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[Social Media] AWKWARD: Chris Murphy and Brian Schatz’s catty back-and-forth slamming Trump on Iran hits Obama RIGHT in his pallets of cash

Chris Murphy says he has no words. I have no words… https://t.co/TpkvTWd8sT — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) May 16, 2019 If only that were true. He should probably put together a global coalition that forces Iran to the table, and negotiate a deal that ends Iran’s nuclear program, complete with comprehensive inspections from the IAEA. — […]

The post AWKWARD: Chris Murphy and Brian Schatz’s catty back-and-forth slamming Trump on Iran hits Obama RIGHT in his pallets of cash appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/17/2019 7:50:41 AM
[News] Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus

The following article, Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A dispute erupts over whether Brennan, Comey pushed Steele dossier, as DOJ probe into misconduct begins. Finger-pointing between high-level government officials begins over who pushed the unverified dossier weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the FBI/DOJ attempted to influence, meddle and interfere with the election outcome. Did they did not ...

Continue reading: Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus ...

Published:5/17/2019 7:20:28 AM
[Markets] Is China's "Mandate Of Heaven" In Jeopardy?

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

U.S. policy through the Bush and Obama administrations was to soft-pedal questionable Chinese trade practices, pirating technology and theft of intellectual property in return for cheap manufactured goods and China’s willingness to finance trillions of dollars of U.S. government debt.

Now Trump has changed the rules of the game. He’s said lost jobs in the U.S. are not worth the cheap goods and cheap financing. He bet that China had no alternative but to keep producing those goods and keep buying our debt, even if the U.S. imposes tariffs to help create manufacturing jobs here.

President Trump and President Xi had been on a collision course involving issues of trade, tariffs, and currency manipulation, which are coming to a head.

It’s important to understand that China’s economy is not just about providing jobs, goods and services. It is about regime survival for a Chinese Communist Party that faces an existential crisis if it fails to deliver. It is an illegitimate regime that will remain in power only so long as it provides jobs and a rising living standard for the Chinese people. The overriding imperative of the Chinese leadership is to avoid societal unrest.

Once the Chinese job machine stalls out, popular unrest could emerge on a scale much greater than the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. This is an existential threat to Communist power.

If China encounters a financial crisis, Xi could quickly lose what the Chinese call, “The Mandate of Heaven.” That’s a term that describes the intangible goodwill and popular support needed by emperors to rule China for the past 3,000 years.

If The Mandate of Heaven is lost, a ruler can fall quickly.

China has serious structural economic problems and its internal contradictions are catching up with it. Economies can grow through consumption, investment, government spending and net exports. The “Chinese miracle” has been mostly a matter of investment and net exports, with minimal spending by consumers.

The investment component was thinly disguised government spending — many of the companies conducting investment in large infrastructure projects were backed directly or indirectly by the government through the banks.

This investment was debt-financed. China is so heavily indebted that it is now at the point where more debt does not produce growth. Adding additional debt today slows the economy and calls into question China’s ability to service its existing debt.

China is now confronting an insolvent banking system, a real estate bubble, and a $1 trillion wealth management product Ponzi scheme that is starting to fall apart.

Up to half of China’s investment is a complete waste. It does produce jobs and utilize inputs like cement, steel, copper and glass. But the finished product, whether a city, train station or sports arena, is often a white elephant that will remain unused.

Chinese growth has been reported in recent years as 6.5–10% but is actually closer to 5% or lower once an adjustment is made for the waste. The Chinese landscape is littered with “ghost cities” that have resulted from China’s wasted investment and flawed development model.

What’s worse is that these white elephants are being financed with debt that can never be repaid. And no allowance has been made for the maintenance that will be needed to keep these white elephants in usable form if demand does rise in the future, which is doubtful.

Essentially, China is on the horns of a dilemma with no good way out. On the one hand, China has driven growth for the past eight years with excessive credit, wasted infrastructure investment and Ponzi schemes.

The Chinese leadership knows this, but they had to keep the growth machine in high gear to create jobs for millions of migrants coming from the countryside to the city and to maintain jobs for the millions more already in the cities.

The two ways to get rid of debt are deflation (which results in write-offs, bankruptcies and unemployment) or inflation (which results in theft of purchasing power, similar to a tax increase).

Both alternatives are unacceptable to the Communists because they lack the political legitimacy to endure either unemployment or inflation. Either policy would cause social unrest and unleash revolutionary potential.

China has hit a wall that development economists refer to as the “middle income trap.” Again, this happens to developing economies when they have exhausted the easy growth potential moving from low income to middle income and then face the far more difficult task of moving from middle income to high income.

The move to high-income status requires far more than simple assembly-style jobs staffed by rural dwellers moving to the cities. It requires the creation and adoption of high-value-added products enabled by high technology.

China has not shown much capacity for developing high technology on its own, but it has been quite effective at stealing such technology from trading partners and applying it through its own system of state-owned enterprises and “national champions” such as Huawei in the telecommunications sector.

Unfortunately for China, this growth by theft has run its course. The U.S. and its allies, such as Canada and the EU, are taking strict steps to limit further theft and are holding China to account for its theft so far by imposing punitive tariffs and banning Chinese companies from participation in critical technology rollouts such as 5G mobile phones.

My view is that a crisis in China is inevitable based on China’s growth model, the international financial climate and excessive debt. A countdown to crisis has begun.  Geopolitical issues will make the economic issues even harder to resolve.

Yes, headlines are dominated by the trade war. That escalating confrontation is a big deal, but it’s not the only flash point in U.S.-China relations, and not even the most important. China is as much concerned about a military confrontation in the South China Sea as it is about the economic confrontation in the trade wars.

China dredged sand surrounding useless rocks and atolls in the South China Sea and converted them into artificial islands and then built out the islands to include naval ports, air force landing strips, anti-aircraft weapons and other defensive and offensive weapons systems.

Not only are the Chinese militarizing rocks, but they are trampling on competing claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and other countries surrounding the sea.

The world has developed rules-based platforms for resolving these issues without military force. The U.S. is guaranteeing freedom of passage, freedom of the seas and the territorial rights of allies such as the Philippines.

So far, the U.S.-Chinese confrontation has been about naval vessels passing in close quarters and surveillance aircraft being harassed by fighter jets. The risk of such tactics is an accidental collision, a rogue shot fired or a command misunderstood.

Any such incident could lead to retaliation, and there’s no telling where it might stop. Trump is not someone to back down, and Chinese leadership does not want to appear weak before the U.S.

That’s especially true at a time of great economic uncertainty. China does not want war at this time. But diverting the people’s attention away from domestic problems toward a foreign foe is an old trick leaders use to unite the people in times of uncertainty. Rallying the people around the flag is a tried and true method to garner support.

If China’s leadership decides that the risk of losing legitimacy at home outweighs the risk of conflict with the United States, the likelihood of war rises dramatically.

I’m not predicting it, but wars have started over less. This is a very dangerous time.

Be sure to hold cash, gold, silver, land and other assets that will cushion you against a market crash.

Published:5/16/2019 9:48:59 PM
[US News] You should NOT be talking: Obama aide who helped give Iran millions must’ve given them his self-awareness, too

Probably shouldn't comment about Iran. Just a thought.

The post You should NOT be talking: Obama aide who helped give Iran millions must’ve given them his self-awareness, too appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/16/2019 5:51:02 PM
[dee9a710-bc85-5cd7-a549-3122610c334f] Jason Chaffetz: Biden falsely claims no hint of scandal when he was VP Former VP Joe Biden claims there were no scandals in the Obama-Biden administration. Let me tell you about just a few of them. Published:5/16/2019 4:14:33 AM
[Markets] Russia-Gate's Monstrous Offspring - Mindless Bipartisan Bellicosity

Authored by Daniel Lazare via ConsortiumNews.com,

Russia-gate has shed any premise of being about Russian interference, but the idea that America may in anyway be responsible for its own fate is of course unthinkable...

Americans used to think that Russia-gate was about a plot to hack the 2016 election.  They were wrong.  Russia-gate is really about an immense conspiracy to do four things:

No. 1: Ratchet up tensions with Russia to ever more dangerous levels;

No. 2: Show that Democrats are even more useless than people imagined;

No. 3: Persecute Julian Assange;

No. 4: Re-elect Donald Trump as president.

This was the takeaway from Mitch McConnell’s devastating “case closed” speech last week in which the Senate majority leader jeered at President Barack Obama for mocking Mitt Romney’s claim (seven years ago now) that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”  As Obama famously replied during that presidential debate: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

But that was so 2012.  Now, says McConnell, it looks like Romney was right:

“We’d have been better off if the administration hadn’t swept [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion and occupation of Georgia under the rug or looked away as Russia forced out western NGO’s and cracked down on civil society.  If President Obama hadn’t let Assad trample his red line in Syria or embraced Putin’s fake deal on chemical weapons, if the Obama administration had responded firmly to Putin’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine in 2014, to the assassination of Boris Nemtsov in 2015, and to Russia intervention in Syria — maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened, maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting. 

“Instead,” McConnell went on, “the previous administration sent the Kremlin a signal they could get away with almost anything, almost anything.  So is it surprising that we got the brazen interference detailed in special counsel Mueller’s report?”

Lies and Distortions

Like so much out of Congress these days, this was a farrago of lies and distortions.  It wasn’t Moscow that started the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, but Tbilisi.  While Russia has indeed cracked down on U.S.-backed NGO’s, Washington has done the same by forcing Russia’s highly successful news agency RT to register as a foreign agent and by sentencing Maria Butina, a Russian national studying at American University, to 18 months in prison for the crime of hobnobbing with members of the National Rifle Association. The charge that Syrian President Bashar al Assad “trampled” Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons is hardly as clear-cut as imperial propagandists like to believe – to say the least – while the agreement between Putin and former Secretary of State John Kerry to rid Syria of chemical weapons was not fake at all, but an example, increasingly rare unfortunately, of diplomacy being used to prevent an international crisis from getting out of hand.

Looking into Moscow’s Red Square at night. (U.S. Air Force/ Karen Abeyasekere)

And so on ad nauseum.  But what could Democrats say in response given that they’ve spent the last three years trying to out-hawk the GOP?  Answer: nothing.  All they could do was try to turn tables on McConnell by charging him with not being anti-Russian enough.  Thus, New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer accused him of “aiding and abetting” Moscow while Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin accused him of running interference for Putin because he “feels the Russians were on the side of the Republicans in 2016 and just might be again in 2020.”

Democrats Feed the Super Hawks 

The result: a Democratic consensus that Russia can’t be trusted and that America must put itself on a war footing to prevent Putin from “toppl[ing] the mighty oak that has been our republic for two hundred years,” as Schumer put it. It’s an across-the-board agreement that the long-awaited Mueller report has only strengthened by regurgitating the intelligence-community line that “[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and then cherry-picking the facts to fit its preconceived thesis.  (See “Top Ten Questions About the Mueller Report,” May 6.)

Democrats claim to oppose National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, but the anti-Russian hysteria they promote strengthens the hand of such super-hawks.  It makes military conflict more likely, if not with Russia then with perceived Russian surrogates such as  Venezuela or Iran. 

 Schiff increasingly unhinged. (Caricature/DonkeyHotey via Flickr)

Simultaneously, it backfires on Democrats by making them look weak and foolish as they argue that even though the Mueller report says “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” somehow “significant evidence of collusion” still exists, as an increasingly unhinged Rep. Adam Schiff maintains.  In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of congressional Democrats, no evidence does not mean no evidence.  In fact, it means the opposite. 

Voters are unmoved.  Ten times more Americans – 80 versus 8 percent – care about healthcare than about Russia according to a recent survey.  When CNN pollsters asked a thousand people in mid-March to name the issues that matter most, not one mentioned Russia or the Mueller probe. If they didn’t care when collusion was still an open question, they care even less now that the only issue is obstruction plus a phony constitutional crisis that desperate Democrats have conjured up out of thin air.

Trump the Chief Beneficiary

Besides Fox News – whose ratings have soared while Russia-obsessed CNN’s have plummeted – the chief beneficiary is Trump.  Post-Mueller, the man has the wind in his sails.  Come 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders could cut through his phony populism with ease.  But if Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post succeeds in tarring him with Russia the same way it tried to tar Trump, then the Democratic nominee will be a bland centrist whom the incumbent will happily bludgeon.  Former Vice President Joe Biden – the John McCain-lovingspeech-slurringchild-fondler who was for a wall along the Mexican border before he was against it – will end up as a bug splat on the Orange One’s windshield. 

Trump ready to take on challengers. (Caricature/DonkeyHotey via Flickr)

Beto O’Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, “beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to … collude with the Russian government,” will not fare much better.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail, declares the next that voters don’t care about the Mueller report because they’re too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless.

Such “logic” is lost on voters, so it seems to be a safe bet that enough will stay home next Election Day to allow the rough beast to slouch towards Bethlehem yet again.

Assange Convicted in Eyes of Press

Then there’s Julian Assange, currently serving a 50-week sentence in a supermax prison outside of London after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy.  By claiming that the WikiLeaks founder was “dissembling” by denying that Russia was the source of the mammoth Democratic National Committee leak in July 2016, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has effectively convicted him in the eyes of Congress and the press. 

The New York Times thus reports that Mueller has “revealed” that Russian intelligence was the source while, in a venomous piece by Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger, The Washington Post declared that Assange “is neither whistleblower nor journalist,” but someone who helped Russian intelligence interfere in “the American electoral process.”

Schumer thus greeted Assange’s April 11 arrest by tweeting his “hope [that] he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government,” while, in a truly chilling statement, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that “[i]t will be really good to get him back on United States soil [so] we can get the facts and the truth from him.”

Assange is guiltier than ever.  If Washington gets its hands on him, he’ll no doubt be hauled before some sort of Star Chamber and then clapped in a dungeon somewhere until he confesses that Russian intelligence made him do it, even though a careful reading of the Mueller report strongly suggests the opposite. (See “The ‘Guccifer 2.0’ Gaps in Mueller’s Full Report,” April 18.)

Assange languishing behind bars, war breaking out in Latin America or the Persian Gulf, Trump in the Oval Office for four years more – it’s the worst of all possible worlds, and the Democratic Party’s bizarre fixation with Vladimir Putin is what’s pushing it.

Ultimately, Russia-gate is yet a variation on the tired old theme of American innocence.  If something goes wrong, it can’t be the fault of decent Americans who, as we all know, are too good for our deeply flawed world.  Rather, it must be the fault of dastardly foreigners trying to hack our democracy.  It’s a deep-rooted form of xenophobia that has fueled everything from the criminalization of marijuana (smuggled in by evil Mexicans) to the 1950s Red Scare (a reaction to Communism smuggled in by evil Russians), and the war on terrorism (the work of evil Muslims).  The idea that America may in anyway be responsible for its own fate is of course unthinkable.

But Russia-gate may be the greatest delusion of all.  After decades of celebrating Donald Trump as the essence of American flash and hustle, the corporate media have decided that the only way he could have gotten into the White House is if Putin put him there.  The upshot is a giant conspiracy to force Americans to turn their back on reality, an effort that can only end in disaster for all concerned, Democrats first and foremost.

Published:5/15/2019 11:11:17 PM
[Markets] House Overreach - Are Dems Weaponizing The Oversight Authority?

Submitted by J. Theodore Schatt,

The dispute between the White House and House Democrats ended up in the Courts this week for a determination of “appropriate oversight”.

  1. A review of the United States Constitution will be of no assistance in resolution of the matter.  Oversight is not an enumerated power of Congress.  Instead, it is understood that in order for Congress to carry out its own responsibilities under the Constitution, Congress must have the authority to gain necessary information from the Executive branch.  

  2. The Judicial branch has previously determined that so long as the request has a legitimate legislative purpose the request is proper. 

It appears without question that the House demands from the Executive Branch will have a legitimate legislative purpose.  For example, Mr. Nadler has demanded all back-up documentation for the Mueller Report, including the information that by law may not be disclosed.  Clearly, a review of this information could permit Congress to determine that FISA laws must be amended to protect a constitutional right to privacy from overzealous, or biased, government agents.  That isn’t what Mr. Nadler has in mind, but it would be a “legitimate legislative purpose”.

However, the more interesting issue the Courts may be called upon to determine is whether the current oversight efforts by the House, despite having a “legitimate legislative purpose” are so obviously aimed at weaponizing the oversight authority of the House for political gain that acquiescence to such use would be destructive to the balance of power between the three branches of government.  President Nixon faced articles of Impeachment for endeavoring “to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns…”  Should Mr. Nadler and his committee be given authority to act in a manner, through “oversight”, that cannot be exercised by the Executive?

Recent history evidences a Democrat party that is perfectly willing to test the boundaries of their constitutional power for political benefit.  After demanding that Senator McConnell protect the filibuster of judges nominated by President Bush for fear of destroying the Senate, Senator Reid reversed course and eliminated the filibuster to permit judges nominated by President Obama to be confirmed with a simple majority.  Democrats feigned outrage when the filibuster was eliminated to permit Justice Gorsuch to avoid a purely politically motivated filibuster and ascend to the Supreme Court.  Prior to the election of 2016, the intelligence operations of the United States were weaponized based upon an opposition research operation paid for by the Clinton Campaign. 

Subsequent to the election in 2016, the Department of Justice was weaponized based upon the same opposition research resulting in a nearly three year investigation that failed to substantiate the core allegations of that Clinton opposition research.  In September 2018, the entire country was witness to the shamelessly attempted character assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh masquerading as the “advise and consent” role of the Senate. 

That spectacle was too much even for the mild mannered Sen. Lindsey Graham. 

Senator Graham utilized a portion of his time to chastise Democrats for their actions,

“Boy, you [Democrats] all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. … To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”

Mr. Nadler’s attempted use of House oversight for nakedly political means should be no less odorous.  Even cloaked in a “legitimate legislative purpose”, the abuse of legitimate government authority for political gain should be decried by all.

Published:5/15/2019 9:43:59 PM
[Markets] "A Bit Insane": China Slams "Racist" And "Fringe" Bannon Over Hostile Commentary

China's official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party (CCP) has taken serious umbrage with recent comments by Steve Bannon, after the former Trump chief strategist penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post declaring that China is run by a "radical cadre" whose goal is to threaten the global hegemonic power. 

Steve Bannon; Xi Jinping, far left, Donald Trump, far right, and other U.S. and Chinese leaders meet in Beijing, Nov. 9, 2017. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP, Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

On Wednesday, the Times wrote: 

US far-right nationalist Steve Bannon published an article  in The Washington Post on May 6, vehemently vilifying China and inciting his country to confront China. The goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he claimed, is "to be the global hegemonic power." To prove his point that it was "futile" for the US to compromise, he asserted China "has been waging economic war against industrial democracies," and the China-US trade dispute is "a fundamental clash."

Bannon maliciously smeared China by saying that China is a "rapidly militarizing totalitarian state imprisoning millions in work camps," and "the world is a house divided half slave, half free." Washington and Beijing are "facing off to tip the scales in one direction or the other," he wrote. -Global Times

Most dramatically, the Times adds: "To rational analysts, Bannon is not just radical, but a bit insane. He is obsessed with certain resentful suspicions that the US is on a razor's edge." 

The article continues, saying that Bannon's ideas - which have a "deep racist imprint" - are roughly equal to those of European extreme-rightists, "even neo-Nazists" [sic], and that such line of thinking used to be outside of the mainstream US discourse. 

Bannon's "extreme personality" also "kept his peers away and had him expelled from the White House," according to the Times, which adds that the former Trump adviser has "no idea about the globalized world and the complexity of major power relations." 

Of note, Bannon is a former Goldman Sachs employee with a master's degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in national security studies, who served as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon - while attending Georgetown

China's Bannon-bashing continues: 

Bannon and far-right wingers do not care at all how much pain the China-US conflicts bring to the people. The only thing they concerned about is defeating China. However, not only will a powerful China break their dreams, but a loose-minded and swaying US will also disappoint them. Although the wills that tend to prioritize American interests exist in US society, they cannot be incited by Bannon and his followers and turn into a real determination to be antagonistic toward China.

American people want high-quality goods at reasonable prices and they want peace and predictability. They don't want to see a strategic clash between the world's superpower and the second biggest power in the world. They don't want to sacrifice their life for the sake of the so-called ideals of a few zealots. The US government hit China with high tariffs. But when Washington politicians saw the plunging stock market, they rushed to release signs to ease tension. Adopting a tough approach toward China doesn't work in the US as it does not fit the theme of peace and development in the 21st century. -Global Times

The article goes on to knock Bannon's appearances on 'Fox TV' - where he acted as an "opportunist who exploits the trade war to play up to US policies and public opinion." 

Bannon appeared on CNBC Wednesday morning, where he predicted that there was "no chance" that President Trump will back down over the trade war. 

"China has been running an economic war against the industrial democracies for 20 years," Bannon said, noting that previous presidents - Clinton, Bush and Obama - all 'blinked' when it came to trade with China, adding "Trump didn't blink.

Published:5/15/2019 6:46:01 PM
[Uncategorized] Who’s going to cut a deal first in Spygate? Katie Pavlich: "The Comey vs Brennan vs Clapper vs Lynch vs Obama show is going to be awesome" Published:5/15/2019 6:11:22 PM
[] Obama White House Kept Close Track of FOIA Request About Hillary Clinton's Emails -- A Request That, Coincidentally Enough, Wound Up Being Improperly Denied by the State Department A scandal-free administration. Emails released to Judicial Watch show for the first time that the Obama White House kept tabs on a FOIA request for information on Hillary Clinton?s emails that was improperly rejected by the State Department. The State... Published:5/15/2019 4:10:13 PM
[Markets] America Will Lose The Trade War Because That Is What Globalists Want To Happen

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Times of great political and social crisis can almost always be linked back to a common root cause – false paradigms. There are many people out there who have no clue what this phrase means, just as they have no clue what the phrase “controlled opposition” means. Some of these people are new activists to the liberty movement who recently joined because of the fervor of the Trump presidential campaign. They think the world of sovereignty and nationalism revolves around Trump, because frankly, they have been duped by a false paradigm themselves.

False paradigms are a base tactic of what is known as “4th Generation Warfare”. The purpose of 4th Gen warfare is described in the document 'From Psyop To Mindwar'. A document circulated within the DoD by the 7th Psychological Operations Group and written by now former General Paul Vallely (spelled “Valley” in the document) and now former Lt. Colonel Michael Aquino (a self professed satanist, believe it or not). I recommend it as a means to understand how globalists tend to think, how they use division to conquer populations, and to come to terms with the fact that these people are not held in check by empathy, morality or reason.

As far as 4th Gen warfare is concerned, Mindwar describes a method of psychological manipulation and propaganda used by governments and militaries as a means to turn a target population against itself. The goal is to win a war against a group of people by causing them to destroy each other so that the government does not have to combat them directly.

False paradigms are a premier tool for pursuing this outcome. They are achieved by dividing a population through false leadership, fake and sometimes real outside threats, as well as manufactured crisis events. Globalist institutions and the political puppets they control use false paradigms as a means to distract the public away from their criminal endeavors. While we are focused on the political Left, or the political Right, or the Russians, or the Iranians, or the Chinese, they are exploiting our fear and doubt to gain more centralization and more power.

For globalists, the great prize is, of course, OPEN global economic management (rather than covert management), a one world currency and cashless society, as well global government. They want a veritable worldwide feudal plantation state – and they want the masses to embrace it willingly, or perhaps even beg for it. To obtain this prize, they will need a considerable economic disaster.  The US economy and the dollar would have to be undermined, for Americans would not consent to global governance as long as our society remains relatively affluent and comfortable.

But how is this being accomplished by the elites...? And, what does the trade war have to do with their plans?

Global Banking Elites And The Controlled Demolition Of The US

I have been writing extensively on the controlled demolition of the US economy for some time now. In January of 2018 I predicted in my article 'Party While You Can – Central Bank Ready To Pop The Everything Bubble' that Jerome Powell and the Federal Reserve would pursue policy tightening and would continue until the bubble in fundamentals, corporate debt, consumer debt, housing, retail, stock markets, etc. collapsed. So far I have been proven correct; the fundamentals are plunging, and only stock markets remain. In the 2nd quarter of 2019 the Fed is still cutting assets exponentially from its balance sheet and still refuses to pull interest rates back from their neutral rate of inflation, despite the predictions of many in the mainstream and alternative media.

The Fed has used the tactic of addictive stimulus measures and artificially low interest rates to create massive financial bubbles in the past. And, they almost always use tightening policies in times of economic weakness to deliberately pop those bubbles. For example, this is exactly what happened at the onset of the Great Depression. As former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke openly admitted in 2002 in an address in honor of Milton Friedman:

"In short, according to Friedman and Schwartz, because of institutional changes and misguided doctrines, the banking panics of the Great Contraction were much more severe and widespread than would have normally occurred during a downturn.

Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

And yet, it IS happening again today. As the economy nosedives, banking institutions buy up more hard assets and consolidate more power, and each time global economic management is suggested as a possible solution to the very crisis they created.

My question has never been “Will there be a crash?” A crash of the US is mathematically inevitable, it is happening now in accelerated fashion, and has been progressing in various ways since 2008. Instead my question has always been “How do the globalists plan to get away with it?”

In my article 'Trump Trade Wars A Perfect Smokescreen For A Market Crash', published in March 2018, I outlined exactly how they plan to get away with it. In that article I examined the strange number of similarities in policy and politics between Donald Trump and Herbert Hoover, including the use of large scale tariffs right before the collapse of the US financial system. While it was the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases into weakness that exacerbated and prolonged the Great Depression for many years, it was Herbert Hoover's policies (and sometimes the gold standard) that were blamed for the crash.

In other words, Donald Trump is following almost the exact same path as Herbert Hoover, and Trump's trade war with China is being used by the banking elites as cover for their sabotage of the US economy. In the end, it will be Trump and all of his “populist” followers that will get the blame for the destabilization of our financial structure. The central bankers have a perfect scapegoat.

Trump And The False Left/Right Paradigm

But how could the banking elites and globalists possibly predict Trump's behavior in order to take advantage of it? Well, if you look at Trump's background as well as the number of elites he has placed within his own cabinet, the reality if the situation becomes clear: Trump is a puppet, and always has been.

In my article 'Trump Is A Pied Piper For The New World Order' I outlined Trump's history with the banking elites, including his relationship with Rothschild banking agent Wilber Ross, who bailed Trump out of his debts and saved him from the effects of bankruptcy in the 1990's. Trump's biggest campaign promise in 2016 was to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C. of the financial elitists and globalists that Hillary Clinton was so closely tied to. But, when he entered the White House, he made Wilber Ross his Secretary of Commerce, hired on Goldman Sachs goons like Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, and he has brought warmongering psychopathic think tank members like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo into his cabinet.

The globalists don't have to predict Trump's behavior, they dictate Trump's behavior. Thus, the false left/right paradigm reigns supreme once again; the same paradigm many Trump followers thought they were escaping by rallying against a Clinton presidency.

Current Trump cheerleaders completely ignore this fact, however. I have not seen a single one of them confront the issue of Trump's cabinet or his associations with the Rothschilds. They either ignore it outright, or they claim Trump is “keeping his enemies close” or “using their expertise to free America”. This is insanity, but it showcases the power that false paradigms have. Conservatives were so afraid of Clinton that they jumped on the bandwagon of Trump's controlled opposition administration, and they refuse to admit they have been conned.

How have globalists benefited from Trump being in the White House, though?

Trump has gone on to attach his presidency so closely to the performance of the economy and primarily stock markets, that any crash now will undoubtedly be blamed on him. This is strange behavior if you consider his statements during his campaign, including his assertion that the Fed was deliberately keeping interest rates low to protect Obama, and that the stock market was a giant fraudulent bubble. Today, Trump is demanding that the Fed funds rate be lowered and that stimulus be renewed, and, he has been Tweeting incessantly about how the economy under his watch is the "greatest ever".

To those who actually track the health of the US economy, Trump's statements might seem delusional.  If you understand that Trump is controlled opposition and that he is playing the scripted role of a bumbling villain, his statements make perfect sense. The US economy is NOT the greatest it has ever been, in fact, it is the worst it has been since the crash of 2008, as I evidenced in detail in my article 'The Crash In US Economic Fundamentals Is Accelerating'.  Trump is wrapping himself around the implosion of the Everything Bubble as a mascot of fiscal destruction, and he's trying to drag all conservatives with him.

China And The False East/West Paradigm

The other side of the control mechanism for a crash of this magnitude is on the other side of the world – China. It is not only Trump that has to act a certain way in order to cover for the crash of the Everything Bubble, China must also play its role. The false East/West paradigm is perhaps the most pervasive of all false paradigms, for even many in the liberty movement think that governments in China or Russia are opposed to the elites in the US and Europe. This is simply not true.

China in particular has a long time relationship with Western globalists. In fact, modern China was essentially built by them.

The Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Foundation have been influencing Chinese social and political developments since the late 1800's. This started as seemingly innocuous, with the foundation initiating social and health related programs in rural areas, but as noted by historians with access to the Rockefeller Archives, the Rockefellers were not seeking to display their capacity for philanthropic charity, but pursuing wide reaching influence in Chinese society and politics. For more information, I highly recommend reading Frank Ninkovich's study of the Rockefeller's dominance in China for the past century in the Journal Of American History.

China's central bank is currently linked to the Bank For international Settlements, which is often referred to as the “central bank of central banks” and as admitted in an article for Harpers in 1983, the BIS essentially writes policy for all member banks – this means the Chinese central bank AND the Federal Reserve are both controlled by the globalists at the BIS.  This is even more evident in recent years as all major central banks have operated with an odd level of coordination to prop up the stock markets of other nations, including stock markets of nations that are supposedly in conflict.

China also now works closely with the IMF – the Yuan has been inducted into the SDR basket system, and China has called on multiple occasions for the SDR basket to replace the US dollar as the world reserve structure. The IMF is openly discussing the introduction of a cashless digital currency system based on blockchain technology, which I believe will be the likely replacement for ALL currencies when the time comes.

This means the trade war is a farce.  When it comes to the elites of China and the US, there is no division and no conflict.  They all want the same thing - global centralization.

The Trade War Smokescreen

For many years I have warned that the next World War would be an economic world war between the East and West, and that this war would be engineered by globalists as a mass distraction while they introduced their one world economic system. The crux of that economic war would be the eventual dumping of US treasuries by foreign central banks as well as the dollar as the world reserve currency.

What many pro-trade war people don't seem to realize is that the dollar's world reserve status was part of the original deal with China. China gained a trade surplus and access to US markets, the US gained a cheap labor pool, access to cheap goods and our currency was accepted by the Chinese as the foundation of international trade. But this dynamic no longer serves globalist interests in the new system they hope to create.

As described in an article published in the Rothschild run magazine The Economist in 1988, the US economy has to be brought down to pave the way for the new global currency system.  Globalist Mohamed El-Erian confirmed this plan in a 2017 op-ed for The Guardian.  And, as globalist George Soros stated in 2009, China is intended to take a larger role in the IMF and become the economic engine for the "new world order", while the US is set to take a back seat in global affairs as the rest of the world moves away from the dollar.

This might be why US 10 year treasury auctions are seeing dismal results, and why the Chinese are now willing to threaten the dumping of US T-bonds through their state run media.  China has NOT folded to US tariffs as so many people have been predicting for the past year.  In fact, China has dug in even further.

China is the number one exporter/importer in the world. They now set the standard for international trade, not the US. If China follows through on threats to dump US treasuries, or if they dump the dollar as the world reserve, then most if not all of their trading partners will do the same. The consequences would be devastating for the US economy, which has a minimal manufacturing base and is utterly reliant on the international acceptance of the dollar to keep prices low and to prop up what's left of our financial structure.

While proponents of the trade war keep insisting that manufacturing will come back to the US, this still has not materialized. Why would corporations spend all the money to rebuild factories in the US when they can simply stay in Asia and use the existing factories and cheap labor? There is no incentive for them to come back. If tariffs go higher, they can easily raise prices on consumers to support their bottom line.

The US is being set up for a spectacular fall. Those that claim China would never make such a move don't understand the Chinese economy. The US market is only 18% of Chinese exports, and US consumption has been declining. The vast majority of China's GDP comes from domestic consumption, and the claim that China is dependent on US markets to survive is one of the most widely perpetuated lies of the past decade. The Chinese will take a hit to their economy, certainly, but nowhere near the hit the US economy will take if they cut off the dollar as the primary trade mechanism.

The trade war only makes sense if you look at it from the globalist perspective. China will get hurt to an extent, the US will suffer an economic disaster it will never recover from, and only the globalists truly benefit.  With tensions increasing, probably through the end of 2019, I suspect the Federal Reserve will increase cuts to their balance sheet under cover of the trade war.  I also suspect that China's central bank will finally cut off stimulus measures which have been keeping global stocks afloat for the past four months.  This will eventually trigger the crash of markets on top of already plunging fundamentals.

The US will lose the trade war, Trump and conservatives will be blamed for the collapse, China will already be pre-positioned as the next economic engine for the world, and the IMF and BIS will introduce their one world currency system as the solution to the problem they created. Whether or not they succeed in this plan will greatly depend on whether or not enough people set aside their biases and accept that the whole thing was a farce from the very beginning.

*  * *

If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE.

Published:5/15/2019 3:45:48 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] The Prospects for Trump, 18 Months Out (Steven Hayward) Right now if I had to drop a wager, I’d bet on Trump’s re-election next year. Yes, his overall approval rating remains below 50 percent in most surveys (though stand by on this), but Obama’s approval rating was below 50 percent for much of his first term, and he was re-elected anyway. Moreover, Trump’s highest approval ratings are for his handling of the economy, where he reaches 60 percent in Published:5/15/2019 1:38:51 PM
[] Mitt Romney, Cuck Commander He's now voting down conservative judges because they made disparaging comments about Obama. The vote was mostly along party lines in the upper chamber, with Sens. Cassidy, R-La., Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kennedy, R-La., Rounds, R-S.D., not voting; there was,... Published:5/15/2019 1:38:50 PM
[Markets] The Coming Wrath Of Barr: The Real Story Behind The Russian Hoax

Authored by Graham Noble via Liberty Nation,

If there is any issue that cries out for a special counsel investigation, it is the evolution of the Trump-Russia collusion theory. Attorney General William Barr may well have decided that the nation does not need to go through such an ordeal again, but he did the next best thing by tapping John H. Durham to investigate what could well be the most nefarious political conspiracy in American history.

Durham is Connecticut’s top federal prosecutor, an attorney with a reputation for toughness and a resume that includes investigations into high-level government corruption cases. Reports suggest that he has been on the job for some weeks already, and that is an indication of how seriously the matter is being taken by the attorney general.

A History Of Investigating Government Officials

In 1999, Durham was appointed special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties among Boston police officers, federal agents, and organized crime figures, including James “Whitey” Bulger. As a result of Durham’s work, four men who had been imprisoned for murder years earlier had their sentences vacated because they had been framed by the FBI. One retired agent was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Another former agent who faced charges died before his trial.

In 2008, Durham was assigned to look into a major scandal involving the CIA’s destruction of graphic interrogation recordings, though the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to bring charges in the case. The following year, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to examine the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” methods.

Upping The Ante

John H. Durham

If Barr did not anticipate the possibility of criminal indictments or the need to subpoena former government officials – people like former FBI Director James Comey – he could have handed off the probe to Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general. Horowitz, who is currently looking into the FBI’s application for a FISA warrant in 2016 and three subsequent extensions of that warrant, does not have the scope of authority to investigate the affair conclusively. Essentially, inspectors general could be described more as auditors than investigators.

The Justice Department’s IG is expected to deliver his report sometime in June,  and Durham may well use Horowitz’s findings in his own investigation. Unlike Horowitz, Durham can subpoena private citizens – including former government officials – as well as utilize the full range of prosecutorial tools.

A Massachusetts native, Durham was appointed in 2017 to his current position as a U.S. attorney by President Donald Trump. The prosecutor’s scope, with regard to the origins of the Russia investigation, has not been revealed by the DOJ. According to a source not authorized to comment publicly, Durham will determine whether the original FBI probe into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates was properly conducted.

Durham, a Republican, is known as “apolitical.” His record indicates a tough but fair prosecutor who, as The Washington Post put it in 2009, has “parachuted into crisis situations for both political parties over three decades.” The fact that Barr has enlisted him is no small matter. The entire collusion story has crumbled rapidly, over the past few months, and it now seems possible – finally – that those who conspired to fabricate a phony, politically motivated counterintelligence operation will face a reckoning.

Published:5/15/2019 12:40:53 PM
[Donald Trump] Mitt Romney Turns Traitor AGAIN – Opposes Trump Judge Nominee Because He Criticized Obama

The following article, Mitt Romney Turns Traitor AGAIN – Opposes Trump Judge Nominee Because He Criticized Obama, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Mitt Romney is at again, turning against his president, party, and ideals by opposing a Trump judicial pick just because the nominee criticized Obama.

Continue reading: Mitt Romney Turns Traitor AGAIN – Opposes Trump Judge Nominee Because He Criticized Obama ...

Published:5/15/2019 11:08:19 AM
[Markets] Bannon: 'No Chance' Trump Will Back Down On China Trade War

President Trump has dug his heels in when it comes to the trade war with China, and according to his former adviser Steve Bannon - there's "no chance" Trump will back down, according to CNBC

"China has been running an economic war against the industrial democracies for 20 years," Bannon said, noting that previous presidents - Clinton, Bush and Obama - all 'blinked' when it came to trade with China, adding "Trump didn't blink.

Under Trump, Washington has taken a tougher stance on China compared to previous presidential administrations. In addition to disputes around trade and the alleged Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property, American intelligence chiefs expressed their distrust of Chinese tech giant and Apple rival Huawei as well as Chinese telecom company ZTE.

The standoff with China “cuts to the core of what the United States is going to be in the future,” Bannon said in a “Squawk Box” interview.  “We have all the cards.” -CNBC

US officials maintain that the Chinese stock market and economy has taken a bigger hit than the US, and will continue to be disproportionately harmed by the ongoing trade war. 

On Wednesday, China reported unexpectedly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April. As we noted earlier, 

  • Retail sales rose just 7.2% (against +8.7% in March) - lowest since May 2003 (the 7.2% year-on-year rise in retail sales is actually weaker than all the estimates. The lowest was 7.5%, and the median was 8.6%)
  • Industrial Production growth slumped from a hope-filled +6.5% YTD YoY in March to 6.2%.
  • Fixed Asset Investment slowed to just 6.1% YoY.

“Investors had been waiting for data to confirm signs of stabilization in the Chinese economy which, in turn, would bolster expectations that the global economy could start making a sustainable recovery,” said Neil McKinnon at VTB Capital. “The recent escalation in tariffs makes that more difficult and can only add to investor risk aversion and increase the risk of a more prolonged economic downturn.”

The negative numbers will add pressure on Beijing to roll out more stimulus as the trade war escalates, while China's Communist Party has defiantly rolled out national slogans to let the world know they aren't backing down either (for now). 

“Negotiate, sure!”

“Fight, anytime!”

“Bully us, wishful thinking!”

Trade talks are currently at a stalemate - with the US considering new tariffs on the remaining hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods flowing into the US. 

Last week, the Trump administration followed through on its threat and increased duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10% to 25%. On Monday, in retaliation, China announced plans to raise tariffs, some to as high as 25%, on $60 billion in U.S. goods.

Trump’s tweets and tough public rhetoric aside, negotiators for both sides need to get behind closed doors and work hard on getting an agreement, Bannon said. “This is not going to take place overnight.” -CNBC

Trump has shrugged off calls from Wall Street and free-trade legislators to reach a deal - whil Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged the president to get the best deal possible. 

Watch the rest of the Bannon interview below: 

Published:5/15/2019 9:07:24 AM
[Obama] Report: Barack Obama Illegally Took Millions in Foreign Donations in 2012

The following article, Report: Barack Obama Illegally Took Millions in Foreign Donations in 2012, was first published on Godfather Politics.

According to reports former U.S. President Barack H. Obama’s political campaign received at least $21.6 million in illegal foreign campaign contributions.

Continue reading: Report: Barack Obama Illegally Took Millions in Foreign Donations in 2012 ...

Published:5/15/2019 8:08:51 AM
[Markets] Pepe Escobar Warns Over US-China Tensions: "The Hardcore Is Yet To Come"

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

The Trump administration’s response to China’s emergence has been to throw all sorts of spanners in the works, but tariffs won’t bring back manufacturing jobs...

Let’s start with the “long” 16th Century – which, as with the 21st, also saw a turbulent process of marketization. At that time, the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation were trying to rebound across Asia – but within a context where the rivalry between the Iberian superpowers of the age, Spain and Portugal, still lingered.

The Reformation first attached itself to the Dutch trade thalassocracy – a seaborne empire, under which commerce was paramount – over strict propaganda of religious dogma. Britain’s maritime realm was still biding its time. The emergence of Protestantism proceeded in parallel to the emergence of neo-Confucianism in East Asia.

Fast forward to our turbulent times. Marketization – renamed as globalization – seems to be in crisis. But not in the Middle Kingdom, which is now investing in globalization 2.0 amid increasing rivalry with the other superpower, the US.

The American thalassocracy is being superseded by the Revenge of the Heartland, in the form of the Russia-China strategic partnership – for whom Eurasian trade integration, as expressed by the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is paramount over the Make America Great Again (MAGA) dogma.

Meanwhile, the re-emergence of Right populism in the West mirrors the re-emergence of pragmatic neo-Confucianism across Asia.

BRI – the prime vehicle for Eurasia integration – would have never come to light without China’s four decades of breakneck economic development.

My sharpest and most informed geopolitical readers, such as the wonderfully enigmatic Larchmonter, are in synch with my running conversations – for years now – with top analysts in Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan; following the Obama administration’s fuzzy “pivot to Asia”, the Trump administration’s response to China’s emergence has been to throw all sorts of spanners in the works.

Thus, the current hysteria over tariffs, the trade offensive, the demonization of BRI, Made in China 2025 and Huawei’s 5G dominance, and all manner of disruptive Hybrid War tactics such as repeatedly claiming “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea to progressive weaponizing of Taiwan.

All that duly fueled by non-stop hatchet jobs on media outlets, as in branding Huawei as “suspect” or “permanently untrustworthy”.

From the point of view of the hyperpower, there can be only one possible endgame: an amputated, permanently crippled and preferably non-stop aching Chinese economy – with unfavorable demographics to boot. 

Soybeans from Ukraine are unloaded at the port in Nantong, in eastern China. Imports of soy used to come from the US, but have slumped since the trade war began. Photo: AFP

Where are our jobs?

Pause on the sound and fury for necessary precision. Even if the Trump administration slaps 25% tariffs on all Chinese exports to the US, the IMF has projected that would trim just a meager slither – 0.55% – off China’s GDP. And America is unlikely to profit, because the extra tariffs won’t bring back manufacturing jobs to the US – something that Steve Jobs told Barack Obama eons ago.

What happens is that global supply chains will be redirected to economies that offer comparative advantages in relation to China, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos. And this redirection is already happening anyway – including by Chinese companies.

BRI represents a massive geopolitical and financial investment by China, as well as its partners; over 130 states and territories have signed on. Beijing is using its immense pool of capital to make its own transition towards a consumer-based economy while advancing the necessary pan-Eurasian infrastructure development – with all those ports, high-speed rail, fiber optics, electrical grids expanding to most Global South latitudes.

The end result, up to 2049 – BRI’s time span – will be the advent of an integrated market of no less than 4.5 billion people, by that time with access to a Chinese supply chain of high-tech exports as well as more prosaic consumer goods.

Anyone who has followed the nuts and bolts of the Chinese miracle launched by Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping in 1978 knows that Beijing is essentially exporting the mechanism that led China’s own 800 million citizens to, in a flash, become members of a global middle class.

As much as the Trump administration may bet on “maximum pressure” to restrict or even block Chinese access to whole sectors of the US market, what really matters is BRI’s advance will be able to generate multiple, extra US markets over the next two decades.

We don’t do ‘win-win’

There are no illusions in the Zhongnanhai, as there are no illusions in Tehran or in the Kremlin. These three top actors of Eurasian integration have exhaustively studied how Washington, in the 1990s, devastated Russia’s post-USSR economy (until Putin engineered a recovery) and how Washington has been trying to utterly destroy Iran for four decades.

Beijing, as well as Moscow and Tehran, know everything there is to know about Hybrid War, which is an American intel concept. They know the ultimate strategic target of Hybrid War, whatever the tactics, is social chaos and regime change.

The case of Brazil – a BRICS member like China and Russia – was even more sophisticated: a Hybrid War initially crafted by NSA spying evolved into lawfare and regime change via the ballot box. But it ended with mission accomplished – Brazil has been reduced to the lowly status of an American neo-colony.

Let’s remember an ancient mariner, the legendary Chinese Muslim Admiral Zheng He, who for three decades, from 1405 to 1433, led seven expeditions across the seas all the way to Arabia and Eastern Africa, reaching Champa, Borneo, Java, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, Jeddah, Mogadiscio, Mombasa, bringing tons of goods to trade (silk, porcelain, silver, cotton, iron tools, leather utensils).

That was the original Maritime Silk Road, progressing in parallel to Emperor Yong Le establishing a Pax Sinica in Asia – with no need for colonies and religious proselytism. But then the Ming dynasty retreated – and China was back to its agricultural vocation of looking at itself.

They won’t make the same mistake again. Even knowing that the current hegemon does not do “win-win”. Get ready for the real hardcore yet to come.

Published:5/14/2019 7:05:31 PM
[Markets] FOIA Docs: Mueller Top Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann Hand-Picked Team of "Angry Democrats"

When Trump called the Mueller investigators "18 angry Democrats," he wasn't kidding. 

According to 73 pages of records obtained by Judicial Watch, Mueller special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann led the hiring effort for the team that investigated the Trump campaign

Notably, Weissman attended Hillary Clinton's election night party in 2016, and wrote a positive email to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to defend the Trump administration's travel ban. And as you will see below, he was on a mission to recruit a politically biased fleet of lawyers for the Mueller probe

"These documents show Andrew Weissmann, an anti-Trump activist, had a hand in hiring key members of Mueller’s team – who also happened to be political opponents of President Trump," said Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton. "These documents show that Mueller outsourced his hiring decisions to Andrew Weissmann. No wonder it took well over a year to get this basic information and, yet, the Deep State DOJ is still stonewalling on other Weissmann documents!"

Weissman’s calendar shows that he began interviewing people for investigator jobs on the Mueller operation almost immediately after it was announced that he had joined the team in early June.

On June 5, 2017, he interviewed former Chief of the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York Andrew Goldstein. Goldstein was a Time magazine reporter. Goldstein contributed a combined $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. His wife, Julie Rawe, was a reporter and editor for Time for 13 years, until 2013. He became a lead prosecutor for Mueller.

The next day, on June 6, 2017 Weissmann had a meeting with “FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] counsel.”

Weissmann interviewed another prosecutor, Kyle Freeny, from the DOJ Money Laundering Section for the team on June 7, 2017. She contributed a total of $500 to Obama’s presidential campaigns and $250 to Hillary Clinton’s. She was later detailed to the Mueller investigation.

He interviewed a trial attorney who worked with him in the Criminal Fraud Section, Rush Atkinson, on June 9, 2017. Records show that Atkinson donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016. He is a registered Democrat and contributed $200 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Atkinson also became part of the Mueller team.

Weissmann interviewed DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Greg Andres for the team on June 13, 2017. Andres donated $2,700 to the campaign for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in 2018 and $1,000 to the campaign for David Hoffman (D) in 2009. Andres is a registered Democrat. His wife, Ronnie Abrams, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan, was nominated to the bench in 2011 by Obama. He joined the Mueller team in August 2017. -Judicial Watch

"Judicial Watch previously released documents showing strong support by Weissmann for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. Weissmann reportedly also attended Hillary Clinton’s Election Night party in New York," the report concludes. 

Published:5/14/2019 6:33:48 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Must Testify Over Daddy-Linked Dealings In Ukraine, China: Schweizer

Investigative journalist Peter Schweizer has called on the Senate to invite Hunter Biden to testify about his business dealings in China and Ukraine - both of which were linked to his father, former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden

"What I’ve called for simply is for the Senate to call former second son Hunter Biden to come and testify and people look into this," said Schweizer in an exclusive interview with The Hill. "We’re talking about large deals and large sums of money...it involves countries like China, which are America’s chief rival on the global stage." 

The researcher provided an overview of Hunter Biden's alleged business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma and the Chinese government in a recent New York Post op-ed that details  payments of more than $3 million to Hunter Biden's company during a 14-month period when his father was the point person on Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. -The Hill

"In the case of the Ukraine, the very energy company that was paying Hunter Biden millions of dollars was under investigation in the Ukraine for corruption. Ukrainian officials have claimed that Joe Biden pressured them to suspend or end that investigation. That’s in fact what the Ukraine did," said Schweizer. 

In the case of China, Hunter and his partners Chris Heinz (John Kerry's stepson) and Heinz's longtime associate Devon Archer began making multi-billion dollar deals "through a series of overlapping entities" after creating several LLCs. In one instance, Schweizer discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China, which expanded to $1.5 billion, according to an article by Schweizer's in the New York Post

Schweizer noted last week in a New York Post Op-Ed that "Hunter Biden at the time had no background in China and had little background in private equity." 

"If it sounds shocking that a vice president would shape US-China policy as his son — who has scant experience in private equity — clinched a coveted billion-dollar deal with an arm of the Chinese government, that’s because it is" -Peter Schweizer 

Schweizer also referenced a report by The Hill's John Solomon, who reported in early May that in March of 2016, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine's President, Petro Poroshenko, to fire its head prosecutor - who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the natural gas firm that Hunter sat on, Burisma Holdings. 

"I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko. 

"Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat. 

The former vice president told The New York Times in a recent statement that his son's business dealings was not a consideration in pressuring Ukraine to fire its prosecutor general, noting the decision was made “without any regard for how it would or would not impact any business interests of his son, a private citizen.”

Hunter Biden also issued a statement declaring that "at no time have I discussed with my father the company’s business, or my board service, including my initial decision to join the board" of the Ukrainian energy company. -The Hill

Solomon reviewed the general prosecutor's file for the Burisma probe - which he reports shows Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money. 

And before he was fired, Shokin says he had made "specific plans" for the investigation - including "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.

Published:5/14/2019 6:08:46 PM
[Markets] The 3 Big Questions That Are Not Being Asked About "Medicare For All"

Authored by Laurence Vance via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Congress recently held its first hearing on “Medicare for All” legislation that would eliminate most private insurance, phase out Medicare and Medicaid, and institute universal socialized medicine.

The House Rules Committee heard six hours of testimony on the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (H.R.1384). Introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on February 27, the legislation now has 108 co-sponsors, all Democrats. A number of Democratic presidential contenders have also expressed support for the proposal.

The Medicare for All Act “establishes a national health-insurance program that is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).” The program must

(1) cover all U.S. residents;

(2) provide for automatic enrollment of individuals upon birth or residency in the United States; and

(3) cover items and services that are medically necessary or appropriate to maintain health or to diagnose, treat, or rehabilitate a health condition, including hospital services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance-abuse treatment, dental and vision services, and long-term care.

The bill “prohibits cost-sharing (e.g., deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments) and other charges for covered services.” Private health insurers and employers “may only offer coverage that is supplemental to, and not duplicative of, benefits provided under the program.” Health insurance exchanges and federal health programs (except coverage provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Indian Health Service) “terminate upon program implementation,” which “must be fully implemented two years after enactment.”

Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the House Rules Committee chairman and a co-sponsor of the bill, remarked about the legislation, “We need to expand the definition of national security to include more than just the number of bombs we have. It should also mean quality health care.” He argued that it shouldn’t be “too much to expect the federal government to protect us against illnesses here at home.” Echoing Barack Obama, McGovern maintained, “People are not going to lose their health care: you can keep your doctors, go to your hospitals that you currently have. The only difference is you wouldn’t have to deal with your insurance companies.”

Among those testifying at the hearing was Ady Barkan, a 35-year-old progressive activist for single-payer health care who has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Sitting in a wheelchair and speaking with the aid of a computer, Barkan emotionally insisted, “Health care is not treated as a human right in the United States of America. This fact is outrageous and it’s far past time we change it. Health care is a human right.” This “right” is something that most Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have pushed for many years.

But House Republicans at the hearing pushed back. Ranking member Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) likened the Medicare for All Act to socialism: “This bill is a socialist proposal that threatens freedom of choice and would allow Washington to pose one-size-fits-all plans on the American people.” Charles Blahous, a senior researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, who was invited to testify by the Republicans, estimated that the bill “would cost up to $38.8 trillion in additional government spending over 10 years.”

Liberal media outlets were eagerly anticipating the “Medicare for All” hearing. HuffPost used the occasion to raise “3 Big Questions Now That ‘Medicare for All’ Is Getting a Hearing”:

  1. What does Medicare for All actually mean?

  2. How should government control health-care spending?

  3. What are the consequences of doing nothing?

The writer describes two possible meanings of “Medicare for All”: A government program that covers everything “with essentially no out-of-pocket expenses” (like the Jayapal bill) and a system “in which everybody has insurance, the government plays a much larger role in controlling health-care spending, and the profit motive doesn’t interfere with people’s ability to get care.” To make sure that everyone has “generous health insurance,” and that “spending will be no more and maybe even less than Americans spend on health care today,” the government “would have to get a lot more involved in controlling the price of health care, either by fixing prices or setting overall budgets.” This would, admittedly, “affect every part of the health-care industry ? not just drug companies and insurers, but also doctors and hospitals.” The consequences of doing nothing are dire: “As private insurance gets more expensive, people who buy insurance on their own and aren’t eligible for the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits face premiums that are more and more unaffordable.”

The problem with these three questions is that they never get to the root of the issue. Libertarians maintain that there are 3 big questions that are not being asked about “Medicare for All”:

  1. Is it constitutional?

  2. Is it the proper role of government?

  3. Who should pay for health care?

The answers to these questions are really quite simple.

1. Not only is there nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the federal government to have a Medicare for All program, there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the federal government to have a Medicare program for anyone. Just as there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the federal government to have Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (the Republican version of Obamacare), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal laboratories, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

2. It is an illegitimate purpose of government to provide or pay for all or part of anyone’s health care or health insurance. Just as it is an illegitimate purpose of government to maintain or fund medical research, insurance exchanges, community health centers, clinical trials, family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives, databases of Americans’ medical records, or vaccination programs; issue nutrition guidelines, regulate the sale of mandate insurance coverages, have medical-licensing laws, restrict the sale of bodily organs, or have medical-record requirements; issue mandates or regulations regarding physicians, dentists, nurses, midwives, psychiatrists, psychologists, hospitals, medical devices, pharmacists, insurance companies, medical schools, nursing homes, drugs, or drug companies; or make health care and health insurance more affordable or institute a safety net to ensure that the poor have adequate health care.

3. No American is entitled to health care provided at the expense of another American. No American should be forced to pay for the health care or health insurance of any other American — regardless of how poor, old, sick, disabled, or needy that other American is. All charity should be private and voluntary. Health care is not a right; it is a service that can and should be provided on the free market just like any other service.

Don’t look for liberal media outlets to ever raise these three fundamental questions. And as for conservatives, they have no real answers to them when it comes to health care and health insurance because they can’t answer them without equivocating and making exception after exception.

Published:5/14/2019 5:09:28 PM
[Markets] Harvard "UndocuGraduation" For Illegal Immigrants Features Previously Arrested Prof

Authored by Jon Street via Campus Reform,

A student-run group at Harvard University hosted a special graduation ceremony for illegal immigrants Wednesday, an event dubbed “UndocuGraduation.”

The special ceremony for those in the country illegally came amid President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration. According to the Harvard Crimson, the student-run group Act on a Dream hosted the event for illegals.

According to the group's website, it has four pillars, which include advocacy for the abolishment of ICE

“The event was organized to highlight the struggles and the ways in which undocumented students persevere on this campus,” Emily Romero, Act on a Dream co-director and a Harvard Crimson editorial editor, told the campus newspaper following the event.

“This campus can be very difficult to navigate, yet there are so many people who came out at the end of this tunnel as better individuals than how they entered it.”

Among the speakers at the "UndocuGraduation" was Harvard history professor Kirsten Weld, who, as Campus Reformreported in 2016, was one of more than 30 professors who were arrested while protesting Trump's decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which granted temporary legal status to those who first came to the U.S. as children, with their parents. 

The "UndocuGraduation" event comes as many colleges now offer separate graduation ceremonies for, among other minorities, African American students and LGBT students. These separate ceremonies were, in part, the topic of rigorous research conducted by the National Association of Scholars.

The group released its research findings recently in a report, titled, "Separate but Equal, Again: Neo-Segregation in American Higher Education." The first report, released in May, focused specifically on Yale University but called attention to 173 other universities, including Harvard.

Published:5/14/2019 4:33:16 PM
[] AG Barr Appoints Prosecutor to Probe Whether Spying on Trump Campaign Was Illegal The American people need to know if the Obama administration's intelligence and law enforcement tentacles colluded with Sydney Blumenthal and Fusion GPS. Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and... Published:5/14/2019 12:03:13 PM
[Featured News] Trey Gowdy Offers Tip To Republicans: ‘Look For Emails Between Brennan And Comey’

By Chuck Ross -

Former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy offered up a tip Monday night for congressional investigators probing the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. “So whoever’s investigating this, tell them to look for emails between Brennan and Comey in December 2016,” Gowdy said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean ...

Trey Gowdy Offers Tip To Republicans: ‘Look For Emails Between Brennan And Comey’ 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:5/14/2019 11:33:07 AM
[Markets] Ron Paul Warns Losing Income Tax Privacy Is A Real Danger

Authored by Ron Paul via The Unz Review,

Last week the New York Times published some of President Trump’s 1980s and 1990s tax returns information. The information detailed President Trump’s financial difficulties during that time. While you would not know it from reading some media reports, this is old news. In fact, President Trump openly discussed his financial difficulties on his popular reality television show.

What should be of great concern is the possibility that the person who leaked the returns - who the paper says has legal access to President Trump’s tax records - is an IRS employee seeking to undermine the president. This would hardly be the first time an IRS employee has leaked confidential information because he disagreed with the taxpayer’s politics. In 2014 the agency had to pay the National Organization for Marriage 50,000 dollars after an IRS employee gave names of the group’s donors to the group’s opponents.

In 2014-2017, my Campaign for Liberty group was repeatedly threatened by the IRS because it refused to give the agency the names of and other information about its top supporters. Fortunately, the IRS rescinded the regulation forcing groups like Campaign for Liberty to violate supporters’ privacy or face legal penalties. However, campaign finance reform legislation that recently passed in the House of Representatives would require the IRS to resume collecting this information, and the New York attorney general is suing the IRS to force the agency to reinstate the regulation.

The right of groups like Campaign for Liberty to protect their supporters’ privacy was upheld by the Supreme Court in NAACP v. Alabama. As Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, “Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.”

Traditionally, presidents have used the IRS to harass their political opponents instead of presidents’ opponents using the IRS against them. Franklin Roosevelt audited people critical of the New Deal and supportive of the America First movement. Lyndon Johnson ordered audits of opponents, and John Kennedy shared tax return information with Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.

During the Obama administration, the IRS targeted groups opposing Obamacare. The agency went after anti-Iraq War groups during the George W. Bush years.

If the Times did obtain Trump’s tax returns information from an IRS employee, that employee is not in the same category as whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning who exposed government wrongdoing. The leaker or leakers of President Trump’s information are releasing private tax information.

The IRS regularly violates the civil liberties of taxpayers generally. In fact, the income tax system forcing taxpayers to reveal potentially incriminating information on their tax returns violates the principles of a free society. Americans’ liberty and prosperity will never be secure until Congress repeals two great mistakes of 1913: the income tax and the Federal Reserve.

Published:5/14/2019 11:33:06 AM
[Politics] 42% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-two percent (42%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending May 9.

This week’s finding remains the same from a week ago. Prior to this, that number had been on the decline week-over-week from 43% in early December to 31% by the end of January. It ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

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

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from May 5-9, 2019. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:5/13/2019 10:42:18 PM
[Markets] Top Lawyer For Obama-Era FBI 'Nervous' About DOJ Inspector General Investigation

James Baker, a career government attorney who wound up as the the FBI's top lawyer (general counsel) in 2014, says he's 'nervous' about DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's internal investigation into FBI/DOJ conduct surrounding the 2016 US election.

Sitting down at the Brookings Institute with Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes, Baker made clear that he wanted to speak "as openly as I possibly can" about the origin of the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump - "to reassure the American people that it was done for lawful, legitimate reasons, and was apolitical," reports the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy. 

Benjamin Wittes (left), James Baker

For those keeping track, we've gone from "there was no spying," to "the FBI used an informant on the Trump campaign, just don't call him a spy," to "ok there were multiple informants - still not spying."

And so while former Obama-era officials have scrambled to perform damage control ahead of negative potential outcomes, Attorney General William Barr, James Clapper, and the CIA's former chief of counterintelligence (among others) have concluded that the Obama admin absolutely spied on Donald Trump and his campaign

Barr, meanwhile, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into FBI conduct during the 2016 election, making him public enemy #1 to the left. Consequently, Democrats are now working overtime to discredit him less than three months after he 'sailed through' his confirmation hearings (on the Kavanaugh scale) due to his distinguished career in Washington. Barr currently sits in contempt of the House Judiciary Committee after refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report - despite the fact that not one Democrat has viewed the 98.5% redacted version the DOJ made available to members of Congress.  

After Barr's "spying" bombshell, former FBI Director James Comey said he had "no idea what the heck he's (Barr) talking about," while last week Comey said he thinks Barr has acted "less than honorable," and has "lost most of his reputation.

And in in what appears to be the latest in an attempt to get ahead of the narrative, James Baker - the Obama/Comey FBI's top lawyer, sat down with Benjamin Wittes at Brookings to defend the agency's conduct.

And Baker is nervous

Asked by Wittes "So, how nervous are you about the IG"? in reference to Inspector General Horowitz's FISA investigation, Baker responded that he's "always nervous about the IG," and that "they’re coming in after the fact to look at what we did.

Baker added that during the chaotic 2016 election, the FBI was "trying to do it in real time and having the pressure to deal with these threats as they were coming," while dealing with the backdrop of alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails. 

He also stuck with the official story as to what predicated the FBI's counterintelligence operation on the Trump campaign, dubbed "Crossfire Hurricane" -- On May 10, 2016 Trump adviser George Papadopoulos told Clinton ally and Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton. Downer told Aussie intel, which told the FBI, which launched Operation Crossfire Hurricane. 

Nowhere did Baker mention Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation who is the genesis of the Russian 'dirt' rumor - planted it with Papadopoulos several weeks after returning from a trip to Moscow. 

While the Mueller report paints Mifsud as a Russian agent, evidence points to him being in league with Western intelligence - which raises the notion of entrapment if Papadopoulos was set up by a Clinton ally, later to be pumped for information by a 'five-eyes' Clinton ally at a London Bar, which officially launched the investigation. 

Last week, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has requested a wide swath of documents about Mifsud from several federal agencies. As the Washington Examiner noted, Nunes - the House Intelligence Committee ranking member, "seeks information about who Mifsud was working for at the time and wrote in a letter that special counsel Robert Mueller “omits any mention of a wide range of contacts Mifsud had with Western political institutions and individuals" in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election." 

No wonder Baker is feeling a bit on edge. 

When asked about how confident he is that the FBI opened the Trump investigation for legitimate reasons and not a 'coup,' Baker maintained that everything was on the up and up, and that there was "no way in hell" he would have allowed a 'coup attempt' against Trump. 

As for the FISA surveillance on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Baker defended the FBI's use of the infamous Steele dossier in its application - saying that after personally reviewing the FISA applications, he was "comfortable" with them and confident that the process remained "lawful." 

Of course, in recent days we've learned that the State Department and the FBI absolutely knew that the Steele Dossier was a political document of dubious legitimacy, and its author, former UK spy Christopher Steele, was working for Clinton/DNC-funded opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce the document. 

Still, Baker defended the agency's handling of Steele, saying "We’re not stupid. The FBI. We’re not stupid."

And Baker said the FBI was careful in the way it used Steele’s reporting. “We have an obligation to take that information seriously and to be highly skeptical … You go to work … You try to validate it … We don’t just swallow it hook, line, and sinker. ... We spent a lot of time trying to vet that information line by line," he said.

We are the Federal Bureau of Investigations, not the Federal Bureau of Conclusions,” Baker said defensively.

Steele has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks. The Wall Street Journal reported that Horowitz “is homing in on” and “has been asking witnesses about” the FBI’s “treatment of information” provided by Steele. And the New York Times reported that the FBI reached out to some of Steele’s foreign sources and as early as January 2017 agents had reportedly concluded that some of the dossier’s contents may have been based upon “rumors and hearsay” which were “passed from source to source.” The agents believed that some of Steele’s information may have even been based upon “Russian disinformation.” -Washington Examiner

For more insight into where Obama-era US intel officials are coming from, the entire Baker interview can be seen below: 

Published:5/12/2019 10:25:11 AM
[Markets] Pentagon Rolls Out Blade-Wielding 'Ninja Bombs' 

The Pentagon has developed a secret missile specifically designed to kill terrorist leaders and minimize civilian casualties with no explosion. Instead, a modified Hellfire missile deploys over 100 pounds of metal and a "halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact" to shred anything in its way, according to the Wall Street Journal

Note: Graphic illustration based on description of weapon.
Source: U.S. military Roque Ruiz/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have used the weapon while closely guarding its existence. A modified version of the well-known Hellfire missile, the weapon carries an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it is designed to plunge more than 100 pounds of metal through the tops of cars and buildings to kill its target without harming individuals and property close by.

To the targeted person, it is as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky, the officials said. But this variant of the Hellfire missile, designated as the R9X, also comes equipped with a different kind of payload: a halo of six long blades that are stowed inside and then deploy through the skin of the missile seconds before impact to ensure that it shreds anything in its tracks. -Wall Street Journal

The R9X's use was confirmed to the Journal by over a dozen current and former US officials. Insiders called it "the flying Ginsu" or "Ninja bomb" for its deadly blades which can slice through buildings and cars to neutralize targets. 

Used infrequently, the missile is employed in specific circumstances - such as when a senior terrorist leader has been located but other weapons would risk civilian casualties. According to the Defense Department, it has only been used about half-a-dozen times, including in operations in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Two specific strikes were confirmed by the Journal - one by the Defense Department and the other by the CIA.  

In January 2019, Jamal al-Badawi, accused of being behind the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 in a Yemeni port, killing 17 American sailors, was killed by an R9X fired by the Pentagon. The Pentagon has acknowledged the strike, which occurred in Yemen, though not the specific munition involved.

In February 2017, Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, an Egyptian national who served as al Qaeda’s No. 2, was killed in Syria’s Idlib Province by an R9X fired by a U.S. aircraft operated by the CIA. The CIA doesn’t acknowledge airstrikes it carries out. -Wall Street Journal

Both incidents stoked speculation about a possible new weapon among those who assessed the attack scenes. 

Hellfires typically leave a trail of scorched destruction; burned out cars and lots of debris over a large radius. According to the report, the R9X leaves no such signature. "Photographs of the aftermath of the strike on Mr. Masri show an oblong hole torn into the roof of the car in which he was riding. There are no burn marks suggesting an explosion. The windshield of the Kia sedan is cracked, but the car’s windshield wipers are still in place," the Journal writes. 

One former U.S. official said the weapon addressed a longstanding “right seat, left seat” problem, suggesting it is theoretically possible to kill someone sitting in the passenger seat of a moving car, but not the driver. (Two militants reportedly were killed in the February 2017 strike.) -Wall Street Journal

Developed under the Obama administration as early as 2011, the modified Hellfire was designed for "humanitarian and legal considerations," according to the report, as terrorists fighters had been adapting to US airstrikes by taking shelter among groups of women and children. 

The U.S. officials said extraordinarily accurate intelligence about a target’s location and surroundings are needed to use the weapon. But there is also an intelligence and cost benefit, they said. Because the weapon minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, there are more opportunities to take a shot, reducing the number of hours the military has to keep surveillance and armed aircraft aloft. -Wall Street Journal

The Pentagon developed a similar weapon as a "Plan B" to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad, Pakistan compound, according to the Journal. Obama elected instead to send in a special forces team which, officially, confronted Bin laden, killed him, dumped his body in the ocean, and then suffered catastrophic losses in a 2011 helicopter attack in Afghanistan.  

In March, President Trump rescinded an Obama-era mandate that the number of civilian casualties from US airstrikes outside of conventional war zones be reported.  The president has also allowed the CIA broader authority to conduct drone strikes, which is less accountable than the US military. 

 

Published:5/12/2019 7:59:03 AM
[Markets] The World To America: "You're Fired!"

Authored by Dmitry Orlov via Club Orlov blog,

Some ironies are just too precious to pass by.

The 2016 US presidential elections gave us Donald Trump, a reality TV star whose famous tag line from his show “The Apprentice” was “You are fired!” Focus on this tag line; it is all that is important to this story. Some Trump Derangement Disorder sufferers might disagree. This is because they are laboring under certain misapprehensions: that the US is a democracy; or that it matters who is president. It isn’t and it doesn’t. By this point, the choice of president matters as much as the choice of conductor for the band that plays aboard a ship as it vanishes beneath the waves.

I have made these points continuously since before Trump got into office. Whether or not you think that Trump was actually elected, he did get in somehow, and there are reasons to believe that this had something to do with his wonderfully refreshing “You are fired!” tag line. It’s a fair guess that what motivated people to vote for him was their ardent wish that somebody would come along and fire all of the miscreants that infest Washington, DC and surrounding areas. Alas, that he couldn’t do. Figurehead leaders are never granted the authority to dismantle the political establishments that install them. But that is not to say that it can’t be done at all.

What happened instead was that the political establishment spent two years thrashing about in search of a reason to say “You are fired!” to Trump but has been unable to find one, and so Trump remains in office, although to say that he “remains in power” would be to invite sardonic laughter from anyone who knows what real political power smells like. Trump is but a prisoner in the White House, just like his predecessor was. Ironically, the quest for Trump’s impeachment has been fruitless as far as firing him, but most fruitful in terms of enhancing his ability to not only fire lots of establishment figures but perhaps even send them to jail—with the help of the Justice Department—and his character traits of extreme rancor, spitefulness and vindictiveness should be most conducive toward that end, making for a fun spectacle. His numerous enemies and detractors may yet look back wistfully on the halcyon days when they could lambaste him with impunity.

The quest to stop Trump started well before the election, with Obama and the Clintons collaborating on misusing federal resources to dig up dirt on Trump; specifically, evidence of “Russian collusion”… and they couldn’t find any. They did manage to find some “Russian meddling” (in the form of Facebook clickbait ads) but the evidence they dug up was too ridiculous to show in court. Too bad they didn’t look for Ukrainian collusion and meddling, or Israeli collusion and meddling, or Saudi collusion and meddling, because then they would have found plenty—enough to not only knock Hillary Clinton out of the running but also to lock her up. It would have been a constructive, useful exercise for them to go look for Ukrainian political meddling, but as I’ve explained before the American modus operandi is quite the opposite, and it compelled them to go after Russia instead.

In any case, the complete failure of Mueller’s team to find anything actionable against Trump has left him grasping at straws, and the one straw he seized upon was the vague possibility of accusing Trump of obstructing justice, based on 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which specifies that someone is guilty of obstruction as follows: “…obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so.” Apparently, a neuron snapped inside poor Mueller’s head making him think that his own investigation was an “official proceeding,” although if you look up this term you’ll find that it relates to things happening inside courtrooms, with one or more judges presiding, and to launch such a proceeding requires evidence that a crime has been committed. If there is no crime, then there is no proceeding, and nothing to obstruct, influence or impede.

There ensued a sort of bureaucratic danse macabre. Normally, the Attorney General has the authority to provide guidance on such questions, and AG Jeff Sessions could have told Mueller that 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) is only relevant to court proceedings and that would have been it. But Sessions had the unfortunate luck of having had a casual chat with the amiable and roly-poly Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. By virtue of this little chat Sessions contaminated his precious bodily fluids (just breathing the same air as a Russian can be politically fatal, you know) and was forced to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation. Trump’s legal team then reached out to William Barr, a former AG, and asked him to chime in. Barr wrote a memo clarifying the issue and sent it to deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who remained as second-in-command at the Justice Department after Sessions’ recusal, and who should have read it, understood it and acted on it, terminating Mueller’s investigation, but somehow he didn’t.

The denouement of this bureaucratic danse macabre played out as follows. After the midterm elections Trump said “You’re fired!” to Jeff Sessions and William Barr was confirmed as AG. Barr then said “You’re fired!” to both Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller for being unpardonably dense. Barr also made it clear that he plans to leave no stone unturned in investigating this fantastic instance of misuse of official resources and prosecutorial misconduct. This will be fun to watch, if you have nothing more important to pay attention to, but I suspect that the phrase “You’re fired!” will continue to bounce around the halls of Washington like a rubber grenade for a good long time. There are, however, things to pay attention to that are far more important.

There is a lot happening in the world all at once right now. The entire planet is rapidly reconfiguring itself. The world is begging for a new, post-capitalist, post-industrial order to be born, but the overabundance of natural resources that have made previous such revolutions possible (coal for the age of steam, oil for the current oil age) simply no longer exist. All that remains is optimizations, enhancements and reconfigurations of the existing order of things, cutting out that which is most harmful and most dysfunctional. To this end, Western European nations are attempting to reclaim the sovereignty they ceded to the United States and the European Union while Eurasia is coming together to form a massive economic and security conglomerate centered on China and Russia.

Both are playing for time, because redirecting trade and financial flows away from the US is quite a process.

The world’s central banks are doing their best to get rid of their US dollar reserves and to buy gold, which, as of this April, they are allowed to consider a risk-free financial asset. Many people now expect gold to go up as a result, but that expectation is based on an illusion. Think of gold as a lighthouse and of fiat currencies as sinking ships: those aboard them may look around and decide that the lighthouse is going up, but that’s just an optical illusion. The purchasing power of fiat currencies is sure to fall (some more than others). The purchasing power of gold will seem to increase, but that will also be an illusion: it will appear to rise against the backdrop of crashing markets, in real estate and physical plant especially. But overall the purchasing power of gold will drop too, because the future purchasing power of any financial asset is determined by just one thing: energy, fossil fuel energy in particular, and energy from crude oil above all. Without energy, nothing within an economy moves, unless it is an agrarian economy based on fodder and animal muscle power.

A particularly interesting piece to the gold story is that it may turn out that much of the gold supposedly stored in the US may in fact be missing. Since Nixon closed the “gold window” in 1971, ending the convertibility of US dollar for gold bullion, and until recently the US dollar has been able to retain its position as a global reserve currency by an act of sheer financial levitation, but that bit of magic may have actually been sleight of hand: behind-the-scenes gold sales to the largest US creditors. When various countries, Germany in particular, have attempted to repatriate their gold, which they had entrusted to the US, they were rebuffed, and when they did succeed, the gold that was returned wasn’t the same gold, and it took a long time. The US hunger for gold has forced it to conduct rather unseemly heists, stealing the gold reserves of Iraq, Libya and the Ukraine. Thus, when the time comes for the US to defend its currency by employing its hoard of gold, it may turn out that the cupboard is bare.

Gold is becoming increasingly important, but energy is more important still, and always will be. After being pushed into the background for a few years, questions of energy supply and energy security are once again becoming front and center. Peak Oil turns out to not be dead after all; it was just postponed by a few years by virtue of the US burning through a huge pile of retirement savings while exploiting shale oil. But now most of the sweet spots have been tapped already and diminishing returns on continued frantic drilling are being added to the fracking industry’s permanently dismal financial returns. In the meantime, Russia has built several natural gas liquefaction plants, a new oil pipeline to China and two new gas pipelines to Turkey and Germany, and to Western Europe beyond, which will circumvent the Ukraine, reducing its value as a geopolitical asset to zero.

A desperate ploy by the US to seize control of Venezuela’s oil fields has backfired in a most embarrassing fashion; there, recent developments have brought up an important question: What if the US threw a color revolution but nobody came? As I had predicted would happen six years ago in my book The Five Stages of Collapsethe Color Revolution Syndicate has steadily lost its mojo. In spite of all the bluster by various Washington foreign policy has-beens, a US military intervention in Venezuela is unthinkable: Venezuela’s Russian S-300 air defense systems effectively make it a no-fly zone for US planes. Meanwhile, the US, having cut itself off from Venezuela’s oil using its own sanctions, has been forced to resort to importing Russian oil. (For now, but not for much longer, the US has a glut of low-quality light crude from fracking, but it’s useless for making diesel and other distillates unless it is blended with heavier grades of crude, which have to be imported.)

Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus have been staging a noisy lover’s quarrel over Russian oil exports to Europe, much of which go through a Belarussian pipeline. Russia and Belarus—or Byelorussia, or White Russia—are not exactly distinct entities in most ways, and when they fight the bystanders should discount the foul language and instead look out for flying pots and cutlery. The result of this family spat is that White Russia will no longer supply the Ukraine with products distilled from Russian oil. Another odd development is that the Russian oil being piped to White Russia, and from thence to the EU, has become mysteriously contaminated and the flow has been stopped until the situation is resolved, causing a bit of a panic in Europe. The US volunteered to unseal its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to compensate, but then, in another bizarre twist, some of that oil too has turned out to have gone foul. More foul yet, the US has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, threatening anyone who imports Iranian oil, bringing up another important question: What is the US imposes unilateral sanctions on the whole world, and everybody just yawns?

Financially ruinous and generally nonsensical schemes such as tar sands, shale oil and industrial-scale photovoltaics, wind generation and electric cars will only accelerate the process of sorting nations into energy haves and energy have-nots, with the have-nots wiping themselves out sooner rather than later. Leaving aside various fictional and notional schemes (nuclear fusion, space mirrors, etc.) and focusing just on the technologies that already exist, there is only one way to maintain industrial civilization, and that is nuclear, based on Uranium 235 (which is scarce) and Plutonium 239 produced from Uranium 238 (of which there is enough to last for thousands of years) using fast neutron reactors. If you don’t like this choice, then your other choice is to go completely agrarian, with significantly reduced population densities and no urban centers of any size.

And if you do like this choice, then you have few alternatives other than to go with the world’s main purveyor of nuclear technology (VVER-series light water reactors, BN-series fast neutron breeder reactors and closed nuclear fuel cycle technology) which happens to be Russia’s state-owned conglomerate Rosatom. It owns over a third of the world nuclear energy market and has a portfolio of international projects stretching far into the future that includes as much as 80% of the reactors that are going to be built. The US hasn’t been able to complete a nuclear reactor in decades, the Europeans managed to get just one new reactor on line (in China) while Japan’s nuclear program has been in disarray ever since Fukushima and Toshiba’s financially disastrous acquisition of Westinghouse. The only other contenders are South Korea and China. Again, if you don’t like nuclear—for whatever reason—then you can always just buy yourself some pasture and some hayfields and start breeding donkeys.

This may seem like shocking news to someone who’s been exposed solely to mass media in the US and other Anglophone countries or in the EU. Well, it may be shocking, but it’s definitely not news: none of these developments is particularly new, and none of them is unforeseen. The high level of denial of all of the above issues in Washington, which has been ground zero in a powerful explosion of unreality, and in Western media generally, is also unsurprising; nor is it helpful. Upon finding these things out for yourself, you may be tempted to shout about them from rooftops. This, I dare say, would be inadvisable. The proper thing to do with people who insist on remaining in denial is to humor them, to run out the clock on any games they try to play with you, and then to politely bid them adieu. Indeed, this is what we are seeing: nobody particularly wants to negotiate with US officials but they do so anyway because, as every crisis negotiator knows, it is essential to keep talking, even if simply to stall for time. While they are talking the hostages—to Wall Street, to the Pentagon, to US Treasury and Federal Reserve—are quietly being evacuated. Time is running out for the US, and once it has run out, what we will hear, in a supreme twist of irony, is the whole world telling the US: “You’re fired!”

Published:5/11/2019 9:48:17 PM
[Politics] Former Fugees rapper INDICTED for allegedly funneling $800k to Obama campaign! A rapper who was formerly with the Fugees has been indicted for allegedly funneling illegal donations to the Obama campaign!! He and a Malaysian playboy, who doesn’t know how to get very . . . Published:5/11/2019 8:47:39 PM
[Politics] Former Fugees rapper INDICTED for allegedly funneling $800k to Obama campaign! A rapper who was formerly with the Fugees has been indicted for allegedly funneling illegal donations to the Obama campaign!! He and a Malaysian playboy, who doesn’t know how to get very . . . Published:5/11/2019 8:47:39 PM
[The Blog] Obama White House was tracking FOIA requests regarding Hillary Clinton

Oh really...

The post Obama White House was tracking FOIA requests regarding Hillary Clinton appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/11/2019 12:14:31 PM
[Markets] Whitney: Judgment Day Looms For John Brennan

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Sometime in the next 4 weeks, the Justice Department’s inspector general will release an internal review that will reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Among other matters, the IG’s report is expected to determine “whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.” Critics of the Trump-collusion probe believe that there was never probable cause that a crime had been committed, therefore, there was no legal basis for launching the investigation.

The findings of the Mueller report– that there was no cooperation or collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign– seem to underscore this broader point and suggest that the fictitious Trump-Russia connection was merely a pretext for spying on the campaign of a Beltway outsider whose political views clashed with those of the foreign policy establishment.

In any event, the upcoming release of the Horowitz report will formally end the the first phase of the long-running Russiagate scandal and mark the beginning of Phase 2, in which high-profile officials from the previous administration face criminal prosecution for their role in what looks to be a botched attempt at a coup d’etat.

Here’s a brief summary from political analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who previously worked at the CIA and U.S. State Department:

The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.” (“How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election”, Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News)

Bingo. Attorney General William Barr has already stated his belief that spying on the Trump campaign “did occur” and that, in his mind, it is “a big deal”. He also reiterated his commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to find out whether the spying was adequately “predicated”, that is, whether the FBI followed the required protocols for such spying, or not. Barr already knows the answer to this question as he is fully aware of the fact that the FBI used information that they knew was false to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Having no hard evidence of cooperation with the Kremlin, senior-level FBI officials and their counterparts at the Obama Justice Department used parts of an “opposition research” document (The Trump Dossier) that they knew was unreliable to procure warrants that allowed them to treat a presidential campaign the same way the intelligence agencies treat foreign enemies; using electronic surveillance, wiretapping, confidential informants and “honey trap” schemes designed to gather embarrassing or incriminating information on their target. Barr knows all of this already which is why the Democrats are doing everything in their power to discredit him and have him removed from office.

His determination to “get to the bottom of this” is not just a threat to the FBI, it’s a threat to multiple agencies that may have had a hand in this expansive domestic espionage operation including the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the State Department and, perhaps, even the Obama White House. No one knows yet how far up the political food-chain the skulduggery actually goes, but Barr appears to be serious about finding out.

Here’s Barr again:

“Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant….I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”

In other words, Barr knows that the Trump campaign was riddled with spies and he is going to do his damnedest to find out what happened. He also knows that the FISA warrants were improperly obtained using the shabby disinformation from an opposition research “hit piece” (The Steele Dossier) that was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, just like he knows that government agents had concocted a strategy for leaking classified information to the media to fuel the public hysteria. Barr knows most of what happened already. It’s just a matter of compiling the research in the proper format and delivering it in a way that helps to emphasize how trusted government agents abused their power by pursuing a vicious partisan plot to either destroy the president’s reputation or force him from office. Like Barr said, that’s a “big deal”.

The name that seems to feature larger than all others in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga, is James Comey, the former FBI Director who oversaw the spying operations that are now under investigation at the DOJ. But was Comey really the central figure in these felonious hi-jinks or was he a mere lieutenant following directives from someone more powerful than himself? While the preponderance of new evidence suggests that the FBI was deeply involved, it does not answer this crucial question. For example, just this week, a report by veteran journalist John Solomon, showed that former British spy Christopher Steele admitted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his “Trump Dossier” was “political research”, implying that the contents couldn’t be trusted because they were shaped by Steele’s political bias. Kavalec passed along this information to the FBI which shrugged it off and then, just days later, used the dossier to obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Think about that for a minute. The FBI had “written proof …. that Steele had a political motive”, but went ahead and used the dossier to procure the warrants anyway. That’s what I’d call a premeditated felony.

But evidence of wrongdoing is not proof that Comey was the ringleader, he was just the hapless sad sack who was left holding the bag. The truth is, Comey was just a reluctant follower. The real architect of the Trump-Russia treachery was the boss-man at the nation’s premier intelligence agency, the CIA. That’s where the headwaters of this shameful burlesque are located, in Langley. More on that in a minute, but first check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill which sums up Comey’s role fairly well:

(There) “will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spin.

”There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director. …

In addition, the cast of characters leveraged by the FBI against the Trump campaign all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources (“assets,” in agency vernacular) shared at times with the FBI. From Stefan Halper and possibly Joseph Mifsud, to Christopher Steele, to Carter Page himself, and now a mysterious “government investigator” posing as Halper’s assistant and cited in The New York Times article, legitimate questions arise as to whether Comey was manipulated into furthering a CIA political operation more than an FBI counterintelligence case.” (“James Comey is in trouble and he knows it”, The Hill)

Why is the Inspector General so curious as to whether Comey “was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director? And why did Comey draw from “a cast of characters “…. that “all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources”??

Could it be that Comey was just an unwitting pawn in a domestic regime change operation launched by former CIA Director John Brennan, the one public figure who has expressed greater personal animus towards Trump than all the others combined? Could Trump’s promise to normalize relations with Russia have intensified Brennan’s visceral hatred of him given the fact that Russia had frustrated Brennan’s strategic plans in Ukraine and Syria? Keep in mind, the CIA had been arming, training and providing logistical support to the Sunni militants who were trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al Assad. Putin’s intervention crushed the jihadist militias delivering a humiliating defeat to Generalissimo Brennan who, soon after, left office in disgrace. Isn’t this at least part of the reason why Brennan hates Trump?

Regular readers of this column know that I have always thought that Brennan was the central figure in the Trump-Russia charade. It was Brennan who first referred the case to Comey, just as it was Brennan who “hand-picked” the analysts who stitched together the dodgy Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which said that “Putin and the Russian government aspired to help…Trump’s election chances.”) It was also Brennan who persuaded Harry Reid to petition Comey to open an investigation in the first place. Brennan was chief instigator of the Trump-Russia fiasco, the omniscient puppet-master who persuaded Clapper and Comey to do his bidding while still-unidentified agents strategically leaked stories to the media to inflame passions and sow social unrest. At every turn, Brennan was there guiding the perfidious project along. According to journalist Philip Giraldi, the CIA may have even assisted in the obtaining of FISA warrants on Trump campaign aids as this excerpt from an article at The Unz Review indicates:

“Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee.” (“The Conspiracy Against Trump”, Philip Giraldi)

Can you see how important this is? The FBI was having trouble getting warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, so Brennan helped them out by persuading his foreign intelligence allies (the British and other European intelligence services) to come up with bogus “intercepted communications linked to American sources,” which helped to secure the FISA warrants. We have no idea of what these foreign agents heard on these alleged intercepted communications, all we know is that they were effectively used to achieve Brennan’s ultimate objective, which was to acquire the means of taking down Trump via a relentless and expansive surveillance campaign.

According to a report in The Guardian (where the story first appeared.):

“GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”. (“British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia “, The Guardian)

Okay, so Brennan twisted a few arms and got his foreign Intel buddies to make uncorroborated claims that got the investigative ball rolling, but then what? If there was any meat to Brennan’s foreign intel, then Mueller would have dug it up and used it in his report, right? But he didn’t. Why?

Because there was nothing there, the whole thing was a sham from the get go. Brennan probably “sexed up” the intelligence so it would sound like something it really wasn’t. (Think: WMD) Again, if there was even a scintilla of hard evidence that Trump’s campaign assistants were in bed with Russia, Mueller would have shrieked it from every mountaintop across America. But he didn’t, because there wasn’t any. There was no cooperation, no conspiracy and no collusion. Trump was falsely accused. End of story.

Here’s more from the same article:

“The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election.” (Guardian)

“The extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow”???

Really? This is precisely the type of hyperventilating journalism that fueled the absurd conspiracy theory that the president of the United States was a Russian agent. It’s hard to believe that we’re even discussing the matter at this point.

There was an interesting aside in John Solomon’s article that suggests that he might be thinking along the same lines. He says: “One legal justification cited for redacting the Oct. 13, 2016, email is the National Security Act of 1947, which can be used to shield communications involving the CIA or the White House National Security Council.”

Why would Solomon draw attention to “to shielding communications involving the CIA or the White House”, after all, the bulk of his article focused on the State Department and the FBI? Is he suggesting that the CIA and Obama White House may have been involved in these spying shenanigans, is that why Kavalec’s damning notes (which stated that Steele’s dossier could not be trusted.) have been retroactively classified?

Take a look at this email from the FBI’s chief investigator in the Russia collusion probe, Peter Strzok, to his fellow agents in April 2017.

“I’m beginning to think the agency (CIA) got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all those weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some leaks.” -Peter Strzok.

Ha! So even the FBI’s chief investigator was in the dark about the CIA’s shadowy machinations behind the scenes. Clearly, Brennan wanted to prevent the other junta leaders from fully knowing what he was up to.

All of this is bound to come out in the inspector general’s report sometime in the next month or so. Both Attorney General William Barr and IG Horowitz appear to be fully committed to revealing the criminal leaks, the illegal electronic surveillance, the improperly obtained FISA warrants, and the multiple confidential human sources (spies) that were placed in the Trump campaign. They are going to face withering criticism for their efforts, but they are resolutely moving forward all the same. Bravo, for that.

Bottom line: The agents and officials who conducted this seditious attack on the presidency never thought they’d be held accountable for their crimes. But they were wrong, and now their day of reckoning is fast approaching. The main players in this palace coup are about to be exposed, criminally charged and prosecuted. Some of them will probably wind up in jail.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

Published:5/11/2019 10:15:06 AM
[Politics] Former Obama Friend, Catholic Priest Invites Louis Farrakhan to Speak at Church

A radical Catholic priest and former adviser to Barack Obama invited Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to speak at his Chicago parish.

The post Former Obama Friend, Catholic Priest Invites Louis Farrakhan to Speak at Church appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/10/2019 11:12:52 PM
[Markets] Banker Behind Biggest Malaysian Corruption Scandal Indicted For Donation To Obama Campaign

Pras Michel, the Fugees rapper who once included a cameo appearance from a pre-Apprentice Donald Trump on his hit solo album "Ghetto Supastar", has been indicted alongside the Malaysian banker and alleged mastermind of the $4.5 billion 1MDB fraud for funneling money stolen from the doomed sovereign wealth fund to benefit President Obama's reelection campaign.

Yes, you read that right.

The rapper, who has largely faded into obscurity until he appeared in several stories about Malaysian financier Jho Low's lavish Vegas parties, was identified as a close friend of Low, and allegedly helped open bank accounts in the US that were used to disguise the source of Low's money, which was donated to PACs working to support Obama's reelection bid.

Michel and Low were indicted Friday afternoon in the same indictment, which - for those who have been keeping track of the sprawling 1MDB probe - ties the 1MDB scandal - one of the biggest financial frauds in history - and former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to political organizations that supported Obama's reelection campaign. And where did this money come from initially? Why, it was raised by Goldman Sachs!

Jho

So an international fugitive who is believed to be hiding somewhere in China under the official protection of the Communist Party illegally used foreign money to tamper with a US election.

Sometimes, the truth can be stranger than fiction.

Both men were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States (one of the charges that was bandied about by Russian collusion conspiracy theorists like Rachel Maddow).

Here's more from the DoJ press release announcing the charges.

A United States entertainer and businessman and a Malaysian financier were charged  in a four-count indictment unsealed today in the District of Columbia for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the United States presidential election in 2012, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Prakazrel "Pras" Michel, 46, and Low Taek Jho, 37, also known as "Jho Low," were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and for making foreign and conduit campaign contributions.  Michel also was charged with one count of a scheme to conceal material facts and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy.  Michel appeared today for his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in the District of Columbia.  Low remains at large.

The charges are an outgrowth of the sprawling federal probe into the collapse of 1MDB, which was purportedly looted by former Prime Minister Najib Razak, Low and members of their inner circle. While Michel is in custody, Low remains at large.

Remember this the next time Democrats denounce foreign interference in American elections.

And for anybody interested in hearing that deep-cut Trump cameo, check it out below:

Published:5/10/2019 3:39:59 PM
[National Security] New U.S. Sanctions on Iran Hit Ballistic Missile Program, Regime’s Cash

In announcing another round of sanctions on Iran this week, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps to roll back a series of cash windfalls authorized by the Obama administration that have lined the extremist regime's pockets and enabled it to make strides in its ballistic missile technology, according to policy experts.

The post New U.S. Sanctions on Iran Hit Ballistic Missile Program, Regime’s Cash appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/10/2019 2:08:40 PM
[Markets] Comey Blasts Barr And Rosenstein; Discusses Post-Presidency Trump Indictment

Former FBI Director James Comey - who oversaw a spying and potential entrapment operation on the Trump campaign, is now doing "CNN Town Hall" events as the Obama-era intelligence community's conduct comes under increased scrutiny post-Mueller report. 

Sitting down with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday, Comey slammed everyone from outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to current Attorney General William Barr, to his favorite President - Donald John Trump, pushing hard on the obstruction narrative now that Trump has been cleared of conspiring with Russia during the 2016 US election. 

And considering that Barr assembled a DOJ team to conduct an investigation into the Obama intel community's conduct during the 2016 US election, Barr's credibility must be impugned in order for potentially guilty actors to try and win in the court of public opinion. 

While initially praising Barr - noting that his distinguished career had initially earned him the benefit of the doubt, Comey said that the AG's recent behavior has been "less than honorable." 

"I think he acted in a way that's less than honorable in the way he described it in writing and described it during a press conference - and continues to talk as if he's the president's lawyer. That is not the Attorney General's job." Barr has "lost most of his reputation with the way he has conducted himself," Comey added. 

On Barr's characterization of the FBI sending several undercover operatives to infiltrate and surveil the Trump campaign as 'spying' - Comey sugested that the Attorney General simply adopted Trump's language, and said he found that it was "really disappointing." 

Is former Director of National Intelligence and CNN contributor, James Clapper, also adopting Trump's language when he said this week that what the Obama administration did to the Trump campaign "meets the dictionary definition of spying"? 

Or the CIA's ex-counterintelligence chief, James Olson, who said "I'd call that spying." But we digress. 

Comey moved on to outgoing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who he said was "not a person of strong character.

[People like Rosenstein] start telling themselves a story to justify their being trapped which is “yeah he’s awful but the country needs me”—Republicans are doing this in Congress—“Yeah it’s awful but if I speak I’ll get defeated and this nation needs me here right now” and so they start to make little compromises to stay on the team: Echo [Trump’s] words. Use the term spying. Talk about collusion, or just be silent, thinking “that’s what I need to do to survive” and in the process, [Trump] has eaten their soul. -James Comey

Trump is 'Not above the law' 

Comey said that he thinks President Trump has likely committed crimes that could be cause for indictment upon the end of his presidency, and that were he not president, he would have probably already been indicted. 

"Yes. agree. No doubt," said the former FBI Director whose family 'passionately' supported Hillary Clinton, adding that whether Trump could be indicted in 2021 or 2025 when he is out of office is something the Justice Department "will have to take a serious look at."

When asked whether Trump acted with corrupt intent to obstruct an ongoing investigation, Comey replied: "It sure looks that way." 

Comey also brushed off the suggestion that the president by definition cannot obstruct justice by exercising legitimate constitutional powers to run the executive branch, saying: "The president is not above the law." 

Watch the entire interview below:

Published:5/10/2019 2:08:39 PM
[9814825d-3c38-5568-9640-c4bd5db2fc2e] Sen. Mike Braun: Democratic smears of Bill Barr would be more accurately applied to Obama’s AGs Obama's attorneys general engaged in far more disreputable behavior than William Barr. Published:5/10/2019 10:17:52 AM
[Markets] Chicago Cubs Ban Fan Who Flashed 4chan-Memed "OK" Hand Gesture Behind Black Reporter

A Chicago Cubs fan who flashed the "OK" hand gesture behind a black reporter has been "indefinitely" banned from Wrigley Field, according to a Wednesday statement from the team. 

"If he attempts to enter Wrigley Field or other ticketed areas he may be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass to property," reads the statement. 

Kenney said earlier Wednesday that the club was investigating the incident "because no one should be subjected to this type of offensive behavior."

"Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field," Kenney said.

...

Kevin Cross, the senior vice president of NBC Sports Chicago said the network was "disappointed by the incident that took place on our air ... one that was at the expense of our colleague Doug Glanville."

"We find the behavior of this fan reprehensible and clearly does not represent the great Cubs fans of our city and those around the country," Cross said. -NBC News

The reporter, Doug Glanville, thanked NBC Sports and the Chicago Cubs for launching an investigation. "They have displayed sensitivity as to how the implications of this would affect me as a person of color," he said. 

The extremely common hand gesture was used to troll liberals after anonymous users of the message board 4chan 'memed' it into a faux symbol of white power

A February, 2017 post to the message board titled "Operation O-KKK" reads "We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy," and recommended using the hashtag "#PowerHandPrivelege" to promote the joke. "Bonus points if your profile pic is something related to supporting feminism," the post continues.

"Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy. We must force to dig more, until the rest of society ain't going anywhere near that shit." 

Unsurprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League took the bait hook, line and sinker - after attorney and supporter of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Zina Bash, was accused of displaying a "white power gesture" during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. 

The ADL acknowledges that that symbol's relation to 'white power' is a hoax campaign, however they claim that white supremacists have adopted it - thus making it super racist. 

But "by 2019, at least some white supremacists seem to have abandoned the ironic or satiric intent behind the original trolling campaign and used the symbol as a sincere expression of white supremacy," said the ADL. 

Two former presidents and a twice-failed presidential candidate flashing the 'racist' symbol.

Will Apple, Google and Samsung do something about their racist emojis?

via emojipedia

Hacker 4chan strikes again... 

Published:5/9/2019 10:07:06 PM
[Markets] America In Denial: Dr. Gabor Maté On The Psychology Of Russiagate

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté has done an interview with his father titled “America in denial: Gabor Maté on the psychology of Russiagate”, and it is the single best and most insightful political video I’ve ever seen. In 27 minutes it essentially describes the fundamental problems of our times, not just with Russiagate but with world politics as a whole, from the overarching behaviors of globe-dominating forces all the way down to the ways our own inner reluctance to face reality objectively helps to prop up those forces. So it deserves its own article.

Back when I learned that Gabor was Aaron’s father my first thought was, “That makes so much sense.” Aaron had exploded onto the Russiagate debate scene seemingly out of nowhere and quickly became the most thorough and lucid voice on the subject, holding to strict principles of valuing facts and evidence over the aggressive pressure to conform from his media peers and the authoritative assertions of government agencies. Gabor I’d known of for years because of how widely respected he is in other circles I’ve moved in for his penetrating insights into the human psyche. It makes perfect sense that someone with the moral fortitude to swim against the groupthink current and speak the truth no matter what would have someone like that as part of his personal formation.

I highly recommend watching the full interview, but since I know many of my readers aren’t big on watching videos I’ll sum up what I consider the highlights here with excerpts from the Grayzone transcript, because I really do think it’s that good and that important.

The elder Maté talked about the public support for the Russiagate narrative, and the inevitable disappointment which followed after Robert Mueller failed to turn up any evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump campaign, as the result of emotional investment.

“Now, disappointment means that you’re expecting something and you wanted something to happen, and it didn’t happen,” Maté said.

“So that means that some people wanted Mueller to find evidence of collusion, which means that emotionally they were invested in it. It wasn’t just that they wanted to know the truth. They actually wanted the truth to look a certain way. And wherever we want the truth to look a certain way, there’s some reason that has to do with their own emotional needs and not just with the concern for reality.”

Gabor explained that the reason for this emotional investment ensued from the trauma of seeing Trump elected. They had the choice between consciously feeling through the pain and fear of that trauma and then doing some serious examinations of the factors that led to Trump’s election, or blaming the whole thing on a foreign boogeyman and avoiding that self-confrontation altogether.

“You can look at that,” Maté explained. “Or you can say there must be a devil somewhere behind all this, and that devil is a foreign power, and his name is Putin, and his country is Russia. Now you’ve got a simple explanation that doesn’t invite you or necessitate that you explore your own pain and your own fear and your own trauma.”

“So I really believe that really this Russiagate narrative was, on the part of a lot of people, a sign of genuine upset at something genuinely upsetting,” Maté continued. “But rather than dealing with the upset, it was an easier way to in a sense draw off the energy of it in to some kind of a believable and comforting narrative. It’s much more comforting to believe that some enemy is doing this to us than to look at what does it say about us as a society.”

Maté went on to discuss Trump himself as not just traumatizing, but traumatized. Someone acting out his own inner issues in the world in a deeply unconscious way:

Donald Trump is the clearest example of a traumatized politician one could ever see. He’s in denial of reality all the time. He is self aggrandizing. His fundamental self concept is that of a nobody. So he has to make himself huge and big all the time and keep proving to the world how powerful and smart, what kind of degrees he’s got and how smart he is. It’s a compensation for terrible self image. He can’t pay attention to anything, which means that his brain is too scattered because it was too painful for him to pay attention.

What does this all come down to? The childhood that we know that he had in the home of a dictatorial child disparaging father… who demeaned his children mercilessly. One of Trump’s brothers drank himself to death. And Trump compensates for all that by trying to make himself as big and powerful and successful as possible. And, of course, he makes up for his anger towards his mother for not protecting him by attacking women and exploiting women and boasting about it publicly. I mean, it’s a clear trauma example. I’m not saying this to invite sympathy for Trump’s politics. I’m just describing that that’s who the man is.

Maté tied his observations about the refusal of Russiagaters to confront their inner trauma and Trump’s refusal to confront his to the refusal of Americans as a whole to confront the horrors that their own country has inflicted upon the world which dwarf even the most severe things the Russian government has been accused of doing to America.

“No serious student of history can possibly deny how the United States has interfered in the internal politics of just about every nation on earth,” Maté said, adding that this interference often consists of mass murder. “For example, in Chile, there’s an elected government that America cheerfully overthrows, even boasts about it. Not to mention the current interference in Venezuela, the internal politics. Not to mention, how as you’ve pointed out, many others have pointed out, and [Time] boasts about it on its cover, about how United States helped Boris Yeltsin get elected… Even if the worst thing that’s alleged about the Russians is true, it’s not even on miniscule proportion of what America has publicly acknowledged it has done all around the world.”

Maté talked about how “it’s always easier to see ourselves as the victims than as the perpetrators,” adding that “whether it’s Great Britain, or whether it’s France with their vast colonial empires, they’re always the victims of everybody else. The United States is always the victim of everybody else. All these enemies that are threatening us. It’s the most powerful nation on earth, a nation that could single handedly destroy the earth a billion times over with the weapons that are at its disposal, and it’s always the victim.”

“So this victimhood, there is something comforting about it because, again, it allows us not to look at ourselves,” Maté said.

“And I think there was this huge element of victimhood in this Russiagate process.”

Maté talked about how Mueller, despite his horrible track record of supporting the WMD lie in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, has been made into a hero, because Hollywood has trained the public psyche to seek out “good guys” and “bad guys” in every intense situation. This is what led Putin to be depicted as an omnipotent supervillain capable of infiltrating the highest levels of the US government, and Mueller as a knight in shining armor who was going to rescue us all.

“Rather than saying, okay, there’s a big problem here. We’ve elected a highly traumatized grandiose, intellectually unstable, emotionally unstable, misogynist, self aggrandizer to power. Something in our society made that happen. And let’s look at what that was. And let’s clear up those issues if we can. And let’s look at the people on the liberal side who, instead of challenging all those issues, put all their energies into this foreign conspiracy explanation. Because to have challenged those issues would have meant looking at their own policies, which tended in the same direction.

“Rather than looking at how under Clinton, they’ve jailed hundreds of thousands of people who should never have been in jail. Looking at how under the Bushes and under Obama, there was this massive transfer of wealth upwards. Instead of asking why Barack Obama gets $400,000 for an hour speech to Wall Street, which means that maybe our faith in how our system operates needs to be shaken a bit so we can actually look at what’s really going on, let’s just put our attention on some foreign devil again.”

Maté talked about how Obama, despite being a warmonger like the other US presidents, represented a nice ideal in people’s minds, so the contrast between that ideal and Trump’s election made it especially traumatic. This made people unwilling to look at the actual root causes of Hillary Clinton’s loss, which taken together are far more threatening to democracy than anything Russia is accused of doing, even if those accusations are all 100 percent true.

In conclusion the younger Maté asked his father for his advice on what people can do going forward to avoid the mistakes that led to Trump’s election, and to the years of Russia hysteria that followed, or at least to deal with similar challenges in a more mature way.

“Well, first of all, I advise people to do something that I find hard to do myself, but I think it’s essential,” replied the elder Maté.

“Which is that when there’s hard emotions there, just own them. Just own that you’re hurt. Own that you’re confused. Just own it. Say I’m hurt, I’m confused, I’m terrified. And rather than try and find an explanation right away, just own the feeling. And then when you’re ready, then actually ask, what happened here? What actually happened here? What are the facts? What behaviors or beliefs on my part maybe contributed to the situation? So be curious. Be really curious.”

With regard to the press, Gabor advised to be objective and skeptical of the government agencies which have so consistently deceived America into wars:

“At least be objective. Don’t be so quick to jump on board. Don’t be so quick to assume that because almost the whole media is broadcasting, trumpeting a certain line, that that line represents reality. Learn from history. Learn from this one. Learn from this Russiagate thing that they were all saying for years that this is a given fact. All of a sudden it turns out not to be a given fact. Well, next time, don’t be so quick to believe them.”

Gabor pointed out that for all people’s efforts at avoiding the internal confrontations which necessarily come along with disillusionment, it is much better to be disillusioned than illusioned.

“Would you rather believe in something that’s false, which means to have an illusion? Or would you rather be disillusioned?” Maté asked. “In other words, to see the truth. And I’m saying that we should be glad to be disillusioned. So this Russiagate and this ignoble end to the Russiagate narrative, it’s a disillusionment for a lot of people, but that’s a good thing. If they say, okay, I had this illusion, this illusion I no longer have, which means I’ve been disillusioned, now I can actually look at the truth. So it’s good to be disillusioned.”

“So this could be a positive beginning for a lot of people if they take the right attitude,” Maté concluded.

Man, I really hope so.

*  *  *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Published:5/9/2019 9:37:56 PM
[Minnesota] Stimulus, Infrastructure, Or Boondoggle? (John Hinderaker) At PJ Media, Larry Elder asks a good question: “Trump’s ‘Infrastructure’ Plan Versus Obama’s ‘Stimulus’: What’s the Difference?” Larry, whom I admire greatly, thinks the answer is “not much.” I disagree: Obama’s faux stimulus consisted largely of support for state governments so they could keep union employees on the payroll. Very little of the “stimulus” involved construction projects. Trump, at least, is actually talking about building, repairing and maintaining infrastructure. Published:5/9/2019 7:33:28 PM
[Markets] Trump 2020: The Real Reason For Impeachment

Authored by Jeff Charles via Liberty Nation,

Perhaps honesty isn’t the best policy for Democrats after all...

The Democrats appear to be in an accidental truth-telling season lately. First, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) admitted that he wishes to enact a gun confiscation policy. Now, another progressive politician accidentally revealed the true reason the Democrats are pushing so hard to impeach President Donald Trump.

Of course, it’s not as if it is difficult to ascertain their true motivation, but the idea that an elected Democrat would just blurt it out is a bit shocking. And the real reason behind Operation: Impeach the Donald uncovers another interesting bit of insight.

Al Green

Al Green’s Accidental Admission

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) made an appearance on MSNBC and discussed the initiative to remove Trump from office. It’s not the first time he has broached the subject; in 2017, he introduced articles of impeachment in the House.

“I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected,” he explained.

“He will say the Democrats had an overwhelmingly majority in the House and they didn’t take up impeachment.”

Well, there it is. Green announced what the Democrats probably wished the public didn’t already know: They want to impeach President Trump because they fear another crushing loss to a reality television star. How’s that for juicy gossip?

High Crimes And Misdemeanors

Green’s admission shows the Democrats may not be as confident in their chances for 2020 as they would have you believe. Perhaps they learned their lesson from the 2016 election, in which Hillary Clinton was supposed to give the Big Bad Trump a sound electoral drubbing and further validate the not-so-stellar legacy of Barack Obama.

While they managed to pull off a victory during the 2018 midterm elections by taking the House, their wins were in line with historical precedent. Not much of an accomplishment, right? The Democrats are well aware of the reality that they have an uphill road if they wish to defeat the president, given the state of the economy and the fact that the public isn’t buying their assertion that he is the second coming of Comrade Adolph Stalin Pol Pot Hussein.

Are The Democrats Afraid?

The Democrats are right to be afraid of another Trump victory. It seems like half their party is running for president, yet they still can’t find a candidate with much of a chance of beating him. Indeed, it seems they are shooting themselves in the foot with the campaign against Joe Biden, likely the only choice that would have a shot at winning, all because he scores a resounding goose egg on the intersectionality scale.

Put simply, the only other way for the Democrats to get their wish might be to remove Trump from office through the impeachment process. It is for this reason that they pivoted from collusion to obstruction when special counsel Robert Mueller failed to prove Trump was collaborating with Boris and Natasha to win in 2016. It’s also why they are targeting Attorney General William Barr for his refusal to recommend indictments against the president despite the lack of evidence of obstruction.

The Democrats’ reliance on impeachment is part and parcel of the progressive left’s approach to politics; if they can’t defeat their opponent through normal means, they must seek out other ways to gain power. It is why companies like Facebook and Twitter aren’t willing to allow debate, but rather shut down views that conflict with their ideology. The Democrats know that the American public isn’t on board with a far-left socialist agenda or hand-wringing over who is more oppressed than whom.

If the Democrats are afraid they cannot convince voters to swing their way, it is no surprise they hope for impeachment. Unfortunately for them, a GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to vote to impeach Trump on scant evidence or the fact that he hurts people’s feelings. If the Democrats want victory, they will have to earn it the old-fashioned way.

Published:5/9/2019 7:03:48 PM
[] Trump: John Kerry Routinely Interferes With US Diplomacy With Iran. Frankly He Should be Prosecuted Under the Logan Act. Before dismissing the LOGAN ACT out of hand, remember, the left pressed the Logan Act as a reason to investigate and prosecute Michael Flynn, for briefly talking to RUSSIANS during the transition phase between Obama and Trump. David Ignatius pushed... Published:5/9/2019 3:03:15 PM
[Opinion] Voters… Are You Tired and Disgusted, Yet?

By Amanda Alverez -

If you were a Napa State Hospital – a mental health facility – employee off from work observing the media and Democrats on TV, would you think you were still at work? Is it even possible to distinguish the sane from the insane between work and the media and Democrats? ...

Voters… Are You Tired and Disgusted, Yet? 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:5/9/2019 11:03:51 AM
[Political Cartoons] Israeli Trump Card – A.F. Branco Cartoon

By A.F. Branco -

Obama and Kerry seemed to be more on the side of Hamas and the terrorists than they were for Isreal, but it’s the exact opposite with Trump. Political Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019. See more Branco toons HERE

Israeli Trump Card – A.F. Branco Cartoon 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:5/9/2019 10:32:20 AM
[Politics] Some House Members Considering Taking a Pay Raise This Year Some senior House lawmakers, frustrated by a decade of frozen congressional salaries, are quietly exploring whether to accept an annual pay raise that they've shunned since Barack Obama was first president. It's a longshot at best... Published:5/9/2019 7:03:49 AM
[Markets] Ideals That Won 'Victory' Are Still The Greatest Of Ideals

As Russians celebrate Victory Day, George Galloway argues for a return to the spirit that won the war.

On May 9, 1945, Hitler's fascism was finally crushed amongst the rubble of Berlin and the "thousand-year Reich" came to a mercifully premature end.

The death blows were struck, overwhelmingly by the Red Army and the ghosts of 27 million Soviet citizens who it carried on their shoulders. In the words of Winston Churchill, the Red Army "tore the guts out of the Wehrmacht," and he was indeed unstinting in his praise of the sacrifices made by the Soviet peoples in the victory we shall celebrate this week.

It should be acknowledged too that, but for Mr Churchill, the British ruling class would have surrendered to Hitler and the city of London queued up to sell him financial services. Elements of the British royal family itself would have thrown open the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The same ruling class which had appeased Hitler at every turn wished nothing more than that he would turn his monstrous war machine east instead of west, and destroy the USSR. The ruling class which refused Soviet efforts to form an anti-Nazi pact to stop fascism in its tracks before it got going. And which delayed the opening of the second front in the west until they could see the way the wind was blowing, and became more worried about how far the Red Army could go in their ultimately victorious onslaught against the beast of Hitlerism.

No Russian family, indeed no Soviet family, did not lose at least one relative in the inferno. But victory was won and the Soviet peoples' army wrote their names in the stars and achieved immortality.

This week, the secretary of state of the United States, one part of the great victorious alliance, canceled a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He did so because he had failed in advance to bully and browbeat her into acquiescence over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will bind together the Russian and German peoples in a joint and mutually beneficial economic relationship and help guarantee that no such slaughter can ever again occur between them. While Pompeo is no Ribbentrop and Trump is no Hitler, the politics of diktat did not die in the bunker in Berlin in 1945.

The endless demands of the US government for economic warfare against Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Uncle Tom Cobley and all are leading the great people of the US into ever-deeper division with their allies. Angela Merkel, whose own personal telephone was tapped by the oozingly liberal Barack Obama and who has been denied access to her own illicitly gathered NSA file, has clearly reached the end of her tether with Donald Trump.

The countries of the European Union which followed President Trump into the now patently obviously ludicrous schoolboy politics of diplomatic recognition of the fraudster Juan Guaido are both embarrassed and angry as his US-inspired coup d'etat has collapsed like a spoiled souffle.

His trade war with China, conducted with the now-usual bluff and bluster threats and hints and sanctions, is leading to a poisoning of the international investment climate.

Dispatching gunboats to the Persian Gulf, which if it was closed by hostilities would bring Western economies to their knees, is adding to a dystopian horror in the chanceries of Europe which fear that if the lights go out across Europe, they may not be lit again in our lifetime. The world is now a very dangerous place.

Only the abandonment of diktat, a return to the negotiating table, can bring equilibrium to the world situation. As Mr Churchill said: "Jaw-jaw is better than war-war."

Donald Trump's appearance at the Victory Parade this week may alas be out of the question.

However, he should watch it on TV, he likes TV, and ponder this. The allied defeat of Hitlerism was the greatest achievement of human history. The sundering of the forces which won the victory, the calumnizing of the leading force which secured the victory, the frantic efforts to achieve hegemony are futile, doomed as utterly as the idea of a "thousand-year Reich." The world has turned.

Published:5/9/2019 1:29:03 AM
[Opinion] Sarah Sanders Sets The Record Straight On Trump’s Economic Boom

By Jim Clayton -

Over the last few weeks, Democrats have pushed the narrative that it’s Barack Obama who is responsible for today’s booming economy, not Donald Trump. But Sarah Sanders finally decided to set everyone straight on Saturday, explaining that it is, in fact, Trump’s policies that have stimulated the economy. Meanwhile, she said, ...

Sarah Sanders Sets The Record Straight On Trump’s Economic Boom 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:5/8/2019 4:26:43 PM
[Crime] Shooters in Colorado School Were Transgender, Trump-Hating, Democrats Who Love Obama

The following article, Shooters in Colorado School Were Transgender, Trump-Hating, Democrats Who Love Obama, was first published on Godfather Politics.

The media won't tell you this, but the two killers who shot up a Colorado school were liberals. One was transgender, the other a registered Democrat.

Continue reading: Shooters in Colorado School Were Transgender, Trump-Hating, Democrats Who Love Obama ...

Published:5/8/2019 3:26:41 PM
[Israel] Two Presidents, Two Different Reactions To Hamas Violence

The following article, Two Presidents, Two Different Reactions To Hamas Violence, was first published on Godfather Politics.

The Trump Administration's reaction to last weekend’s Hamas rocket barrage and Israeli self-defense was much different than that of the Obama.

Continue reading: Two Presidents, Two Different Reactions To Hamas Violence ...

Published:5/8/2019 2:26:18 PM
[Politics] Sen. Johnson: Released Emails, Texts, Point to Genesis of Mueller Investigation The American people have the right to know what was happening inside former President Barack Obama's administration and more about the leaks that eventually led to the probe of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, so certain emails and texts are being released . . . Published:5/8/2019 1:26:19 PM
[Markets] The Trade War Is Back (And Will Not End Soon)

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

President Trump shocked markets this week when he announced that a new, heavy round of tariffs on Chinese goods will take effect this Friday. Complacent markets had assumed that a trade deal would get done, that it was just a matter of sorting out the details. Now that is far from certain. Failing a last minute deal, which is certainly possible, the trade war is back. And it could get worse.

What most surprised me about the new trade war was not that it started, but that the mainstream financial media denied it was happening for so long. The media have consistently denied the impact of this trade war. Early headlines said that Trump was bluffing and would not follow through on the tariffs. He did. Later headlines said that China was just trying to save face and would not retaliate. They did.

Today the story line has been that the trade war will not have a large impact on macroeconomic growth. It will. The mainstream media have been wrong in their analysis at every stage of this trade war. And it did not see this latest salvo coming.

The bottom line is that the trade war is here, it’s highly impactful and it could get worse. The sooner investors and policymakers internalize that reality, the better off they’ll be.

For years I’ve been warning my readers that a global trade war was likely in the wake of the currency wars. This forecast seemed like a stretch to many. But it wasn’t.

I said it would simply be a replay of the sequence that prevailed from 1921–39 as the original currency war started by Weimar Germany morphed into trade wars started by the United States and finally shooting wars started by Japan in Asia and Germany in Europe.

The existing currency war started in 2010 with Obama’s National Export Initiative, which led directly to the cheapest dollar in history by August 2011. The currency war evolved into a trade war by January 2018, when Trump announced tariffs on solar panels and appliances mostly from China. Unfortunately, a shooting war cannot be ruled out given rising geopolitical tensions.

The reasons the currency war and trade war today are repeating the 1921–39 sequence are not hard to discern. Countries resort to currency wars when they face a global situation of too much debt and not enough growth.

Currency wars are a way to steal growth from trading partners by reducing the cost of exports. The problem is that this tactic does not work because trade partners retaliate by reducing the value of their own currencies. This competitive devaluation goes back and forth for years.

Everyone is worse off and no one wins.

Once leaders realize the currency wars are not working, they pivot to trade wars. The dynamic is the same. One country imposes tariffs on imports from another country. The idea is to reduce imports and the trade deficit, which improves growth. But the end result is the same as a currency war. Trade partners retaliate and everyone is worse off as global trade shrinks.

The currency wars and trade wars can exist side by side as they do today. Eventually, both financial tactics fail and the original problem of debt and growth persists. At that point, shooting wars emerge. Shooting wars do solve the problem because the winning side increases production and the losing side has infrastructure destroyed that needs to be rebuilt after the war.

Yet the human cost is high. The potential for shooting wars exists in North Korea, the South China Sea, Taiwan, Israel, Iran, Venezuela and elsewhere. Let’s hope things don’t get that far this time.

But the easiest way to understand the trade war dynamics is to take Trump at his word. Trump was not posturing or bluffing. He will agree to trade deals, but only on terms that improve the outlook for jobs and growth in the U.S. Trump is not a globalist; he’s a nationalist. That may not be popular among the elites, but that’s how he sets policy. Keeping that in mind will help with trade war analysis and predictions.

Trump is entirely focused on the U.S. trade deficit. He does not care about global supply chains or least-cost production. He cares about U.S. growth, and one way to increase growth is to reduce the trade deficit. That makes Trump’s trade policy a simple numbers game rather than a complicated multilateral puzzle palace.

If the U.S. can gain jobs at the expense of Korea or Vietnam, then Trump will do it; too bad for Korea and Vietnam. From there, the next step is to consider what’s causing the U.S. trade deficit. This chart tells the story. It shows the composite U.S. trade deficit broken down by specific trading partners:

The problem quickly becomes obvious. The U.S. trade deficit is due almost entirely to four trading partners: China, Mexico, Japan and Germany. Of those, China is 64% of the total.

President Trump has concluded a trade deal with Mexico that benefits both countries and will lead to a reduced trade deficit as Mexico buys more U.S. soybeans.

The U.S. has good relations with Japan and much U.S.-Japanese trade is already governed by agreements acceptable to both sides. This means the U.S. trade deficit problem is confined to China and Germany (often referred to euphemistically as “Europe” or the “EU”).  The atmosphere between the U.S. and the EU when it comes to trade is still uneasy, but not critical.

But the global trade war is not global at all but really a slugfest between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies. In the realm of global trade, the United States is an extremely desirable customer. In fact, for most, we are their best customer.

Think the still export-based Chinese economy can afford to sell significantly less manufactured goods across borders? Think that same Chinese economy can allow for a significant devaluation of U.S. sovereign debt? That’s their book, gang.

But China has finally come to the realization that the trade war is real and here to stay. Senior Chinese policymakers have referred to the trade war as part of a larger strategy of containment of Chinese ambitions that may lead to a new Cold War. They’re right.

Trump seems to relish the idea of bullying the Chinese in public. That’s certainly his style, but it’s also a risky strategy. To quote Sun Tzu: “Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

China doesn’t like to be chastised publicly any more than anyone else, but culturally, saving-face may be more important to the Chinese. The Chinese are all about saving face and gaining face. That means they can walk away from a trade deal even if it damages them economically. Saving face is too important. But Trump is playing for keeps and will not back down either.

Unlike in other policy arenas, Trump has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress. The Republicans have backed Trump from a national security perspective and the Democrats have backed him from a pro-labor perspective. China sees the handwriting on the wall.

This trade war will not end soon, because it’s part of something bigger and much more difficult to resolve. This is a struggle for hegemony in the 21st century. The trade war will be good for U.S. jobs but bad for global output. The stock market is going to wake up to this reality. The currency wars and trade wars are set to get worse.

Investors should prepare.

Published:5/8/2019 9:55:23 AM
[Politics] Voters Are More Welcoming of Trump’s Hard Line on Iran

As tensions escalate with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, voters here are more supportive of President Trump’s get-tough attitude but are not optimistic that it will bring needed change.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 25% of Likely U.S. Voters still believe the president is too aggressive in his dealings with Iran, but that’s down from 36% a year ago just after he pulled the United States out of the controversial Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama. Just as many (26%) now say Trump’s not being aggressive enough, up from 14% last May. Thirty-eight percent (38%) rate the president’s response as about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 6-7, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Published:5/8/2019 9:35:08 AM
[76683c38-9475-5f49-b0e6-dfbe198b724e] Hollywood Democrats largely supporting Joe Biden, but reluctant to rally behind single candidate When Joe Biden made one of his first treks to Hollywood for his last presidential race, in 2007, his fundraising had been paltry, he was having trouble getting donors’ attention, and much of showbiz was siding either with the presumed front runner, Hillary Clinton, or the historic upstart, Barack Obama. Published:5/8/2019 6:11:40 AM
[Markets] Nuclear War Vs. Belt And Road Initiative: Why China Will Prevail

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The global trend in international relations is often difficult to discern. But one can be helped in this task by looking at two events, organized in Washington and Beijing, comparing the different themes, participants, objectives, and broached for discussion. After all, we are talking about the two largest economies in the world, two colossi directing and shaping global culture, behavior and world opinion.

The last few weeks have offered the international community an opportunity to reflect. Two events took place in Washington and Beijing that, in terms of impact, depth, participation and issues discussed, are striking contrasts.

In Beijing at the Belt and Road Forum over 40 world leaders discussed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a project that will transform the entire Eurasian continent, improving free trade between dozens of countries by investing in transport infrastructure as well as in energy and technological cooperation. The leader of this silent industrial revolution is China’s Xi Jinping, casting ancient ambitions and perspectives into the new millennium, anxious to once again acquire the leading role in global civilization.

The BRI is a gigantic project that will continue to expand in the years to come and at the rate the current technology allows, while of course remaining cognizant of the needs of the countries involved in the Chinese project. The numbers of participants at Beijing’s BRI event are astonishing, with more than 5,000 delegates, 37 heads of state (including that of G7 member Italy), and 10 of the most important members of ASEAN. A hundred and twenty-five countries have signed intentions to cooperate grand project, and 30 organizations have ratified 170 agreements that total a projected investment by the People’s Bank of China of over 1.3 trillion dollars from 2013 to 2027. This is what Robin Xing, Morgan Stanley’s Chief China Economist said:

“China’s investment in B&R countries will increase by 14% annually over the next two years, and the total investment amount could double to $1.2-1.3 trillion by 2027.”

It is a revolutionary project that will characterize the next few decades if not centuries. It will offer a stark contrast to the American drive for hegemonic domination by demonstrating the capacity of humanity to overcome conflicts and wars through cooperation and shared prosperity.

Washington is left demanding loyalty in exchange for nothing (but with Donald Trump, even this little is uncertain). Unable to inflict damage on Russia and China, the US focuses on pressuring her European allies through a trade war of duties, tariffs, technological bans ( Huawei’s 5G) and sanctions (against Iran and European banks) in order to favor US companies.

Reflecting the moral of Aesop’s fable “The North Wind and the Sun”, Beijing behaves in the opposite manner, offering in the BRI project win-win cooperation and the benefits that accrue from this. The project tends to improve people’s living standards through the huge loans extended to improve such basic infrastructure as railways, schools, roads, aqueducts, bridges, ports, internet connectivity and hospitals. Beijing aims to create a sustainable system whereby dozens of countries cooperate with each other for the collective benefit of their people.

The Eurasian continent has struggled over the last few decades to attain the same level of wealth as the West as a result of wars of aggression and economic terrorism committed by countries in search of a utopian global hegemony.

The Chinese initiative aims to offer to all the countries involved equal opportunities for development based not on military and/or economic power but on a real capacity to improve the well-being of all parties involved.

As Asia Times explained in an excellent article on Beijing’s most recent BRI forum:

“BRI is now supported by no less than 126 states and territories, plus a host of international organizations. This is the new, truthful, realistic face of the “international community” – bigger, more diversified and more representative than the G20.”

This Chinese initiative could have only taken place in a post-unipolar world with multiple centers of power. Washington is perfectly aware of the changes that have occurred over the last 10 years, and the accompanying change in attitude of policy makers can be seen in the drafting of two documents that are fundamental for every US administration, namely, the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the National Defense Strategy (NDS).

These two documents explain how the United States sees the world and what it intends to do to fight the emerging multipolar world order. Compared to Obama and his administration, Trump, Bolton and Pompeo are more anchored to the current reality, understanding well that Russia and China are their equal militarily. Obama, of course, infamously dismissed Russia as a regional power no more than five years ago.

Trump cannot afford a conflict with Venezuela, Iran or North Korea, whether militarily or politically. In the case of Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil do not seem too keen on sacrificing themselves on behalf of Washington; and there are no jihadists to arm and launch against defenseless civilians as happened in the Middle East, so there is no force in the field capable of defeating a strongly patriotic nation dedicated to resisting US imperialism. Attacking Iran would result in a devastating Iranian response targeting US troops deployed in dozens of bases scattered throughout the Middle East and inflicting losses that would be too costly for Washington, making any gains made pyrrhic. As for North Korea, Kim cannot be touched thanks to nuclear deterrence.

What remains for Trump and his neocons are empty threats of war, documents declaring Russia and China as opponents to be defeated, and a great deal of war propaganda for the purposes of filling up the coffers of US arms manufacturers.

And now we come to the event organized in Washington as Beijing was busy discussing how to revolutionize three-quarters of the globe. The Brookings Institute, a think tank, organized a meeting that lasted several hours to discuss “The future of US extended deterrence“, focussing on the tools needed to deal with an attack from America’s opponents.

Anyone who has any experience with such conferences knows that it is often companies linked to the arms industry that fund such events, thereby encouraging speakers, guests and politicians to take a very hawkish line for the purposes of scaring the population into justifying an increase in arms spending.

This is exactly what happened at the event organized by Brookings, where the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense from the Trump administration, David Trachtenberg, explained to the audience how the US nuclear deterrent is now coming to the end of its life cycle after a period of 30, 40 or 50 years. The Undersecretary did not mention the overall figure that would be needed to modernize Washington’s entire nuclear triad (estimates put the figure at around a trillion dollars) and preferred instead to speak about a general increase in the defense budget of $60-70 billion dollars to begin to address the problems.

Often the numbers do not prove everything but are nevertheless useful in helping us better understand certain events. Former US President Jimmy Carter provided a useful explanation for how the Chinese came to surpass the United States:

“The US is the most warlike nation in the world, forcing other countries to adopt our American principles. How many miles of high-speed railroads do we have in this country? China has around 18,000 miles (29,000 km) of high speed rail lines while the US has wasted, I think, $3 trillion on military spending; it’s more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure, you’d probably have $2 trillion leftover; we’d have high-speed railroads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of, say, South Korea or Hong Kong.”

Washington pressures its allies to join in seeking to damage Washington’s adversaries but ends up pushing allies and opponents closer together, as occurred when it walked away from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement with Iran while the Europeans remained committed to it. Washington may be able to lean on European allies for the time being, but with the vast BRI project increasingly attracting the attention of Europeans, these days may be numbered, especially with the BRI project bringing the prospect of doing away with the US dollar as a reserve currency necessary for trade between countries.

Trump and his administration are acting in a multipolar context as if they are still in a unipolar one, behaving like a hegemonic superpower that does not care about the consequences of its actions, even against allies. This arrogant attitude will come back to bite the United States, not only undermining its economy but also the viability of the US dollar remaining as the global reserve currency.

By Trump behaving like a bull in a china shop, friends and enemies alike are forced to seek ways to counterbalance the United States economically and militarily. Of course Europe still remains subservient to the US, but other countries not in Washington’s good books seem to have understood the historical period we are going through, preferring dialogue and balancing between powers (a typical example being Erdogan’s Turkey, which is in neither camp but uses both for its own purposes) rather than an absolute declaration of loyalty to one side or the other.

China and Russia are perfectly comfortable operating in today’s fluid geopolitical environment, as this gives them the opportunity to offer countries resisting Washington’s hegemony the military and economic means to persevere and eventually prevail. It is an extremely effective strategy as it places before Washington red lines that cannot be crossed, reducing or eliminating the possibility of a new conflict (something that perhaps even Trump basically appreciates, given that this remains the last election promise that he has not yet broken).

Observing these two conferences held in Beijing and Washington within a week of each other, with their contrasting emphases, only highlights the differences between these two countries.

On one side, China seeks integration, cooperation and development for the collective benefit of almost three billion people.

On the other side, we see the US discussing the modernization of its nuclear triad, whose only contribution to humanity is its ability to wipe it out, only there to bully and intimidate those not prepared to kowtow to Washington’s diktats.

Published:5/7/2019 11:40:33 PM
[Markets] China's Big Brother Social Control Arrives In Australia

Authored by Joshua Philipp via The Epoch Times,

Australia is preparing to debut its version of the Chinese regime’s high-tech system for monitoring and controlling its citizens. The launch, to take place in the northern city of Darwin, will include systems to monitor people’s activity via their cell phones.

The new system is based on monitoring programs in Shenzhen, China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is testing its Social Credit System. Officials on the Darwin council traveled to Shenzhen, according to NT News, to “have a chance to see exactly how their Smart Technology works prior to being fully rolled out.”

In Darwin, they’ve already constructed “poles, fitted with speakers, cameras and Wi-Fi,” according to NT News, to monitor people, their movements around the city, the websites they visit, and what apps they use. The monitoring will be done mainly by artificial intelligence, but will alert authorities based on set triggers.

Just as in China, the surveillance system is being branded as a “smart city” program, and while Australian officials claim its operations are benign, they’ve announced it functions to monitor cell phone activity and “virtual fences” that will trigger alerts if people cross them.

“We’ll be getting sent an alarm saying, ‘There’s a person in this area that you’ve put a virtual fence around.’ … Boom, an alert goes out to whatever authority, whether it’s us or police to say ‘look at camera five,’” said Josh Sattler, the Darwin council’s general manager for innovation, growth, and development services, according to NT News.

The nature of the “virtual fences” and what type of activity will sound an alarm still isn’t being made clear.

The system is being promoted as mostly benign. Sattler said it will tell the government “where people are using Wi-Fi, what they’re using Wi-Fi for, are they watching YouTube, etc. All these bits of information we can share with businesses. … We can let businesses know, ‘Hey, 80 percent of people actually use Instagram within this area of the city, between these hours.’”

The CCP’s smart city Social Credit System is able to monitor each person in the society, tracking every element of their lives—including their friends, online purchases, daily behavior, and other information—and assigns each person a citizen score that determines their level of freedom in society.

The tool is a core piece of the CCP’s programs to monitor and persecute dissidents, including religious believers and people who oppose the ruling communist system.

Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao, a visiting scholar at New York University, described the Social Credit System as a new form of tyranny, meant to reactivate the CCP’s totalitarian hold on society.

“In the past, there was the Nazi totalitarianism and Mao Zedong’s totalitarian system, but a totalitarian system powered by the internet and contemporary technology has not existed before,” Teng said in a recent interview with The Epoch Times.

“The CCP is now taking the first step to build such a high-tech totalitarian system, by using credit ratings and monitoring and recording every detail in people’s daily life, which is very frightening.”

The regime also isn’t interested in keeping the technology within its own borders.

It’s exporting the system, and its “China model” of totalitarian government, as a service of its “One Belt, One Road” program. When the CCP builds its infrastructure abroad, its surveillance and social control programs are part of the package.

In Darwin, there has been a push to jump aboard the CCP’s program. The local officials made a “friendship” deal with Yuexiu District, in Guangzhou, China, in 2018. According to John Garrick, a senior lecturer at Charles Darwin University, the deal was branded by Chinese media as “part of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.”

That followed a previous deal between Darwin and the CCP, in which the city signed a 99-year lease of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company and the CCP. The Chinese owner, Ye Cheng, had referred to the deal as being part of One Belt, One Road.

The deals also should raise concern for U.S. Marines stationed in Darwin,under the Obama-era pivot to the Pacific, about whether the CCP is able to monitor data collected on cell phones from its systems in the area. Under a 2011 deal between the United States and Australia, the U.S. troops will be there until 2040.

And of similar concern, the decision of Australia to begin implementing the CCP’s programs for totalitarian social control represents a major development in the CCP’s China model push.

As The Epoch Times has reported, the CCP views Australia as a testing ground for programs it wants to spread to the West. After Australia comes Canada, then the United States—in an apparent imitation of Mao Zedong’s strategy to “surround the cities with the countryside.”

Published:5/7/2019 10:10:40 PM
[Markets] In 2020 Race, Democrats Taking Aim At Corporations That Pay $0 In Federal Taxes

Voters are starting to wonder why massive corporations like Amazon pay zero in corporate taxes, in what is likely going to be one of the major hot-button issues of the upcoming election, according to the New York Times

A recent piece by the paper highlighted a growing group of people like Colin Robertson, who wonders why he pays taxes on the $18,000 a year he makes cleaning carpets, while companies like Amazon got a tax rebate. The confusion led him to join the Akron chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, where at a gathering this month, members discussed Karl Marx and corporate greed over chocolate chip cookies. 

Robertson said of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “One of the benefits of taxation is taking it and using it for the collective good. He could be taxed at 99.9 percent and still have millions left over, and I'd be homeless.”

It's an issue that Democrats like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have made, or likely will make, cornerstones to their campaigns, especially after a recent report showed 60 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal taxes on $79 billion in corporate income last year. Last year, Amazon got a rebate on income of $10.8 billion.

Bernie Sanders said this month: “Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump’s tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes. I think that’s a disgrace.”

Warren has proposed that corporations pay a 7% tax on every dollar over $100 million in profits they earn anywhere in the world. She estimated this would apply to 1,200 companies and net about $1 trillion over a decade. Amazon would have paid $698 million, instead of $0, in taxes for 2018 under her plan. Joe Biden has yet to issue a formal corporate tax reform proposal. Last May, he stated: “We have to deal with this tax code. It’s wildly skewed toward taking care of those at the very top.”

Corporate taxes have been - and will continue to be - a target of criticism by Democrats. In 2020, Democrats will argue that corporations should be accountable for wage inequality, despite the fact that both parties have tried to lower the top corporate tax rate over the last 10 yearsObama proposed lowering it from 35% to 28% before Republicans in 2017 lowered it to 21%. The new law also allows immediate expensing of capital expenditures, which is a key factor in many corporations not paying federal taxes. 

The GOP has argued that the tax changes would stimulate investment and economic growth, which has happened mostly in the form of additional stock buybacks in an already inflated stock market. In Ohio, where Colin Robertson is from, the story is slightly different. The state has seen some counties with unemployment at 4.4%, a 600bps spread to the national rate of 3.8%, as a result of factory closures that have taken place over the past few years. Dems will seek to use this to their advantage in a state that Trump won by 8% in 2016. 

David Betras, the Democratic chairman in Mahoning County said: "Democrats [have] not yet figured out how to use the economic angst of laid-off employees and minimum-wage workers to defeat Mr. Trump in Ohio in 2020."

He continued, conceding that Trump has done a good job addressing the issue: “Believe it or not, if you listen to the president, he addresses that issue. He does it with a lot of smoke and very many mirrors, but he’s at least talking about how good the economy is and what I’ve done for you. ‘I’m with you. I have your back.’”

Ultimately, Betras said the issue didn’t resonate as much with voters as health care or immigration, especially because taxes are much more of a resonant issue for Republicans than for Democrats, traditionally. Tyler Savin, a real estate agent in the area who has seen home prices fall as a result of the closure of some plants, said: "I think corporations should pay their taxes, like Amazon, but health care and support for abortion rights [are] more important."

Thomas Chhay, a Republican student at the University of Akron said: “I lean Republican. I agree with corporate tax cuts unless the companies ship the jobs overseas.”

In addition to Amazon, Goodyear and FirstEnergy, two other Ohio companies, also paid no taxes. FirstEnergy paid no taxes last year on $1.5 billion in income and instead received tax credits that can be used in the future. General Motors recently idled a large plant near Youngstown and, in 2018, paid no federal taxes on $4.32 billion in income. Lordstown, where one GM plant is located, is buried in a county with an unemployment rate stuck at 6.6%. 

David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112 said: “What was promised to these people was more jobs. When you give them the tax break and they take the jobs away, that’s like a double whammy. That’s a lose-lose.”

And the truly worrisome thing is the "solutions" that these policies are driving Democrats to. For instance, Robertson told the NYT that he believes "nationalizing the companies" would be an answer. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient, and taxation alone is inefficient,” he said. 

Published:5/7/2019 5:38:59 PM
[Markets] Luongo: 'Economic-Warfare-Man' Strikes Again

Authored by Tom Luongo,

It’s getting tiresome watching Donald Trump’s bipolar presidency. It seems he can’t let a day go by without making some massive announcement to raise tariffs, threaten sanctions or overthrow a government.

Every 24 hours is another exercise in chasing the Trump Reality Show around. Every lull in the perpetual news cycle has to be seized upon to create more chaos so he can validate his insanity.

Trump has so many plates spinning there’s no way he’s actually thinking anything through. Take the latest fiasco, Chinese trade talks.

One day “Talks are going well,” the next “We’re raising tariffs to 25%.”

That’s where we are today. Because Trump thinks he’s winning the trade war and China won’t give him what he wants so he’ll disrupt global trade until he does.

It doesn’t matter how many times he’s told. Tariffs don’t work. The costs are not paid by the exporter. They are paid by the consumer. Tariffs don’t shift manufacturing of the goods imported onshore, they are supplied by other countries or substituted for lesser goods.

The consumer pays higher prices for end-user goods. The domestic members of the supply chain pay higher input prices while sclerotic domestic producers are subsidized to stay non-competitive.

Warfare is Welfare

The problems with threatening these tariffs are myriad but the main ones are:

  1. Trump is an economic ignoramus. Who only likes to look at one side of the trade ledger.

  2. His advisors are all paranoid neoconservatives who can only see the world in terms of power.

Because these ‘advisors’ are who they are they all push Trump to his worst decisions by feeding him exactly what he wants to hear. It doesn’t matter if it’s intelligence about the potential for a Venezuelan coup or the efficacy of sanctioning everyone who buys a drop of Iranian oil.

Trump likes punishing people he thinks have wronged him.

The National Security Council played a key role in driving the argument to end the waiver program — especially Richard Goldberg, a new member of the Trump administration and a longtime advocate for confronting Iran, according to the two sources. He was “instrumental,” one of the sources said.

National Security Adviser John Bolton added Goldberg to the NSC in January.

Previously, Goldberg was an adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think-tank headed by Mark Dubowitz, a leading advocate for tougher handling of Iran since the United States’ first round of sanctions against the country under former President Barack Obama.

In 2012, Goldberg was an aide to then-Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, and delivered a blow to Tehran by writing legislation that closed Iran’s last legal loophole in selling oil under the Obama sanctions. That legislation targeted the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging system over which Iran was conducting billions of dollars in oil trade.

Bolton was in charge of the failed Venezuela operation and is the architect of both the Iran sanctions plan as well as scuttling peace talks with North Korea.

Do you really think he’s not involved in telling Trump to up the pressure on China by giving them an ultimatum to deal or see tariffs raised to 25%?

This, the same day that Bolton announces moving an aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf as a message to Iran.

Never forget that all of this can be avoided by Trump having one shred of courage to stop this welfare for the merchants of death.

Dollars Locked and Loaded

That the impetus to weaponize the U.S. dollar through trade and hybrid warfare comes from this corner of Trump’s administration is not news. Neither is Trump’s impulsiveness, cravenness and inability to think systemically.

What is news, however, is that Trump thinks he has the leverage here because the S&P 500 is flirting with a new all-time high. As I said above, Trump is an economic ignoramus.

He refuses to see the opposite side of the trade ledger. We export trillions in debt, which fuels our trade deficit with China and receive goods in return. Those funds created out of thin air aren’t used for domestic investment, they simply goose GDP — Gross National Spending — as that money flows through the economy.

Tariffs won’t solve this.

Trump lowered corporate tax rates to 20%, a good thing certainly, and is trying to cut through regulatory red tape, also a good thing, but it isn’t enough if he doesn’t cut government spending at the same time.

What’s never admitted by mainstream economists is that GDP can fall and economic value created by the economy can rise. Boosting GDP with fake spending fueled by new debt at artificially low rates isn’t wealth creation.

In fact, it is, ultimately, capital destructive. It is malinvestment that shows up everywhere as ghost cities, empty malls, crumbling infrastructure and cultural malaise which leads to political degradation.

This is why Trump is a coward. He doesn’t have the courage to confront this. He just blames everyone else for not paying their fair share. He’s focused the anger and frustration of Americans impoverished by these policies on everyone else.

There is no issue that gets people more angry with me among Trump supporters ripping him on tariffs. It’s insane how deeply this idea is embedded.

It’s economic warfare in which the bombs go up and come straight back down.

A courageous President, however, would level with the American people and say:

“We’ve spent beyond our means. We in Washington with our insane policies have destroyed your communities.

“Government can’t solve these problems. Only you can. We’ve cut taxes and and now we’re cutting spending and I will veto any budget that doesn’t do so.”

“The best way to improve the American economy is to get real and put the money back into your hands. Government doesn’t produce wealth, at best it shuffles it around. You produce wealth.

“It will be tough. But I have faith in you the American People.”

Stephen Miller will never write that speech.

That’s the fight he won’t have. Instead he does what every other crackpot politician has ever done, guns AND butter. And then sells that as a trade war with China.

No one is ever to blame for their economic messes. Blame the other guy. Blame the corporations. Blame everyone except the people who actually did it and compound the problem by taking it out on the rest of the world.

Trump’s Market Problem

He thinks the stock market is the weather vane of his presidency and that when it’s rising he can make outrageous demands and when it’s falling he has to tack against it.

It’s why everything is so bipolar and we’re being pushed every day in a different direction. A quick look at the Dow Jones Industrials on a weekly basis since Trump embarked on his trade and tariff war should give you an idea of how much volatility has increased.

In case the picture itself is unclear, the numbers are. Since hitting a peak in January 2017 volatility as measured by the difference in closing prices week to week and the range of each week has more than doubled.

For move of the second half of 2018 we saw got used to three sigma or grater movements in the Dow. This is the real effect of political and policy uncertainty. And if Trump’s goal is a rising stock market someone should show him this chart. 2017 is what you want, Don, not 2018.

Because, for all intents and purposes, it hasn’t gone anywhere in over a year.

Not that I think Trump is the only reason for this volatility, but his pressure on dollar liquidity and his consistent scaring capital markets with shutting down trade isn’t helping anything.

The Fed is helping this along, no doubt.

He helped break the eurodollar system last year with his overnight tariffs on aluminum and his pullout from the JCPOA.

The U.S. share market is rising precisely because he has embarked on a mad policy of weaponizing the dollar. He thinks there is no possible way anyone can get out of using the dollar and therefore this won’t hurt him or the U.S. in the long run.

In the short run he’s right. Dollar liquidity is causing massive capital flight into U.S. assets. But it isn’t coming here necessarily as long-term investment.

Tariffs Have Consequences

The problem is he forgets that he’s the one subject to an election while China’s leadership is not. Everything China has done politically under Xi Jinping has been to safeguard the Chinese state in the event of a crisis.

Back here we have one major party, half of the President’s party, his own staff and the permanent bureaucracy actively plotting a coup against him.

Oh, and there’s an election in eighteen months. But his advisers keep telling him China is a paper tiger, squeeze them and they will capitulate. But it hasn’t happened yet and it won’t.

China’s not going to implode over these tariffs. It will give Xi and his central bank the opportunity to devalue the yuan in response to the slower flow of dollars. It has to protect the lion’s share of its trade with Southeast Asia and Europe whose currencies are already in trouble.

And it will bail out the most strategically-sensitive banks and businesses over-exposed to them. It’s what they did last year in response to the 10% tariff and it is what will happen this time.

So, if Trump doesn’t want a stronger dollar he can’t look to the Fed to give it to him. The structure of the offshore dollar markets is not under their control. As always, markets are bigger than central planners.

If global trade is the M0 of the world then restricting it at a time of maximal dollar-based debt capacity is the stupidest thing you can do if your goal is a lower dollar and trade balance with China.

We don’t need a lower dollar. We need a dollar that buys more value at home. And that can’t happen with the Fed and Treasury pumping money in while choking us with the debt behind it.

But don’t worry folks Economic Warfare Man has a plan for that too.

*  *  *

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Published:5/7/2019 4:38:20 PM
[Markets] How AG Barr Could Change The Federal Culture Of Corruption In Just 60 Days

Authored by Sharyl Attkisson, op-ed via The Hill,

I'm in my 30th year of covering national news and I've learned a hard truth about the federal government under numerous administrations. It's a culture where truth-telling is frowned upon; coverup is rewarded and encouraged.

That helps answer a question many have recently asked about the FBI and our intelligence community: Why haven't more whistleblowers come forward?

Several months ago, an FBI source told me that numerous whistleblowers had gone to members of Congress with information about the FBI and the Trump-Russia scandal, only to have congressional leaders turn their names over to the Department of Justice. True or not, this was the word on the street, and it had a chilling impact on other would-be whistleblowers.

The fact is, insiders know that things rarely turn out well for the whistleblowers. They and their families are targeted, attacked and smeared. They lose their jobs or chance to advance. Their health suffers. Their personal lives fall apart.

Meantime, they look over their shoulders and see that their truth-telling changed nothing. The guilty parties usually stay in their cushy jobs or are allowed to quietly retire with full benefits. Sometimes they're promoted.

So it's no surprise that, even though I believe the federal government is populated with mostly good people, they tend to keep their mouths shut and go along. After all, why come forward if your actions aren't going to fix anything and the only result will be that your life is ruined?

There's a simple yet dramatic way to change this longstanding culture, one that everyone should be able to get behind: A new whistleblower amnesty program.

It could start with the Department of Justice and intelligence community. Attorney General William Barr could set it up quickly, before the establishment has time to mount a full-force lobbying campaign to stop it.

Here are two potential aspects:

1. Amnesty period

Establish a 60-day amnesty period of time for anyone in the intel community to come forward and admit their own wrongdoing or blow the whistle on others.

Offer anonymity, legal representation and job security for the whistleblowers. Any whistleblowers whose names become known would fall under a new group of protected federal employees with independent overseers ensuring they do not suffer retaliation. In the alternative, a mutually beneficial separation could be negotiated.

Someone confessing to his or her own wrongdoing generally would be guaranteed immunity from administrative punishment or prosecution. The seriousness of the offense or crime would be weighed against factors, such as the information he or she provides about broader wrongdoing, and a mutually beneficial resolution for the individual and government would be negotiated.

2. Intermediaries

Establish trusted intermediaries through which the whistleblowers would work. "Trusted" means intermediaries trusted by the whistleblowers, not necessarily by the establishment figures whose policies and processes would be challenged. (The agency inspectors general are not universally trusted, and often are seen by insiders as part of the establishment protecting the agencies they oversee.)

Several ideas for intermediaries come to mind: the Obama-appointed Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko (who continues to serve under President Trump); the Project on Government Oversight, headed by Danielle Brian; attorney Victoria Toensing, who long has worked with whistleblowers; and Marcel Reid and Michael McCray of the National Whistleblower Center. There are many more possibilities; these are simply a few examples showing that it is possible to find resources likely to be considered trustworthy by various whistleblowers.

Those who do not come forward during the amnesty period, but who are implicated in wrongdoing, would face the full force of administrative action or prosecution.

For those who believe there is little wrongdoing and corruption inside the Department of Justice and our intelligence communities, this process would be speedy and nimble.

However, if there are more problems than we think, we should be prepared for a giant purge. If the idea works, it could become a model for rooting out problems within all federal agencies.

Such a process would change the longstanding federal culture that overlooks or encourages corruption, and lead to cleaner, more effective governing.

Logically, there should be few legitimate objections. All should be able to get behind a relatively simple plan to root out corruption and wrongdoing in our federal agencies.

But they probably won't.

Published:5/7/2019 4:08:44 PM
[Markets] Gundlach Warns Bear Market Just Getting Started, "Better Than 50% Chance" Trade Talks Collapse

Never one to stray off message, DoubleLine Capital's Jeff Gundlach sat down for a mid-day interview with CNBC's Scott Wapner on Tuesday, where he elaborated on many of his talking points from his headlining appearance at Sohn.

As one of the few speakers at Sohn whose pitches have actually generated alpha for anybody willing to heed his advice (at last year's conference, Gundlach recommended traders short Facebook and buy oil companies), the audience and the financial press listened attentively on Monday as he recommended shorting the lowest polling Democratic contenders (presumably on PredictIt or some other online betting platform), and touched on a familiar topic: The risks posed by the surging US debt interest.

Gundlach

In keeping with his preternatural talent for sniffing out contrarian positions that eventually triumph over the consensus, Gundlach pitched the Sohn crowd on a long-rates volatility play that pits him against that most insurmountable of market adversaries: The now uber-dovish Feb.

As equities spiraled toward their lows of the day on Tuesday, Gundlach, who offended Jim Cramer late last year when he sent stocks reeling after he declared equities to be in a bear market during a brief interview with CNBC, doubled down on that view during his interview with Wapner.

Equity bulls can repeat stats about the market's Q1 rebound - admittedly, one of the best in decades - until they are red in the face, but, Gundlach argued, until the NYSE Composite surpasses its highs from January 2018, the US will remain in a cyclical bull market.

"People keep acting like this is some sort of locomotive that’s chugging along but the New York Stock Exchange Composite Index – which to me is the most important one because it’s the biggest – it peaked in January of 2018 and then couldn’t quite make it back to that peak in October and now it couldn’t quite get back to that October level and now it’s rolling over again," Gundlach said.

"A bear market is really more about cycles and manias and then things one by one rolling over and the market getting narrower and narrower, and I think all of that has been happening over about an 18-month time period," Gundlach said.

But lest readers are left with the impression that Gundlach's bearish view is based purely on technicals, the DoubleLine founder explained that, in the near term, he expects stocks to power lower as trade talks between the US and China collapse, a process that has already started to unravel. As of now, he sees a 50% chance that Trump moves ahead with new tariffs.

"I think we’re going to keep seeing more tension and I think the 25% tariff bump is better than 50% chance" Gundlach told Wapner. "Both the premier of China and the president of the United States want to come across that they prevailed and didn’t give in."

"I think you’ve got an irresistible force meeting an immovable object," Gundlach said.

If the White House follows through with its threats to raise tariffs on Friday, Gundlach believes stocks will move even lower.

"It’s already happening, I think. The market obviously doesn’t want increased tariffs, so it’s been kind of reacting to that," Gundlach said.

"I think that we’re in a late cycle and I think the market can only be termed by the way I look at evolution of market prices as a bear market," Gundlach said. "The market hasn’t gone anywhere in 15 months and its down in many parts of the world."

So, I don’t know - I'm going to flip the question. If anybody wants to say how can I say it's a bear market, how can I say it's a bull market? I mean it's been a good year to date, yes I agree. But to characterize the last 15 months as a bull market is just wrong."

Moving on, the conversation soon turned to a discussion of the cognitive dissonance between Trump's celebration of economic data that confirms his market narrative, and his insistence that the Fed must cut rates to keep the party going. Gundlach said he doesn't think Trump can "get away with it...blaming it on" the Fed.

Trump is wrong on both counts, according to Gundlach: Not only has the labor market picture actually deteriorated under Trump, but if the Fed keeps policy easy and the economy still prints a negative, then Trump "can't brag about the economy any more."

He also took a jab at Americans' passive acceptance of what Trump has been saying as fact, blaming social media for turning everyone in Lemmings. In reality, the economy is incredibly vulnerable, and the US would be in serious trouble if a down turn hits.

"The economy is in such bad shape to withstand a downturn. Again, the national debt is exploding while we're having some of the best GDP year-over-year that we've had in recent years. Right? So the economy is not in any kind of condition for the government to come to the rescue other than really wickedly extraordinary policies a la the ECB and the BOJ."

"That’s what he’s about: bragging about the economy," Gundlach said. "He keeps talking about how the jobs have never been created so much ever in history. Except for one little fact: If you take the number of months Trump’s been in office and take the average nonfarm payrolls and compare it to the same number of months at the end of the Obama president, there were more under Obama!"

"It’s unbelievable the twilight zone that we’re sort of living in, where people just say things and it gets repeated. I think probably we’re numb to that because of social media," Gundlach added.

Though like Trump, Gundlach didn't shy away from bashing the Fed and Chairman Jay Powell.

"Well, frankly, Jay Powell's most recent press conference looked lost to me. Or maybe the right word is scared. Scared to say anything. So, we're kind of rudderless now I think in terms of the Fed. They just want things to be okay and to hold together and they don't want to say anything or change their rhetoric or scare anybody."

Moving away from markets - at least for the moment - Gundlach railed against the national debt, calling it "totally out of control," and again warned about the simmering risks in the corporate debt market.

He blamed the ballooning deficit and national debt (something we've also discussed at length) as the "main reasons" the 3s5s curve has steepened. He also warned that blowing out the deficit, as Trump did, would leave the US incredibly vulnerable during the next down turn.

"People are starting to realize that the deficit and debt are totally out of control," Gundlach said.

"The economy is in such bad shape to withstand a downturn again," Gundlach said. "The national debt is exploding while we’re having some of the best GDP year over year that we’ve had in recent years."

The corporate bond market, meanwhile, are "so much worse today than it was in 2006." The corporate bond market has tripled in size, and a BBB rated bond market that is now bigger than the junk-bond market. Using leverage ratios alone, "45%, not just of the BBB but the entire corporate bond market would be junk right now," he said, citing figures from Morgan Stanley.

A recession or downturn could "spark" a wave of downgrades from investment grade bonds into junk bonds (another issue that we've discussed at length).

Finally, Gundlach discussed his Sohn trade reco, advising Wapner that investors could get rich on interest-rate volatility, which has sunk to multi-year lows since the beginning year, leaving options incredibly cheap.

The Fed has been all over the place, Gundlach argued, and the level of the volatility probably won't stay this low for another year, especially with the Treasury floating so many new bonds. Even if the Fed goes all in on MMT, sine volatility is so cheap, an options straddle should yield immense profits even if there's only a short-term increase in rates.

While a 30-40 basis point move would make the straddle profitable, Gundlach says he believes traders could profit on both sides when rates climb and the Fed ultimately comes to the rescue.

Published:5/7/2019 3:38:16 PM
[Politics] Three Things Biden Needs to Make a Sentence: Noun, Verb, and Barack Obama

The post Three Things Biden Needs to Make a Sentence: Noun, Verb, and Barack Obama appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/7/2019 3:08:31 PM
[Politics] McConnell: Obama 'Emboldened' Russia's Election Meddling If Democrats want a true scapegoat for Russia's 2016 presidential election meddling, they need to look right at the top, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said former President Barack Obama "emboldened" Russia's efforts. Published:5/7/2019 1:39:50 PM
[Media] Weird: Media remarkably unconcerned with Obama partying with former Presidential Medal of Freedom winners on a billionaire’s yacht in Tahiti

The New York Times is quite worried that President Trump may have awarded Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom as a reward because Trump’s company that builds golf courses partnered with the No. 1 golfer in the world to build a golf course: By honoring Tiger Woods, President Trump leaves the appearance of using […]

The post Weird: Media remarkably unconcerned with Obama partying with former Presidential Medal of Freedom winners on a billionaire’s yacht in Tahiti appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/7/2019 10:10:33 AM
[Israel] Trump Administration’s Reaction To Israel/Hamas Conflict Is MUCH Different Than Obama’s

The following article, Trump Administration’s Reaction To Israel/Hamas Conflict Is MUCH Different Than Obama’s, was first published on Godfather Politics.

The American government's reaction to this weekend’s Hamas rocket barrage and Israel self-defense was much different than that of the Obama administration.

Continue reading: Trump Administration’s Reaction To Israel/Hamas Conflict Is MUCH Different Than Obama’s ...

Published:5/7/2019 10:10:33 AM
[4925a52c-99b9-5d02-be70-0749e10bb33b] Harry Kazianis: Trump’s Asia quandary -- Contain China or denuclearize North Korea? President Trump promised—and delivered—a get-tough-on-China strategy that tries to correct the appeasement policy of the Obama years Published:5/7/2019 5:35:44 AM
[Markets] Volodymyr Zelensky, The Donald Trump Of Ukrainian Politics

Submitted by SouthFront

Introduction

The parallels between the successor to Poroshenko and the current occupant of the White House are striking. Neither has had significant prior experience with national politics prior to launching a bid for the supreme executive office of their respective countries. Giving credit for Trump, he has had extensive experience in managing large businesses, Zelenskiy has none.

Both evaded compulsory military service citing health issues. Each owes his political success to their country’s population being worn down by a costly, endless war, and many-sided economic problems compounded by growing corruption and crony capitalism.

Both received support from major Jewish economic players with close ties to Israel (Igor Kolomoysky in Ukraine, Sheldon Adelson in the United States), with Trump subsequently repaying that debt of gratitude by transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem, designating it as the capital of Israel, and recognizing the annexation of the Golan Heights.

Both follow presidents who came into office as presumptive saviors of their countries, namely “Hope and Change” Barack Obama who delivered 8 years of a gradual deterioration in living standards, and “Revolution of Dignity” Petro Poroshenko who promised to transform Ukraine into a country comparable to the advanced capitalist states of Western Europe. And, last but not least, each represents a pile of political “mystery meat”. Not having a career in politics also means not having a pool of loyal and capable cadres who can descend on the government and govern in the name of their boss. This problem was clearly evident in Trump’s case. Lacking political cadres of his own, he was unable to staff the large number of positions vacated by Obama’s political appointees and instead had to rely on the suggestions of his vice president who was a consummate party insider. Worse, when Trump attempted to staff his foreign policy team with individuals advocating a less confrontational approach to Russia, such as Rex Tillerson and Mike Flynn, he found himself faced with extreme opposition from entrenched “deep state” bureaucrats. As we know, that resistance culminated in the Mueller investigation the ostensible goal of which was to investigate Russian “meddling” and Trump’s “collusion” therewith, but whose actual goal appears to have been to steer Trump’s foreign policy into greater confrontation with Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and even North Korea. Now that US foreign policy is run by the likes of John Bolton (National Security Council), Mike Pompeo (State), and “Bloody Gina” Haspel (CIA)  valiantly assisted by Military Industrial Complex friend Patrick Shanahan (Defense), Robert Mueller can confidently announce “mission accomplished” and shut down his investigation. Is this what the future has in store for Zelenskiy?

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

One key difference between US and Ukrainian “deep states” is that the Ukrainian one does not lead an independent existence. Rather, it is a creature of the US and Western European political establishments who provide it with direction and guidance. While US and EU political and economic objectives concerning Ukraine may differ on a few points (the EU is mainly interested in exploiting Ukraine’s agricultural and natural resources, whereas the US sees it as a military battering ram against Russia), for all intents and purposes they are united enough to treat them as a single entity.

If the Ukrainian “deep state” is the rock,  the Ukrainian people who are plainly tired of the war, desire better relations with Russia, and a return to something resembling the normalcy of the late Yanukovych era when Ukraine was considerably more free and prosperous than it is after 5 years of post-Maidan reforms, are surely a hard place to be reckoned with. The stunning rejection of Poroshenko in the polls indicates the moral bankruptcy of the entire Maidan revolution camp, including the aforementioned Ukrainian “deep state”.

At the same time, the removal of Poroshenko will weaken the positions of the “deep state” and enhance those of the Ukrainian oligarchs who, while not exactly friends of the Ukrainian people, are nevertheless interested for their own reasons in less confrontational relations with Russia. Poroshenko, being a political veteran with a respectable power base of his own, was able to curb their ambitions and impose his will on them. Under Zelensky, the oligarchs will almost inevitably become considerably more assertive in defending their economic interests, which is liable to lead to political pressure on Zelensky to moderate Ukraine’s policies toward Russia. The early sign of this was the decision by a court in Kiev that the nationalization of Igor Kolomoysky’s Privat-Bank was unlawful, though so far the Ukraine Central Bank shows no signs of abiding by that decision.

Will Zelensky be able to deliver policies that are genuinely different from Poroshenko’s? It remains to be seen whether he feels himself powerful enough politically to replace the entire national security team, including the likes of Avakov, Turchinov, Poltorak, Klimkin, and other national security and foreign policy players who are utterly compromised by their anti-Russian policies and the crimes committed by Ukrainian military and security services in the Donbass. If they remain in office, there is little reason to believe Zelensky is anything other than a figurehead.

An Offer Ukraine Can’t Refuse

Further complicating matters is the fact that Ukraine today is far weaker and more dependent on the West than it was 5 years ago. Successive IMF loan tranches and the vastly higher indebtedness of the Ukrainian state mean that Western powers have many levers of influence on Zelensky. The United States is showing no sign of losing interest in Ukraine, likewise the EU’s policies have shown no sign of moderation. Ukraine’s continued need of loans and loan restructuring alone give Western powers a de-facto veto on Ukraine’s foreign policies. While not wholly pleased with Poroshenko’s tenure in office, where he proved to be more interested in promoting his own interests rather than the interests of his Western sponsors (a key reason why the West now appears ready to sacrifice Poroshenko), he did deliver a confrontation with Russia which validated his support by the West. Should Zelensky attempt to pick up where Yanukovych left off, there is little reason to doubt that he would be quickly faced with yet another Maidan, which would once again receive both vocal and tacit support from Western powers. Also for that reason, we should not expect any progress on the question of the recognition of Crimea. This and many other issues are no longer Ukraine’s to decide. They are part and parcel of the West-Russia political and military stand-off, and can be only resolved as part of a general “peace treaty” between the two areas. In other words, Ukraine’s future is no longer in its own hands.

Conclusion

Given all of the above, while there are a few reason for optimism, one should also curb one’s expectations. Granted, the very fact of Zelensky embarrassing Poroshenko and the rest of the Ukrainian establishment is a cause for celebration. Ukrainian politicians have been shown to be out of touch with the Ukrainian people who do not share their political priorities and do not approve of their ineptitude and corruption. But since when does the will of the people affect Kiev’s policies, given the very direct influence Western governments have on shaping Ukrainian policies, both in the domestic and international realms? Moscow’s rather belated decision to impose a ban on petroleum exports to Ukraine, which is to enter force on June 1, 2019, suggests it is not expecting anything but a tough transition period to the new regime in Ukraine.

Published:5/7/2019 1:05:29 AM
[Markets] 'I'd Call That Spying': CIA's Ex-Counterintel Chief Says FBI Conducted Espionage On Trump Campaign

The FBI's use of "confidential human informants" to obtain information from Trump campaign officials under false pretenses was straight up spying, according to the CIA's former head of counterintelligence, James Olson, a 30-year agency veteran who served under six presidents, and who once conducted an undercover overseas mission with his wife. 

"It does sounds like spying," said Olson in response to a question from the Hill.Tv's Saagar Enjeti. "spying can take many different forms and the art of spying has evolved." 

Olson spoke with Enjeti following a bombshell admission in the New York Times confirming that the FBI sent a government investigator to London in September 2016 to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos while posing as "Azra Turk" - assistant to another FBI spy, the well-paid Stefan Halper (who once oversaw a CIA operation to spy on Jimmy Carter on behalf of the Reagan campaign, under the direction of then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush). 

Of note, Papadopoulos contends that "Azra Turk" is CIA, not FBI.

Meanwhile, Trump called the Times piece "bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!"  

When asked about "Azra Turk," Olson said "I think that person did misrepresent the purpose and was looking for information," adding "Yeah, I’d call that spying." 

Attorney General William Barr set off a firestorm of debate last month during congressional testimony after he referred to the FBI's activities against the 2016 Trump campaign as "spying," a phrase he later defended during testimony last week - saying "I’m not going to abjure the use of the word ‘spying," adding "I think spying is a good English word that, in fact, doesn’t have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating really all forms of covert intelligence collection." 

"So I’m not going to back off the word ‘spying.'"

Of Olson's time in the CIA, he told NBCDFW in 2017: "My career would really, I think, boil down to chasing Russians wherever there were Russians," Olson said. "They were our number-one Cold War adversary, and my job was to monitor their activities, but above all, to recruit them as spies for us and then to handle them as spies for us, which I did on the streets of Moscow among other places."

Published:5/6/2019 8:03:01 PM
[In The News] POLL: Trump’s Approval Numbers Top Obama’s During His First Term

By Chris White -

Donald Trump success

President Donald Trump’s approval ratings blow past former President Barack Obama’s first term numbers, according to a Gallop poll published Monday. Trump’s ratings topped 46 percent for the first time during his presidency, the poll noted. Gallop argued that the higher numbers are likely a result of a strong economy ...

POLL: Trump’s Approval Numbers Top Obama’s During His First Term 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:5/6/2019 7:34:41 PM
[Opinion] BREAKING: Here’s the Democrats New 2020 Platform

By Amanda Alverez -

After years of President Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrat Party leaders offering no reasons to vote for a Democrat, the underlings like Biden, Sanders, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, and the like are now little by little revealing their 2020 platform in their national convention. With ...

BREAKING: Here’s the Democrats New 2020 Platform 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:5/6/2019 7:03:08 PM
[The Blog] Gallup: Trump approval hits new high, now higher than Obama’s and Reagan’s at this point

Bounce.

The post Gallup: Trump approval hits new high, now higher than Obama’s and Reagan’s at this point appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/6/2019 6:03:48 PM
[Politics] Trump Set Up For a Big Win In 2020 Most of the elements are now in place for a decisive electoral victory for the current president, and a clear mandate to drain the swamp of all that he ran against. It is aberrant that with the economy performing at historic levels, and international relations steadied and easing toward a more satisfactory relationship with China and North Korea, the president's approval ratings are in the upper forties rather than the low sixties. President Trump is about where President Obama was at thi... Published:5/6/2019 3:03:51 PM
[National Security] Susan Rice Pens Anti-Trump Op-Ed Days Before Appearance at Scaramucci Conference

Susan Rice, who served as Barack Obama's national security adviser, accuses President Donald Trump of using his foreign policy solely to strengthen his domestic political position in a new op-ed.

The post Susan Rice Pens Anti-Trump Op-Ed Days Before Appearance at Scaramucci Conference appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/6/2019 1:33:17 PM
[Politics] Newt Gingrich: Trump, Not Obama, Gets Credit for Booming Economy Anyone "who is serious" knows that the booming economy has nothing to do with former President Barack Obama and the credit should go to President Donald Trump and Republicans, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday. Published:5/6/2019 1:02:31 PM
[World] Gingrich Scoffs at Cory Booker Crediting Economic Growth to Obama

Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scoffed Monday at the notion that the economic boom should be credited to Barack Obama's policies.

Published:5/6/2019 11:31:44 AM
[Politics] 42% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty-two percent (42%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending May 2.

This week’s finding is up two points from a week ago. Prior to this, that number had been on the decline week-over-week from 43% in early December to 31% by the end of January. It ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

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

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from April 28-May 2, 2019. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:5/6/2019 11:01:39 AM
[Markets] 15 Questions Robert Mueller Must Answer

Authored by Peter van Buren via The American Conservative,

Why the cryptic wording on the Steele Dossier? Why wasn't Trump given an opportunity to defend himself in court?

You know that movie with Bruce Willis and the kid who says “I see dead people”? In the end, it turns out everyone is already dead. Now imagine there are people who don’t believe that. They insist the story ends some other way. Spoiler alert: the Mueller Report ends with no collusion. No one is going to prosecute anyone for obstruction. That stuff is all dead. We all saw the same movie.

Yet there seem to still be questions from those who don’t get it. And while it’s doubtful that the stoic Robert Mueller will ever write a tell-all book, or sit next to Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah to dish, he may be called in front of Congress. If he is, here’s some of what he should be asked.

1) You didn’t charge President Donald Trump with “collusion,” obstruction, or any other new crime. Tell us why. If the answer is “the evidence did not support it,” please say so.

2) Your Report did not refer any crimes to Congress, the SDNY, or anyone else. Again, tell us why. If the answer is “the evidence did not support it,” please say so again.

3) Despite making no specific referrals, the Report does state, “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of the office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.” Why did you include such a restating of a known fact? Many have read that line to mean you could not indict a sitting president and so you wanted to leave a clue to Congress. Yet you could have just spelled it out—”this is beyond my and the attorney general’s constitutional roles and must/can only be resolved by Congress.” Why didn’t you?

4) Similarly, many believe they see clues (a footnote looms as the grassy knoll of your work) that the only reason you did not indict Trump was because of Department of Justice and Office of Legal Counsel guidance against indicting a sitting president. Absent that, would you have indicted? If so, why didn’t you say so unambiguously and trigger what would be the obvious next steps?

5) When did you conclude there was no collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between Trump and the Russians such that you would make no indictments? You must have closed at least some of the subplots—the Trump Tower meeting, the Moscow Hotel project—months ago. Did you consider announcing key findings as they occurred? You were clearly aware that there was inaccurate reporting, damaging to the public trust. Yet you allowed that to happen. Why?

6) But before you answer that question, answer this one. You made a pre-Report public statement saying Buzzfeed’s story that claimed Trump ordered Michael Cohen to lie to Congress was false. You restated that in the Report, where you also mentioned that you privately told Jeff Sessions’ lawyer in March 2018 that Sessions would not be charged. Since your work confirmed that nearly all bombshell reporting on Russiagate was wrong (Cohen was never in Prague, nothing criminal happened in the Seychelles, and so on), why was it only that single instance that caused you to speak out publicly? And as with Sessions, did you privately inform any others prior to the release of the Report that they would not be charged? What standard did you apply to those decisions?

7) A cardinal rule for prosecutors is to not publicize negative information that does not lead them to indict someone—”the decision does the talking.” James Comey was criticized for doing this to Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Yet most of your Report’s Volume II is just that, descriptions of actions by Trump that contain elements of obstruction but that you ultimately did not charge. Why did you include this information so prominently? Some say it was because you wanted to draw a “road map” for impeachment. Why didn’t you just say that? You had no reason to speak in riddles.

8) There is a lot of lying documented in the Report. But you seemed to only charge people with perjury (traps) early in your investigation. Was that aimed more at pressuring them to “flip” than at justice per se? Is one of the reasons several of the people in the Report who lied did not get charged with perjury later in the investigation because by then you knew they had nothing to flip on?

9) In regard to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where derogatory information on Hillary Clinton was offered (but never given), you declined prosecution. You cited in part questions over whether such information constituted the necessary “thing of value” that would have to exist, inter alia, to make its proffering a campaign finance violation. You don’t answer the question in the Report, but you do believe information could be a “thing of value” (the thing of value must exceed $2,000 for a misdemeanor and $25,000 for a felony). What about withholding information? Could someone saying they would not offer information publicly be a “thing of value” and thus potentially part of a campaign finance law violation? Of course I’m talking about Stormy Daniels, who received money not to offer information. Would you make the claim that silence itself, non-information, is a “thing” of value?

10) You spend the entire first half of your Report, Volume I, explaining that “the Russians” sought to manipulate our 2016 election via social media and by hacking the Democratic National Committee. Though there is a lot of redacted material, at no point in the clear text is there information on whether the Russians actually did influence the election. Even trying was a crime, but given the importance of all this (some still claim the president is illegitimate) and the potential impact on future elections, did you look into the actual effects of Russian meddling? If not, why not?

11) Everything the Russians did, according to Volume I, they did on Obama’s watch. Did you investigate anyone in the Obama administration in regard to Russian meddling? Did you look at what they did, what was missed, whether it could have been stopped, and how the response was formed? Given that Trump’s actions towards Russia followed on steps Obama took, this seems relevant. Did you look? If not, why not?

12) Some of the information gathered about Michael Flynn was picked up inadvertently under existing surveillance of the Russian ambassador. As an American, Flynn’s name would have been routinely masked in the reporting on those intercepts in order to protect his privacy. The number of people with access to those intercepts is small, and the number inside the Obama White House with the authority to unmask names is even smaller. Yet details were leaked to the press and ended Flynn’s career. Given that the leak may have exposed U.S. intelligence methods, that it had to have been done at a very high level inside the Obama White House, and that the leak violated Flynn’s constitutional rights, did you investigate? If not, why not?

13) The New York Times wrote that “some of the most sensational claims in the [Steele] dossier appeared to be false, and others were impossible to prove. Your report contained over a dozen passing references to the document’s claims but no overall assessment of why so much did not check out.” Given the central role the Steele Dossier played in your work, and certainly in the investigation that commenced as Crossfire Hurricane in summer 2016, why did you not include any overall assessment of why so much did not check out inside such a key document?

14) Prosecutors do not issue certificates of exoneration. The job is to charge or drop a case. That’s what constitutes exoneration in any practical sense. Yet you have as your final line that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Why did you include that, and so prominently?

15) You also wrote, “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” You argue elsewhere in the Report that because Trump is a sitting president, he cannot be indicted, so therefore it would be unjust to accuse him of something he could not go to court and defend himself over. But didn’t you do just that? Why did you leave the taint of guilt without giving Trump the means of defending himself in court? You must have understood that such wording would be raw meat to Democrats, and would force Trump to defend himself not in a court with legal protections, but in an often hostile media. Was that your intention?

 

Published:5/5/2019 9:03:16 PM
[Markets] The Old Political Order Is Just Old

Authored by Tom Luongo,

"Look at how old you’ve become...”

–Kylo Ren

Yesterday was Star Wars Day. May the 4th and all that. Maybe I’m a little old to be celebrating a movie, but whatever.

As I reviewed the events of the past week it reminded me that Star Wars, at its core, is about the pivotal moments in history and the changing from one political order to another.

Be it the fall of the Old Republic in the prequel films to the end of the Empire and Palpatine’s rule in the Original Trilogy. We even open The Force Awakens with Kylo Ren wiping out the last group of people who still revere the Jedi to begin his quest to consolidate power amidst the chaos.

Star Wars has always functioned as a mirror to our current political drama. Films emerge every generation to reflect where we’re headed as a society. Maybe that’s why the new films aren’t as well loved by a part of the fan base, they are telling us things we don’t want to hear.

So maybe it is fitting that this week’s events were all so indicative of what is happening in our world today.

The post WWII institutional order and political elite are old.

And the old institutional order is failing.

The outdated and old enmities between the U.S. and Russia led to a series of disastrous decisions by men and women who are obsessed with overcoming their thwarted expectations of enhanced power and prestige.

There was Operation Bay of Fat Pigs, coup-attempt which unfolded in real time in Caracas on Tuesday. John Bolton was “snookered” (H/T to Moon of Alabama for excellent reporting on this) by Venezuelan officials into thinking they had the military and supreme court on their side.

When Juan “Random Fall Guy” Guaido made his move and no one else did, the U.S. was caught televising live their own ineptitude. And then laughably tried to blame the Russians for it.

While it is clear that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had outwitted him, Bolton apparently continues to rail on U.S. Southern Command leadership and President Trump to invade.

Why? Because John Bolton is old, inflexible and well past his use-by date for coherent foreign policy decisions.

Lindsay Graham wandered in out of the bathhouse to wonder where our aircraft carriers were and why weren’t they sending a clear message to those pesky Russians?

And everyone else around the world is wondering what the hell are people in D.C. smoking?

If that wasn’t enough for you, how about the ridiculous spectacle of Democratic senators venting their desperation and vitriol at Attorney General William Barr for raining on their impeachment parade.

From Cory “Spartacus” Booker to Maisie “Respect Me, Dammit!” Hirono all we saw from them was desperation and histrionics at also being outwitted by both Donald Trump and his legal team.

Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.

When that didn’t happen they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world.

But is that really the case anymore? It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently.

The Federal Reserve revealed they have no answers to the rapidly brewing dollar liquidity problem they created and can’t extricate themselves from. Dropping Interest on Excess Reserves was pure window dressing on a problem far deeper than they can publicly admit to.

Crossing the pond we have the insistence of Theresa “Baghdad Bob” May that she’s still working towards a real Brexit after the complete wipeout of her Tory party in local council elections across the whole of England.

Then there’s the latest scandal with May firing adolescent Defense Minister Gavin Williamson for leaking her cabinet’s corrupt relationship with Chinese mobile technology leader Huawei.

If May’s goal is to destroy the British government in preparation for selling the country lock, stock and two smoking barrels to the European Union, then she may be the only truly competent politician left in the West.

They all just look so old and like a bunch of sorry has-beens getting together for a Love Boat 30th anniversary special instead of serious people with serious policy solutions.

The DNC is in the midst of a coup attempt of its own by Cenk Uygur and the Justice Democrats. Their only choice is to rally around Pedo Joe Biden who is fully implicated in the RussiaGate mess with his deep ties to Ukraine where so many of the lies about Trump originated.

Biden is 78. Bernie Sanders is is about to be.

The European Union is staring at the worst kind of blowback to its brutal strategy to deny Brexit. The latest polling has Nigel Farage’s Brexit party pulling from all parts of the British electorate to become the dominant party heading into the polls in three weeks.

If this keeps up he’ll completely change the face of British politics and all of this EU inevitability will dissipate like a fart in a hurricane of populist anger.

Lastly, don’t think that Trump will not put as much pressure as he can on these people. Barr has already begun the process going after Nellie Ohr. There is a possibility we’ll see Trump actually get a few scalps here.

And that may include telling Sheldon Adelson to get stuffed and begin reversing course on the insane levels of aggression emanating from the White House.

There comes a point when you look around and realize something isn’t working. None of the people I’ve talked about here can or will admit that they’ve failed. They are politicians, they can’t show weakness.

Trump has the opportunity here to use all of this to his egregious advantage. While the Democrats lose their collective minds Trump took a long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and immediately made it public.

Embarrassing him and the U.S. the way John Bolton and Mike Pompeo did this week with Operation Bay of Fat Pigs will not sit well with Trump. He’s been asked to sell a policy it doesn’t look like he believes in.

Trump is in re-election mode now. And Venezuelan regime change is not a winning strategy, neither is letting RussiaGate go. The key for him now is to undo a lot of the damage that’s been done by his staff, disloyal cabinet members and recalcitrant bureaucracy who are all wedded deeply to the old way things are done.

Those old ways aren’t working anymore. And if any of these people want to remain in power and pass it along to the next generation they better start acting like the humanitarians they purport to be. That means giving the people what they want — Hillary Clinton’s head on a pike, Brexit, and an end to the creeping technocratic totalitarianism outsourced to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple to get around the Constitution.

Houses divided into as many factions as we see all across the west will not stand. They not only invite the crises on our horizon they accelerate them.

*  *  *

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Published:5/5/2019 7:00:48 PM
[Markets] The Big Lie That Barr Lied

Authored by Andrew McCarthy via NationalReview.com,

The attorney general’s testimony was clearly accurate...

I originally thought this was too stupid to write about. But stupid is like the plague inside the Beltway — one person catches it and next thing you know there’s an outbreak at MSNBC and the speaker of the House is showing symptoms while her delirious minions tote ceramic chickens around Capitol Hill.

So I give you: the Bill Barr perjury allegation.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But are we entitled to our own facts? Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s bon mot says no, but Washington makes you wonder. Like when spleen-venting about the supposedly outrageous, unbelievable, disgraceful invocation of the word “spy” to describe episodes of government spying is instantly followed by a New York Times story about how the spying — er, I mean, court-authorized electronic surveillance — coupled with the tasking of spies — er, undercover agents — green-lighted by a foreign spy — er, intelligence service — was more widespread than previously known.

If I were a cynic, I’d think people were trying to get out in front of some embarrassing revelations on the horizon. I might even be tempted to speculate that progressives were trotting out their “Destroy Ken Starr” template for Barr deployment (which, I suppose, means that 20 years from now we’ll be reading about what a straight-arrow Barr was compared to whomever Democrats are savaging at that point).

The claim that Barr gave false testimony is frivolous. That is why, at least initially, Democrats and their media echo chamber soft-pedaled it — with such dishonorable exceptions as Mazie Horono, the Hawaii Democrat who, somehow, is a United States senator. It’s tough to make the perjury argument without any false or even inaccurate statements — though my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano did give it the old college try. As recounted by The Hill, he twisted himself into a pretzel, observing — try to follow this — that the attorney general “probably misled” Congress and thus “he’s got a problem” . . . although this purported dissembling didn’t really seem to be, you know, an actual “lie” so . . . maybe it’s not a problem after all. Or something.

I assume that in his black-robe days, Judge Nap would have known better. When meritless perjury cases are thrown out of court, judges are often at pains to explain that the questioner who elicited the purportedly false testimony bears the burden of clarity; the terms of the question dictate the evaluation of the answer. In this instance, Barr’s April 9 testimony before the House Appropriations Committee was true and accurate; if a misimpression set in after, it is because the relevant questioning by Representative Charlie Crist (D., Fla.) has been ignored or distorted.

Moreover, because perjury is a serious felony allegation, judges and legal analysts never rely on a general, selectively couched description of the testimony — much less on the likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s because-I-said-so refrain that Barr “lied to Congress” and “that’s a crime.” The testimony must be examined, with emphasis on the words that were used (the questions as well as the responses), and anything we can glean about the witness’s demeanor (stingy? dodgy? forthcoming?).

The mindless, no-need-to-check-the-record allegation against Barr goes like this: The AG testified on April 9 that he had no idea why Special Counsel Mueller was upset over the way Barr’s March 24 letter described Mueller’s report; but, in fact, Barr knew exactly why Mueller was upset because he had received the latter’s March 27 letter complaining about Barr’s missive.

Now, here is the exchange on which the perjury allegation is based, with my italics highlighting key portions:

CRIST: Reports have emerged recently, General, that members of the special counsel’s team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter . . . that it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report’s findings. Do you know what they’re referencing with that?

BARR: No, I don’t. I think — I think . . . I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but, in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think any summary, regardless of who prepares it, not only runs the risk of, you know, being under-inclusive or over-inclusive, but also, you know, would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await everything coming out at once. So I was not interested in a summary of the report. . . . I felt that I should state the bottom line conclusions and I tried to use Special Counsel Mueller’s own language in doing that.

When we look at the actual words of this exchange, Barr’s testimony is clearly accurate. And I don’t mean accurate in the hyper-technical, Clintonesque “depends on what the definition of is is” sense. I mean straightforward, unguarded, and evincing a willingness to volunteer information beyond what the question sought.

Crist did not ask a general question about Mueller’s reaction to Barr’s letter; he asked a specific question about the reaction of Mueller’s “team” to the Barr letter’s description of “the report’s findings.” Regarding the March 24 letter’s rendering of this bottom line — namely, Russia meddled, Trump did not collude, and Mueller failed to resolve the obstruction question — Barr said he did not know what Mueller’s staff was complaining about.

Barr has known Mueller for nearly 30 years; when Mueller was the Criminal Division chief in the Bush 41 Justice Department, he reported to Barr, who was attorney general. It should come as no surprise, then, that Barr was not getting his information from Mueller’s staff; he was getting it from Mueller directly. Nor should it come as any surprise that, before releasing his March 24 letter to the public, Barr gave Mueller an opportunity to review it; nor that Mueller declined that opportunity — given that he knows Barr well, and knew Barr would not misrepresent the report (especially given that the report would soon be public).

Three days after Barr announced the report’s conclusions, Mueller sent his letter, undoubtedly written by his staff. Mueller could simply have called Barr on the phone, as he has done a million times; but the staff’s partisan Democrats wanted a letter, which makes for much better leak material. (The letter was, in fact, strategically leaked to the Washington Post Tuesday night, right before Barr’s Wednesday morning Senate testimony.) The day after receiving Mueller’s March 27 letter, Barr called Mueller and pointedly asked whether he was claiming that Barr’s March 24 letter articulating Mueller’s findings was inaccurate. Mueller responded that he was making no such claim — he was, instead, irritated by the press coverage of Barr’s letter. Mueller suggested the publication of additional information from the report, including the report’s own executive summaries, to explain more about why he decided not to resolve the obstruction issue. But he did not claim Barr had misrepresented his findings. (See Barr’s Senate testimony, starting at 39-minute mark.)

Again, Barr’s contact was with Mueller, not Mueller’s team. His exchanges with Mueller gave Barr no basis to know about any objection to his description of the report’s findings — from Mueller or anyone else. The fact that Mueller’s staff was leaking like a sieve to the Times, the Washington Post, and NBC News does not mean they were sharing with the attorney general what the Times described as “their simmering frustrations.”

That is what Barr said in answer to Crist’s question about the report’s findings. But to avoid the misimpression that he was parsing words deceptively, Barr volunteered his perception that Mueller’s staff wanted more information from the report to be publicized. That was consistent with what can be inferred from Barr’s phone call with Mueller on March 28. And it was not news: Crist’s questions were based on the aforementioned press accounts of leaks from Mueller’s staffers. They were irked at the bad press they were receiving over Mueller’s abdication on the question whether there was a prosecutable obstruction case, and they had groused that there was much more to their report than Barr’s letter conveyed. Of course, Barr never disputed this; as he repeatedly explained, he undertook to render the conclusions, not summarize the entire 448-page report.

Barr decided that his way of making disclosure — the findings followed three weeks later by the full report — was superior to the proposal of Mueller’s staff that their own summaries be released. You can disagree with Barr on that, but that’s not grounds for a perjury claim. And it raises a point Barr made in his Senate testimony: The regulations do not require any disclosure of the special counsel’s report (which is supposed to be a confidential Justice Department document, as is typical of Justice Department deliberations over whether to charge or decline to charge). The decision of what, if anything, to disclose, and how that should be done, is exclusively the attorney general’s, not the special counsel’s. Mueller’s job was to make a prosecutorial judgment — to charge or decline to charge obstruction. Mueller failed to do that. Since Mueller didn’t do his own job, isn’t it a bit presumptuous of his staff (through press leaks) to tell Barr how to do his?

Could what happened here be more obvious?

Mueller received fawning press for two years on the expectation that he would slay Trump. Then, on March 24, Democrats and the media learned not only that there was no collusion case (which was no surprise) but that Mueller had been derelict, failing to render a judgment on the only question he was arguably needed to resolve: Was there enough evidence to charge obstruction? Journalists proceeded to turn on their erstwhile hero. This sent him reeling, and it brought to full boil the anger of Mueller staffers, who wanted to charge Trump with obstruction based on the creative (i.e., wayward) theory they had been pursuing — namely, that a president can be indicted for obstruction based on the exercise of his constitutional prerogatives if prosecutors (including prosecutors who are active supporters of the president’s political opposition) decide he had corrupt intent. The staffers put their pique in a letter that could be leaked, and Mueller was sufficiently irked by the bad press that he signed it. And now Democrats are using the letter as the launch-pad for The Big Lie that Barr lied, calculating that if they say it enough times, and their media collaborators uncritically broadcast these declarations, no one will notice that they never actually refer to the transcript of what they claim is the false testimony.

Democrats are unnerved. Attorney General Barr is pursuing an inquiry into the Obama administration’s decision to conduct a foreign counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The time is now, they figure, to reprise the Ken Starr treatment: the ad hominem withering of an accomplished, highly capable official — in this instance, one who is daring to press questions that would have been answered two years ago if an incumbent Republican administration had spied on — er, monitored — a Democratic presidential campaign.

Published:5/5/2019 5:58:17 PM
[Markets] As Trump Approval Rating On Economy Skyrockets, Biden Slams President As "Aberration" 

President Trump's approval ratings are on the rise since the release of the Mueller report - with CNN begrudgingly admitting the percentage of people who approve of how Trump is handling the economy "is the highest number we've ever seen." 

In other polls, Trump has made significant gains amid the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years and a 3.2% increase in seasonally adjusted hourly earnings over last year. 

A Gallup poll released on Friday reveals that Trump's approval ratings are at all time highs, with 91% approval among Republicans - near all time highs. 

Among Democrats, Trump has a 12% approval rating, up from 4% in March

And what did Joe Biden use as his opening pitch? 

The former Vice President called the Trump administration "an aberration" during a 2020 campaign event in the eastern Iowa city of Dubuque.

"Limit it to four years," Biden told a ballroom crowd of 600 according to the New York Times. "This is not the Republican Party," Biden added, citing "my Republican friends in the House and Senate."

Translation; Trump is a giant, ongoing threat to the Uniparty (as Steve Bannon calls it). 

Biden's decision to suggest that Trump is the problem while extending an olive branch to Republicans has "exposed a significant fault line in the Democratic primary," as the Times puts it. 

Democrats, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, see the president as a symptom of something deeper, both in a Republican Party overtaken by Trumpism and a nation cleaved by partisanship. Simply ousting Mr. Trump, they tell voters, is not enough.

It’s a debate that goes beyond the policy differences separating a moderate like Mr. Biden from an insurgent like Mr. Sanders, elevating questions about whether the old rules of inside-the-Beltway governance still apply. And it has thrown into stark relief one of the fundamental questions facing the Democratic electorate: Do Democrats want a bipartisan deal-maker promising a return to normalcy, or a partisan warrior offering more transformative change? -New York Times

It seems the Times agrees with Democrats like Sanders and Warren, as the report notes that "Trump has tightened his grip on the party, installing loyalists in key positions and commanding fealty from Republican candidates as some of his loudest Republican critics retired rather than face electoral defeat." The Times also notes that many Congressional Republicans have voted "almost in lock step with the president, even as he cast aside longstanding party orthodoxies, such as free trade, and sought to exert his will on traditionally nonpartisan institutions like the Federal Reserve and Justice Department.

(The Comeys, McCabes, Ohrs, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, James Clapper, John Brennan and 150 years of US history aside, totally nonpartisan). 

In other words, even if Trump doesn't win in 2020, 'Trumpism' has taken over. 

Biden's pitch, however, is that he's an "electable pragmatist who can reach across the aisle." 

"I just want to see decency again," said Biden event attendee Jimmy Stumpff, who wore a "Make Lies Wrong Again" shirt to the Cedar Rapids event last week. "I feel Biden’s our best chance to beat Trump — by far," he added. 

John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster who has previously advised Mr. Biden, said it should be no surprise that bipartisan appeals sell, even in a party primary. “Guess what,” he said. “Democratic primary voters agree with the fact that a Democratic president should work with Republicans to get things done.”

“There is this narrative about Democratic primary voters that they’re all about anger and the fight, or principles,” Mr. Anzalone added. “But real voters know one thing: If anything is going to get done to help them, it’ll have to be done across party lines.” -New York Times

Let's see how well Biden's GOP outreach works with more liberal Democrats in coastal states... 

Published:5/5/2019 3:29:52 PM
[b3a8007b-3d7a-50c2-9204-210b096e4d1a] Michael Goodwin: Did the NY Times just admit -- and defend -- Obama’s spying on Trump? The paper is still defending the dirty tricks of Barack Obama’s White House and its own role in spreading the Russia, Russia, Russia hysteria. Published:5/5/2019 10:54:12 AM
[Markets] Tariff Man Set To Impose Duties on Yarn From China, India

The US Department of Commerce (DoC) announced earlier this week that countervailing duty investigations discovered polyester textured yarn from China and India were unfairly subsidized, damaging American producers. In response, the DoC is expected to slap Chinese producers with tariffs of between 32% and 460% and Indian producers of between 7.1% and 20.5%, reported the DoC Office of Public Affairs.

The DoC notified US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about the issue, has instructed all customs agents to collect only cash deposits from importers of the yarn from China and India based on the preliminary rates below.

The deepening trade war comes as two American yarn producers claim in petitions that China and India have severely crippled their domestic operations by dumping low-cost, subsidized imports of yarn into North American markets.

"This is an important issue with respect to US producers of fiber and textile products," the petitioners' attorney, Paul Rosenthal of Kelley Drye & Warren in Washington, DC, told Law.com in an interview Thursday. "We're happy that our allegations concerning subsidies by the Chinese and Indian governments have been found to be accurate and has resulted in some preliminary duties."

The petitioners are Unifi Manufacturing Inc. in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. in Lake City, South Carolina, have demanded that DoC impose antidumping and countervailing tariffs on foreign subsidized yarn. The DOC said a preliminary determination on the antidumping duties would be announced shortly.

The final decision on duties by the DoC will be made in the next three to five months. In the meantime, Chinese and Indian yarn producers are subjected to increased countervailing duty payments of 20% to 460%.

"These are provisional duties," Rosenthal noted. "As this gets implemented, importers are being told the entries of their imports are not going to be liquidated. That means they will not be sent a final bill for these imports after publication in the federal register because [the government] is going to wait to see what final level of antidumping duties will be calculated. After that's done it sends a bill for the duties you have to pay."

During the countervailing duty investigation, the DoC determined that yarn producers in China and India were receiving massive government subsidies, which then in return, were able to export the yarn into US markets and undercut domestic producers.

As of 2017, CBP estimates show yarn volume from China and India was approximately 69 million pounds, a massive 81.5% increase since 2013.

"The result has been that US producers of the product have lost sales, and they've lost revenues because they haven't been able to meet the prices offered by China and India," Rosenthal said.

President Trump has so far initiated 158 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations—a 216% increase over the same period when Barack Obama was president.

If the DoC announces a final affirmative determination on September 10, 2019, then the final decision to enact full blown yarn tariffs will be made by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) by October 24, 2019.

A trade deal between the US and China could be around the corner. While there's a strong likelihood both countries will hammer out an agreement at some point, the most significant obstacle that could derail positive talks today is the prospect of more US tariffs.

President Trump is a "tariff man," the more than $200 billion of tariffs he slapped on China is likely sticking around for quite some time. Tariffs are big business for the government, so far they've collected $50 to $60 billion from American importers. So maybe a trade deal by next Friday is just smoke and mirrors, after all, it seems that more tariffs are about to come online, something that will make the Chinese more furious.

Published:5/5/2019 7:53:50 AM
[Markets] "This Was Not Spying, It Was Entrapment": Bongino Spits Fire As Nunes Demands Mifsud Docs

For over two years, anyone who suggested that the Russia investigation was a sham was harshly ridiculed by establishment mouthpieces as a conspiracy theorist. The notion that the Obama Justice Department (led by Eric "wingman" Holder and then Loretta "tarmac" Lynch) could have conspired with other US intel agencies and foreigners to paint Donald Trump as a Russian stooge was considered beyond the pale. 

Then we found out that virtually the entire FBI's top brass absolutely hate Donald Trump and supported Hillary Clinton; the former of whom the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation against, while giving Hillary a pass despite the fact that she destroyed evidence from her homebrew basement server while under subpoena. We were asked to believe that the FBI's extreme biases played no role in their investigations, while the left insisted that special counsel Robert Mueller was going to confirm fairy tales of Russian collusion peddled by a Clinton-funded dossier.

And then the Mueller report came out - blowing the Russian collusion narrative out of the water, while painting a damning picture that suggests the entire genesis of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, Crossfire Hurricane, was a setup

Dan Bongino

One of those brave enough to risk his reputation laying out what was going on before the Mueller report dropped is conservative commentator and former US Secret Service agent Dan Bongino - who has repeatedly mentioned the suspicious role of self-described Clinton Foundation member Joseph Mifsud, who seeded the rumor that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016 - shortly after returning from Moscow, according to the Mueller report. 

Two weeks laterPapadopoulos would be bilked for information by Australian diplomat (another Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Kremlin 'dirt' rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI (as the story goes), and operation Crossfire Hurricane was thus hatched. 

Back to Mifsud... 

As Bongino lays out, there are two working theories about Mifsud. The first is that he's a Russian asset who tried to bait the Trump campaign. The second is that Mifsud was working for US intelligence services and seeded Papadopoulos with the 'dirt' rumor in order to kick off the FBI's counterintelligence operation. 

Bongino went into greater detail last month on Fox News - including that Mifsud's lawyer says he's connected to western, "friendly" intelligence

We know that Papadopoulos met multiple times with Mifsud in the first half of 2016:

  • March 14 2016 – Papadopoulos first meets Mifsud in Italy – approximately one week after finding out he will be joining the Trump team.
  • March 24 2016 – Papadopoulos, Mifsud, Olga Polonskaya and unknown fourth party meet in a London cafe.
  • April 18 2016 – Mifsud introduces Papadopoulos to Ivan Timofeev, an official at a state-sponsored think tank called Russian International Affairs Council.
  • April 26 2016  – Mifsud tells Papadopoulos he’s met with high-level Russian government officials who have “dirt” on Clinton. Papadopoulos will tell the FBI he learned of the emails prior to joining the Trump Campaign.
  • May 13 2016 – Mifsud emails Papadopoulos an update of “recent conversations”.

Note: Papadopoulos and Mifsud reportedly both worked at the London Centre of International Law Practice. -The Markets Work

In short - based on what we know, it appears that Joseph Mifsud was part of a setup by Western intelligence services on then-candidate Donald Trump. 

(it's true)

Great claims require great evidence, however, which is why Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has requested a wide swath of documents about Mifsud from several federal agencies. 

As the Washington Examiner reports, Nunes - the House Intelligence Committee ranking member, "seeks information about who Mifsud was working for at the time and wrote in a letter that special counsel Robert Mueller “omits any mention of a wide range of contacts Mifsud had with Western political institutions and individuals" in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election."

As part of Mueller’s Russia investigation, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians and served 12 days in prison late last year.

The special counsel’s sentencing memo to the District Court for the District of Columbia said Papadopoulos hindered the FBI's ability to get to Mifsud. "The defendant’s lies undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States. The government understands that the Professor left the United States on February 11, 2017 and he has not returned to the United States since then," the memo said.

In his letter, Nunes says it is "still a mystery how the FBI knew to ask Papadopoulos specifically about Hillary Clinton’s emails" if the bureau had not spoken with Mifsud. -Washington Examiner

"If he is in fact a Russian agent, it would be one of the biggest intelligence scandals for not only the United States, but also our allies like the Italians and the Brits and others. Because if Mifsud is a Russian agent, he would know all kinds of our intelligence agents throughout the globe," said Nunes during a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity. 

Published:5/4/2019 4:19:44 PM
[World] The arrogant left will never learn

Barack Obama, according to excerpts from an updated book by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker, raged against the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, took it as a "personal insult" that Hillary Clinton lost and in the end, struggled to understand why the American people ... Published:5/4/2019 2:23:18 PM

[Obama] Obama Was Furious with Trump’s Election, Felt It Was a Personal Insult from Racist Country

The following article, Obama Was Furious with Trump’s Election, Felt It Was a Personal Insult from Racist Country, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Barack Obama was so furious that Donald Trump got elected to the White House that he felt our "racist" country delivered him a "personal insult."

Continue reading: Obama Was Furious with Trump’s Election, Felt It Was a Personal Insult from Racist Country ...

Published:5/4/2019 1:18:37 PM
[Markets] Johnstone: Blithering Idiots Express Fear That Putin Will Rig 2020 Election For Trump

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

“Putin” is the number one USA trend on Twitter as of this writing, which is always a reliable sign that something very stupid is happening in American media.

“Putin” is once again the hysterical shrieking buzzword of the day because Donald Trump openly boasted at a press conference of having had an hour-long phone call with the Russian president, in which he claims the two leaders discussed nuclear de-escalation, Venezuela, North Korea, and the discredited “collusion” narrative. When asked whether he’d told Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US elections, Trump replied, “We didn’t discuss that.”

“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” the president tweeted. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”

So of course everyone is now in garment-rending apocalyptic DEFCON 1 catastrophe mode.

“It bears repeating: We have been given no indication that Trump or his re-election campaign will hesitate to take advantage of Russian help again in 2020, in whatever form it might take,” warned the Wall Street Journal’s Dustin Volz.

“President Trump today continues to belittle Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as continued election interference,” CNN’s Jake Tapper solemnly warned today. “The president went on to tell reporters later that he did not tell Putin to stop engaging in election interference which remains, according to Trump’s own top national security officials, a continuing threat to the United States. Based on the president’s public statements, and apparently his private one with Vladimir Putin, the man who led and continues to lead cyber-attacks on the United States, the president’s more concerned with underlining that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence that any member of his team was involved in criminal conspiracy with Russia.”

“The simple fact is this: Trump remains?—?despite all available evidence?—?a skeptic about both Russia’s past attempts at interference in the 2016 election and, therefore, the country’s attempts to target future elections,” warns CNN’s Cris Cillizza. “That skepticism could have far reaching consequences when it comes to just how much (or little) the administration prioritizes dealing with these threats from foreign powers heading into the 2020 election. And that is a truly scary reality.”

“The 2020 campaign is already in full swing and Trump just told Putin, the man behind the most serious cyber attack on our democracy ever, that he believes it was all a hoax,” tweeted Congressman and virulent Russiagater Adam Schiff. “Once again, he betrays our national security and for what? Nothing more than his own vanity and delusion.”

“Exactly what Putin wanted and expected,” tweeted MSNBC’s Clint Watts. “This is why Russia backed Trump, elevate politicians to achieve what Russia wants?—?to subvert and weaken democracy, surrender the world to authoritarians, like the Kremlin.”

So the narrative in mainstream liberal circles today is that Putin is going to interfere in the 2020 elections, and, because that interference will surely advantage Trump, there will be no resistance to that interference.

Only blithering idiots believe this narrative.

To begin with, the public has still seen not one single shred of evidence that Russians interfered in the 2016 election in any meaningful way, and, in a post-Iraq invasion world, only idiots believe on faith the unsubstantiated claims made by government agencies about rival governments. We’ve seen the Mueller report cited as “evidence” of this interference, but the Mueller report contains nothing but assertions, and assertions are not evidence. People have tried to argue with me that Mueller would never make assertions about Russian interference without having seen copious amounts of hard, verifiable evidence, but that is exactly what Mueller did with WMDs as FBI Director in February 2003. Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller’s timeline, making it entirely possible that a bogus narrative is being advanced.

So there’s no reason to accept on faith that Russian election interference happened in 2016, let alone that there’s any risk of it happening in 2020. But even if you do accept the establishment Russia narrative regarding 2016, you can be certain that Moscow won’t be interfering in 2020 for Trump’s benefit.

You can be absolutely certain that Russia won’t be interfering to re-elect Trump because Trump has proven to be the most hawkish president against Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, by a very wide margin. For all his rhetoric about “getting along with Russia”, Trump has greatly escalated tensions with the nuclear superpower by staging a coup in Venezuela, implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a much more aggressive stance against Russiawithdrawing from the INF treaty, bombing and illegally occupying Syria, arming Ukraine, and many, many other hawkish actionstaken against the interests of the Russian Federation which his predecessor Obama never dared to take.

Even if Putin were the brilliant omnipotent mastermind with tentacles in every international affair as he is consistently depicted in western mainstream media, it would make no sense whatsoever for him to help re-elect an administration that has been undermining and threatening Russia at every opportunity. That will not happen.

But of course, this obvious fact will not stop the Russia conspiracy theories, because Russia conspiracy theories have nothing to do with facts. We can expect to see fact-free allegations that Russia is planning to help Trump win in 2020 getting louder and louder as the election grows nearer. We can expect to see these fact-free allegations bolstered and amplified by western government agencies who need to manufacture support for further escalations against Russia, by the mass media who need ratings, and by the Democratic Party who need to keep their base fixated on insubstantial nonsense while they force an establishment loyalist through their fake primary.

It’s so interesting how each mainstream side of this is doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to be doing: Trump claims to want to work with Russia, but in term of action his administration is attacking Russia’s interests in many hugely significant ways to an extent that is unprecedented in a post-USSR world. Democrats claim to be opposing Trump’s pernicious inclinations, but in practice they fully support all his most pernicious agendas, including the potentially world-ending escalations between two nuclear powers, and including the Venezuela regime change operation which is getting more aggressive by the day. Even the supposedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been mostly flowing along with this, with Alexandria Occasio-Cortez reportedly saying “I defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this” when questioned on Trump’s Venezuela coup attempt.

The gap between reality and the dominant narratives about reality is getting wider and wider. Something’s going to have to give.

*  *  *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Published:5/4/2019 1:18:37 PM
[] Thread before the Gardening Thread May 4 [KT] Serving your mid-day open thread needs Obama told his side to bring a gun to a knife fight. Not to bring a chicken to a knife fight. Hello, Horde. I have been pretty much out of commission for a... Published:5/4/2019 10:47:46 AM
[2016 Election] You’ll Never Believe Who Obama Blames For Hillary’s 2016 Loss

The following article, You’ll Never Believe Who Obama Blames For Hillary’s 2016 Loss, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Shockingly Barack Obama placed the blame for Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss on someone I haven't heard any other Democrat blame,

Continue reading: You’ll Never Believe Who Obama Blames For Hillary’s 2016 Loss ...

Published:5/4/2019 8:19:31 AM
[Middle Column] UN report urges ‘action’: Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk – 1 million species at risk of annihilation

‘We are in trouble if we don’t act,’ say UN experts, with up to 1m species at risk of annihilation

#

Flashbacks: Time for Next Eco-Scare: ‘As the global warming bubble deflates, another scare is being inflated – species extinction’ - 'History shows that it is the destiny of most species to be destroyed by periodic natural calamities or competition from other species...No species has an assured place on Earth. Some species can adapt and survive – those unable to adapt are removed from the gene pool. Because of Earth's long turbulent history, most species surviving today are not 'fragile'

Published:5/4/2019 6:53:06 AM
[Media] ‘Next level idiocy’: Chris Hayes unveils what could be the craziest Obama-era conspiracy theory yet

Chris Hayes unveiled a new conspiracy theory last night that accused Republicans, business owners and economists of purposely tanking the economy under President Obama: Everyone who called for austerity got it wrong and caused harmEveryone who scaremongered about the deficit got it wrong and caused harmEveryone who wrote about the "skills gap" got it wrong […]

The post ‘Next level idiocy’: Chris Hayes unveils what could be the craziest Obama-era conspiracy theory yet appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/4/2019 6:46:43 AM
[2016 Election] Report: Obama Considered Trump’s Election a Personal Insult Report: Obama Considered Trump’s Election a Personal Insult. Well, we say if the middle finger fits, wear it. President Barack Obama considered Donald Trump’s election a personal insult by voters seeking to destroy his legacy by electing a “buffoonish racist,” according to a book excerpt. Published:5/3/2019 6:48:45 PM
[] Obama Took Hillary's Loss as a "Personal Insult;" Was Sure the Public Would Never "Turn on Him;" Blames Hillary's "Soulless" Campaign and Bad Choices BITCHFIGHT! These nuggets from a book by a leftist jag at the New York Times. As always, it's all about Obama. Former President Barack Obama was unhappy with Hillary Clinton and her failed "soulless campaign" in 2016, saying he saw... Published:5/3/2019 6:48:45 PM
[Politics] Obama BLAMED Hillary for running a ‘SOULLESS’ campaign in 2016 LOSS to Trump! A new book claims that Obama was really stung by the Trump victory, and that he blamed Hillary for the crummy campaign she ran. And you KNOW I’m enjoying this!! Baker wrote . . . Published:5/3/2019 6:13:27 PM
[Markets] Here's Why Taking Iran Oil Exports To Zero Is Likely Impossible

Authored by Elijah Magnier, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media

Many analysts believe a US-Israeli war on Iran and Lebanon is likely despite the lack of evidence of preparations for such a war. Although forces could be quickly mobilized after a political decision to go to war, all indications point to a non-military war situation for the simple reason that the US “strangulation war” is not costly to the US establishment and fits perfectly with the objectives of its main Middle Eastern ally, Israel. Nevertheless, menacing letters are being exchanged among involved parties who are, nonetheless, prepared for the worst-case scenario.

As far as Iran goes, the “zero oil exports” – the US wants to impose on the 1stof May – may be impossible to achieve. It will not be easy for OPEC members to compensate the two million Iranian barrels of oil daily (out of 3.45 million of total daily production), as President Donald Trump would like.

The Persian Gulf Star Co. gas refinery in Bandar Abbas, Iran, in January. Bloomberg via Getty Images

The US objective is to curb Iran’s will and force it to the negotiation table to dictate elements necessary for the security of Israel in the Middle East. A goal no US establishment has ever managed to achieve since the “Islamic Revolution” took power in Iran in 1979, notwithstanding the sanctions imposed over four decades.

Iran has land borders with Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey. It is logistically easy to supply these countries with Iran’s high-quality light crude oil at a cheaper price than the market price. During the Bush and Obama eras, Iran never stopped exporting its oil and exchanging it for hard currency or gold, despite sanctions.

Moreover, China needs its 650,000 bpd. Several Chinese companies offer technology and industrial services and commerce their expertise and products with Iranian companies in exchange for oil, and these companies are not willing to stop this trade. This alone will be enough to cause the failure of the US establishment’s objective of “zero exports” without necessarily meaning that such a breakdown will lead to a military confrontation.

President Trump is not willing to engage his forces in a major war, even if he has the audacity to ask Saudi Arabia to pay for it. The US President may have to find another achievement in the Middle East to brag about and exploit during the campaign for his second mandate in 2020.

This US administration, like previous ones, will likely fail to curb Iran’s will despite the severe sanctions it has imposed. Nor will it succeed in forcing Iran to stop support for its partners in the Middle East (i.e. Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen). The support of Iran to state and non-state actors in the region is a self-imposed obligation cited in many articles in the Iranian constitution.

Moreover, Iran will never agree to open its missile industry to inspection or to halt its missile production, as requested by the US establishment. Iran’s missiles represent its main efficient weapon to maintain a balance of forces sufficient to dissuade all its potential enemies.

And last, Iran and its Middle Eastern partners will not abandon the Palestinian cause until the last Palestinian group decides to abandon its territory to Israel. Therefore, Trump should be content – as the achievement of his first mandate – with the “gifts” he has given to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

The bras-de-fer between the US and Iran will likely not wind down as long as Trump is in power, so long as he is unwilling meet Iran’s two conditions for the resumption of negotiations with Tehran: lifting the heavy sanctions imposed on Iran, and honoring the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump seems unable to accept the end of unilateral US hegemony over the world.

Published:5/3/2019 5:44:07 PM
[Politics] Obama BLAMED Hillary for running a ‘SOULLESS’ campaign in 2016 LOSS to Trump! A new book claims that Obama was really stung by the Trump victory, and that he blamed Hillary for the crummy campaign she ran. And you KNOW I’m enjoying this!! Baker wrote . . . Published:5/3/2019 5:44:07 PM
[In The News] Trump Cuts Off States From Skimming Medicaid Payments For Big Labor

By Tim Pearce -

The Trump administration finalized a rule on Thursday scrapping a 2014 Medicaid regulation allowing states to divert payments meant for caretakers to unions. The Obama administration issued a regulation that protected a state practice that had, by that time, been practiced for decades. Since the 1990s, states have accepted Medicaid ...

Trump Cuts Off States From Skimming Medicaid Payments For Big Labor 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:5/3/2019 3:43:26 PM
[Politics] Bennet: Economy Has Been in 'Straight Line' Since Obama Sen. Michael Bennet, the latest Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 2020 presidential nomination, downplayed Fridays' job numbers report, saying they just reflect statistics that have been in a "straight line" since 2009 when President Barack Obama took office. Published:5/3/2019 3:14:58 PM
[US News] What a tangled web they weaved: Sean Davis lays out Russian HOAX lie by shameless lie and it’s BRUTAL for Obama’s WH

If you’re anything like this editor, keeping up with all of the investigations and what did and didn’t happen is starting to feel a little bit like herding cats. All over the place and a little insane. Luckily, Tweeps like Sean Davis are good about keeping it simple … and infuriating. Take for example how […]

The post What a tangled web they weaved: Sean Davis lays out Russian HOAX lie by shameless lie and it’s BRUTAL for Obama’s WH appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/3/2019 2:13:37 PM
[Markets] The Wheels Of Real Justice Are In Motion Now: Kunstler Fears The "Desperate Resistance" Next Move...

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

"Impeachment is too good for him,” Nancy Pelosi declared of the president on Thursday after “his lapdog” - as she styled Attorney General William Barr - refused to be whipped by grandstanding Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. What did Madam Speaker have in mind then? Dragging Mr. Trump behind a Chevy Tahoe over four miles of broken light bulbs? Staking him onto a nest of fire ants? How about a beheading at the capable hands of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)?

Mr. Barr’s stolid demeanor during the Wednesday session was a refreshing reminder of what it means to be not insane in the long-running lunatic degeneration of national politics.

Of course, the reason for the continued hysteria among Democrats is that the two-year solemn inquiry by the august former FBI Director, Mr. Mueller, is being revealed daily as a mendacious fraud with criminal overtones running clear through Democratic ranks beyond even the wicked Hillary Clinton to the sainted former president Obama, who may have supervised his party’s collusion with foreign officials to interfere in the 2016 election.

Mr. Barr’s hints that he intends to tip this dumpster of political subterfuge, to find out what was at the bottom of it, is being taken as a death threat to the Democratic Party, as well it should be. A lot of familiar names and faces will be rolling out of that dumpster into the grand juries and federal courtrooms just as the big pack of White House aspirants jets around the primary states as though 2020 might be anything like a normal election.

In short and in effect, the Democratic Party itself is headed to trial on a vector that takes it straight into November next year. How do you imagine it will look to voters when Mr. Obama’s CIA chief, John Brennan, his NSA Director James Clapper, a baker’s dozen of former Obama top FBI and DOJ officials, including former AG Loretta Lynch, and sundry additional players in the great game of RussiaGate Gotcha end up ‘splainin’ their guts out to a whole different cast of federal prosecutors? It’s hardly out of the question that Barack Obama himself and Mrs. Clinton may face charges in all this mischief and depravity.

It’s surely true that the public is sick of the RussiaGate spectacle. (I know readers of this blog complain about it.) But it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the worst and most tangled scandal that the US government has ever seen, and that failing to resolve it successfully really is an existential threat to the project of being a republic. I was a young newspaper reporter during Watergate and that was like a game of animal lotto compared to this garbage barge of malfeasance.

It’s a further irony of the moment that the suddenly leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, is neck-deep in that spilled garbage, the story unspooling even as I write that then-Veep Uncle Joe strong-armed the Ukraine government to fire its equivalent of Attorney General to quash an investigation of his son, Hunter, who received large sums of money from the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, which had mystifyingly appointed the young American to its board of directors after the US-sponsored overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych.

That nasty bit of business comes immediately on top of information that the Hillary campaign was using its connections in Ukraine — from her years at the State Department — to traffic in political dirt on Mr. Trump, plus an additional intrigue that included payments to the Clinton Foundation of $25 million by Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. That was on top of contributions of $150 million that the Clinton Foundation had received earlier from Russian oligarchs around 2012.

Did they suppose that no one would ever notice? Or is it just a symptom of the desperation that has gripped the Democratic Party since the stunning election loss of 2016 made it impossible to suppress this titanic, bubbling vessel of fermented misdeeds? It seems more than merely possible that the entire Mueller Investigation was a ruse from the start to conceal all this nefarious activity. It is even more astounding to see exactly what a lame document the Mueller Report turned out to be. It was such a dud that even the Democratic senators and congresspersons who are complaining the loudest have not bothered to visit the special parlor set up  at the Department of Justice for their convenience to read a much more lightly redacted edition of the report.

The mills of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. The wheels are in motion now and it’s unlikely they will be stopped by mere tantrums. But the next move by the desperate Resistance may be to create so much political disorder in the system that they manage to delegitimize the 2020 election before it is even held, and plunge the nation deeper into unnecessary crisis just to try and save their asses.

Published:5/3/2019 2:13:37 PM
[Markets] Obama Slammed Clinton's "Scripted, Soulless" Campaign For Loss To "Cartoon Character" Trump

New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker has published an updated edition of his book "Obama: The Call of History", and it includes several embarrassing details about President Obama's reaction to Donald Trump's historic electoral triumph, as well as Obama's complaints about Hillary Clinton's "scripted, soulless" campaign strategy.

According to the Daily Mail, which published some of the excerpts on Friday, Obama interpreted Trump's victory as a "personal insult", and whined to his aides and family that the loss "stings" and that the American people had "turned on him" while bashing Clinton for "bringing her many troubles on herself."

Obama

As Baker wrote, as Obama saw it, the "real blame" for Clinton's loss "lay squarely with Clinton" - despite her many well-documented attempts to make every conceivable excuse, from blaming Bernie Sanders and his misogynistic "Bernie Bros" to misogynistic Trump supporters.

But as Obama vented, nobody forced Clinton to take money from Goldman Sachs, or set up an illicit private email server at her house in Chappaqua.

In a stinging passage Baker writes: 'To Obama and his team, however, the real blame lay squarely with Clinton.

'She was the one who could not translate his strong record and healthy economy into a winning message.

'Never mind that Trump essentially ran the same playbook against Clinton that Obama did eight years earlier, portraying her as a corrupt exemplar of the status quo.

'She brought many of her troubles on herself. No one forced her to underestimate the danger in the Midwest states of Wisconsin and Michigan.

'No one forced her to set up a private email server that would come back to haunt her.

'No one forced her to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other pillars of Wall Street for speeches.

'No one forced her to run a scripted, soulless campaign that tested eighty-five slogans before coming up with 'Stronger Together'.

Feeling secure in Clinton's impending victory, Obama and his top aide Valerie Jarrett retreated to the White House movie theater to watch the Marvel Movie Dr. Strange. Michelle Obama went to bed early that night, but later in the evening, as results from Florida started coming in, Obama checked the results, and was suddenly struck by a sinking feeling.

He watched in abject horror as Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - formerly Democratic strongholds.

In the weeks after Trump's victory, Obama vacillated from philosophical contemplation to rage, and complained to his speech writer Ben Rhodes that he was about to hand the nuclear codes over to a "cartoon character" and a "huckster straight out of Huckleberry Finn".

Obama tried to keep his cool in the weeks afterwards and texted his speechwriter Ben Rhodes: 'There are more stars in the sky than sand on the earth'.

But soon he was unable to contain his rage which escalated after he met Trump in the Oval Office.

Baker writes that despite being cordial in public he afterwards summoned Rhodes who told him that Trump 'peddles in b*******'

Rhodes said: 'That character has always been part of the American story. You can see it right back to some of the characters in Huckleberry Finn'.

Obama replied: 'Maybe that's the best we can hope for'.

As the weeks went by Obama went through 'multiple emotional stages', at times being philosophical and other times he 'flashed anger'.

He also showed a rare self-doubt and wondered if 'maybe this is what people want', Baker writes.

Obama told one aide: 'I've got the economy set up well for him. No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon'.

Of particular interest considering the Mueller report's findings, which have been endlessly relitigated since the redacted report was released last month, Baker explains Obama's decision not to come out harder against Russia during the campaign, after US intelligence warned about the Kremlin's attempts to 'interfere' in the US election.

As Baker tells it, Obama's "don't-do-stupid-shit" instincts made him reluctant to bash Russia over the meddling, as did his confidence that Clinton would surely prevail. As Obama saw it, if he made a big deal about Russian interference, Trump would simply complain to his voters that the whole election was rigged.

Baker's book also gives new insight into why Obama was so hesitant about criticizing Russia for meddling in the 2016 election before vote took place.

Obama was led by his 'cautious don't-do-stupid-s**t instincts' and feared that a forceful response would make Russia 'escalate' its operation.

Then there was the question of how Trump would react and Obama admitted that 'if I speak out more, he'll just say it's rigged'.

Obama wrongly assumed that Clinton would win the election and Obama said in one meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin 'backed the wrong horse'.

When it came time to meet his successor and start planning the transition, Obama was cordial. But he never could get past the unshakeable feeling that the American people had rejected his legacy.

Something that, given his continued sniping at Trump, probably stings to this very day.

Published:5/3/2019 11:43:55 AM
[Politics] Voters Say Trump’s Impeachment, Removal from Office Bad for Economy

Democrats remain convinced that President Obama is largely responsible for the economic boom that followed Donald Trump’s election, but voters in general agree that Trump’s impeachment would be bad news for the U.S. economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of all Likely U.S. Voters think the improving economy is due more to President Trump. Forty-three percent (43%) say it’s primarily due to the policies Obama put in place before he left office. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 28-29, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

Published:5/3/2019 10:11:39 AM
[Economy] The Boom Continues (John Hinderaker) They said it couldn’t be done. Well, Barack Obama did, anyway: “What magic wand do you have?” And of course we remember Paul Krugman’s infamous prediction that the stock market would never recover from Donald Trump’s election. But Trump’s formula of lower taxes, less regulation and–a key element, I think–sensible repatriation policy continue to drive our economy to unprecedented heights. The latest: the economy added 263,000 new jobs in April, Published:5/3/2019 9:42:43 AM
[Markets] Barr Launches Wide-Ranging Probe Into 2016 FBI Spying

Attorney General William Barr told the Senate Judiciary Panel this week that he has assembled a team at the Justice Department to probe whether the spying conducted by the FBI against the Trump campaign in 2016 was improper, reports Bloomberg

Barr suggested that he would focus on former senior leaders at the FBI and Justice Department. 

"To the extent there was overreach, what we have to be concerned about is a few people at the top getting it into their heads that they know better than the American people," said Barr. 

Barr will also review whether the infamous Steele dossier - a collection of salacious and unverified claims against Donald Trump, assembled by a former British spy and paid for by the Clinton campaign - was fabricated by the Russian government to trick the FBI and other US agencies. (Will Barr investigate whether Steele made the whole thing up for his client, Fusion GPS?)

"We now know that he was being falsely accused," Barr said of Trump. "We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon."

Mueller’s report didn’t say there were false accusations against Trump. It said the evidence of cooperation between the campaign and Russia “was not sufficient to support criminal charges.” Investigators were unable to get a complete picture of the activities of some relevant people, the special counsel found.

Although Barr’s review has only begun, it’s helping to fuel a narrative long embraced by Trump and some of his Republican supporters: that the Russia investigation was politically motivated and concocted from false allegations in order to spy on Trump’s campaign and ultimately undermine his presidency. -Bloomberg

As Bloomberg notes, Barr's review could receive a boost by a Thursday New York Times article acknowledging that the FBI sent a 'honeypot' spy to London in 2016 to pose as a research assistant and gather intelligence from Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos over possible Trump campaign links to Russia. 

The Trump re-election campaign immediately seized on the Times report as evidence that improper spying did occur. "As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators," said Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale in a statement. 

During Barr's Wednesday testimony, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) told Barr "It appears to me that the Obama administration, Justice Department and FBI decided to place their bets on Hillary Clinton and focus their efforts" when it came to investigating the Trump campaign. 

Depending on what Barr finds, his review of the Russia probe could give Trump ammunition to defend himself in continuing congressional inquiries -- and in a potential impeachment for obstructing justice. Barr told senators that Trump’s actions can’t be seen as obstruction if he was exercising his constitutional authority as president to put an end to an illegitimate investigation.

Barr’s efforts follow two years of work by a group of House Republicans who have been conducting dozens of interviews regarding the FBI’s and Justice Department’s conduct in the early stages of investigation of Trump and his campaign. -Bloomberg

On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) issued a criminal referral for Nellie Ohr - a former Fusion GPS contractor who passed anti-Trump research to her husband, then the #4 official at the DOJ. 

On Thursday, Meadows said that Barr's "willingness to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation is the first step in putting the questionable practices of the past behind us," and that the AG's "tenacity is sure to be rewarded."

The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign after a self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, Joseph Mifsud, fed Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton. That rumor would be coaxed out of the former Trump aide by another Clinton-connected individual - Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who would notify authorities of Papadopoulos' admission, officially launching the investigation. 

Barr says he wants to get to the bottom of it. 

His review will examine the above chain of events that set the investigation into motion, and whether any US agencies were engaged in spying on or investigating the Trump campaign before the probe was officially launched

Barr said he’s working with FBI Director Christopher Wray “to reconstruct exactly what went down.” He said he has “people in the department helping me review the activities over the summer of 2016.”

Notably, Barr said his aides will be “working very closely” with the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz is conducting his own investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation and whether there were abuses when the FBI obtained a secret warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016 to spy on another foreign policy adviser to the campaign, Carter Page. -Bloomberg

Barr will also investigate when the DOJ and FBI knew that the Democratic Party and Clinton was Steele

More subterfuge, or is this really happening?

Published:5/3/2019 9:42:43 AM
[Markets] US Military Stops Releasing Information On Afghanistan War

As the United States continues its 'longest war' in Afghanistan, the US military has elected to stop releasing information often used to measure progress, citing "uncertainty" in the way the data is produced which have resulted in "subjective" underlying assessments. 

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, left, arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan, to consult with Army Gen. Scott Miller, right, commander of U.S. and coalition forces, and senior Afghan government leaders on Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Robert Burns, File)

"The command said they no longer saw decision-making value in these data," reads a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). 

In remarks to reporters last week, John Sopko, the special inspector general, criticized what he called a trend toward less openness by the military authorities who are advising, training and assisting Afghan security forces. -AP

"I don’t think it makes sense," said Sopko. "The Afghan people know which districts are controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban obviously know which districts they control. Our military knows it. Everybody in Afghanistan knows it. The only people who don’t know what’s going on are the people who are paying for all of this, and that’s the American taxpayer."

The move comes amid a stalemate within the Trump administration, as the Pentagon has proposed sending nearly 4,000 more US troops into the conflict, which many in the White House oppose. Some in the White House have even propsed withdrawing completely(i.e. the non-interventionism platform Trump campaigned on) or handing over the American effort to private security contractors. 

And as AP notes, the decision to restrict battlefield information is but the most recent step in a trend of less transparency about the war in recent years - often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which has in previous instances stopped the US military from disclosing how many Afghans had been killed in battle, and the overall attrition within the Afghan army. 

The latest clampdown also aligns with President Donald Trump’s complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information, although there is no evidence that this had any influence on the latest decision.

A government watchdog agency that monitors the U.S. war effort, now in its 18th year, said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. military command in Kabul is no longer producing “district control data,” which shows the number of Afghan districts — and the percentage of their population — controlled by the government compared to the Taliban. -AP

In January, President Trump criticized the disclosure of battlefield information - telling reporters "Some IG goes over there, who are mostly appointed by President Obama — but we’ll have ours, too — and he goes over there, and they do a report on every single thing that’s happening, and they release it to the public," adding "What kind of stuff is this? We’re fighting wars, and they’re doing reports and releasing it to the public? Now, the public means the enemy. The enemy reads those reports; they study every line of it."

Trump then told acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan: "I don’t want it to happen anymore, Mr. Secretary."

When the US military last released battlefield data in January, it revealed that "Afghan government control was stagnant or slipping," according to the report, which adds that the share of the population under Afghan government control or influence - "a figure that was largely unchanged from May 2017 to July 2018 at about 65 percent" - had dropped in October 2018 to 63.5 percent. The Afghan government's control or influence of districts overall fell almost 2% to 53.8 percent

Less than two years ago, a top American commander in Afghanistan called population control “most telling.” Gen. John Nicholson told reporters in November 2017 that he wanted to see the figure, then about two-thirds, increase to at least 80 percent, with the Taliban holding only about 10 percent and the rest contested.

“And this, we believe, is the critical mass necessary to drive the enemy to irrelevance,” Nicholson said then.

Nicholson’s successor, Gen. Scott Miller, believes there already are enough such assessments available to the public, including one produced by intelligence agencies. -AP

"We are focused on setting the conditions for a political settlement to safeguard our national interests," said Col. David M. Butler, a spokesman for Gen. Miller in a Tuesday email exchange with AP. "The district stability assessment that was previously provided by DOD was redundant and did little to serve our mission of protecting our citizens and allies."

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has been making a hard push to encourage the Taliban and Afghan government to engage in peace talks after the Taliban launched a recent spring military offensive. The group has refused to speak directly with representatives from Kabul, which they view as a US puppet. 

The war in Afghanistan is largely forgotten in much of America, as is the enormous, continuing financial cost. This year the Pentagon budget includes $4.9 billion to provide the Afghan army and police with everything from equipment and supplies to salaries and food. That is one piece of a wider array of “reconstruction” assistance the U.S. government has provided since the war began in 2001, totaling $132 billion. -AP

The United States has spent $737 billion on the war and lost over 2,400 lives, according to the Pentagon. 

Published:5/2/2019 9:43:25 PM
[Markets] NYT Opinion Editor Recuses Himself After Democratic Senator Brother Joins 2020 Race

Finally, the New York Times opinion section has acknowledged it has a political conflict of interest. All it took was the brother of its top editor to run for president.

That's right. New York Times Editorial Page Editor James Bennet, formerly a top editor at the Atlantic who was credited with turning around the magazine, has, according to a statement, recused himself from coverage of the 2020 presidential election now that his brother, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, has entered the race.

Bennet said Thursday he’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination, offering himself as a centrist alternative to the increasingly leftward tilt of the Democrats vyng to challenge Trump in 2020.

NYT

The senator's announcement made him the 21st Democrat  - and seventh sitting senator - to announce his candidacy for the 2020 nomination. Put another way, a full 15% of sitting Democrats in the Senate are now running for president - an unprecedented total, which could create problems for the party's efforts to, you know, actually legislate during the campaign, with so many members expected to be out on the trail. 

According to the NYT's statement, Bennet "will not discuss, assign or edit any editorials, Op-Eds, columns or other opinion pieces focused on candidates or major issues in the campaign."

Of course, the fact that the brother of the NYT's Opinion pages was a powerful sitting Democratic senator wasn't a conflict for him, right?

However difficult it might be to believe that, the paper said James, who has been in charge of the NYT's opinion coverage since 2016, hasn't been involved with any decisions relating to his brother in the past, either. Deputy editors Kathleen Kingsbury and James Dao will take handle political coverage so long as Michael's campaign is active (so probably through the Iowa Caucuses, but not much longer).

For those who are unfamiliar with Michael (as most readers probably are), here's a rundown of his policy platform, courtesy of - who else? - the New York Times.

Immigration

Mr. Bennet may be best known for being part of the so-called Gang of Eight: four Democratic and four Republican senators who negotiated a comprehensive immigration proposal in 2013. The bill, which passed the Senate but not the House, included:

  • A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who passed a background check, paid a fine and back taxes, and learned English.
  • An expanded visa program for agricultural workers and an expedited path to permanent residency for student visa holders who earned advanced STEM degrees.
  • A 700-mile border fence, new border-monitoring technologies and about 20,000 more Border Patrol agents.
  • A stronger system for companies to verify employees’ immigration status.

More recently, Mr. Bennet was co-author of a proposal that would have prevented the government shutdown in December by giving President Trump $25 billion for a border wall in exchange for protections for immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

Education

Mr. Bennet, a former superintendent of the Denver school system, has focused heavily on education policy in the Senate. “I think we need an education president,” he told The Des Moines Register this year. "There’s no public good that’s more important than education."

In 2015, he helped write legislation that overhauled the No Child Left Behind Act, transferring some authority from the federal government to the states and reducing the use of standardized tests to evaluate students and teachers.

He has supported expanding Pell Grants and is a co-sponsor of the Finish Act, which would provide funding for colleges and universities to "increase access to higher education for high-need students, increase degree attainment and improve efficiency in our higher education systems."

In materials provided to The New York Times, his campaign did not make any concrete education proposals but said Mr. Bennet would work to ensure that "college students can pursue their studies without incurring the crushing burden of debt; more people seeking an alternative to college can pursue high-quality apprenticeships and job training; and Americans throughout their lives can advance their careers by improving their existing job skills or learning new ones."

Climate change

Mr. Bennet is in line with the rest of the Democratic field in calling for recommitting to the Paris Agreement and preserving Obama-era climate regulations that Mr. Trump is reversing. He has also supported regulating methane emissions and creating a standardized metric for the federal government to measure the cost of greenhouse gas emissions.

In March, he helped create the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, and last month, he was co-sponsor of a bipartisan billthat would provide tax incentives for energy storage.

In other areas, though, he has diverged from the party’s left wing. In a USA Today op-ed essay in 2017, he said some Democrats had played into Republicans’ portrait of them as “job killers fundamentally out of touch with most Americans."

"It is not enough to call for less coal or oil without having meaningful work to replace lost jobs," he wrote, and "when Democrats oppose natural gas, we fail to appreciate both its importance to small-town economies and its pivotal role in reducing coal production."

He also suggested that instead of opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, Democrats should have negotiated a deal that approved the pipeline in exchange for emission reduction measures.

Economics and health care

Mr. Bennet is a co-sponsor of the American Family Act, a Senate proposal that would give every family with children a refundable tax credit of $250 to $300 per month. He also supports expanding the earned-income tax credit.

And his campaign outlined the broad strokes of an economic platform involving infrastructure improvements, high-speed broadband in rural areas, and investments in “advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, superconductors and quantum computing.”

Published:5/2/2019 11:06:39 AM
[Political Cartoons] Democrat’s 2020 Vision – Grrr Graphics – Ben Garrison Cartoon

By Ben Garrison -

There Are None So Blind, As Those Who Will Not See” Under Obama, the Democrats weaponized our justice system. Hillary was able to buy a fake dossier and get it used as an excuse to spy on the Trump campaign. Mueller and Comey were allies of the Clintons. Mueller delivered ...

Democrat’s 2020 Vision – Grrr Graphics – Ben Garrison Cartoon 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:5/2/2019 10:08:03 AM
[FISAgate] DiGenova looks ahead (Scott Johnson) Attorney General Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday offered a preview of coming attractions. He means to get to the bottom of the “spying” conducted by the Obama administration on the Trump presidential campaign. How did it begin? What’s it all about? What was going on? Did it involve abuse of the FISA system? Of course, you had to tune out the Democratic static and listen to Barr’s Published:5/2/2019 6:39:57 AM
[Markets] Nellie Ohr Criminal Referral Being 'Finalized' According To Jim Jordan

Congressional Republicans are "working to finalize" a criminal referral of Russiagate lynchpin Nellie Ohr, the wife of the Justice Department's former #4 official Bruce Ohr. 

(Getty Images; AP; The Epoch Times; Photo illustration by The Epoch Times

Nellie was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, where she conducted extensive opposition research on Trump family members and campaign aides, which she passed along to Bruce on a memory stick

Of note, the Hillary Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS to produce the salacious and unverified "Steele Dossier," which was created by former UK spy Christopher Steele and used Kremlin sources

Meanwhile, today we learn from The Hill's John Solomon that Nellie Ohr exchanged 339 pages of emails with DOJ officials, including her husband Bruce, and met with DOJ prosecutors while working for Fusion GPS

Now, a series of “Hi Honey” emails from Nellie Ohr to her high-ranking federal prosecutor-husband and his colleagues raise the prospect that Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research was being funneled into the Justice Department during the 2016 election through a back-door marital channel. It's a tale that raises questions of both conflict of interest and possible false testimony.

Ohr has admitted to Congress that, during the 2016 presidential election, she worked for Fusion GPS — the firm hired by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee to perform political opposition research — on a project specifically trying to connect Donald Trump and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to Russian organized crime.

Now, 339 pages of emails, from her private account to Department of Justice (DOJ) email accounts, have been released under a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. -The Hill

And according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Mark Meadows "is working to finalize" a criminal referral of Nellie

"Hi Honey, if you ever get a moment you might find the penultimate article interesting — especially the summary in the final paragraph," Nellie emailed Bruce on July 6, 2016 according to the release. The article in question suggested that Trump was a Putin stooge. "If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to service his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump," Nellie bolded for emphasis. 

As Solomon writes, "Such overt political content flowing into the email accounts of a DOJ charged with the nonpartisan mission of prosecuting crimes is jarring enough. It raises additional questions about potential conflicts of interest when it is being injected by a spouse working as a Democratic contractor trying to defeat Trump, and she is forwarding her own research to his department and co-workers."

House GOP investigators who reviewed Nellie Ohr’s emails believe that their timing may be essential to understanding how the false Russian narrative — special counsel Robert Mueller recently concluded there was no evidence of Trump-Putin collusion — may have gotten such credence inside DOJ and intelligence circles despite its overtly political origins.

For instance, just 24 days after the anti-Trump screed was emailed, both Ohrs met in Washington with British intelligence operative Christopher Steele. Nellie Ohr testified that she had known Steele from past encounters and learned at that July 31, 2016, meeting at the Mayflower Hotel that Steele, like herself, was working for Fusion GPS on Trump-Russia research. She said she learned that Steele had concerns that he hoped the DOJ or FBI would investigate, with help from her husband. -The Hill

Nellie, who speaks fluent Russian, worked with Fusion GPS between October 2015 and September 2016. She also admitted during her October 19, 2018 congressional testimony that she favored Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and would have been less comfortable researching Clinton's Russia ties (P. 105). 

In 2010, she represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group in a 2010 "expert working group report on international organized crime" along with Bruce Ohr and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.

Ohr confirmed her work for the CIA during her October testimony.  

***

As we reported in March

some have wondered if Nellie's late-life attraction to Ham radios was in fact a method of covertly communicating with others about the Trump-Russia investigation, in a way which wouldn't be surveilled by the NSA or other agencies. 

was Nellie Ohr’s late-in-life foray into ham radio an effort to evade the Rogers-led NSA detecting her participation in compiling the Russian-sourced Steele dossier? Just as her husband’s omissions on his DOJ ethics forms raise an inference of improper motive, any competent prosecutor could use the circumstantial evidence of her taking up ham radio while digging for dirt on Trump to prove her consciousness of guilt and intention to conceal illegal activities. -The Federalist

Bruce Ohr was demoted twice after the DOJ's Inspector General discovered that he lied about his involvement with Simpson - who employed dossier author and former British spy, Christopher Steele.

Last month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that his panel would do a "deep dive" into the "other side" of the Trump-Russia investigation. He also called for the appointment of a new special counsel to look into abuse between the DOJ and Obama administration while investigating Donald Trump and his campaign. 

Are heads actually going to roll?

Published:5/2/2019 5:35:51 AM
[Uncategorized] Mitt Romney DUNKS on Joe Biden over his weak stance on the threat from China

It appears that the 2012 campaign is repeating itself, but this time it’s Joe Biden minimizing the threat from China instead of Barack Obama minimizing the threat from Russia. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,’ the former vice president declared while campaigning in Iowa. “They’re not bad folks, folks. But guess […]

The post Mitt Romney DUNKS on Joe Biden over his weak stance on the threat from China appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/2/2019 5:35:51 AM
[Markets] Dilbert Creator Exposes Liberal Media's Lies & The "Fine People" Hoax-Funnel

Via Scott Adams' blog,

I’ve been publicly debunking the “fine people” hoax since 2017. The press created the hoax by consistently and intentionally omitting the second half of President Trump’s comments about Charlottesville.

If you only see or hear the first half of what the president said, it looks exactly like the president is calling neo-Nazis “fine people.”

But in the second part of Trump’s comments, he clarified,

“You had people in that group who were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of the park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

In other words, the president believed there were non-racists in attendance who support keeping historical monuments. To remove all doubt, the President continued with

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay?”

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if the President’s assumption about the attendees was accurate or not. He clearly stated his assumption that some people were there for the monument protest, which he contrasted to the racists who were there to march and chant racist stuff. The New York Times interviewed a member of the non-marchers who said they did not stand with the racists. They cared about guns and free speech. See for yourself, here and more background on that group here.

Last week I chatted at length with one of the Charlottesville protest attendees. He hates racism, loves free speech, and wasn’t “marching with” anyone. He reports that there was chaos from the start, with lots of people all over the venue doing lots of different things. And there was no way to know what all of the people in normal street clothes were thinking by attending. He was there because he figured it would be a diverse group, from Antifa to neo-Nazis, with plenty of normal non-racists in between. Bolstering his argument is his Jewish heritage. He didn’t think he was attending a neo-Nazi event. He learned that from the press.

How dumb is that guy, you might reasonably ask?

I asked him to explain how he could look at the flyer for the event and NOT know it was organized by racists. I pointed to the little Nazi-looking winged image on the flyer to make my point. He said it looked like an American eagle to him. And when I started to push back on that point, he sent me other images of American eagles that are evil and warlike. At that point, I remembered a central truth about the human experience: If a hundred people look at exactly the same thing at the same time, they will arrive at wildly different opinions of what they are seeing. If you show that racist flyer to a hundred Americans, most would not recognize the names of the speakers, and many would not realize the graphic design was suggestive of a racist association. The fact that you and I would definitely recognize it for what it was does not suggest others would do the same. As evidence that people interpret the same information differently, consider every political disagreement ever. Most of it involves people looking at the same information and drawing mind-bogglingly different conclusions about what it all means. I wrote about that phenomenon in my book Win Bigly.

I remind you again that it doesn’t matter whether or not President Trump was accurate in his assumption that some non-racists attended. He stated his assumption and then spoke to the assumption. Worst case, the New York Times got the “fine people” story wrong, and Trump also got a detail wrong about the composition of the crowd. There was no reporting on the exact composition of the crowd, then or later. No one did a survey of opinions. We only know of the groups that had the highest profiles.

In America, if there is a large political protest of any kind, the most reasonable assumption one could make is that it will attract a diverse crowd including nearly every kind of opinion on just about everything. If the President is wrong about the existence at that event of some non-racists who were pro-statue, this would be one of the few times in history that there were only two opinions at an event attended by hundreds.

My point is that Trump could have been right or wrong about who attended, but it doesn’t change the fact that his words clearly and unambiguously condemned the marching racists while excluding them from his “fine people” category.

But there is something far more interesting going on here than just a story of fake news and quotes taken out of context. This topic is like a laboratory for testing cognitive dissonance. Rarely do you see a strongly held belief, such as the “fine people” hoax, which can be so easily and unambiguously debunked. You only need to show the transcript and/or the video of Trump’s comments in their entirety. The case is made. Easy, right?

After a few years of trying to deprogram people from this hoax, I have discovered a fascinating similarity in how people’s brains respond to having their worldview annihilated in real time. I call it the “fine people” hoax funnel.

When you present the debunking context to a believer in the hoax, they will NEVER say this:

“Gee, I hadn’t seen the full quote. Now that I see it in its complete form, it is obvious to me that my long-held belief is 100% wrong and the media has been duping me.”

That doesn’t happen.

Instead, people usually react by falling down what I call the Hoax Funnel. I use the funnel imagery because the big hoax (that the President called neo-Nazis fine people) is instantly replaced with a lesser hoax, and so on, until the final claim is laughably vaporous, consisting of a question without a claim. Here is the hoax funnel in all its parts. You can test this at home by debunking the hoax with friends and family. Watch how they all go down the same hoax funnel until they end with nothing but questions of the “How do you explain X, then?” type.

We start at the top of the funnel.

Trump called neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville “fine people”

This is debunked by showing the full transcript or the full video in which he clearly, and without prompting, says the exact opposite, that the neo-Nazis and white nationalists should be condemned totally. See for yourself.

The believer in the “fine people” hoax will question the authenticity of the transcript first, which you can debunk by showing the actual video clip here. Once the legitimacy of the transcript is established, expect the believer to retreat down the hoax funnel to the following hallucination.

No “fine people” march with neo-Nazis!

Here you can expect the hoaxed person to hallucinate (literally) a fact that is not claimed and is not in evidence. There is no claim that “fine people” were “marching with” the neo-Nazis, or supporting them in any way. There is a claim that such people were in the same zip code. The “marching with” hallucination is easily debunked by a New York Times article in which they interview one of the non-racists in attendance who love guns and free speech and do not stand with racists, much less march with them. Excerpt here:

But it doesn’t matter if the New York Times got that story right. What matters is that the President explained his assumption about who attended. Keep in mind that the media has not reported who attended. No survey of opinions was taken, and there were plenty of people in attendance who were not physically marching or chanting with the neo-Nazis.

Once you debunk the “marching with” point, expect the believer to retreat down the hoax funnel to this next point.

Trump wasn’t talking about statue protests! He was talking about protesters versus neo-Nazis!

Again, showing the transcript debunks this claim. Trump specifically mentioned that people were protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. That clearly frames the “both sides” as being pro and anti-statue, not neo-Nazis versus anti-racism protestors, which of course was the biggest story theme from the event.

Once you have shown that Trump was explicitly talking about both sides of the statue debate, believers can be expected to retreat down the hoax funnel to this next level.

It was obviously a neo-Nazi event, so no one would attend who was not a racist!

That point would make sense if you had never spent a minute as an adult in the actual world. In the real world, a hundred people can look at a flyer and have a lot of different opinions on what it means. You might look at the flyer and conclude that only racists were attending. Someone else might look at it and not know some of the named speakers had racist views, or might assume the racists were a small part of a larger event about statues. The only way a believer can defend their “should have known” opinion is by assuming that the attendees were smarter than the average American seems to be in every other walk of life. You can’t get a hundred Americans to have the same interpretation of ANYTHING, no matter how confident you are that they should.

Once you have debunked this claim by showing how opposite the “should have known” argument is to all human experience, observation, and common sense, the believer will still hold it to be a rational argument. But you can finish it off by reminding the believer that the facts of exactly who attended do not matter to the hoax question because the President clearly stated he believed some non-racists were attending to protest the statue question. (No marching!)

At this point, your believer will retreat further down the hoax funnel to an even weaker position that looks like this.

Why didn’t the non-racists who attended turn and leave as soon as they arrived? Huh? Huh? Explain that, you apologist!

Notice we are entering the question phase instead of the opinion stage. When hoax believers are so far down the hoax funnel that the best point they can make is in the form of a question, you have already debunked the main point: The President was NOT calling the neo-Nazis and white nationalists “fine people.”

But watch how your believer will abandon the main point without admitting it, as if the lesser points that follow are somehow all the original point, but different. This is when things get really freaky.

Expect this question next.

Why doesn’t the president speak out against racism and neo-Nazis?

This can be debunked by referring to links showing the President repeatedly condemning racism and bigotry at different times and places. See here and hereand here for examples. And of course here talking about Charlottesville.

After you have shown clips of Trump condemning racists repeatedly, and naming the groups, you generally see the hoax believer retreat down the hoax funnel to this.

Why is Trump “revising history” now, instead of when it happened in 2016?

Chris Cuomo of CNN asked this question recently when discussing the topic. And he asked the question immediately after reporting that Sleepy Joe Biden had raised the issue in his campaign announcement speech. Biden is the answer to the first part of the question as to why it is in the headlines. But why is Trump pushing back on the hoax now when he didn’t push back so hard in 2016?

Unfortunately, I have some insight into that question, and I don’t like it. According to my sources, the White House staff (many of whom were not as pro-Trump as you would expect, especially in 2016) and even some percentage of the management of FoxNews believed the hoax. That isn’t so surprising when you consider that half the country believed it and still do. Under those conditions, the President was trapped. If he couldn’t get his own staff and FoxNews on his side, maybe it was better to let the story atrophy from lack of attention. I can’t read the President’s mind, but without his staff and FoxNews on the same side, it would have been risky to take on the hoax without backup.

So what changed?

It turns out I’m part of the answer to that question. As I said, I’ve been publicly persuading on this topic for a few years, and slowly picking up support. But I wasn’t getting much traction until Sleepy Joe raised the issue, and that encouraged me to hammer at the topic with the help of my 312,000 Twitter followers. Brave writers such as Joel Pollack and Steve Cortes took it up a level with articles debunking the hoax here and here. Best of all, meme-maker phenomenon Carpe Donktum mocked the hoax in a way that is fun and visual, which increased its attention. And special thanks to the Twitter patriots who wrestled with other Wikipedia editors to correct the record on that site, including @Unstumpable2016, @natasjlp, @milkchaser, @daveJay and @SolidPhase.

Collectively, including all the folks on social media who joined the debunking, we made enough noise to force the major news outlets to respond to the criticisms, with several of them naming me as a debunker. Wikipedia was the first non-right-leaning publication to debunk the hoax by including for the first time the entirety of the President’s statements. In the past week, I’ve seen other major publications debunk it as well, while pretending they are not. By that I mean they show the second part of the quote that debunks the hoax. They don’t frame it as a debunking, choosing instead (every time) to descend down the hoax funnel to find something – anything – that is tangentially related to the topic that they can claim is what they meant all along, or is true enough, or at least changes the subject. I include among the debunkers this past week the Washington Post, Vox, CNN, FoxNews, TheDailyBeast, RealClearPolitics, Breitbart, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and even Politifact.com. Any publication that printed the second part of Trump’s statement is debunking the hoax.

You might think all that debunking would be enough to end the hoax. But the hoax funnel goes deep. Chris Cuomo of CNN retreated all the way to this question.

Why does Trump speak out against Islamic terror more than white supremacy when the death count lately is higher from white supremacists?

I can’t read the President’s mind, but I observe he downplays everything he wants to see less of and exaggerates everything he wants more of. For example, he downplayed ISIS when the press was warning they were still a bigger threat. I interpreted that as a way to keep ISIS recruiting down. Who wants to join a losing team? Likewise, downplaying the rise of white nationalists/supremacists is how you get less of it. That last thing that would be helpful to the nation is hearing our President say the racists are doing great lately at getting their kill stats up. That would attract people to it.

We also know the press tries hard to frame the president as the cause of any rise in racist violence in this country. If someone is blaming you for causing a problem, would you respond by saying there’s a lot of that problem? You might think the smart answer involves minimizing it, given that you know you are going to take the blame for it.

It also doesn’t make much sense to say domestic racist terror is “worse” than Islamic terror based solely on the fact that the recent body counts are higher in one group. For starters, only a few dozen people are killed by domestic terror per year, compared to 280,000 people killed by handguns over the past decade. If all you do is count dead bodies, domestic terrorism and even Islamic terrorism in this country both round to zero. If you are being honest, you don’t compare those two groups on the basis of victim counts alone.

Islamic terrorists would love to use a weapon of mass destruction in the United States. They are an international organization bent on world domination, with standing armies, at least in the case of ISIS. And they are driven by an ideology that is hard to stop once it gets a toehold. By contrast, white racist terrorist attacks usually involve mental illness and lone wolves. I don’t see those risks as similar, and I don’t know how smart it would be to tell the public the racists are doing a great job of getting their stats up.

Now let’s say you have talked a believer in the “fine people” hoax all the way down the hoax funnel to here. Do they acknowledge how badly they have been misinformed and hoaxed by their trusted news sources for years?

Never.

Instead, expect them to pivot to one of the other debunked hoaxes that they are not aware have been debunked because their news sources are unreliable. That last gasp looks like this.

Well, Trump said other things that prove he is a racist monster, so…

That’s when the hoax-believer will present a laundry list of other hoaxes they still believe, including these gems.

Trump called Mexicans “animals”! (He didn’t. He called MS-13 gang members animals)

Trump called countries in which brown people live “shitholes.” (He didn’t. It was a reference to poor economic situations in some countries.)

Trump questioned Obama’s birth certificate. (Questioning an opponent’s legitimacy for office is politics 101. Trump did the same for Ted Cruz, questioning his Canadian birth. Politics of the most common kind is not racism.)

Trump said all Mexicans are rapists! (He didn’t say all Mexicans are rapists. He was using his normal hyperbole to say too many criminals were crossing the border.)

Trump said Judge Curiel couldn’t be fair because he is Mexican! (No, he indicated that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage might bias him against Trump because the media had painted Trump as an enemy of all Hispanics. In the legal process, calling out potential bias is normal and useful.)

Trump mocked a reporter who has an arm disability! (No, Trump uses similar mocking gestures for anyone he thinks acts stupid, including Ted Cruz. See for yourself here.

For a tour of some of the other hoaxes about Trump, see my blog post titled Why Democrats Hear a Secret Racist Dog Whistle and Republicans Don’t.

As I mentioned, this topic is interesting on the political dimension, but far more fascinating on the psychological dimension. As a test that you can try at home, see if you can push a believer in the “fine people” hoax down the hoax funnel. And just for fun, see if you can talk a believer into reading aloud the part of Trump’s transcript in which he “condemned totally” the neo-Nazis and white nationalists. I predict it will be hard to get anyone to read it. The cognitive dissonance should, in theory, freeze their brains and render them speechless. The believer will become “cognitively blind” to the transcript and probably get angry in the process. And you will give yourself a lesson in what cognitive dissonance looks like. Watch carefully the eyes of the hoax believer as their worldview dissolves. They will often get bug-eyed (literally widening their eyes) and start to sputter out laundry lists of other hoaxes.

You won’t change any minds. In my experience, the hoax believers go all the way down the hoax funnel and then forget the journey, returning to the top as if it had not been debunked one minute earlier. But you might enjoy breaking the brains of your critics. And you might learn something in the process.

Have fun!

Published:5/1/2019 10:02:43 PM
[Markets] Trump Jr: Don’t Risk The 2nd Amendment By Voting Democrat

Authored by Donald Trump Jr. via Human Events

Donald Trump Jr: Don’t Risk The 2nd Amendment by Voting Democrat

The right to bear arms is sacred, and endowed by God to every citizen from birth.

Most Americans recognize that it’s not dependent on some old-fashioned notion about arming citizen militias. It’s a fundamental right that enables the people to maintain a check against the near-limitless power of government, which is granted by the people in the first place.

Democrats, particularly the field of 2020 presidential candidates, disregard our 2nd Amendment rights for political gain, demagoguing about violence and the illegal use of arms. If, Heaven forbid, one of these 2nd Amendment deniers were to win the White House in 2020, he or she would strip this sacred right from us without hesitation.

I had the pleasure of spending my weekend with some of the Americans most fervently committed to defending our 2nd Amendment rights at the NRA’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

In my conversations with these activists, I was struck by one unshakable impression: no matter what rage the Democrats unleash on defenders of the Constitution, and no matter how strenuously they advocate the same failed gun control policies they have for half a century, they will not win.

The essential determination that, as Thomas Jefferson put it, “No Freeman Shall Ever Be Debarred the Use of Arms” runs in a straight, unbroken line from the ancient English traditions of liberty, through the Founding Fathers, to the men and women of the MAGA Movement today.

The strength of that spirit, however, must not blind us to the dark storm of gun-grabbing demagoguery gathering among our opponents.

The pro-gun rights victories we’ve secured through painstaking effort over the decade since the Supreme Court’s landmark DC v. Heller decision do not mean that our work is done. The left is more determined than ever to roll back this fundamental freedom.

***

Read the rest at Human Events - including analysis of inflammatory comments and sobering threats by top Democrats, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Don Jr. also discusses the Poway, California Synagogue attack which was stopped by a "good guy with a gun," as well as his father's decision to pull out of the UN "Arms Trade Treaty" inked under Obama. 

Published:5/1/2019 6:31:29 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Former Obama Treasury official mocks Trump’s ‘brilliant’ conclusion about life Aaron Klein, a Brookings economist and former deputy assistant Treasury secretary under Obama, kicked off his appearance at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week by throwing shade at the president.
Published:5/1/2019 11:58:25 AM
[Markets] Pelosi Invokes Obama's Legacy To Kill The 'Green New Deal'

Nancy Pelosi is employing a new weapon in her desperate battle to keep a lid on the restive progressives and "Democratic Socialists" who now represent a sizable voting bloc in the House: Invoking the legacy of President Barack Obama. According to Bloomberg, as the House prepares to vote on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Green New Deal' resolution, Pelosi is using Obama's 'leadership' on climate change - like joining the Paris Climate Accords - to support her reasoning that there might be more moderate ways to deal with climate change short of banning air travel and calling for the reconstruction of nearly every building in New York City.

The report  precedes two climate-change-related votes in the House this week: One on the GND resolution, and another proposal, which has Pelosi's explicit backing, that would seek to stop President Trump from pulling out of the Paris Accord. Pelosi has made it clear that the latter bill both has a better chance of ultimately becoming a law and producing a tangible accomplishment, while the GND would simply hand Trump and his fellow Republicans a cudgel with which to bludgeon the moderate Democrats in swing districts who were responsible for the Democrats' mid-term victory in the House.

Obama

However, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left Dems, who have done a much better job of amplifying their voices on social media, successfully drowning out their more moderate peers, have made it clear that while they wouldn't oppose Pelosi's plan - it's still a good first step, they've said - it falls far short of their goal.

And to be clear, that goal remains: Prevent the imminent climate-change-driven destruction of planet Earth, which - in case you've forgotten - is only 12 years away.

"The idea that we can just reintroduce 2009 policies is not reflective of action that is necessary for now in the world of today," said Ocasio-Cortez. She added that "there is no harm in passing" Pelosi's bill, but ultimately, the GND is what's needed.

Fortunately for Pelosi, her approach is popular with moderates, who still outnumber progressives like AOC. The climate change bill by Florida Democratic Representative Kathy Castor already has 224 Democratic co-sponsors.

"That administration put forward real solutions for the American families," Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said of Obama’s tenure. "There is no sort of ‘moderate response’ here. It’s just that we are at the beginning of this process."

But  that hasn't stopped progressives from deriding it as "the junior varsity bill".

Yet that won’t do for progressives who are pushing for more aggressive action and are worried that the vote would be a substitute for meaningful legislation.

"Simply put, it’s the junior varsity bill," said RL Miller, the chairman of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus and co-founder of the Climate Hawks Vote, a political action committee. "It’s nice but extremely insufficient."

Focusing on the Paris accord allows Democrats to paint Republicans as opposing solutions to global warming and highlight what they say is a lack of leadership on the issue by Trump, who has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

As BBG points out, Pelosi's strategy on climate change mirrors her tactics on health-care, too, as she has opposed Medicare for All and instead pushed for 'improvements' to Obamacare.

But as the progressives have made it clear that they won't stop pushing until they've seized control of the Democratic agenda, all of this might be too little, too late for Pelosi.

Published:5/1/2019 11:00:17 AM
[Politics] David Bossie: Biden Must Explain 'Lies' of Obama Admin. Former Vice President Joe Biden must answer for the "lies" of the Obama administration, according to David Bossie, who served as the deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump. Published:5/1/2019 10:35:17 AM
[Political Cartoons] Jobama – A.F. Branco Cartoon

By A.F. Branco -

With Trump’s big economic success among all the other promises made and kept, about all Biden has to offer is bringing us back to more failed Obama style policies. Political Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019. See more Branco toons HERE

Jobama – A.F. Branco Cartoon 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:5/1/2019 10:35:16 AM
[Markets] Trump Admin Adapts To 'Deep State Enemies' While Crafting New Environmental Policies

In an effort to accomplish President Trump's environmental goals, his appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior - Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt - have been focusing on avoiding conflict with enemies in the so-called "deep state," as Bloomberg Environment puts it. Of note, Bernhardt is a former lobbyists who represented oil and gas companies, fossil fuel trade groups and mining companies, while Wheeler was a coal lobbyist. 

According to "attorneys, lawmakers, and even executive branch staffers" who spoke with Bloomberg, Wheeler and Bernhardt "are much more comfortable with the intricacies of crafting policy than their headline-grabbing predecessors were." 

"It was not a modest swing," said Trump's former top infrastructure official, DJ Gribbin. "These are quite different leaders." 

One of the main differences between these two and their predecessors—Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke—is that both have long backgrounds as attorneys, said Gribbin, who now runs his own consulting firm.

These legal skills could help the administration improve its abysmal record in court defenses of its deregulatory environmental policies.

During the tenures of Pruitt and Zinke, procedural errors with their agencies’ regulatory rollbacks caused them to lose no fewer than 13 lawsuits in federal court, according to data compiled by the New York University School of Law. -Bloomberg

In short - lawyers are now crafting bulletproofed policies instead of sabre rattling. Put another way; swampy guys are good at navigating the swamp. 

According to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Wheeler and Bernhardt "are workhorses," adding "Both of the other secretaries were more essentially big picture. These guys are down in the weeds."

Attempts were made

Many of the Trump admin's stumbling blocks were due to simple steps required in administrative law - for example, not giving the public enough time to comment on delaying the implementation of an Obama-era rule cracking down on natural gas leaks - which courts struck down twice due to the oversight. 

In another example, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers were unable to halt the enforcement of an Obama-era rule which broadened the types of water bodies protected by anti-pollution regulation because the process by which new policies are formulated were "short-circuited.

"A new realization may have set in that spending more time, building strong records, focusing on the kinds of evidence that needs to be in there," said former George W. Bush administration environmental attorney Jane Luxton with firm Lewis Brisbois. 

Environmentalists are worried at the Trump administration's new, meticulous approach to crafting new policies with greater attention to administrative detail. 

That is especially the case for the rewrite of the Obama administration’s waters policy, also known as Waters of the United States, or WOTUS.

The latest Wheeler-helmed proposal to rewrite the WOTUS rule is much more fleshed out than anything Pruitt produced, according to Blan Holman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

But, he told Bloomberg Environment, “even though it’s lengthy and there’s a lot of words in there, I still think it comes up looking very strange.” -Bloomberg

Jo-Ellen Darcy, who worked side-by-side with Wheeler on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praised Wheeler's intelligence and said he would likely adhere closely to the law. Darcy is intimately familiar with WOTUS, as she was the top civilian official in charge of the Army Corps throughout the Obama era.

"That doesn’t mean I agree with what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to undo a lot of environmental protections," said Darcy, who added that "now they’re taking a more measured approach that’s more likely to stand up in court."

Doing it right takes time

One drawback for the Trump administration's new detail-oriented approach is that doing it right simply takes more time. 

As an example, an executive order signed by President Trump just weeks after he took office which directed the EPA and the Corps to rewrite the WOTUS policy is still stuck in limbo, after an initial attempt to pause its enforcement failed to hold up in court. A broader effort to appeal it, meanwhile, is still in the works. 

"The fact that it has taken more than two years doesn’t surprise me," said Darcy. "Along the way, they listened to counsel. You can’t be the bull in the china shop."

Last month, meanwhile, Bernhardt told the Senate that the Interior Department was probably far away from finalizing a plan which could open up waters in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to new offshore oil and gas drilling. A draft of the plan was released early this year. 

Working with the "deep state" 

According to Bloomberg, even working with career staffers within the agencies is another big change - particularly at the EPA, according to litigator Thomas Cmar, who has sued the Trump administration over its attempts to roll back the WOTUS rule. 

"Pruitt seemed inclined to go around his own staff," Cmar, who is with the nonprofit Earthjustice. "Wheeler seems like he wants to consult with his staff." 

This impulse seems to have improved morale at the EPA. Several career staffers at the agency who spoke to Bloomberg Environment declined to criticize Wheeler, even when granted anonymity to speak freely.

Gribbin defended the administration’s secrecy during its chaotic early months, describing it as a natural part of the evolution of any new presidency.

“The new leadership tends to keep information very close to the vest,” he said. “This dynamic changes once relationships are developed.” -Bloomberg

Bush administration veteran, Susan Dudley - a former senior official in the Office of Management and Budget, also noted that Wheeler, Bernhardt and other recent Trump appointees have been vastly different than their predecessors. 

Trump "makes big promises as to how he’s going to get rid of regulations without realizing that the steps to do that take time," according to Dudley. 

"They were announcing big policies without doing the hard work of ensuring they had a public record." 

Published:4/30/2019 7:24:10 PM
[Opinion] Obama Built That

By Dave King -

One will fondly recall the indignation of Barack Obama during his “you didn’t build that” phase, when he insisted that the only creator of wealth, convenience and jobs in America was the government, and all innovators and entrepreneurs were just taking a free ride on the back of the magnificent ...

Obama Built That 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:4/30/2019 6:54:02 PM
[2815fc36-b203-555a-ae4b-0d487f5ead90] Barack, Michelle Obama reveal first slate of projects for Netflix Barack and Michelle Obama have revealed the initial projects their production company will release as part of a new partnership with Netflix. Published:4/30/2019 3:24:25 PM
[Markets] The Real "Bombshells" Are About To Hit Their Targets

Authored By Julie Kelly via American Greatness

The next bombshell report to drop from the Justice Department likely will earn none of the breathless fanfare and media coverage that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report received, but it could be far more incriminating.

In the next several weeks, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to issue his summation of the potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by top officials in the Obama Administration and holdovers in the early Trump Administration who were overseeing the investigation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

And the perpetrators of the so-called FISAgate scandal now are scrambling for cover as the bad news looms.

Horowitz announced last March that his office would examine the Justice Department’s conduct “in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person.” That U.S. person is Trump campaign associate Carter Page. In October 2016, just two weeks before the presidential election, the Justice Department submitted an application to the FISC seeking authorization to wiretap Page. The court filing accused Page, a Naval Academy graduate and unpaid campaign advisor, of being an agent of Russia.

The application cited the infamous Steele dossier—unsubstantiated political propaganda that had been funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee—as its primary source of evidence. But the specific political origin of the dossier intentionally was omitted in the court filing. (Robert Mueller similarly tap danced around the role of Fusion GPS, the political consulting firm that hired Christopher Steele to create the dossier. Mueller never mentioned the name “Fusion GPS” in the 448-page document, referring to it only vaguely as “the firm that produced the Steele reporting.”)

Former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signed the original FISA application. It was renewed three times; subsequent signers included former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. If there’s one document that represents the malevolence, chicanery and arrogance of the original Trump-Russia collusion fraudsters, it’s the Page FISA application.

But—to borrow a favorite term of the collusion truthers—the “walls are closing in” on the FISA abusers.

Representative Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and James Jordan (R-Ohio) recently met with Horowitz and offered some ominous news for Comey and company: “We anticipate the IG’s report will come out . . . in the next four to six weeks and I think it’s highly likely that we’ll see criminal referrals coming from them,” Meadows told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on April 14.

President Trump also speculated that the inspector general’s report would contain damning allegations against former top officials for the world’s most powerful law enforcement agency.

“I think he [Horowitz] knows how big this is,” Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview last week. “The IG report coming out in three or four weeks, from what I hear, is going to be…a blockbuster because he has access to information that most people don’t.” If anyone misled the FISA court, including Comey and Yates, Trump suggested that “they’ll all be in a pile of trouble.”

Since last fall, Trump has threatened to declassify the entire application, much of which is still concealed behind redactions, but that has presumably been delayed to protect the integrity of the investigation. Once the inspector general’s report comes out, however, Trump would be free to unredact crucial portions of the application.

So the targets of the inspector general’s probe and their media pals now are spinning hard in preparation of the report’s release.

Natasha Bertrand, a reliable mouthpiece for Fusion GPS, is smearing Horowitz and raising questions about his investigation. “Former U.S. officials interviewed by the inspector general were skeptical about the quality of his probe,” she wrote in an April 17 piece for Politico. “The inspector general seemed neither well-versed in the FISA process nor receptive to the explanations, the officials said.”

Comey unconvincingly is rejecting accusations by Attorney General William Barr and others that there was “spying” on the Trump campaign. “When I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning,” serial uptalker Comey said in an April 11 interview. “The FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as spying. I don’t know of any court-ordered electronic surveillance aimed at the Trump campaign (emphasis added).”

Yates appeared on Sunday for a softball interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Andrea Mitchell. Without any sense of irony, Mitchell introduced Yates as “someone who seems to show up at key moments in the Trump presidency,” including her central role in the set-up, laughable Logan Act inquiry, and subsequent firing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. (Yates served as acting attorney general for 10 days before Trump fired her for insubordination.)

Yates, much like Comey, has a flair for the dramatic, often using hushed tones, theatrical facial expressions, and overwrought rhetoric to make her point: “When the Russians came knocking at their door, you would think a man who likes to make a show of hugging the flag would have done the patriotic thing and would have notified law enforcement.” (Hard eye roll.)

Yates referred to Trump campaign objections about Russian collusion as “a lie” and (falsely) lamented that “now we have devolved to ‘there’s nothing wrong with taking help,’ illegal help, from a foreign adversary. Surely that’s not where we’ve come to.”

But Yates’ own words might come back to haunt her, and soon.

An April 19 article in the New York Times, which now is backpedaling on the legimitacy of the Steele dossier in advance of the Horowitz report, speculated that the dossier was part of a Russian propaganda campaign targeting the Trump team.

“There has been much chatter among intelligence experts that Steele’s Russian informants could have been pressured to feed him disinformation,” the Times reported. Further, at the time Steele was working for Fusion GPS on Russian-sourced dirt against Trump, he also was lobbying on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin.

So if Yates signed a court document that heavily relied on shady sources and a lobbyist (Steele) for a Putin-connected billionaire, who would be guilty of relying on help from a foreign adversary for political purposes? Not Donald Trump.

The imperious Yates and her accomplices might have a chance to answer that question—and others—in front of Congress in the very near future.

In response to her “Meet the Press” interview, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted that Yates’ actions “will certainly be part of forthcoming Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearings on FBI/DOJ during Obama years in which she served as Deputy AG under Loretta Lynch.”

The Horowitz report could do what the Mueller report could not: Find legitimate evidence of conspiracies between political operatives, Russian interests, and top government officials; uncover attempts to obstruct justice as the various investigations into misconduct proceeded; and expose rank corruption at the highest levels of a presidential administration.

It just won’t be the presidential administration that Mueller and his colleagues were targeting.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Published:4/30/2019 2:23:20 PM
[The Blog] Splashy new Biden 2020 ad narrated by … Barack Obama

Endorsement.

The post Splashy new Biden 2020 ad narrated by … Barack Obama appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/30/2019 11:02:20 AM
[Media] Somebody’s NERVOUS: Ben Rhodes ‘squirms’ when asked THIS question about Obama’s WH and it’s so VERY telling (watch)

Is it our imagination or is Ben Rhodes really, super, duper red in the face answering this question about Obama’s White House? Not to mention he seems to stutter, flail around, and squirm … a lot. Watch. He heard about the Trump investigation as a citizen … reading the paper. Sure, Ben, tell us another […]

The post Somebody’s NERVOUS: Ben Rhodes ‘squirms’ when asked THIS question about Obama’s WH and it’s so VERY telling (watch) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:4/30/2019 9:52:57 AM
[8f08c323-e485-50a8-a101-21e02294148b] Cal Thomas: Democrats claim the roaring Trump economy is really Obama’s economy – Do they really believe that? How long can Democrats continue to claim the roaring economy should be credited to the Obama administration? Published:4/30/2019 3:24:07 AM
[Markets] Paul Krugman: Economic Extremist?

Authored by Andrew Moran via Liberty Nation,

Our favorite failed prophet just keeps getting it wrong...

There is no other mainstream economist who has the propensity to dismiss everything he disagrees with as malevolent, macabre, and meretricious than the first-ever fake news award winner, Paul Krugman.

In today’s toxic political environment, the left takes great pride in declaring everyone right of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and everything right of the Green New Deal as Hitlerian. But Krugman adopted this shtick before it was cool to sound like a paranoiac who runs around parking lots in the nude screaming about socialism. Sound money? Hitler. Austerity? Nazism. Deflation? The Third Reich. (It’s ironic that he complained about the right comparing former President Barack Obama and his administration to Hitler.)

Krugman has ostensibly gone all in on the worst possible descriptors of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. In his latest New York Timesblog post, titled “Republicans Are the Real Extremists,” he described the GOP as extremists, conspiracy theorists, enemies of democracy, white nationalists, and sexists. It was as if he binge-watched the Counterfeit News Network the night before and just finished a brainwashing session at the Southern Poverty Law Center. But that wasn’t all.

Trumponomics: Yea Or Nay?

Krugman begins his recent opinion piece by disparaging President Trump and his policies, calling them a “failure” and “unpopular.” It’s unclear which policies he’s referring to, though he makes a passing reference to the tax cuts. Let’s use that as a barometer.

It is true that polls show the 2017 tax reform legislation has been largely unpopular among the American people, likely due to the mostly negative press from the mainstream media. But should polls serve as a measurement if something is effective or not? When someone is asked what they want to see more in a newspaper, they will typically say business, foreign news, and crosswords, but they really prefer more sports, entertainment, and word searches. The same can be said of politics.

When one half of the country detests the president, there is no way they’re going to concede an inch to Trump.

The better way to determine if the tax cuts worked is using real life examples and data. In the aftermath of the tax cuts, Corporate America decided to go on an investing binge, raising their minimum wages, offering bonuses, improving workplace infrastructure, and enhancing or introducing benefits. Moreover, job creation is averaging 200,000 per month, wages keep climbing, and the personal savings rate is hovering around 8%.

Krugman later mentions in his op-ed that the majority of the country thinks the rich pay too little in taxes. Sure, they can believe this, but it’s not true. The wealthy pay most of the nation’s tax bill.

Does Krugman really believe that the tax cuts are not working, or is he just being a partisan hack?

Fox News Propaganda

For years, Krugman and his left-leaning brethren have been on a constant barrage against the Fox News Channel, claiming that it is a mouthpiece for the Republicans. Krugman was at it again, accusing the GOP of “commanding a powerful propaganda machine.” He also complained how Fox News and its sister station, the Fox Business Network, apparently referred to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) 6,000 times in a six-week period.

What is often omitted from the handwringing against Fox News is that the network’s right-wing slant is nothing compared to the force of the left-wing bias of ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC. Although Fox is a ratings juggernaut, if you combine the viewership of these leftist networks, then the home of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham is a drop in the bucket.

Fox News is exposing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, but this reportage is only offsetting the favorable coverage that she receives from the other bewitched and infatuated major players in cable news.

Criticism Is [Insert Ism Here]

According to Krugman, any concerns over the extremism of AOC and Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) “are just a cover for sexism and white nationalism.” He further states – one can only hope in jest – that neither women are “staking out policy positions that are extreme.” As William F. Buckley said, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”

Does the Nobel Prize recipient really think that criticizing someone’s policies is sexist and racist? By this admission, he possibly subscribes to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s idea that requesting a debate is akin to “catcalling.” Krugman is likely trying to avoid debate over their vacuous proposals. And, does he also genuinely believe the Green New Deal, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), 70% tax rates, and open borders are not extreme? If a politician is advocating abolishing the combustion engine, handing over the printing press to Congress, and guaranteeing an income even for those “unwilling to work,” then common sense would dictate that that is extreme.

Moore Extremism

But do you know who is the real extremist? Why, none other than Stephen Moore, the president’s conservative pick to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. According to Krugman:

“What’s coming out only now, however, is the extent of Mr. Moore’s political extremism. Many of his past statements — like his assertion that ‘capitalism is a lot more important than democracy’ — sound like a liberal caricature of conservatism. But it’s not a caricature; Mr. Moore shows us what the right actually thinks.”

So, what makes Moore an extremist and not someone like Rep. Omar? He disagrees with Moore’s stances, such as swapping an income tax with a sales tax, privatizing Social Security, and eliminating hundreds of jobs from the Federal Reserve. A lot of people would dispute Moore’s recommendations, but they’re far from being extreme. Many tax reformists are in favor of a general consumption tax, Sweden has privatized its version of Social Security (Krugman has writtenmany love letters to Scandinavia), and the Fed is a monstrosity that has done more harm than good.

However, to the mind of Krugman, giving everyone a pot of cash is sensible and changing the tax structure is destructive.

Paul Krugman: Economic Extremist?

Using the same criteria as Krugman would leave you asking: Is Paul Krugman an extremist? Let’s be candid: The principles of Keynesianism — such as money-printing will create prosperity, broken windows will stimulate the economy, and economies need bubbles to generate new wealth – are extreme. As we have learned in just the last decade, easy money has indebted more Americans, war and natural disasters destroy lives, and the housing crash left behind reckless abandon. What’s next? A space alien invasion to spur economic growth? Oh, wait. Never mind.

Published:4/29/2019 8:20:35 PM
[] Ron Rosenstein Submits Resignation; Will Leave DOJ May 11th So he's finally out. Last week, Rosenstein made some news by announcing that the Obama administration had downplayed Russia interference as it was actually happening. And meanwhile the FBI had leaked details about it to the media. "The previous administration... Published:4/29/2019 6:03:38 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ben Rhodes doesn’t seem very convincing in this interview about Obama having nothing to do with the Russia probe… One of Obama’s favorite henchmen sat down in an interview with Nicholas Ballasy over the weekend regarding the beginnings of the Russia probe and he doesn’t come off sounding very convincing in . . . Published:4/29/2019 2:48:10 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ben Rhodes doesn’t seem very convincing in this interview about Obama having nothing to do with the Russia probe… One of Obama’s favorite henchmen sat down in an interview with Nicholas Ballasy over the weekend regarding the beginnings of the Russia probe and he doesn’t come off sounding very convincing in . . . Published:4/29/2019 2:48:10 PM
[Politics] 40% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending April 25.

This week’s finding is down two points from a week ago. Prior to this, that number had been on the decline week-over-week from 43% in early December to 31% by the end of January. It ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, President Obama's last full year in office.

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

The national telephone survey of 2,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from April 21-25, 2019. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Published:4/29/2019 11:19:03 AM
[US News] ‘Hilarious!’ Obama sets new rake stomp record in rush to slam fact-challenged ‘leaders who feed fear’

He just described himself PERFECTLY.

The post ‘Hilarious!’ Obama sets new rake stomp record in rush to slam fact-challenged ‘leaders who feed fear’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:4/29/2019 11:19:02 AM
[Markets] Top Chicago Prosecutor Subpoenaed Over Office's Decision To Drop Smollett Charges

Following a wave of departures from her office and an intensifying inspector general investigation into her handling of the Jussie Smollett case, where she dropped a 16-count felony indictment against the actor after he allegedly faked his own hate crime, one retired judge is turning up the heat on Kim Foxx, Chicago's state's attorney.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Foxx has been subpoenaed by ex-appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien to appear at a hearing over her handling of the case. The judge is pushing for the appointment of a federal prosecutor.

Smollett

O’Brien has also subpoenaed Foxx’s top deputy Joseph Magats; she also filed a document requesting that Smollett - who was accused of staging the attack for personal gain - appear at the hearing.

She alleged that Foxx’s handling of the case was "plagued with irregularity."

"Foxx’s conflict in this matter is beyond dispute," O’Brien argued, adding that Foxx should have sought appointment of a special prosecutor. "Instead, Foxx misled the public into believing that Smollett’s case was handled like any other prosecution and without influence."

However, Foxx didn't disclose that she had been in communication with a "family friend" of the Smolletts, former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen.

In her subpoena, the former judge asked that Foxx and Magats produce all the original documents in the case to prove "that they have not been altered or destroyed and will not be destroyed throughout this case."

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told Chicago police that he was attacked in late January in Streeterville, the city neighborhood where he lived, as two white men yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, then poured bleach on him and tied a noose around his neck.

But after weeks where media figures spoke out about the racist culture inspired by Trump that had led to the attacks, the narrative started to unravel. After several inconsistencies - including the fact that video cameras showed two Nigerian brothers purportedly 'attacking' Smollett (Smollett had said his attackers were white), and the discovery of a check written by Smollett to the two brothers - surfaced, police eventually charged filed a smattering of charges against Smollett. Police said he staged the attack and filed a false report. Then, at a surprise hearing March 26, all charges were dropped. Foxx had recused herself from the case after allegations of improper influence surfaced, but the allegations that she improperly influenced the case have persisted.

Published:4/29/2019 9:19:52 AM
[Markets] "Without Disinformation, NATO Would Crumble..."

Authored by Manlio Dinucci via The Voltaire Network,

Q: What is the result of the Symposium in Florence?

Michel Chossudovsky: The event was a great success, with the participation of speakers from the United States, Europe and Russia. We presented the history of NATO. We identified and carefully documented its crimes against humanity. And at the end of the Symposium, we presented the “Declaration of Florence,” a way of exiting the war system.

Q: In your introduction, you affirmed that the Atlantic Alliance is not a true alliance…

Michel Chossudovsky: On the contrary, under the appearance of a multinational military alliance, it is the Pentagon which dominates the decision-making mechanisms of NATO. The USA controls the command structures of NATO, which are incorporated with those of the United States. The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) is always a US General nominated by Washington. The Secretary General, currently Jens Stoltenberg, is essentially a bureaucrat who handles public relations. He has no decision-making role.

Q: Another theme you raised was that of the US military bases in Italy and other European countries, including in the East, despite the fact that the Warsaw Pact has not existed since 1991, and despite the promise made to Gorbachev that no extension of NATO towards the East would ever occur. What is the purpose of these bases?

Michel Chossudovsky: NATO’s tacit objective – an important theme in our debate in Florence – is to implement, under a different denomination, the de facto “military occupation” of Western Europe. The United States not only continue to “occupy” the ex-members of the Second World War “Axis countries” (Italy, Germany), but have used the badge of NATO to set up US military bases in all of Western Europe, and, thereafter, in Eastern Europe in the wake of the Cold War, and in the Balkans in the wake of the NATO war against Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro).

Q: What has changed in terms of the possible use of nuclear weapons?

Michel Chossudovsky: Immediately after the Cold War, a new nuclear doctrine was formulated, focused on the preventive use of nuclear weapons, in other words, on a nuclear first strike as a means of self-defence. Within the framework of USA-NATO interventions, presented as peace-keeping measures, a new generation of “low power” and “non-usable” nuclear weapons was created, described as “inoffensive for civilians”. US political leaders consider them to be “bombs for pacification.” The Cold War agreements, which established certain safety measures, have now been abandoned. The concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” relative to the use of nuclear weapons, has been replaced by the doctrine of preventive nuclear war.

Q: NATO was “obsolete” at the beginning of the Trump presidency, but now it has been rebooted by the White House. What relation is there between the arms race and the economic crisis?

Michel Chossudovsky: War and globalisation go hand in hand. Militarisation relies on the imposition of macro-economic restructuration in the target countries. It imposes military spending in order to support the war economy to the detriment of civil economy. It leads to economic destabilisation and the loss of the power of national institutions. An example – recently President Trump proposed huge budget cuts in the health and teaching sectors, and in social infrastructures, although he has asked for a massive increase in the budget of the Pentagon. At the beginning of his administration, President Trump confirmed the increase of expenditure in the military nuclear programme, launched by Obama, from 1,000 to 1,200 billions of dollars, claiming that this would serve to make the world safer. All over the European Union, the increase in military spending, coupled with austerity measures, is leading to the demise of what used to be called “the Welfare State.” Now, under US pressure, NATO is engaged in increasing military spending, and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declares that this is the correct decision to “guarantee the safety of our population.” The military interventions are coupled with concomitant acts of economic sabotage and financial manipulation. The final objective is the conquest of both human and material resources and of political institutions. The acts of war support a process of total economic conquest. The hegemonic project of the United States is to transform countries and international sovereign institutions into territories which are open for their penetration. One of their instruments is the imposition of heavy penalties on debt-ridden countries. The imposition of lethal macro-economic reforms serves to impoverish vast sectors of the world population.

Q: What is now, and what will become the role of the medias?

Michel Chossudovsky: Without the disinformation broadcast, in general, by almost all the medias, the military programme of the USA-NATO would collapse like a house of cards. The imminent dangers of a new war with the most modern weapons and the atomic peril are not the sort of news that makes the headlines. War is presented as an act of pacification. War criminals are depicted as pacifiers. War becomes peace. Reality is reversed. When lies become truth, there is no going back.

Published:4/29/2019 2:43:23 AM
[Markets] Did The Russians Really Interfere In US Elections?

Authored by Boyd Cathey via The Unz Review,

The Mueller Report is now public, and our Mainstream Media have filled the airways with all sorts of commentaries and interpretations. We know that - despite the very best efforts of the dedicated Leftist attorneys on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff - there was absolutely no coordination between members of the Trump campaign, or any of his staffers, with Russians. No additional charges have come as a result, other than accusations made earlier of “process crimes” (e.g. failure to report earnings on tax forms, failure to report lobbying work, or not telling investigators what they demanded to hear—“crimes” that practically every politician in Washington has been guilty of at one time or another and would normally not cause much of a stir). None of these involved Russia.

Of course, that finding has not satisfied many Democrats or the unhinged Leftist crazies in the media, who continue to have visions of “collusion”—a kind of communications Alzheimers that has poisoned our media now for years. Thus, Representative Eric Swalwell (who is one of nearly two dozen Democrats running for president) continues to assert that there was “collusion,” as does the irrepressible (and irresponsible) Adam Schiff: “it’s there in plain sight,” they insist, “if you just look hard enough, and maybe squint just a bit—or maybe have those specialized 3-D Russia glasses!”

Such political leaders—along with those further out in the Leftist loonysphere like Representatives Maxine Waters and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes—continue down their Primrose path of post-Marxist madness.

But beyond the collusion/coordination issue, the past couple of weeks have been filled with a swirling controversy concerning what is called “obstruction of justice.” And once again, the fundamental issues have been incredibly politicized. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had an obligation, if he and his minions discovered “obstruction of justice,” that is, concerted and illegal attempts to obstruct the investigations by the president or his staff, to present charges to the Department of Justice. Yet, all he was able to do was assemble a farrago of “he said/she said” instances, none of which rose to the level of criminal activity. Apparently President Trump told a subaltern “I wish would you fire Mueller,” or he wished in a speech in his joking style that “if the Russians had Hillary’s emails, they would release them,” or he had a private conversation with Vladimir Putin when they met (as all national leaders do!), or his son met with a Russian attorney who supposedly had some “dirt” on the Hillary Clinton campaign (which did not turn out to be the reason for the Trump Tower meeting at all).

None of the ten or eleven cited instances came anywhere close to being actionable or criminal under settled law. In each instance cited, the president’s actions (or desires) fell within his purview and authority under Article II of the Constitution. And regarding Trump’s desire to fire Mueller, he was on solid legal ground; the Supreme Court in its 1997 decision, Edmonds vs. the United States, declared that “inferior” officials, including an independent counsel, could be removed by presidential action as part of his delegated powers. And, in any case, Mueller was not dismissed.

Mueller had an obligation after examining these situations to make a finding; he did not. By so doing, by avoiding decisions and stringing out such instances in an obviously political sense, he abdicated his responsibility and did his best to impugn Donald Trump and his administration…and thus offer grist for continued Democrat attacks on the president…all the way through the 2020 election.

Mueller left it up to the Attorney General William Barr…and Congress…to decide how to proceed. And that is where we are today.

The one issue that both Democrats and most Republicans seem to agree on, the issue which both say is “proven conclusively” by Mueller is that the Russians “attempted to interfere and did interfere” in our 2016 election.

Interesting, is it not, that the Republicans who zealously defend the president and attack the obviously political nature of the Mueller Report would accept, as if on faith and without question, the accusations of Russian interference, also contained in the report?

Turn on Fox and watch, say, Martha MacCallum (e.g., “The Story,” April 24, 2019) declare “we all know now without doubt that the Russians tried to interfere” in our elections, or listen to most any GOP congressman repeat that same narrative with unquestioning certitude.

But that assertion - is it truly backed up factually? Where is the evidence, other than largely questionable information sourced from our largely discredited intelligence agencies which, as we know, had a determined goal of overthrowing the president by any means possible?

Almost three years have passed from the first fake news that appeared in the media on the subject of “Russian collusion,” a concerted effort launched to discredit at first the Donald Trump candidacy and then sabotage his presidency, including his efforts to stabilize Russian-American relations.

As proof of Russian actions, the Mueller Report cites the indictments against twenty-five Russian citizens who were indicted for attempted “interference” (those Russians are, let us add, quite conveniently out of the country and thus not prosecutable). When those indictments were issued, Russia pointed out the flimsy, unsupported and transparently made-up nature of the charges, and demanded that American authorities provide conclusive proof. Such requests were rebuffed.

In order to evaluate the evidence, the Russian government proposed reestablishing the bilateral expert group on information security that the Obama Administration had terminated, which could have served as a platform for conversation on these matters. The American side was also invited to send Justice Department officials to Russia to attend the proposed public questioning of the Russian citizens named by Mueller. Additionally, Russia offered to publicize the exchanges between the two countries following the publication of the accusations of cyberattacks, exchanges which were conducted through existing channels between October 2016 and January 2017.

Our government refused every offer.

A careful analysis, in fact, fails to show any substantial evidence of Russian cyberattacks and attempts to “subvert democracy.” By some estimates, possibly $160,000—a paltry sum—was spent by the Russians during 2016 on social media activities in the United States. Does anyone wish to discover and compare the amount the Chinese Communists or the Saudis would have expended during the same period, for their continued influence and power in Washington and inside-the-Beltway?

It is helpful to examine the charges that have been made, some included in the Mueller Report and accepted blindly by most pundits and politicians, both on the Left and by establishment conservatives.

The Russian government, via their embassy in Washington, has published a 120 page “white paper,” The Russiagate Hysteria: A Case of Severe Russiaphobia, responding to the accusations made against them since 2016. Obviously, the Russian document has a particular viewpoint and very specific goal, but that should not deter us from examining it and evaluating its arguments. (I have written on Russia and its relations with the United States on a number of occasions since 2015 and had pieces published by The Unz ReviewCommunities Digital News, and elsewhere. On my blog, “MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey,” I have authored a dozen columns addressing this question).

Here following I list twenty-one claims made regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and in American domestic affairs. I follow each claim with the Russian response and how others, as noted, have also responded. In most cases I retain the original text, at times with my editing, but, in every case, with all the referenced sources.

These twenty-one claims should be examined more closely and more calmly, and the “Russophobic” hysteria we have experienced during the past several years needs to be put aside for the sake of rational investigative inquiry—and discovering how the Managerial State and global elites have attempted a “silent coup” against what’s left of our republic.

These claims and the responses deserve respectful consideration and detailed responses:

  1. CLAIM: Russia “meddled” in the U.S. elections by conducting influence operations, including through social media.

FACT

All of the claims of Russian trolls that surfaced over the last few years (such as Russians using the Pokémon Go mobile game and sex toy ads to meddle in the elections – ) are so preposterous and contradictory that they virtually disprove themselves.

Not to mention the absurdity of the whole notion of 13 persons and 3 organizations (whichever country they might represent) charged on February 16, 2018, by Robert Mueller with criminally interfering with the elections, affecting in any way electoral processes in a country of more than 300 million people.

It is telling that when pressed about the scope of the alleged influence campaign, representatives of American social media companies give numbers, that even if they were valid (and there’s no evidence of a connection to the Russian government), are so minuscule as to be basically non-existent. For example, Facebook has identified 3,000 Russia-linked ads costing a total of about $100,000. That’s a miniscule number of ads and a fraction of Facebook’s revenues, which totaled $28 billion. Facebook estimates that 126 million people might – the emphasis is on the word “might” – have seen this content. But this number represents just 0.004% of the content those people saw on the Facebook platform.

Significantly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on December 11th, 2018 that “ad accounts linked to Russia” spent about $4,700 in advertising” to politically influence Americans during the 2016 presidential election season.

To further cast doubt on the allegations, an American watchdog group “Campaign for Accountability” (“CFA”) admitted on September 4th, 2018, that it deliberately posted propaganda materials on Google disguised as “Russian hackers from the Internet Research Agency” to check how they would be filtered for “foreign interference”. Google officials then accused the CFA as having ties to a rival tech company “Oracle”. In other words, corporate intrigues disguised as “Russian interference“.

As American media has admitted, out of several dozen pre-election rallies supposedly organized by Russians, Special Counsel Mueller mentions in his indictment that only a couple actually appear to have successfully attracted anyone, and those that did were sparsely attended and, almost without exception, in deep-red enclaves that would have voted for Trump anyway.

Amidst all the hysteria about the alleged Russian meddling it is worth reading various research studies which show, quoting “The Washington Post”, that it is Americans, in particular our intelligence service, that peddle disinformation and hate speech.

According to Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, the scale and scope of domestic disinformation is much larger than any foreign influence operation. And academics from the Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy document in their study that there had been major spikes in outright fabrication and misleading information proliferating online before the 2018 U.S. election. A “significant portion” of the disinformation appeared to come from Americans, not foreigners, the Harvard researchers said.

  1. CLAIM: Russian hackers accessed computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and leaked materials through Wikileaks and other intermediaries

FACT

As President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin noted in his interview with NBC on June 5, 2017, when flatly denying any allegations of Russia interfering in internal affairs of the U.S., that today’s technology is such that the final internet address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. It is possible to set up any entity that may indicate one source when, in fact, the source is completely different.

No evidence has been presented linking Russia to leaked emails. In fact, there are credible studies arguing that DNC servers are much more likely to have been breached by someone with immediate and physical access. In 2017 a group of former officers of the U.S. intelligence community, members of the “Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity” (VIPS), met with then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to present their findings.

Those findings demonstrated using forensic analysis that the DNC data was copied at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ( , , ), thus suggesting that it was more likely a removable storage device used.

Another counterargument to the “Russian hackers” claim is that the DNC files published by Wikileaks were initially stored under the FAT (File Allocation System) method which is not related to internet transfers and can only be forwarded to an external device such as a thumb drive.

It is also suspicious that the DNC prohibited the FBI from examining the servers. Instead, a third-party tech firm was hired, “Crowd Strike”, which is known for peddling the “Russian interference” claims. And soon enough it, indeed, announced that “Russian malware” has been found, but again no solid evidence was produced.

According to the respected former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the indictment by the Mueller team on July 13, 2018 of the 12 supposed Russian operatives was a politically motivated fraud. As Ritter explains, Mueller seems to have borrowed his list from an organizational chart of a supposed Russian military intelligence unit, contained in a classified document from the NSA titled “Spear-Phishing Campaign TTPs Used Against U.S. And Foreign Government Political Entities”, which was published by The Intercept online. As stated in that document, this is just a subjective judgement, not a known fact. Ritter concludes, that this is a far cry from the kind of incontrovertible proof that Mueller’s team suggests as existing to support its indictment.

Moreover, it is telling that the indictment was released just before the meeting between President Putin and Trump in Helsinki on July 16, 2018, seemingly as if the aim was to intentionally derail the bilateral summit.

  1. CLAIM: Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.

FACT

As concluded in the summary of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia

If the Mueller team, having all the resources of the U.S. government, after 22 months of work, many millions of dollars spent, more than 2800 subpoenas issued, nearly 500 search warrants and 500 witness interviews, didn’t find any evidence of “collusion”, it is simply because there was never any. The whole claim of collusion was launched and peddled by the same group of Democrats, liberal-leaning media and the so-called “Never Trump Republicans”, as it became clear that Donald Trump had real chances of winning the election. And later it morphed into a campaign to derail the newly-elected President agenda, including his efforts to mitigate the damage done to U.S.-Russian relations.

  1. CLAIM: Hacking of American political institutions was personally ordered by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

FACT

This claim is based on nothing else but the infamous fraudulent “Steele Dossier”, paid for by political opponents [i.e., the Hilary Clinton campaign] of Donald Trump, and wild conjectures that “nothing in Russia happens without Putin’s approval” .

Needless to say, zero proof is presented. By the same logic, nothing in the U.S. happens without the President’s approval. For example, is he also responsible for Edward Snowden? After all, Mr. Snowden was doing work for the U.S. intelligence services. Or the deaths of all the civilians killed abroad by U.S. drone strikes? Every minute detail approved by the President?

  1. CLAIM: Russia did not cooperate with the U.S. in tracing the source of the alleged hacking.

FACT

Russia has repeatedly offered to set up a professional and de-politicized dialogue on international information security only to be rebuffed by the U.S. State Department. For instance, following the discussion between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Hamburg on July 7, 2017, Russia forwarded to the U.S. a proposal to reestablish a bilateral working group on cyber threats which would have been a perfect medium to discuss American concerns. Moreover, during his meeting with Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 17, 2018, Vladimir Putin offered to allow U.S. representatives to be present at an interrogation of the Russian citizens who were previously accused by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller of being guilty of electoral interference. Furthermore, in February 2019 the Russian government suggested publishing bilateral correspondence on the subject of unsanctioned access to U.S. electronic networks, which was conducted between Washington and Moscow through the Nuclear Threat Reduction Centers in the period from October 2016 to the end of January 2017.

Needless to say, all Russian offers were rejected. A conclusion is naturally reached that American State Department officials have little interest in hearing anything that contradicts their own narrative or the discredited version of the CIA.

  1. CLAIM: Russia is interfering in elections all over the world

FACT

No credible evidence has been produced not only of Russia’s supposed meddling in the U.S. political processes, but to support similar allegations made by the U.S. in respect to other countries. For example, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster insinuated that Russia was interfering in the Mexican presidential elections of 2018. However, Mexican officials, including the president of the Mexican Senate Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, and Ambassador to Russia Norma Pensado during a press conference in Moscow in February, 2018, debunked this baseless claim.

Another example of fake news were reports saying that U.S. was increasingly convinced that Russia hacked French election on May 9, 2017. However, on June 1, 2017, the head of the French government’s cyber security agency said no trace was found of the claimed Russian hacking group behind the attack. On the other hand, the history of U.S. interfering in other countries’ elections is well documented by American sources (see: ).

For example, a Carnegie Mellon scholar, Dov H. Levin, has scoured the historical record and found 81 examples of U.S. election influence operations from 1946- to 2000. Often cited examples include Chile in 1964, Guyana in 1968, Nicaragua in 1990, Yugoslavia in 2000, Afghanistan in 2009, Ukraine in 2014, not to mention Russia in 1996! And how else could the current situation in Ukraine and Venezuela be described, with U.S. representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker openly pressuring Ukrainian voters to support the incumbent, and Washington possibly plotting a coup in Caracas?

  1. CLAIM: The lawsuit of the Democratic National Committee against the Russian Federation related to “interference in the election” has a legal standing.

FACT

The DNC filed a civil lawsuit on April 20, 2018 against the Russian Federation and other entities and individuals. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Russian Federation; the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU); the GRU operative using the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0”; Aras Iskenerovich Agalarov; Emin Araz Agalarov; Joseph Mifsud; WikiLeaks; Julian Assange; the Trump campaign (formally “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”); Donald Trump, Jr.; Paul Manafort; Roger Stone; Jared Kushner; George Papadopoulos; Richard W. Gates; and unnamed defendants sued as John Does 1–10. The DNC’s complaint accuses the Trump campaign of engaging in a racketeering enterprise in conjunction with Russia and WikiLeaks.

Even irrespective of the fact that there was no “interference” in the first place, the case has no legal standing. Exercise of U.S. jurisdiction over the pending case with respect to the Russian Federation is a violation of the international law, specifically, violation of jurisdictional immunities of the Russian Federation arising from the principle of the sovereign equality of states.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak was a spy.

FACT

In March of 2017 U.S. media began libeling Sergey Kislyak a “top spy and spy-recruiter” This preposterous claim was based on nothing but his contacts with Trump confidant Senator Jeff Sessions – carrying out work any ambassador would do. Per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, among core diplomatic functions is ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving state, and that certainly includes openly meeting leaders of Congress on Capitol Hill. Even former CIA Director John McLaughlin noted that Mr. Kislyak is an experienced diplomat, not a spy.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Embassy retreat in Maryland was an intelligence base

FACT.

Among the unlawful acts that U.S. administrations undertook was the expropriation of a legal Russian property in Maryland, a summer retreat near the Chesapeake Bay under the pretext it was used for intelligence gathering. But where is the supposed-treasure trove of alleged spy equipment that U.S. authorities reportedly found there? Why not show them publicly to back up the claim? After the expropriation and the claims, not a word – silence.

The retreat, “dacha” as Russians would call it, was bought by the former Soviet Union in 1972. Since then, it was used for recreation, including hosting a children’s summer camp and regularly entertaining American visitors. One of the more popular events was the stop-over during the annual Chesapeake Regatta, completed with an expansive tour of the property. Presumably U.S. intelligence services could have used this for years to inspect the property. Why was nothing ever mentioned before the Obama Administration action?

  1. CLAIM: The meeting in Trump Tower in New York on June 9, 2016 between Trump campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was to discuss compromising materials that Russian had on Hillary Clinton.

FACT

According to testimony provided to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Ms. Veselnitskaya focused on explaining the illicit activities of U.S.-British investor Bill Browder, wanted in Russia for crimes, and brought attention to the adverse effects of the so-called “Magnitskiy Act”, adopted by U.S. Congress in 2012 and lobbied for by Browder.

  1. CLAIM: Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Russians in Prague to “collude”.

FACT

It was reported in American media that the Justice Department special counsel had evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly made a trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign to meet with Russian representatives, a fact also mentioned in the discredited “Steele Dossier”. This was given as further evidence of “collusion”. But Cohen vehemently denied this – under oath. Passport records indicate that he never was in Prague. He was actually on vacation with his son at the supposed time. Given that he publicly turned on his former boss and still denied the fact of ever going to Prague disproves this claim further.

  1. CLAIM: Former member of the Trump campaign team Carter Page was a Russian intelligence asset.

FACT

According to members of Congress and journalistic investigations, the redacted declassified documents of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, also called the FISA Court) show that the main source used by U.S. counterintelligence to justify spying on Mr. Page was the fraudulent so-called “Steele Dossier”.

Thus, Mr. Page for obvious reasons was not accused by the team of Robert Mueller of being involved in a “Russian conspiracy”.

  1. CLAIM: On August 22, 2018, The Democratic National Committee filed a claim with the FBI, accusing the “Russian hackers” of infiltrating its electoral database.

FACT

Several days later members of the Democratic Party admitted that it was a “false alarm”, as it was simply a security check-up performed at the initiative of the Democratic Party’s affiliate in Michigan.

  1. CLAIM: On August 8, 2018 U.S. Senator Bill Nelson accused Russia of breaching the infrastructure of the voter registration systems in several local election offices of Florida.

FACT

Florida’s Department of State spokesperson, Sarah Revell, stated on August 9, 2018, that Florida’s government had not received any evidence from competent authorities that Florida’s voting systems or election records had been compromised. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also could not confirm in any manner the accusations.

  1. CLAIM: In September, 2017 the U.S. media, referring to the Department of Homeland Security, accused Russia of “cyberattacks” on electoral infrastructure in 21 states during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.

FACT

On September 27, 2017, Wisconsin and California authorities stated that their electoral systems were not targeted by cyberattacks. On November 12, 2017, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a CBS interview that the “hackers’ activity” had no significant consequences and did not influence the outcome of the elections. And, indeed, the source of those attacks was not clear.

  1. CLAIM: Russia meddled in the Alabama 2017 Senate elections to help the Republican candidate.

FACT

Despite the initial claims, it turned out that a group of Democratic tech experts decided to imitate so-called “Russian tactics” in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate rac?. Even more jarring is the fact that one participant in the “Alabama project”, Jonathon Morgan, is chief executive of “New Knowledge”, a cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released in 2018 by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Once again, we have one of the main private sector players in hyping the Russian threat caught red-handed.

  1. CLAIM: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, was a secret link to Russian intelligence.

FACT

Trump’s former campaign chairman was hit with two indictments from Mueller’s office. However, even as American media notes, both cases have nothing to do with Russia and stemmed from his years as a political consultant for the Ukrainian government and his failure to pay taxes on the millions he earned, his failure to report the foreign bank accounts he used to stash that money, and his failure to report his work to the US government. In his second case in Virginia, he was also chargedwith committing bank fraud to boost his assets when the Ukraine work dried up.

In fact, serious concerns have been raised in the U.S. that it was Ukrainian officials who tried to influence the 2016 elections by leaking compromising materials on Mr. Manafort.

The Ukrainian connection is also prevalent in the case of money transferred to accounts of American politicians. For instance, according to a “New York Times” article, Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk donated over 10 million dollars to the “Clinton Foundation while just 150 thousand dollars to the “Trump Foundation”.

  1. CLAIM: Russia compromised the Vermont power grid.

FACT

On December 31, 2016, “The Washington Post”, accused “Russian hackers” of compromising the Vermont power grid. The local company, “Burlington Electric”, allegedly traced a malware code in a laptop of one of its employees. It was stated that the same “code” was used to hack the Democratic Party servers in 2016. However, the “Wordfence” cybersecurity firm checked “Burlington Electric” for hacking, and said that the malware code was openly available, for instance, on a web-site of Ukrainian hackers. The attackers were using IP-addresses from across the world. “The Washington Post” later admitted that conclusions on Russia’s involvement were false.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Alfa Bank was used as a secret communication link with the Trump campaign.

FACT

In October 2016 a new “accusation” appeared, alleging that a message exchange between the Alfa Bank server and Trump organizations indicated a «secret» Trump – Russia communication channel.

However, the FBI concluded the supposed messaging was marketing newsletters and/or spam.

  1. CLAIM: Russia cracked voter registration systems during the 2016 U.S. elections.

FACT

In July 2016 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security accused Russia of gaining unauthorized access to electronic voter registration systems in Arizona. But on April 8, 2018, “Reuters”, referring to a high-ranking U.S. administration official, wrote there was no proof Russia had anything to do with the mentioned cyberattack.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Embassy bank transactions were linked to “election interference”.

FACT

American publication “Buzzfeed” repeatedly claimed that U.S. authorities flagged Russian Embassy financial transfers as suspicious, many of them dated around the 2016 election. In reality, the media outlet, by twisting the facts and placing them out of context, made routine banking transactions – salary transfers, payments to contractors – look nefarious. It is not uncommon for embassy personnel to receive larger payouts, transfer or withdraw larger sums of money at the end of their work. Furthermore, leaking of confidential banking information of persons and organizations protected by diplomatic immunity raised concerns about the likely involvement of security services.

The arrest in October 2018 of a U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network official, charged with leaking information both about the Russian Embassy accounts and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, provides further proof to the theory of political skullduggery.

*  *  *

Most of these responses have not been fully examined or addressed by major media, nor, for that matter, by Fox News, dominated as it is by an almost instinctive Neoconservative Russophobia (the one possible exception being Tucker Carlson).

For the American Left, since the collapse of Communism and the growth of a traditionalist nationalism (under Vladimir Putin), Russia has become a convenient target. When the Soviets were in power prior to 1991, the USSR was seen as a “progressive” presence in the world, even if by the requirements of American politics the Left was forced to make ritualistic condemnations of the more extreme elements of Soviet statecraft. Now that post-Communist Russia bans same sex marriage, glorifies the traditional family, and the conservative Russian Orthodox Church occupies a special position of esteem and prominence, that admiration has turned to fear and loathing. And that Russia and its president have been viewed as favorable to the hated Donald Trump doubly confirms that hostility and targeting.

For the dominant Neoconservatives and many Republicans, contemporary Russia is seen as “anti-democratic,” “reactionary,” and a threat to American world hegemony (and the refusal to bow to that hegemony, whether economically, politically, or culturally). Indeed, as a major intellectual force, Neoconservatism owes much of its origins to Eastern European and Russia Jews, many of whose ancestors were at direct odds with the old pre-1917 Tsarist state. That animus, those nightmares of pogroms and oppression, have never completely subsided. A modern traditionalist, Orthodox Russia is viewed as antithetical to their more liberal, even Leftwing ideas (e.g., increasing “conservative” acceptance of same sex marriage, “moderate” feminism, and a whole panoply of “forward looking” views on civil rights issues—all of which are present on Fox News.)

Memory of “the bad old days” has never disappeared.

None of this history should prevent a close examination of the current accusations against Russia, nor our search for the truth. Much—perhaps the future of Western civilization itself—depends on it.

Published:4/28/2019 9:13:04 PM
[Markets] What If America Tried Capitalism

Authored by Bill Bonner via InternationalMan.com,

It’s no secret that socialism – in all its forms – doesn’t work very well.

You soon run out of other people’s money. And people don’t always want to give up their money readily. Or let you boss them around.

Inevitably, the more ambitious your plans, the more people you need to kill.

Reform Capitalism

But today, we turn our attention to those who say we need to “reform” capitalism to save it.

In this category, we lump all those who claim to support free markets – such as most of today’s Republicans and Democrats – but still think they can make them work better, with trade barriers, phony tax cuts, fake money, fake interest rates, regulations, controls, etc., etc.

Journalist Edward Luce, for example, writing in the Financial Times, explained that we need to “save American capitalism from itself.”

Whenever you read somebody in a newspaper suggest that “we need to,” you can be almost sure that the next words are nonsense. This is no exception.

“The question America’s financial and tech elites must ask,” Luce continues, “is ‘what price social peace?’”

Circuses are not enough; the mob wants more bread. And after having cheated them out of trillions, Luce thinks we should at least toss them a few crumbs.

Winners and Losers

The first thing we notice is that anyone who says he wants to “reform” or “improve” capitalism must not know what it is. Capitalism doesn’t allow you to pick winners and losers. There is no way to improve it. And it doesn’t care whether there is “social peace” or not.

It is a free spirit… wandering around, with no knowable destination… going where it whilst, at its own speed, in its own way.

Where it will end up, no one knows; but wherever it is… it is where it should be. And it must be left alone, unmolested and undisturbed… or it will end up somewhere else!

Which is precisely what so aggravates the world improvers. AOC and Bernie Sanders whoop for socialism because they think capitalism has failed.

The reformers – Luce and Dalio – think it has succeeded too well; leaving the masses hopelessly behind.

But the lynch mob – socialists and capitalist apologists alike – has grabbed the wrong man.

America’s economy is not really capitalist. It is a form of late, degenerate state-controlled, crony-manipulated, empire-addled, pseudo-capitalist claptrap. And you can quote us on that!

A quarter of the economy is directly run by the feds. Another quarter – including medical care and education – is guided and approved by them. And the remainder is chock-a-block with rules and regulations… All of them intended to upgrade, or at least to genetically modify, the fruits of naked capitalism.

We don’t know what America would look like if capitalism were permitted. But it would certainly be a whole lot richer. Especially the working stiffs.

Socialism is always a drag on an economy. And the more the feds decide who wins and who loses, the more they tilt the playing field to favor their friends, cronies, and the Deep State elite.

We’ve seen studies suggesting that if economic freedom had been allowed in the USA, average incomes would be more than twice what they are today.

JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, says the U.S. economy should have added $4 trillion more to GDP in the last decade alone; it should have grown by 40%, not 20%, he says.

“Why have productivity and economic growth been so anemic,” he asks? Good question. And here’s the companion question that Edward Luce should have asked: “How come the rich got so rich while everyone else was losing ground?”

Here’s why…

Giveaways and Throwaways

Every year, trillions of dollars of output are wasted. Silly wars, goofball programs, giveaways, and throwaways – at least half the federal budget is tossed down the drain.

In fact, the government’s entire monthly budget was sunk on just three federal spending items: Social Security, Medicare, and interest on the national debt.

Then, too, all the paperwork, delays, malinvestments, tax filings, labor-law mandates, make-work, and standing in line demanded by the feds must easily cost the nation another few trillion.

And we haven’t even gotten to the big losses, caused by the feds’ fake money system. There, of course, is where we find the real source of the “inequality” that so worries Obama, Ray Dalio, AOC, and so many others.

It was not capitalism that boosted stock prices close to 150% of GDP while wages flattened. Normally, the stock market is worth about 80% of GDP. That would mean about $16 trillion worth of stocks today. But at 150%, investors – the rich and the elite – got some $14 trillion more.

Where did that money come from? Why were America’s corporations suddenly worth so much more?

Looking at pre-tax earnings, we see that corporate America hardly made a penny more in 2018 than it had in 2012. In an honest, capitalist system there was no reason for stocks to go up. But the fix was in.

The feds were lending fake money at fake rates, so the corporations could earn fake profits and buy back their own shares with free money.

The result? A huge shift of wealth from the middle classes of Main Street to the upper classes of Wall Street, Washington, and cronies everywhere.

Did these pseudo-capitalists say “Thank You”? You bet they did!

They slipped the feds campaign contributions; they offered jobs in their think tanks and lobbying firms; they gave them lavish “speaking fees” for blah-blahing about nothing to people who weren’t even listening.

And now, having banged, bent, and bamboozled capitalism for their own ends…

…and feeling perhaps a little guilty… and worrying that the masses might be getting restless… they propose to take a sledgehammer to what’s left of it.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:4/28/2019 6:49:36 PM
[Markets] Central Banking Is Central Planning

Authored by Richard Ebeling via The American Institute for Economic Research,

At a time when the appeal of and demands for a new “democratic” socialism seem to have caught the imagination of many among the young and are reflected in the promises of a good number of political candidates running for high office, there is one already-existing socialist institution in America with few opponents: the Federal Reserve System.

The fact is, central banking is a form of central planning. The Federal Reserve has a legal monopoly over the monetary system of the United States. It plans the quantity of money in circulation and its availability for lending purposes; and it sets a target for the annual rate of price inflation (currently around 2 percent), while also intentionally influencing interest rates, affecting investment spending, and supporting full employment. Almost all discussions and debates concerning the Federal Reserve revolve around how it should undertake its monetary central planning: which policy tools should be used, what target goals should be aimed for, and who should be in charge of directing America’s central bank.

Federal Reserve Independence in the Trump Era

A complementary issue that has received renewed attention concerns the question of how much “independence” the Federal Reserve and other central banks should have to determine and implement monetary and interest rate policy. This has recently come to the fore due to comments made by President Donald Trump concerning Federal Reserve interest rate policy and the individuals he has recently proposed for positions on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Several times over the last year, President Trump has expressed irritation and frustration with increases in market rates of interest under the Federal Reserve Board leadership of Jerome Powell, who Trump nominated for Fed chairman and who has held that position since February 2018. Trump has publicly pouted and whined that while Barack Obama  was president he had a central bank that gave him rock-bottom low interest rates. Fed Chairman Powell, on the other hand, has raised interest rates several times over the last year, preventing America from being as “great” as Trump thinks it can be because of the higher costs of borrowing for both the private sector and the federal government.

Being informed that he really cannot just fire Chairman Powell because he doesn’t like Federal Reserve policies, Trump wants to get around the Powell problem by nominating for open positions on the Fed Board those he thinks will more likely direct Federal Reserve policies in the way he wants. Thus, he has put up as names for Senate approval those of Stephen Moore, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and a former Trump campaign advisor; and Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a previous chairman of the Kansas City branch of the Federal Reserve, and a past Republican presidential hopeful himself.

Trump Critics on the Left, on the Right, and at the Economist

Trump has been attacked from both the left and the right for seeming to want to pack the Federal Reserve Board of Governors with “political” types reflecting Trump’s desire for looser monetary policy and lower interest rates. Some on the political left oppose his nominees simply because, well, they are Trump’s choices, along with the additional criticisms that neither are Ph.D. economists nor known and respected experts on monetary policy.

Others more to the political right don’t want them on the Board because they would prefer a more “hawkish” Fed policy. Desmond Lachman, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, thinks the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates so the central bank will have the room for future successful monetary-stimulus policies when the next economy-wide downturn comes along. In other words, he just wants monetary central planning in a different direction than President Trump.

The Economist magazine had as its cover topic for the April 13, 2019, issue the threat to central bank “independence” from Trump and others like him in charge of governments around the world. What is needed and has to be preserved, the Economist argues, are professional monetary-planning “technocrats” who rise above and are free from interference by politicians, so those at the central banking helm can focus on long-run price-level stability and non-ideological banking and interest rate policies.

The magazine admits that central bankers have not always gotten it right — even the most well-intentioned central planner is only human, let’s not forget — but in their wise hands the world has been saved from destabilizing price inflations and short-run policy manipulations that might have been harmful to full employment and steady growth.

The “Austrian” Critique of Central Planning vs. Markets

Rarely heard or suggested in all these commentaries on the Federal Reserve is whether the United States needs or should have a central bank. I would like to suggest that the answer is no, and for many of the same reasons that can be made against socialist central planning in general.

It will be 100 years in 2020 since the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises first published his famous critique of socialist central planning in his article “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” (1920) and then extended the challenge to all facets of collectivism in his 1922 book, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis. The gist of his argument was that a centrally planned economy did away with the essential institutions necessary for rational economic calculation: private property in the means of production, market competition, and a functioning price system.

In a complex and ever-changing social system of division of labor all the multitudes of participants are interdependent for all the things needed for everyday life. It is necessary to have some means of knowing what it is that people want to buy in their role as consumers and the value they place on those things; and it is also essential to know what resources are available out of which desired consumer goods might be produced, and what their values might be in the alternative uses for which they could be applied.

In other words, do consumers desire hats, or shoes, or bananas, or breakfast cereal, or classical music, or serious books on economics, or anything else, and what are the relative values they may place on possibly purchasing them? At the same time, what are the available types and quantities of labor, land, resources and raw materials, and capital goods (machinery, tools, equipment) that may be used in various combinations to produce those consumer items, and what might be their appraised values in being employed in different and competing lines of production?

Market Prices and Economic Calculation

The market solves that problem, Mises explained, through the emergence of a competitive price system for both finished goods and the factors of production. With exchangeable private property there are opportunities to buy and sell; with the ability to buy and sell, people have motives and incentives to make bids and offers to each other; out of those bids and offers may arise agreed-upon terms of trade; and those agreed-upon terms of trade create the complex structure of relative prices for both those finished goods and the factors of production.

In a complex market system there also historically emerged a medium of exchange to overcome the hurdles of direct barter transactions to better facilitate the buying and selling of virtually everything. As the most widely used and generally accepted medium of exchange, the commodity that becomes the money-good comes to be on one side of every exchange.

People trade their goods for money, and then trade away that money for other goods they desire to buy. Almost every good and service on the market, therefore, comes to have a money price that then enables an ease of economic calculation through which all the physically heterogeneous goods offered on the market may be expressed in a single valuational common denominator — the money prices for everything.

Thus, all traders on the market can readily do their “comparison shopping.” What would this bundle of consumer items cost me to buy and what are the relative costs if I substitute one good for another to buy instead? If I buy one hat for $10, then I have to forgo the equivalent of two pairs of gloves that cost $5 a piece.

The same applies on the supply side of market production decisions. The entrepreneur can try to make an informed judgment concerning what a consumer good sells for in the present and might possibly sell for in the future if he were to bring some quantity of it to market. Likewise, he can determine what it would cost to rent, hire, or purchase alternative combinations of inputs (labor, land, capital) to manufacture some such consumer item, on the basis of which he can decide whether he thinks that doing so would be a profit-making or a loss-making endeavor; and if seeming to be profitable, which combination of those inputs would minimize his costs of production to potentially maximize the anticipated and hoped-for profits?

Central Planning Leads to Planned Chaos

A system of socialist central planning does away with all of this. With government nationalization of the means of production there is nothing to (legally) buy and sell on the production side of the economy. With nothing to buy and sell, there are, obviously, no bids or offers for the factors of production. With no bids and offers for labor, land, resources, and capital, there are no market-based prices for appraising profitable from unprofitable lines of production, and deciding which alternative ways of making finished goods would minimize the costs of production.

It is not surprising that a bit more than a quarter of a century after Mises first offered his criticisms of socialist central planning he titled a short monograph on the same theme Planned Chaos (1947). Without market-based and competitively generated prices to assist the ongoing process of rational economic calculation in a changing world, the central planners would be “flying blind” in trying to decide what to produce and how to produce it to get the most out of the scarce factors of production in value terms in supplying the goods and services consumers actually might want to buy and what they would have been willing to pay for them. (See my article “Why Socialism Is ‘Impossible.’”)

Most economists around today would find the gist of this argument fairly obvious if asked to agree with it or not, even if many mainstream economists would no doubt insist that there were problems of monopoly and undersupplied public goods, and assert the need for various redistributive welfare programs outside of the arena of market exchange due to income inequalities. But the notion that market-based, competitive prices enable effective and cost-efficient economic calculation for much that goes on in a complex society would be accepted, in this general formulation, without too much disagreement.

Central Banking Denies Freedom of Choice in Money

On this basis, I would argue that monetary central planning in the form of central banking creates many of the same problems for economic calculation and effective and efficient use of resources as traditional socialist economic planning. First of all, what commodity (or commodities) should be used as a medium (or media) of exchange? Under our current monetary system, anyone who attempts to offer and market alternative monies for use in domestic transactions is subject to legal penalty including arrest and imprisonment.

For instance, back in the late 1990s, Bernard von NotHaus decided to mint and market an alternative “private voluntary currency” for business and related transactions. In 2009, Mr. NotHous was arrested for circulating millions of his gold coins called Liberty Dollars in over 80 cities on counterfeiting charges and for undertaking a “conspiracy” against the U.S. government’s monetary monopoly. He was found guilty in 2011, and in 2014 he was given six months’ house arrest and three years’ probation. In 2018, Mr. NotHous was back, this time saying that he was starting up a cryptocurrency that was to be 100 percent backed by silver. How the government responds this time to his attempt to undermine America’s socialist monetary system remains to be seen.

But the fact is, how can any government and even the wisest and most Ph.D.’ed of their Federal Reserve experts know what people in the marketplace would find attractive, advantageous, and profitable to use as a medium of exchange in market transactions, or whether there might not be a demand for different types of money for different forms of market activities?

The answer is that there is no way of fully knowing this other than allowing private enterprisers and entrepreneurs in the financial and other everyday markets to competitively discover and offer what we the buying and selling public might want for this purpose. It is now more than 40 years since Austrian economist F.A. Hayek published his “Choice in Currency,” (1976) in which he called for the simple monetary reform of ending legal tender laws and allowing people to choose and use in domestic and foreign transactions any medium of exchange they desire. He considered this a necessary freedom to break the history of abuse under government-monopoly money and to allow people to use whatever money they want.

Only Markets Can Discover the Optimal Amount of Money

Second, how can the monetary central planners know how much money should be in circulation and in the banking system? This is no more possible than the old Soviet central planners knowing how much toilet paper to produce or the quantities and varieties of any other everyday household necessity. What the Soviet planners produced invariably turned out to be in the wrong amounts and of the wrong types. A visit to a “people’s” lingerie store (and I use this term very loosely) in Moscow before the collapse of the Soviet Union found one-size-fits-all in women’s underpants. Any needed adjustment of the waistband, well, comrade, that is what safety pins are for. No unnecessary quantities or wasteful duplication under bright and beautiful socialist planning. The central planners were, no doubt, Soviet socialism’s best and brightest — and with Ph.D.’s!

Under a commodity money such as gold in a fully free-enterprise system, the amount of money in the market is a reflection of supply and demand. People have uses for gold for either commercial or monetary purposes. Gold has its price in the marketplace. Based on this those on the supply side could estimate the profitability of prospecting, mining, minting, and marketing greater quantities of produced gold for sale for monetary and other commercial uses.

An increased demand for gold as money sees a shift of the commodity from commercial uses to monetary ones, and with the resulting rise in the value of gold in general, a greater profitability from gold prospecting, mining, and minting. As the supply increases, the rise in the market value of gold is tempered, with the increasing supply tending to satisfy the greater demand. Yes, there have been noticeable gold-based fluctuations due to newly discovered gold sources in various parts of the world. But in general these incidents have been few and far between, with gold annually being extracted from known pockets based on current and trend demand.

The crucial element in this is that the “optimal” quantity of money is the interactive outcome of the market participants themselves. The gold market provides the price system that reflects the demand for gold in its various uses, of which money is one. And the related markets for the needed means of production to mine, mint, and supply gold provide the cost prices that facilitate the rational economic calculations for an ever-adapting and ever-adjusting “optimal” market-guided quantity of money. (See my article “Government, Gold, and Separating Money from the State.”)

The Central Bankers Determine How Much Money

Today we are dependent on the decisions of a handful of central-planning executives on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. What is their guide? The personal judgments of what they think the economy needs, based upon the prevailing macroeconomic theories used in the central bank about how the economy works and therefore how much money should be pumped into the banking system.

Our monetary fate is dependent upon whether the central bank experts, this year, are old-style Keynesians, new Keynesians, monetarists, new classical economists, Taylor-rule followers, supply-siders, new modern monetary theorists, or any number of other possibilities. In the old Soviet Union, it all depended upon whether Stalinists or Trotskyites were to be in charge; for the central planning of scientific research, genetics was or was not considered compatible with Marxism-Leninism as interpreted by the leadership of “the Party.”

Just as it is said that central banking needs to be independent so the “objective” and scientific monetary “experts” can guide the economy based on the latest and “correct” macroeconomic models, it was insisted under Soviet and all other socialisms-in-practice that it was all objective and scientific, being based on Marxian dialectical materialism, given what that meant in any particular situation. It’s all a politics and ideology of planning. A few say they know what is right for the many, and will use government to give it to them.

The False Target of 2 Percent Price Inflation

Also important to keep in mind is that there is no optimal rate of price inflation. To begin with, any benchmark meant to determine whether prices in general are rising or falling is based upon some statistical averaging of selected and weighted individual prices tracked through time to determine whether or not a constructed and imaginary basket of goods has become more expensive or less expensive, and if so by what percentage amount from an earlier point in time.

Changes in the cost of living affect each of us differently based on the reality of what we as individuals and separate households choose to buy and in what relative amounts. Also, our individual baskets are not invariant points of comparison even for ourselves, since changes in our tastes and preferences, in the relative prices among the goods we buy, and in the market’s offering of new and better quality goods on a frequent basis all bring about changes in what goods are in our respective baskets and their relative quantities.

Such statistical creations as the Consumer Price Index are at most very rough-and-ready general pieces of information for the consumer or citizen concerning what the central bank may be doing to the overall value of the money we use. The fact is, its importance is not for you or me, but as one of the signals used by the central bankers to decide the rate of monetary expansion and for influencing interest rates. (See my articles “The Consumer Price Index, a False Indicator of Our Individual Costs-of-Living” and “The False Promises of Controlled 2 Percent Inflation.”)

It’s all based on a macroeconomic conception that in general a falling price level is “bad,” and that growth and employment are “stimulated” by modestly rising prices. It has fallen mostly (though not exclusively) to the Austrian school over the last 100 years to demonstrate that falling prices due to greater outputs and supply-side cost efficiencies are not only not harmful to the wealth and health of modern society, but are an indication of increasing prosperity and rising real standards of living. (See my article “Don’t Fear Deflation, Unless Caused by Government.”)

Likewise, whether it is the attempt to maintain a relatively stable general level of prices (as partly guided Federal Reserve policy in the 1920s) or the contemporary central bank target of 2 percent price inflation, the primary institutional tool at the Federal Reserve’s disposal is to buy U.S. government securities (and now a variety of other market assets including mortgaged-backed securities during the financial crisis of 2008-9 and after) and to increase loanable reserves in the banking system. (See my article “Austrian Monetary Theory vs. Federal Reserve Inflation Targeting.”)

This becomes the means for influencing interest rates for investment and all other types of borrowing to try to “stimulate” spending and employment in the economy as a whole. Even the Fed’s latest policy trick since the financial crisis to pay banks not to lend the very trillions of dollars of excess reserves the central bank pumped into the banking system is a way for the Federal Reserve to try to influence interest rates and aggregate spending in the economy.

The fact is, interest rates should be left free and competitive to do their job as the network of intertemporal prices connecting and coordinating the savings decisions of lenders with the investment choices of borrowers. In other words, interest rates are the prices that are supposed to bring markets and the use of the factors of production into balance with each other across time.

Instead, by viewing and using interest rates as a policy tool to be manipulated, the Federal Reserve’s monetary central planners only succeed in distorting and preventing interest rates from telling the truth: how much savings is in the economy to sustain and maintain a structure of gross and net investments with varying time horizons. (See my article “Interest Rates Need to Tell the Truth.”)

Just as Soviet central planners may have believed that they could coordinate it all for better and more successful outcomes than market economies, our central bankers never fail in their enthusiasm and arrogant confidence that this time they will get it right, that they “now” have the right macroeconomic model of how it all works; they, finally, have bigger and better statistical data and computer capacity to successfully read and measure the entrails of the economic goose. (See my articles ”Macro Aggregates Hide the Real Market Processes at Work” and “The Myth of Aggregate Demand and Supply.”

What they, in fact, bring about are the inflations and recessions, the booms and busts that they insist they are in the central banking business to moderate, if not to prevent. By their fruits you will know them: the post-World War I inflation and depression; the 1920s false promise of prosperity and stability, followed by the Great Depression; the booms and busts of inflations and recessions in the 1950s; the monetary inflation of the 1960s and especially the high price inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s; then a relative calm in the 1990s, but followed by the monetary expansion between 2003 and 2008 that set the stage for the great financial and housing crisis of 2008-10; and now the great experiment with “quantitative easing” and the ballooning Federal Reserve asset portfolio filled with private sector mortgages. (See my article “Ten Years On: Recession, Recovery, and the Regulatory State.”)

The long history of central banking, and especially over the last 100 years of paper monies and out-of-control government deficit spending partly funded by “monetization” of the debt, has more than clearly demonstrated that the epoch of modern central banking needs to come to an end. And in its place, we need the opening and freeing of financial markets to private competitive free banking, with markets — meaning all of us — deciding what we want to use as money. (See my eBook Monetary Central Planning and the State.)

Published:4/28/2019 6:11:39 PM
[Markets] Does Joe Biden Work For Donald Trump?

Authored by Raul Ilragi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Joe Biden is working for Donald Trump, right? I haven’t heard either of them say it outright, but it’s the only reason I can see that would explain why Biden is running for president. And if Biden works for Trump, that means he works for Putin, because Trump is Putin’s puppet, no matter how often Robert Mueller denies it.

Then again, if we would suggest, purely hypothetically and for entertainment purposes only, that Biden is neither Putin’s nor Trump’s puppet, what on earth drives him to declare his candidacy as the oldest ever presidential candidate in US history? Biden will be Trump’s punching bag. There is so much wrong with and about the man, Trump’s not even laughing, just saying: “oh yes, please, bring it.”

Biden has the Anita Hill boondoggle to his name, there’s a huge nascent story concerning Ukraine, where he interfered, while vice-president, to benefit his son, and there are tons of women who will come with groping tales. This will be a very long list, as long as his career in Washington. Biden bumbles and stumbles for a living. Someone’s going to write a book about that someday.

And perhaps most of all, Biden is the product and candidate of the DNC, which may think they got away with what they did in 2016, but will find out that it just ain’t so. They may all think that if Trump is made of Teflon, Joe can be as well, but Teflon is a rare material for politicians to be made of.

The Democrats’ hard-to-grasp decision to put everything on the red of collusion for 3 years, and their subsequent colossal loss, will play an outsize role in the 2020 campaign, and of course much more so if an old hand like Joe Biden is put out front to catch the worst of the blows. A lot will come out of the upcoming “counter-Mueller” investigations, starting with DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’s in May, and Trump will only have to say: “You were there all along, Joe, all the way”.

Despite the DNC’s illegal actions and shenanigans, they are still the organization that in the end picks the candidate. Will it be Joe Biden, or will he be knock-out by this time next year? It all depends on who the DNC is going to nominate support, and the DNC is still very much Hillary and the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz cabal.

Bernie Sanders is polling second at this point in time, but Bernie would have to explain away why he surrendered his spot to Hillary after the DNC took it away from him in a clearly fraudulent manner (as we know though WikiLeaks files). What all those people whose millions in campaign donations he squandered away by doing that, even endorsing Hillary, should want to know is: will you do it again this time, Bernie, turn your back on us? You know, once bitten, twice shy?

CNN made up another story out of nothing to make us believe Trump is scared of Biden: “Biden Is Trump’s Most Anticipated – And Feared – Rival”. The gist of it is that they have a source in the White House who says Trump has mentioned Biden in a meeting, and that must mean he fears him.

What is Trump supposedly afraid of? Of Biden taking up print- and airspace and luring away “lower-income white voters who propelled Trump to the White House.” Sure. And if you’re interested, I still own that bridge. To balance things out they also include a line that makes their entire article look useless and ridiculous in two seconds flat. They quote David Urban, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania, saying. “If voters wanted a third Obama term, they would have voted for Hillary (Clinton) over Donald Trump.”. And:

[Trump] has denied to reporters that he views the former vice president as a danger, telling CBS News in an interview last year he “dreamed” of running against Biden. Earlier this month he insisted Biden was saddled with a long and ignominious record – including during the Obama administration, which Trump has blamed with increased frequency for foreign and economic policy blunders. “I don’t see Joe Biden as a threat. No, I don’t see him as a threat. I think he is only a threat to himself,” Trump said. “He’s been there a long time. His record’s not good. He’d have to run on the Obama failed record.”

Makes you wonder why CNN wrote that piece, doesn’t it? Are they also on Putin’s payroll? It’s something I’ve often suspected as the mainstream media bungled their way through Mueller Time. Kim Dotcom also had a nice one on Twitter:

Barack Obama didn’t endorse Joe Biden and advised him not to run because now everyone will be looking for dirt on Biden. There’s a lot of dirt and Obama is right there with him in the mud of corruption and unlawfulness. Exciting times.

The DNC, and the Democratic Party as a whole, have a massive legacy problem. Their entire leadership look like a Monday Bingo night in a pensioners home, with botox overdoses for the winners. The entire culture is based on “it’s her/his turn”, and it’s exceedingly rare for anyone to volunteer to step down before they have attained full dementia.

They appear to have a number of younger people who could fill in those roles, but those will have to wait until Pelosi et al have had their fill at the power trough. This is extremely damaging to the party, and ultimately for the whole country, which badly needs a strong party to balance out Trump and his ilk.

But there’s no such balance, and Biden doesn’t have a chance in hell against Trump. The Democrats don’t see this, because that would mean their leaders have to remove themselves from their positions. Fat -old- chance.

The Democrats have promising -though not flawless- young candidates lining up, and they are being pushed to the sidelines. I like the idea that they are letting 20 or more of them in the race just so in the end the DNC will have to decide, and they already have Kamala Harris lined up, but Kamala would only be another DNC candidate. Same problem as Biden.

The ‘leadership’ still clings to the collusion narrative, and that is playing right into Trump’s hands. Collusion, Julian Assange, Maria Butina, these are all made-up stories the Democrats think will be profitable for them. But they only think it because it’s the only way to explain Hillary’s loss that doesn’t expose their gross incompetence.

The Democrat-ruled Congress should make sure the Trump administration frees Butina, drops the extradition request for Assange, and apologizes to Russia for all the empty and hostile allegations. Not going to happen. Pelosi, Hillary and Schumer need the collusion narrative Mueller just entirely discredited. Yes, that is desperate as it sounds.

The Democrat old guard have given up on having a vision for the nation, and instead focus all their energy on scheming and plotting and hanging on to their power. And on trying to get old white men elected. But America is no longer a country for white old men. That ends with Trump. Like a lot ends with Trump. But for now he’s still there.

Published:4/28/2019 5:12:01 PM
[The Blog] NYT: Obama didn’t want Biden to run in 2016

Had aide tell Biden it wasn't a good idea.

The post NYT: Obama didn’t want Biden to run in 2016 appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/28/2019 4:14:15 PM
[Politics] Former Obama official is getting THRASHED by progressives on tweet undermining Liz Warren!! These Democrat-on-Democrat attacks are really the most fun articles I get to write. In today’s edition, former Obama admin. official Jen Psaki tried to pull the rug from under Liz Warren by . . . Published:4/28/2019 3:16:04 PM
[Politics] Former Obama official is getting THRASHED by progressives on tweet undermining Liz Warren!! These Democrat-on-Democrat attacks are really the most fun articles I get to write. In today’s edition, former Obama admin. official Jen Psaki tried to pull the rug from under Liz Warren by . . . Published:4/28/2019 2:40:50 PM
[Markets] Trump Warns Bernie He's Getting Screwed Again By DNC -- This Time To Help Biden

President Trump on Saturday said over Twitter that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is "again working its magic in its quest to destroy Crazy Bernie Sanders," in favor of "Sleepy" Joe Biden. Trump then wrote "Here we go again Bernie, but this time please show a little more anger and indignation when you get screwed!"

How was Bernie screwed?

Thanks to WikiLeaks and admissions by former DNC chair-turned-Fox News contributor Donna Brazile, we know that the DNC coordinated with the Clinton Campaign during the 2016 primaries to give Obama's former Secretary of State an unfair advantage over Sanders. 

Not only did Brazile give Clinton's team CNN debate questions ahead of time - as revealed by WikiLeaks, the DNC cut off Sanders' access to a critical voter database in what Bernie suggested was a setup. 

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) had hired an outside software partner, "NGP VAN," to manage its voter database. Founded by Nathaniel Pearlman - chief technology officer for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign - NGP's 'VoteBuilder' software was designed for Democratic candidates (Bernie, Hillary, etc.) to track and analyze highly detailed information on voters for the purposes of 'microtargeting' specific demographics.

On December 16th, 2015, NGP VAN updated the Votebuilder with a patch that contained a bug - allowing the Sanders and the Clinton campaigns to temporarily access each other's proprietary voter information for around 40 minutes. Lo and behold, the Sanders campaign National Data Director, Josh Uretsky, was found to have accessed Clinton's information and was promptly fired.

Uretsky's excuse was that he was simply grabbing Clinton's data during the window of vulnerability to prove that the breach was real.

Bernie cried false flag!

Sanders claimed that Uretsky was a DNC plant - "recommended by the DNC's National Data Director along with NGP's Pearlman. Sanders sued the DNC in December 2015, only to drop the case four months later after a DNC investigation concluded that the wrongdoing did not go beyond Uretsky and three staffers under his command. 

More DNC plotting - exposed by WikiLeaks and Donna Brazile:

In her 2017 book, Brazile said that she had discovered a 2015 deal between the Clinton campaign, Clinton's joint fundraising committee, and the DNC - which would allow Clinton's campaign to "control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised." Brazile said that while the deal "looked unethical," she found "no evidence" that the 2016 primary was rigged. 

Meanwhile, in an email from early May, DNC CFO Brad Marshall wrote about a plot to question Sanders’s religion. While not naming the Vermont senator directly, it talks about a man of “Jewish heritage” Marshall believes to be an atheist. It makes reference to voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, two states that were holding upcoming primary elections. 

“It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” the email says.

“AMEN,” DNC Chief Executive Officer Amy K. Dacey replied.

Marshall did not respond to a request for comment. But he did tell The Intercept, which first noticed the email, “I do not recall this. I can say it would not have been Sanders. It would probably be about a surrogate."

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, meanwhile had written Bernie off completely - noting in a May 21 email (while there were still nine primary debates to go): "This is a silly story," adding "He isn't going to be president." Of course, Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper that if he was elected president, Wasserman Schultz would be out at the DNC

And what did Bernie do after he lost the primaries, knowing Clinton and the DNC conspired against him? He ran to Hillary's side like a lapdog and gave her his full-throated support. 

And no wonder DNC chair Tom Perez has urged Republicans not to use "stolen private data" during the 2020 campaign - since Wikileaks emails contiain massive evidence of the DNC's collusion against Sanders. 

Published:4/28/2019 11:46:23 AM
[Markets] Obama Slams Trump's "Opinions And Biases" During Dinner Honoring Nelson Mandela

Most people, or even most politicians, probably wouldn't consider a celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa who led the dismantling of the Apartheid regime, as an appropriate venue for partisan political attacks.

But as his supporters rarely miss an opportunity to remind us, former President Barack Obama isn't most politicians.

Obama participated in a discussion at the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC on Saturday in celebration of Mandela's birthday.

But during the audience Q&A he couldn't resist taking a jab at President Trump.

"If you don't know what you stand for and what your values are and what you believe, then you also don't know what can be compromised and what can't be compromised...what's situational and what's temporary. I change my mind all the time based on facts and evidence...the challenge we have in politics, and in every country, is when people start conforming facts to their opinions and biases instead of trying to shape their opinions based on the facts. If you're starting off based on facts, then we can have a discussion we can have an argument."

The implication here is clear: Obama is using the same rhetoric that Democrats employed when they denounced the border crisis as a made-up emergency. We all know how that turned out.

Of course, this dig comes just days after former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein slammed the Obama administration for not revealing "the full story" about Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election before the November vote, which sounds to us like an obvious example of manipulating 'the facts' to conform to your opinions (or, in this case, your hoped-for electoral outcome).

"Some critical decisions about that Russia investigation were made before I got there. The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to Russia’s broader strategy to undermine America," Rosenstein said during the Armenian Bar Association’s Public Servants Dinner in New York.

Regardless, we imagine Democrats will praise Obama's willingness to 'speak out' against his successor as another example of his bravery and leadership, just as CNN implied in a clip about the remarks below.

Maybe somebody should tell them that the facts don't care about their feelings.

Published:4/28/2019 10:50:01 AM
[Markets] Bart Chilton Dead At 58 After A "Sudden Illness"

Bart Chilton, arguably the most famous CFTC commissioner who on various occasions vowed to crack down (unsuccessfully) on precious metals and VIX manipulation, who called for cryptocurrency regulation, and who sported shoulder-length silver hair and wore cowboy boots during his frequent TV appearances, has died "after a sudden illness", RT reports. He was only 58.

Chilton, who most recently was an op-ed writer for Forbes and had his own daily business and finance television show "Boom Bust with Commissioner Bart Chilton on RT America" spent a career in government during the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations, on Capitol Hill as a senior staffer in the House and Senate, concluding as a CFTC financial regulator between 2007 and 2014 where he repeatedly railed against precious metal manipulation and called for appropriate regulation of crypto currencies. In his own words, "I’ve always looked out for average folks and spoken my mind."

At the CFTC, he headed the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee and the Global Markets Advisory Committee. He has served on multiple local, federal and presidential campaigns, the Obama presidential transition team, and in the US House, Senate, and Executive branch. His subject matter spanned from politics and policy – specifically US and global financial markets, agricultural, energy and the environment, and transportation – to music, movies, and pop culture. Commissioner Chilton was known for his individualistic approach to financial regulation, his myriad media appearances, speeches, and frequent opinion editorials. From 1995 to 2001, Commissioner Chilton was a political appointee of President Bill Clinton, rising to Deputy Chief of Staff to US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.

Phot credit: RT America

RT America, one of the media outlets to write a eulogy for the former commissioner had this to say:

“We remember his intelligence, his compassion, his joyful laughter. With his passing, nothing could fill the void in our newsroom, nor the space Bart held in our hearts,” said Mikhail Solodovnikov, RT America’s News Director. “We will seek solace, and honor his memory, by delivering the best news content to our viewers, with the dedication and diligence that is the hallmark and legacy of our friend Bart Chilton.”

Our News Team expresses deepest condolences to Bart’s wife, Sherry.

Over the years, Zero Hedge had repeatedly covered Chilton's seemingly sole attempts to crackdown on precious metals regulation, often critically, as in the end he was unable to put an end to an activity that has subsequently cost banks billions in legal settlement fees. That said, Chilton was at least one of the few regulators to admit that Wall Street is rigged, most notably in his Christmas 2013 CFTC parting letter which we posted at the time, and which we excerpt from one last time.

* * *

While one may criticize now-ex CFTC commissioner Bart Chilton for years and years of sound and fury signifying nothing, countless promises of regulatory enforcement (all of which fell short of the target) and finally putting an end to precious metals manipulation only for the world to discover that while every other asset class is manipulated (involving such individuals as JPM's chief currency dealer), gold and silver are exempt, one must admit the former regulator does have a way wtih words (and of course haircuts). Sure enough, Chilton's most memorable parting gift will not be something he did, but rather what he said.

William Cohan memorializes his parting message: "As we long suspected, Wall Street continues to use every trick in its playbook to do whatever it can to eviscerate numerous post-financial-crisis rules. The arsenal includes high-powered lobbyists who outnumber lawmakers 10-to-1; $1,000-an-hour letter-writing lawyers who gain strength from negotiating over arcana; and the occasional hoodwinking of a president whose knowledge of the ways of finance are close to nil."

Chilton's take home message: “The lesson for me is: The financial sector is so powerful that they will roll things back over time,” Chilton says. “The Wall Street firms have tremendous influence, and they can impact policy to a greater degree than any one regulator or a small group of regulators can.

What are Chilton's other laments? Why being underfunded of course. Because if the CFTC only had more money, all would have been fixed.

In fiscal 2013, for example, the CFTC requested funding of $308 million and got only $195 million ($10 million less than the previous year) despite many new responsibilities. “There are crooks who are getting away with crimes because we don’t have the resources to go after them,” Chilton says. The SEC has a similar discrepancy between its appropriation and what it needs to fulfill legal mandates.

With its regulators overwhelmed and underfunded, Wall Street firms then move to the relentless negotiation stage. “As you try to deal with the regulatory agency,” he says of Wall Street, “the first thing you do is you say, ‘Well, would you exempt us?’ And when that doesn’t work, you try to ameliorate your regulation.” If that strategy fails, the industry defaults to litigation.

Chilton said he has noticed one additional tactic that Wall Street has been employing lately: stalling or thwarting nominees to regulatory agencies. The nomination of Timothy Massad, the U.S. Treasury Department official who managed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to replace Gary Gensler as CFTC chairman came late in the year and a confirmation vote has now been delayed, probably to February 2014. That means further Dodd-Frank rule-writing and enforcement could be delayed, too, because only two of five commissioners will be seated and they would both have to agree to get anything done. “It’s a gift to Wall Street,” he said. “This is what they’ve been trying to do. They’ve been trying to stop Dodd-Frank.”

Chilton knows why Wall Street always seems to win. Financial-industry executives contribute more money “in every election, than any other sector, and they have made more profits in every single quarter since the fall of 2008 when many of them helped crash the economy,” he explains. “So while the rest of the nation is suffering still, and trying to get a leg up to get out of the ditch, the financial sector didn’t miss a beat.”

In case you didn’t catch Chilton’s meaning, here is the shorter version: Unless and until Wall Street’s disproportionate ability to bully Washington is curtailed, the rest of us will be held hostage to its agenda. For those interested in the fuller version, Chilton has been writing a book. Its working title: “Theft.”

One sure can't say that those 30 years he spent in Washington of which nearly 7 years at the CFTC were lost on the Alexander Godunov lookalike: at least he figured out who runs the show.

Published:4/28/2019 9:40:59 AM
[Media] AWKWARD: Dan Pfeiffer so OUTRAGED over Trump’s ‘damn dangerous’ infanticide comments, there’s just 1 problem

Poor ol’ Obama Bro Dan Pfeiffer … he seems upset with the comments Trump made about infanticide at his rally in Wisconsin last night. Trump is so damn dangerous. He is going to get people hurt with this stuff https://t.co/WpFxbBoLi0 — Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 28, 2019 We don’t disagree with Dan, this commentary is […]

The post AWKWARD: Dan Pfeiffer so OUTRAGED over Trump’s ‘damn dangerous’ infanticide comments, there’s just 1 problem appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:4/28/2019 8:39:25 AM
[Markets] Barack Obama Is Still Britain's Favorite Politician

It was announced this week that U.S. President Trump will make a state visit to the UK at the beginning of June.

Trump's last official trip to the country was met by large protests and a now infamous blimp depicting the president as a baby -, and as Statista's Martin Armstrong notes, this time round it is apparently going to be even larger.

Trump's popularity rating in the UK will therefore come as little surprise, but how does he compare to other foreign politicians, and of huge importance to the man himself, is he more popular than Obama?

Infographic: The UK's favourite foreign politicians | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

No, he isn't - and not by a long shot - but then again neither is anybody else. The popularity of the 44th president of the United States in the UK is huge, with 72 percent of respondents saying they have a positive opinion of him. Trump probably has the Iraq war to thank for the fact that he is at least slightly more popular than George W. Bush (20 percent). As YouGov's ratings show, the Brits are generally a hard bunch to please, meaning that even Vladimir Putin with a mere 12 percent makes it into the top ten.

Published:4/28/2019 6:51:11 AM
[United States Politics and Government] The Long Run: Biden and Obama’s ‘Odd Couple’ Relationship Aged Into Family Ties Four years ago, Barack Obama gently discouraged him from running for president, but Joseph R. Biden Jr. is back and presenting himself as Mr. Obama’s natural heir. Published:4/28/2019 3:39:35 AM
[Markets] Washington Has Destroyed Western Liberty: The Era of Tyranny Has Begun

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

A fish rots from the head. In the Western world rot is accelerating. The rot in Washington is swiftly spreading to state and local governments and abroad to the Empire’s vassal governments.

Washington’s attack on journalism represented by the illegal arrest of Julian Assange has now spread to France. The US government’s policy of sanctions against sovereign countries that do not follow Washington’s orders has spread to the state of New York, where the governor has threatened sanctions against financial institutions that do business with the National Rifle Association.

In France the vassal president Macron has ordered three journalists — who revealed that Macron’s government knowingly and intentionally sold arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to be used for the slaughter of women and children in Yemen — to report for police questioning. The report proves that Macron’s government deliberately lied when it said it was unaware that French weapons were to be used for attack rather than defense use in violation of the Arms Trade Treaty of 2014. The journalists are under investigation by the French gestapo for “compromising national defense secrets.”

In other words, when the French government lies, it is a violation of national defense secrets to report it.

The entire Western world is adopting Washington’s approach to Assange and criminalizing the practice of journalism, thus protecting governments’ criminality. If you reveal a government crime, as Wikileaks did, you will be prosecuted by the criminal government for doing so. It is like permitting a criminal to prosecute the police and prosecutor who want him arrested.

With the First Amendment already under attack and targeted for elimination by Identity Politics for permitting “hate speech,” with the 10th Amendment destroyed by the war criminal Abe Lincoln, and with habeas corpus and due process destroyed by the George W. Bush and Obama regimes, only the Second Amendment still stands, and it is under attack from New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo revealed that his threat of sanctions against financial organizations has the purpose of putting “the NRA out of business. We’re forcing NRA into financial jeopardy. We won’t stop until we shut them down.” The tyrant Cuomo knows that the NRA cannot operate without a bank account and insurance coverage.

To be clear, Washington’s success in weaponizing government against the people has spread throughout the empire and down into the state governments of the United States.

When we add to this the mass spying on citizens made possible by the digital revolution, we have as the result the death of liberty.

To any longer speak of the “Western democracies” is to mouth a falsehood. There are exactly zero Western governments that can be held accountable by the people. There can be no accountable government without a free press. There is no economic freedom or freedom of association when businesses are punished for having business relationships with organizations that are targets of government oppression.

The “war on terror” was a disguise for an attack on the US Constitution, an attack that has succeeded. The worst act of treason in history is the US government’s destruction of the US Constitution.

The era of tyranny has begun. Elections cannot stop it.

Published:4/27/2019 11:13:31 PM
[Uncategorized] Former Obama Spokeswoman: Elizabeth Warren ungrateful, owes Joe Biden for her political career "Elizabeth Warren would be a beloved Harvard Law Professor not a presidential candidate" if Obama and Biden had not helped her on launching consumer financial protection bureau Published:4/27/2019 7:35:58 PM
[Markets] "Easter Worshippers" & The Left's Allergy To Language

Authored by Barbara Boland via The American Conservative,

The Left in this country has a serious problem: they don’t want to talk about religion and are particularly allergic to the phrase “Islamic terrorism.”

On Easter Sunday, Catholic churches and international hotels across Sri Lanka were targeted by radical Islamist suicide bombers. In a stunning display of how far the Left’s allergy has spread, former president Barack Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and former HUD secretary Julián Castro all tweeted condolences to “Easter worshippers.”

Hillary’s tweet works overtime to avoid naming a religion, stating:

“On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.”

“Holy weekend for many faiths”? The only religions celebrating holidays were Jews (Passover) and Christians (Easter).

The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka,” Barack Obama tweeted.

“We’re actually called Christians not ‘Easter worshippers’ wouldn’t hurt to maybe just say that,” National Reviewwriter Alexandra DeSantis tweeted, as conservatives throughout the Twitter became incensed over the phrase.

Breitbart called the tweets a “ sympathy snub” that showed Obama and friends “could not bring themselves to identify the victims of the attacks as ‘Christians.’” A Washington Times op-ed called the phrase anti-Christian.

The backlash was so intense that Slate felt the need to run an article defending the phrase:

“Easter worshippers” describes Christians in church on Easter Sunday.The term is more descriptive than “Christians,” because it conveys the additional fact that the victims were actively celebrating Easter when they were killed.They are worshippers, and it is Easter.If it helps, try putting the emphasis on worshippers in the phrase: It’s Easter worshippers, not Easter-worshippers.

Well, actually no, that’s not how this works. Christians don’t gather in church on the Easter holiday to worship Easter. They gather to worship God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ in particular; hence why the gathered worshippers are called “Christian.”

This phrase fits well with the stunningly illiterate reporting we’ve seen on recent church bombings and attacks. For instance, the New York Times ran a story last week that said a priest had rescued the Crown of Thorns and a small statue of Jesus from the flames of Notre Dame—apparently not realizing that the “Body of Christ” refers to the Catholic sacrament and not a statue.

It’s also possible that this phrase was repeated by so many Democratic politicians because it was created by a public relations firm that works for the Democratic National Committee, like MWWPR. These agencies draft guidance, talking points, speeches, and social media posts. Politicians, with the obvious exception of Donald Trump, rarely post their own original thoughts online. Given that these tweets were posted during the Easter holiday, it seems likely that this was drafted by a PR company with ties to the Democratic Party.

But the biggest takeaway of the phrase “Easter worshippers” is that it is a symptom of a much deeper problem: the Left’s inability to call things what they are.

Under President Obama, officials were so afraid of the phrase “Islamic terrorism” that they redacted the very mention of the Islamic State from the transcript of the Orlando nightclub massacre. This was despite the fact that ISIS had already released a propaganda video celebrating the attack, and the man responsible, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to ISIS in the midst of his barbarism.

Yet Obama insisted that we shouldn’t be “yapping” about Islamic terrorism, because to do so would grant those groups religious legitimacy and frame the conflict as a war between Islam and the West.

“They are not religious leaders—they’re terrorists,” Obama said. “And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Obama also asserted that using the phrase “Islamic terrorism” would make “young Muslims in this country and around the world feel like no matter what they do, they’re going to be under suspicion and under attack. It makes Muslim Americans feel like their government is betraying them.”

How has that worked out?

Sri Lanka’s defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene exhibited similar reluctance to release details of the attacks in his country on Sunday, calling them a “terrorist incident” that was carried out by those adhering to “religious extremism.” The media shouldn’t report their names or make them into “martyrs,” he said.

ISIS has now taken responsibility for the coordinated attacks.

There are nearly two billion Muslims in the world, but the Left insists on seeing them as a persecuted minority. At the same time, the Christians of Sri Lanka make up just 7 percent of their nation’s population. The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe found a 25 percent increase in attacks on Catholic churches in the first two months of 2019, compared to the same time last year. Around the world, 345 Christians are killed every month for faith-related reasons, and 105 church and Christian buildings are burned or attacked, according to Open Doors USA. Eight of the top 10 countries where Christians are persecuted are majority Muslim.

Yet here we stand after years of obfuscations and redactions—of officials not uttering the words “Islamic terrorism” publicly—and far from discouraging the extremists, religiously motivated Islamic terrorism has gone on unabated throughout the world.

Perhaps it’s time for the world to acknowledge that it is not words that are the danger.

Published:4/27/2019 4:40:00 PM
[Uncategorized] No, Democrats, the Obama-Biden Administration Was Not Scandal-Free The Obama-Biden administration was plagued with scandals, and the biggest one may soon be revealed. Published:4/27/2019 3:05:36 PM
[America] Will “Unprecedented Obstruction of Congress” Become The New Democrat Meme?

The NYT tests out a new Trump attack . . . and after 8 years of Obama, the NYT discovers “unprecedented obstruction” of Congressional Oversight. The NYT editorial board is in high dudgeon.  Apparently, “Donald Trump Shows a New Level of Contempt for Congress.” Many presidents,” the NYT editors tell us, “have resisted congressional demands […]

The post Will “Unprecedented Obstruction of Congress” Become The New Democrat Meme? appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:4/27/2019 12:34:23 PM
[Markets] Will The Senior-Level FBI Agents, Who Placed Spies In The Trump Campaign, Ever Be Held Accountable?

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign?

Yes

Did the FBI place spies in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Do we know the names of the spies and how they operated?

Yes

Were the spies trying to entrap Trump campaign assistants in order to gather information on Trump?

Yes

Did the spies try to elicit information from Trump campaign assistants in order to justify a wider investigation and more extensive surveillance?

Yes

Were the spies placed in the Trump campaign based on improperly obtained FISA warrants?

Yes

Did the FBI agents procure these warrants based on false or misleading information?

Yes

Could the FBI establish “probable cause” that Trump had committed a crime or “colluded” with Russia?

No

So the ‘spying’ was illegal?

Yes

Have many of the people who authorized the spying, already been identified in criminal referrals presented to the Department of Justice?

Yes

Have the media explained the importance of these criminal referrals or the impact that spying has on free elections?

No

Is the DOJ’s Inspector General currently investigating whether senior-level agents in the FBI committed crimes by improperly obtaining warrants to spy on members of the Trump team?

Yes

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to give Hillary Clinton an unfair advantage in the presidential race?

Yes

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to gather incriminating information on Trump that could be used to blackmail, intimidate or impeach him in the future?

Yes

Does spying pose a threat to our elections and to our democracy?

Yes

Do many people know that there were spies placed in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Have these people effectively used that information to their advantage?

No

Have they launched any type of public relations offensive that would draw more attention to the critical issue of spying on a political campaign?

No

Have they saturated the airwaves with the truth about “spying” the same way their rivals have spread their disinformation about “collusion”?

No

Do they understand that the country is currently embroiled in a fratricidal, scorched earth political civil war in which one side is determined to prevail at all cost?

No

Do they understand that the people who authorized the spying and who perpetrated the coup will do everything in their power to prevent that information from getting out?

No

Does it look like senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House knew that there were spies in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Did these same senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House cooperate in a plan to undermine and delegitimize the Trump presidency?

Yes

Did they use false or misleading information to infer the president was an agent of a foreign power?

Yes

Did they know this false and misleading information was unreliable, unverified raw intelligence that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton?

Yes

Was there a conspiracy to remove Trump from office or to sabotage his presidency through the dissemination of false information?

Yes

Does the use of spies, wiretapping, “unmasking”, strategically-leaked information to the media, and other forms of electronic surveillance suggest that there are organized elements within the permanent bureaucracy which no longer accept the democratic process?

Yes

Is it fair to say that these people are the enemies of free elections?

Yes

Is it possible for patriotic officials in the Justice Department and in the U.S. Congress to stand up to this powerful deep state apparatus, expose what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign, identify the perpetrators, and bring them to justice?

It is possible, but not likely.

Published:4/27/2019 11:39:00 AM
[Markets] Strassel: Why Didn't Mueller Investigate Whether Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinfo?

Since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report, several questions have been asked as to why certain things were not investigated, and key players were never interviewed, according to President Trump. 

Perhaps the most glaring omission is Mueller's failure to consider that the infamous "Steele Dossier" - which used Kremlin sources - could have been Russian disinformation itself. 

Asking that very question, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel opines on this "stunning omission." 

Kimberly Strassel via the Wall Street Journal

Politicians keep reminding us not to lose sight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s broader assignment: to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. If only someone had reminded Mr. Mueller.

One of the biggest failures of the Mueller probe concerns not what was in the final report, but what was not. Close readers will search in vain for any analysis of the central document in this affair: the infamous “dossier.” It’s a stunning omission, given the possibility that the Russians used that collection of reports to feed disinformation to U.S. intelligence agencies, sparking years of political maelstrom.

The dossier—compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition-research firm working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—fed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media the principal allegations of the “collusion” narrative. It claimed Paul Manafort was at the center of a “well-developed” Trump-Russia “conspiracy”; that Carter Page served as his intermediary, conducting secret meetings with a Kremlin official and the head of a state energy company; that Michael Cohen held a clandestine meeting in Prague with Vladimir Putin cronies; and that the Russians had compromising material on Donald Trump, making him vulnerable to blackmail. The dossier was clearly important to the FBI probe. Its wild claims made up a significant section of the FBI’s application for a secret surveillance warrant on Mr. Page.

The Mueller report exposes the dossier claims as pure fiction. Yet in describing the actions of the Trump campaign figures the FBI accused, the report assiduously avoids any mention of the dossier or its allegations. Mr. Mueller refers to Mr. Steele and his work largely in passing, as part of the report’s description of how former FBI Director James Comey informed Mr. Trump of the dossier’s existence. The dossier is blandly described several times as “unverified allegations compiled” by Mr. Steele.

Once Mr. Mueller established that the dossier was a pack of lies, he should have investigated how it gained such currency at the highest levels of the FBI. Yet his report makes clear he had no interest in plumbing the antics of the bureau, which he led from 2001-13. Instead, he went out of his way to avoid the dossier and give cover to the FBI.

The special counsel had another, more pressing reason to look at the dossier: It fell within his core mission. Since its publication by BuzzFeed in January 2017, we’ve learned enough about Mr. Steele and Fusion GPS to wonder if the Russians used the dossier for their own malign purposes.

In the first telling, Mr. Steele was described by friendly media as simply a “former Western intelligence official” with a history at Britain’s overseas intelligence service. It turns out he worked in Russia. Mr. Steele spent his first years of service under diplomatic cover in Moscow, later in Paris. And in 1999 he was among 117 British spies whose covers were publicly blown by a disgruntled ex-MI6 officer.

The former spy, known to the public and therefore to Russia, also became known for sending reports to the U.S. government. Last year former Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer explained that in 2009 he became friendly with the self-employed Mr. Steele, and starting as early as 2013 ensured that “more than 100 of Steele’s reports” on Russia topics were shared with the State Department. Given that the dossier is largely based on Russian sources, some supposedly connected to the Kremlin, did the Kremlin know about this arrangement and see an opportunity to spoon-feed the U.S. government disinformation?

We’ve also learned more about Mr. Steele’s and Fusion’s connections to Russians. Mr. Steele sent a series of emails to Justice Department employee Bruce Ohr in 2016 inquiring about the status of a visa for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with Kremlin ties. Fusion GPS was working alongside Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who arranged the infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016. Fusion was hired as part of a team to help Ms. Veselnitskaya undermine Bill Browder, the man behind the Magnitsky Act, a law that imposes sanctions on Russians for corruption and human-rights violations.

How did Mr. Mueller spend two years investigating every aspect of Russian interference—cyberhacking, social-media trolling, meetings with Trump officials—and not consider the possibility that the dossier was part of the Russian interference effort?

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Attorney General William Barr may answer some of the questions Mr. Mueller refused to touch. Thanks to the special counsel we know Republicans weren’t playing footsie with Russians. But thanks to BuzzFeed, we know that Democrats were. America deserves to know how far that interaction extended.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Published:4/27/2019 10:33:32 AM
[Markets] Ukraine Tapped By Obama Admin To Hurt Trump, Help Clinton And Protect Bidens

In January, 2016, the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington to discuss several ongoing matters under the guise of coordinating "anti-corruption efforts," reports The Hill's John Solomon. 

The January 2016 gathering, confirmed by multiple participants and contemporaneous memos, brought some of Ukraine’s top corruption prosecutors and investigators face to face with members of former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ).

The agenda suggested the purpose was training and coordination. But Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long — during the meetings and afterward — to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched Vice President Joe Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump. -The Hill

The Obama officials - likely knowing that lobbyist Paul Manafort was about to join President Trump's campaign soon (he joined that March), were interested in reviving a closed investigation into payments to US figures from Ukraine's pro-Russia Party of Regions - which both Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta did unregistered work for, according to former Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko. 

The 2014 investigation focused heavily on Manafort, whose firm was tied to Trump through his longtime partner and Trump adviser, Roger Stone.

Agents interviewed Manafort in 2014 about whether he received undeclared payments from the party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and whether he engaged in improper foreign lobbying.

The FBI shut down the case without charging Manafort 

Telizhenko and other attendees of the January, 2016 meeting recall DOJ employees asking Ukrainian investigators from their National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) if they could locate new evidence about the Party of Regions' payments to Americans

"It was definitely the case that led to the charges against Manafort and the leak to U.S. media during the 2016 election," said Telizhenko - which makes the January 2016 gathering in DC one of the earliest documented efforts to compile a case against Trump and those in his orbit. 

Nazar Kholodnytskyy, Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor, told me he attended some but not all of the January 2016 Washington meetings and couldn’t remember the specific cases, if any, that were discussed.

But he said he soon saw evidence in Ukraine of political meddling in the U.S. election. Kholodnytskyy said the key evidence against Manafort — a ledger showing payments from the Party of Regions — was known to Ukrainian authorities since 2014 but was suddenly released in May 2016 by the U.S.-friendly NABU, after Manafort was named Trump’s campaign chairman.

"Somebody kept this black ledger secret for two years and then showed it to the public and the U.S. media. It was extremely suspicious," said Kholodnytskyy - who specifically instructed NABU not to share the "black ledger" with the media. 

"I ordered the detectives to give nothing to the mass media considering this case. Instead, they had broken my order and published themselves these one or two pages of this black ledger regarding Paul Manafort," he added. "For me it was the first call that something was going wrong and that there is some external influence in this case. And there is some other interests in this case not in the interest of the investigation and a fair trial."

Manafort joined Trump's campaign on March 29, 2016 and became campaign manager on May 19, 2016. The ledger's existence leaked on May 29, 2016, while Manafort would be fired from the Trump campaign that August. 

NABU leaked the existence of the ledgers on May 29, 2016. Later that summer, it told U.S. media the ledgers showed payments to Manafort, a revelation that forced him to resign from the campaign in August 2016.

A Ukrainian court in December concluded NABU’s release of the ledger was an illegal attempt to influence the U.S. election. And a member of Ukraine’s parliament has released a recording of a NABU official saying the agency released the ledger to help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Ignoring others, protecting Bidens

Kostiantyn Kulyk - deputy head of the Ukraine prosecutor general’s international affairs office, said that Ukraine also had evidence of other Western figures receiving money from Yanukovych's party - such as former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig - but the Americans weren't interested. 

"They just discussed Manafort. This was all and only what they wanted. Nobody else," said Kulyk. 

Another case raised at the January 2016 meeting involved the Bidens - specifically Burisma Holdings; a Ukrainian energy company which was under investigation at the time for improper foreign transfers of money. Burisma allegedly paid then-Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter more than $3 million in 2014-15 as both a board member and a consultant, according to bank records

According to Telizhenko, U.S. officials told the Ukrainians they would prefer that Kiev drop the Burisma probe and allow the FBI to take it over. The Ukrainians did not agree. But then Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Ukraine’s chief prosecutor in March 2016, as I previously reported. The Burisma case was transferred to NABU, then shut down.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington on Thursday confirmed the Obama administration requested the meetings in January 2016, but embassy representatives attended only some of the sessions.

Last Wednesday on Fox and Friends, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said "I ask you to keep your eye on Ukraine," referring to collusion to help Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.  

What's more, DOJ documents support Telizhenko's claim that the DOJ reopened its Manafort case as the 2016 election ramped up - including communications between Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr, his wife, Nellie, and ex-British spy Christopher Steele, as Solomon writes. 

Nellie Ohr and Steele worked in 2016 for the research firm, Fusion GPS, that was hired by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find Russia dirt on Trump. Steele wrote the famous dossier for Fusion that the FBI used to gain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. Nellie Ohr admitted to Congress that she routed Russia dirt on Trump from Fusion to the DOJ through her husband during the election.

DOJ emails show Nellie Ohr on May 30, 2016, directly alerted her husband and two DOJ prosecutors specializing in international crimes to the discovery of the “black ledger” documents that led to Manafort’s prosecution.

“Reported Trove of documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ Black Cashbox,” Nellie Ohr wrote to her husband and federal prosecutors Lisa Holtyn and Joseph Wheatley, attaching a news article on the announcement of NABU’s release of the documents.

Politico reported previously that the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington assisted the Hillary Clinton campaign through a DNC contractor, while the Ukrainian Embassy acknowledges that it got requests from a DNC staffer to find dirt on Manafort (though it denies providing any improper assistance." 

As Solomon concludes: "what is already confirmed by Ukrainians looks a lot more like assertive collusion with a foreign power than anything detailed in the Mueller report."

Published:4/27/2019 9:34:26 AM
[Media] KABOOM! Dan Bongino obliterates Joe Biden’s whopper about ‘not a whisper of scandal’ when Obama was president

"With the exception of..."

The post KABOOM! Dan Bongino obliterates Joe Biden’s whopper about ‘not a whisper of scandal’ when Obama was president appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:4/27/2019 9:04:54 AM
[Markets] Will Trump Nominate A Gold Standard Advocate To Fed?

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

Trump has already exerted more influence over one institution than any other president in over 100 years — the Federal Reserve.

That’s because Trump has had more control over Fed personnel than any president since the Fed was founded in 1913. As I’ve written before, Trump now “owns” the Fed.

When Trump was sworn in, he inherited two vacant seats on the seven-person board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. Holders of those two seats are also members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group that sets U.S. interest rates and monetary policies.

President Obama also had the same vacancies, but he did not nominate anyone to fill the seats because he doubted his chances of getting the nominees past the Republican-controlled Senate and he was sure “President Hillary” would do the right thing and appoint pro-Democratic nominees.

In the end, Trump beat Clinton and the vacancies fell to Trump. Then Trump got another windfall. Within 14 months of becoming president, three additional Fed governors resigned (Dan Tarullo, Stan Fischer and Janet Yellen), and Trump suddenly had five vacancies to fill, or 70% of the entire Fed board.

Trump promoted Jay Powell to chair and appointed Richard Clarida as vice chair, Randy Quarles as vice chair for regulation and Michelle Bowman to fill a seat reserved for community bankers.

All of those appointments were well regarded by Wall Street and the media. But that still left Trump with the two original vacancies.

Trump indicated he wanted to appoint Herman Cain and Steve Moore to fill those seats. Cain is a former presidential candidate, chair of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain. Moore is a think tank analyst, founder of the Club for Growth and a former member of the editorial board of TheWall Street Journal.

Cain has now withdrawn his nomination after running into opposition from Senate Republicans based in part on old allegations of sexual misconduct. Moore is also being opposed by those who fault him for not having a Ph.D. in economics.

Whatever the merits, the real reason they have been opposed by monetary elites is that they are “friends of Trump” and will hold Jay Powell’s feet to the fire to cut interest rates and keep the economic expansion going ahead of the 2020 election.

But if Moore withdraws next or if his nomination is defeated, no worries. There’s some indication that Trump’s next nominee will be Judy Shelton.

She does have a Ph.D. and is a well-known advocate of a new gold standard. Just this Sunday she wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal, “The Case for Monetary Regime Change,” that challenged the current system and defended the classical gold standard.

She has also defended Trump’s trade policies, arguing that those who embrace unfettered free trade dogma “disregard the fact that the ‘rules’ are not working for many American workers and companies.”

For those who want Moore to step aside next, the best advice may be “Be careful what you wish for.”

Regardless, the 2020 presidential election is already beginning to take shape.

A few weeks ago, I unveiled my first forecast on the outcome of the 2020 presidential race. My estimate was that Trump had a 60% chance of winning.

I was also careful to explain that my forecasting model includes constant updating and would no doubt change between now and Election Day on Nov. 3, 2020.

That’s normal. Politics is a highly volatile process and it’s foolish to put a stake in the ground this early. My model has quite a few factors, but the leading factor right now is that Trump’s chances are the inverse of the probability of a recession before the third quarter of 2020.

If recession odds by 2020 are 40%, then Trump’s chances are the inverse of that, or 60%. With the passage of time, Trump’s odds go up because the odds of a recession go down.

If a recession does hit, then Trump’s odds go way down. This dynamic can be used to explain and forecast Trump’s economic policies, including calls for interest rate cuts and efforts to place close friends on the Fed Board of Governors.

It’s all connected.

As usual, I found myself out on a limb with my forecast; the mainstream media are sure Trump will lose in 2020, if he’s not impeached sooner. So it was nice to get some company who sees things my way…

A new Goldman Sachs research report also projects that Trump will win in 2020. Goldman shows a narrower margin of victory than my model, but a win is a win.

Of course, their forecast will be updated (like mine) but we’re starting to see more signs from other professional analysts that Trump is a likely winner after all.

Published:4/26/2019 10:32:01 PM
[541e2672-32d7-55a9-99a5-7c3d097b2e34] CNN’s Jim Acosta rips Trump over ‘coup’ claims: ‘I don’t think he understands what he’s saying’ CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta ripped President Donald Trump over his repeated claim that there was an “attempted coup” by the Obama administration, suggesting that the president doesn’t “understand what he’s saying.” Published:4/26/2019 8:00:50 PM
[Markets] For "The Thinking Class", Blowback Is A Harsh Mistress

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

In this universe of paradox, inequity, ironies, and fake-outs one strange actuality stands above the rest these days: that the much-reviled President Trump was on the right side of RussiaGate, and the enormous mob of America’s Thinking Class was on the wrong side — and by such a shocking margin of error that they remain in a horrified fugue of outrage and reprisal, apparently unaware that consequences await.

Granted, there’s a lot to not like about Mr. Trump: his life of maximum privilege in a bubble of grifticious wealth; his shady career in the sub-swamp of New York real estate; his rough, garbled, and childlike manner of speech; his disdain of political decorum, his lumbering bellicosity, his apparently near-total lack of education, and, of course, the mystifying hair-doo. His unbelievable luck in winning the 2016 election can only be explained by the intervention of some malign cosmic force — a role assigned to the Russians. At least that’s how Mr. Trump’s antagonists engineered The Narrative that they have now quadrupled down on.

To make matters worse, this odious President happens to be on the right side of several other political quarrels of the day, at least in terms of principle, however awkwardly he presents it.

The Resistance, which is to say the same Thinking Class groomed in the Ivy League and apprenticed in official leadership, has dug in on the idiotic policy position of a de facto open border with Mexico, and embellished that foolish idea with such accessory stupidities as sanctuary cities and free college tuition for non-citizens. Their arguments justifying these positions are wholly sentimental — they’re stuffing little children in cages! — masking a deep undercurrent of dishonesty and cynical opportunism — not to mention putting themselves at odds with the rule-of-law itself.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr. Trump often averred to forging better relations with Russia. The previous administration had meddled grotesquely in Ukrainian politics, among other things, and scuttled the chance to make common cause with Russia in areas of shared self-interest, for instance, in opposing worldwide Islamic terrorism. This was apparently too much for the US War Lobby, who needed a Russian boogeyman to keep the gravy train of weaponry and profitable interventionist operations chugging along, even if it meant arming Islamic State warriors who were blowing up US troops. Being falsely persecuted from before day one of his term for “collusion with Russia,” Mr. Trump apparently found it necessary to go along with antagonizing Russia via sanctions and bluster, as if to demonstrate he never was “Putin’s Puppet.”

Meanwhile, by some strange process of psychological alchemy, the Thinking Class assigned Islamic radicals to their roster of sacred victims of oppression — so that now it’s verboten to mention them in news reports whenever some new slaughter of innocents is carried out around the world, or to complain about their hostility to Western Civ as a general proposition. Two decades after the obscene 9/11 attacks, the new Democratic Party controlled congress has apparently decided that it’s better to make common cause with Islamic Radicalism than with a Russia that is, in actuality, no longer the Soviet Union but rather just another European nation trying to make it through the endgame of the industrial age, like everybody else.

The Thinking Class behind the bad faith Resistance is about to be beaten within an inch of its place in history with an ugly-stick of reality as The Narrative finally comes to be fairly adjudicated. The Mueller Report was much more than just disappointing; it was a comically inept performance insofar as it managed to overlook the only incidence of collusion that actually took place: namely, the disinfo operation sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign in concert with the highest officials of the FBI, the Department of Justice, State Department personnel, the various Intel agencies, and the Obama White house for the purpose of interfering in the 2016 election. It will turn out that the Mueller Investigation was just an extension of that felonious op, and Mr. Mueller himself may well be subject to prosecution for destroying evidence and, yes, obstruction of justice.

John F. Kennedy once observed that “life is unfair.” It is unfair, perhaps, that a TV Reality Show huckster, clown, and rank outsider beat a highly credentialed veteran of the political establishment and that he flaunts his lack of decorum in the Oval Office. But it happens that he was on the side of the truth in the RussiaGate farrago and that happens to place him in a position of advantage going forward.

Published:4/26/2019 3:02:16 PM
[Donald Trump] Trump: ‘No Money Was Paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier’

The following article, Trump: ‘No Money Was Paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier’, was first published on Godfather Politics.

President Donald Trump: No, the U.S. didn’t pay North Korea for Otto Warmbier’s medical bills. Trump tweeted: “No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else. This is not the Obama Administration that paid 1.8 Billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist[sic] hostages plus, who ...

Continue reading: Trump: ‘No Money Was Paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier’ ...

Published:4/26/2019 3:02:16 PM
[The Blog] More Biden: I’m proud that there wasn’t a single whisper of scandal during the Obama administration

Heh.

The post More Biden: I’m proud that there wasn’t a single whisper of scandal during the Obama administration appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/26/2019 2:32:00 PM
[Markets] Trump Makes Post-Mueller Vow To Release "Devastating" FISA Docs

President Trump on Thursday renewed his vow to declassify a wide swath of "devastating" documents related to the Russia probe "and much more" - adding that he's glad he waited until the Mueller investigation was complete. 

In a Thursday night phone interview on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked "will you declassify the FISA applications, gang of 8 material, those 302s - what we call on this program 'the bucket of five'?"

To which Trump replied: "Yes, everything is going to be declassified - and more, much more than what you just mentioned. It will all be declassified, and I'm glad I waited because i thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early - and I think I was right. So I'm glad I waited, and now the Attorney General can take a look - a very strong look at whatever it is, but it will be declassified and more than what you just mentioned."

Last September 17th, Trump vowed to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, as well as specific pages from the FBI's FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and interviews with the DOJ's Bruce Ohr. 

Four days later, however, Trump said over Twitter that the Justice Department - then headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (while the Russia investigation was headed up by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein) - told him that it might have a negative impact on the Russia probe, and that key US allies had asked him not to release the documents. 

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

That key ally turns out to have been the UK, according to the New York Times., which reported last September that their concern was over material which "includes direct references to conversations between American law enforcement officials and Christopher Steele,the former MI6 agent who compiled the infamous "Steele Dossier."

We now know, of course, that Steele had extensive contact with Bruce and Nellie Ohr in 2016, while Bruce was the #4 official at the Obama DOJ, and Nellie was working for Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to produce the infamous Steele Dossier.

Last August, emails turned over to Congressional investigators revealed that Steele was much closer to the Obama administration than previously disclosed, and his DOJ contact Bruce Ohr reported directly to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates - who approved at least one of the FISA warrants to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., while Steele turned in installments of his infamous "dossier" on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the agency's counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. 

Bruce Ohr was a key contact inside the Justice Department for ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the anti-Trump dossier, which was commissioned by Fusion GPS and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie. 

The FBI relied on much of Steele’s work to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against the Trump campaign—specifically Carter Page, redacted versions of the FISA warrants released last year revealed. -Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

No wonder the British government has "grave concerns." 

    Published:4/26/2019 2:10:55 PM
    [Politics] Trump Heeds NRA, Withdraws US From UN Arms Treaty President Donald Trump on Friday announced at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting that the United States will drop out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama but opposed by the NRA and other conservative groups. Trump told... Published:4/26/2019 12:59:56 PM
    [Politics] UH OH: Rod Rosenstein just threw Obama and Comey under the bus… Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein gave a DOJ speech late yesterday and in it he kinda threw Obama and Comey under the bus, relating to the Russia shenanigans from back in 2016. Rod . . . Published:4/26/2019 9:31:16 AM
    [Politics] UH OH: Rod Rosenstein just threw Obama and Comey under the bus… Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein gave a DOJ speech late yesterday and in it he kinda threw Obama and Comey under the bus, relating to the Russia shenanigans from back in 2016. Rod . . . Published:4/26/2019 9:05:25 AM
    [The Blog] Trump: No, I didn’t pay $2 million ransom for Warmbier

    "This is not the Obama administration..."

    The post Trump: No, I didn’t pay $2 million ransom for Warmbier appeared first on Hot Air.

    Published:4/26/2019 8:26:48 AM
    [US News] TICK-TOCK: New Strzok-Page texts about gathering info on Trump team post-election are pretty damn DAMNING

    We know, we’ve been talking about how these FBI yahoos may finally have to answer for their actions during (and now maybe after) the 2016 Election but MAYBE things are finally getting started. Between Rod Rosenstein calling Obama out to these new Strzok-Page texts, MAYBE justice will stop being conveniently blind. It could happen. But […]

    The post TICK-TOCK: New Strzok-Page texts about gathering info on Trump team post-election are pretty damn DAMNING appeared first on twitchy.com.

    Published:4/26/2019 7:57:36 AM
    [Politics] Rosenstein: Nation, Elections Safer After Mueller Probe Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Thursday defended special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation while slamming former President Barack Obama's administration for being slow to take action on Russian interference in U.S. elections . Published:4/26/2019 7:30:36 AM
    [Markets] Trump: US Never Paid $2 Million Ransom For Otto Warmbier

    Though the Washington Post said it couldn't confirm whether the bill was ever paid, the revelation that North Korea had sent the Treasury a $2 million bill for American college student Otto Warmbier's medical care led some to speculate that the US may have paid a hefty ransom to secure Warmbier's release after he had lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered.

    The parents of Warmbier, who died within six days of returning to the US, said the bill sounded suspiciously like a ransom. But in a Friday morning tweet, President Trump insisted that the bill was never paid, despite an American negotiator's assurances to the North Korean government that the US would make good on the debt.

    In the tweet, Trump contrasted his regime's hard-line no ransom policy to the Obama administration's willingness to pay thinly disguised ransoms to the Iranian government and the Afghan Taliban to secure the release of American prisoners, including "traitor" Sgt. Bergdahl.

    Then, Trump touted his skills as a hostage negotiator, reminding his audience that 20 American hostages have been released since his inauguration, and that no money had ever been paid.

    Published:4/26/2019 7:17:29 AM
    [Markets] Assange's Imprisonment Reveals Even More Corruption Than WikiLeaks Did

    Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

    Consortium News has launched a new series titled “The Revelations of WikiLeaks”, geared toward helping readers come to a full appreciation of just how much useful information the outlet has made available to the world with its publications. Which is good, because there’s a whole lot of it. Understanding everything that WikiLeaks has done to shine light in areas that powerful people wish to keep dark makes it abundantly clear why powerful people would want to dedicate immense amounts of energy toward sabotaging it.

    What’s even more interesting to me right now, though, is that if you think about it, the completely fraudulent arrest and imprisonment of Julian Assange arguably exposes more malfeasance by government and media powers than than what has been revealed in all WikiLeaks publications combined since its inception. And we can use that as a weapon in waking the world up to the dystopian manipulations of the powerful, in the same way we can use WikiLeaks publications.

    Really, think about it. Thanks to WikiLeaks we know about a military cultural environment in the Iraq war that was toxic enough to give rise to US servicemen merrily gunning down civilians, including two Reuters war correspondents, while whooping and exchanging verbal high-fives. We know that the CIA cultivated a massive cyber-arsenal which enables them to spy through smartphones and smart TVs, remotely hijack vehicles, and forge digital fingerprints on cyber-intrusions to make it look to forensic investigators as though hackers from another nation was responsible, and that they lost control of this arsenal. We know about the DNC’s agenda to undermine Bernie Sanders during the primary in violation of its charter, that Hillary Clinton told a group of Goldman Sachs executives that she understood the need to have “a public position and a private position”, and that Obama’s cabinet was basically selected for him by a Citigroup executive.

    We know that and a whole lot more, information which mainstream and alternative media reports use to this very day when constructing analyses of what’s going on in the world.

    All of these things are of course hugely significant. But are they anywhere near as significant as the earth-shakingly scandalous revelation that the US government and its allies conspired to imprison a journalist for reporting facts about the powerful? That the governments of America, Ecuador, the UK and Australia all worked in concert to arrange a series of bureaucratic technicalities which all aligned perfectly to create a situation that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

    I personally don’t think so. I think the only thing which keeps this scandalous revelation from registering in the minds of the greater public with the magnitude it deserves is the fact that the mass media doesn’t treat it like the scandal that it so clearly is. If, for example, the mass media were treating this open act of tyranny with the same enthusiasm they treated the Democratic Party emails as they were published drop by drop in the lead-up to the presidential election, or the same enthusiasm they regarded the diplomatic cables or the Collateral Murder video, everyone would be up in arms at the fact that their government was acting in a way that is functionally indistinguishable from what’s done to journalists by the most totalitarian dictatorships in the world.

    And that refusal of the mainstream media to run virtually anything but smear pieces is, in and of itself, a part of why this scandal is so breathtaking in its audacity. The legal precedent that they are attempting to set with the extradition, persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange for everyday acts of journalism will affect every journalist on the planet, working or retired, professional or citizen. This literally endangers the lives and freedom of every single person working in every single one of those outlets, and they are all either ignorantly cheering it on, or too scared to care. The CIA and Pentagon have weaponized public opinion by using the most advanced psychological weapons known to man, and although the main barrier to fighting his persecution is simply the social shame of going against the tribe, it’s effectively turned the press upon itself. The free press is gaslighting itself into total and absolute submission.

    And we can see that this is happening. And we can point to it.

    What I’m getting at with all this is that it’s important to keep in mind that the US-centralized empire has given us information that can be used against it in devastating fashion if we’re clever. Even while Assange is locked behind bars, even while whistleblowers are being intimidated away from whistleblowing and journalists are being intimidated away from publishing leaks, we are being given information that we can circulate and attack the propaganda machine that’s keeping humanity docile and enslaved.

    By locking up Assange, they’ve inadvertently exposed themselves for what they are, and we are now able to point at it for everyone to see. They reached too far out into the light and exposed their true face.

    Never stop using this information to attack the promulgators and beneficiaries of disinformation. Never stop referring to the US and UK as “a government which imprisons journalists for publishing inconvenient facts”. Never stop calling out the hypocrisy when westerners criticize other governments for locking up journalists. Never stop reminding people who pretend to care about the free press when Trump makes mean tweets about a CNN reporter that they are willfully ignoring a threat to the free press that is infinitely greater in this administration’s prosecution of Assange. This is what they are. If anyone denies it, engage them in debate and show everyone why they’re wrong.

    We are still very much in this fight. Whenever they reach into the light to silence the truth, the light shines upon their face and burns them. They reach their arms into the light of truth, and their arms turn to dust. Whenever they try to fight truth head-on, they cannot help but show the world what they really are.

    Never, ever stop reminding everyone of what has undeniably been revealed in the imprisonment of Julian Assange.

    *  *  *

    Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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    Published:4/26/2019 4:10:00 AM
    [US News] ‘Whoa’! Rod Rosenstein’s new info about Russia & the 2016 election makes Obama & Comey look even worse

    "Now it's really getting interesting!"

    The post ‘Whoa’! Rod Rosenstein’s new info about Russia & the 2016 election makes Obama & Comey look even worse appeared first on twitchy.com.

    Published:4/25/2019 10:54:55 PM
    [Politics] Trump: 2017 Spying Claim Based on 'Little Bit of a Hunch' President Donald Trump said Thursday he based his controversial claim President Barack Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower on "a little bit of a hunch." Published:4/25/2019 10:25:21 PM
    [The Blog] Biden: I asked Obama not to endorse me

    "Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits."

    The post Biden: I asked Obama not to endorse me appeared first on Hot Air.

    Published:4/25/2019 3:23:36 PM
    [Markets] Operation Crossfire Boomerang Begins

    Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

    From Twitter:

    Remember Spying on Trump was called “Crossfire Hurricane”? Well now it’s renamed to “Crossfire Boomerang”. BOOM. Karma!

    From the moment the Special Counsel investigation into Trump-Russia collusion began, we’ve been presented with a portrait of Robert Swan Mueller III as a man of unassailable character, a straight shooter, as impartial as can be. But Mueller was director of the FBI for 12 years (2001-2013), he was the king of the spies.

    Does anyone really have the idea that the people who work in US intelligence are the country’s straightest shooters? Not everybody does. For instance, not Mike Pompeo, who bluntly stated: We lied, we cheated, we stole; It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

    So why should we believe Mueller is a man of such unassailable character when he rose to one of the very top ranks in intelligence? It doesn’t make much sense, except of course it’s what politics and media – and intelligence- want us to believe. It may not make sense, but boy, does it work.

    And then at some point obviously you have to wonder why Mueller got the Special Counsel job on May 27 2017. Because of that unassailable character, we were told at the time. But if that doesn’t apply to Pompeo, why would it be true of Mueller? And why Mueller while there were strong links to US intelligence that would obviously have to be probed by the counsel (but were not).

    That brings us straight to the next question: The main issue, post-report, is not whether Trump tried to stop the Mueller probe. The main issue instead is why it was instigated to begin with. Yes, US intelligence. CIA.

    And then there’s yet another question: When did Mueller know there was no collusion? Not just 1 or 2 weeks before presenting his report, that’s for sure.

    So when? 6 months ago? A year? Did he ever really think there was collusion? If so, based on what? The almost entrirely discredited Steele dossier? Did he have faith in that? The Mifsud-Papadoloulos-Downer connection ‘engineered’ by CIA asset Stephen Halper? Did he have faith in that? Or was the whole thing goal-seeeked from the start?

    It appears very silly to assume that Mueller did not start his job with an agenda, because of the heavy involvement of his former employees and colleagues and his best friend James Comey, whose firing by Trump was one of the main reasons to start the investigation. Sounds like a very hard one to sell, but the media did a great job. Everybody bought into it.

    And then the whole thing collapsed. Yes, collapsed. Because this was never about finding the truth, it was always about digging for dirt. On Trump. Think Mueller wasn’t aware of that? I own a bridge….

    Mueller was forced to find Trump and his team not guilty on conspiracy or collusion -and obstruction. This is because he would have had to prove this, and couldn’t. But he’s left the accusations against the Russian government and Julian Assange stand. Not because he has evidence for that, but because he doesn’t have to prove them.

    Nobody believes a word any Russian says anymore, thanks to the MSM and US intelligence campaign against them. As for Assange, it’s obvious what Robert Mueller has done. He’s completely ignored the one person who could have helped him find the truth -just not the dirt-. and let him rot in hell. Here’s wishing for that same hell to befall Mueller and all of his family.

    There is zero chance that Mueller didn’t know his buddy and successor James Comey prevented Assange from talking with the DOJ in 2017. Neither wanted Assange’s evidence to become public, because that would have killed the Russia narrative as well as the WikiLeaks one. And then what?

    Let’s make one thing clear. All that proof of Russian hacking and Russian Facebook ads? It doesn’t exist. The entire story is fictional. How do we know? Because the only source that says it is true is US intelligence. And they can not be believed. As Mueller’s investigation once again shows.

    Mueller and Barr, like all of Washington -it’s a bipartisan effort-, want the narrative to remain alive that the Russians hacked and meddled in the US elections in favor of Trump, and that Julian Assange was in cahoots with them. None of which Mueller has any evidence for. And Mueller at all have no problem sacrificing Assange and Chelsea Manning while they’re at it.

    Assange is not the only expert source who is silenced. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity -VIPS- also can’t get their voice heard. People who ran US intelligence for decades are being silenced by those who succeeded them. As if they don’t exist. As if their expertise is worthless.

    The evidence they offer simply doesn’t rhyme with the official narrative promoted by their successors and the CIA and FBI. Remember: Mueller only dropped in his report what he would have had to provide evidence for. The rest is still there, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

    One VIPS member is Larry Johnson, “former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)”. Trump referenced him the other day on Twitter:

    “Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!

    And sure enough, the Guardian today described Johnson as a “conservative conspiracy theorist”. This stuff is predictable. But at least we know that while Mueller et al ignore the VIPS, Trump knows at least something about them. A few excerpts of a letter they sent to Trump last week (which he hasn’t seen, undoubtedly):

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President. SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

    [..] the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president.

    Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth [..] Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC.

    [..] In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.

    Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.” We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked.

    “But They Were Indicted! “Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.

    The VIPS mention a few times they can’t get heard. They sent Barr a letter 5 weeks ago, and never got an answer. Here they say: “.. specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.”

    The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

    If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort [..] Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

    And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.

    No Russian hacking. No Guccifer 2.0. But Mueller mentions both a lot.

    Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

    Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playing the central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia.

    We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

    Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.

     [..] We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

    [..] Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. [..] As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

    You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt “stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

    Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer.

    Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.” But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?

    VIPS can’t get their voices heard. Everyone ignores them. These are highly experienced veterans of US intelligence, whose successors, and politics, and media, simply act as if they don’t exist. And while it’s curious to see how they go out of their way NOT to create the impression that Mueller makes his “mistakes” on purpose, the gist is just that.

    What this adds up to is not just that Mueller has come up with nothing in his $20-30-50 million investigation, but that he has purposely left things in his report that he has no evidence for but also doesn’t have to prove, because those he accuses cannot defend themselves. Note also that Mueller has never indicted Assange, he has only smeared him.

    Mueller doesn’t just have nothing, he has less than nothing. What is left of his “findings” once the collusion and obstruction elements are gone, are things that either he himself (his team) or US intelligence has concocted out of thin air. And have you seen even one ‘journalist’ who has questioned these fantasies?

    I see only ‘reporters’ more than willing to heap their own fiction on top of the report's. They’ll grudgingly accept there’s no collusion only to run away with what can still be construed as obstruction, but not a single one questions the Russian hacking or emails or Facebook ads anymore or Assange’s involvement, though Mueller offers zero proof for any of these things. Ditto for Guccifer 2.0.

    The GRU (Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, formerly the Main Intelligence Directorate) is a very advanced operation. When they hack something they leave no traces. US intelligence is just as capable of leaving GRU “traces” as the GRU itself is of NOT leaving them. The CIA is not smarter than the GRU. That’s what we’re looking at here.

    How many Americans do you think there are who think this is the way to conduct investigations ostensibly aimed at truth-finding? You know, if only they knew?!

    The only thing perceived as reality in America today is a bunch of fantasies designed to hide the truth. What truth there is, is left to rot in hell. What a place -and time- to live.

    *  *  *

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    Published:4/25/2019 12:23:06 PM
    [Politics] Biden: 'I Asked President Obama Not to Endorse' Former Vice President Joe Biden asked former President Barack Obama "not to endorse" his White House campaign so he could win on his own merits, according to The Washington Free Beacon. Published:4/25/2019 11:51:56 AM
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    Published:4/25/2019 10:51:38 AM
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    President Trump continues to question the monetary moves of the Federal Reserve Board, but voters give the central bank its highest approval in years. They also suspect that the Fed is less independent of the president than it was during the Obama years.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable opinion of the Fed, with 13% who hold a Very Favorable one. Thirty percent (30%) still view the Federal Reserve unfavorably, but that include just eight percent (8%) who view it Very Unfavorably. A sizable 18%, however, are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 10-11, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

    Published:4/25/2019 9:51:31 AM
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    Legacy.

    The post Obama on Biden: Great VP, but you’re on your own for the nomination appeared first on Hot Air.

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