years. Others tried to talk to congress or their Inspectors General, only to find out their communications had been captured and cc’ed to the very agency chiefs they wanted to complain about (including former CIA chief and current MSNBC contributor John Brennan).

The current “scandal” is a caricature version of such episodes. Imagine the mania on the airwaves if Donald Trump were to have his Justice Department arrest the “whistleblower” and charge him with 35 years of offenses, as Thomas Drake faced. Trump incidentally still might try something like this. It’s what any autocrat of the Mobute Sese Seko/Enver Hoxha school would do, for starters, to mutinying intelligence officials within his own government.

Trump almost certainly is not going to do that, however, as the man is too dumb to realize he’s the titular commander of an executive branch that has been jailing people for talking too much for over a decade. On the off chance that he does try it, don’t hold your breath waiting for news networks to tell you he’s just following an established pattern.

I have a lot of qualms about impeachment/“Ukrainegate,” beginning with this headline premise of the lone, conscience-stricken defender of democracy arrayed against the mighty Trump. I don’t see it. Donald Trump is a jackass who got elected basically by accident, campaigning against a political establishment too blind to its own unpopularity to see what was coming.

In 2016 we saw a pair of electoral revolts, one on the right and one on the left, against the cratering popularity of our political elite. The rightist populist revolt succeeded, the Sanders movement did not. Ukrainegate to me looks like a continuation of Russiagate, which was a reaction of that defeated political elite to the rightists. I don’t feel solidarity with either group.

The argument that’s supposed to be galvanizing everyone right now is the idea that we need to “stand up and be counted,” because failing to rally to the cause is effectively advocacy for Trump. This line of thinking is based on the presumption that Trump is clearly worse than the people opposing him.

That might prove to be true, but if we’re talking about the treatment of whistleblowers, Trump has a long way to go before he approaches the brutal record of the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, as well as the cheerleading Washington political establishment. Forgetting this is likely just the first in what will prove to be many deceptions about a hardcore insider political battle whose subtext is a lot more shadowy and ambiguous than news audiences are being led to believe.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/07/2019 - 16:25
Published:10/7/2019 3:42:24 PM
[Markets] Jeff Daniels To Play James Comey, Brendon Gleeson As Evil Trump In 4 Hour Miniseries Jeff Daniels To Play James Comey, Brendon Gleeson As Evil Trump In 4 Hour Miniseries

Hot (or at least lukewarm) off his stint as leader of the woke media, in which he portrayed a lead liberal network anchor in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels is set to play another iconic "resistance" figure, the "embattled" FBI Director James Comey in a four-part series, who infamously leaked his Trump meeting notes in hopes of launching the Russia collusion probe (which failed to find actual evidence of collusion), while Brendan Gleeson will portray President Donald Trump, who fired Comey in May 2017.

Jeff Daniels, noble James Comey, Brendan Gleeson and evil orange man

The four-part story will be based on Comey’s April 2018 book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” which documents his two decades of government work, including the 2013-2017 period when he was FBI director under presidents Barrack Obama and Trump (it has much less to say about his stint as general counsel at the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater).

Since his dismissal, Comey has become one of Trump's most vocal critics, voicing his constant displeasure over how the President runs the country; unfortunately for Comey, his attempts to weasel his way into the resistance are met with, well, resistance as Democrats still blame him for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential election loss after the FBI reopened its probe into Clinton's email server just days before the November 2016 election after it had found thousands of her emails in Huma Abedin's server as part of its probe into Anthony Weiner's pedophilia.

The project, which is being produced by Alex Kurtzman’s production company Secret Hideout and Shane Salerno’s The Story Factory, will begin filming next month and may find a home on either CBS All Access or Showtime, according to The Wrap.

According to the NY Post, the series is written by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach, Captain Phillips), who called Daniels "perfect" for the role.

"Great actor, instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas," Ray told TV Line. "We talked backstage after I saw him in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway, and I knew I was looking at the only person who could play Jim Comey. Lucky for me, he said yes."

Gleeson, aka Trump, is best known for his work in films such as “Into the Storm,” “In Bruges,” “Calvary,” and the recently released “Frankie.” He’s also the star of the Stephen King series “Mr. Mercedes.”

"It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump," Ray said. "You have to have presence, and a singular kind of dynamism. You also have to have the courage and the will to play Trump’s psychology from the inside out. Oh, and you have to be spectacularly talented and watchable. Not many actors check all those boxes. Brendan does. I’m ecstatic about this."

According to Deadline, CBS has yet to determine if “A Higher Loyalty” will debut on network TV or if it’ll be another CBS All Access exclusive. A release date has yet to be announced.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/07/2019 - 14:50
Published:10/7/2019 2:14:51 PM
[Crime] Violent Crime Drops, Trump Gets No Credit (John Hinderaker) On September 30, the FBI released its annual report on crime for 2018. It showed that violent crime declined over 2017 in every category except rape, where a revised definition was applied. The number of homicides declined by 6.1%; the rate went down by even more than that, to 5.0 per 100,000. The FBI’s good news about crime got very little publicity, and I can’t find a single publication that Published:10/6/2019 6:37:37 PM
[Markets] Bannon Says Concept Of "Deep" State Is 'Conspiracy Theory For Nutcases' Because "It's Right In Your Face" Bannon Says Concept Of "Deep" State Is 'Conspiracy Theory For Nutcases' Because "It's Right In Your Face"

Former Trump 2016 campaign chair and White House strategist Steve Bannon says that the deep state is a 'conspiracy theory for nutcases,' explaining to author James B Stewart "America isn’t Turkey or Egypt.

Bannon says that while there is a formidable government bureaucracy in the United States - "there's nothing 'deep' about it," adding "It's right in your face.

Of course, many define the 'deep state' to include a group of powerful, unelected individuals calling shots while their servants carry out their agenda at all levels of government - but perhaps Bannon knows better, having operated on both sides of the curtain. 

Bannon's comments can be found in Stewart's upcoming book, Deep State: Trump, the FBI and the Rule of Law by James B Stewart, which will be published on 8 October according to The Guardian, which obtained a copy. 

The claim that the deep state is a 'conspiracy theory' flies in the face of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, who suggested the deep state is behind an impeachment inquiry into President Trump's request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden. Last Sunday, Miller told Fox News he knows "the difference between a whistleblower and a deep state operative." 

On Thursday, Bannon's former outlet - Breitbart News, published a new essay by Virgil, "the pseudonymous author of the original Deep State series. The title: Lessons of Impeachment, from Watergate to Monicagate to Bidengate" according to The Guardian

And so when the New York Times informs us that the whistleblower works for the CIA—the former domain of Trump-hater John Brennan—and is thus “nonpolitical,” well, that’s good for a Virgilian belly laugh. Indeed, when one considers the legal craftsmanship of the report, it’s obvious that the whistleblower had a lot of help in the researching and writing of the document. -Breitbart

According to Virgil, "Yes, this is the deep state in action, and it's out for blood.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/06/2019 - 12:30
Tags
Published:10/6/2019 11:37:10 AM
[Markets] New Yorker Journo Who Peddled Discredited Kavanaugh Claims Calls Biden-Ukraine Scandal A "Conspiracy Theory" New Yorker Journo Who Peddled Discredited Kavanaugh Claims Calls Biden-Ukraine Scandal A "Conspiracy Theory"

Narrative-shaping establishment minions are scrambling to make us understand that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter simply couldn't have engaged in textbook corruption in Ukraine and China. More importantly, any investigation into said allegations is beyond the pale - especially if it might ruin the left's chances of dislodging 'orange man bad' from the Oval Office in 2020. 

On Friday, the New Yorker's resident anti-Kavanaugh crusader Jane Mayer spent the better part of 2100 words lashing out at the effort to investigate the bidens, reducing credible allegations to a "conspiracy theory" despite direct evidence that at minimum, Joe Biden leveraged his office to get a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired.

Shokin was investigating Burisma holdings, an oil and gas company paying Hunter Biden $600,000 per year to sit on its board next to a former CIA Director - when the younger Biden's only apparent qualification was having been born right. If you think that's odd, you may be a conspiracy theorist. 

To discredit Shokin, Mayer repeats the well worn claim that "European and US officials, including Joe Biden, complained that he [Shokin] was lax in curbing corruption." Perhaps, but let's see some evidence from the period leading up to his ouster that doesn't include high-level hearsay. 

In short, Jane's latest diatribe does little to address the merit of the allegations against the Bidens. Instead, she seeks to delegitimize conservative journalists reporting on it, such as The Hill's John Solomon and Breitbart's Peter Schweizer - calling them "political partisans pushing complicated and hard-to-check foreign narratives" who are engaging in disinformation. 

"Anyone trying to track the Ukrainian conspiracy stories that were eventually embraced by President Trump is likely to get mired in the same echo chamber of right-wing news purveyors that misinformed voters in 2016," Mayer writes. 

Schweizer went a step further. His chapter implied not just that Burisma was a crooked company but that the end of a Ukrainian criminal investigation into it on January 12, 2017, was in some unstated way connected to Joe Biden’s visit to the country four days later. In this way, Schweizer floated the possibility that, as Vice-President, Biden had abused his power to protect the company or his son from prosecution. Yet Schweizer provided no proof of causation nor evidence of illegality. -New Yorker

Where she does address the Biden-Ukraine scandal, Mayer makes unexplored claims such as "The Burisma investigation had been dormant under Shokin," without noting that Shokin said in a sworn affidavit "The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors."

We suppose it's entirely possible that Hunter Biden and John Kerry's stepson coincidentally landed a $1.5 billion contract in China all by themselves just two weeks after Joe and Hunter flew there together on Air Force Two. Again, however, you might be a conspiracy theorist if you suspect otherwise. 

And while Hunter's lucrative Ukraine dealings were outrageous enough in 2014 for ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl to ask Obama's then-press secretary Jay Carney about the "appearance of conflict," such questions are apparently the stuff of 'conspiracy theory' according to Mayer. 

Another glaring red flag is the pass given to the Bidens for lying about Joe's knowledge of Hunter's dealings - with Joe claiming the two "never spoke" of them, and Hunter later telling the New Yorker the two had discussed Burisma "just once."

Of course, when a Clinton Foundation board member tells a Trump campaign aide that Russia has dirt on Hillary - a rumor he later repeats to an Australian diplomat, let's kick off a multi-year counterintelligence investigation on the premise that Trump is working with Russia and not call it the actual conspiracy theory it turned out to be. We can only imagine what would turn up if an unbiased FBI and a special counsel spent over three years similarly pursuing the Bidens.

It's OK when we do it... 

When it comes to President Trump and anyone else whose name has been so much as uttered in the same breath, hearsay and 'concerns' are enough to launch investigations.

To that end - for someone who thinks "evidence of illegality" is the standard by which claims should be investigated, Mayer peddled several eleventh-hour sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh - most notably that of Christine Blasey Ford, whose claim has largely unraveled after the people she says were at a High School party where Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her can't recall the incident, and have in fact denied it happened or otherwise refuted her account (Mayer also co-wrote a 1994 book, Strange Justice, used in a similar eleventh-hour attack against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas). 

For Biden, we suddenly require proof behind dots even a caveman could connect. 

Meanwhile, the leftist journo was also called out by Meghan McCain on "The View" for her defense of former Democratic Senator Al Franken, who resigned after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct

In summary; pay no attention to that man behind the curtain if he's a Democrat, and you're a conspiracy theorist for even thinking of looking.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/06/2019 - 09:45
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Published:10/6/2019 9:05:58 AM
[Markets] Spooks Turned Spox: US Media Now Filled With Former Intelligence Agents Spooks Turned Spox: US Media Now Filled With Former Intelligence Agents

After years in the shadows overseeing espionage, kill programs, warrantless wiretapping, entrapment, psyops and other covert operations, national security establishment retirees are are turning to a new line of work where they can carry out their imperial duties.

That is, propagandizing the public on cable news. Reborn as cable news pundits, these people are cashing in. So many years working in the dark, only to emerge in the studio lights of the same networks that rail all day everyday against state TV from countries that America hates.

I'm talking about people like...

Below is but a partial list of prominent former spooks turned mainstream media pundits and analysts, to say nothing of the even greater numbers of retired generals the network continuously rely on. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan who is now an NBC News senior national security and intelligence analyst. 

Fran Townsend, former homeland security advisor to George W. Bush. She's now a CBS News senior national security analyst. 

But CNN takes the cake — it's the biggest spook show of all.

Jim Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, now a CNN national security analyst.

Retired General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA, now a CNN national security analyst.

Asha Rangappa, former FBI special agent, now CNN legal analyst.

James Gagliano, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, now a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Tony Bliken, former deputy secretary of state and former deputy national security advisor, and now CNN global affairs analyst. 

Mike Rogers, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, now CNN national security commentator. 

Samantha Vinograd senior advisor to the national security advisor under President Obama, now CNN national security analyst.

Steven Hall, retired CIA chief of Russia operations, now a CNN national security analyst.

Philip Mudd, former CIA counter-terrorism official, now CNN counter-terrorism analyst.

* * *

...Welcome to the spook show!

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/05/2019 - 10:50
Published:10/5/2019 10:03:54 AM
[Markets] "I Love The Smell Of Malfeasance In The Morning" "I Love The Smell Of Malfeasance In The Morning"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Do You Have A Lisance For That Minky?

Sometimes, if you open up a big enough gate and stand in the void, the gate will swing back and slap you on the ass — which is where serial bungler and arch-schlemiel Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) finds himself at the end of an exhausting week’s dissembling in the WhistleGate matter. Long about now, his reluctant partner in the latest impeachment gambit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, must feel date-raped just a little bit as every unraveling thread in the story leads back to another exposed deception by Schiff, the Inspector Clouseau of impeachment politics.

Maybe reading an alt-reality version of the Trump-Zelensky phone transcript wasn’t such a hot idea after all, since he read into the record evidence of his own bad faith. What was at issue, of course, were the President’s words, and in substituting something demonstrably other than that, and placing it on the record, Rep. Schiff set up a prima facie case for dismissal of his own case against Mr. Trump. Any way you slice the stunt, it smells like malfeasance.

Then there is the alleged “Whistleblower.” The identity of this shadowy figure can’t be concealed indefinitely. The Whistleblower may not even exist, and if he or she does, the classification of whistleblower may not apply to the actions taken by him/her and his/her managers. He/she has been officially described as a CIA agent detailed for some time in the White House during the Obama years, who may have been rotated back into the Trump White House on the pretext of some special expertise, say Ukrainian affairs. That suggests his/her origin as a John Brennan tool. That is, the former CIA chief now nervously awaiting the legal disposition of his intrigues in the RussiaGate matter. WhistleGate may be Mr. Brennan’s last desperate ploy to ward off prosecution, a gate too far.

What for? How about using the CIA to spy domestically on American citizens on US soil, which it is expressly forbidden to do by law, and pretty bad news if authorized by the guy who ran the whole shop, not just some schwantz section leader at a rogue operations desk. The FBI can do it with proper warrants, but not the CIA. Perhaps more troubling is who may have authorized Mr. Brennan to do that. Does the name Barack Obama ring a bell? He has kept so deeply out of sight in recent months that he’s becoming as obscure as James Knox Polk in the public’s memory. Many may forget he played a role in RussiaGate.

The first casualty of WhistleGate is the Democratic party’s front-runner in the 2020 presidential contest, Joe Biden, who may now spend his retirement years doing Chinese fire drills in the federal courts for influence peddling in connection with his bag-man son, R. Hunter Biden. I suspect the Dems are glad to get rid of stumbling, fumbling Uncle Joe, who was finding it hard to run with one foot constantly in his mouth. Now they’re stuck with candidates dedicated to open borders, free health care for border-jumpers, and a whole lot more obviously insane policy experiments borrowed from the Herbert Marcuse playbook. Good luck with that.

By the way, what if it turns out that there actually is no Whistleblower, that the figure was just a fiction, a CGI figment cooked up by Adam Schiff, his lawyers, and sundry other players on the Deep State bench? Sounds outlandish perhaps, but I wouldn’t put it past the congressman from Hollywood. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, it appears that the purported Whistleblower and his chief handler, Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson failed to observe the proper procedures in reporting the complaint through channels, not to mention the legerdemain of sketchy paperwork that attested to the complaint. Remember who Michael Atkinson is: the former legal counsel to John P. Carlin, who was Assistant Attorney General for National Security during the origin months of the RussiaGate operation in the summer of 2016, and before that chief of staff to… wait for it… Robert Mueller, when he was FBI Director. Do you begin to detect a claque of senior bureaucrats scrambling to cover each other’s ass?

Interesting days ahead as this feculent blob of malfeasance creepy-crawls through the spooky weeks of October, climaxing in Halloween. These are the weeks when the DOJ Inspector General’s report on FISA court shenanigans comes down. It’s also the month of the Brexit Absolute Deadline. That hairball over in Old Blighty might seem of unconcern over here, but it contains enough explosive power to destabilize the European banking system and, with it, America’s, which would lead to some rather scary action in the bond and equity markets at exactly the time of year when accidents like that happen.

And then, deeper in the background, like Hades and Thanatos, stand the grave figures of Barr and Durham, whose very silence lo these many months must be giving the vapors to that claque of lesser monsters who cooked up the coup to overthrow the president, and botched the job.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/05/2019 - 10:20
Published:10/5/2019 9:29:41 AM
[Markets] CJ Hopkins: Trumpenstein Must Be Destroyed! CJ Hopkins: Trumpenstein Must Be Destroyed!

Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins via The Unz Review,

So here we go. Like a 1960s straight-to-drive-in Hammer Film Production, the 2020 campaign season has begun. Dig into your bucket of popcorn, pop the flap on your box of Good & Plenty, turn off your mind, and enjoy the show. From the looks of the trailer, it’s going to be a doozy.

That’s right, folks, it’s the final installment of the popular Trumpenstein horror movie series, TRUMPENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED! It will be playing, more or less around the clock, on more or less every screen in existence, until November 3, 2020 … or until Trump takes that lonely walk across the White House lawn to the Marine One chopper and flies off to Mar-a-Lago in disgrace.

Here’s a quick recap of the series so far, for those who may be joining us late.

When we last saw Trumpenstein he was out on the balcony of the White House South Portico in his Brioni boxers, ripped to the gills on Diet Coke and bellowing like a bull elephant seal. Having narrowly survived the Resistance’s attempts to expose him as a Russian intelligence asset (and the reanimated corpse of Adolf Hitler), he was pounding his chest and hollering angry gibberish at the liberal media like the Humongous in the second Mad Max movie.

The liberal mob was standing around with their torches and pitchforks in a state of shock. Doctor Mueller, the “monster hunter,” had let Trumpenstein slip through his fingers. The supposedly ironclad case against him had turned out to be a bunch of lies made up by the Intelligence Community, the Democratic Party, and the corporate media.

Russiagate was officially dead. The President of the United States was not a Russian secret agent. No one was blackmailing anyone with a videotape of Romanian prostitutes peeing on a bed where Obama once slept. All that had happened was, millions of liberals had been subjected to the most elaborate psyop in the history of elaborate deep state psyops … which, ironically, had only further strengthened Trumpenstein, who was out there on the Portico balcony, shotgunning Diet Cokes with one hand and shaking his junk at the mob with the other.

It wasn’t looking so good for “democracy.”

Fortunately, even though Russiagate had blown up in the Resistance’s faces and Trumpenstein could no longer be painted as a traitorous Russian intelligence asset (or as Vladimir Putin’s homosexual lover), he was still the reanimated corpse of Hitler, so they went balls out on the fascism hysteria, which kept the Resistance alive through the summer.

Which was all they really needed to do. Because these last three years were basically just a warm-up for the main event, which was always scheduled to begin this autumn. Russiagate, Hitlergate, and all the rest of it … it was all just a prelude to these impeachment hearings, and to the mass hysteria surrounding same, which the global capitalist ruling classes, the Intelligence Community, and the corporate media will be barraging us with until November 2020.

The details don’t really matter that much. They were always going to impeach him for something, and they were always going to do it now, and throughout the 2020 campaign season.

You do not honestly believe they are going to let him serve a second term, do you? He took them by surprise in 2016. That isn’t going to happen again.

Seriously, take a moment and reflect on everything we’ve been subjected to since Hillary Clinton lost the election... the unmitigated insanity of it all.

  • The Russiagate hysteria.

  • The Russian hacker hysteria.

  • The Russian Facebook mind-control hysteria.

  • The Hitler hysteria.

  • The mass fascism hysteria.

  • The anti-Semitism hysteria.

  • The concentration camp hysteria.

  • The white supremacist terrorism hysteria.

  • Russian spy whales.

  • Perfume assassins.

  • The endless stream of fabricated “news” stories pumped out by the corporate media.

  • Best-selling books, based on nothing.

  • Comedians singing hymns to former FBI directors on national television.

  • Celebrities demanding CIA coups.

  • Papers of record like The New York Times coordinating blatant propaganda campaigns.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

All of this because one billionaire ass clown won an election without their permission?

No, this was never just about Donald Trump, repulsive and corrupt as the man may be. The stakes have always been much higher than that. What we’ve witnessed over the the last three years (and what is about to reach its apogee) is a global capitalist counter-insurgency, the goal of which is:

(a) to put down the ongoing populist rebellion throughout the West,

and (b) to crush any hope of resistance to the hegemony of global capitalism … in other words, a War on Populism.

Not that Donald Trump is a populist hero. Far from it. Trump is a narcissistic clown. He has always been a narcissistic clown. All he really cares about is seeing his face on television and plastering his name on everything in sight, preferably in huge gold letters. He got himself elected president by being cunning enough to recognize and ride the tsunami of populist anger that was building up in 2016, and that has continued to build throughout his presidency. It is not going away, that anger. The Western masses are no more thrilled about the global capitalist future today than they were when voted for Brexit, and Trump, and various other “populist” and reactionary figures.

Which is precisely why Trumpenstein must be destroyed, and why Brexit must not be allowed to happen … or, if it does, why the people of the United Kingdom must be mercilessly punished. It is also why the Gilets Jaunes are being brutally repressed by the French police, and disappeared by the corporate media (while the Hong Kong protesters garner daily headlines), and why Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party must be smeared as a hive of anti-Semites, and Tulsi Gabbard as an Assad-apologist, and why Julian Assange must be smeared and destroyed, and why Bernie Sanders must also be destroyed, and why anyone of any ilk (left, right, it doesn’t matter) riding that wave of populist anger or challenging the hegemony of global capitalism and its psychotic, smiley-face ideology in any other way must be destroyed.

2020 is for all the marbles.

The global capitalist ruling classes either crush this ongoing populist insurgency or... God knows where we go from here. Try to see it through their eyes for a moment. Picture four more years of Trump … second-term Trump … Trump unleashed. Do you really believe they’re going to let that happen, that they are going to permit this populist insurgency to continue for another four years?

They are not.

What they are going to do is use all their power to destroy the monster … not Trump the man, but Trump the symbol. They are going to drown us in impeachment minutiae, drip, drip, drip, for the next twelve months. The liberal corporate media are going to go full-Goebbels. They are going to whip up so much mass hysteria that people won’t be able to think. They are going to pit us one against the other, and force us onto one or the other side of a simulated conflict (Democracy versus the Putin-Nazis) to keep us from perceiving the actual conflict (Global Capitalism versus Populism). They are going to bring us to the brink of civil war in order to prevent civil war. And, if that doesn’t work, and Trump gets reelected (or if it looks like he’s going to get reelected), they’ll probably have to just go ahead and kill him.

One way or another, this is it. This is the part where the global capitalist ruling classes teach us all a lesson. The lesson they intend to teach us is the same old lesson that masters have been teaching slaves since the dawn of slavery.

The lesson is, “abandon hope.”

The lesson is, “resistance is futile.”

The lesson is, “shut up, eat your tofu, get back to work at your three gig jobs, service your school loans and your credit card debt, vote for who and what we tell you, and be grateful we don’t fucking kill you. Oh, yeah … and if you want to rebel against something, feel free to take up identity politics, or to march around town with posters of Saint Greta demanding that we stop destroying the planet. We’ll get right on that, don’t you worry.”

What? You thought this had a happy ending, that Trumpenstein and the Bride of Trumpenstein were going to ride off into the orange sunrise at Mar-a-Lago in a Trump-branded golf cart, having made America great again … or that Bernie was going to storm the castle, vanquish Trumpenstein, and set up something resembling basic social democracy?

I told you it was a horror film, didn’t I?

*  *  *

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/04/2019 - 23:45
Published:10/4/2019 10:58:03 PM
[Markets] McCarthy: Ignore The Hype - This Is Not An Impeachment Inquiry McCarthy: Ignore The Hype - This Is Not An Impeachment Inquiry

Authored by Andrew McCarthy, op-ed via The Hill,

There is no impeachment inquiry. There are no subpoenas.

You are not to be faulted if you think a formal inquest is under way and that legal process has been issued. The misimpression is completely understandable if you have been taking in media coverage — in particular, reporting on a haughty Sept. 27 letter from House Democrats, presuming to direct Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on pain of citation for obstruction, to cooperate in their demands to depose State Department officials and review various records. 

The letter is signed by not one but three committee chairmen. Remember your elementary math, though: Zero is still zero even when multiplied by three.

What is portrayed as an “impeachment inquiry” is actually just a made-for-cable-TV political soap opera. The House of Representatives is not conducting a formal impeachment inquiry. To the contrary, congressional Democrats are conducting the 2020 political campaign. 

The House has not voted as a body to authorize an impeachment inquiry. What we have are partisan theatrics, proceeding under the ipse dixit of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It raises the profile, but not the legitimacy, of the same “impeachment inquiry” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) previously tried to abracadabra into being without a committee vote.

Moreover, there are no subpoenas. As Secretary Pompeo observed in his fittingly tart response on Tuesday, what the committee chairmen issued was merely a letter. Its huffing and puffing notwithstanding, the letter is nothing more than an informal request for voluntary cooperation. Legally, it has no compulsive power. If anything, it is rife with legal deficiencies.

The Democrats, of course, hope you don’t notice that the House is not conducting a formal impeachment inquiry. They are using the guise of frenetic activity by several standing committees — Intelligence, Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Reform, Financial Services, and Ways and Means — whose normal oversight functions are being gussied up to look like serious impeachment business.

But standing committees do have subpoena power, so why not use it? Well, because subpoenas get litigated in court when the people or agencies on the receiving end object. Democrats want to have an impeachment show — um, inquiry — on television; they do not want to defend its bona fides in court.

They certainly do not want to defend their letter. The Democrats’ media scribes note the chairmen’s admonition that any failure by Pompeo to comply “shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.” What a crock. 

In criminal proceedings, prosecutors demand information all the time and witnesses often resist — just as congressional Democrats encouraged the Justice Department and FBI to resist when Republican-controlled committees were trying to investigate such matters as Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse. Presumptively, resisting an information request is not evidence of obstruction. It is evidence that the recipient of the demand believes he or she has a legal privilege that excuses compliance. The recipient can be wrong about that without being guilty of obstruction. 

Congressional Democrats know this, of course — many of them are lawyers. They are issuing partisan letters that pose legally offensive threats, rather than subpoenas, because this is a show, not an impeachment inquiry. Subpoenas don’t require chest-beating about obstruction. Everyone knows they are compulsory, but everyone also knows they may be challenged in court. Such challenges take time, though, and Democrats are in a hurry to close this show after a short run.

To be sure, the Constitution vests the House alone with the power of impeachment (as opposed to impeachment trials, which are the sole responsibility of the Senate). The judiciary has no authority to tell the House how to conduct impeachment proceedings. And the House is a “majority rules” institution, so if Speaker Pelosi and her partisans want to ipse dixit their way to impeachment articles, no one can stop them.

That said, the courts maintain their authority to protect the legal rights of persons and institutions ensnared in kangaroo tribunals. The fact that House Democrats invite you to their circus does not require you to beclown yourself.

Any competent court asked to evaluate a demand for information under the rubric of impeachment will observe that the process has a history. When the Framers debated whether to include an impeachment clause in the Constitution, they had serious concerns. They were designing a separation-of-powers system that endowed the coordinate branches with checks and balances to police each other. They understood that impeachment authority was necessary, but feared it would give the legislature too much power over the executive. 

They also worried that impeachment could be politicized. If it were too easy to do procedurally, or it could be resorted to for trifling acts of maladministration, factions opposed to the president would be tempted to try to overturn elections and grind the government to a halt.

To address these concerns, the Framers adopted a burdensome standard — high crimes and misdemeanors (in addition to treason and bribery) — that would restrict impeachable offenses to truly egregious abuses of power. Then they erected an even higher bar: a two-thirds supermajority requirement for conviction in the Senate. 

All this was to ensure that the electoral will of the people must never be overturned in the absence of misconduct so severe that it results in a broad consensus that the nation’s well-being requires removing the president from power. 

Although the House has the raw power to file articles of impeachment based on frivolous allegations and minor abuses, the Senate supermajority requirement for removal is designed to have a sobering effect on the lower chamber. Impeachment should not be sought out of partisanship. There must be misconduct that would convince objective Americans, regardless of their politics, that the president must be ousted — not merely criticized or censured, but stripped of authority.

In defending against any congressional demand for information, the president has various privileges against disclosure. Executive components such as the State Department are also repositories of highly sensitive information involving national security and foreign relations — conduct of the latter being a nearly plenary executive authority. The judiciary is generally deferential toward the executive’s claims of privilege. But Congress is given wider latitude to probe in a real impeachment inquiry. When the House, as an institution, endorses such an inquiry in a formal vote, the courts must presume the inquiry is based on a reasonable suspicion of grievous misconduct.

By contrast, any reasonable judge asked to weigh the demands for information presented to Pompeo would not give them the time of day. They do not reflect the judgment of the House. They are reflective, instead, of partisan House leadership that realizes it does not have impeachable offenses — so much so that Pelosi & Co. fear the wrath of voters if Democrats in districts friendly to President Trump are put to the test of voting to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry. 

Every presidential impeachment inquiry, from Andrew Johnson through Bill Clinton, has been the subject of bipartisan consultation and debate. The House has recognized that its legitimacy, and the legitimacy of its most solemn actions, must be based on the consideration of the whole body, not the diktat of a few partisan bosses.

Not this one. This one is a misadventure in exactly the bare-knuckles partisanship the Framers feared. To be sure, no one has the power to prevent willful House leadership from misbehaving this way. But we’re not required to pretend the charade is real. 

Democrats are mulishly determined to ram through an article of impeachment or two, regardless of whether the State Department and other agencies cooperate in the farce. Their base wants the scarlet-letter “I” attached to Trump. The party hopes to rally the troops for the 2020 campaign against Trump (although smarter Democrats know it could boomerang on them). 

If Democrats truly thought they had a case, they wouldn’t be in such a rush — they’d want everyone to have time to study it. But they don’t have a case, so instead they’re giving us a show.

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:10
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Published:10/4/2019 11:23:57 AM
[Markets] "I Am With Mueller": Newly Released Rosenstein Emails Reveal Crusade To Investigate Trump "I Am With Mueller": Newly Released Rosenstein Emails Reveal Crusade To Investigate Trump

"I am with Mueller. He shares my views. Duty Calls.  Sometimes the moment chooses us." -Rod Rosenstein, one day before Mueller was appointed as special counsel

New emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit reveal the details surrounding communications between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller in the days leading up to the former FBI Director's appointment as special counsel in the Russia probe. Mueller would go on to assemble a team comprising "13 Angry Democrats" as Trump called them, due to their obvious animus towards the president. 

According to the 145 pages of documents obtained by Judicial Watch, Rosenstein and Mueller were discussing just three days after President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, and ostenisbly for some time before that. 

"The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions," Rosenstein wrote Mueller on May 12, 2017 as the two tried to nail down a time for their next conversation.  

Via Judidial Watch

Four days later on May 16- the day before Mueller's appointment, Rosenstein told former Bush administration Deputy Attorney General and current Kirkland & Ellis Partne, Mark Filip "I am with Mueller. He shares my views. Duty Calls.  Sometimes the moment chooses us.

Via Judicial Watch

And on May 17 Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Also, during the same time period, between May 8 and May 17, Rosenstein met with then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other senior Justice Department FBI officials to discuss wearing a wire and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. -Judicial Watch

Meanwhile, Rosenstein was in contact with 60 Minutes, The New York Times and the Washington Post during the same time period. 

"In an email exchange dated May 2017, Rosenstein communicated with New York Times reporter Rebecca Ruiz to provide background for this article about himself. Ruiz emailed Rosenstein a draft of the article, and he responded with off-the-record comments and clarifications," according to Judicial Watch. 

  • In an email exchange on May 17, 2017, the day of Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein exchanged emails with 60 Minutes producer Katherine Davis in which he answered off-the-record questions about Mueller’s scope of authority and chain of command:

Rosenstein: “Off the record: This special counsel is a DOJ employee. His status is similar to a US Attorney.

Davis: “Good call on Mueller. Although I obviously thought you’d be great at leading the investigation too.

  • On May 17, 2017, in an email exchange with Washington Post journalist Sari Horwitz and the subject line “Special Counsel” Rosenstein and Horwitz exchanged:

 Rosenstein: “At some point, I owe you a long story. But this is not the right time for me to talk to anybody.

Horwitz: “Now, I see why you couldn’t talk today! Obviously, we’re writing a big story about this. Is there any chance I could talk to you on background about your decision?” -JW

"These astonishing emails further confirm the corruption behind Rosenstein’s appointment of Robert Mueller," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The emails also show a shockingly cozy relationship between Mr. Rosenstein and anti-Trump media reporters."

Tyler Durden Fri, 10/04/2019 - 09:14
Published:10/4/2019 8:24:11 AM
[Markets] Trump Administration Provides New Evidence For A Saudi Connection To 9/11 Trump Administration Provides New Evidence For A Saudi Connection To 9/11

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The debate over what actually occurred on 9/11 and, more to the point, who might have been behind it, continues to preoccupy many observers worldwide.

There is considerable legitimate concern that the commission that reviewed the incident engaged in a cover-up designed either to excuse a catastrophic failure on the part of the United States’ national security apparatus, or even connivance of federal agencies in the attack itself.

And then there is the issue of possible foreign government involvement. The roles of the Saudi Arabian, Israeli and Pakistani governments and security services has never been adequately investigated in spite of the fact that all three countries had clear involvement with the mostly Saudi individuals who have been identified as the attackers. Beyond that, Israel had intelligence operatives that appeared to be celebrating the fall of the twin towers in real time, an involvement in what took place that has never been comprehensively looked at by law enforcement due to unwillingness to offend the Israelis.

It was Saudi Arabia which had the most sustained and personal contact with some of the alleged hijackers. For years, families of victims have been seeking to find out more about the possible Saudi role, admittedly so they can sue the Kingdom in US courts under existing anti-terrorism legislation that dates from 2016 and is referred to as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The Act permits lawsuits in the US directed against any country whose government supports international terrorism.

The plaintiffs have won something of a victory recently with the Trump administration decision to declassify a key name of a Saudi official who has been long sought by the relatives of the victims. Under the terms of the information release, the government as well as the victims’ lawyers, who received the name under a “protective order,” have not been allowed to expose the name publicly.

The declassified name, which came from an FBI investigative file, is, however, only a partial victory for the group that goes by the name 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism. The release of other documents relating to the Saudi role is pending, possibly due to the Trump White House’s insistence on maintaining good relations with the Kingdom and more particularly with its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but the plaintiffs wonder how it is possible that information on the attack should still be classified more than eighteen years after the fact.

The name of the official is nevertheless important, even a “top priority,” because it is believed that he was a senior intelligence officer who was meeting with two men who may have assisted the alleged hijackers. The FBI even refers to it as “the primary piece of information that the plaintiffs in the 9/11 litigation have been seeking.”

The Saudi Embassy in Washington has not commented on the report and the White House referred inquiries to the Justice Department, which did not comment beyond stating that it had been a top-level decision not to invoke the so-called “state secrets” privilege to keep the information classified.

Previous exposure of a possible Saudi role in 9/11 came with the release of the redacted “28 pages” of the 9/11 report on July 15, 2016. To be sure there were extensive deletions from the text to protect names and sources, but the document produced by the White House was at the time reported to be largely complete. CIA Director John Brennan provided some damage control prior to the release by arguing that much of the information contained in the redacted section consisted of “raw” and untested information, suggesting that it might not be completely reliable, while some who had seen the full document revealed through leaks that there would be no “smoking gun” exposing direct Saudi involvement in 9/11.

The release of the document produced a brief flurry in the media but, perhaps intentionally, the story disappeared amidst the avalanche of political convention reporting that summer. There was a great deal of new information, though most of it served to corroborate or expand on what was already known and reported. One snippet that was particularly interesting recounted how in 1999 two Saudi men on a flight from Phoenix to Washington DC for an alleged visit to the Saudi Embassy to attend a party asked numerous questions about the plane’s security and tried several times to enter the cockpit. They claimed their tickets were paid for by the Saudi Embassy.

There is a direct link between some of the 9/11 hijackers and presumed agents of the Saudi government but the 28 pages do not provide any conclusive evidence demonstrating collusion. In fact, the snippets rather suggest that the Saudis were more likely keeping tabs on some citizens whom they quite rightly might have suspected as threatening to their own national security. There are several hints in the text that the Saudis were quite aggressively running their own operations against their diaspora citizens. It was noted several times that they failed to fully cooperate with US counter-terror investigators prior to 9/11, which would not be surprising if they were simultaneous acting independently.

The key player in the story who directly assisted some hijackers, one Omar al-Bayoumi, has been described as a “non-official cover” intelligence officer, but the way his funding from the Embassy and other official sources fluctuated to pay him sometimes irregularly rather suggests that he might have been a source or informer, not an actual government case officer. Several other Saudis identified in the 28 pages also fit the same profile. Bayoumi was in regular contact with Fahad al-Thumairy, an employee of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, who may have been an actual intelligence officer and his controller.

There was also considerable evidence that Saudi government-funded charities, some linked to the Royal Family, did fund the alleged hijackers but the FBI did not find evidence that the government or senior Saudi officials were involved. The US government concluded that the document did not demonstrate any intent by the government in Riyadh to enable its citizens to carry out a terrorist attack on US soil nor knowledge that anything like that might be developing.

It should also be noted for what it’s worth that the Bush Administration clearly regarded Saudi Arabia as a special friend and directed the FBI and CIA to “back off” from aggressively investigating its intelligence operations in the US and globally. Whether that made any difference in terms of what subsequently transpired cannot be determined, just as the surfacing of a new name for the families of victims may not prove to materially affect the viability of a lawsuit directed against Saudi Arabia.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/03/2019 - 22:45
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Published:10/3/2019 9:49:08 PM
[Markets] School Districts Use "Gaggle" To Monitor Students' Free Speech And Social Media Posts School Districts Use "Gaggle" To Monitor Students' Free Speech And Social Media Posts

Via MassPrivateI blog,

Today, I give you a frightening story about free speech censorship and watchlists just in time for the countdown to Halloween.

A recent article in The Tennessean reveals how the Williamson County School District (WCS) is monitoring students free speech and social media posts.

The WCS recently implemented a "threat surveillance program" called Gaggle, that is so invasive and frightening one would be hard pressed not to call it a "gag" program that limits students free speech.

When the WCS was asked to reveal specific details about what Gaggle and authorities are monitoring students speech for, they claimed they could not reveal any details "due to federal family protection laws."

Public & private schools are joining the ranks of alphabet soup surveillance agencies like DHS, the FBI and the NSA claiming they cannot reveal surveillance details.

The Tennessean was able to shed some light on what Gaggle monitors by saying it, "operates using a mathematical algorithm to identify high risk words and phrases when students are logged into the district’s server."

Gaggle's video was a little more revealing, claiming that they monitor students social media posts 24/7 for things like:

  • profanity

  • insulting language

  • hate speech

  • provocative images

  • pornography 

  • drug use

  • alcohol use and much more

When school districts and private corporations start monitoring students for things like profanity and insulting language, we should all be worried because it will not end there.

Soon social media providers will monitor everyone.

Parents think school districts have crossed the line with Gaggle.

"I'm concerned about the mining of all the other student-written text, regarding bullying, profanity, or anything offensive. Aren't kids going to be too nervous to write anything that's potentially controversial? What kind of education will they get if they're walking on eggshells not to offend the computer algorithm?” WCS parent Thomas Morgan said.

Gaggle's monitoring of students is a lot more invasive than what parents are being told.

Gaggle's "Safety Management Dashboard" allows school staff and law enforcement to identify and track individual students who have the highest number of incidents.

The Gaggle Safety Management Dashboard allows superintendents, principals and other educators who are responsible for student safety to investigate and answer the following questions:

  • Which of my schools has the highest amount of incidents?

  • What educational tools are my students using most frequently?

  • How severe are the incidents Gaggle Safety Representatives discover?

  • Has the number of inappropriate incidents increased or decreased over time?

  • How does my school or district’s incident rate compare with national averages?

Mr. Morgan was right, students will be walking on eggshells because they will be afraid of getting put on a watchlist.

Gaggle is like Alexa on steroids.

A Gaggle video called "do you know what your students are doing online?" is a damning account of exactly how invasive their threat to free speech is.

Gaggle's Bloomington, Illinois staff, listens to and watches students social media content in real-time 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The video also revealed that at least seven school districts are using Gaggle: Oklahoma Public Schools, Cincinnati public schools, Duval public schools, Fort Wayne Community schools, Johnston County schools, Denver Public schools and last but not least the Williamson County School District.

The Tennessean revealed a horrific vision of how school board members view monitoring students free speech.

“I don’t think it interferes with free speech. I think it is just like any other employer’s authority to monitor their network,” School board member Eliot Mitchell, 3rd District, an IT executive at a computer systems company said.

When faculty and law enforcement start viewing themselves as employers and students as employees, is it any wonder their free speech is in jeopardy?

What makes Gaggle's incident tracking system even more disconcerting is that it builds a database of each student's infraction[s] that will follow them throughout their lives.

Allowing corporations to create databases of our kids lives in school is horrendous. Soon no one will be able to escape being put on some type of government/corporate watchlist. That terrifies me.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/03/2019 - 18:45
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Published:10/3/2019 5:48:19 PM
[b46d5bd0-4bb0-5ed5-8cc7-a5a791a54b1a] Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' explores FBI, media wrongdoing after 1996 Olympic bombing Clint Eastwood is looking to expose the truth on a much-maligned former security guard who had his life ruined at the hands of FBI investigators and over-anxious media after he reported finding a suspicious explosive device at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was falsely accused of planting it himself. Published:10/3/2019 4:18:11 PM
[The Blog] Clint Eastwood’s new film, Richard Jewell, takes aim at the FBI and the news media

"...the epitome of false accusation."

The post Clint Eastwood’s new film, Richard Jewell, takes aim at the FBI and the news media appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:10/3/2019 2:21:37 PM
[Democrats] Eric Felten: Inside whistlegate (Scott Johnson) Eric Felten is a meticulous and literate reporter as well as one of my favorite analysts of the mysteries of Russiagate. We have previously posted Eric’s RealClearInvestigations column “Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report doth repeat so much.” Eric waded further into the Mueller miasma in the RCI column “The shaky foundations of Mueller’s footnotes.” Eric also took up “The Mifsud mystery” and asked “Why Was the FBI Incurious About a Published:10/3/2019 7:46:47 AM
[Markets] Graham Asks Foreign Countries To Cooperate With Russiagate Origin Investigation Graham Asks Foreign Countries To Cooperate With Russiagate Origin Investigation

Following a Tuesday report by the New York Times that President Trump "pressed" Australia's Prime Minister into cooperating with Attorney General William Barr's investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe, the MSM lost their marbles - bloviating (without articulating) that Trump's discussion was beyond the pale, and Trump clearly coerced him into something.

Less than an hour later, Australian PM Scott Morrison put their aspersions to bed - stating "The Australian Government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation. The PM confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the President."

To be clear, the left feels that any investigation of potential FBI wrongdoing is off-limitsPerhaps they're afraid of what Barr and his team may uncover? 

Related: The media has no reason to blast William Barr for his doing his job (The Hill)

On Wednesday, perhaps in an effort to get ahead of Democrat efforts to undermine Barr, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sent a letter to three foreign governments, urging them to cooperate with the Justice Department's probe into the origins of the Russia probe.

Graham's letter was addressed to Italy, Austria and the United Kingdom. 

"That the attorney general is holding meetings with your countries to aid in the Justice Department's investigation of what happened is well within the bounds of his normal activities. He is simply doing his job," wrote Graham, adding "your country's continued cooperation with Attorney General Barr as the Department of Justice continues to investigate the origins and extent of foreign influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Graham noted in his letter that "it appears" the United States used "foreign intelligence as part of their efforts to investigate and monitor the 2016 election.

Graham had said earlier this week that he was planning to send the letters in the wake of the New York Times reporting that Trump had reached out to the Australian government to assist Barr as part of the DOJ investigation. The Justice Department subsequently confirmed the report. 

"This New York Times article is an effort to stop Barr. ... What are they afraid of? This really bothers me a lot that the left is going to try to say there's something wrong with Barr talking to Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom," Graham said during a Fox News interview earlier this week. -The Hill

Barr has reportedly been in contact with UK and Italian officials. 

In May, President Trump said he wanted Attorney General William Barr to investigate the UK, Australia and Ukraine for their roles in the 'greatest hoax in the history of our country.'

"It's the greatest hoax probably in the history of our country and somebody has to get to the bottom of it. We'll see. For a long period of time, they wanted me to declassify and I did," he said. 

After the Mueller report made clear that Trump and his campaign had in no way conspired with Russia during hte 2016 election, Democrats immediately pivoted to whether Trump obstructed the investigation. Trump and his supporters, however, immediately pivoted to the conduct of the US intelligence community, including the involvement of foreign actors and possibly their governments. 

Meanwhile, an email exchange in late 2016 referred to the infamous Steele Dossier as "crown material," suggesting UK intelligence may have played a role in the opposition research conducted by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign. 

*** (As we noted in May) ***

Moreover, much of "Operation Crossfire Hurricane" - the FBI's official investigation into the Trump campaign - occurred on UK soil, which is perhaps why the New York Times reported last September that the UK begged Trump not to declassify 'Russiagate' documents 'without redaction.'  

Shortly after he announced his involvement with the Trump campaign, aide George Papadopoulos was lured to London in March, 2016, where Maltese professor and self-described Clinton foundation member Joseph Mifsud fed him the rumor that Russia had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. It was later at a London bar that Papadopoulos would drunkenly pass the rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer (who FBI agent Peter Strzok flew to London to meet with the day after Crossfire Hurricane was launched). 

Two weeks laterPapadopoulos would be bilked for information by Australian diplomat (another Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Russia rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI (as the story goes), which 'officially' kicked off the US intelligence investigation. 

No wonder Democrats are freaking out about Barr's investigation...

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/02/2019 - 19:35
Tags
Published:10/2/2019 6:44:40 PM
[Markets] The FBI Is Running Facebook Ads To Target And Recruit Russian Spies In Washington D.C. The FBI Is Running Facebook Ads To Target And Recruit Russian Spies In Washington D.C.

In a comically ironic move, after all the meddling miasma of the last few years, The FBI is now running Facebook ads to try and target Russian spies and those who know about their work in the Washington D.C. area, according to CNN.

One such advertisement features a photo of a young woman at her graduation with her family. The Russian text over the photo reads: "For your future, for the future of your family."

A second advertisement shows a picture of a chess set and says in Russian: "Isn't it time for you to make your move?"

A third advertisement says "Time to draw bridges" in Russian with a photo of a man walking over a bridge. 

The ads then link to a page in the FBI's Washington DC field office that has details in both English and Russian about the FBI's counterintelligence team, asking people to "visit us in person". 

The FBI was running these three ads when they were discovered by CNN earlier this week - but they have reportedly been running for the length of the summer. 

The FBI didn't confirm any details about the campaign but the ads are viewable through tools that track active advertising campaigns on Facebook. 

Alan E. Kohler Jr., special agent in charge of the Washington field office's counterintelligence division said: "We cannot comment except to note that Russia has a large number of intelligence officers based in Russian diplomatic facilities around the world. They are very active and pose a security risk to the US and our allies."

He continued: 

"The FBI uses a variety of means to gather information, including the use of sources. The FBI will use all legal means available to locate individuals with information that can help protect the United States from threats to our national security. Russia has long been a counterintelligence threat to the US and the FBI will continue to adapt our investigative and outreach techniques to counter the threat."

Bob Baer, a former CIA agent said the ads were a good idea: "The thing with Russian spies is 99 percent of them are walk-ins, and these people make the decision on their own completely. Putting it out there and getting in this milieu and seeding the idea of volunteering for the FBI is a good idea."

Counterintelligence at the FBI is tasked with "the detection, identification, and neutralization of hostile foreign intelligence activities," according the FBI website, which also states "The FBI obtains the best intelligence to combat this threat through information provided by the public. If you have information that can help the FBI fulfill this mission, visit us in person." 

How long before Zuckerberg bans The FBI for 'meddling'?

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/02/2019 - 17:35
Published:10/2/2019 4:41:58 PM
[National Security] Rifle Murders Declined Nearly 24 Percent, FBI Report Shows

America saw a significant decrease in the number of homicides involving rifles, a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation released on Monday shows.

The post Rifle Murders Declined Nearly 24 Percent, FBI Report Shows appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/2/2019 9:14:34 AM
[National Security] FBI: Homicide Down in 2018

Murder is on the decline in America, according to a new FBI report.

The post FBI: Homicide Down in 2018 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/2/2019 4:48:41 AM
[Markets] 5 Unanswered Questions That Remain 2 Years After The Vegas Shooting 5 Unanswered Questions That Remain 2 Years After The Vegas Shooting

Authored by Matt Agorist via The Free Thought Project,

It has been exactly two years since Stephen Paddock allegedly busted out the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino Hotel and opened fire on concert goers below. In total, 58 people would be slaughtered and hundreds of others injured. Sadly, in all the time and all the police state tactics and technology at their fingertips, investigators are still unable to even come close as to why Paddock did what he did. With questions unanswered and families and victims still seeking information, the FBI officially closed their investigation earlier this year.

“It wasn’t about MGM, Mandalay Bay or a specific casino or venue,” said Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office when the FBI closed the case in January.

“It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy.”

Paddock, according to the FBI’s official story, acted alone and murdered dozens to simply go down in history.

Before the FBI closed their investigation, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo declared the case closed as well and vowed never to speak Paddock’s name in public again. Like the FBI, the LVMPD closed their investigation without ever finding a motive and leaving countless questions unanswered.

The Vegas massacre, which is now referred to as 1 October, has only gotten stranger as things progress. Following the tragedy, law enforcement engaged in a series of narrative changes, deliberate blocking of information, and appeared to be working directly with the casino to make sure Americans never know the entire truth.

For months after the shooting, the LVMPD refused to release any information. Only after they fought the release all the way to the state supreme court, and were handed down a ruling forcing them to release information, did they ever budge.

However, after the court forced them to release information on the October 1 massacre, the Las Vegas police department—in an insultingly futile attempt at transparency—randomly began dumping information related to the shooting. In what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters, much of the video released by the department had no time stamps and was provided without context.

Luckily, outlets like the Las Vegas Review-Journal were persistent in scrubbing the details of this case. However, because the mainstream media no longer reports on this information, it was essentially buried upon its release. The Free Thought Project has compiled a list of five major questions — all of which were swept under the rug by the MSM — that still remain in regards to what actually took place on 1 October.

1. Report suggests Paddock’s girlfriend worked for the FBI

In August 2018, a report surfaced suggesting that Stephan Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley could’ve been an FBI asset. According to a credit application, as reported by True PunditDanley listed the FBI as an employer.

According to the publicly available intelligence obtained from a consumer credit reporting bureau, Danley claimed she previously worked at the FBI. While anyone can certainly claim anyone else as an employer, according to True Pundit, they contacted the FBI who said their “bosses are concerned” over this revelation.

When contacted, one FBI source said the Bureau “might have made payments to Danley but it is above my level,” the source said referring to access to the FBI’s confidential informant participant and payment records. The source said “bosses are concerned” with the new revelations about Danley’s financial relationship with the FBI.

In FBI speak, Danley could have been a paid asset. And ‘concerned’ means folks are getting ready to cover their own butts if payments were made to Danley either before or after the massacre.

Perhaps FBI Director Christopher Wray can shed light on the matter.

Or Danley. If you can find her. It took the FBI days to locate her and interview her after the Mandalay Bay massacre.

Danley is an Australian national. She is not a U.S. citizen.

Of course this bombshell Intel is coming from FBI sources in the beltway, not the corrupt Las Vegas FBI field office headed by Aaron Rouse. The same FBI field office that has not been able to pinpoint a motive for the Oct. 1, 2017 massacre that killed 57 people.

Little wonder why the narrative doesn’t fit the crime if the person whose fingerprints are on the ammunition also happens to be on your FBI payroll.

Why did the mainstream media never report this? In a case that has been shrouded in mystery and narrative changes, the idea that the person closest to the suspect in the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, could possibly be an asset to the FBI, is chilling.

2. Officers seen on body camera footage cowering in fear as Paddock murdered people one floor above them

When Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students in a Parkland, Florida high school, it would later be revealed that the school resource officer cowered in fear instead of trying to stop the massacre. When this was discovered, news media across the country reported on it and the officer subsequently became known as the “Coward of Broward.”

However, when similar footage showed Vegas police officers cowering in fear as Paddock mowed down concert goers, this barely registered as blip in the media.

The damning video puts officer Cordell Hendrex on location and only one floor below Paddock during the shooting. Hendrex and his rookie partner are seen on camera walking down the hall of the 31st floor as Paddock murders people on the ground below.

“Holy f**k,” Hendrex says when he hears the sound of shots above him. Hendrex could’ve run to the stairs, gone up a single floor and engaged Paddock and saved countless lives. Instead, he called everyone back and cowered in fear. Where were the calls for Hendrex to be fired? Where were the reports in the mainstream about him standing down?

3. Paddock Reportedly Warned His Brain was ‘Hacked’ and He Was Under Gov’t Control

Last year, shocking information surfaced that went largely ignored by the mainstream media. The report entails testimony from one of Paddock’s high-priced escorts who blew the whistle on how a prostitute who met with the deranged shooter just before the massacre went missing and noted how Paddock thought he was under the control of the government.

The escort was reported missing by her boyfriend just after the shooting and a former escort who once dated Paddock spoke out about the sheer insanity involved in this case.

“She was telling girls after work that she was scared something would happen to her,” claimed former escort Mikaela, whose full name was withheld to protect her identity according to Radar Online. “She was booked the day before or the day of the shooting before she disappeared.”

According to her testimony, Paddock claimed to be a government experiment.

“There’s messages where Stephen is telling her he’s a government experiment and that they are listening to everything he says and does, and they can hack into his brain and take over,” Mikaela said.

This information was simply ignored by the media and still is to this day, why is that?

4. Information suggesting Paddock was an arms dealer completely ignored by MSM

In August 2018, the arms dealer who admitted to selling Paddock his ammunition for the massacre was indicted. Douglas Haig was charged with a single count of “engaging in the business of manufacturing ammunition without a license.”

What makes his arrest so noteworthy is the fact that emails released by the FBI suggest Paddock may have been an arms dealer as well.

As The Free Thought Project reported in 2017, a series of unsealed court documents gave insight into Paddocks communications in the months leading up to the shooting, and revealed that he apparently referred to himself as some kind of arms dealer:

In the first message, Paddock claimed that the recipient would have the opportunity to try out the weapons before they purchased them. He then wrote “We have huge selection,” indicating that he was not working alone, and he said he was located “in the Las Vegas area.”

***

the email exchanges released by the FBI indicate that Paddock was presenting himself as some sort of arms dealer, sending an email that said, for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with a 100 round magazine.”

Again, although the original emails made it into the mainstream briefly, the question remains as to who Paddock was selling arms to, and is that why he had so much ammunition in his hotel room?

5. Vegas police seen on video being instructed to turn off their body cameras

In June of last year, in part of the random dumping of information by the LVMPD, video footage was discovered which showed officers being told to turn off their body cameras.

According to the chatter captured on the video, the strike team was prepping to enter the hotel.

“Officers are waiting. They’re waiting,” says a male voice off screen. “Officers are waiting to get in there.”

As police stand in line waiting to enter the hotel, multiple body cameras show a female officer walking down the rows, instructing the officers to turn off their cameras.

“Cameras are off? Cameras off? Cameras are off?” she says.

An officer repeats “Camera is off,” and each video ends.

The disabling of body cameras is against the LVMPD’s own regulations which is news enough. However, this was done on the night of the deadliest mass shooting in recent history and it was completely ignored. How can that be?

The more information that comes out on the horrific events of that fateful night, the more questions the public has. The uncooperative behavior by the Las Vegas Metropolitan police department was a kick in the teeth to the victims and their families. Sadly, now that all the authorities investigating the tragedy have ended their investigations, we may never know all the details that led to shooting.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/01/2019 - 23:25
Published:10/1/2019 10:38:43 PM
[Markets] Dead Deutsche Banker's Son Peddled Trump Financial "Dirt" To The Highest Bidder - Which Adam Schiff Promptly Subpoenaed Dead Deutsche Banker's Son Peddled Trump Financial "Dirt" To The Highest Bidder - Which Adam Schiff Promptly Subpoenaed

A trove of insider Deutsche Bank documents was subpoenaed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) after a bizarre series of events involving Moby.

Val Broeksmit, stepson of top Deutche Bank executive Bill Broeksmit - who committed suicide in January 2014 in the wake of several banking scandals he had overseen, had been trying to sell or distribute information from the German bank which he obtained after his father's death, which may have contained information on Donald Trump, according to the New York Times

Val and Bill Broeksmit at Wimbledon in 2013 Via the NYT

Mr. Broeksmit’s late father, Bill, had been a senior executive there, and his son possessed a cache of confidential bank documents that provided a tantalizing glimpse of its internal workings. Some of the documents were password-protected, and there was no telling what secrets they held or how explosive they could be.

Federal and state authorities were swarming around Deutsche Bank. Some of the scrutiny centered on the lender’s two-decade relationship with President Trump and his family. Other areas of focus grew out of Deutsche Bank’s long history of criminal misconduct: manipulating markets, evading taxes, bribing foreign officials, violating international sanctions, defrauding customers, laundering money for Russian billionaires. -NYT

Broeksmit was eventually introduced to Schiff through the musician Moby (Schiff's "friend and neighbor" who said the CIA asked him to help spread dirt on Trump and Russia - h/t @LeicaLexus). When Schiff refused to pay for the materials, the lawmaker instead issued a subpoena for them. 

Mr. Schiff’s investigators badly wanted the secret Deutsche files. Mr. Broeksmit tried to extract money from them — he pushed to be hired as a consultant to the committee — but that was a nonstarter. An investigator, Daniel Goldman, appealed to his sense of patriotism and pride. “Imagine a scenario where some of the material that you have can actually provide the seed that we can then use to blow open everything that [Trump] has been hiding,” Mr. Goldman told Mr. Broeksmit in a recorded phone call. “In some respects, you — and your father vicariously through you — will go down in American history as a hero and as the person who really broke open an incredibly corrupt president and administration.” (Mr. Broeksmit wouldn’t budge; eventually, Mr. Schiff subpoenaed him.) -NYT

All of that said, it's clear that the information is of low value as it relates to Trump for two reasons. First, Schiff has them - yet is pushing for impeachment based on a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky in regards to investigating former VP Joe Biden. 

Second, Fusion GPS paid Broeksmit $1,000 to give the documents to a reporter for the Financial Times on New Year's Eve, 2016 - so they've been in the Trump resistance's arsenal for more than three years without seeing the light of day.

In Rome on New Year’s Eve of 2016, Mr. Broeksmit shared the files with a reporter for the Financial Times, periodically excusing himself to snort 80-milligram hits of OxyContin, and the journalist later connected him with someone willing to pay for the documents. On the third anniversary of his father’s death — Jan. 26, 2017 — $1,000 arrived in his PayPal account.

The money was from Glenn R. Simpsona former journalist who ran a research company called Fusion GPS. Weeks earlier, it had rocketed to notoriety as the source of the so-called Steele Dossier — a report by a former intelligence agent containing salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. Mr. Simpson was searching for more dirt and, Mr. Broeksmit told me, he agreed to pay $10,000 for the Deutsche materials. -NYT

Simpson then convinced Broeksmit to work with him - instructing him via encrypted messaging to start searching for "Any Russia stuff at all," adding "Let's get you here ASAP.

Two days later, Simpson and Broeksmit met in the US Virgin Islands to look for dirt on Trump, Russia and Trump donor Robert Mercer - a financial backer of Breitbart and then Steve Bannon. As the Times reports however, "They didn’t discover bombshells — more like nuggets. One spreadsheet, for example, contained a list of all of the banks that owed money to one of Deutsche Bank’s American subsidiaries on a certain date — a list that included multiple Russian banks that would soon be under United States sanctions." 

Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to travel with him to Washington and meet some of his contacts. Mr. Broeksmit shared some of his files with a Senate investigator and — after snorting some heroin — a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The documents found their way to a team of anti-money-laundering agents at the New York Fed. Coincidence or not, a few months later, the Fed fined Deutsche Bank $41 million for violations inside the American unit that Bill Broeksmit had overseen. (A Fed spokesman declined to comment.)

Mr. Broeksmit moved to Los Angeles to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story. Early this year, a producer invited him to a dinner party. Among the guests was Moby, the electronic music legend, who told me he was impressed by Mr. Broeksmit’s exploits and existential sadness. Moby arranged an introduction to his friend Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which had recently opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump. -NYT

After Broeksmit was subpoenaed by Schiff, The Los Angeles FBI field office contacted him, as someone coincidentally noticed his whistleblower submission to the Justice Department's website (presumably satisfying the requirement for 'first-hand' information). 

They wanted to talk about Deutsche Bank — one of the world’s largest and most troubled financial institutions, and the bank of choice to the president of the United States. Mr. Broeksmit’s late father, Bill, had been a senior executive there, and his son possessed a cache of confidential bank documents that provided a tantalizing glimpse of its internal workings. Some of the documents were password-protected, and there was no telling what secrets they held or how explosive they could be. -NYT

According to the report, "After the three-hour session, Mr. Broeksmit still needed some stroking, and the F.B.I. agents obliged. They told Mr. Broeksmit he could have a special advisory title. They promised to keep him in the loop as their investigation proceeded. They let him tell the world — via this article — that he was a cooperating witness in a federal criminal investigation. They even helped procure a visa for his French girlfriend."

At the end of the day it appears that Brieksmit attempted to help take Trump down with information he didn't himself understand, and he's now being punished for delivering a nothing burger by The Times' David Enrich, who details it all in his new book - "Dark Towers." 

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/01/2019 - 20:25
Published:10/1/2019 7:40:41 PM
[Markets] DOJ To Declassify 'The Backbone' Of Mueller Investigation With Monthly Document Dumps DOJ To Declassify 'The Backbone' Of Mueller Investigation With Monthly Document Dumps

The Department of Justice will release to the public approximately 500 pages of FBI '302' witness interview forms per month, according to CNN - which sued the DOJ along with co-plaintiff BuzzFeed News under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

The documents, known as 302s, memorialize interviews conducted by the office and form the backbone of much of the Mueller report. -CNN

The government has until November 1 to product the first tranche of documents, according to a fuling by federal Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington DC. 

The Mueller investigation initially sought to determine whether the Trump campaign 'colluded' with the Russian government during the 2016 US election, along with whether President Trump attempted to obstruct the FBI's efforts. In his report, released April 18, Mueller's team was unable to establish any conspiracy, while declining to render an opinion on ten  instances of potential obstruction. Ultimately, Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that obstruction had not occurred

According to DOJ attorney Courtney Enlow at a Tuesday morning hearing, a total of 800 302 forms were generated during the Mueller probe, potentially numbering around 44,000 pages - which are now subject to a release rate of 500 per week.  

Enlow said the FBI had already begun to process the records but said a host of potential exemptions that had to be considered before their release, including national security implications, certain privileges, and exposure to ongoing prosecutions and investigations.

"We have been going through 302s line by line," Enlow said. "It's a very intensive process."

The future production schedule for the remaining interview forms, as well as other records requested by the news outlets, is a matter of contention. -CNN

Judge Walton criticized the incredibly slow declassification, only for the Enlow to respond that the pace was 'routine' for the FBI. 

Walton will also rule on a request by next month for the release of an unredacted version of the Mueller report, when another status hearing has been scheduled in the cases. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/01/2019 - 18:25
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Published:10/1/2019 5:37:11 PM
[Markets] Pat Buchanan: "This What The Deep State Does To Outsiders" Pat Buchanan: "This What The Deep State Does To Outsiders"

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“This is a very sad time for our country. There is no joy in this,” said Nancy Pelosi Saturday.

“We must be somber. We must be prayerful. … I’m heartbroken about it.”

Thus did the speaker profess her anguish — just four days after announcing that her Democratic House would conduct an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

But is this how it really went down? Is this how Pelosi came to authorize an impeachment inquiry before she read the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky?

Another explanation, based on the actual events, suggests itself.

By late September, Pelosi was under constant fire from the House “resistance” that wanted Trump impeached and whose numbers were slowly growing. What was the speaker to do?

The judiciary committee is the body historically authorized by a vote of the full House to conduct impeachment inquiries. But to Pelosi this was looking like a loser, a dead end, a formula for failure followed by a backlash against House Democrats and her own removal as speaker in January 2021, if not before.

How so? Her judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, in his investigation of Trump, had presided over a debacle of a hearing where Trump ally Corey Lewandowski mocked the members. House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth called the hearing a “fiasco.”

Thus, when news broke of a July 25 conversation between Trump and the president of Ukraine, during which Trump allegedly urged Zelensky “eight times” to investigate Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden’s connections to corrupt oligarchs, Pelosi seized upon it to solve all her problems.

To satisfy the red-hots in her Democratic caucus, she announced an impeachment inquiry on her own. To spare her moderates the pain of having to vote for or against an inquiry, she skipped the floor vote.

To ensure the investigation was done swiftly, she took the franchise from Nadler and his judiciary committee and handed it to Adam Schiff and the intelligence committee. Now she is urging a narrowing of the articles of impeachment to just one — Trump’s request of Ukraine’s president to look into the Bidens.

Pelosi’s hope: Have one House vote on a single article of impeachment by year end; then send it on to the Senate for trial and be done with it.

This is Nancy Pelosi’s fast track to impeachment of Trump and ruination of his presidency. But, to be sure, she is “heartbroken” about all this.

For three years, the media-deep state axis has sought to overturn the election of 2016 and bring down Trump, starting with Russia-gate. Now it appears to have tailored and weaponized the impeachment process.

That is what this is all about. It always is. Then-editor Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post, when it looked like the Iran-Contra matter might break Ronald Reagan’s presidency, after his 49-state landslide, chortled, “We haven’t had this much fun since Watergate.”

This is what the deep state does to outsiders Middle America sends to Washington to challenge or dispossess it.

How should the Republican Party and Trump’s base respond?

Recognize reality. Whether or not Trump was ill-advised to suggest to the president of Ukraine that passing on the fruits of the investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden, the end game is bringing down Trump, democracy’s equivalent of regicide.

While the “whistleblower,” whose memo is the basis of these impeachment hearings, is well on his way to Beltway beatification, no campaign to depose the president can be allowed to cloak itself in anonymity indefinitely, for one man’s whistleblower is another man’s seditionist.

Whom did the whistleblower collaborate with to produce his memo? What is his background? What are his biases? The people have a right to know. And democracy dies in darkness, does it not?

Not until 30 years after Watergate did we learn the “whistleblower” known as “Deep Throat” was a corrupt FBI veteran agent who leaked grand jury secrets to The Washington Post to discredit acting Director Pat Gray and thereby become FBI director himself.

His identity was sheltered for three decades. For whose benefit?

Republicans should not allow Democrats to fast-track this process but should give their troops time to recognize the stakes involved, organize a defense and repel this latest establishment attempt to overthrow a president elected to come to the capital to corral that establishment.

Force all the Democratic candidates for president to take a stand on removing Trump for high crimes — over a nebulous phone call to Kiev.

And the U.S. Senate should refuse to take up and should return to the House any bill of impeachment done in a short-circuited and savagely partisan manner, as this one is being done. There should be no rush to judgment.

If the election of 2020 is going to be about President Trump, tell the nation that the people will decide his political fate in November 2020, and that of Joe Biden if Democrats believe he is as pure as the driven snow and choose to nominate him.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/01/2019 - 14:25
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Published:10/1/2019 1:37:03 PM
[In The News] Letter Casts New Light On NYT Report That Trump ‘Pushed’ Aussies To Help With Probe Of CIA, FBI Activities

By Chuck Ross -

New_York_Times_logo_variation

Australia’s ambassador to the U.S. sent a letter earlier this year offering Attorney General William Barr support in his investigation of the FBI and CIA’s activities in 2016, casting new light on a New York Times report from Monday that President Donald Trump “pushed” Australia’s prime minister to help with ...

Letter Casts New Light On NYT Report That Trump ‘Pushed’ Aussies To Help With Probe Of CIA, FBI Activities is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:10/1/2019 10:10:15 AM
[2019 News] FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs than Rifles FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs than Rifles. Thus refuting the garbage that the Democrats spew every time there’s a rifle involved  shooting. According to FBI figures, 443 people were killed with hammers, clubs, or other “blunt objects” while 297 people were killed with rifles of every kind. Breitbart News reported similar FBI findings regarding deaths by […] Published:10/1/2019 10:10:15 AM
[Markets] George Soros Responds To Giuliani's "Ranting" George Soros Responds To Giuliani's "Ranting"

George Soros has responded to recent claims by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani linking the billionaire financier to a Ukrainian organization accused of meddling in the 2016 US election for Hillary Clinton, as well as another organization whose joint report with BuzzFeed was cited three times in an August 12 whistleblower complaint lodged against President Trump by a CIA employee. 

A Monday email from Soros spokesman Michael Vachon with the subject "Ukraine Debunking" reads: "You may have heard (or seen) Rudolph Giuliani’s ranting about George Soros allegedly playing some nefarious role in Ukraine." The letter then directs people to a Washington Post article authored by Emily Tamkin - who has previously written in Soros's defense (and loves the word 'boogeyman').

Giuliani has come under fire by the left for his recent work to uncover the truth behind several claims regarding Ukraine - including meddling in the 2016 US election to benefit Hillary Clinton, as well as efforts to encourage Ukraine's new president, Volodomyr Zelensky, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Biden openly bragged last year about strongarming Ukraine when he threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees unless a prosecutor investigating energy giant Burisma Holdings - which was paying Biden's cocaine-addict son Hunter $600,000 to sit on its board - wasn't fired immediately. 

While the CIA whistleblower and initial media reports suggested that Trump was abusing his office to threaten Ukraine into investigating the Bidens, transcripts of a July 25 phone call between Trump Zelensky reveal that Trump applied no such pressure. 

Giuliani's 'ranting' 

In an appearance on Fox News last week, Giuliani said: "What I’m talking about, this, it’s Ukrainian collusion, which was large, significant, and proven with Hillary Clinton, with the Democratic National Committee, a woman named Chalupa, with the ambassador, with an FBI agent who’s now been hired by George Soros who was funding a lot of it" (for more on the situation with Chalupa and the DNC, follow the work of journalist Lee Stranahan).

Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly confirmed that DNC contractor of Ukrainian heritage, Alexandra Chalupa, approached Ukraine seeking information on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's dealings inside the country, in the hopes of exposing them to Congress. 

Chaly says that, at the time of the contacts in 2016, the embassy knew Chalupa primarily as a Ukrainian-American activist and learned only later of her ties to the DNC. He says the embassy considered her requests an inappropriate solicitation of interference in the U.S. election.

The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement issued by his embassy. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter.

All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador explained. -The Hill

Chalupa, who told Politico in 2017 that she had "developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives," said she "occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton's campaign."

Giuliani also said that former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, Biden had fired, "dropped the case on George Soros’ company called AntAC," adding "AntAC is the company where there’s documentary evidence that they were producing false information about Trump, about Biden. Fusion GPS was there,” Giuliani added. “Go back and listen to Nellie Ohr’s testimony. Nellie Ohr says that there was a lot of contract between Democrats and the Ukraine. (via the Daily Wire)

Meanwhile, a footnote in the whistleblower's August 12 complaint cites a joint report from BuzzFeed and Soros-funded Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to support their argument - notably leaving the "BuzzFeed" association out of the complaint.

Every page of the OCCRP website features the same bottom section listing the icons of four of the organization’s top funders, including Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Indeed, OCCRP provides a hyperlink to the webpage for Soros’s Open Society at the bottom left corner of every page on OCCRP’s own website.

Soros’s Open Society was listed as the number two donor in most of the annual financial records posted on OCCRP’s website starting in 2012. Some years list Soros as the organization’s top donor.

OCCRP advertises its other funders, including Google, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

-Breitbart

According to Breitbart, the whistleblower’s account cites the OCCRP report on three more occasions, to: 

  • Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.
  • Document that Trump adviser Rudi Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
  • Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”

Soros, meanwhile, is scrambling to disassociate his name and organizations from Giuliani's investigation. According to the Washington Post's defense of the billionaire, "Soros, through his Open Society Foundations, has indeed been philanthropically engaged in Ukraine for decades." 

In short, Soros and his orgs are so deeply involved in Ukraine that there's no way he couldn't be caught up in this whole thing

Soros explained that Ukraine was particularly important to him because he thought the country’s independence was geopolitically important. “As long as Ukraine prospers, there can be no imperialist Russia,” he wrote.

At the time, Soros’s foundation in Ukraine was supporting a whole network: an institute to train public servants, a foundation to develop legal culture in the country and a center for modern art, among other institutions. He claimed that all of this was important because he wanted “to supply Ukraine with the infrastructure necessary for a modern state — and an open society.” -Washington Post

That said, the Post's Tamkin admits that the AntAC-Soros link is a "small kernel of reality buried deep within Giuliani's conspiracy theory." 

"I asked some of the protesters and anti-corruption groups working at the time if they received Open Society funding. And many, if not most, of them had. But that is different from Soros himself orchestrating efforts against political enemies, which is what their opponents were suggesting."

So - just because Soros's Open Society foundation funded groups which may have meddled for Hillary in the 2016 US election, and are cited by a CIA whistleblower against President Trump, his defenders claim it doesn't mean his fingerprints are personally on any of it.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/01/2019 - 09:15
Tags
Published:10/1/2019 8:36:30 AM
[Markets] Ron Paul Asks: "Impeachment... Or CIA Coup?" Ron Paul Asks: "Impeachment... Or CIA Coup?"

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

You don’t need to be a supporter of President Trump to be concerned about the efforts to remove him from office. Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment proceedings against the President over a phone call made to the President of Ukraine. According to the White House record of the call, the President asked his Ukrainian counterpart to look into whether there is any evidence of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and then mentioned that a lot of people were talking about how former US Vice President Joe Biden stopped the prosecution of his son who was under investigation for corruption in Ukraine.

Democrats, who spent more than two years convinced that “Russiagate” would enable them to remove Trump from office only to have their hopes dashed by the Mueller Report, now believe they have their smoking gun in this phone call.

It this about politics? Yes. But there may be more to it than that.

It may appear that the Democratic Party, furious over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, is the driving force behind this ongoing attempt to remove Donald Trump from office, but at every turn we see the fingerprints of the CIA and its allies in the US deep state.

In August 2016, a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell, wrote an extraordinary article in the New York Times accusing Donald Trump of being an “agent of the Russian Federation.” Morell was clearly using his intelligence career as a way of bolstering his claim that Trump was a Russian spy – after all, the CIA should know such a thing! But the claim was a lie.

Former CIA director John Brennan accused President Trump of “treason” and of “being in the pocket of Putin” for meeting with the Russian president in Helsinki and accepting his word that Russia did not meddle in the US election. To this day there has yet to be any evidence presented that the Russian government did interfere. Brennan openly called on “patriotic” Republicans to act against this “traitor.”

Brennan and his deep state counterparts James Comey at the FBI and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper launched an operation, using what we now know is the fake Steele dossier, to spy on the Trump presidential campaign and even attempt to entrap Trump campaign employees.

Notice a pattern here?

Now we hear that the latest trigger for impeachment is a CIA officer assigned to the White House who filed a “whistleblower” complaint against the president over something he heard from someone else that the president said in the Ukraine phone call.

Shockingly, according to multiple press reports the rules for CIA whistleblowing were recently changed, dropping the requirement that the whistleblower have direct, first-hand knowledge of the wrongdoing. Just before this complaint was filed, the rule-change allowed hearsay or second-hand information to be accepted. That seems strange.

As it turns out, the CIA “whistleblower” lurking around the White House got the important things wrong, as there was no quid pro quo discussed and there was no actual request to investigate Biden or his son.

The Democrats have suddenly come out in praise of whistleblowers – well not exactly. Pelosi still wants to prosecute actual whistleblower Ed Snowden. But she’s singing the praises of this fake CIA “whistleblower.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer once warned Trump that if “you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” It’s hard not to ask whether this is a genuine impeachment effort…or a CIA coup!

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/30/2019 - 15:50
Tags
Published:9/30/2019 3:01:36 PM
[Markets] Jim Kunstler Warns "Civil War On!" Jim Kunstler Warns "Civil War On!"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Someone in Impeachmentville is not paying attention. Of course, diverting the rubes is exactly the point of the latest CIA operation to negate the 2016 election. Has nobody noticed that there is treaty between Ukraine and the USA, signed at Kiev in 1998 and ratified by the US Senate in 2000. It’s an agreement on “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.” Here, read the cover letter for yourself:

What part of the following do Nancy Pelosi and the news media not understand?

The Treaty is self-executing. It provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual assistance available under the Treaty includes: taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records, and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint, confiscation, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state… ([etc].

How does this not permit Mr. Trump asking the president of Ukraine for “assistance” in criminal matters arising out of “collusion with Russia,” as specified within the scope of Robert Mueller’s special prosecutor activities? For instance, the matter of CrowdStrike. The cybersecurity firm was co-founded by Russian ex-pat Dmitri Alperovitch, who also happens to be a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an anti-Russian think tank funded by Ukrainian billionaire, Viktor Pinchuk, who donated at least $25 million to the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 election. Crowdstrike was the company that “examined” the supposedly hacked DNC servers, while somebody in the Obama administration prevented the FBI from ever seeing them. Does this sound a little like part of the origin story of RussiaGate? Is that not exactly the potential criminal matter that the current attorney general, Mr. Barr, is officially investigating?

Perhaps, under the year 2000 treaty, Mr. Trump was within his rights to ask the new President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, for assistance on that. And also, the question of former vice-president Joe Biden’s levering US aid to Ukraine in his demand to fire the prosecutor investigating the company, Burisma Holdings, that just happened to hire his son, Hunter, to a $64,000-a-month seat on the board of directors, not long after the younger Mr. Biden was kicked out of the US Navy reserve for cocaine use — what a sterling fellow!

The foregoing ought to be self-evident. Speaking of failures to pay attention, Director of National Security (DNI) Joseph McGuire testified in Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Intel Committee last Thursday that the “Whistleblower” and his or her allies in the Intelligence Community who fomented the latest crisis “acted in good faith.” Admiral McGuire omitted to mention that the IC’s Whistleblower complaint rules were surreptitiously changed sometime around August 2019 to allow second-hand hearsay in Urgent Matter” complaints, where formerly it had been prohibited. The change was only posted on an IC website on Sept 24. Did Admiral McGuire not get the memo on that? Was he out of the loop? After all, he is merely in charge of the entirety of US Intelligence operations. Who kept him in the dark?

Now there is yet another new “bombshell” out of the CBS 60-Minutes show (reported by Scott Pelley) alleging that the “Whistleblower” had been placed under federal protection due to “threats” made against him or her. We’re to infer that the “Whistleblower” is in a safe space— perhaps hiding out in the CIA’s Diversity and Inclusion offices, with some teddy bears, crayons, and chips ahoy to keep the heebie-jeebies away. Only, one of the “Whistleblower’s” own lawyers, Mark S. Zaid released a letter today saying that the 60-Minutes report was “not accurate and misinterpreted the contents of our [earlier] letter.” Mr. Zaid added in a tweet that CBS was “literally making stuff up.”

Well, let CBS and the “Whistleblower’s” pro bono lawyers slug that one out in some safe space. More to the point, how long do you suppose the charade of protecting the “Whistleblower’s” identity will go on? If impeachment moves to a trial in the senate, Mr. Trump will enjoy the right of being faced by his accuser. But I don’t think we will have to wait that long. Rep. Schiff (D-CA) has already declared that this person will be called into a closed session of his committee. The chance is about zero that his or her identify will remain unknown. By and by, the “whistleblower’s” confederates in the CIA will also become known and the perfidy of this latest CIA operation in the ongoing coup will be understood.

UkraineGate is the equivalent of Fort Sumter in Civil War 2.0. Charges have been flying and tempers flaring for three years now, much as they did between 1858 and 1861. Once again, what seems to be at stake is the integrity of the Union. As in the previous enactment, one side is dangerously deluded, and that is liable to lead to its destruction.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/30/2019 - 13:40
Published:9/30/2019 1:00:54 PM
[Donald Trump] What Yuri told Rudy (Paul Mirengoff) Yuri Lutsenko was Ukraine’s chief prosecutor from May 2016 until August 2019. Thus, he held that position at the time of President Trump’s now famous phone conversation with Ukraine’s president. Lutsenko says he told Rudy Giuliani that he would be happy to cooperate if the FBI or other U.S. authorities began their own investigation of Joe Biden and/or Hunter Biden. However, he told Giuliani that, as far as he knew, Published:9/29/2019 10:36:24 PM
[Markets] Marc Cohodes On Joe Nocera And MiMedx: "An Unholy Alliance" Marc Cohodes On Joe Nocera And MiMedx: "An Unholy Alliance"

Submitted by Marc Cohodes

I’ve been a short seller for over 30 years.  Mostly, I identify companies that are engaged in fraud, illegal conduct, or questionable accounting, I investigate, and I go public with what I’ve learned.  I put my money where my mouth is:  I sell the shares short knowing that I will lose money if I’m wrong, but also knowing I’ll make money if I’m right.  I’ve got a very good track record at uncovering frauds.  You don’t have to take my word for  it – you can read about me in Bloomberg and elsewhere.

MiMedx is a company that sells wound care treatments made from placentas to patients, many of whom are at veterans hospitals.  In 2017, I learned MiMedx was forcing products on its distributors in phony sales (“channel stuffing”), manipulating revenue, selling products that were unsafe or ineffective, coaching doctors on how to charge Medicare for its unnecessary treatments, improperly paying doctors to promote its products, discriminating against employees, and bullying, intimidating, and retaliating against employees who came forward to demand that illegal behavior stop.  After I challenged the CEO Pete Petit, management, and the board with the information I had gathered, they responded with more false statements and personal attacks on me. 

When you expose people who are doing bad things, they often lash out.  MiMedx, Petit, company management, and their backers were no exception, and they weren’t the first, either.  I expect that and it’s part of the job.  But I admit I was surprised to see Joe Nocera and Bloomberg pick up the MiMedx flag on behalf of people trying to make money off of unsuspecting investors, and by doing so, they have neutralized the previous Bloomberg news articles documenting the illegal and unscrupulous conduct at MiMedx. 

On August 19 and August 22, Nocera wrote a couple of articles about me and MiMedx.  The first article claimed that I was basically wrong about MiMedx, the company wasn’t so bad, and I went too far.  The second claimed that the company has now cleaned up its act, but that I am still conducting a “smear campaign” to destroy the company unfairly. 

Nocera’s two articles were sloppy, shallow, and consistently wrong.  I sent detailed letters pointing out the factual errors, but Bloomberg refused to correct the articles and even refused to publish this Op-Ed piece. 

I’m not going to try to correct every mistake Nocera made.  There are length limits for Op-Ed pieces, and we are talking about a reporter so careless that he once wrote an entire Bloomberg article headlined “Correction:  A Column Based on the Wrong Memo,” and who was reprimanded by The New York Times’s Public Editor for a serious ethical lapse in failing to disclose a conflict of interest.  But I’ll point out some of the big mistakes.

For starters, I was right about MiMedx all along.  MiMedx has admitted that six years of financial statements could not be relied on, three VA employees were indicted for taking bribes from MiMedx, the company’s CEO Petit, CFO Senken, COO Taylor, and Controller Cranston all were fired (and the Board is suing them to return their bonuses), MiMedx’s auditors at E&Y abruptly resigned, the stock was de-listed, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that MiMedx had lied to the FDA about correcting thirteen health and safety violations; and the VA announced it would stop buying certain MiMedx products because they do not appear to be effective. 

On top of all that, in May 2019 the company filed a summary of an independent investigation, which confirmed senior management knowingly deviated from its distributor contracts in ways that caused the company to inflate revenue; the company knowingly manipulated revenue to meet guidance; Petit, Senken, Taylor, and Cranston all made material false statements to the SEC and auditors about the company’s revenue recognition practices; and the company engaged in a pervasive course of retaliation against employees who raised concerns about those unlawful practices.

That’s a lot of evidence you don’t see in Nocera’s articles, yet he opines that I overstated things and it wasn’t so bad at MiMedx.  According to him, the company’s investigation “strongly implied” some channel stuffing, but there was “no proof that MiMedx officials had bribed doctors, as Cohodes had alleged. Nor was there any evidence of Medicare fraud.”  Likewise, Nocera relies on someone named Eiad Asbahi, who told Nocera “the company’s critics had ‘failed to produce any smoking guns to support their claims of massive fraud.’”  (More on the undisclosed relationship between Asbahi and Nocera below.)

Nocera would know better if he read the public summary of the company’s own investigation.  That report – in addition to all the really bad stuff I described above – says MiMedx’s lawyers are still investigating allegations that the company violated the Anti-Kickback (a form of bribery) statute, the lawyers have already identified “certain customer accounts that present potential compliance risks and warrant additional review,” the lawyers are still evaluating the company’s “legal risk,” and the company “expects there to be additional departures in connection with the Investigation.” 

Nocera would also know better if he read, well, Bloomberg, which reported last year that, “MiMedx Group Inc. paid bribes to three Veterans Affairs Department health-care workers to promote the biotech firm’s products” according to the federal indictment.  Nocera also could have read that indictment, which charged the VA employees under the federal bribery statute.  Or Nocera could have read the company’s prospectus from May, which discloses that there are still ongoing federal investigations by the SEC, the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, the VA Office of the Inspector General, the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia, as well as two separate pending False Claims Act lawsuits, brought by former employees.  And then there’s the Bloomberg and WSJ reports that the company lied to the FDA about the safety and efficacy of its products, and the VA’s decision to stop buying them.  So yeah, it was really bad at MiMedx, and it’s still really bad. 

So, did I go too far, like Nocera says?  No.  I accused people at MiMedx of doing very bad things, and while the original bad actors are gone, there are still bad actors at the company – and there are still whistleblowers working at the company who say so.  Originally, Petit and his cohorts tried to intimidate the brave employees who spoke out, as well as the professional skeptics like me.  For example, Petit sued analysts who reported the facts that the company itself has now admitted.  Petit boasts about his political connections, and especially to his local Senator Jonny Isakson, and then convinced Isakson to convince the FBI to send agents to my home to try to intimidate me. Actual Bloomberg reporters wrote about Petit’s intimidation attempt and how extraordinary it was.  A real journalist would take a dim view of that sort of thing, but Nocera leaves out the details and tells the story like Petit was a victim of a mugging, scared for his own safety  (Nocera also never mentions Petit’s secret video surveillance system designed to retaliate against whistleblowers.) 

Did I scare off MiMedx’s auditors at Ernst & Young, like Nocera says?  Seriously?  It’s silly to suggest that an auditor as large and experienced as E&Y would be scared off by a letter I wrote, or that it wouldn’t do its own investigation.  But more importantly, the company and E&Y explained why E&Y resigned in an 8-K.  E&Y had a disagreement with MiMedx’s (by then fired) senior management.  E&Y could not rely on statements by those discredited executives or even statements by their successors, because the new executive team “would have needed to rely on representations from certain legacy management personnel still in positions that could affect what is reflected in the Company’s books and records.”  E&Y was out because it realized it couldn’t trust MiMedx, not because I told them – correctly – that MiMedx couldn’t be trusted.

So, is everything fine at MiMedx now?  According to Nocera and Asbahi, it is.  And who is Asbahi, anyway?  Asbahi controls a groups of companies (Prescience Point) that together now own about 7% of MiMedx. Bloomberg readers would want to know there is a relationship between Nocera and Prescience Point.  Zach Kouwe is Prescience Point’s public relations agent in matters related to MiMedx.  Kouwe previously worked as Nocera’s researcher on a book and co-wrote articles with Nocera at The New York Times (prior to Kouwe’s abrupt resignation in a plagiarism scandal)Journalists are expected to disclose these kinds of relationships, as Nocera knows, since he was criticized for violating them when he was at the Times.  Nocera didn’t mention his relationship with Prescience Point’s PR agent, probably because he figured it would interfere with his anti-Marc Cohodes thesis. 

So, Asbahi has his own bias, and Nocera has a connection to Asbahi’s firm, but is Asbahi wrong?  Yes.  Nocera talks about a “research report” Asbahi published in January 2019 that supposedly found that “MiMedx products were ‘legitimate and sustainable’; that it had positive cash flow; and that, while ‘channel stuffing’ to improperly boost revenue at the end of the quarter had taken place, the company’s critics had ‘failed to produce any smoking guns to support their claims of massive fraud.’”  Before he wrote his articles, I told Nocera there were many reasons why the Asbahi report was wrong, and I could explain it to him.  He wasn’t interested.  Here’s what I would have told him. 

There are at least four big problems with Nocera’s reliance on the Asbahi report. 

One, when Asbahi published it in January, there were no MiMedx financial statements that anyone could rely on.  Even in May 2019, E&Y resigned saying it could not rely on the successor CEO and CFO because they were still dependent on unreliable statements by “legacy management personnel.” 

Two, at the same time that Asbahi said the company’s products were “legitimate and sustainable” (and it is never a good sign that people feel the need to say that), the company’s regulatory consultant, Lachman Consultants, found that MiMedx had failed to correct thirteen health and safety violations for which the FDA had cited it. Lachman recommended that MiMedx admit its failure to address violations identified by the FDA, but MiMedx refused to do so, and continued to market and sell noncompliant products.  The company has now admitted that it falsely told the FDA that it had resolved those defects. 

Three, it was premature at best to say there was “no smoking gun” four months before MiMedx’s audit committee released its damning report; but to repeat that  statement, three months after the report, is false and misleading to investors.  When the company admits that its C-Suite lied to the SEC, it will have to restate six years of financials, its auditor has abruptly resigned, it had a secret surveillance program to punish whistleblowers, it has identified accounts that pose risk for violations of the Anti-Kickback law, and it expects additional terminations as a result of its ongoing internal investigations; and the company’s own consultants find (and the company admits) the company lied to the FDA about correcting safety violations; and there are multiple federal agencies with active ongoing investigations; and there are multiple False Claims Act lawsuits pending; and the VA has stopped buying MiMedx products because there is insufficient evidence they are effective – I’d say the gun is smoking. 

Four, Nocera ignored the suspicious timing of Asbahi’s January 2019 report.  Prescience Point purchased millions of shares of MiMedx between August and December 2018, drove the price up with a large block purchase late in the day on December 31, 2018, and then, when the stock had been delisted, published a glowing report saying the stock could exceed $18 per share.  Then Prescience Point sold about 2.25 million MiMedx shares in January 2019.  When somebody publishes a report that says everything is rosy despite the company’s own disavowal of its prior financial statements, that contradicts what the company’s own consultants were saying about the products’ safety and efficacy, and that contradicts the findings by the company’s own lawyers of widespread unlawful conduct – right before dumping millions of shares – that’s reason alone to be skeptical. 

And that brings me to my last point.  I’ve been critical of Asbahi and his report, and I have accused Prescience Point of engaging in a “pump and dump” scheme.  On behalf of his old colleague’s client, Nocera says that’s “ludicrous.” 

So, is it ludicrous?  Nope.  Nocera ignores the main reasons I actually gave him for concluding this was a pump and dump (like the implausibility of the report, and the timing of Prescience Point’s trades). Instead, he tried to prove that I was way off when I said I understood Prescience Point bought stock at $6-10 per share prior to January 2019. I was right; Nocera was wrong (again).  Nocera claims that Prescience Point’s current cost basis for its MiMedx common stock holdings is about $2.60 based on a 13D from May 6, 2019.  That may be true, but it’s irrelevant because my point was that in 2018, Prescience Point purchased millions of dollars’ worth of shares on days that the stock traded at prices above $6.  (You can see that in the Schedule 14A Prescience Point filed May 29, 2019.)  By pumping up the stock in late December 2018 and in January 2019, Prescience Point reduced its losses somewhat when it sold about 2.25 million shares at about $2.50.  Then it bought back in at the lower prices reflected in the 13D that Nocera reviewed with his blinders on.  As a result, Prescience Point’s current cost basis is lower than what it was in January 2019, but the MiMedx share price has to rise significantly above that cost basis for Prescience Point to realize any gain from its total MiMedx common stock purchases.  That’s why it looks to me that Asbahi was engaged in a pump and dump scheme in January, and that’s why I suspect Nocera’s sloppy, poorly researched articles only help Asbahi’s manipulation.

All of this winds up with an accusation by Asbahi, adopted by Nocera, that I am engaged in a “smear campaign” to destroy MiMedx.  That’s false.  I’m engaged in a campaign to get at the truth about MiMedx, and I’m winning.  This company’s troubles are far from over, and with defenders like Nocera and Asbahi, they can only get worse fast. 

Marc Cohodes
Penngrove, CA
September 26, 2019

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/29/2019 - 21:00
Published:9/29/2019 8:28:51 PM
[Markets] FBI, IRS Continue Raids By Targeting 3 Village Offices In Cook County FBI, IRS Continue Raids By Targeting 3 Village Offices In Cook County

Authored by Vincent Caruso via IllinoisPolicy.org,

Federal agents raided the offices of three suburban villages, including one governed by a mayor who doubles as a Cook County commissioner. All three are in the district of state Sen. Martin Sandoval, also the subject of a federal raid.

A trio of west suburban villages in Cook County were the latest subjects of an escalating federal corruption probe in Illinois, with all three in the district of a state senator who also was the target of federal raids two days earlier.

On Sept. 26, FBI agents raided government offices in the villages of McCook, Lyons and Summit, accompanied by officers from the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Federal agents searched the village halls of each of the three suburbs, in addition to Getty Insurance, where Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty is president. Getty’s family owns the firm, according to the village’s website.

An FBI spokesperson in a statement described the McCook and Lyons raids as “authorized law enforcement activity,” according to the Tribune, which the agency distinguished from the “investigative activity” conducted in Summit.

McCook village attorney Gary Perlman told the Chicago Sun-Times the search warrant sought information concerning “various contractors that have done work with the village.” McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski, who has held the village’s top public office since 2007, has simultaneously served as a Cook County Board commissioner since 2010.

Tobolski has a history of using his mayoral role to dole out patronage hires, having “hired numerous family members for village jobs,” according to the Sun-Times. His brother currently serves as McCook’s village treasurer.

Lyons’ village history is also rich with corruption, as retold in a May report from the Better Government Association. Getty’s father was mayor and went to prison for stealing from the village.

The trio of raids were the latest in Illinois to involve authorities from both the FBI and IRS, conducted on Sept. 24 just two days after raids on the home and offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago. McCook, Lyons and Summit are all within Sandoval’s senate district.

Federal authorities confirmed they’re investigating allegations that Sandoval had used his political office to award government contracts to at least one company in exchange for kickbacks. Sandoval played a leading role in passing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s massive capital plan that was supported in part by doubling the state gas tax. Infrastructure bills are notorious hotbeds of political favoritism, and many of Sandoval’s political donors are “engineering, planning, construction and related companies,” Crain’s Chicago Business noted.

The Chicago Tribune reported in April that state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, had acknowledged this form of horse trading explicitly, saying, “A capital bill is helpful for people being able to take votes so they can show that these (other) votes were worth it for their district.” Hoffman is assistant House leader under House Speaker Michael Madigan and a former House Transportation Committee chairman.

These latest raids appear to be part of an ongoing federal investigation into Illinois and Chicago political power brokers. The investigation appeared to peak in May when federal prosecutors brought a 14-count indictment against powerful Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman.

The investigation into Burke revealed former Chicago Ald. Danny Solis had worn a wire to record Burke, in cooperation with the FBI. Weeks following the Burke indictment, FBI agents raided the ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th Ward; and a federal court sentenced former Ald. Willie Cochran to one year in prison on corruption charges – the 30th Chicago alderman since 1972 convicted of a felony related to his official duties.

Moreover, a series of federal raids on the homes of high-ranking political insiders appears to be circling in on Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving Statehouse speaker. Madigan confidants have all been the subject of high-profile federal raids including former state lawmaker and lobbyist Mike McClain, former Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski and former Madigan political lieutenant Kevin Quinn.

In August, a federal indictment against state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, on embezzlement charges became the latest political corruption bombshell to drop. Cullerton has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot both campaigned on promises to fight corruption and clean up state and local government, respectively. Lightfoot has moved the city closer to those goals by empowering the city watchdog and limiting conflicts of interest, as well as introducing reforms to the city’s controversial workers’ comp program and ticketing-and-towing scheme.

Pritzker is the subject of a federal investigation into a scheme to save $331,000 on property taxes by removing the toilets from a neighboring mansion he owns on Chicago’s Gold Coast so it could be deemed uninhabitable and the value drop from about $6.25 million to about $1.1 million. He paid the taxes after the story became public.

His promises to fight corruption have so far gone unfulfilled.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/29/2019 - 17:00
Published:9/29/2019 4:24:58 PM
[Markets] Heroes, Villains, And Establishment Hypocrisy Heroes, Villains, And Establishment Hypocrisy

Authored by Craig Murray,

Trump and Johnson’s populism have shaken the old Establishment, and raised some very interesting questions about who is and who is not nowadays inside the Establishment and a beneficiary of the protection of the liberal elite.

This week, two startling examples in the news coverage cast a very lurid light on this question, and I ask you to consider the curious cases of Hunter Biden and Brendan Cox, two of the most undeserving and unpleasant people that can be imagined.

The BBC news bulletins led on the move to impeach Donald Trump for, as they put it, his efforts to get the President of Ukraine to undermine a political opponent. To be plain, I think Trump was quite wrong to get personally involved in this, but please park the entire subject of Donald Trump to one side for the next ten minutes.

What I find deeply reprehensible in all the BBC coverage is their failure to report the facts of the case, and their utter lack of curiosity about why Joe Biden’s son Hunter was paid $60,000 a month by Burisma, Ukraine’s largest natural gas producer, as an entirely absent non-executive director, when he had no relevant experience in Ukraine or gas, and very little business experience, having just been dishonorably discharged from the Navy Reserve for use of crack cocaine? Is that question not just little bit interesting? That may be the thin end of it – in 2014-15 Hunter Biden received US $850,000 from the intermediary company channeling the payments. In reporting on Trump being potentially impeached for asking about it, might you not expect some analysis – or at least mention – of what he was asking about?

As far as I am aware, the BBC have not reported at all the other thing Trump was asking Zelensky about – Crowdstrike. Regular readers will recall that Crowdstrike are the Clinton linked “cyber-security” company which provided the “forensic data” to the FBI on the alleged Russian hack of the DNC servers – data which has been analysed by my friend Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who characterises it as showing speeds of transfer impossible by internet and indicating a download to an attached drive. The FBI were never allowed access to the actual DNC server – and never tried, taking the DNC’s consultants word for the contents, which itself is sufficient proof of the bias of the “investigation”.

Crowdstrike also made the claim that the same Russia hackers – “Fancy Bear” – who hacked the DNC, hacked Ukrainian artillery software causing devastating losses of Ukrainian artillery. This made large headlines at the time. What did not make any MSM headlines was the subsequent discovery that all of this never happened and the artillery losses were entirely fictitious. As Crowdstrike had claimed that it was the use of the same coding in the DNC hack as in the preceding (non-existent) Ukraine artillery hack, that proved Russia hacked the DNC, this is pretty significant. Trump was questioning Zelensky about rumours the “hacked” DNC server was hidden in the Ukraine by Crowdstrike. The media has no interest in reporting any of that at all.

It is plain in that case that Trump is the media’s villain and the Bidens, father and son, are therefore heroes being protected by the Establishment media.

Now let us look at the case of Brendan Cox.

Boris Johnson’s behaviour in the Commons this week was reprehensible. Watching the unrepentant and aggressive braying of the Tory MPs, I was genuinely concerned about the consequences for democracy should these empowered right wingers ever get a majority. Johnson has removed the social restraint which used to cloak their atavistic instincts.

This Tory display also very much reinforced what I have been saying for years, that we will not gain Scottish Independence through a repeat of 2014. We were allowed a referendum with only moderate cheating by the British state purely because they believed there was no chance we could win. They have been disabused. There will never be a Section 30 order an an agreed referendum again. We will have to seize Independence by means which the British state will deem unlawful. Anybody not prepared to do that is not serious about Independence.

I digress. Johnson’s behaviour is appalling and he is at an interesting stage where the Establishment and its media is unsure whether to embrace or repudiate him, the calculation depending on whether they think he will win, and on the impact of Brexit on their personal financial interests. But as with Trump, I ask you to set aside your judgement on Johnson and not think of him for a moment.

Yesterday BBC news programmes brought us repeated appearances of Brendan Cox to comment on Boris Johnson and other MP’s parliamentary behaviour. This Brendan Cox:

One such allegation was that Cox pinned a co-worker to a wall by her throat while telling her ‘I want to fuck you’. Cox left the organisation before being subjected to scrutiny on this and other allegations. However, another woman, a senior US official who met him at a Harvard University event, made similar allegations against him, ‘of grabbing her by the hips, pulling her hair, and forcing his thumb into her mouth’ ‘in a sexual way’.

In contrast to Assange’s treatment, and despite a social-media furore, for nearly three years there was largely a media blackout on the story. At last, in February 2018, a right-wing tabloid broke the embargo and reported the allegations, and other news organisations had to follow suit. Finally, ‘Cox apologised for the “hurt and offence” caused by his past behaviour’ and announced he was withdrawing from public life.

I strongly recommend you to read that last linked article.

Cox is very much on the wavelength of the Establishment media, a full member of the New Labour neo-liberal elite who shuttled between jobs in the Labour Party and in high paying neo-liberal propaganda organisation Save the Children. Cox was personally pocketing £106,000 a year plus expenses from donations to the “charity”. A serial unfaithful sexual aggressor, his wife’s murder sees him recast by the media as the grieving survivor of a perfect marriage. Precisely his strongest political supporters – Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy etc – are Julian Assange’s bitterest opponents due to far flimsier, hotly denied and less attested sexual allegations than those against Cox. But neo-liberals get a free pass from the modern feminist movement (cf Bill Clinton).

Boris Johnson’s behaviour was a disgrace. But that is no reason for the BBC rehabilitation of the “retired from public life” sexual predator.

The fascinating thing is the binary, good versus evil, narrative which is being pursued in the liberal media. Trump and Johnson are bad. Therefore Hunter Biden and Brendan Cox must be good. The truth, of course, is much more complex than that. I am afraid to say that if you want an excessive simplification, a more accurate one would be that the entire political elite on all sides are self-serving and venal.

There is a more interesting story inside that, where significant portions of the public have lost respect for the Establishment, due in large part to the vast and increasing wealth gap in society, but this disillusion has been battened on by populist charlatans, and particularly directed against immigrants. This feels like an extremely unstable phase in society and politics. But instability brings the possibility of radical change, which is indeed much needed. We must all work for good from it.

*  *  *

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, Craig's blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate. Subscriptions to keep Craig's blog going are gratefully received.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/27/2019 - 23:45
Published:9/27/2019 11:14:14 PM
[Markets] Everything The Press Gets Wrong About The Ukraine Call Everything The Press Gets Wrong About The Ukraine Call

Authored Scott Adams via ScottAdamsSays.com,

Here’s a question you haven’t heard anyone ask about the Ukraine phone call story: If the Biden family never existed, would it have still been a good idea for President Trump to put a hold on funds already approved by Congress for Ukraine until the leaders spoke?

Answer: Yes.

The citizens who voted for Trump knew what they were getting. He promised to be a tough negotiator with our allies and adversaries alike. So what would a competent negotiator do when dealing with a new leader — of any country — before their first conversation? If he’s smart, he would “set the table” as Trump sometimes says about negotiating. In other words, you don’t start the conversation with someone important until you have arranged as many variables as you can in your favor. In the Ukraine phone call situation, President Trump effectively transferred power from Congress to himself in terms of “approving” Ukraine’s funds. Then he took a phone call with the new President of Ukraine.

That was perfect negotiating form.

We give our presidents a lot of flexibility in dealing with foreign affairs because it works better to have one “boss” in these situations. Had Trump permanently withheld funds approved by Congress, that would be a system problem on our end. But temporarily putting a hold on those funds before speaking leader-to-leader is just smart presidenting. It creates the impression that the president is the only American the foreign leader needs to deal with. That’s “setting the table.”

Does it matter exactly what Trump was going to discuss, negotiate, or request?

Nope. If the only thing Trump did on the phone call was congratulate President Zelensky on his election victory, it would still be smart to hold the funds until then. We want our president to go into every conversation with foreign leaders fully armed, persuasion-wise. When Trump brings the full weight of the office with him, it sets the table for the current conversations, and every one after that. When Trump withholds funds, pulls out of a deal, or otherwise transfers power from Congress to himself, it makes him a more effective negotiator. It puts him in charge. It is a strong psychological advantage.

Compare that approach to sending a president out weak, dependent on Congress to wipe his nose. Those are not similar table settings. Trump knows the difference. So does everyone who read his book, The Art of the The Deal.

We’ve heard Trump say he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine, and that was why he put a hold on the funds. I’m sure that was at least a part of his concern. Probably every American has that same concern about foreign aid in general. But as I said, it doesn’t matter what reason he gives the American public. Regardless of corruption in Ukraine, it was still smart to withhold funds until after the leaders spoke, because it made Trump the only person Zelensky needs to satisfy. That’s what we want from our presidents. We want them going in strong, with the full weight of their office and influence, to every interaction with foreign leaders, every time.

But what about Trump asking Zelensky for help looking into Hunter Biden’s business dealings? Isn’t it inappropriate for a president of the United States to ask a foreign leader to help him win reelection? If that’s ALL it was, it would absolutely be inappropriate. But was that all it was?

Suppose a candidate for president of the United States is leading in all the polls and he has publicly known conflicts of interest with a foreign country, such that blackmail-like influence was a real risk. Or at least it looks that way on the surface. What kind of priority should a sitting president put on that situation?

Answer: Top priority

Here I’m assuming there are no hot wars or other disasters at the same time, and the economy is doing well. That’s our current situation. Protecting the Republic from potential foreign influence — especially when that potential influence is so obvious to the entire country — is pretty near the top of any President’s priority list. Or at least it should be.

I am also assuming that whatever Ukraine knows, Putin can find out. You have to assume Putin has a lot of spy resources directed at Ukraine. Do you want your next president to be in Putin’s pocket? I hear that’s a bad thing.

Obviously President Trump had self-interest in mind when asking Ukraine to look into Hunter Biden’s situation. But we don’t impeach presidents for doing what is good for their reelection if it is also good for the country. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable with a future president whose son is suspiciously well-compensated by a foreign entity. I want my sitting president to look into that sort of thing.

The anti-Trump media and Democrats are performing an impressive magic trick with the public right now. They have cleverly framed the situation as Trump bullying a foreign country to help him get reelected. As long as you focus on that frame, you are somewhat blind to the better question: Is it risky to have a candidate for president — who is leading in every poll — while the candidate’s son is taking money from a foreign country and giving not-so-much back to them in return? That seems risky as hell to me. Do you see it differently?

Some people ask why the President didn’t assign the FBI, or whoever handles such things, to look into the Hunter Biden situation so it didn’t come off as campaign interference. The obvious answer is that it amounts to the same thing. And if you have any experience with large organizations, you know it is usually a waste of time to assign underlings to cooperate across big bureaucratic organizations unless the leaders have spoken on the topic directly.

I don’t want a president who goes into talks with foreign leaders without knowing how to set the table for persuasion. And I don’t want a president who ignores an obvious risk to the Republic, such as the Hunter Biden situation. And I’m fine with a president who is trying hard to get reelected, so long as he is also handling the top priorities for the country. Trump said his call with Zelensky was “a perfect call.”

He was right. It was flawless.

*  *  *

Scott's new book "LOSERTHINK" goes on sale 11/5. Pre-order: https://bit.ly/2NRammu

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/27/2019 - 13:31
Published:9/27/2019 12:41:34 PM
[Markets] US Army Warns Of Potential "Incel" Violence At "Joker" Movie Screenings US Army Warns Of Potential "Incel" Violence At "Joker" Movie Screenings

Authored by Elias Marat via TheMindUnleashed blog,

Typically when a major blockbuster film is released in the United States, warnings about the film are about its content—strong language, violence, perhaps a bit of sexual content or nudity.

But as audiences eagerly await the new Joker film, authorities in the U.S. have sounded the ominous alarm about what they fear may be in store for moviegoers flocking to theaters to catch the premiere on October 4 - a possible mass shooting committed by “incels” or “involuntary celibates.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Army confirmed that it had widely distributed an advisory to service members about a potential mass shooting during the theatrical release of Joker.

According to Stripes, a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command was issued Monday, warning commanders at U.S. Army Fort Sill in Oklahoma that a law enforcement agency in Texas working with the FBI had uncovered “disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web... regarding the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the release” date on October 4.

Speaking to KXAN, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Chief of Public Affairs Chris Grey said that the source of the original information was the Texas Department of Public Safety Joint Crime Information Center.

A memo sent out at U.S. Army Base Fort Sill relating to dark web ‘chatter’ about a threat (Fort Sill CID Memo)

In the email marked “For Official Use Only” that was distributed on September 18, service members were told to be aware of their surroundings and to “identify two escape routes” when entering theaters. If a shooting is to take place, soldiers must then “run, hide, fight.”

The memo explained:

“Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also known as ‘sheltering in place’), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”

Grey noted that the Ft. Sill field office sent the original memo to a “select internal group” on Monday “out of an abundance of caution to help keep our Soldiers and their families safe.”

The email also warned about the online subculture of “incels” (a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates”), reports Gizmodo. Incels are known to harbor extreme and violent misogynistic and misanthropic outlooks—including sympathies toward the “alt-right” fascist movement—and have been tied to past mass shootings, including the 2014 Isla Vista killings. Incels have also been arrested after threatening to carry out massacres.

As the military’s email explains:

“Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theater shooter.”

The email added that incels “also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against bullies.”

The email is a clear reflection of the anxiety felt in some quarters about a potential repeat of the tragic 2012 mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, which took place at a screening of another Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.

Twelve people were killed and seventy were injured in the incident. As the email noted, Aurora mass shooter James Holmes—along with other mass murderers—has become a subject of praise from some members of the incel fringe group.

During the Aurora shooting, Holmes was sporting bright dyed-orange hair and, according to since-debunked reports, called himself “the Joker” at the time of his arrest. However, the chief of Aurora’s police at the time maintains that “there is no evidence” Holmes ever said that.

The film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as the DC comics villain named Joker, has been praised for its realistic depiction of the titular character rather than retreading the typical cartoonish super-villain archetype depicted in other Batman films, comics, and television series. In the film, the Joker is depicted as a sort “angry virgin,” whose turn to villainy is a result of the mockery and bullying he encounters from his peers as well as his frustration over lacking attention or affection.

However, Joker has also been defended by critics from social media personalities who have characterized the film as supporting incel culture. As the Guardian film critic Christina Newland explained:

“The hand-wringing of cultural commentators is concerned that Joker might spark copycat violence or make the character a sort of folk hero for incels. It’s a possibility … Does The Wolf of Wall Street encourage people to go out and sell bad penny stocks? Does Scarface glamorize cocaine? How different is this from blaming gun violence on video games?

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/26/2019 - 19:50
Published:9/26/2019 7:07:50 PM
[Markets] Welfare Checks Turn Deadly: You Might Want To Think Twice Before Calling The Cops Welfare Checks Turn Deadly: You Might Want To Think Twice Before Calling The Cops

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Anyone who cares for someone with a developmental disability, as well as for disabled people themselves [lives] every day in fear that their behavior will be misconstrued as suspicious, intoxicated or hostile by law enforcement.”

- Steve Silberman, The New York Times

Think twice before you call the cops to carry out a welfare check on a loved one.

Especially if that person is autistic, hearing impaired, mentally ill, elderly, suffering from dementia, disabled or might have a condition that hinders their ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.

Particularly if you value that person’s life.

At a time when growing numbers of unarmed people are being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety, even the most benign encounters with police can have fatal consequences.

Unfortunately, police—trained in the worst case scenario and thus ready to shoot first and ask questions later—increasingly pose a risk to anyone undergoing a mental health crisis or with special needs whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent or require more finesse than the typical freeze-or-I’ll-shoot tactics employed by America’s police forces.

Just recently, in fact, Gay Plack, a 57-year-old Virginia woman with bipolar disorder, was killed after two police officers—sent to do a welfare check on her—entered her home uninvited, wandered through the house shouting her name, kicked open her locked bedroom door, discovered the terrified woman hiding in a dark bathroom and wielding a small axe, and four seconds later, shot her in the stomach.

Four seconds.

That’s all the time it took for the two police officers assigned to check on Plack to decide to use lethal force against her (both cops opened fire on the woman), rather than using non-lethal options (one cop had a Taser, which he made no attempt to use) or attempting to de-escalate the situation.

The police chief defended his officers’ actions, claiming they had “no other option” but to shoot the 5 foot 4 inch “woman with carpal tunnel syndrome who had to quit her job at a framing shop because her hand was too weak to use the machine that cut the mats.”

This is what happens when you empower the police to act as judge, jury and executioner.

This is what happens when you indoctrinate the police into believing that their lives and their safety are paramount to anyone else’s.

Suddenly, everyone and everything else is a threat that must be neutralized or eliminated.

In light of the government’s latest efforts to predict who might pose a threat to public safety based on mental health sensor data (tracked by wearable data such as FitBits and Apple Watches and monitored by government agencies such as HARPA, the “Health Advanced Research Projects Agency”), encounters with the police could get even more deadly, especially if those involved have a mental illness or disability.

Indeed, disabled individuals make up a third to half of all people killed by law enforcement officers.

That’s according to a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation,  which reports that “disabled individuals make up the majority of those killed in use-of-force cases that attract widespread attention. This is true both for cases deemed illegal or against policy and for those in which officers are ultimately fully exonerated... Many more disabled civilians experience non-lethal violence and abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers.”

For instance, Nancy Schrock called 911 for help after her husband, Tom, who suffered with mental health issues, started stalking around the backyard, upending chairs and screaming about demons. Several times before, police had transported Tom to the hospital, where he was medicated and sent home after 72 hours. This time, Tom was tasered twice. He collapsed, lost consciousness and died.

In South Carolina, police tasered an 86-year-old grandfather reportedly in the early stages of dementia, while he was jogging backwards away from them. Now this happened after Albert Chatfield led police on a car chase, running red lights and turning randomly. However, at the point that police chose to shock the old man with electric charges, he was out of the car, on his feet, and outnumbered by police officers much younger than him.

In Georgia, campus police shot and killed a 21-year-old student who was suffering a mental health crisis. Scout Schultz was shot through the heart by campus police when he approached four of them late one night while holding a pocketknife, shouting “Shoot me!” Although police may have feared for their lives, the blade was still in its closed position.

In Oklahoma, police shot and killed a 35-year-old deaf man seen holding a two-foot metal pipe on his front porch (he used the pipe to fend off stray dogs while walking). Despite the fact that witnesses warned police that Magdiel Sanchez couldn’t hear—and thus comply—with their shouted orders to drop the pipe and get on the ground, police shot the man when he was about 15 feet away from them.

In Maryland, police (moonlighting as security guards) used extreme force to eject a 26-year-old man with Downs Syndrome and a low IQ from a movie theater after the man insisted on sitting through a second screening of a film. Autopsy results indicate that Ethan Saylor died of complications arising from asphyxiation, likely caused by a chokehold.

In Florida, police armed with assault rifles fired three shots at a 27-year-old nonverbal, autistic man who was sitting on the ground, playing with a toy truck. Police missed the autistic man and instead shot his behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey, who had been trying to get him back to his group home. The therapist, bleeding from a gunshot wound, was then handcuffed and left lying face down on the ground for 20 minutes.

In Texas, police handcuffed, tasered and then used a baton to subdue a 7-year-old student who has severe ADHD and a mood disorder. With school counselors otherwise occupied, school officials called police and the child’s mother to assist after Yosio Lopez started banging his head on a wall. The police arrived first.

In New Mexico, police tasered, then opened fire on a 38-year-old homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, all in an attempt to get James Boyd to leave a makeshift campsite. Boyd’s death provoked a wave of protests over heavy-handed law enforcement tactics.

In Ohio, police forcefully subdued a 37-year-old bipolar woman wearing only a nightgown in near-freezing temperatures who was neither armed, violent, intoxicated, nor suspected of criminal activity. After being slammed onto the sidewalk, handcuffed and left unconscious on the street, Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being restrained in a prone position.

And in North Carolina, a state trooper shot and killed a 29-year-old deaf motorist after he failed to pull over during a traffic stop. Daniel K. Harris was shot after exiting his car, allegedly because the trooper feared he might be reaching for a weapon.

These cases, and the hundreds—if not thousands—more that go undocumented every year speak to a crisis in policing when it comes to law enforcement’s failure to adequately assess, de-escalate and manage encounters with special needs or disabled individuals.

While the research is relatively scant, what has been happening is telling.

Over the course of six months, police shot and killed someone who was in mental crisis every 36 hours.

Among 124 police killings analyzed by The Washington Post in which mental illness appeared to be a factor, “They were overwhelmingly men, more than half of them white. Nine in 10 were armed with some kind of weapon, and most died close to home.”

But there were also important distinctions, reports the Post.

This group was more likely to wield a weapon less lethal than a firearm. Six had toy guns; 3 in 10 carried a blade, such as a knife or a machete — weapons that rarely prove deadly to police officers. According to data maintained by the FBI and other organizations, only three officers have been killed with an edged weapon in the past decade. Nearly a dozen of the mentally distraught people killed were military veterans, many of them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service, according to police or family members. Another was a former California Highway Patrol officer who had been forced into retirement after enduring a severe beating during a traffic stop that left him suffering from depression and PTSD. And in 45 cases, police were called to help someone get medical treatment, or after the person had tried and failed to get treatment on his own.

The U.S. Supreme Court, as might be expected, has thus far continued to immunize police against charges of wrongdoing when it comes to use of force against those with a mental illness.

In a 2015 ruling, the Court declared that police could not be sued for forcing their way into a mentally ill woman’s room at a group home and shooting her five times when she advanced on them with a knife. The justices did not address whether police must take special precautions when arresting mentally ill individuals. (The Americans with Disabilities Act requires “reasonable accommodations” for people with mental illnesses, which in this case might have been less confrontational tactics.)

Where does this leave us?

For starters, we need better police training across the board, but especially when it comes to de-escalation tactics and crisis intervention.

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that CIT (Crisis Intervention Team)-trained officers made fewer arrests, used less force, and connected more people with mental-health services than their non-trained peers.

As The Washington Post points out:

“Although new recruits typically spend nearly 60 hours learning to handle a gun, according to a recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, they receive only eight hours of training to de-escalate tense situations and eight hours learning strategies for handling the mentally ill. Otherwise, police are taught to employ tactics that tend to be counterproductive in such encounters, experts said. For example, most officers are trained to seize control when dealing with an armed suspect, often through stern, shouted commands. But yelling and pointing guns is ‘like pouring gasoline on a fire when you do that with the mentally ill,’ said Ron Honberg, policy director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.”

Second, police need to learn how to slow confrontations down, instead of ramping up the tension (and the noise).

In Maryland, police recruits are now required to take a four-hour course in which they learn “de-escalation tactics” for dealing with disabled individuals: speak calmly, give space, be patient.

One officer in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department’s “mental response teams” suggests that instead of rushing to take someone into custody, police should try to slow things down and persuade the person to come with them.

Third, with all the questionable funds flowing to police departments these days, why not use some of those funds to establish what one disability-rights activist describes as “a 911-type number dedicated to handling mental-health emergencies, with community crisis-response teams at the ready rather than police officers.”

In the end, while we need to make encounters with police officers safer for people with suffering from mental illness or with disabilities, what we really need - as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People - is to make encounters with police safer for all individuals all across the board.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/25/2019 - 23:50
Published:9/25/2019 11:02:37 PM
[089f4241-d7c8-541b-a8aa-25180da9785c] Video of play based on FBI officials' anti-Trump texts set to hit the Internet Video of the stage play based on anti-Trump text messages between disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI counsel Lisa Page will be available online next month and the trailer of the controversial project was exclusively released to Fox News on Monday. Published:9/24/2019 11:23:17 AM
[Politics] Darrell Issa's nomination for trade post hits a snag over his FBI background file

A vote on Darrell Issa's nomination to head U.S. Trade and Development agency is delayed until Senate committee can review his FBI background file.

Published:9/19/2019 11:55:57 AM
[Uncategorized] Women’s March Votes Off New Board Member Zahra Billoo Over Anti-Israel Tweets Billoo claimed an Islamaphobic smear campaign cost her the job. It was actually her anti-Israel and saying the FBI recruited "mentally ill young people" to join ISIS. Published:9/19/2019 10:27:49 AM
[Markets] Former Overstock CEO Byrne Dumps $90 Million Stock Gains Into Gold, Crypto "Out Of Reach Of Deep State" Former Overstock CEO Byrne Dumps $90 Million Stock Gains Into Gold, Crypto "Out Of Reach Of Deep State"

After falling out of favor with shareholders over his company's poor stock performance, comments about the "deep state" and his alleged relationship with Russian honeypot Marina Butina, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne announced his resignation weeks ago.

And now, it looks like Byrne has finally checked out completely: on Wednesday after hours, he filed a Form 4 showing that he had sold his entire ~$90 million stake in the company into the stock's recent squeeze as lending desks struggled to figure out how to handle the company's recently proposed "digital dividend".

His Form 4 showed that he sold about 4.8 million shares over the course of the past three trading sessions. His remaining 87,000 shares were given as a gift to an undisclosed recipient. 

Then, in a blog post on his site Deep Capture, Byrne blamed the SEC, who he called "the Deep State's pets", according to MarketWatch

The "digital dividend" that Byrne left in his wake to his shareholders could only be accessed through Overstock's blockchain based exchange and required the holder to retain the asset for 6 months. Many thought it was an attempt to squeeze shorts and, if it was, it worked. Overstock stock shot from about $15 on September 4 to a high of almost $30 on September 13 as shorts covered in an attempt to avoid having to deal with the dividend. 

But on Wednesday, Overstock had to walk back some of their plans, announcing that the dividend would be freely tradable upon its issue. The company suggested that the change was a reaction to “feedback we received from industry participants, investors and regulators.” The company also moved back the date of the distribution and promised to announce a new record date in 3 to 6 weeks.

On his blog, Byrne said that the pressure to change the digital dividend came from the "Deep State's pets":

“We heard over the weekend that starting last Friday, the Deep State’s pets at the SEC began leaking something to their clients JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman (and here as citizens I bet you thought we were their clients, right? lol). They leaked that they were going to Bazoomba our digital dividend. Once that started getting back to me, I realized this: Whenever I have had any question about whether the SEC would or would not do something totally outrageous in order to hurt our company to benefit their clients on Wall Street, they never let me down: they always did the evil thing.”

Byrne said the assertion that he sold his shares due to lack of confidence in the company was "wrong" and said he would be using his newfound riches to invest in gold, silver and two unnamed cryptocurrencies as a "hedge" against the economy failing. He also promised that if Overstock failed due to the broader economy failing, that he would use his gains from his hedges to recapitalize the company.

"...after paying tens of millions in taxes (after all, “We didn’t build that,” right?) by Friday the rest will be in investments that are counter-cyclical to the economy: Gold, silver, and two flavors of crypto. The gold and silver are stored outside of the United States, in Switzerland, and within two weeks, will be scattered in other locations that are even more outside of the reach of the Deep State, but are places that are safe for me.

The crypto is stored in the place where all crypto is stored: in mathematical mist, behind long keys held only in the memory of someone who is quite good at storing such things in memory (with paper backups in the hands of a priest I met 35 years ago who never sits foot in the West). "

These acts, Byrne continued, accomplish a critical obvjective: 

”You will have not just access to capital, you will have access to the friendliest capital imaginable: my own. I have to wait six months for it to be legal, but anytime after March 17, 2020 I can provide a capital injection if needed by buying back into Overstock. Please remember that as you watch the global chaos.”

Meanwhile, the SEC has had an ongoing investigation into Overstock's tZero blockchain subsidiary and its token security offering since February 2018. Overstock disclosed in May that the SEC had expanded its investigation to include certain public statements made by the company. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/19/2019 - 09:51
Published:9/19/2019 8:59:54 AM
[Markets] DOJ Sued For Records Of FBI Agent Who Helped Circulate Steele Dossier DOJ Sued For Records Of FBI Agent Who Helped Circulate Steele Dossier

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed against the US Justice Department on Wednesday by legal watchdog group Judicial Watchseeking records concerning FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta - an agency Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the infamous Steele Dossier. 

Christopher Steele

The JW lawsuit seeks:

  • All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms “Trump”, “Clinton”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and/or “conservatives.”
  • All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
  • All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.

According to August 2018 testimony by the DOJ's former #4 official Bruce Ohr, dossier author Christopher Steele gave two memos from his salacious, Clinton-funded opposition research to Gaeta.

In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping — you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe — and, again, this is based on my review of my notes — that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports…”

The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.

According to the Epoch Times, Gaeta was authorized by former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his London office in order to obtain dossier materials. 

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

The FBI's scramble to vet the dossier's claims are well known. According to an April, 2017 NYT reportthe FBI agreed to pay Steele $50,000 for "solid corroboration" of his claims. Steele was apparently unable to produce satisfactory evidence - and was not paid for his efforts:

Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing “fallout” over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving “conflicting advice” on what to do.

The agent said that if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid. -NYT

Still, the FBI used the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page - while the document itself was heavily shopped around to various media outlets. The late Sen. John McCain provided a copy to Former FBI Director James Comey, who already had a version, and briefed President Trump on the salacious document. Comey's briefing to Trump was then used by CNN and BuzzFeed to justify reporting on and publishing the dossier following the election. 

"The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI ‘tooth and nail’ for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump."

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/18/2019 - 17:35
Tags
Published:9/18/2019 4:49:19 PM
[Markets] Mish Blasts NYT Kavanaugh Smear: "Editorial Mistake My Ass" Mish Blasts NYT Kavanaugh Smear: "Editorial Mistake My Ass"

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

As details emerge in the New York Times Kavanaugh scandal, it's very clear the NYT repeatedly made serious errors

Blatant Sleaze

On September 14, the New York Times resurrected unsubstantiated and graphic rumors about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a purposeful smear article Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.

The article was by disgraced NYT authors Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly to promote their upcoming book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”

I do not normally report on sleaze but to understand what the NYT did, I have to.

Here is one controversial paragraph.

"We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student."

Coverup Whitewash

The NYT later added this correction.

"The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article."

That's one hell of a correction don't you think?

Editing Error

Making matters worse for itself, The NYT came out and blamed it all on an "editing error".

Reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly said in an interview on MSNBC that they wrote in the draft of their Sunday Review piece that a woman who Kavanaugh was said to have exposed himself to while a student at Yale had told others she had no recollection of the alleged incident.

Their editors, they say, removed the reference. “It was just sort of. . . in the haste of the editing process,” said Pogrebin.

The editor responsible for editing the Kavanaugh piece, Times Deputy Editorial Page Editor James Dao addressed select questions about the piece on a Times “Bulletin Board” posted on Monday and updated Tuesday. But he did not address why the information about the woman’s recollection was removed from the story.

Dao declined a POLITICO request for comment.

Half Bullshit

We certainly never intended to mislead in any way,” Pogrebin said in discussing the editor’s note on MSNBC.

“We wanted to give as full a story as possible.”

I know bullshit when I see it. The whole story is bullshit. On second thought, make that half bullshit (I will explain in a moment).

Since when do you post unsubstantiated sleaze of this nature when the people allegedly involved do not remember the incident?

Someone shoved a penis in my face and I don't remember.

Really?

Here's the believable part: “We wanted to give as full a story as possible.”

Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly want to sell books and sleaze sells.

Of course they wanted as "full a story as possible" and the more bullshit the better.

Bullshit Replicated

Entire Book Unravels

Zerohedge fills in the remaining pieces in his take As Kavanaugh Smear Unravels, Original Accuser's 'Witness' Now Doubts Story

As the left-wing smear against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh continues to unravel amid a journalistic malpractice scandal at the New York Times, original Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford's "lifelong friend" and alleged witness now doubts her story.

Keyser - who said she was pressured by Ford's ex-FBI buddy to lie and say that she didn't remember the party instead of saying that it never happened - originally said through her attorney that she "does not refute Dr. Ford's account," however "the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question."

"I was told behind the scenes that certain things could spread about me if I didn't comply," Keyser told the Times journos - who felt it wasn't notable enough for their smear article.

Now, Keyser says she doesn't believe Ford's story at all

"We spoke multiple times to Keyser, who also said that she didn’t recall that get-together or others like it," wrote Pogrebin and Kelly in their new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation (yet another item that didn't make it into their inflammatory Times article). "In fact, she challenged Ford’s accuracy."

Editors Should Be Fired

At a minimum, the editors responsible should be fired. They are corrupt, incompetent, or both.

Anyone at the NYT defending the editors should also be fired.

NYT Pours On the Bullshit

NYT opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie says Mad About Kavanaugh and Gorsuch? The Best Way to Get Even Is to Pack the Court.

So what should Democrats do? They should play hardball back. Congress, according to the Judiciary Act of 1789, decides the number of judges. It’s been 150 years since it changed the size of the Supreme Court. I think it’s time to revisit the issue. Should Democrats win that trifecta, they should expand and yes, pack, the Supreme Court. Add two additional seats to account for the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations.

To post that article in the wake of blatant errors adds fat to the fire.

It's also asinine.

The fact of the matter is Republicans control the Senate and Trump gets to make the nominees.

Even assuming that changes, all it would do is encourage Republicans to counter the next time they are in charge.

Nonpolitical Court

The court is supposed to be nonpolitical.

In that regard, Trump made two excellent choices. He could easily have appointed two far-right choices but didn't.

Excellent Choices

Some of my own readers incorrectly accused me of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).

The notion is absurd. I am a free market, anti-war Libertarian.

When Trump strays from either, I criticize.

Here, Trump is correct.

Trump Tweets

Instead of admitting how stupid they were, Democrat presidential nominees want a Kavanaugh impeachment.

The people in charge of this fiasco at the NYT should be fired.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/18/2019 - 09:00
Tags
Published:9/18/2019 8:18:20 AM
[In The News] ‘Screw It’: New Book Says Comey Skirted Protocol To Set Up Fateful Michael Flynn Interview

By Chuck Ross -

James Comey testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee 05-03-17

A book released Tuesday says that Jim Comey took advantage of the “chaos” that marked the early days of the Trump presidency to set up a White House interview with Michael Flynn. Josh Campbell, an assistant to Comey, writes that the ex-FBI chief went around normal bureau procedures to authorize ...

‘Screw It’: New Book Says Comey Skirted Protocol To Set Up Fateful Michael Flynn Interview is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:9/18/2019 6:46:03 AM
[] CBS Reports "The Real Bombshell" in the NYT Smear: That Blasey-Ford and Her Friends/Co-Conspirators Threatened to Smear Leland Keyser If She Didn't Back Up The Lie We report tonight the real bombshell: Christine Ford?s close HS friend (who Ford says was at the party when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her) said Ford?s story is not believable and told the FBI Ford?s allies pressured her, threatened her with... Published:9/17/2019 1:45:18 PM
[Markets] A View Of The U.S. From Across The Atlantic A View Of The U.S. From Across The Atlantic

Authored by Andrew Asjh via The Gatestone Institute,

  • My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months.

  • Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

  • The only thing that has not changed is the Democrats' make-believe view that President Trump and the Russians were somehow trying to rig the election, when it was, in fact, they themselves who were doing that.

Before the advent of online news, residents of the UK had to rely on the British press to report on the minutiae of the American political system -- something that didn't happen all that often. In politics what went on in the USA, stayed in the USA, most of it at least. Beyond a major political upheaval, or the swearing in of a new president, news reportage was more concerned with the cut and thrust of our own routine domestic politics.

Only the bickering between the Democrats and Republicans rang a familiar note, mirroring as it did, our British Punch and Judy stereotype, with the stuffy old Tories on one side, and the loony-left Labour on the other.

By 2008, along with the advent of social media, and a growing awareness of international affairs, it became increasingly impossible not to notice the apparently out of proportion intensity driving the Democrat-Republican voter divide. Heralded in by the arrival of the US's first president "of colour", Barack Obama, and coinciding with the rising usage of Twitter and Facebook, the "Left" seemed to jump at the chance of embracing the one-dimensional limitations of an "echo chamber". The "echo-chamber" served not only to widen the chasm between left and right, but -- even to the outsider -- noticeably amplified the animosity between the two sides. Compared to the almost polite political rivalry between voters and parties in Britain, the political division in the US began looking distinctly engineered.

My American friends, in an effort to help me try and understand their conclusions, sent a raft of articles from the US mainstream media, which, in their bias, displayed the same lack of integrity as my friends'. Even in the extended echo-chamber of social media, there appeared to be a seemingly pathological fear of anything even remotely resembling a balanced view.

Then, along came the 2016 election and the arrival of presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Whilst the UK was not looking, war seemed to have broken out. If I was not prepared forthrightly to dismiss Trump as the white supremacist he so obviously and professedly was, it was clear that if I was not careful, I would be tarred by the same brush.

My friends assured me there were terrible, terrible things that would become apparent in the ensuing months. The problem was, they never once articulated any of them. Their suspicions all appeared to be hysterical unfounded inferences.

The evident reluctance by left-wing media outlets to condemn a -- by now -- extremely guilty-looking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now seemed unfair. Much of the media seemed all too happy to turn a blind eye to the Benghazi affair, her "unusual" email practices and other seemingly incriminating pranks. The media also seemed to ignore the treasure-trove of information on the suspect machinations of the DNC and its incumbents and other dubious goings on, including truncated FBI investigations, the "controversial" resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the sudden departure from CNN of Donna Brazile after having fed questions to Clinton prior to the televised presidential debates, and so on.

The potential skulduggery seemed never ending. How come my friends had never mentioned any of this? Surely, they knew? The echo chamber, it appeared, was hermetically sealed. Even then US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and her "secret" meeting with former President Bill Clinton aboard the Justice Department's jet just before she was due to deliver her verdict on his wife, failed to raise an eyebrow. How was that possible?

One would never have known the depths of the corruption taking place right under everyone's noses, or indeed, the lengths to which their top brass representatives were willing to go to manipulate an election. It was not just a couple of dodgy individuals, working overtime for their own self-enrichment; there was a whole bunch of them at it. Worse, it seemed they had been doing it for a very long time -- and all of it under the auspices of their beloved president.

A hardened, contemptible cynic might even have thought that the 2016 presidential election result was meant to have been a foregone conclusion, with no suspicious activity ever exposed.

It was hard by now not to be intrigued by this murky, cloak and dagger world of deceit. The farther down the rabbit hole one looked in this saga, the harder it became not to surmise that, for all their faults, the Republican party, and in particular, Mr. Trump, were the "good guys." One half of the country was deliberately being pitted, with fake information, against the other. This division seems to be one that the mainstream media have, ever since, been trying to blame on Donald Trump, despite it clearly being a war that they themselves had cooked up.

As the story grows, and more of the players become exposed -- Andrew McCabeJames ComeyPeter StrzokLisa PageJohn BrennanJames Clapper, Rod RosensteinAndrew WeissmannSally YatesSamantha PowerSusan Rice, and even President Obama -- the list goes on and on -- my interest in US politics has soared to levels I never thought possible, and for all the wrong reasons. The only thing that has not changed is the Democrats' storybook view that President Trump and the Russians were somehow trying to rig the election, when it was, in fact, they themselves who were doing that.

When then President Obama was asked about the possibility of rigging the 2016 elections, he told then-candidate Trump to "stop whining":

"There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America's elections, in part because they are so decentralized. There is no evidence that that has happened in the past, or that there are instances that that could happen this time."

It then turned out that Secretary Clinton and the DNC had also been rigging the Democrats' presidential primaries and nomination process against Senator Bernie Sanders, as well.

After all that has emerged over the past couple of years, during investigation after investigation, it seems impossible that these officials could honestly be sincere. For now, I am not holding my breath that my friends on the left might one day wake up and do some research of their own; but as an impartial observer with no dog in this fight, I know which side I would rather back.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/17/2019 - 02:00
Tags
Published:9/17/2019 1:11:16 AM
[Markets] Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years: Report Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years: Report

Shortly before the Obama administration approved a deal granting Russia 20% of America's uranium, US intelligence agencies discovered that the Kremlin had "dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams," according to Yahoo News, which interviewed 50 current and former intelligence and national security officials. 

Part of the Russian Federation's riverfront compound on Maryland's Eastern Shore. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In September 2011, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of his third presidential campaign, only to be confronted during the following months by tens of thousands of protesters accusing him of electoral fraud. Putin, a former intelligence officer, publicly accused then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fomenting the unrest.

It was around this time that Putin’s spies in the United States, operating under diplomatic cover, achieved what a former senior intelligence official called a “stunning” technical breakthrough, demonstrating their relentless focus on the country they’ve long considered their primary adversary. -Yahoo News

Here are the core claims: 

  • Around 2012, US officials realized that Russians had massively breached the FBI's communications - including "hacking into computers not connected to the internet," and compromising the FBI teams' "cellphones outfitted with “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie capabilities" used as backup communications devices. 
  • "Russians were able to intercept, record and eventually crack the codes to FBI radio communications." 
  • The intelligence allowed Russian spies in American cities "including Washington, New York and San Francisco" key insights into how FBI surveillance teams were operating
  • The intercepted communications likely contained the "actual substance of FBI communications," and "opportunities to potentially shake off FBI surveillance and communicate with sensitive human sources, check on remote recording devices and even gather intelligence on their FBI pursuers."
  • "Mobile listening posts" were deployed in which "Some Russian intelligence officers, carrying signals intelligence gear, would walk near FBI surveillance teams. Others drove vans full of listening equipment aimed at intercepting FBI teams’ communications." 
  • The Russians could only crack "moderately encrypted communications," not the strongest types of encryption employed by the US government for sensitive transmissions. 
  • After the breach was discovered, the FBI switched back to encrypted radios - and "expensive venture" according to one former counterintelligence official. 
  • The revelations caused the CIA to curtail certain types of communications with overseas sources, and "had to resort to a whole series of steps" to prevent Russian eavesdropping. 
  • The Russians primarily operated out of government compounds in Maryland and New York - both shuttered by the Obama administration in response to 2016 election hacking allegations - played a central role in the espionage. They were "basically being used as signals intelligence facilities," according to the report - citing a former senior national security official. 

How did this happen?

According to the report: "A former senior counterintelligence official blamed the compromises on a “hodgepodge of systems” ineffective beyond the line of sight. “The infrastructure that was supposed to be built, they never followed up, or gave us the money for it,” said the former official. “The intelligence community has never gotten an integrated system.”

The limitations of the radio technology, said the former senior officials, led the FBI’s surveillance personnel to communicate on the backup systems.

Eventually they switched to push-to-talk cellphones,” said a former counterintelligence executive. “The tech guys would get upset by that, because if they could intercept radio, they might be able to intercept telephones.”

That is indeed what happened. Those devices were then identified and compromised by Russian intelligence operatives. (A number of other countries’ surveillance teams — including those from hostile services — also transitioned from using radios to cellphones during this time, noted another former official.)"

Fallout and damage control

In addition to embarking on sweeping and expensive technology upgrades, 'unnerved' US officials scrambled to shore up holes in our security - switching back to encrypted radios - an "expensive venture." 

Once the compromises of FBI communications devices were confirmed, U.S. officials scrambled to minimize the exposure of mobile surveillance team operations, quickly putting countermeasures in place, according to former senior officials. There was a “huge concern” about protecting the identities of the individuals on the teams — an elite, secret group — said the former senior counterintelligence official. U.S. officials also conducted a damage assessment and repeatedly briefed select White House officials and members of Congress about the compromise. -Yahoo News

"Anytime you find out that an adversary has these capabilities, it sets off a ripple effect," said one former senior national security official. "The Russians are able to extract every capability from any given technology. ... They are singularly dangerous in this area."

Mark Kelton, who served as the chief of counterintelligence at the CIA until he retired in 2015, declined to discuss specific Russian operations, but he told Yahoo News that “the Russians are a professionally proficient adversary who have historically penetrated every American institution worth penetrating.”

This remains a core worry for U.S. spy hunters. The number of ongoing espionage investigations into U.S. government personnel — at the CIA, the FBI and elsewhere — including those potentially recruited by Russia, “is not a little, it’s a lot,” said another former senior counterintelligence official. -Yahoo News

What's more, FBI officials were concerned that some of its assets had been compromised - consequently cutting off contact with some of its Russian sources. 

Meanwhile, some of the FBI's Russian sources stopped cooperating with their American handlers. "There were a couple instances where a recruited person had said, ‘I can’t meet you anymore," revealed a former senior intelligence official. 

"We didn’t understand that they were at political war with us already in the second term once Putin was reelected and Obama himself was reelected," said Obama's former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Evelyn Farkas (of "spilling the beans" Russiagate fame). 

Read the rest of the report here

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:05
Published:9/16/2019 7:12:17 PM
[Markets] DOJ Sued For Docs On FBI/CIA Informant Who Spearheaded Trump Tower Moscow Scheme DOJ Sued For Docs On FBI/CIA Informant Who Spearheaded Trump Tower Moscow Scheme

A Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed on Monday by Judicial Watch against the Department of Justice seeks all records of communications regarding Felix Sater - a former Trump organization official known to US intelligence as "The Quarterback," who was recently confirmed to be an informant for both the FBI and CIA

Sater went from a "Wall Street wunderkind" working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia - where the FBI and CIA tapped him in the late 1990s as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler "I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head," according to BuzzFeed. 

Sater reportedly “began working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998, after he was caught in a stock-fraud scheme.” It was Andrew Weissmann who, as supervising assistant U.S. attorney, signed the agreement that brought Sater on as a government informant. Federal prosecutors wrote a letter to Sater’s sentencing judge on August 27, 2009, in an effort to get him a lighter sentence: “Sater’s cooperation was of a depth and breadth rarely seen.” -Judicial Watch

Sater also spearheaded the failed Trump Tower Moscow scheme with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen according to the same report (which BuzzFeed walked back months later, saying instead that the project was Cohen's idea)

 

Judicial Watch notes that "The Mueller report mentions Sater more than 100 times but fails to mention that he was an active undercover informant for the FBI/CIA for more than two decades. In 2017, Sater was the subject of two interviews conducted under a proffer agreement with Mueller’s office according to page 69, footnote 304 of Mueller’s report on his Russian collusion investigation."

As such, their lawsuit seeks all communications with Sater - including the FBI's 302 interview reports and offer agreements between Mueller and Sater. 

A Sater Setup?

Interestingly, Judicial Watch chief investigative reporter Micah Morrison noted in June that "Beginning in late 2015, Sater repeatedly tried to arrange for [Trump attorney Michael] Cohen and candidate Trump, as representatives of the Trump Organization, to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials and possible financing partners."

The Trump campaign appears to have rejected Sater's attempts - however the Mueller report notes that "Sater and Cohen continued to discuss a trip to Moscow" into the spring of 2016 - and tried to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump

So we're clear - and FBI/CIA informant attempted to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin right as "Russiagate" began heating up - perhaps in an effort to take Trump down for the so-called "deep state" he worked for. 

"Was a Russian real estate deal being pushed on the Trump Organization part of a set-up by a FBI/CIA informant?" asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

As we noted last March of Sater's assistance to the US government: 

During the course of his work for the agencies, all unpaid, BuzzFeed confirmed the following exploits: 

  • He obtained five of the personal satellite telephone numbers for Osama bin Laden before 9/11 and he helped flip the personal secretary to Mullah Omar, then the head of the Taliban and an ally of bin Laden, into a source who provided the location of al-Qaeda training camps and weapons caches.
  • In 2004, he persuaded a source in Russia’s foreign military intelligence to hand over the name and photographs of a North Korean military operative who was purchasing equipment to build the country’s nuclear arsenal.
  • Sater provided US intelligence with details about possible assassination threats against former president George W. Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell. Sater reported that jihadists were hiding in a hut outside Bagram Air Base and planned to shoot down Powell’s plane during a January 2002 visit. He later told his handlers that two female al-Qaeda members were trying to recruit an Afghan woman working in the Senate barbershop to poison President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • He went undercover in Cyprus and Istanbul to catch Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals around 2005. After the FBI set him up with a fake name and background, Sater posed as a money launderer to help nab the suspects for washing funds stolen from US financial institutions.

And how did he get bin Laden's sat phone numbers? He tricked his Northern Alliance source into believing he would become the "Alan Greenspan of Afghanistan" - running the country's federal reserve after the U.S. invasion

Sater said he set up Delaware LLCs in the US — for the “Bank of Kabul” and the “Bank of Afghanistan.” He registered websites to convince the Northern Alliance source that he was serious about his intentions, going so far, he said, as to print out the corporate registrations, adorn them with ribbons, and use a wax stamp to make them seem more official. He said he mailed the documents, and a satellite phone, to the source.

Two former Justice Department officials said Sater took these steps without the FBI’s knowledge or authorization, telling his handlers about it only after the fact. -BuzzFeed

We have a feeling that even if Judicial Watch is successful in their legal action, all we're going to learn from the US government about Felix Sater is [redacted]. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 17:25
Tags
Published:9/16/2019 4:36:57 PM
[Politics] Rep. Jordan: IG Report Likely Holds Comey, McCabe Responsible Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report into whether the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will hold former FBI leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe accountable, according to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Published:9/16/2019 3:37:35 PM
[2019 News] Apparently Russia Had FBI’s Number Under Obama, Were Defeating Surveillance Techniques, And May Have Breached Counterintelligence Agency Communications Apparently Russia Had FBI’s Number Under Obama, Were Defeating Surveillance Techniques, And May Have Breached Counterintelligence Agency Communications. So evidently ‘Russia-Russia-Russia’ was about Obama and Comey being asleep at the wheel, not Trump. Published:9/16/2019 2:36:13 PM
[In The News] Ex-Comey Aide Describes How FBI Chief Prepared For Infamous Trump Tower Meeting

By Chuck Ross -

A new book by Josh Campbell, a former FBI assistant to Jim Comey, reveals new details about an infamous briefing to Donald Trump about the Steele dossier. Campbell, who is now a CNN analyst, writes that Comey took the unusual step of requesting a top-secret laptop be handy to write ...

Ex-Comey Aide Describes How FBI Chief Prepared For Infamous Trump Tower Meeting is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:9/16/2019 2:07:05 PM
[Markets] Three JPMorgan Traders Charged For "Massive" Gold Market Manipulation Fraud Three JPMorgan Traders Charged For "Massive" Gold Market Manipulation Fraud

Many readers wrote us off as conspiracy theorists when we reported on signs of manipulation in the precious metals market. But as it turns out, trading desks at some of the world's largest banks were deeply involved in what the Department of Justice described as a "massive, multiyear scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts and defraud market participants."

In an indictment unsealed on Monday morning, the DoJ charged Michael Nowak, a JP Morgan veteran and former head of its precious metals trading desk and Gregg Smith, another trader on JPM's metals desk, in the probe. Both men were put on leave over the summer as the DoJ's investigation neared its conclusion, and Nowak was previously named in a civil suit brought by the CFTC.

A third trader named in the indictment, Christopher Jordan, traded precious metals at JPM until he left in December 2009. He later traded precious metals at two other banks, Credit Suisse and First New York.

In a press release accompanying the indictment, Assistant Attorney General accused all three men of scheming to manipulate the precious metals market while potentially harming their bank's clients.

"The defendants and others allegedly engaged in a massive, multiyear scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts and defraud market participants," said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. "These charges should leave no doubt that the Department is committed to prosecuting those who undermine the investing public’s trust in the integrity of our commodities markets."

William Sweeney, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, added that this manipulation likely impacted "correlated markets and the clients of the bank they represented." 

"Smith, Nowak, Jordan, and their co-conspirators allegedly engaged in a complex scheme to trade precious metals in a way that negatively affected the natural balance of supply-and-demand," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office. "Not only did their alleged behavior affect the markets for precious metals, but also correlated markets and the clients of the bank they represented. For as long as we continue to see this type of illegal activity in the marketplace, we’ll remain dedicated to investigating and bringing to justice those who perpetrate these crimes."

According to Bloomberg, three other banks - Deutsche Bank, HSBC and UBS - agreed to pay $50 million (in total) to settle civil claims by the CFTC. Two former JPM employees who pleaded guilty and contributed evidence against their former colleagues that was used in the indictment.

"While at JPMorgan I was instructed by supervisors and more senior traders to trade in a certain fashion, namely to place orders that I intended to cancel before execution," said one former trader John Edmonds during an October 2018 hearing after pleading guilty to commodities fraud and conspiracy, BBG reports.

The behavior dates back more than 10 years to 2009, according to chat logs that were shown in the indictment. The conversations exposed in the chat logs show just how blatant the manipulation was, and how little the traders did to conceal it.

One of the traders who participated in the chat shown above was Christian Trunz, who traded precious metals at Bearn Stearns before joining JP Morgan after the crisis. He told a federal judge last month that this type of behavior was openly encouraged on JPM's trading desks for roughly a decade, and that other traders taught him how to do it. He pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Aug. 20, BBG reports.

Another trader said during a plea hearing that he was instructed to bid up the price of futures contracts by placing, then cancelling, bid orders (the literal definition of spoofing) that he never intended to fill.

"I was instructed that if a client wished to sell futures I should simultaneously place both bids and offers with the intent of canceling the bids prior to execution," Edmonds said during his plea hearing.

Edmonds said the purpose was to falsely transmit liquidity and price information in order to deceive other market participants about the supply and demand so they would trade against the orders that JPMorgan wanted to execute.

"We created market activity which artificially drove the sale price up and induced other market participants to purchase at an inflated price," he said. Edmonds entered into a cooperation agreement with the CFTC in July.

Since the crisis, regulators around the world have cracked down on manipulation in rates, forex and government bond markets, so it's not exactly a surprise that this type of behavior was also happening in precious metals. But the brazenness with which traders engaged in such manipulation suggests that they didn't know what they were doing was illegal or wrong, which, in at least some cases, is probably true.

Read the full indictment below:

u.s. v. Smith - Indictment by Zerohedge on Scribd

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:53
Published:9/16/2019 10:05:23 AM
[Politics] New reporting details how FBI limited investigation of Kavanaugh allegations

As Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh begins his second year on the Supreme Court, new reporting has detailed how the FBI limited in its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Published:9/16/2019 6:14:19 AM
[Markets] Former CIA Spook: "Clear To Me That Spying On Trump Was Ordered By Obama" Former CIA Spook: "Clear To Me That Spying On Trump Was Ordered By Obama"

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Former Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe looks like he is going to be charged for his role in the Trump Russia hoax to try to remove a duly elected President from office.

Former CIA Officer Kevin Shipp, who is an expert on counter-intelligence, says McCabe is going roll over on his co-conspirators and talk if the DOJ cuts him a deal. Shipp explains,

Yes, I do think he will talk, absolutely. It’s either that or be imprisoned with Billy Bob for the next 15 or 20 years. The motivation is great for him to talk...

This is one of their most outrageous things the Shadow Government and the Deep State has done.   They ran a counter-intelligence espionage operation, and that was their excuse to open an investigation...

It is clear to me that spying on Trump was ordered by Obama. It had to be, no doubt about it. He gets a Presidential brief on what the FBI, CIA, NSA are doing every single day. The FBI spied on the Trump campaign with an unprecedented domestic spy operation, and that is rocking this country.”

Shipp points out that what happened with President Trump is a first in U.S. history. Shipp says,

“This is huge that they had a domestic spying program involving CIA and FBI informants targeting a Presidential candidate and then the actual President himself. This has never happened before, and I am hoping it will never happen again.

This must come out. It has to come out if we are going to retain our democracy and our constitutional republic. These people have got to be exposed, they have got to be indicted, and they have to be charged.

If they are not, it’s pretty much over for our justice system.

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

*  *  *

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here (You Tube has, once again, Demonetized this video before it even posted.  Enjoy!!)

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/15/2019 - 18:35
Tags
Published:9/15/2019 5:56:53 PM
[Markets] Will McCabe Bring The FBI Down With Him? Will McCabe Bring The FBI Down With Him?

Authored by Daniel John Sobieski via The American Thinker blog,

The DoJ’s rejection of a last-ditch appeal by the legal team representing fired FBI Director Andrew McCabe and the recommendation by federal prosecutors that charges actually be filed against the documented liar, leaker, and co-conspirator in the attempted coup against duly elected President Donald Trump puts the deep state in a face-to-face confrontation with a potential legal Armageddon. An indictment will leave McCabe with no excuse for not carrying out his threat to bring them all down with him.

Before his firing, McCabe sent a shot across  the bow of his co-conspirators in the plots to keep Hillary Clinton out of prison and Donald Trump out of the White House, according to Fox News correspondent Adam Housely in a series of tweets reported by Gateway Pundit at the time of the firing:

Fox News reporter Adam Housley reported on Twitter tonight about the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, stating his sources were telling him that in the past few days McCabe threatened to “take people down with him” if he was fired...

8:31 p.m. PDT: “I am told yesterday McCabe felt the heat and went to try and save his last two days and even told some he would take people down with him if he was fired. So…let’s see what comes of this. I know this…a ton of agents…a ton…were watching this very closely.”

Investigative journalist Sara Carter confirmed McCabe’s threat on the March 16, 2018 episode of "The Ingraham Angle":

CARTER: He lied. Plain and simple he lied. A lot of former FBI agents that I spoke to say I hope he's fired. Is he going to get fired today? That's all I kept hearing all day because they realize if they had done this, they would have been fired too.

And there's a lot of ongoing investigations right now. This is not just about Michael Horowitz at the DOJ right now. Remember, there's a prosecutor looking into the unmasking, the FISA abuse that has been taking place with Carter Page in particular. So, we have a number of investigations and McCabe is worried. He's said over and over again, if I go down, I'm taking everybody else with me.

McCabe was at the heart of all the criminal activity and knows where the bodies are buried. His silence until now may be traced to the fact that to date no one has actually been held accountable. An easy indictment of his boss, book tour veteran James Comey, was bypassed and newly minted CNN analyst McCabe, filling the chair vacated by creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti, got to join his fellow liar and leaker, John Brennan, at the poster child for fake news.

“Lack of candor” about leaking to the press is the least of McCabe’s worries. McCabe is a signatory to at least one of the FISA applications requesting surveillance of American citizens, namely Team Trump. His signature was his affirmation that the information in it, based largely on the Steele dossier paid for by Team Hillary and the DNC and compiled from Russian sources by a British agent, was accurate and verified. The FISA warrant he signed was a fraud committed on the court.

The Steele dossier, despite McCabe’s prior obfuscations, was acquired illegally. Money was laundered through a law firm to a dirt-gathering opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, to a foreign agent, Christopher Steele, to Russian sources making most of the stuff up. The fact that the transaction went through multiple hands does not make it any more legal. It just makes the coming indictment longer.

McCabe, the man he worked for, James Comey, and the people who worked under McCabe, such as Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, then took this fruit of foreign interference in our election and used it to commit a fraud upon the FISA court to trigger the illegal surveillance of one political campaign by another with the aid of co-conspirators at the DoJ and FBI.

That McCabe himself was a key architect of this coup is found in the texts of FBI Agent Peter Strozk, who speaks of the plan hatched in “Andy’s office” to stop Trump at all costs, with this end justifying any and all means:

Out of all the damning, politically charged anti-Trump text messages released, one text from Strzok to (Lisa) Page on August 15, 2016, raised the most suspicion. It referred to a conversation and a meeting that had just taken place in "Andy's" (widely believed to be Deputy FBI Dir. Andrew McCabe's) office. According to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Strzok had texted this: "I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office [break]... that there's no way he gets elected. I want to believe that... But I'm afraid we can't take that risk... We have to do something about it."

In another text, Page said: "maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace." Strzok replied: "I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps."

"This goes to intent," Jordan said. "We can't take the risk that the people of this great country might elect Donald Trump. We can't take this risk. This is Peter Strzok, head of counterintelligence at the FBI. This is Peter Strzok, who I think had a hand in that dossier that was all dressed up and taken to the FISA court. He's saying, 'we can't take the risk, we have to do something about it.'"

McCabe himself said under oath he could not verify the accuracy of virtually anything in the dossier and has acknowledged that without the “salacious and unverified” document, as James Comey once described it, no investigation of Team Trump would have occurred.

Then there’s the case of Michael Flynn.  The unmasking of Flynn in the Russia probe may indeed be retaliation against Flynn for perceived political sins, but not for what and by whom you might think if reports from investigative watchdog site Circa News are correct.

As I noted here on June 30, 2017, Michael Flynn and Andrew McCabe have a past that predates the Trump presidency, one that provides ample motivation for the perjury trap that McCabe and Comey set up after Flynn’s illegal unmasking. McCabe had a personal grudge against Flynn and the perjury trap was his revenge.

It explains why McCabe would entrap Flynn in a seemingly harmless interview about contacts with Flynn’s Russian counterparts, advising Flynn he didn’t need to bring a lawyer along to complicate things.

As Sara A. Carter and John Solomon of Circa News reported:

The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.

Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.

The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn…

McCabe eventually became the bureau’s No. 2 executive and emerged as a central player in the FBI’s Russia election tampering investigation, putting him in a position to impact the criminal inquiry against Flynn.

Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case.

Andrew McCabe should not be a national pundit on CNN calling for Trump’s impeachment. He should be preparing his legal defense against indictments that can’t come a moment too soon. And we should be prepared for McCabe carrying out his threat to bring them all down. We may yet find out what really happened in “Andy’s office”.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/14/2019 - 23:00
Tags
Published:9/14/2019 10:22:23 PM
[The Blog] IG Horowitz has submitted draft of his report on FBI surveillance

"...reviewed over one million records"

The post IG Horowitz has submitted draft of his report on FBI surveillance appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:9/14/2019 3:21:57 PM
[Markets] Matt Taibbi Blasts The Smolenkov Saga As "Latest Pile Of BS Dumped On Us By Intel Agencies" Matt Taibbi Blasts The Smolenkov Saga As "Latest Pile Of BS Dumped On Us By Intel Agencies"

Authored by Matt Taibbi via Untitledgate blog,

The latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception...

When I was 20, I studied at the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, in the waning days of the Soviet empire. Most of the Russians I met were amusingly free of stress caused by following news. Why would they bother? Bull-factories like Rossiskaya Gazeta and Leningradsaya Pravda were basically collections of dreary government news releases rewritten to sound like news reports.

I saw newspapers in Leningrad shredded into slivers of toilet paper, used in place of curtains in dorm rooms, even stuffed into overcoat linings as insulation. But I can’t recall a Russian person actually reading a Soviet newspaper for the content. That’s how useless its “news” was.

We’re headed to a similar place. The cable networks, along with the New York Times and Washington Post increasingly act like house organs of the government, and in particular the intelligence agencies.

An episode this week involving a tale of a would-be American spy “exfiltrated” from Russia solidifies this impression. Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent.

The story was broken by CNN Monday, September 9th, under the headline, “Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017”:

In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

CNN’s lede relayed multiple key pieces of information, not one of which was really emphasized in the main of its unconfirmable story:

  • America not only had a spy inside Russia’s government, it had multiple spies, with the subject of this particular piece being merely one of America’s “highest level” sources

  • The “extraction” was completed “successfully”

  • The sources are “multiple Trump administration officials”

The story told us our spy agencies successfully penetrated Russian government at the highest levels (although apparently not well enough to foresee or forestall the election interference campaign the same agencies spent the last three years howling about).

We were also told the agencies saved an invaluable human source back in 2017, and that the story came from inside the Trump administration. But the big sell came in the second and third paragraphs (emphasis mine):

The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.

The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure…

So great was this spy of ours, we were told, that he had “access to Putin” and “could even provide images of documents on the Russian leader’s desk.” This was “according to CNN’s sources,” an interesting attribution given passages like this:

The source was considered the highest-level source for the US inside the Kremlin, high up in the national security infrastructure, according to the source familiar with the matter and a former senior intelligence official.

It’s a characteristic of third world countries to have the intelligence world and the media be intertwined enough that it’s not always clear whether the reporters and the reported-about are the same people. When you turn on the TV in Banana Republics, you’re never sure which group is talking to you.

We’re now in that same paradigm in America. CNN has hired nearly a dozen former intelligence or counterintelligence officials as analysts in the last few years. Their big get was former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but they also now have former deputy FBI chief Andrew McCabe, former FBI counsel James Baker, and multiple former CIA, NSA, and NSC officials.

Meanwhile, former CIA director John Brennan has an MSNBC/NBC gig, as does former CIA and DOD chief of staff Jeremy Bash, and several other ex-spooks. The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, who doubles as the CEO of one of America’s largest intelligence contractors.

This odious situation is similar to 2003-2004, when cable networks were tossing contributor deals to every ex-general and ex-spook they could find while they were reporting on the Iraq invasion. At one point, FAIR.org found that 52 percent of the sources in network newscasts were current or former government officials.

The numbers now aren’t quite that skewed, but CNN and MSNBC both employ former senior intelligence officials who comment upon stories in which they had direct involvement, especially the Russia investigation.

The CNN piece about the exfiltrated spy quotes a “former senior intelligence official,” a ubiquitous character that has become modern America’s version of the Guy Fawkes mask. I asked the network what their position was on whether or not they felt obligated to make a disclosure when (or if) a source was one of their own employees. They haven’t responded. 

Within hours after the CNN report broke, the New York Times had a triple-bylined piece out entitled, “C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to U.S. for Decades.” Written by three of their top national security writers, Adam Goldman, Julian Barnes and David Sanger, the story repeated the CNN information, but with a crucial difference:

C.I.A. officials worried about safety made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia. The situation grew more tense when the informant at first refused, citing family concerns…

CNN reported (and continues to report) that the “decision” to remove the spy came “soon after a May 2017 meeting.” The Times, based on interviews with its own batch of “current and former officials,” insisted the “arduous decision” came in “late 2016.” The Times noted the source “at first refused” to be extracted, explaining the delay in his removal.

How to understand all of this? Washington Post story by Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima released at 6:06 the next morning, “U.S. got key asset out of Russia following election hacking,” came up with the final formula. To see the complex, absurd rhetorical construction in full, one unfortunately has to quote at length:

In 2017, the United States extracted from Russia an important CIA source…

The exfiltration took place sometime after an Oval Office meeting in May 2017, when President Trump revealed highly classified counterterrorism information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador...

That disclosure alarmed U.S. national security officials, but it was not the reason for the decision to remove the CIA asset, who had provided information to the United States for more than a decade, according to the current and former officials.

The old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials used the tagline, “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” This Post story is, “You got your 2016 decision in my 2017 exfiltration!”

The paper brazenly fuses two unconnected narratives, telling us that a spy who had provided valuable information in 2016 was extracted in early 2017, after the Trump-Lavrov meeting. While that sequence may be chronologically correct, the story’s own authors say the Trump-Lavrov meeting was “not the reason” for the exfiltration. So why mention it? Moreover, who was this person, and what was the real reason his removal from Russia was necessary?

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Russian newspaper Kommersantdisclosed the name of the spy. They identified him as a mid-level Foreign Ministry official named Oleg Smolenkov.

Was Smolenkov a “very valuable agent”? Maybe, but Kommersant – amusingly, playing the same role as transparent mouthpiece for security organs – said no. They quoted a Russian foreign ministry official saying, “Let the CIA prove this.” As to Trump disclosing secrets to Lavrov in that meeting, the official told the Russian paper, “CNN never before thought up such nonsense,” adding that it was “pure paranoia.”

Kommersant further related that Russians instituted a murder case over the disappearance of Smolenkov and his family in 2017.

Disappear, however, Smolenkov did not. He went from Russia to Montenegro in 2017, then ended up in Virginia, where he and his family bought a house in Stafford, Virginia in January of 2019, in his own name! This is the same person about whom the Times this past Monday wrote:

The person’s life remains in danger, current and former officials said, pointing to Moscow’s attempts last year to assassinate Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian intelligence official who moved to Britain as part of a high-profile spy exchange in 2010…

Smolenkov was so afraid for his safety, he put his family in a house the FSB could see by clicking on Realtor.com! That’s “tradecraft” for you.

To recap:

U.S. officials decided to exfiltrate a spy capable of transmitting pictures from Vladimir Putin’s desk (why are we telling audiences this, by the way?) because… why? Although all three of the initial major American news stories about this referenced Trump’s May 2017 meeting with Sergei Lavrov, the actual reason was buried in the text of all three pieces:

In the Times:

But former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency’s sources alone was the impetus for the extraction.

The Post:

In January 2017, the Obama administration published a detailed assessment that unambiguously laid the blame on the Kremlin…

“It’s quite likely,” the official continued, “that the U.S. intelligence community would already be taking a hard look at extracting any U.S. assets who would have been subject to increased levels of scrutiny” after the assessment’s publication.

CNN:

A US official said before the secret operation there was media speculation about the existence of such a covert source, and such coverage or public speculation poses risks to the safety of anyone a foreign government suspects may be involved. This official did not identify any public reporting to that effect at the time of this decision and CNN could not find any related reference in media reports.

That last passage by CNN, in which the network claimed it could not find “any related reference” to a secret source in media reports, is laughable.

Unnamed “senior intelligence officials” spent much of the early months of the Trump administration bragging their faces off about their supposed penetration of the Kremlin. Many of their leaks were designed to throw shade on the new pompadour-in-chief, casting him as a Putin puppet. A January 5, 2017 piece in the Washington Post is a classic example:

Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome.

We’re constantly told the intelligence agencies can’t reveal classified details out of fear of disclosing “sources and methods,” but this story revealed a very specific capability. If that “Russians celebrating Trump’s win” tale came from a person, it wouldn’t be long before the source’s head would be found in Park Sokolniki.

A more revealing Washington Post piece came in June, 2017. It was called “Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin’s Election Assault.” In that article, we’re told at length about how Brennan secured a “feat of espionage,” obtaining sourcing “deep within the Russian government” that provided him, Brennan, with insights into Russian’s electoral interference campaign.

Brennan, the Post said, considered the source’s intel so valuable that he reportedly hand-delivered its “eyes only” bombshell contents directly to Barack Obama in summer of 2016. This was before the story was told to the whole world less than a year later.

In that Post article, it was revealed that the October 2016 assessment of Russia’s role in an electoral interference campaign initially was directly tied to Putin, but Putin’s name was removed because it might “endanger intelligence sources and methods.”

Taken in sum, all of these facts suggest it wasn’t at all Donald Trump’s meeting with Sergei Lavrov that necessitated the “exfiltration.

(Side note: many of these spy stories are larded with Tom Clancy-style verbiage to make the reader feel sexier and more in the know. The CNN story, for instance, ludicrously told us that a covert source was also “known as an asset.” Derp – thanks!).

What is this all really about? We have an idea only because Brennan and Clapper aren’t the only ex-spooks pipelining info to friendlies in the media.

As noted by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and others, Attorney General William Barr earlier this year directed the Justice Department and former Connecticut Attorney General John Durham to investigate the intelligence agencies. In June, the New York Times wrote:

Mr. Barr has been interested in how the C.I.A. drew its conclusions about Russia’s election sabotage, particularly the judgment that Mr. Putin ordered that operatives help Mr. Trump by discrediting his opponent, Hillary Clinton, according to current and former American officials.

The Times quoted former CIA officials who expressed “anxiety” about this inquiry:

While the Justice Department review is not a criminal inquiry, it has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the C.I.A., according to former officials. Senior agency officials have questioned why the C.I.A.’s analytical work should be subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny. 

We know, because it was bragged about at length in hagiographic portrayals in papers like the Washington Post, that John Brennan was the source of the conclusion that Putin directed the interference. We were even told that the determination of Putin’s involvement was too dangerous to publish in late 2016, because it would compromise Brennan’s magical Kremlin mole.

Now, suddenly, we’re treated to a series of stories that try to assert that the mole was removed either completely or in part because of Trump.

Maybe there’s an element of truth there. But it’s astonishing that none of the major news outlets bothered, even as an insincere gesture to convention, to address this story’s obvious counter-narrative.

If the mole was even that important, which I’m not convinced of – as McGovern told me this week, “They make stuff up all the time” – it seems more than possible we lost this “asset” because our intelligence chiefs felt it necessary to spend late 2016 and early 2017 spilling details about our capabilities in the news media.

This story wasn’t leaked to tell the public an important story about a lost source in the Kremlin, but more likely as damage control, to work the refs as investigators examine the origins of the election interference tale.

In 2017-2018, the likes of Brennan and Clapper were regularly feeding bombshell news stories to major papers and TV stations, usually as unnamed sources. The ostensible subject of these tales was usually Russian interference or collusion, but the subtext was a squalid power struggle between the enforcement bureaucracy and its loathed new executive, Trump.

After this “exfiltration story” broke, Esquire columnist Charlie Pierce, a colleague with whom I’ve sadly disagreed about this Russia business, wrote a poignant piece called “The Spies Are Acting as a Check on Our Elected Leaders. This Is Neither Healthy Nor Sustainable.”

In it, Charlie said something out loud that few have been willing to say out loud:

My guess is that the leak of this remarkable story came from somewhere in the bowels of the intelligence community…

The intelligence community is engaged in a cold war of information against the elected political leadership of the country, and a lot of us are finding ourselves on its side. This is neither healthy nor sustainable.

I personally don’t see myself as being on either side of this Cold War, but his point is true. He’s thinking about the country, but there’s the more immediate question of our business. A situation where the newspapers and airwaves are not for relaying facts but for firing sorties in an internecine power struggle really is unsustainable.

It won’t be long before audiences realize they’re not reading true news stories but what the Russians call versii, or “versions.” Whether it’s the pro-Trump wasteland of Fox or the Brennan-Clapper government-in-exile we see on MSNBC and CNN and in the Washington Post, the news has become two different nations, both intensely self-interested, neither honest. If this continues, it won’t be long before we’re filling overcoats and bird cages with things we used to read.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/14/2019 - 14:15
Published:9/14/2019 1:21:01 PM
[09160899-287d-5bc9-90de-a85ba53f4504] Joseph diGenova: McCabe prosecution would start holding Obama officials responsible for anti-Trump abuses It’s clear that the Justice Department is right to seek criminal charges against fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in light of the leaking and lying that cost him his job last year. Published:9/14/2019 3:23:53 AM
[Law] Former FBI Official McCabe Should Be Prosecuted–Justice Demands It

Former FBI Deputy Director and Acting Director Andrew McCabe deserves to be prosecuted on charges of lying to investigators. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has rejected a request by... Read More

The post Former FBI Official McCabe Should Be Prosecuted–Justice Demands It appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:9/14/2019 2:18:42 AM
[] IG Horowitz Turns FISA Abuse Report Over to DOJ Circulating now for review: The Justice Department's inspector general told Congress on Friday that he completed his investigation into possible FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the Trump-Russia probe, and has sent a draft version of his... Published:9/13/2019 4:43:46 PM
[Markets] DOJ Inspector General Completes FISA Abuse Probe; To Be Made Public After Review DOJ Inspector General Completes FISA Abuse Probe; To Be Made Public After Review

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has completed his investigation into potential FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, according to a letter from Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R) to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. 

Horowitz informed Attorney General William Barr on Friday that he had completed his probe.

"Earlier today, Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz notified Attorney General William Barr of the completion of his investigation into possible abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance of Act (FISA) by DOJ officials during the 2016 presidential election," wrote Collins, who called on Nadler to invite Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify after the report has undergone Judiciary Committee review and then made public.

"After the DOJ has a chance to review and comment on the report, it will be sent to the Judiciary Committee and made public," wrote Collins. 

In late June, Horowitz informed several congressional committees that his probe was "nearing completion," and that his office had interviewed over 100 witnesses and reviewed more than 1 million documents, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross. 

The FBI relied heavily on the infamous and unverified Steele dossier in applications for the warrants.

The special counsel’s report severely undercut dossier author Christopher Steele’s claim that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The special counsel said there was no evidence of a conspiracy involving the Trump team. There was also no evidence that Page or any other Trump associates acted as agents of Russia.

Republicans have accused the FBI of mishandling the dossier, and failing to disclose to FISA Court judges that the DNC and Clinton campaign had hired Steele to investigate Trump. Investigators with the OIG reportedly interviewed Steele in London, where he is based, in early June. -Daily Caller

According to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Horowitz will likely conclude that the FBI illegally obtained FISA warrants against 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page

"I think he will," said Jordan during an discussion with Fox News's Sean Hannity and Gregg Jarrett Monday night. 

And in Decembera string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification by President Trump may provide the smoking gun in the FISA abuse case

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured. -The Hill

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/13/2019 - 17:05
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Published:9/13/2019 4:14:58 PM
[Markets] Kunstler Exposes "Tectonic Rumblings" In America's Political Memory Hole Kunstler Exposes "Tectonic Rumblings" In America's Political Memory Hole

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The memory hole that appeared in America’s zeitgeist around 2016 is expanding like some evil cosmic rot. Things happen and then things unhappen and after a while it’s like they never happened. For instance, little seems to have happened all summer long with the matter known as RussiaGate, the attempt by high US government officials to overthrow the result of the 2016 election by pretending that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election.

Quite a confection of lies and subterfuge. It apparently grew out of an effort at the highest levels of the Obama administration well before 2016 to run so-called intel operations against the perceived enemies of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy. One target was General Michael Flynn, who until 2014 had headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is devoted to military intel analysis. General Flynn was known to be unfavorably disposed to Mr. Obama’s deal to pay billions to Iran for a halt in that country’s nuclear weapons program.

After retiring, General Flynn set up his own intel consulting company, which had two clients in Russia: a short-hop airline and a cyber-security firm owned by a holding company in Britain. In late 2015, General Flynn attended a Moscow dinner for Russia Today (RT) where he sat next to Vladimir Putin and gave a speech for which he was paid $45,000. Note: at that point, General Flynn was a private citizen and we were not at war with Russia. It was one of many European nations that Americans were allowed to do business in.

My own heuristic analysis is that rival Intel chief, John Brennan of the CIA, enlisted British Intel “asset” (i.e., agent) Joseph Mifsud to sandbag General Flynn in order to put him out of business and shove him offstage. The scheme failed, and soon the General was seen around rallies for candidate Donald Trump. In one notorious scene at the Republican convention, he castigated his former colleague Hillary Clinton and joined in the crowd’s chant to “lock her up.” I’m sure that went over well with Mrs. Clinton and all the Obama administration honchos then still running the CIA, the FBI, and the DOJ.

After Mr. Trump won the 2016 election, he moved to appoint General Flynn as his National Security Advisor. Within a few days, FBI director James Comey pulled off an entrapment gambit to incriminate General Flynn over a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — as if incoming high officials for foreign policy are not supposed to associate with foreign ambassadors. You understand now that the government had continued its surveillance of General Flynn for years, including tapping his phone when he moved into his White House office. That enabled Mr. Comey to set up a perjury trap. The General was successfully sandbagged this time, kicked offstage, and conned into a guilty plea. He’s been awaiting sentencing for more than a year.

A few months ago, General Flynn fired his old lawyers and hired Sidney Powell, an attorney who literally wrote the book on discovering prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, whose prosecution over Mickey Mouse comped hotel bills was thrown out of court by the same Judge, Emmet Sullivan, who presides in the US versus Flynn. Ms. Powell has now declared that she intends to prove “egregious prosecutorial conduct” and suppression of exculpatory evidence against the DOJ lawyers who ran the case against General Flynn. The government never would have had a case if they revealed the FBI’s internal memos on General Flynn.

Attorney Powell is seeking to have the case thrown out of court. The FBI and the DOJ lawyers who conducted the prosecution have stonewalled the court on producing the documents at issue. Judge Sullivan may sense that he’s seen this movie before. The case took on a life of its own long before William Barr was confirmed as attorney general and one wonders if he has any role in ending this damaging farce. Legal protocol may require Judge Sullivan to complete the case one way or another. I wrote in this space a year ago that General Flynn had been subject to prosecutorial misconduct. Now, I’ll venture to assert that if Judge Sullivan does not throw the case out, Mr. Trump will step in and pardon General Flynn, and in doing so will make it clear exactly how and why he was run into court.

The case against General Flynn was an intersection between all the malign forces operating in RussiaGate: rogue high government officials, the vengeful Mrs. Clinton, her allies in the media, and  the ass-covering of figures in Barack Obama’s White House inner circle. The case needs to be resolved to plug the memory hole in American political life.

Meanwhile, all indications are that former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe is about to be frog-marched into an indictment for his part in the epic, many-tentacled RussiaGate intrigue. Perhaps today. Many of the other well-known players will follow. Until they do, the Justice branch of the US government may be considered an enemy of the people.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:05
Published:9/13/2019 2:14:13 PM
[Crime] Has Trump spoiled the Andrew McCabe prosecution? (Paul Mirengoff) Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, deserves to be prosecuted. His crimes, false statements to federal investigators, were documented by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, an Obama appointee. Andy McCarthy discusses the crimes here. McCabe is an enemy and fierce critic of President Trump. I always worry when enemies of the president face criminal prosecution. Sending political enemies to prison is a hallmark of authoritarian Published:9/13/2019 11:45:07 AM
[Markets] UAW Official Charged For Spending On $440 Champagne Bottles And "Scantily Clad Women" UAW Official Charged For Spending On $440 Champagne Bottles And "Scantily Clad Women"

A senior member of the United Auto Workers union was arrested on Thursday and charged with conspiring to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in union money with fellow union officials, Reuters reported. The arrest comes as the result of a widening investigation into the UAW and just days before the union is set to negotiate with General Motors, as we noted in a recent article.

Search warrants were executed by the FBI last week and, as a result, Vance Pearson of the UAW was arrested. The 58-year-old served as a member of the union's International Executive Board and a regional director. In addition to Pearson's house being searched, UAW president Gary Jones also had his Michigan home searched, although he has not been charged with wrongdoing yet.

The complaint against Pearson notes that he became "second in command" of Region 5 in January 2016, which was headed up by Jones at the same time. The complaint says that between 2014 and 2018, Pearson and other UAW officials "submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW's Detroit headquarters for expenditures supposedly incurred in connection with Region 5 leadership and training conferences" but "used the conferences to conceal the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds to pay for lavish entertainment and personal spending for the conspirators."

Member dues were reportedly spent on "$440 bottles of champagne originally created to please a Russian czar and scantily clad women to light union leaders’ cigars." The suit also claims that "UAW officials, including Pearson, and others would spend weeks and/or months living in Palm Springs enjoying an extravagant lifestyle paid for with UAW funds."

Nine people have pleaded guilty in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into UAW, including former official Michael Grimes, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering last week.

Recall, we recently reported that a strike at GM seems more possible now than ever. We also reported days ago that the UAW had authorized its leaders to strike and that the chance of a strike is at a "12 year high".

Union leaders will be in Detroit this weekend to determine whether or not they will take a proposed labor contract from GM back to their members for a vote, or if they will strike. 

Kristen Dziczek, vice president of the industry and labor economics group at the Center for Automotive Research commented: "It’s just difficult to see how both sides can come to an agreement. Union membership expectations are very high given how well GM has been performing."

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/13/2019 - 10:35
Published:9/13/2019 9:46:19 AM
[4d74bf6f-1e1e-51ea-a8dd-a859046b4cb8] Hans von Spakovsky: Former FBI official McCabe should be prosecuted – Justice demands it Former FBI Deputy Director and Acting Director Andrew McCabe deserves to be prosecuted on charges of lying to investigators. Published:9/13/2019 3:42:12 AM
[Markets] Trump The Russian Puppet. A Story That Just Will Not Die Trump The Russian Puppet. A Story That Just Will Not Die

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Certainly, there are many things that President Donald Trump can rightly be criticized for, but it is interesting to note how the media and chattering classes continue to be in the grip of the highly emotional but ultimately irrational “Trump derangement syndrome (TDS).”

TDS means that even the most ridiculous claims about Trump behavior can be regurgitated by someone like Jake Tapper or Rachel Maddow without anyone in the media even daring to observe that they are both professional dissemblers of truth who lie regularly to enhance their professional resumes.

There are two persistent bogus narratives about Donald Trump that are, in fact, related.

The first is that his campaign and transition teams collaborated with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton. Even Robert Mueller, he of the famous fact-finding commission, had to admit that that was not demonstrable. The only government that succeeded in collaborating with the incoming Trumpsters was that of Israel, but Mueller forgot to mention that or even look into it.

Nevertheless, Russia as a major contributing element in the Trump victory continues to be cited in the mainstream media, seemingly whenever Trump is mentioned, as if it were demonstrated fact. The fact is that whatever Russia did was miniscule and did not in any way alter the outcome of the election. Similarly, allegations that the Kremlin will again be at it in 2020 are essentially baseless fearmongering and are a reflection of the TDS desire to see the president constantly diminished in any way possible.

The other narrative that will not die is the suggestion that Donald Trump is either a Russian spy or is in some other, possibly psychological fashion, controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin. That spy story was first floated by several former senior CIA officers who were closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently because they believed they would benefit materially if she were elected.

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell was the most aggressive promoter of Trump as Russian spy narrative. In August 2016, he wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “I Ran the CIA. Now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.” Morell’s story began with the flat assertion that “Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president – keeping our nation safe… Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”

In his op-ed, Morell ran through the litany of then GOP candidate Trump’s observed personality and character failings while also citing his lack of experience, but he delivered what he thought to be his most crushing blow when he introduced Vladimir Putin into the discussion. Putin, it seems, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities… In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

How can one be both unwitting and a recruited agent? Some might roll their eyes at that bit of hyperbole, but Morell, who was a top analyst at the Agency but never acquired or ran an actual spy in his entire career, goes on to explain how Moscow is some kind of eternal enemy. For Morell that meant that Trump’s often stated willingness to work with Putin and the nuclear armed state he headed was somehow the act of a Manchurian Candidate, seen by Morell as a Russian interest, not an American one. So much for the presumed insider knowledge that came from the man who “ran the CIA.”

The most recent “former intelligence agents’” blast against Trump appeared in the Business Insider last month in an article entitled “US spies say Trump’s G7 performance suggests he’s either a ‘Russian asset’ or a ‘useful idiot’ for Putin.” The article cites a number of former government officials, including several from the CIA and FBI, who claimed that Trump’s participation at the recent G7 summit in Biarritz France was marked by pandering to Putin and the Kremlin’s interests, including a push to re-include Russia in the G-7, from which it was expelled after the annexation of Crimea.

One current anonymous FBI source cited in the article described the Trump performance as a “new low,” while a former senior Justice Department official, labeled Trump’s behavior as “directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office.” An ex-CIA officer speculated that the president’s “intent and odd personal fascination with President Putin is worth serious scrutiny,” concluding that the evidence is “overwhelming” that Trump is a Russian asset, while other CIA and NSA veterans suggested that Trump might be flattering Putin in exchange for future business concessions in Moscow.

Another recently retired FBI special agent opined that Trump was little more than “useful idiot” for the Russians, though he added that it would not surprise him if there were also Russian spies in Trump’s inner circle.

The comments in the article are almost incoherent. They come from carefully selected current and former government employees who suffer from an excess of TDS, or possibly pathological paranoia, and hate the president for various reasons. What they are suggesting is little more than speculation and not one of them was able to cite any actual evidence to support their contentions. And, on the contrary, there is considerable evidence that points the other way. The US-Russia relationship is at its lowest point ever according to some observers and that has all been due to policies promoted by the Trump Administration to include the continuing threats over Crimea, sanctions against numerous Russian officials, abrogation of existing arms treaties, and the expansion of aggressive NATO activity right up to the borders with Russia.

Just this past week, the United States warned Russia against continuing its aerial support for the Syrian Army advance to eliminate the last major terrorist pocket in Idlib province. Once against, Washington is operating on the side of terrorists in Syria and against Russia, a conflict that the United States entered into illegally in the first place. Either Donald Trump acting as “the Russian agent” actually thinks threatening a Moscow that is pursuing its legitimate interests is a good idea or the labeling of the president as a “Putin puppet” or “useful idiot” is seriously misguided.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/12/2019 - 22:25
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Published:9/12/2019 9:39:47 PM
[88c24bda-2652-5129-8f52-ff1066bbda43] Andrew McCarthy: McCabe indictment expected – what’s next? Federal prosecutors have recommended criminal charges for former Acting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Published:9/12/2019 6:13:41 PM
[da256521-8077-58bc-9d61-8c49c05c4b27] Gregg Jarrett: Malevolent McCabe’s appointment with justice is imminent Fired former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe put people behind bars for lying. He should be held to the same legal standard. Published:9/12/2019 5:38:35 PM
[Markets] McCabe Criminal Indictment Appeal Rejected; DOJ Cleared To Prosecute McCabe Criminal Indictment Appeal Rejected; DOJ Cleared To Prosecute

The Justice Department on Thursday notified attorneys for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that his appeal to avoid criminal prosecution has been rejected, according to Bloomberg, citing a source close to McCabe's legal team. 

The decision comes roughly a month after McCabe filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr, after an internal investigation into media leaks resulted in his firing. 

The U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia informed McCabe’s legal team last month that charges against McCabe were being recommended, according to a person familiar with the matter.

McCabe and his legal team met with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and the U.S. attorney, Jessie Liu, on Aug. 21 to appeal the recommendation, according to the person.

McCabe’s lawyers still have the right to request a meeting with Barr over the matter, the person said. -Bloomberg

The 51-year-old McCabe was fired DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a criminal referral based on findings that he "made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor - including under oath - on multiple occasions." 

As we noted last month when he filed the lawsuit, McCabe authorized an F.B.I. spokesman and attorney to tell Devlin Barrett of the Wall St. Journal, just days before the 2016 election, that the FBI had not put the brakes on a separate investigation into the Clinton Foundation - at a time in which McCabe was coming under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton proxy pal, Terry McAuliffe.

Then he lied about it to the inspector general four times

In his defense, McCabe said said that his boss - former FBI Director James Comey, knew about and authorized the leak - a claim Comey denies. 

Looks like McCabe will need to dig a little deeper into his $540,000 legal defense GoFundMe launched in the wake of his firing - less than two days before he was set to retire and receive his full retirement package. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/12/2019 - 17:00
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Published:9/12/2019 4:07:11 PM
[Markets] Israel Accused Of Spying On White House: Trump Ignores While Bibi Denies Israel Accused Of Spying On White House: Trump Ignores While Bibi Denies

A shocking exposé in Politico reveals the Israelis have for years been planting spy devices near the White House. The report cites former senior US officials, who describe that forensic analysis of recovered cell phone surveillance devices point back to Israeli intelligence, which is believed to have conducted the operation for the past two years. 

“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” one former senior intelligence official told Politico. The report spells out, citing officials, that the planted devices are believed by the FBI and US intelligence agencies "likely intended" to spy on President Trump and his top aides.

Via The Times of Israel

Though it's easy to imagine the outpouring of fury and wall to wall media coverage complete with urgent Congressional hearings <