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[Markets] Trump's "Space Force" Officially Launched In $738BN Defense Bill Trump's "Space Force" Officially Launched In $738BN Defense Bill

The final 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the House on Wednesday 377-48 at a massive and unprecedented $738 billion, in a nearly united Republican vote which also included over 180 House Democrats. It marks a $22 billion spending increase for the Pentagon.

It's expected to be signed by President Trump likely next week after it goes through the Senate, after it was stripped of all significant items the administration would find objectionable, including a controversial War Powers Act resolution meant to end US involvement in Yemen and which would would have required Congressional approval for military action against Iran.

Interestingly, the House bill also removed language that blocked the Pentagon from researching low-yield nuclear weapons, and the House also backed away from controversial border wall restrictions. 

Prior White House flag ceremony involving the newly established 'Space Command' file image, via Mic.

Long sought after sanctions targeting Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany were added. Trump had previously accused Berlin of handing "billions" of dollars to the Russians to the detriment of Ukraine, whose gas transit facilities will be bypassed by the new Gazprom spearheaded venture, set for completion within months. Expanded and severe new sanctions were also added against Syria, known as the 'Caesar bill'.

Crucially, Trump's 'Space Force' will now become a reality. As Defense News explains:

In a history making win for Trump, the agreement would add a new armed service, dedicated to space, under Title 10 of U.S. Code, which was an action the White House saw as pivotal to solidifying it as a fully independent military branch. The Space Force would be housed within the Air Force and led by the chief of space operations, who would report directly to the Air Force secretary and be a member of the Joint Chiefs.

Meanwhile, the most vocal progressive Democrat opponent of the massive defense spending bill, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), had this to say in a floor speech ahead of Wednesday's vote: "there are many things you can call the bill, but it's Orwellian to call it progressive." 

"Let's speak in facts," said Khanna. "This defense budget is $120 billion more than what Obama left us with. That could fund free public college for every American. It could fund access to high-speed, affordable internet for every American. But it's worse. The bipartisan amendment to stop the war in Yemen: stripped by the White House. The bipartisan amendment to stop the war in Iran: stripped by the White House."

Indeed, the most worrisome aspect to the new NDAA is that it makes it easier for the White House to go to war with Iran, at a moment tensions continue to soar. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/12/2019 - 19:45
Published:12/12/2019 6:48:18 PM
[Markets] The Revenge Of The Illusionists At The Whim Of The Deluded The Revenge Of The Illusionists At The Whim Of The Deluded

By Doug “Uncola” Lynn via TheBurningPlatform.com,

“Our impulses are being redirected. We are living in an artificially induced state of consciousness that resembles sleep… The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves…, to others…, we are focused only on our own gain. Please understand they are safe as long as they are not discovered. That is their primary method of survival: To keep us asleep, keep us selfish, keep us sedated.”

– “They Live” (1988), John Carpenter, Universal Pictures, Release date: November 4, 1988

John Carpenter’s cult classic film “They Live” foreshadowed our current time in so many ways. The story told of disguised freaks appearing human while consolidating control over the upper echelons of society. To do this, they lulled the masses to sleep via advertising and materialism. The electronic media acted as a hypnotist’s watch on lethargic plebeians as they were cajoled into a dreamlike state, treated like puppets, and surveilled – by flying drones no less.

Given our current circumstances today the movie would be considered non-fiction; except with the truth-tellers on the still-free internet acting as the good guy media hackers distributing the sunglasses in the film that allowed the freaks to be seen in all their loathsome hideousness.

In “They Live”, the media hackers and sunglasses allowed the public to see behind the curtain, so to speak, which is a phrase taken from another film, “The Wizard of Oz”. It was when Dorothy and friends could see the wizard after a curtain fell and revealing him to be just a man operating technological buttons, levers, and a microphone in order to cast illusions upon the inhabitants of Oz.

And here’s the point of these cinematic parables:  The grotesque freaks from “They Live” and the wizard from the “Wizard of Oz” knew what they were doing as they purposefully deceived the citizens in their respective worlds; and the deceiving con artists did this so as to consolidate power and maintain control over whom they perceived to be dupes.

Sound familiar?

Because whenever we hear elected officials, talking heads in the media, and former and current high-ranking officials in the government pontificating regarding Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on FISA abuse as having found no evidence of political bias, we just know it’s a pack of lies.

They know what they are doing. And they know what they have done.

Although Horowitz gave the wizards and freaks the talking points they desired, the report was damning, to say the least, and it validated what we red-pilled denizens on the still-free internet understand happened during the 2016 Presidential Election as well as the ensuing treachery that later became the Mueller investigation.

And just as former FBI Director James Comey took to Twitter and The Washington Post to announce his vindication, both Attorney General Bill Barr and his “hand-picked US Attorney, John Durham, issued statements disagreeing with the IG’s conclusions”:

The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken…

– U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr – December 9, 2019

I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff.  However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.  Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.  Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.

– U.S. Attorney John Durham – December 9, 2019

In a later NBC interview, Attorney General Barr further clarified his views on Horowitz’s consistent predilections toward blind, deaf, and dumb justice:

But Barr argued that Horowitz didn’t look very hard, and that the inspector general accepted the FBI’s explanations at face value.

“All he said was, people gave me an explanation and I didn’t find anything to contradict it … he hasn’t decided the issue of improper motive,” Barr said. “I think we have to wait until the full investigation is done.”

Barr said he stood by his assertion that the Trump campaign was spied on, noting that the FBI used confidential informants who recorded conversations with Trump campaign officials.

In his December 11, 2019 testimony tightrope act before the U.S. Senate, Horowitz said he preferred the term “surveillance” over “spying” and, to his credit, retroactively annulled former FBI Director Comey’s self-vindication with this statement:

I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.

Even so, 17 violations identified in the Horowitz report of which reporter John Solomon had added some further clarification:

The Appendix identifies a total of 51 Woods procedure violations from the FISA application the FBI submitted to the court authorizing surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page starting in October 2016.

A whopping nine of those violations fell into the category called: “Supporting document shows that the factual assertion is inaccurate.”

For those who don’t speak IG parlance, it means the FBI made nine false assertions to the FISA court. In short, what the bureau said was contradicted by the evidence in its official file.

To put that in perspective, former Trump aides Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos were convicted of making single false statements to the bureau. One went to jail already, and the other awaits sentencing.

The FBI made nine false statements to the court.

And, of course, all of the errors and omissions were made against Team Trump.  Does that seem random to you?  What were the odds?

But no political bias. Right. Got it.

To be sure, the Wizards of Obama engaged in third world tactics and the unseen freaks in the highest levels of The Establishment planned to consolidate their power under Hillary.

In describing the current narrative of this sordid tale, it would appear that Donald Trump was elected to chew bubble-gum and kick ass.  And the president is out of bubble-gum.

The films “They Live” and “The Wizard of Oz” are constructive lens by which to view what’s happening in the ongoing reality TV show of American politics because they distill any psyops and narratives down to true versus false as opposed to Republican versus Democrat; even if the movies arefiction.

Is everything we are now witnessing in American politics occurring naturally? Or is there something else going on?

Regardless, like true versus false, or life versus death, perhaps conservative versus Marxist is also a valid ideological construct upon which we can depend.

To the Hive Mind, politics is survival. It’s why it so passionately politicizes everything from NFL football, to Hollywood, to the weather, to education, to pre-school children’s library readings hosted by gender-fluid freaks.

Maybe this also explains why the Marxists so often win politically in their efforts to repeatedly establish their vision of utopia on this blue orb – because they can’t afford to lose. It is, in fact, the root of Trump Derangement Syndrome, on being “triggered”, and explains snowflakedom: Their worldview is all or nothing; even if only based on delusions, color, and genitals.

It is the new religion. Or, perhaps, even an old one.

Regardless, as of now, if you look into the eyes of Pelosi, Maddow, Biden, Nadler, Schiff and crew you will see hints of desperation. And fear. It’s why Pelosi had her recent meltdown when someone asked if she hated Trump. It’s also why Biden lost it when a guy in New Hampton Iowa recently asked him about Ukraine. It’s why media activist Chuck Todd went nuclear on Senator Ted Cruz over Ukraine. And why the head of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has invalidated one possible outcome of the next presidential election.

These freaks know exactly what they are doing. And they know exactly what they have done. But they would be powerless if not for the dupes.

Indeed.  The recently announced articles of impeachment by congressional Democrats, the complete collapse of the corporate mainstream media into Fake News, and the cries of vindication over the Horowitz Report – all represent the revenge of the illusionists by the whim of the deluded. It’s like watching a clown car fueled by the vapid dreams of fools driving over a cliff.

A reader of my blog e-mailed me an article whereby the author phrased it thusly:

While some are waking up to this reality the vast swath of those self-described progressives and liberals are oblivious.  Thus, the socialist radicals have power far beyond their numbers.

In other words, those in power and their minions know full well what they are doing and the rest of America is a bunch of f*cking idiots.

Therefore the Kavanaugh-ification of American politics will continue.  And, as the nation further declines. Those on the Political Left have progressively politicizedpolarized, and pulverized every institution in the United States.

And everything they touch sours.

As Horowitz has proven in his report, the DoJ and FBI were weaponized against a presidential candidate and the FISA process was undermined completely.

Of course John Durham will demonstrate that the U.S. Intelligence agencies utilized foreign agents to undermine a domestic election and, later, a U.S. president.  According to Attorney General Barr, we won’t know the exact results of Durham’s investigation until late spring or early summer 2020.

The Democrats in the U.S. House have not only raped the whistleblower statute and protections, but it has turned presidential impeachment into a common political ploy.

We now know the Ukraine whistleblower was a CIA spy named Eric Ciaramella, and he was…

– an outspoken critic of Trump

– a registered Democrat

– who worked for CIA Director John Brennan

– who worked for Obama

– who worked for Joe Biden

– And one who helped to start the Russia “collusion” hoax

Yet this is the guy the wizards in the U.S. House used as the reason to launch a bogus and patently unfair impeachment charade and to “embrace the exact surveillance tactics they used to warn about”:

Today, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff not only employs the power of the surveillance state to smear his colleagues and press his political agenda, he has set a number of dangerous precedents by “unmasking” his political rivals in an effort to smear them with innuendo.

With the release of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report this week, we learned that Rudolph Giuliani and his corrupt Ukrainian pal Lev Parnas, whose metadata Schiff had legally subpoenaed, were also exchanging calls with former The Hill columnist John Solomon, ranking Intelligence Republican Devin Nunes and the president’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow.

All the while, the mainstream media spouts lie after lie after lie; U.S. elections have been undermined by falsehoods and f*ckery; and as tech giants censor and spin in ways that would cause Orwell to blush in his grave – if only because Epstein didn’t kill himself.

The freaks hide behind electronic spells as the wizards push buttons and pull levers from behind their curtains.  Crossfire Hurricane, the Russian election hacking psyop, the Mueller Report, and now the 2019 Ukrainegate Impeach-a-palooza are illusions sold by wizards who know what they are doing to the dolts who have provided them with power.

It could be that history will reveal the election of President Donald J. Trump as the “bleeding of the brake lines before the big stop”.  And, it doesn’t matter if he is real, being used unwittingly, or is a wizard himself because either…

1.) The U.S. economy will crash before November 3, 2020 and whatever Leftist Loon inhabits the white house will soon deliver socialist hell

Or

2.) Trump will win and the economy will implode followed by a dollar crash and the remainder of his second term will be devastated by economic hell, war, and societal breakdown.

In either scenario, the Land of Oz will be begging for a new global order, and even more powerful wizardry, by 2024.

Order out of chaos.

America is an empire of debt and slavery is rooted in economics. And the collapse of the everything bubble (i.e USD) is when the real magic will begin.

Until then, however, the technocracy thrives, convenience is monopolized and sold, and power is consolidated.

The wizards are real. They live.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/12/2019 - 16:45
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Published:12/12/2019 3:46:35 PM
[Politics] CNN’s Cillizza Mocks Republicans Over Poll That Was Worse For Dems

CNN's Chris Cillizza mocked Republicans' "fealty" to Donald Trump, citing a poll in which a minority of party members said Trump is a better president than George Washington. Cillizza's analysis ignored that twice as many Democrats said the same of Barack Obama. "Overall, 7 in 10 say that George Washington was the better president while 15% ...

The post CNN’s Cillizza Mocks Republicans Over Poll That Was Worse For Dems appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/12/2019 3:19:07 PM
[] 'Why no one trusts you': Chris Cillizza's 'analysis' of Monmouth poll on Trump and Obama vs. George Washington conveniently omits a major detail Did you catch that Monmouth poll earlier this week? The one in which respondents from both parties were asked to choose "the better president" between George Washington and Donald Trump (for Republicans) and between Washington and Barack Obama (for Democrats? Donald Trump fared pretty well among Republicans, with 37%]] Published:12/12/2019 1:21:02 PM
[Democrats] Only a pawn in their game (Scott Johnson) Carter Page served as a pretext for Obama’s FBI to surveil the Trump campaign. Having taken out four FISA warrants on him on the basis of the Democrats’ fraudulent Steele Dossier, the FBI found nothing on him. On the contrary, the FBI suppressed exculpatory evidence to maintain its surveillance on him and his associates. He was, as Bob Dylan put it in one of his protest songs, only a pawn Published:12/12/2019 8:15:12 AM
[Markets] The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, & Syria. They Will Lie Again! The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, & Syria. They Will Lie Again!

Authored by Tho Bishop via The Mises Institute,

This week saw the Washington Post published a bombshell report titled “The Afghanistan Papers,” highlighting the degree to which the American government lied to the public about the ongoing status of the war in Afghanistan. Within the thousands of pages, consisting of internal documents, interviews, and other never-before-released intel, is a vivid depiction of a Pentagon painfully aware of the need to keep from the public the true state of the conflict and the doubts, confusion, and desperation of decision-makers spanning almost 20 years of battle.

As the report states:

The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that war is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state. persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.

With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation....

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

None of these conclusions surprise anyone that has been following America’s fool's errand in Afghanistan. 

What makes this release noteworthy is the degree to which it shows the lengths to which Washington to knowingly deceive the public about the state of the conflict. This deception extends even to the federal government’s accounting practices. Notes the report, the “U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan.”

As the war has dragged on, the struggle to justify America’s military presence accelerated. As the report notes:

A person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary.

It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the senior NSC official told government interviewers in 2016. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.

Making Washington’s failure in Afghanistan all the more horrific is how easily predictable it was for those who desired to see the warfare state for what it is.

In the words of Lew Rockwell, in reflecting on the anti-war legacy of Murray Rothbard:

War is inseparable from propaganda, lies, hatred, impoverishment, cultural degradation, and moral corruption. It is the most horrific outcome of the moral and political legitimacy people are taught to grant the state. 

On this note, it is important to note that the significance of the Washington Post’s report should not distract from another major story that has largely been ignored by mainstream news outlets.

Recently, multiple inspectors with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have come forward claiming that relevant evidence related to their analysis of the reported 2017 chemical gas attack in Syria. As Counterpunch.org has reported:

Assessing the damage to the cylinder casings and to the roofs, the inspectors considered the hypothesis that the cylinders had been dropped from Syrian government helicopters, as the rebels claimed. All but one member of the team concurred with Henderson in concluding that there was a higher probability that the cylinders had been placed manually. Henderson did not go so far as to suggest that opposition activists on the ground had staged the incident, but this inference could be drawn. Nevertheless Henderson’s findings were not mentioned in the published OPCW report.

The staging scenario has long been promoted by the Syrian government and its Russian protectors, though without producing evidence. By contrast Henderson and the new whistleblower appear to be completely non-political scientists who worked for the OPCW for many years and would not have been sent to Douma if they had strong political views. They feel dismayed that professional conclusions have been set aside so as to favour the agenda of certain states.

At the time, those who dared question the official narrative about the attack - including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Thomas Massie, and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson - were derided for being conspiracy theorists by many of the same Serious People who not only bought the Pentagon’s lies about Afghanistan but also the justifications for the Iraq War.  

Once again we are reminded of the wise words of George Orwell, “truth is treason in an empire of lies."

These attacks promoted as justification for America to escalate its military engagement in the country, with the beltway consensus lobbying President Trump to reverse his administration's policy of pivoting away from the Obama-era mission of toppling the Assad regime. While Trump did respond with a limited missile attack, the administration rejected the more militant proposals promoted by some of its more hawkish voices, such as then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. 

In a better timeline, the ability of someone like Rep. Gabbard to see through what increasingly looks like another attempt to lie America into war would warrant increased support in her ongoing presidential campaign.

Instead, we are likely to continue to see those that advocate peace attacked by the bipartisan consensus that provides cover for continued, reckless military action abroad.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 22:25
Published:12/11/2019 9:45:09 PM
[Lefties on Parade] The Horowitz report and impeachment stuff

Having thought a bit about both the Horowitz Report and the impeachment, I’ve got some ideas, all of which reflect very badly on the FBI and the Democrats. The Horowitz IG Report — my takeaways My main takeaway is that Obama knew all along. That Obama cheerfully went along with mobilizing the entire American police […]

The post The Horowitz report and impeachment stuff appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/11/2019 9:01:10 AM
[Markets] Normandy Meeting Confirms Zelensky Has Zero Friends In Europe Normandy Meeting Confirms Zelensky Has Zero Friends In Europe

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

It came as no shock to me that the meeting in Paris of the so-called Normandy Four between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and Franc ended without any breakthroughs.

The first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was mostly a get-to-know-you affair.

That’s sad because it was a missed opportunity for Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Zelensky to announce to the world their independence as actors on the world stage.

But that is definitely not what happened. While it’s true that the group agreed on a number of minor points to begin the healing process between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, the lack of breakthrough on any of the major issues surrounding these actors speaks louder than anything else.

It is Merkel, Macron and Zelensky that need something from Putin. Germany and France want Russia to rejoin Europe as a full partner. Both are setting the stage to lift the worst of the sanctions next year. It should not be lost on anyone that Crimea was brought up once by Zelensky during the presser and both Merkel and Macron brushed it off.

Crimea is no longer a condition for ending this stalemate.

But that doesn’t mean the U.S. is backing down in Ukraine, even though Trump is beginning to understand just how deep the rabbit hole of corruption goes there.

Putin and Russia are pursuing their own ends and are happy to resolve the issues outstanding with Europe — gas transit, sanctions, the conflict in the Donbass, NATO encroachment, etc. — but only on terms deemed acceptable to them.

Otherwise they will continue stitching Central Asia together with pipelines, power plants and railways to open up trade and commerce. All of that growth will be lost to Europe if they continue to hold Russia, Iran and Turkey at arm’s length because of fear of pissing off the U.S.

Russia is in no position to beg anything from Europe but rather can and will stand as an antipode against the United States. From Russia’s perspective the EU and the U.S. destroyed Ukraine by trying to cleave it from Russia’s sphere of influence in a cynical ploy to pressure Russia geopolitically.

Ukraine was supposed to fall into the EU’s lap, including Crimea, bottling Russia up permanently. Then they could slowly strangle the Russian economy through monopsony leverage over the gas pipelines into Europe.

So, if anything, Putin will hold out for everything at this point, since he knows Merkel and Macron deal from weak hands. Zelensky is simply a pawn trapped between them and the U.S. inside his own country.

The EU has made it exceedingly difficult for Russia to build the pipelines Europe wants, consistently changing the rules of their Gas Directives to make the projects less and less profitable. Some of that is because of U.S. pressure and some of that is the EU’s own arrogance and hubris.

This is what eventually caused Putin to cancel the South Stream pipeline and re-route it through Turkey. The failure of the putsch in Kiev to bring the country into the fold quickly meant that the EU would have to foot the bill for the country’s rebuild.

And since the best parts of it either broke away (the Donbass) or rejoined with Russia (Crimea) adding it to the EU would have been a nightmare in 2014-15 at the height of Merkel’s insane refugee crisis.

This is what prompted the Minsk meetings in the first place. The agreements were a way to freeze the conflict in perpetuity until one side blinked and offload the responsibility of Ukraine onto the U.S. who instigated this mess in the first place.

Here we are five years later and little has changed other than Crimea is now solidly Russian and growing economically. The EU is in serious trouble financially and economically and needs to re-open Russian markets now nearly irretrievably closed to the previous suppliers.

Germany’s politics have fractured to a near breaking point and over the next two years leading up to the next election expect the center to collapse further in favor of the AfD, Alternative for Germany.

This meeting, after the disastrous NATO summit last week, should have been a place for Merkel and Macron to push Zelensky into a solid position on something.

The gas transit contract should have been that thing. It’s something that even the nationalists wouldn’t complain about since it would bring money into the state coffers and shore up European investors that energy supplies into Europe in 2020 wouldn’t be interrupted.

Both Merkel and Macron could have and should have been working to minimize the legal hurdles to getting this deal done; the outstanding awards against Gazprom and Gazprom’s counter-suits which are holding up the final deal.

Putin and Gazprom went into the meeting having made reasonable opening offers. But even with that low-hanging fruit in front of them Merkel and Macron betrayed their political impotence ultimately.

And so did Zelensky because he can’t agree to anything of substance lest he be gutted politically by the nationalists who are threatening civil war if he bows to Russia.

That said, the protests on the Maidan during the meeting were, at best, tepid, so the threat to Zelensky may be less than originally thought and a deal with Gazprom closer than it looks.

The only thing of substance they agreed to was codifying the Steinmeyer formula for implementing the beginning of the Minsk agreements. Poroshenko signed these but never implemented any of them nor sought their ratification as law.

But even then, Zelensky wouldn’t budge on regaining control of the Ukrainian border before the elections in the Donbass took place.

After five years of bloody war to prevent secession, assisted by billions in weapons, mercenaries and personnel by the U.S., U.K. and Canada, asking this of the people in Luhansk and Donetsk was ridiculous.

But that’s obviously what Zelensky was coached to offer. Putin was having none of it, nor should he.

Putin is only interested in returning the Donbass back to nominal control in Kiev as a way to keep the U.S. from losing what’s left of its mind and openly looking for a hot war.

He’d prefer Ukraine to remain a buffer territory between Russia and an increasingly desperate NATO. This way no NATO missiles are on his border. Given the hostility in both the British and U.S. legislatures towards Russia at this point, can anyone blame him for this?

Merkel and Macron came into this meeting to burnish their resumes. Macron let slip what his real agenda was when he referred to Ukraine as an ‘open wound’ which needed to be closed. This was him admitting that the war in the Donbass is a manufactured conflict that benefits no one at the table but which they are powerless to affect.

So, in the end, it was Putin who coached Zelensky through the basics of diplomacy, getting agreement on things like prisoner swaps, ceasefire areas (which never seemed to hold under Poroshenko) and offering a discounted gas price for residential consumers in Ukraine.

And Zelensky, for his part, tried to put the brave face on his isolation by consistently referring the to the Donbass as ‘occupied’ territory as a sop to the nationalists who threaten his presidency. But he couldn’t get any help from Merkel and Macron who both want him to cut a deal with Putin and move on.

Jon Laughland, writing for RT, put it well, saying that Zelensky found out his best friend in Europe was none other than Putin himself. Because…

Putin likes him and wants him to succeed. Moscow knows that Ukraine is bitterly divided between pro and anti-Russian factions and that they take power one after the other. The Orange Revolution in 2004 lasted only 3 years before Viktor Yanukovich won parliamentary elections and became prime minister and then president. The Maidan revolution has lasted 5 years but with the same result; the aggressively anti-Russian party is out of power.

Putin also knows that time is on his side. Even though the U.S. Congress will try to strand the final work on Nordstream 2, leaving it incomplete, there is simply zero chance that Merkel and the Germans will allow that to happen, ensuring that the funds are available to finish the pipeline and deliver gas.

Merkel wants the gas transit deal in place to help right the failed state in Kiev and stop the migration out of the country. And Putin will happily oblige her but only if the EU stands by it as a partner and not treat Gazprom as ‘the help.’

In the end, Ukraine is only important to the U.S. as a pressure point on Russia and its destruction is okay as well since a failed state on Russia’s border is its own reward for the Empire of Chaos.

The big question now is whether Trump will listen to his instincts and allow this Obama-era policy to end or not, impeachment proceedings be damned. His receiving Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House the day after this meeting itself is symbolic of the need for a different narrative.

But his tweet after the meeting doesn’t imply that anything’s changed.

The one issue that should dovetail with this meeting is the one not on the list. But Trump will be looking for help from Russia with Iran and North Korea relations which his diplomats and National Security people have sabotaged.

But his hands are tied now that the NDAA is on its way to his desk with the rider of new sanctions on European companies assisting in the completion of Nordstream 2.

So this means, in the end, that Zelensky went to Paris only to find out he still has no friends except the one person he’s not allowed to be friends with, Putin. And that means this situation will grind on without significant movement until the next meeting in March.

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you want a fresh look at how politics impacts markets. Install the Brave Browser if you’re tired of getting data-vacuumed by smug Silicon Valley technocrats. If you want a hard look at the history of how the European Union became the monstrosity is it today, then get a copy of Bernard Connolly’s The Rotten Heart of Europe.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 05:00
Published:12/11/2019 4:09:05 AM
[Barack Obama] Poll: Democrats consider Obama a better president than George Washington (Paul Mirengoff) Last month, I noted with dismay that, in a survey, a majority of Republicans deemed Donald Trump a better president than Abraham Lincoln. It’s only fair for me to note, with even more dismay, that most Democrats who most participated in a new survey deemed Barack Obama a better president than George Washington. The survey comparing Obama and Washington is from Monmouth University. It found that among Democratic voters, the Published:12/10/2019 10:12:20 PM
[] 'Nobody else is giving us a damn thing!' AOC's fed up with critics calling M4A and 'free' college handouts because 'we build this on our own' [video] As Twitchy told you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued for longer paid family leave by comparing people to puppies.

This makes that argument look sane by comparison:

https://twitter.com/Public_Citizen/status/1204494853264027649

That sounds sorta familiar ... where have we heard it before?

https://twitter.com/JerylBier/status/1204511467292286981

https://twitter.com/RachaelBL/status/1204520169667727360

Congratulations, AOC. You have indeed managed to out-awful Barack Obama's awful "You didn't build that" BS.

But]] Published:12/10/2019 4:37:32 PM

[Markets] Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust, & Geopolitical Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust, & Geopolitical

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom’s a joke
We’re just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you’re still free start running away
Cause we’re coming for you!

– Conor Oberst, “Land Locked Blues”

It’s hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should’ve been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

It’s ten years later and central banks still can’t walk back anything they did over the past decade. It’s why the ECB is pushing lower into negative interest rate territory and restarting QE. It’s why the Federal Reserve is increasing its balance sheet as if we’re in the middle of a depression.

Recent actions by the ECB and Federal Reserve make it clear that, despite protestations to the contrary, the financial system is more sick and vulnerable than ever. A system with a healthy, functioning structure doesn’t require such interventions, but keeping this financial Potemkin village afloat is crucial to maintaining the key source of power and privilege for corrupt plutocrats, so no expense is spared. Nevertheless, these interventions makes the system weaker and more fragile than before, since they merely cover up ever increasing levels of corruption and fraud and permit more destructive behavior to continue surreptitiously under the surface. The current financial asset bubble on a global basis is likely the largest and most deadly in human history, and central bank actions of late seem to indicate they know this to be true.

While massive and global, the financial system imbalance is just one of several.

Another big one is a trust imbalance, which manifests as a widening disconnect between established institutions and the people living under them. As the ruling class has been forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures over the past decade to keep their gravy train going, they’ve exposed themselves more explicitly. What was once derided as conspiracy theory rapidly becomes conspiracy fact, and an increasingly significant number of humans have begun to simply assume (for good reason) that whatever comes out of the mouths of authority figures like intelligence agencies, politicians, mass media, corporations and think tanks, etc., are lies.

This situation isn’t getting any better either. It seems every day we wake up to new in your face revelations of how craven and dishonest the ruling oligarchy and its institutions really are. For example, this past weekend we learned how a Newsweek journalist quit because his bosses at the paper refused to let him publish about OPCW whistleblowers who dispute the official conclusion that Assad launched a chemical attack in Douma, an event that increasingly looks like a false flag event which led to the U.S. bombing Syria.

It was a busy weekend, as we also heard Nancy Pelosi admit she knew the George W. Bush administration lied the country into the Iraq war, but she somehow doesn’t consider that an impeachable offense.

Finally, just yesterday we learned government officials have been lying about progress in the Afghanistan war over the course of multiple administrations.

The interviews were carried out by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction for their “Lessons Learned” intuitive; the head of SIGAR concluded that “the American people” were “constantly lied to” about the conflict to make it seem like America was making real progress in fixing the country. The Post report noted that Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump all conveyed these lies to ensure that the public perception of the Afghanistan war remained as positive as possible.

The national security state has forced the public to spend over $1 trillion murdering people abroad in the longest war in U.S. history based on government lies. The depressing thing is this isn’t even shocking or surprising.

Meanwhile, nobody believes Epstein killed himself.

The trust imbalance between rulers and the ruled has become so massive it’s all but guaranteed to detonate in a variety of unexpected and consequential ways in the years ahead. The election of Donald Trump was just the first pubic manifestation of this well deserved lack of trust.

The reason the corrupt oligarchy must constantly lie to the public is to convince us we live in a world that doesn’t exist. We’re not supposed to recognize the U.S. doesn’t function as a constitutional republic, but as an imperial oligarchy. This knowledge is the forbidden fruit of empire the public must never taste.

As William S. Smith explained in his excellent article, Welcome To The Potemkin Village Of Washington Power:

Tufts law professor Michael Glennon points out in a recent essay in Humanitas that the Cold War brought something new and ominous in military-civilian relations. The national security bureaucracy became so large and omnipotent that the Madisonian branches of government became something like the British House of Lords, symbolically important but in reality without much power. The executive, legislature, and judiciary became a kind of Potemkin village, with real national security power lodged in, as Glennon describes it, “a largely concealed managerial directorate, consisting of the several hundred leaders of the military, law enforcement and intelligence departments.” As this bureaucracy grew, Glennon argues, “those managers…operated at an increasing remove from constitutional limits and restraints, moving the nation slowly toward autocracy.”

Glennon also points out that, prior to Trump, there was an unwritten pact between the bureaucracy and the Madisonian government: never publicly disagree. While national security policies have long been crafted and maintained by deep state bureaucracies, everyone played along and told the public these were the result of “intense deliberations.” Yet a few people noticed that, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations, national security policies never really changed, intelligence operations were never disrupted, and even peacenik-seeming presidential candidates became warlike presidents. For decades, neither elected officials nor bureaucratic leaders publicly acknowledged that American national security policy was being run by what Glennon describes as a “double government,” with elected officials largely impotent. 

Not exactly what you were taught in school, and as more people start to recognize the disconnect between what they’ve been told and how things actually work, the trust imbalance grows. It’s already at highly charged levels, and like financial system imbalances, could blow at any moment.

The other major imbalance I want to highlight is the geopolitical one. It’s something I’ve been writing about a lot lately as it’s come into clearer focus that the nexus of this tension will center around the U.S. and China. At the root of this imbalance is a U.S. national security state desperate to turn back to clock to the 1990s when the U.S. was the world’s sole superpower and could essentially call the shots on all matters of international significance with little to no pushback. Certain foreign power centers, led by China and Russia, have made it explicit they will not be rewinding the clock and are have focused their foreign policy around ushering in a multi-polar world. Like the other imbalances, the geopolitical imbalance becomes more volatile and less manageable with each passing day.

Many writers and thinkers are doing a lot of good work analyzing these imbalances in isolation, but they need to be seen as interconnected parts of the same macro trend of paradigm disruption. These imbalances play off one another, and it’s highly likely that when one blows the others will follow soon after. In other words, it’s likely a future severe economic downturn will be coupled with civil unrest and heightened geopolitical conflict happening simultaneously. What sparks the chain reaction is unknown, but the 2020-2025 period is when it will likely occur.

Everything being done today centers around propping up and extending a decrepit paradigm in order to further enrich and empower a ruling class that has lost the respect of the people. As the actions taken to sustain such a system become more desperate and mendacious (“this is NOT QE”), the more the veneer of credibility disappears. The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open.

*  *  *

Liberty Blitzkrieg is an ad-free website. If you enjoyed this post and my work in general, visit the Support Page where you can donate and contribute to my efforts.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:45
Tags
Published:12/10/2019 4:07:00 PM
[] 'ROFL'! @redsteeze is getting a big kick out of Barack Obama's Christmas shilling for a 'gift' so many Dem POTUS hopefuls want to scrap [video] With Christmas just around the corner, Barack Obama has put together a quick list of gift ideas. But one gift is better than all the rest ... can you guess what it is?

Yes, folks, that's right. This Christmas, show someone how much you love them by giving them the gift]] Published:12/10/2019 1:04:11 PM

[Markets] Schiff Blew It - Support For Impeachment Peaked In October Schiff Blew It - Support For Impeachment Peaked In October

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Support for impeachment, regardless of political affiliation, peaked in October.

For a Brief Moment

Polls courtesy of FiveThirtyEight, anecdotes mine.

Partisan Brawl

The New York Times reports With White House Absent, Impeachment Devolves Into Partisan Brawl.

President Trump is refusing to engage and Democrats have concluded they will press ahead anyway, rendering a historic undertaking little more than a foregone conclusion.

Excuse me for pointing out the result was a foregone conclusion whether the White House was present or not.

“That is a tragedy,” said Philip Bobbitt, a Columbia University law professor and a leading expert on the history of impeachment. The framers of the Constitution were careful to design a process for removing a president from office that they hoped would rise above the nation’s petty political squabbles, he said.

Tragedy?

Yes, witch hunts are a tragedy. Republicans found that out when they foolishly went after Bill Clinton.

Boycott the Process

Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, called it “deeply dangerous” for the target of an impeachment like Mr. Trump to simply boycott the entire process.

Does the law prohibit a boycott? Does the law require the president to testify against himself? Is it dangerous to accept the advice of legal council?

Rule Book

“The fact is that the House Democrats are essentially giving Trump the same process as previous presidents have received, and it’s Trump who is trying to throw out the rule book” and attack the process at every turn, he said. “Our founders put impeachment in the Constitution as a critical safeguard for the people, and what Trump is trying to do with these baseless attacks is read the impeachment clauses out of the Constitution.”

His response has been an all-out attack on the process itself. He has ordered administration officials not to testify or hand over documents. And he is urging Republicans not to cooperate with their counterparts the way they did during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment.

Excuse me for pointing out that the law is the rule book.

What law has trump violated by boycotting the process?

Shocking?

Of course it is.

Trump continually followed the advice of legal council instead of sticking his foot in his mouth and Tweeting about it.

Quite shocking.

Hijacking the Committee

Here's an interesting take.

Business Insider reports Republicans Hijacked the House Judiciary Committee's Impeachment Hearings and Turned them Into a Circus.

I expect better from the Business Insider than that kind of mushy nonsense.

The only way Republicans could "hijack" the hearings is if inept Democrats called on inept witnesses and Republican made them look like fools.

That is precisely what happened.

Democrat Impeachment Star Witnesses Useful as Dust

In case you missed it, please consider Democrat Impeachment Star Witnesses Useful as Dust

Click on that link for an amusing video and transcript.

Comments on the Unreal World

Back in the real world, or do I mean unreal world, I get accused of having TDS every time I attack Trump's idiotic trade policy.

I also get accused of being an extreme Left-Wing nutcase when I defend Trump.

The fact is, I don't like Trump but I voted for him and would again vs Hillary.

I am a staunch anti-war, fiscal conservative, Libertarian, who does not give a damn about anyone's race, religion, sex, or age. I believe in equal rights. I also believe in the right to choose. If two women or two men want to get married, I believe it's none of my business.

I believe that's a winning platform.

Alas, one cannot get nominated on that platform. Thus, I always have extreme voting compromises to make.

Independents the Key

The 2020 election will depend on independents.

Democrats may make the choice easy, as explained in How to Re-Elect Trump in One Easy Lesson.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/10/2019 - 12:55
Tags
Published:12/10/2019 12:06:15 PM
[] The latest Trump-triggering event? Chocolate bars at JFK Apparently, Trump-branded chocolate bars at JFK airport are the mega-triggering event for libs:

https://twitter.com/MalcolmNance/status/1204341173713874944

Honest question here: Who has time for this?

https://twitter.com/rachelsklar/status/1204363045360799744

Others joked that the bars would be bestsellers in Russia:

https://twitter.com/cliffschecter/status/1204343582796197889

https://twitter.com/MalcolmNance/status/1204343866477944832

One person reports that she did buy one, but not to eat. This is just creepy:

https://twitter.com/lilaloveland/status/1204352180909694976

Maybe they missed all the Obama-branded stuff]] Published:12/10/2019 6:33:33 AM

[Markets] The Woke Media: Apologists For The State The Woke Media: Apologists For The State

Authored by William Anderson via The Mises Institute,

In an earlier article, I looked at the rise of “Woke Capitalism” and the challenges that this development presents for a free society (or, to be accurate, a somewhat free society). For the time being we probably do not need to worry about the establishment of the People’s Republic of Google, but a much greater problem than left-wing business corporations has invaded our body politic: The Woke Mainstream Media.

It is one thing for Nike to discontinue a line of sneakers because the Betsy Ross flag offended someone or for PayPal to refuse to serve as a pay conduit for a conservative organization. One may decry the narrow-minded thinking from company executives, but they are private outfits that have — and should have — the privilege of refusing to do business with certain people — and if they make a bad economic choice, the company will pay financially. And, as I pointed out in the article, corporations are not governments, which really can kill and cage people who are helpless against state-sponsored predations.

Private sector Wokeness is not limited to profit-making businesses, however, as the giants of American media now are subscribing to the same hard-left political and social theories, and this development has become a much greater problem to American society and American liberty because of the symbiotic relationship between media and government. While Google’s squelching of libertarian speech within its ranks might make it unpopular with libertarians, nonetheless, the company has taken no one’s freedom away.

However, a media campaign against someone, even someone who is innocent of a crime, can result in imprisonment or worse. As one who for more than a decade has written about prosecutorial misconduct and unjustified pursuit of innocent people, I have yet to find a case in which the worst kind of prosecutorial behavior was not aided by irresponsible and dishonest journalists.

Furthermore, the rise of Woke Media presents a problem in this country, one in which the progressive news media becomes a partner with government to strip people of their rights and to impose authoritarian rule. While that is not the picture of the media that the media itself tries to present or is the dominant theme in journalism school, it is much closer to the truth than anyone tied to the media will admit. On top of that, almost all of the national media (with the exception of Fox News) is closely linked to the Democratic Party, and most journalists now being on the left. In the years of the Donald Trump presidency, that has meant that much of the media now acts in concert with the Democrats to weaken and even end his term in office.

With the upcoming movie “Richard Jewell” to be released soon, we see the spotlight on misconduct by American media outlets that helped to falsely accuse an innocent person of the infamous Olympic bombing in Atlanta in 1996. But media problems hardly begin and end with the saga of Richard Jewell.

When the New York Times calls for curtailing free speech or when its reporters actively work to promote a corrupt prosecutor in order to frame innocent people for rape, as the NYT did in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, when the press wrongly accused the high school boys from Covington Catholic School of harassing a Native American, which led to active death threats against the students, or when media outlets recklessly repeat false statements by government officials, as was done in the Jewell case, such transgressions are open attacks on a free society.

When these things happen, a media outlet then becomes an advocate for oppressive government, which seems to openly conflict with the media’s self-declared label of “government watchdog.” As I wrote a decade ago:

Despite that fact that every student in J-school is taught that the press is a "watchdog" of government, the truth is that journalists are the lapdogs of the state. From the local police beat reporter to the top journalist at the New York Times, journalists pretty much repeat what government officials tell them. When journalists actually do pressure government, it is either for the authorities to pass laws that are stricter than what they are at the present or to demand that governments regulate businesses in a draconian fashion.

In other words, modern journalism emphasizes a vastly-expanded role of state power, which is at odds with why a supposed free press exists in the first place, and certainly at odds with the First Amendment, which has been the bedrock of free speech and freedom of the press, not to mention freedom of religion. Unfortunately, the NYT and other Woke Media outlets have not stopped with attacking the First Amendment; they also have played a major role in promoting academic fraud in history and economics. Like the Bolsheviks which the NYT lionized in its series on the 1917 Russian Revolution and its murderous afterlife (which might as well have been named “Paradise Lost,” given how the NYT gave near-uncritical support to the revolution and the growth of the USSR), the journalists and editorial writers at the “Newspaper of Record” seem hellbent on recreating a new world in which truth takes a backseat.

While ideology plays a role in establishing the left-wing narratives that American journalists seem to embrace, that is not the only reason that modern journalism is statist at its core. First, and most important, the modern media is a product of the Progressive Era in which journalists sought respectability through the Canons of Journalism issued in 1923 by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

As was often the case during the Progressive Era, there were advocates in various lines of work seeking to “professionalize” their craft. From medicine to teaching to journalism, these advocates attempted to make their occupations more “respectable” by requiring or strongly encouraging formal education in their fields. For example, following the Flexner Report of 1910, authorities — encouraged by the American Medical Association and, of course, the progressive media — began to close medical schools (and especially those medical schools educating black doctors) to limit practice of medicine to a relatively-small number of physicians ostensibly to raise the quality of care by ensuring that only the “top students” can be practitioners.

Professional journalists sought to do the same thing with their vocation, starting journalism schools and trying to turn journalism into an academic endeavor. During the 1920s, very few journalists had college degrees and organizations like the Society of Professional journalists (formerly Sigma Delta Chi), tried both to present the profession as respectable people engaged in “muckraking” in order to “reform” America. (When I was in journalism school during the Watergate years, many students and faculty wore “Rake Muck” buttons to proclaim solidarity with every Woodward and Bernstein wannabe.)

The Canons of Journalism stressed that newspapers (which in 1923 were by far the most dominant form of mass media) should be “independent” in their coverage, not being tied to political parties or political movements. Whether or not the press ever held to such lofty standards is debatable, as the media always seemed to take the side of state power, be it the promotion of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, U.S. victory in World War II, or the Kennedy-Johnson years in power.

For example, President Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 presidential campaign against Sen. Barry Goldwater, used the CIA to infiltrate the opposition and engaged in numerous political dirty tricks, yet the media was happy to aid the president in large part because much of Goldwater’s campaign centered around reducing the role of state power in the ordinary lives of people. (While Goldwater also advocated aggressive war against North Vietnam — the press painting him as an unstable cowboy ready to irresponsibly unleash nukes at any time – it was Johnson who escalated the war, which ultimately proved to be his undoing.)

At least the media turned on Johnson after he no longer could hide the lies about the Vietnam War and the war became unpopular. One senses today that the Woke Media won’t even question politicians that they favor. For example, there has been much news coverage about the policy in which immigration authorities separate children from their parents when picked up at the country’s southern border, a policy that the press tends to tie to President Trump.

However, Trump was continuing the policy that first was set by the Obama administration. The New York Post recently wrote about how Reuters, a news agency, and a French news agency suddenly killed stories they had earlier published “exposing” the high rate of child detention in the country. However, to their surprise, they were quoting numbers that generated from the Obama administration, not that of Donald Trump. The Post writes:

So the United States has “the world’s highest rate of children in detention.”

Is this worth reporting? Maybe, maybe not.

Nevertheless, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, and Reuters did report it, attributing the information to a “United Nations study” on migrant children detained at the US-Mexico border.

Then the two agencies retracted the story. Deleted, withdrew, demolished.

In other words, since the offending actions occurred during the Obama years, they didn’t happen at all. While that seems to be an extreme case, one senses that the Trump phenomenon has pushed the American media into a much more partisan mode than ever before, which is even more stark given the media’s reluctance to be critical of the Obama administration.

The hard-left move of much of the U.S. media can be seen in comparing coverage of events over the past few decades.

In the Jewell case, the FBI leaked material to friendly reporters to implicate Richard Jewell in the Olympic bombing, and there was the usual feeding frenzy early in the case. The frenzy wore itself out, however, when it became clear via pure logistics that Jewell could not have done what the FBI had claimed. In their defense, media figures said that they were just following the FBI’s lead, which was true.

However, perhaps it should logically have followed that maybe, just maybe, the FBI is full of untrustworthy and incompetent, dishonest, and vindictive employees that have not earned the trust that journalists had given them. Perhaps, just perhaps, government is not full of brilliant and deducting G-Men that are worthy of the heroic treatment the media often gives them. (One excellent exception is James Bovard, who has been an independent warrior exposing government malfeasance — and has been the bane of politicians from both parties.)

But at least the media listened to reason in the Jewell case and ultimately turned in their coverage.

A decade later in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, most of the U.S. media was craven from the start. By then, the infamous “narratives” that now drive political thinking were in full force.

The media latched onto the dual themes of racism and sexual assault and even when the earliest evidence cast serious doubt on the truth of the story, American journalists continued to run in one direction until they fell over the cliff and earned a well-deserved rebuke from American Journalism Review.

(In noting the deterioration in thinking with the elite factions of the media, the Columbia Journalism Review never did an assessment of the Duke case, despite the obvious media failures and breakdowns. And while CJR did provide an assessment for Rolling Stone in the wake its disastrous story, “A Rape on Campus,” which turned out to be wholly fiction, the publication stuck to the original sexual assault narratives which drove the whole thing in the first place.)

The Covington Boys story, which dominated the media for several days in January 2019, is an account of how “Wokeness” has so infected the major media that even when the truth was right in front of them, American journalists ran with the left-wing narratives instead. Besides making life a living hell for the Covington students and their families, the elite U.S. media from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN proved themselves nearly incapable of being able to separate facts from narratives and created their own fiction of white racist teenage boys in MAGA caps terrorizing and disrespecting minorities. While even a cursory glance at the original video of the so-called incident was enough to make an honest person question the popular story, elite American journalists were unwilling to do even that small task.

What makes things even worse is that the NYT’s editorial page now is being used as a conduit to promote questionable historical narratives, promote huge confiscatory taxation schemes, and a very dark history of American capitalism that claims that capitalism here entirely owes its existence to the worst aspects of black chattel slavery. Yes, these are opinion pieces that ostensibly represent independent thought from intellectuals, political figures, and academic leaders, but when these writers are dishonest or terribly misleading, a newspaper as influential as the NYT should not be promoting them.

Because so many American journalists today are squarely joined to the radical left, one wonders what is going to happen to journalism here in the next decade. The so-called watchdogs of state power today are advocating for government to grab authority that would end many aspects of historical American liberty. The next step seems to be the media becoming the TASS of a future Democratic Party administration, and if we reach that stage, it is doubtful we ever can roll back those levels of state power, and we will see Woke journalism not being a barrier to state-sponsored oppression, but rather its enabler.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 23:40
Published:12/9/2019 11:01:56 PM
[ffb68159-4e7a-5d6a-aa63-8e89a4b930dd] Kayleigh McEnany: Trump-Russia collusion probe shouldn’t have been launched, inspector general report shows The report issued Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz exposes deeply disturbing and improper behavior by the Obama-era FBI that led to the investigation of non-existent collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. Published:12/9/2019 8:31:37 PM
[Politics] Biden: No More Coal Plants Thanks to Clean Energy Investments

Democratic 2020 contender Joe Biden said Monday that the Obama administration's investments in alternative energy mean "no one's going to build another coal plant in America."

The post Biden: No More Coal Plants Thanks to Clean Energy Investments appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/9/2019 12:00:14 PM
[Politics] 39% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Thirty-nine percent (39%) 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 December 5.

This week’s finding is up two points from a week ago. By comparison, this number 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 November 10-14, 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:12/9/2019 11:30:14 AM
[Markets] Elizabeth Warren's "Foreign Policy" - Is She Really As Ignorant As She Appears? Elizabeth Warren's "Foreign Policy" - Is She Really As Ignorant As She Appears?

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met in Geneva in 1985, in a summit specifically designed to allow them to discuss diplomatic relations and the -nuclear- arms race. At the time, the Soviet Union had started to crumble, but it was still very much the Soviet Union. They met again in 1986 in Reykjavik, in a summit set up to continue these talks. There, they came close to an agreement to dismantle both countries’ nuclear arsenals.

They met once again in Washington in 1987. That was the year Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech about the Berlin wall. Then they held a next summit in 1988 in Moscow, where they finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the US Senate’s ratification of the treaty in May 1988.

Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev first in December 1989 in Malta, and then the two met three times in 1990, among others in Washington where the Chemical Weapons Accord was signed, and in Paris where they signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. They met three more times in 1991, with one of their meetings, in Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).

One of the most interesting things agreed on during the Bush-Gorbachev meetings was that Russia would allow Germany to re-unite after the wall came down, in exchange for the promise that NATO would not try to expand eastward.

I’ve been re-researching this a bit because it feels like it’s high time that people should realize what US foreign policy was like not that long ago. Even as it involved Reagan and Bush sr., not exactly the peace-mongers of their times. The one thing that was clear to all parties involved is that it was crucial to keep meeting and talking. And talk they did. But look at us now. When was the last summit of a US president with Vladimir Putin?

This came to mind again when I read Elizabeth Warren’s piece in the Guardian today, which made me wonder if she’s for real, if she is really as ignorant as she appears to be when it comes to foreign policy, to Russia, to Trump and to NATO. It would seem that she is, and that makes her a hazard. Not that I see her as a serious candidate, mind you, but then again, I do not see any other one either.

In her article, which reads more than anything like some nostalgic longing for the good old times when she was young, just watch her get all warm and fuzzy over the success of NATO:

Donald Trump Has Destroyed American Leadership – I’ll Restore It

For seven decades, America’s strength, security and prosperity have been underpinned by our unmatched network of treaty alliances, cemented in shared democratic values and a recognition of our common security. But after three years of Donald Trump’s insults and antics, our alliances are under enormous strain. The damage done by the president’s hostility toward our closest partners was on full display at this week’s gathering of NATO leaders in London, which should have been an unequivocal celebration of the 70th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history.

The success of NATO was not inevitable, easy or obvious. It is a remarkable and hard-won accomplishment, and one based on a recognition that the United States does not become stronger by weakening our allies. But that is just what Trump has done, repeatedly and deliberately. He treats our partners as burdens while embracing autocrats from Moscow to Pyongyang. He has cast doubt on the US commitment to NATO at a moment when a resurgent Russia threatens our institutions and freedoms. He has blindsided our partners on the ground in Syria by ordering a precipitate and uncoordinated withdrawal.

[..] he has wrecked US credibility by unilaterally tearing up our international agreements on arms control, non-proliferation and climate change. This reckless disregard for the benefits of our alliances comes at a perilous moment, when we face common threats from powerful adversaries probing the weaknesses of our institutions and resolve. Longstanding allies in Asia are doubting our reliability and hedging their bets. Russia’s land grab in Ukraine has upended the post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace”. The chaotic Brexit process has consumed our closest partners, while sluggish growth and rising xenophobia fuel extremist politics and threaten to fracture the European Union.

To start with that last point, no. That “post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace” was destroyed by NATO’s eastward expansion, executed in spite of US, EU and NATO promises that it wouldn’t. Moreover, you can talk about a resurgent Russia, but the country has hardly recovered economically from the 1980’s and 90’s today, and it has no designs on countries to its west.

Just look at the military budgets of the respective countries, where Russia has maybe 10% of the expenditure of the US, let alone the rest of NATO, and you get the picture. Is Russia getting more bang for its buck, because it doesn’t have to maintain a long running Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon link? Yes, it does. But a 10 to 1 difference is still way out there. It’s not as if they spend half of what the US does, they spend just 10%.

This is because not only Russia doesn’t have to satisfy the desires and needs of Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon, it’s also because they have no desire to conquer any territory that is not at present Russian.

Russia “annexed” Crimea through fair elections, and it knew that “we” knew that it would never let go of its only warm water port, Sevastopol. When “We” tried to take it away regardless, it did the only thing it could do. And it did it very intelligently. As for Eastern Ukraine, everyone there is Russian, whether by blood or by passport. And there are a lot of strong ties between them and Russians in Russia proper.

If Putin would have volunteered to let these Donbass Russians be shot to bits by the Ukraine neo-nazis that helped the US and EU in the Maidan coup, he would have had either a civil war in Russia, or an all-out war in the Donbass, with perhaps millions of casualties. Putin did what he could to prevent both. Back to Warren:

A mounting list of global challenges demand US leadership and collective action. As president, I will recommit to our alliances – diplomatically, militarily and economically. I will take immediate action to rebuild our partnerships and renew American strategic and moral leadership, including by rejoining the Paris climate accord, the United Nations compact on migration, and reaffirming our rock-solid commitment to NATO’s Article 5 provisions.

But we must do more than repair what Trump has broken. Instead we need to update our alliances and our international efforts to tackle the great challenges of our age, from climate change and resurgent authoritarianism to dark money flows, a weakening international arms control regime and the worst human displacement crisis in modern history.

Wait, what exactly has Trump broken in the foreign policy field? There have been dozens at the very least who have called for NATO to be disbanded, Ron Paul et al, because its sole purpose was to counter the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. In fact, when Emmanuel Macron labeled NATO “brain-dead” last week, it was Trump who defended the alliance.

And sorry, Elizabeth, but to hold Trump responsible for “the worst human displacement crisis in modern history” is just not right. That started way before he arrived at the scene. Obama and Hillary carry the burden and blame for that, along with Bush jr. and Dick Cheney. They shot the crap out of Iraq, Lybia etc. Trump only dumped a few bombs in a desert. He didn’t invade any country, he didn’t go “We Came, We Saw, He Died”. That was not Trump.

And before we forget, the military aid for Ukraine Trump allegedly held back for a few weeks had been refused by Obama for years. I’ve been wondering for ages now why the Democrats are so eager to make things up while ignoring simple facts, but I think at least it’s time to start pointing out these issues.

This is not to make Trump look better in any sense, but to try and make people understand that he did not start this thing. Though yeah, I know, it’s like talking to a wall by now. The political divide has turned into such a broad and yawning one, you can’t not wonder how it could ever be broached.

But, you know, it might help if people like Elizabeth Warren don’t ONLY talk about Trump like he’s the antichrist, or a Putin tool, if they engage with him in conversation. But sadly, it feels like we’re past that point. Like if she would even try, and I don’t know if she would want to, her party would spit her out just for trying to build a single bridge. Like Tulsi Gabbard seems to have tried; and look at how the DNC treats her.

This means revitalizing our state department and charging our diplomats to develop creative solutions for ever more urgent challenges. It means working with like-minded partners to promote our shared interest in sustained, inclusive global economic growth and an international trade system that protects workers and the environment, not just corporate profits. And it means reducing wasteful defense spending and refocusing on the areas most critical to our security in years to come.

Well, apart from the fact that we’ve seen some of those diplomats in the Schiff hearings, and they seemed like the least likely people to develop anything “creative” -other than their opinions-, and the boondoggle of “sustained, inclusive global economic growth”, it’s probably best to forget about that entire paragraph. It’s nicer to Warren too.

Alliances are not charities, and it’s fair to ask our partners to do their share. I will build on what President Obama started by insisting on increased contributions to NATO operations and common investments in collective military capabilities. But I will also recognize the varied and significant ways that European states contribute to global security – deploying troops to shared missions, receiving refugees, and providing development assistance at some of the highest per capita rates in the world.

The problem appears to be that the partners don’t increase their contributions. Just this March, Germany refused to do just that. And if Berlin refuses, why would other countries spend more?

The next president must tackle our common problems using the lessons of common defense. Together, we can counter terrorism and proliferation. We can make common cause in constructing new norms and rules to govern cyberspace. We can dismantle the corruption, monopolies and inequality that limit opportunity around the world and take on the increasingly grave threats to our environment. We can and will protect ourselves and each other – our countries, our citizens and our democracies.

Now we’re getting into entirely nonsensical territory, with words and sentences designed only to make people feel good about things that have no substance whatsoever. Anyone can go there, anyone can do that.

In the meantime, the neverending investigations into Trump, Russia, Ukraine, taxes, have had one major effect: he hasn’t had a chance to have a summit with Putin. And that, to go back to how I started out this essay, is the worst idea out there. If Reagan and Bush sr. did those summits all the time, then why do we now think such summits are the work of the devil?

And yeah, we get it, we got it again last week from alleged law expert Pamela Karlan in the House, who let ‘er rip on the dangers Putin poses to all of humanity, and of course she would never trust Trump to hold any such summit because he’s Putin’s puppet.

What Pamela, and all the MSM, and the Dems, and the FBI/CIA, appear to refuse to see, though, is that Trump was democratically elected by the American people to be the only one who can have any such conversation. Karlan again talked about how Russia would attempt to attack American soil unless “we” keep them from doing that.

Now I can say that is absolute bollocks, and it is, but how many -potential- Democratic voters will recognize that at this point? They’ve been trained to believe it. That Russia wants one US presidential candidate over another, or one UK one, or fill in your country, and therefore they want to invade the US, UK, etc. In reality, Russia has plenty problems of its own, and it’s slowly trying to solve them.

The two countries need to start talking to each other again, and the sooner the better. That it will happen under Elizabeth Warren, however, is very unlikely. First because she has her mind made up about Russia, and second because the likelihood of her becoming president is very low. What do you think, is that a good thing?

If for some reason -who can tell- she would end up winning 11 months from now, do you think she’s likely to establish a peace treaty with Russia? You know, given what she wrote here? And if not, why would you vote for her? Don’t you want peace? Do you think antagonizing Putin forever is a good idea? While Russia continues to outperform America in arms development, and in just about any field? While Russia only wants peace?

Good questions, ain’t they, as we move into 2020?!

*  *  *

Please put the Automatic Earth on your Christmas charity donations list. Support us on Paypal and Patreon.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:00
Published:12/9/2019 11:02:02 AM
[47a8af4b-1a59-5491-960c-38140a20dfce] Liz Harrington: FISA abuse — Obama's FBI turned into arm of Hillary Clinton campaign The long-awaited inspector general report on FISA abuse during the Obama administration is set for release Monday. Published:12/9/2019 5:32:47 AM
[Markets] Exposing The False Statements Made In The Trump-Impeachment Hearings Exposing The False Statements Made In The Trump-Impeachment Hearings

Authored by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog,

In the December 4th statement that was made by Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan was this:

We have become the shining city on a hill. We have become the nation that leads the world in understanding what democracy is. One of the things we understand most profoundly is it’s not a real democracy, it’s not a mature democracy if the party in power uses the criminal process to go after its enemies. I think you heard testimony, the Intelligence Committee heard testimony about how it isn’t just our national interest in protecting our own elections. It’s not just our national interest in making sure that the Ukraine remains strong and on the front lines so they fight the Russians there and we don’t have to fight them here.

It’s also our national interest in promoting democracy worldwide, and if we look hypocritical about this, if we look like we’re asking other countries to interfere in our election, if we look like we’re asking other countries to engage in criminal investigations of our President’s political opponents, then we’re not doing our job of promoting our national interest in being that shining city on a hill.

She said: “We have become the shining city on a hill.”

Here is a list of just a few of the democratically elected presidents and prime ministers in foreign countries whom the U.S. regime overthrew, by coups, in order to install brutal dictatorial regimes there that would do sweetheart deals with America’s international corporations. Also, unsuccessful, merely attempted, U.S. coups are discussed there.

Furthermore, the scientific studies of whether the U.S. Government is controlled by the public (a democracy) or is instead controlled only by its very wealthiest (an aristocracy) are clear: this country is an aristocracy, not a democracy at all, except, perhaps, in the purely formal senses of that term — our great Constitution. Far-right judges have recently been interpreting that Constitution in the most pro-aristocratic, anti-democratic, ways imaginable, and this might have something to do with why the scientific studies are finding that the U.S. is now a dictatorship. And this fact, of America’s now being a dictatorship, was blatantly clear in America’s last Presidential election, which was actually a s‘election’ by Americas’ billionaires — not  by the American public.

How, then, can Professor Karlan be respected about anything, if she lives in a dictatorship (by its aristocracy) and is deluded to think that it’s still (which it never was completely) a democracy?

Furthermore: her statements about Ukraine are equally deluded. She is obviously unaware that the Obama Administration started planning its coup against Ukraine in 2011 and started implementing it in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine on 1 March 2013, and started in June 2013 soliciting bids from U.S. companies to renovate at least one building in Crimea for use by the U.S. Navy to replace Russia’s main naval base — which Russian naval base was and is in Crimea — by a new U.S. naval base to be installed there.

The craziest thing of all about Karlan’s statement, however, is this part:

“It’s not just our national interest in making sure that the Ukraine remains strong and on the front lines so they fight the Russians there and we don’t have to fight them here.”

Imagine if someone said, “It’s not just our national interest in making sure that the Mexico remains strong and on the front lines so they fight the Americans there and we [Russians] don’t have to fight them here.”

If a Russian were to assert that, would the statement be any more justifiable than what Karlan said regarding Ukraine? Of course not! Even an idiot can recognize this fact. But Karlan can’t.

On December 5th, the anonymous “Moon of Alabama” blogger, whose opinions and predictions turn out to have been correct at perhaps the highest rate of anyone on the internet, headlined “The Delusions Of The Impeachment Witnesses Point To A Larger Problem” and he not only pointed out the “delusional” beliefs of Professor Karlan (“One must be seriously disturbed to believe such nonsense. How can it be that Karlan is teaching at an academic level when she has such delusions?”), but he noted that:

How is it in U.S. interest to give the Ukraine U.S. taxpayer money to buy U.S. weapons? The sole motive behind that idea was greed and corruption, not national interest:

[U.S. special envoy to Ukraine] Volker started his job at the State Department in 2017 in an unusual part-time arrangement that allowed him to continue consulting at BGR, a powerful lobbying firm that represents Ukraine and the U.S.-based defense firm Raytheon. During his tenure, Volker advocated for the United States to send Raytheon-manufactured antitank Javelin missiles to Ukraine — a decision that made Raytheon millions of dollars.

The missiles are useless in the conflict. They are kept near the western border of Ukraine under U.S. control. The U.S. fears that Russia would hit back elsewhere should the Javelin reach the frontline in the east and get used against the east-Ukrainians. That Trump shortly held back on some of the money that would have allowed the Ukrainians to buy more of those missiles thus surely made no difference.

To claim that it hurt U.S. national interests is nonsense.

It is really no wonder that U.S. foreign policy continuously produces chaos when its practitioners get taught by people like Karlan. …

The Democrats are doing themselves no favor by producing delusional and partisan witnesses who repeat Reaganesque claptrap. They only prove that the whole affair is just an unserious show trial.

In the meantime Trump is eliminating food stamps for some 700,000 recipients and the Democrats are doing nothing about it. Their majority in the House could have used the time it spent on the impeachment circus to prevent that and other obscenities.

Do the Democrats really believe that their voters will not notice this?

(Of course, they do, and they might be right. After all, polls show that Democrats still believe that Barack Obama was a terrific President, just as Republicans believe that George W. Bush was a terrific President. The fact that both  — and Trump himself —were/are among the worst in American history eludes the voters in both Parties. But though I disagree with his opinion on that particular matter, he’s just asking a question there, and I hope that his more optimistic take than mine turns out to be right, and that the voters — in both Parties — are coming to recognize that American politics right now is almost 100% a con-game, in both Parties.)

Why do people pay subscription-fees, to Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post, and to the New York Times, and to other media that are controlled by America’s billionaires, when far higher-quality journalism, like that of “Moon of Alabama” (and like the site you’re reading here) is freely available on the internet? Who needs the mainstream ‘news’-media, when it’s filled with such unreliable claptrap, as respects (instead of exposes) what persons such as Karlan say? Jonathan Turley is to be taken seriously, and he is at the very opposite end from Karlan’s opinions in the impeachment hearings (and regarding much else). (And the hearings-transcript in which both law-professors testified is here.) But the exception is Turley, and Karlan is far more the norm in the U.S.-media mainstream. And virtually all Democratic-Party propaganda-organs (‘the liberal press’) are playing up the Karlan claptrap.

So: yes, I do think that “the Democrats [referring to the ones in the House of Representatives, of course] really believe that their voters will not notice this.” Most voters are just as “deluded” (misinformed by the ‘news’-media) as Professor Karlan is.

*  *  *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/08/2019 - 22:15
Tags
Published:12/8/2019 9:25:43 PM
[Markets] "We Are All George Zimmerman Now..." "We Are All George Zimmerman Now..."

Authored by George Zimmerman via AmericanThinker.com,

Most people know my name, George Zimmerman, largely due to negative stereotypes propagated by the media as a result of the 2012 incident in Sanford, Florida, in which Trayvon Martin died.

Unfortunately, most people don’t recall the fact that I was exonerated of any wrongdoing after a thorough investigation by the Sanford Police Department in March 2012. They had interviewed dozens of witnesses, analyzed 911 calls, and examined the physical evidence of my broken nose, the lacerations on the back of my head, as well as the bruised knuckles of my assailant.

George Zimmerman in 2012, following the incident (Photo via the State of Florida)

This was all backed up by eyewitness Johnathan Good who told police that he saw me screaming for help while blows were coming down on me “MMA style.”

At the conclusion of the police investigation, Sanford Chief of Police Bill Lee announced that my actions were taken in self-defense and there were no grounds for my arrest. It was not even a “stand your ground” case. What followed immediately was a campaign of race-based defamation and incitement against me, led by Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump.

I am the last person who ever expected to be accused of being a bigot. I am Hispanic. My mother is from Peru. I speak fluent Spanish. I was an Obama supporter and a social activist. Just a year earlier, I had led a community-wide effort to get justice for Sherman Ware, a homeless black man who had been attacked by the son of a white police officer. I was also active in a mentoring program where I spent my spare time (and money) with black teens whose parents were in prison.

The Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, quickly recruited for his incitement efforts Al Sharpton, a man who was infamous for the 1989 Tawana Brawley race hoax and other incidents of mayhem based on racial incitement over the years. Then, Obama’s Department of Justice sent representatives to Sanford to “investigate,” but they instead helped organize protests demanding my arrest. As the protests heated up and Crump’s false narrative was repeated by the media ad nauseam, even fair-minded people began to demand my arrest without cause. Then, out of the blue, Crump produced a recorded interview of a “phone witness,” whom, he said, was Trayvon Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend, “Diamond Eugene.”

In the recorded interview with Diamond Eugene, Crump openly led the witness. She mostly just echoed everything Crump said. Two weeks later, prosecutors went to Miami to interview 16-year-old Diamond Eugene under oath. That’s when, as I recently learned, 18-year-old Rachel Jeantel appeared, claiming she was Diamond Eugene. Despite the discrepancy in name and age, prosecutors interviewed Rachel Jeantel anyway and used her obviously false statements to issue an affidavit of probable cause for my arrest. The rest is history.

Hollywood filmmaker Joel Gilbert just released a film and book of the same name, The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America. He investigated the public records and made a discovery – Rachel Jeantel was an imposter. She was not “Diamond Eugene.” She was not Trayvon’s girlfriend. She was not on the phone with him before our altercation. She lied in court about everything she claimed to have heard over the phone in order to send me to prison for life.

In The Trayvon Hoax, Gilbert not only proves that Rachel was a fraud, he actually finds Trayvon’s real girlfriend, Diamond Eugene, studying Criminal Justice at Florida State University, of all things! Gilbert also identifies those who knew about the witness fraud, such as Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton, now a 2020 Miami Dade Commissioner candidate. Gilbert also identifies the attorneys who likely knew and/or should have known about the witness switch.

The damage the trial did to me and my family has been devastating. I suffered from PTSD and, as a result, acted out for a few years before finally returning to the person I was. I was kicked out of college due to threats against the staff by the New Black Panthers. I lost my career path to become an attorney, and to this day I cannot work or even circulate in public. In 2015, someone tried to kill me. The bullet missed my head by inches, and the shooter got 20 years in prison. Today I remain in hiding, as does my family due to constant threats, which appear almost daily in rap songs and social media rants.

Ironically, Trayvon Martin and I ended up having much in common. We were both used to divide America for a political agenda. Since the trial, I have watched in horror as those who incited against me have divided America along racial lines. Black Lives Matter started as a result of my acquittal. BLM took its vigilante act to Ferguson, and the resulting "Ferguson Effect" led to a sharp rise in homicides in black neighborhoods. Even today, Benjamin Crump continues his false race narrative (and defames me) in his new book entitled, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.

I have now taken up the cause of bringing America back together again, and I intend to do it by revealing how the country was deceived. I feel that if I can expose and hold accountable those at the origin of this evil witness fraud, the healing can begin.

I have hired attorney Larry Klayman in his private capacity, founder of Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch. I am suing Rachel Jeantel, Brittany “Diamond” Eugene, Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Benjamin Crump, prosecutors Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, the state of Florida, the FDLE, and HarperCollins Publishing for in excess $100 million. I don't care about the money as much as I care about the truth coming out in discovery and at trial.

Racheal Jeantel lied under oath to deprive me of my constitutional rights and send me to prison for life. The others either suborned perjury or lied under oath to hide their knowledge of the switch of the legitimate phone witness, Diamond Eugene, for Rachel Jeantel, whom they knew was an imposter. My lawsuit is online and can be viewed or downloaded here: Zimmerman v Sybrina Fulton, Crump et al.

I am bringing this action not only to get justice for myself, but for all those Americans who are falsely accused of racial animus as well as those victimized by fake witnesses and unscrupulous prosecutors.

This lawsuit is also for the Bell family, whose sons were falsely accused of involvement in a tragic gym accident that caused the death of Kendrick Johnson. This lawsuit is for Officer Darren Wilson of Ferguson, whom even Eric Holder had to admit was falsely accused of shooting a man who allegedly put his hands up. This lawsuit is for the police officers in Baltimore, both black and white, who were falsely accused of harming Freddy Gray in order to justify mob violence. This lawsuit is for Brett Kavanaugh and any future Supreme Court nominees falsely accused of crimes they did not commit to prevent their nominations.

More than anything else, this lawsuit is for the America I grew up in and still believe in, an America of equal justice for all, where race hoaxes and fake witnesses have no place, an America where the content of one's character, not race, is the basis for one's judgement of another.

With my lawsuit, I hope to make a strong statement that false witnesses will not be tolerated, not in Seminole County Court or any court, and not in the United States Senate chambers. False witnesses must face consequences, or they will continue to ruin lives of innocent people. There is nothing more un-American and irreligious under the Ten Commandments than to bear false witness.

I look forward to succeeding in my court actions and hope to have enough funds to found a center for falsely accused persons of all races, those railroaded by charlatans, prosecutors, and an all too willing establishment media.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/07/2019 - 21:00
Published:12/7/2019 8:18:54 PM
[Markets] How To Re-Elect Trump In One Easy Lesson How To Re-Elect Trump In One Easy Lesson

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Radical progressives are up in arms. Ironically, if Trump wins again, they will be the reason...

Not Getting It

Wall Street Journal writer Jason Riley laments "Bloomberg's past accomplishments in business and politics are liabilities among today’s Democrats."

With that lead-in, Riley tries to explain Why Bloomberg’s Candidacy Is Terminal.

It isn’t that Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t have a solid record of accomplishments as a private citizen and elected official. He built one of the world’s most successful financial-media companies and is now worth an estimated $54 billion. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, last year he donated $767 million to various charities, second only to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. And as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, he oversaw an expansion of school choice for low-income minorities and sharp reductions in violent crime and incarceration.

Mr. Bloomberg’s problem is that these past accomplishments in business and politics are liabilities among today’s Democrats. To win the support of teachers unions, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have attacked the charter-school movement that Mayor Bloomberg championed. And the social-justice activists now ascendant in the party are far more interested in racial parity among people arrested than in reducing crime rates and keeping the streets safe. Progressives view the Mike Bloombergs of the world primarily as rhetorical punching bags who should have their wealth confiscated by politicians and then sprinkled among others in society who are considered more deserving.

Mr. Bloomberg is very much aligned with today’s Democrats on any number of other issues. He can check off all the right boxes on climate change, tax hikes and gun control, for example. But none of those views distinguish him in the current field or justify his decision to join the race.

Pandering to the Radicals

Riley is correct that a majority of Democrats don't like Bloomberg.

So what?

Forget the Base

Why appeal to the radicals? Where are they going? I ask the same questions of Republicans and Democrats alike.

If given a choice between Biden or Bloomberg vs Trump, Progressives will vote for Biden or Bloomberg.

Q: Why?

A: Under no circumstances will they vote for Trump.

So how is Bloomberg a liability?

What About Independents?

Independents might easily vote for Biden or Bloomberg. In contrast, they might not easily vote for Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren.

In fact, Harris and Warren, darlings of the Progressives, might be the only people that Trump could beat.

These kinds of honest assessments get me in hot water.

Flashback 2008

In February of 2008, before Obama even won the nomination, I made this post: Obama: The Next President Of The United States

I discussed "Yes We Can", an excellent campaign slogan, and concluded "Destiny: Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America."

It was a political opinion, and a correct one. I didn't even vote for Obama (I did not vote Republican either), but I was accused of being an Obama lover for years.

Hot water

I am again in hot water today. I responded to a Tweet about Kamala Harris. I called her unqualified.

Why? Because, and I explained, I do not believe she can be elected. This of course brought out all sorts of Tweets about me being a racist male, especially from a self-proclaimed black feminist.

Both Extremes

This post, no doubt will bring attacks from Republicans who believe Trump to be invincible and radical progressives on the other end.

Simple Question

Q: Why did Trump Win?

A: Democrats nominated, Hillary Clinton, the most radical lightning rod at the time. Then Clinton ran what is likely the worst campaign in history.

Let's get to the heart of the matter.

Republicans Cannot Re-Elect Trump, Democrats Can!

Trump has upset so many people, even in his own party, that I believe the only way he can win is if Democrats nominated another lightning rod.

At the top of the list are Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

The US simply is not ready for an extreme radical leftist person like Warren.

Independents would not vote for her. Independents did vote for Obama, en masse.

Merely making such statements gets me in hot water.

But It's not my desire to elect another white male boomer fogey. I could care less. I do care about ideas.

Candidate Appeal

I am a staunch anti-war, fiscal conservative, Libertarian, who does not give a damn about race, religion, sex, or age. I believe in equal rights. I also believe in the right to choose. If two women or two men want to get married, I believe it's none of my business.

If either party nominated such a person, young or old, black or white or purple, I would vote for that person.

I believe many independents feel the same way.

None of these candidates appeal to me. Among other things, Trump fails the fiscal conservative test.

Electoral Crapshoot

Q: Once again, where are the radicals going?

A: Nowhere, in both parties. The core will vote core.

To win the election then, a candidate must appeal to the middle. Otherwise, it's an electoral crapshoot as Democrats found out with Hillary.

So, if Democrats want to help re-elect Trump, they should nominate the most radical person they can find. One of them just backed out. Elizabeth Warren is still in the batter's box.

This does not mean I back Biden. I don't. Nor do I back Bloomberg. Nor do I back men.

I back ideas, not people. Age, race, or sex, does not matter.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/07/2019 - 19:00
Tags
Published:12/7/2019 6:01:53 PM
[] John Kerry endorses Joe Biden. Is that a good thing? John Kerry endorsed Joe Biden this week. John Kerry, the former senator from Massachusetts and Obama's Secretary of State in his second term as president, is an old friend and colleague of Biden's so it might not have been too much of a surprise. What was a surprise was how]] Published:12/7/2019 4:52:23 PM
[] Joe Biden redux: Michael Bloomberg apologizes for calling fellow candidate Cory Booker 'well-spoken' Now, this is nowhere as bad as when Joe Biden called Barack Obama "the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." But still, Cory Booker was taken aback when Michael Bloomberg described him as "well-spoken" on TV Friday, and Bloomberg has]] Published:12/7/2019 3:47:47 PM
[Markets] Bloomberg Echoes Harry Reid 'No Negro Dialect' Gaffe In Tone-Deaf Comment About Cory Booker Bloomberg Echoes Harry Reid 'No Negro Dialect' Gaffe In Tone-Deaf Comment About Cory Booker

Mike Bloomberg took heat on Friday after saying in a CBS interview that fellow 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker is "very well-spoken."

When asked about a recent jab by Booker - who said "there's more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people," Bloomberg replied "Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times, and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times."

"He's very well-spoken. He's got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is, but the public is out there picking and choosing, and narrowing down this field," he added.

Booker, who is black, said in a Friday SiriusXM said Bloomberg's comments play into "tired tropes" about African Americans, adding "The fact that they don't understand is problematic."

Bloomberg later acknowledged on Friday while speaking with reporters after an Agusta, GA campaign event "I probably shouldn't have used the word."

Booker – in his interview – said that “this is part of the campaign and lots of people say things that they wish they could take back and I’m sure people, if Mike gets it now and I hope people around him are talking to him about why that plays into what is for the black community in particular just, these are signs of frustration that we continue to deal with.”

Booker pointed to the numerous blackface controversies this year and added “I don’t think folks understand with Kamala dropping out of the race, why so many people, friends of mine and family members of mine who weren’t even supporting her, found insulting, not being in this race with her qualifications, her experience, her talent and her gifts and other people are -- who frankly are, very bluntly, do not have her same record.”

The senator emphasized that “I think that what we as a party have to understand is that we can’t win without the, not just African-American vote, but we can’t win without the enthusiastic support of black voters.” -Fox News

Echoes of Biden, Reid

Bloomberg's comments echoed similar racial gaffes from then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

During the 2008 election when Biden and Obama were rival candidates, Biden described the future president as the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." Obama clearly forgave Biden, as he named him as his running mate later in the cycle.

Harry Reid, meanwhile, took heat in the 2010 book Game Change, which quoted him as saying in a private conversation that Obama was "light-skinned" and had "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately.  Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination. -Game Change, 2010

Reid later apologized, saying "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments."

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/07/2019 - 09:55
Tags
Published:12/7/2019 9:20:56 AM
[Markets] Ukraine Was The Origin Of The Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax Ukraine Was The Origin Of The Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax

Authored by Lawrence Sellin via AmericanThinker.com,

December 2015 was a pivotal month in many respects...

During the first week of December 2015, Donald Trump began to establish a substantial lead over his Republican primary opponents.

Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to Ukraine to announce, on December 7th, a $190 million program to “fight corruption in law enforcement and reform the justice sector,” but behind the scenes explicitly linked a $1 billion loan guarantee to the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating the energy company Burisma, which employed Biden’s son Hunter.

On December 9, 2015, the reported whistleblower Eric Ciaramella held a meeting in Room 236 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center, which was 59%-funded by Barack Obama’s State Department and the International Renaissance Foundation, a George Soros organization.

Also attending that meeting was Catherine Newcombe, attorney in the Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, with the U.S. Department of Justice, where, among other duties, she oversaw the Department's legal assistance programs to Ukraine.

By December 2015, Paul Manafort was undoubtedly considering approaching the Trump campaign to rejuvenate his U.S. political bona fides and mitigate the legal and financial difficulties he was experiencing at the time.

From the beginning of his association with the Trump campaign, Roger Stone, a long-time Manafort partner, made a strong case to Trump to bring in Manafort, who would officially connect to the campaign immediately after the February 1, 2016 Iowa caucuses.

Based on events occurring during the same period, were Obama Deep State operatives aware of Manafort’s intent and already intending to use his past questionable practices and links to Russia against Trump?

Such awareness of Manafort’s plans could have been obtained either through FBI surveillance, which began in 2014 and ended in early 2016, or through information provided by Manafort associates, for example, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Manafort and was a FBI and Department of State asset, not a Russian agent as later painted by the Mueller investigation.

According to White House visitor logs, on January 19, 2016, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting of FBI, Department of Justice and Department of State personnel, which had two main objectives:

  1. To coerce the Ukrainians to drop the Burisma probe, which involved Vice President Joseph Biden’s son Hunter, and allow the FBI to take it over the investigation.

  2. To reopen a closed 2014 FBI investigation that focused heavily on GOP lobbyist Paul Manafort, whose firm long had been tied to Trump through his partner and Trump pal, Roger Stone.

That is, contain the investigation of Biden’s son and ramp up the investigation of Paul Manafort.

Again, according to White House logs, the attendees at the January 19, 2016 meeting in Room 230A of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were:

  • Eric Ciaramella - National Security Council Director for Ukraine

  • Liz Zentos - National Security Council Director for Eastern Europe

  • David G. Sakvarelidze - Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine

  • Anna E. Iemelianova (Yemelianova) - Legal Specialist, US Embassy Kyiv and US Department of Justice’s Anti-Corruption Program.

  • Nazar A. Kholodnitsky, Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor

  • Catherine L. Newcombe - attorney in the Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, with the U.S. Department of Justice

  • Svitlana V. Pardus – Operations, Department of Justice, U.S. Embassy, Ukraine.

  • Artem S. Sytnyk  - Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine

  • Andriy G. Telizhenko, political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC

  • Jeffrey W. Cole - Resident Legal Advisor at U.S. Embassy Ukraine, presumed to be FBI

Just two weeks after that meeting, on February 2, 2016, according to White House logs, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting in Room 374 of the Eisenhower Executive Office, which seems to be a planning session to re-open an investigation of Paul Manafort (Note: one of the crimes of which Manafort was accused was money laundering, an area covered by the Department of the Treasury). The attendees were:

  • Jose Borrayo - Acting Section Chief, Office of Special Measures, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

  • Julia Friedlander - Senior Policy Advisor for Europe, Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Michael Lieberman - Deputy Assistant Secretary, Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Scott Rembrandt - Anti-Money Laundering Task Force, Assistant Director/Director, Office of Strategic Policy, Department of the Treasury

  • Justin Rowland - Special Agent (financial crimes), Federal Bureau of Investigation

It appears that Paul Manafort became a vehicle by which the Obama Deep State operatives could link Trump to nefarious activities involving Russians, which eventually evolved into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. 

Remember, the key claim of the follow-up Steele dossier, the centerpiece of the Mueller investigation, was that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was the focal point of a "well-developed conspiracy between them [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership."

Nellie Ohr, Fusion GPS employee and wife of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, not only worked with Christopher Steele on the so-called Trump dossier, but, in May 2016, was the conduit of information to her husband and two Department of Justice prosecutors of the existence of the “black ledger” documents that contributed to Manafort’s prosecution.

Bruce Ohr and Steele attempted to get dirt on Manafort from a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, efforts that eventually led to a September 2016 meeting in which the FBI asked Deripaska if he could provide information to prove that Manafort was helping Trump collude with Russia.

The surveillance and entrapment attempts of Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and others were designed to collect evidence about Trump without formally documenting that Trump was the target.

After the election, to cover their tracks, James Comey, representing the FBI and the Department of Justice, misleadingly told Trump that the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.

They lied.

Donald Trump always was, and still is, the target of the Deep State, the left-wing media and their Democrat Party collaborators.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:45
Published:12/6/2019 11:14:23 PM
[Markets] Sociopaths On The Left & Sociopaths On The Right Work To Break Potential US-China Alliance Sociopaths On The Left & Sociopaths On The Right Work To Break Potential US-China Alliance

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Donald Trump is in a painful bind.

The China-bashing traitors within his own party trying to pass themselves off as American patriots have done everything imaginable to destroy the one chance the President has to save America from the policies of economic and social decay which have mis-shaped the past 50 years of world history.

Before breaking under the pressure to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on November 27, Trump attempted desperately to push against the hard liners stating a day earlier:

“I stand with Hong Kong, but I also stand with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine, he’s an incredible guy. We have to stand, but I’d like to see them work it out, OK? We have to see them work it out. I stand for Hong Kong, I stand for freedom, I stand for all those things we want to do. But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history.”

Of course, Trump’s desire to use protective tariffs, rebuild decayed infrastructure and industries while reversing the regime change wars abroad are good things. However, the ugly fact is that the Trans-Atlantic financial system is also set to crash, and a serious military confrontation between the US military and the Russia-China alliance is both very real and very dangerous.

This is also why the passage of the anti-Beijing Bill on November 27 is so tragic, since the desperately needed economic alliance which Trump has desired may have suffered a wound from which it cannot recover. Not only this, but those anti-China hawks pervasive across Washington are now emboldened to go even further starting with Sen. Ted Cruz’s new bill to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, thus undoing the 1972 ‘One China’ agreement which established Beijing as the capital of China.

Cruz’s Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act aims in Cruz’s words to “peel back some of the extreme insults of the Taiwanese that are inflicted by the One-China policy protocol” including the banning of Taiwan officials from visiting US government agencies, and Taiwan students studying at West Point military academy from wearing the Taiwan flag.

Already, the US-military have vastly amplified their presence on China’s border ever since Obama’s “Pivot-to-Asia” and “Air-Sea Battle” were put into practice in 2011-2012 and which heavily relies on a militarized anti-China force in Taiwan ready to do the US’s bidding.

Many leading figures in Taiwan are stuck in a Cold War traumatized mindset established 60 years earlier, and still see their life’s mission and Taiwan’s destiny through the outdated lens of their Kuomintang forebears- as the only rightful leaders of China, destined to reconquer the mainland lost to the Communist Party in 1949. These groups would do anything to fulfill that quasi-religious sense of purpose, making them the perfect puppets for the Deep State which would be more than happy to undermine both China and America as viable sovereign nation states undoing the common cause for which both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Sun Yatsen dedicated their lives.

Bannon, Soros and Falun Gong: Golems of the Great Game

An ugly and overlooked example of this operation includes the renewed effort by China-basher Steve Bannon who Trump rightly booted from his team in August 2017. Bannon has been a dangerous character attempting to coral Trump supporters in America and the European right into a new anti-Chinese united front while reviving the neo-con “clash of civilizations” doctrine with a vengeance.

One of the main conduits Bannon chose to unleash this assault was the Committee on Present Danger-China which he founded alongside a group of raging neocons in March 2019. Labelling China’s Belt and Road as a new empire threatening to undo America and enslave the world, Bannon’s think tank stated:

 “As with the Soviet Union in the past, communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom – one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat.”

Bannon has also found himself working ever more tightly with the anti-Beijing CIA-funded cult Falun Gong which has been banned from China since 1999 and used by the CIA as a propaganda weapon against China claiming anecdotal evidence of Beijing-sponsored organ harvesting and killing of religious minorities. Though pushing itself as a meditation group, its leader Li Hongzhi is based in the USA and promotes the idea that he has magical powers that keep the forces of evil from destroying the world.

Bannon most recently produced the Falun Gong-funded film “Claws of the Red Dragon” putting him into the same boat as his left-handed mirror image George Soros who also supports the Falun Gong through Open Society Foundation’s Freedom House.  The contradiction arising from this alliance of pro-Trump sociopaths working with anti-Trump sociopaths only makes sense when you look at the anti-human game from the top down rather than the bottom up.

It is here, that we start getting a fuller picture of the nature of the false ‘left vs right’ game being played, as we look at a City of London-based think tank which Bannon leads called the Dignitas Humanitae Institute alongside 5 other highly connected figures which were recently exposed in a powerful expose by journalist Stan Ezrol who described Bannon’s four other co-patrons of this Catholic group as “Archduke Otto Von Habsburg, successor to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor when it was dissolved; His Royal Highness Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies and Duke of Castro, a leading figure in the anti-Renaissance wing of European nobility; Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie GCB (Knight of the Grand Cross), LVO (Lieutenant of the Victorian Order), OBE (Order of the British Empire); and Father Matthew Festing.”

The forces managing this international battle are desperately afraid of the fact that western and eastern renaissance traditions may be awakened in the face of the existential crisis facing the human species today. These groups are very much aware that the essential character of any society fit to survive is rooted on certain moral principles that are found in both Christian and Confucian cultures alike, making the USA and China potentially very strong and organic allies.

When one reads the writings of such founding fathers of either great nation as Dr. Benjamin Franklin or Dr. Sun Yatsen, the common moral worldview and sense of human nature as a species made in the image of the creator endowed with inalienable rights is electric. It is thus no coincidence that Dr. Franklin saw in Confucius the key for the foundation of America and Sun Yatsen saw in America’s Constitution the key for China’s future. This is a concept which Hong Kong rioters, Taiwan militarists, Open Society ideologues and right wing Bannonites know nothing about.

Today, Xi Jinping and President Putin exemplify this common outlook wonderfully as their alliance has transformed the international rules of the game on every level, and if Trump wasn’t constrained by such bigoted agents as Cruz, Bannon or the rabid hive of leftist hacks frothing at the mouth for impeachment, then the USA would make an organic ally in this new multipolar alliance.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:05
Published:12/6/2019 10:13:18 PM
[Markets] The Impact Of Increased Political Polarization The Impact Of Increased Political Polarization

Authored by Frank Newport via Gallup.com,

As I write this, the House Intelligence Committee has voted to adopt the committee's Impeachment Inquiry Report along strict party lines. All 13 Democrats on the committee voted "Yes"; all nine Republican committee members voted "No." This party-line split is neither unusual nor unpredictable, but reflects the deep partisanship that is one of the defining aspects of our American society today.

I use the words "American society" rather than "American politics" here on purpose. We know that personal partisan identity affects one's views on a wide variety of policy issues, and, of course, partisanship is the defining determinant of people's views of their political leaders. But recent Gallup analyses show just how much our political identity today is a part of our views of a wide variety of other aspects of life, which often are not directly related to politics. Personal political identity affects views of the nation's healthcare system, how one views the economy, one's overall satisfaction with the way things are going in the nation, views of the safety of the nation's schools, worry about mass shootings, job satisfaction, views of the state of the environment and views of one's personal life situation, among others.

The impact of political partisanship appears to be increasing. As my colleague Jeff Jones has documented, the difference between Republicans' and Democrats' job approval ratings of President Donald Trump is the largest Gallup has ever measured for a president, eclipsing the already high polarization measured in approval of President Barack Obama.

Pew Research recently reported on Americans' views of the opposite political party, concluding that "the level of division and animosity -- including negative sentiments among partisans toward the members of the opposing party -- has only deepened."

An important review of academic research by journalist Thomas Edsall last year highlighted the degree to which the political polarization has increasingly taken on an emotionally negative tone. As Edsall notes: "Hostility to the opposition party and its candidates has now reached a level where loathing motivates voters more than loyalty," and "The building strength of partisan antipathy -- 'negative partisanship' -- has radically altered politics. Anger has become the primary tool for motivating voters."

There Are Some Benefits of Increased Political Polarization

Is this increasingly pervasive influence of party as a key and defining aspect of the way Americans look at the world around them good or bad? As is true with almost all such questions, the answer is complex.

There are some benefits to individuals and society from political polarization and conflict between opposing viewpoints. As we know, the Founding Fathers anticipated there would be conflict between factions in our society and set up the three branches of our federal government to deal with them. If handled correctly, optimal solutions are more likely to emerge when everything is subject to skeptical analysis. (Along these same lines, billionaire Ray Dalio defines this process of constant questioning as the search for "radical truth" and contends it is a secret to his business success.)

Plus, a strong emotional allegiance to one's political and ideological reference group can have significantly positive effects for individuals, who gain meaning and purpose in life from social solidarity with an in-group while railing against threatening enemies. Partisan "us versus them" perspectives are easier for many individuals to handle cognitively than are complex approaches to issues and situations that attempt to take into account multiple pluses and minuses.

And importantly, there are real economic benefits for businesses that can take advantage of and monetize the behaviors of emotionally driven partisans seeking reinforcement for their views. Among these beneficiaries: cable news networks, talk show hosts, book publishers, bloggers and podcast producers. And, of course, politicians gain support and maximize turnout when their constituents can be emotionally activated on the basis of perceived threats. As political consultants advise clients, negative campaigning is most often much more effective than efforts to remain positive.

Significant Costs of Political Polarization

But today's increase in partisanship in the U.S. also has significant harmful effects. Most importantly, polarization and partisan conflict lead to inaction, as "my way or the highway," ideologically rigid mentalities lower the probability of achieving the compromise that should be at the heart of legislative functioning. (We saw this "destroy the village in order to save it" mentality shut down the U.S. government in 2013.)

As I've reviewed previously, the American public as a whole rues this approach to politics, giving Congress and its ability to deal with domestic and international problems very low evaluations (even if the American public itself in some ways causes this political inaction by virtue of its own polarized attitudes).

We also have the sociological impact of polarization and increasing disapprobation of one's political opposites. Any functioning society needs to develop and maintain its social institutions -- the widely agreed-upon ways in which society handles the core functions necessary for survival.

But that agreement appears to be waning. Partisans on both sides increasingly see institutions in the U.S. not as beneficial and necessary, but as part of an effort by the other side to gain advantage and to perpetuate its power and philosophical positions. Liberals and Democrats today, for example, have lower trust in traditional family institutionstraditional religious institutions and the economic system. Republicans have lower trust in the scientific processhigher education, the mass media, and the role of the state (government).

These skeptical views of institutions and social structures skew us toward distrust, anger and internal infighting -- not actionable efforts to fix problems and address threats.

What Lies Ahead?

As noted, a healthy skepticism of the way things operate in society is often warranted. But our society must continue to function, and that functioning requires an underlying agreement in the legitimacy of societal institutions. This is particularly true today, when there are increasing external threats to our society and way of life from all sides, ranging from rogue states to terrorists to changes in weather and climate patterns to shifting world economies and massively unstable populations.

At some point, our society must balance the internal conflict resulting from differences in partisans' views of the world with a broader agreement on how we as a society adapt to external threats and achieve societal objectives. What will it take to do that? Presumably we need leaders who don't focus as much on taking advantage of, and stoking, partisan differences as they do looking at the larger picture. That's a difficult challenge, but one to which the American public may well be quite receptive. It's usually easier to criticize than to make efforts to agree on solutions. But we are going to need more emphasis on the latter in the years ahead, I think, if our society is to thrive and survive.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 22:25
Tags
Published:12/6/2019 9:43:05 PM
[Entertainment] For Susan Rice, diplomacy began at home — at age 7 The former Obama official recounts warring parents, policy wins and Washington gossip in her memoir. Published:12/6/2019 4:42:40 PM
[Alex Acosta] The Obama Labor Department in its eleventh year? (Paul Mirengoff) One of my biggest grievances with Alex Acosta’s stewardship of the Department of Labor was his pursuit, based on indefensible statistical analyses, of compensation discrimination claims against Oracle and other high tech Silicon Valley companies. I discussed the flaws in the Labor Department’s analyses here. These actions were filed in January 2017, just as the Obama administration was coming to an end. The idea was to force the Trump Labor Published:12/6/2019 4:42:40 PM
[] NYT: Yeah, everything we knew about the jobs market was wrong This admission is long overdue, but it's less about the New York Times than on the media in general. For several years, media outlets claimed that we had reached peak employment in the latter half of Barack Obama's presidency despite ample evidence of a massive overhang of discouraged workers]] Published:12/6/2019 3:17:25 PM
[Markets] What The "Expert" Panel Should Have Told You About Impeachment... But Didn't What The "Expert" Panel Should Have Told You About Impeachment... But Didn't

Authored by Rob Natelson via The Epoch Times,

This short essay does what the House Judiciary Committee’s panel of “expert witnesses” did not successfully do.

First, it explains the meaning of the Constitution’s “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” standard. Next, it discusses how that standard applies to President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Finally, it details the kind of evidence the House Judiciary Committee should gather to determine whether the president committed an impeachable offense.

Many phrases in the Constitution—such as “necessary and proper,” “Privileges and Immunities,” and “Convention for proposing Amendments”—carry specialized 18th century meanings not obvious to the modern reader. Recall that most of the leading Founders were lawyers and the Constitution is a legal document. Some of these phrases derive from 18th century law.

Therefore, to understand them you have to consult 18th century legal materials in addition to better-known sources such as the 1787 convention debates or the Federalist Papers.

Unfortunately, most of the scholars called by the House Judiciary Committee to address the meaning of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” were not able to do so accurately.

According to the authoritative Westlaw database, two of the three Democratically appointed witnesses have published no scholarly work on impeachment: Their specialties are in other areas. None showed any familiarity with 18th century fiduciary standards—which (as explained below) are part of the law of impeachment. All of the witnesses voted against President Trump, and several have been involved in anti-Trump activity.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that, except for professor Jonathan Turley’s heavily footnoted 53-page written statement, the testimony was biased and superficial.

What Is the Standard?

Impeachment law is not for amateurs. It rests on English parliamentary history extending at least as far back as the 1300s. Furthermore, impeachment standards evolved over time. To understand the Constitution’s rules we must know what the standards were when the Constitution was adopted. We can do so by consulting 18th century parliamentary records and legal materials.

Here’s some of what they tell us:

  • The term “high Crimes” means, approximately, “felonies.”

  • The phrase “high … Misdemeanors” refers to what the founding generation called “breach of trust” and what modern lawyers call breach of fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duties are the legal obligations imposed upon those who manage the affairs of other people—bankers, corporate executives, accountants, guardians, and so forth. In broad outline, fiduciary law when the Constitution was adopted was similar to what it is today.

  • In the 14th and 15th centuries, an official could be impeached because Parliament disagreed with his policy decisions. However, as several American Founders recognized, by the 18th century this was no longer true. The official must have violated (in the words of several sources) “the known and established law.” This limited impeachment to serious crimes and fiduciary breaches.

  • The trial in the upper house of the legislature was a judicial proceeding, not primarily a political one. As the 1782 edition of the popular Jacob’s Law Dictionary noted, “the same evidence is required in an impeachment in Parliament, as in the ordinary courts of justice.” The hearsay and impressionist evidence gathered by the House Intelligence Committee is not admissible.

The core of the case against President Trump is that he used his political position to seek re-election assistance from a foreign government. Although there’s dark talk of crimes committed, the principal charge is fiduciary rather than criminal. In other words, a “high … Misdemeanor.”

House Democrats have struggled to define Trump’s alleged offense. Initially, they described it as “quid pro quo.” Then they employed the term “bribery.” The legally correct designation is “self-dealing.”

Self-dealing is betraying your employer’s interests to enrich yourself. It’s a violation of the fiduciary duty of loyalty.

We can assume the president might benefit from a Ukrainian investigation, but that doesn’t mean asking for an investigation was self-dealing as defined by fiduciary, and therefore by impeachment, law. There’s nothing unusual or improper about a president asking a recipient of U.S. foreign aid to address corruption. As for seeking political advantage: If we punished every politician who did that, they would all be swinging from the yardarm.

This is as true in foreign as in domestic affairs. When President Barack Obama told the Russian president he would have more flexibility after his re-election, he was saying (1) an agreement now would benefit both Russia and the United States, but (2) I’m going to sacrifice our mutual interests for the present because such an agreement might hurt my re-election campaign. Was this impeachable self-dealing? Almost certainly not.

So where is the divide between “normal” conduct and impeachable conduct? To answer this, we need to weigh at least three factors: impeachment precedent, the national interest, and the practice of other presidents.

Impeachable Conduct

For defining the Constitution’s phase “high … Misdemeanors,” the most important precedents (although not the only ones) lie in 18th century impeachment and fiduciary law.

An 18th century impeachment treatise outlines the specific facts by which several officials were impeached for what we now call self-dealing.

They include the following:

(1) the official enriched himself at the expense of the Crown by arranging for royal pardons,

(2) he stole funds from the Royal Navy,

(3) he confiscated ships and cargos without due process and appropriated the proceeds,

(4) he obtained “exorbitant grants of lands and money, to the great detriment of the revenue,”

(5) he seized forfeited land that should have gone to the Crown, and

(6) acting through a strawman, he took the proceeds from timber sales in the king’s forests.

All these cases boil down to stealing public property. They don’t look like the Trump–Zelensky dealings at all.

Another part of the answer lies in whether President Trump violated the national interest. As a general rule, self-dealing generally is not just enriching yourself. It’s enriching yourself at the expense of your employer. If Trump’s interests were aligned with those of the country, there was no fiduciary breach.

Despite Col. Alexander Vindman’s complaint that Trump violated “the consensus of the interagency,” the question of whether Trump acted contrary to the national interest is a difficult one to answer.

Perhaps we had a national interest in not asking President Zelensky to investigate. But we also had a national interest in asking, because it would be useful to know if Ukrainian officials were trying to meddle in our presidential elections. And it would be useful to know whether the family of a leading presidential candidate is engaged in corruption. Remember: the president asked only for an investigation, not for a pre-determined result.

Thus, you can argue the “national interest” issue both ways. It looks more a policy question than a clear case like theft of public funds.

Still another part of the answer lies in how similar officials act in similar circumstances. In absence of a crime, if you want to determine whether a banker handled funds properly, you should investigate how bankers usually handle funds. If you wish to determine whether an investment adviser gave reasonable advice, you should consult what other reputable advisers recommend in the same circumstances.

Similarly, to decide whether President Trump engaged in impermissible self-dealing, we need testimony about how other officials conduct themselves. We know, for example, that then-Vice President Biden explicitly made aid to Ukraine conditional on firing a Ukrainian prosecutor. If that conduct wasn’t impeachable (and I don’t believe it was) then Trump’s more tepid conduct certainly isn’t impeachable.

Thus, the Judiciary Committee should ask for testimony from officials of prior presidential administrations, and preferably from the former presidents themselves. Did they ever make foreign aid conditional? What were the conditions? Why? And so forth.

Another Panel

It was a good idea to empanel academic experts to provide guidance on the meaning of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” It should be done again, and this time correctly.

The next panel should include presidential historians, parliamentary historians, and experts on fiduciary law. It should not consist primarily of law professors, who are notorious for engaging more in advocacy than in true scholarship.

Every panelist should have published research on impeachment, fiduciary law, or related areas. No panelist should be enmeshed in pro-Trump or anti-Trump political activity. They should be limited to discussing constitutional impeachment standards without expostulating on evidentiary testimony. Weighing the evidence is the job of the committee members, not of academics with little judicial or “real life” experience.

Once the scholarly panel has testified, the committee should explore whether the president’s Ukrainian actions clearly violated the national interest and it should gather testimony on the conduct of former administrations in comparable situations.

And only if all those investigations support a “self-dealing” conclusion should the committee recommend articles of impeachment.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 13:30
Tags
Published:12/6/2019 12:41:05 PM
[2020 Election News] Ruh-Roh: Three Top Obama Officials Endorse Buttigieg Over Biden

By Mary Margaret Olohan -

Three top officials who served under former President Barack Obama endorsed 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for president, noticeably skipping over former Vice President Joe Biden. Buttigieg received endorsements from Linda Douglass, former director of communications for Obama’s White House Office of Health Reform, Austan Goolsbee, former senior economic advisor ...

Ruh-Roh: Three Top Obama Officials Endorse Buttigieg Over Biden 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:12/6/2019 12:13:51 PM
[Markets] Buchanan: Democrats' Diversity - But, Only In The Back Of The Bus Buchanan: Democrats' Diversity - But, Only In The Back Of The Bus

Authored by Pat Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

The “Our diversity is our strength!” Party is starting to look rather monochromatic in its upper echelons these days.

The four leading candidates for its presidential nomination — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — are all white.

The six candidates who have qualified for the Dec. 19 debate — the front four, plus Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer — are all white.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are both white, as are Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Whip Dick Durbin.

The chairs of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees managing impeachment, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, are both white. And as Congressman Al Green railed Wednesday, all three experts Nadler invited to make the Democrats’ case for impeachment were white law professors. How come?

Absent affirmative action by the DNC, neither Cory Booker, the leading black candidate for the nomination, nor Julian Castro, the leading Hispanic, will be on the stage Dec. 19.

But though there is zero racial diversity among the top six Democrats in the presidential field, there is gender, ethnic and ideological diversity.

Warren would be the first woman president; Sanders, the first Jewish nominee; and Buttigieg would be the first gay nominee.

Yet the lack of racial diversity across the party hierarchy is going to put immense pressure on Joe Biden, should he win the nomination. If he hopes to reunite the Obama coalition, a woman and/or person of color as his running mate would seem an absolute imperative.

And before Biden gets there, he has other problems.

His “No Malarkey” bus tour across Iowa is all about his fear that, if he loses Iowa on Feb. 3 and New Hampshire on Feb. 11, he may not survive to reach his South Carolina firewall on Feb. 25.

Though he leads in the national polls, Iowa and New Hampshire polls have Biden running as low as fourth. Never has a candidate contested and lost both those states and then gone on to win the nomination.

Nor are these Joe’s only problems.

Call them what you will — gaffes, mental lapses — his repeated verbal miscues, some of which have caused debate rivals to laugh out loud at Joe, are a cause of alarm among Democrats who fear a Biden-Trump TV debate could produce a debacle for their man.

Nor are the other front-runners without racial-ethnic problems.

African Americans are a bedrock constituency of the Democratic Party. In recent presidential elections, they have voted 90% for the party’s nominee, and even higher for Barack Obama.

How is Mayor Pete doing with this constituency?

While running first in some polls in Iowa, his share of the African American vote in South Carolina, in a recent poll, was zero. Buttigieg had no black support in a state where African Americans constitute more than 60% of the Democratic vote.

Bernie Sanders, an unapologetic socialist who went to the Soviet Union, Reagan’s “Evil Empire,” for his honeymoon, is holding on to half of the loyal base from his impressive 2016 race against Hillary Clinton.

The other half of Bernie’s base, however, has been captured by Warren. In October, she took the lead in national polls, only to lose that lead when she could not explain how, without major new taxes on the middle class, she could abolish private health insurance and put the entire country on the Medicare rolls.

And, like Bernie, she is weak with black Democrats, who will decide South Carolina one week before Super Tuesday, when 40% of all the Democratic delegates will be chosen.

How did Democrats arrive at this pass?

As the 2019-2020 campaign began, the party divided into two camps.

There is first the moderate-centrist-pragmatic wing, whose goal is the removal of Trump, and who will go with the Democrat who is the most certain to deliver that. Biden, who spent four decades in the Senate and as vice president, was liked by many and offended few, and was first in the polls, was their natural choice.

Then there is the ideological left of the party that wants not only to win but also to remake America. It was to this huge slice of the party that Warren and Bernie have made their radical appeals.

The promise of victory offered by Biden and the ideological agenda offered by Sanders and Warren trumped the ethnic appeal of Booker, Castro and Kamala Harris.

Now, with the arrival of moneybags Mike Bloomberg and his tens of millions of dollars in ads, almost certain to reach hundreds of millions before Super Tuesday, there is the possibility that four or five candidates will survive to the convention, with no one having a majority of delegates. And the horse-trading will begin.

My view: Super Tuesday will cut the field to two or three. And the nominee will be one of the six palefaces on the stage Dec. 19.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:35
Tags
Published:12/6/2019 9:40:07 AM
[Markets] Turley: Democrats Offering Passion Over Proof In Trump Impeachment Turley: Democrats Offering Passion Over Proof In Trump Impeachment

Authored by Jonathan Turley, op-ed via The Hill,

The most dangerous place for an academic is often between the House and the impeachment of an American president. I knew that going into the first hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment of Donald Trump. After all, Alexander Hamilton that impeachment would often occur in an environment of “agitated passions.” Yet I remained a tad naive in hoping that an academic discussion on the history and standards of it might offer a brief hiatus from hateful rhetoric on both sides.

In my testimony Wednesday, I lamented that, as in the impeachment of President Clinton from 1998 to 1999, there is an intense “rancor and rage” and “stifling intolerance” that blinds people to opposing views. My call for greater civility and dialogue may have been the least successful argument I made to the committee. Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with threatening messages and demands that I be fired from George Washington University for arguing that, while a case for impeachment can be made, it has not been made on this record.

Some of the most heated attacks came from Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Eric Swalwell of California attacked me for defending my client, Judge Thomas Porteous, in the last impeachment trial and noted that I lost that case. Swalwell pointed out that I said Porteous had not been charged with a crime for any conduct, which is an obviously material point for any impeachment defense.

Not all Democrats supported such scorched earth tactics. One senior Democrat on the committee apologized to me afterward for the attack from Swalwell. Yet many others relished seeing my representations of an accused federal judge being used to attack my credibility, even as they claimed to defend the rule of law. Indeed, Rachel Maddow lambasted me on MSNBC for defending the judge, who was accused but never charged with taking bribes, and referring to him as a “moocher” for the allegations that he accepted free lunches and whether such gratuities, which were not barred at the time, would constitute impeachable offenses.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank expanded on this theme of attacking my past argument. Despite 52 pages of my detailed testimony, more than twice the length of all the other witnesses combined, on the cases and history of impeachment, he described it as being “primarily emotional and political.” Milbank claimed that I contradicted my testimony in a 2013 hearing when I presented “exactly the opposite case against President Obama” by saying “it would be ‘very dangerous’ to the balance of powers not to hold Obama accountable for assuming powers ‘very similar’ to the ‘right of the king’ to essentially stand above the law.”

But I was not speaking of an impeachment then. It was a discussion of the separation of powers and the need for Congress to fight against unilateral executive actions, the very issue that Democrats raise against Trump. I did not call for Obama to be impeached, but that is par for the course in the echo chamber today in which the facts must conform to the frenzy. It was unsettling to see the embrace of a false narrative that I “contradicted” my testimony from the Clinton impeachment, a false narrative fueled by the concluding remarks of Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York quoting from my 1998 testimony. Notably, neither Swalwell nor Nadler allowed me to respond to those or any other attacks. It was then picked up eagerly by others, despite being a demonstrably false narrative.

In my testimony Wednesday, I stated repeatedly, as I did 21 years ago, that a president can be impeached for noncriminal acts, including abuse of power. I made that point no fewer that a dozen times in analyzing the case against Trump and, from the first day of the Ukraine scandal, I have made that argument both on air and in print. Yet various news publications still excitedly reported that, in an opinion piece I wrote for the Washington Post five years ago, I said, “While there is a high bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment, an offense does not have to be indictable,” and it could include “serious misconduct or a violation of public trust.”

That is precisely what I have said regarding Trump. You just need to prove abuse of power. My objection is not that you cannot impeach Trump for abuse of power but that this record is comparably thin compared to past impeachments and contains conflicts, contradictions, and gaps including various witnesses not subpoenaed. I suggested that Democrats drop the arbitrary schedule of a vote by the end of December and complete their case and this record before voting on any articles of impeachment. In my view, they have not proven abuse of power in this incomplete record.

However, rather than address the specific concerns I raised over this incomplete record and process, critics have substituted a false attack to suggest that I had contradicted my earlier testimony during the Clinton impeachment. They reported breathlessly that I said in that hearing, “If you decide that certain acts do not rise to impeachable offenses, you will expand the space for executive conduct.” What they left out is that, in my testimony then and again this week, I stressed that the certain act in question was perjury. The issue in the Clinton case was whether perjury was an impeachable offense. Most Democratic members of Congress, including Nadler, maintained back then that perjury did not meet the level of an impeachable offense if the subject was an affair with an intern.

I maintained in the Clinton testimony, and still maintain in my Trump testimony, that perjury on any subject by a sitting president is clearly impeachable. Indeed, as I stated Wednesday, that is the contrast between this inquiry and three prior impeachment controversies. In those earlier inquiries, the commission of criminal acts by Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton were clearly established. With Johnson, the House effectively created a trapdoor crime and he knowingly jumped through it. The problem was that the law, the Tenure of Office Act, was presumptively unconstitutional and the impeachment was narrowly built around that dubious criminal act. With Nixon, there were a host of alleged criminal acts, and dozens of officials would be convicted. With Clinton, there was an act of perjury that even his supporters acknowledged was a felony.

While obviously presented in a false context, the quotation of my Clinton testimony only highlights the glaring contrast of those who opposed the Clinton impeachment but now insist the case is made to impeach Trump. I have maintained that they both could be removed, one for a crime and one for a noncrime. The difference is that the Clinton crime was accepted by Democrats. Indeed, a judge reaffirmed that Clinton committed perjury, a crime for which thousands of other citizens have been jailed. Yet the calls for showing that “no one is above the law” went silent with Clinton.

As I stated Wednesday, I believe the Clinton case is relevant today and my position remains the same. I do not believe a crime has been proven over the Ukraine controversy, though I said such crimes might be proven with a more thorough investigation. Instead, Democrats have argued that they do not actually have to prove the elements of crimes such as bribery and extortion to use those in drafting articles of impeachment. In the Clinton impeachment, the crime was clearly established and widely recognized.

As I said 21 years ago, a president can still be impeached for abuse of power without a crime, and that includes Trump. But that makes it more important to complete and strengthen the record of such an offense, as well as other possible offenses. I remain concerned that we are lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. Trump will not be our last president. What we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. These “agitated passions” will not be a substitute for proof in an impeachment. We currently have too much of the former and too little of the latter.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 09:49
Published:12/6/2019 9:11:31 AM
[Climate Change] Climate Change Pushing Obamas Spend $11.75 Million for Home Only Yards from the Ocean

The following article, Climate Change Pushing Obamas Spend $11.75 Million for Home Only Yards from the Ocean, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Global warming pushing Obamas have plunked down $11.75 million Obama bucks on a Martha's Vineyard home that is only yards away from the ocean.

Continue reading: Climate Change Pushing Obamas Spend $11.75 Million for Home Only Yards from the Ocean ...

Published:12/6/2019 7:11:33 AM
[2020 Election News] Biden Stumbles Into Another Gaffe, Says Obama Admin Was During 1976

By Mary Margaret Olohan -

Former Vice President Joe Biden committed another gaffe on Thursday, saying that he served in former President Barack Obama’s administration in 1976. Biden made the gaffe while speaking at a campaign event in New Hampton, Iowa, where he also lashed out at an Iowa voter who questioned Biden about both ...

Biden Stumbles Into Another Gaffe, Says Obama Admin Was During 1976 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:12/5/2019 5:06:59 PM
[Markets] Trump Boasts He Made Saudis Pay "Billions" For US Troops Trump Boasts He Made Saudis Pay "Billions" For US Troops

Just before he abruptly canceled a final news conference to cap off this week's 70th anniversary meeting in London, Trump revealed a stunning conversation he says he had previously with the Saudi king. 

Amid a flurry of other headlines covering the tense NATO brouhaha, this one was largely under reported Wednesday: Trump boasted he got "billions of dollars" out of Saudi Arabia for the current heightened American military presence there to 'deter Iran'.  

"You know, Saudi Arabia - we moved more troops there.  And they're paying us billions of dollars. Okay? You never heard of that before. You've never heard of that in your whole life," he said while sitting next to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a question-and-answer session.

File image: the president's 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, via the AFP.

"We moved troops and we paid nothing. And people took advantage and the world took advantage of us.  But we do - we have a good relationship with Saudi Arabia, but they needed help. They were attacked. And, as you saw, we just moved a contingent of troops, and they're paying us billions of dollars and they’re happy to do so."

He singled out Obama, Bush and even Bill Clinton for never actually pressing Riyadh on compensation while gloating about being the first president to do so:

"The problem is nobody ever asked them to do it until I came along. Nobody ever asked. Obama didn't ask. Bush didn't ask. Clinton didn’t ask. Nobody asked. In fact, they said to me, 'But nobody has ever asked us to do this.' I said, 'I know, king, but I'm asking.'"

A week ago it was first reported that the administration was holding talks with the Saudis about cost sharing, after the final contingent of some 3,000 total troops was deployed to the kingdom. 

Trump with the secretary general of NATO this week, via Getty Images.

However, there's not yet been confirmation of any 'deal' being reached, and certainly not yet word of "billions of dollars," as Trump put it Wednesday.

"They've already sent us billions of dollars - it's already in the bank," Trump claimed at the end of his remarks on the Saudis.

Interestingly, the whole exchange about the Saudis at the NATO presser was actually precipitated by a question on South Korean cost-sharing to maintain tens of thousands of US troops there. Relations with Seoul have been tense based on White House negotiators' demands that the country significantly increase its contribution to house to the troops. 

While addressing "burden sharing" and South Korea, Trump launched into a discussion about Saudi Arabia's hosting of US troops at the 29-min mark below:

Trump's anecdote also came the same day it was revealed the administration is mulling dramatically expanding troop levels to a whopping 14,000 in the broader Middle East to "deter" Iran, as the WSJ reported. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 16:25
Published:12/5/2019 3:36:41 PM
[Politics] Former Obama Official Floats Impeaching Trump Again If He’s Acquitted

Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general under Barack Obama, argued Thursday that if the Senate acquits President Donald Trump following impeachment by the House of Representatives, the next Congress could simply impeach Trump again on the same charges.

The post Former Obama Official Floats Impeaching Trump Again If He’s Acquitted appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/5/2019 3:06:03 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Biden calls Iowa voter a “damned liar” after he calls Biden out for sending his son to Ukraine to sell access to Obama! A voter in Iowa actually stood up and accused Joe Biden of sending his son to Burisma in Ukraine in order to sell access to Obama. Biden responded by calling the man . . . Published:12/5/2019 1:35:01 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Biden calls Iowa voter a “damned liar” after he calls Biden out for sending his son to Ukraine to sell access to Obama! A voter in Iowa actually stood up and accused Joe Biden of sending his son to Burisma in Ukraine in order to sell access to Obama. Biden responded by calling the man . . . Published:12/5/2019 1:35:01 PM
[Politics] ‘I’m Sorry, Excuse Me’: Biden Off by 40 Years, Mistakes 1976 for 2014

Former vice president Joe Biden on Thursday could not remember during which century the Obama administration took place, and also called a voter a "damn liar."

The post ‘I’m Sorry, Excuse Me’: Biden Off by 40 Years, Mistakes 1976 for 2014 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/5/2019 1:35:01 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Ordered To Produce Five Years Of Financial Records; Baby-Mama Must Disclose Stripper Tips Hunter Biden Ordered To Produce Five Years Of Financial Records; Baby-Mama Must Disclose Stripper Tips

Hunter Biden has been ordered by an Arkansas judge to produce five years of financial records in his paternity case - a period which includes the majority of his time on the board of Ukrainian gas giant Burisma, which paid Biden's firm over $80,000 per month.

Hunter's baby-mama, stripper Lunden Roberts, will also have to disclose how much she made in tips at a DC strip club where the two met, according to the Daily Mail - reporting on location in Batesville, Arkansas.

Originally Judge Don McSpadden, who is presiding over the court in Batesville, Arkansas, had only asked for three years' records.

But now he says he needs five years of records before making a decision on how much the former vice-president's son should pay to support his child.

On Tuesday, McSpadden sent out a blunt letter to attorneys in the case — including the one that Biden fired minutes before a hearing on Monday. -Daily Mail

Roberts is asking for $11,000 in legal fees as well as child support for their child - who she has argued qualifies for Secret Service protection as the grandchild of former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden.

"Baby Doe's paternal grandfather, Joe Biden, is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States of America. He is considered by some to be the person most likely to win his party's nomination and challenge President Trump on the ballet in 2020," reads a filing by Roberts. "The members of the Biden family either are protected or eligible to be protected by the United States Secret Service as a direct result of Joe Biden's political status."

"Baby Doe's paternity could put the child and those close to the child at risk of harm for the same reasons the Biden family is protected by the United States Secret Service."

The 49-year-old Biden and 28-year-old Roberts were given 10 days to produce their financial records, though they will be sealed from the public.

Roberts, a resident of Southside, Arkansas, has already provided one set of records, but Judge McSpadden says he wants more.

"I have viewed Ms Roberts affidavit of financial means online and saw that she is employed at a family business probably for a salary of less than minimum wage," he wrote. "Therefore for now I want the affidavit of financial means and supporting documents to cover the last five years. This would include monies received from any source for both parties whether it be support of any kind, gifts or salary, which would include bonuses, tips or gratuities."

The court in Batesville, Arkansas, is expected to decide all matters in the case at the next hearing, expected for January 7, McSpadden told Roberts's lawyer Clint Lancaster and former Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaniel, who had been representing Biden.

The judge made it clear he wants the case over quickly. 'I do not want to have this [drag] out nor do I want to have to drag out the monies these individuals may have received in any form or fashion.

'I anticipate paternity as well as custody, support and visitation being established at our next hearing,' he wrote.

He added: 'I will do what I believe is in the best interest of the child.' The sex of the child has not been released.

'This matter has been filed in this court. Again, my major and main if not only concern is this child,' McSpadden added. 'Issues are no longer up to the parties.

'I am going to treat this case like any other paternity case that comes before the court. Hopefully the parties will see fit to look out for the interest of this child.' -Daily Mail

Biden's appointment to the board of Burisma while his father was overseeing Ukraine policy for the Obama administration is at the heart of current impeachment proceedings against President Trump - who has been accused of interfering in the upcoming election for asking Ukraine to investigate the matter.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:45
Published:12/5/2019 12:07:37 PM
[China] Trump’s foreign policy (Paul Mirengoff) Victor Davis Hanson surveys President Trump’s foreign policy, focusing on China, Iran, and North Korea. Hanson argues that Trump’s recalibration of our policy towards these three nations has succeeded in placing maximum pressure on each to alter its policies. He warns, however, that as the pressure mounts, so does the prospect of dangerous provocations. Trump’s policies towards China, Iran, and North Korea are improvements over President Obama’s. As Hanson observes, Published:12/4/2019 10:03:50 PM
[Markets] No Setup? Horowitz To Claim Mifsud Wasn't US Asset, Yet Papadopoulos Says He's Italy's Spook No Setup? Horowitz To Claim Mifsud Wasn't US Asset, Yet Papadopoulos Says He's Italy's Spook

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General William Barr's hand-picked prosecutor could not confirm that Russiagate figure Joseph Mifsud is a US intelligence asset - thus, according to the Post, the Russiagate counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign could not have been a setup.

The revelation comes from the Post's Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett (the latter of whom had a direct line to former FBI attorney Lisa Page according to her text messages), and will reportedly appear in the forthcoming report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

In short, Horowitz asked US Attorney John Durham if Mifsud was a US intelligence asset "deployed to ensnare the campaign," to which Durham - who is conducting a separate review of the 2016 US election - responded that his investigation "had not produced any evidence that might contradict the inspector general's findings on that point," according to the Post.

Of note, Mifsud told (or seeded) 2016 Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton, on April 26, 2016. Two weeks later, he repeated it to Australian diplomat (and Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Kremlin 'dirt' rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI - kicking off the official counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign, dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane.  

That said, the Post adds "The Washington Post has not reviewed Horowitz’s entire report, even in draft form. It is also unclear if Durham has shared the entirety of his findings and evidence with the inspector general, or merely answered a specific question."

Papadopoulos, meanwhile, has posited that Mifsud is (or was) an Italian intelligence asset "who the C.I.A. weaponized," according to an October New York Times report. Moreover, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News in April that Mifsud was "a counterintelligence operative, either Maltese or Italian," who may have participated in a "counterintelligence trap" against the Trump campaign aide.

Notably, AG Barr himself traveled to Italy in Mid-September to discuss Mifsud, and was reportedly told by the head of the Italian Security Intelligence Department, Gennaro Vecchione, that Mifsud was not one of their assets.

According to a former Italian government official, Barr first met with Gennaro Vecchione, the head of Italy’s Security Intelligence Department, on Aug. 15, essentially to establish contact, and returned Sept. 27 for a second meeting with the heads of Italy’s domestic and foreign intelligence services.

Barr, the official said, “asked if Italian intelligence knew anything about Mifsud and if the Italians were aware of his role” in the Russia investigation “in terms of being involved in Italian intelligence itself or if he was politically tied with Italian political leaders allied with the Democrats.” The Italians, the official said, “explained that there is no involvement by the Italian intelligence services in this — and the fact that we don’t have any evidence of this plot.”

They confirmed no connections, no activities, no interference,” the official said. -Washington Post, Oct. 6

As we have noted ad-nauseum, Mifsud has bragged about being a member of the Clinton Foundation. Meanwhile, here is a timeline of Mifsud's interactions with Papadopoulos, via The Markets Work:

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

So - was Mifsud an asset of any state intelligence apparatus - or was he working with any on behalf of Hillary Clinton?

And let's not forget that during Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI sent operative Stephen Halper and a mysterious woman named "Azra Turk" to befriend and conduct espionage on Papadopoulos for events which took place on UK soil - and which AG Barr has said he considers spying.

Halper - who was paid more than $1 million by the Pentagon while Obama was president - contacted Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016 according to The Daily Caller - and would later fly him out to London under the guise of working on a policy paper on energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel - for which he was ultimately paid $3,000. Papadopoulos met Halper several times during his stay, "having dinner one night at the Travellers Club, and Old London gentleman's club frequented by international diplomats." 

As the New York Times noted om May, the London operation "yielded no fruitful information," while the FBI has called their activities in the months before the 2016 election as both "legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances," according to the report.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/04/2019 - 21:15
Tags
Published:12/4/2019 8:30:56 PM
[Politics] He wanted to ban feeding homeless people. Now he's about to lead a federal homeless agency

Robert Marbut, a consultant known for urging cities to stop "enabling" homeless people, is poised to become the next executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. He will replace ousted Obama-era official Matthew Doherty.

Published:12/4/2019 6:39:11 AM
[Markets] Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua "National Security Threat" And Targets Mexico Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua "National Security Threat" And Targets Mexico

Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com,

After presiding over a far-right coup in Bolivia, the US dubbed Nicaragua a “national security threat” and announced new sanctions, while Trump designated drug cartels in Mexico as “terrorists” and refused to rule out military intervention.

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems.

Immediately after overseeing a far-right military coup in Bolivia on November 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again on Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018.

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to US national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments.

These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and US support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.

Trump admin declares Nicaragua a ‘national security threat’

A day after the US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, the White House released a statement applauding the military putsch and making it clear that two countries were next on Washington’s target list: “These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua,” Trump declared.

On November 25, the Trump White House then quietly issued a statement characterizing Nicaragua as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

This prolonged for an additional year an executive order Trump had signed in 2018 declaring a state of “national emergency” on the Central American country.

Trump’s 2018 declaration came after a failed violent right-wing coup attempt in Nicaragua. The US government has funded and supported many of the opposition groups that sought to topple elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and cheered them on as they sought to overthrow him.

The 2018 national security threat designation was quickly followed by economic warfare. In December the US Congress approved the NICA Act without any opposition. This legislation gave Trump the authority to impose sanctions on Nicaragua, and prevents international financial institutions from doing business with Managua.

Trump’s new 2019 statement spewed outlandish propaganda against Nicaragua, referring to its democratically elected government — which for decades has been targeted for overthrow by Washington — as a supposedly violent and corrupt “regime.”

This executive order is similar to one made by President Barack Obama in 2015, which designated Venezuela as a threat to US national security.

Both orders were used to justify the unilateral imposition of suffocating economic sanctions. And Trump’s renewal of the order paves the way for an escalated economic attack on Nicaragua.

The extension received negligible coverage in mainstream English-language corporate media, but right-wing Spanish-language outlets in Latin America heavily amplified it.

And opposition activists are gleefully cheering on the intensification of Washington’s hybrid warfare against Managua.

More aggressive US sanctions against Nicaragua

Voice of America (VOA), the US government’s main foreign broadcasting service, noted that the extension of the executive order will be followed with more economic attacks.

Washington’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, told VOA, “The pressure against Nicaragua is going to continue.”

The OAS representative added that Trump will be announcing new sanctions against the Nicaraguan government in the coming weeks.

VOA stated clearly that “Nicaragua, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is one of the Latin American countries whose government Trump has made a priority to put diplomatic and economic pressure on to bring about regime change.”

This is not just rhetoric. The US Department of the Treasury updated the Nicaragua-related sanctions section of its website as recently as November 8.

And in September, the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a “more comprehensive set of regulations,” strengthening the existing sanctions on Nicaragua.

Voice of America’s report quoted several right-wing Nicaraguans who openly called for more US pressure against their country.

Bianca Jagger, a celebrity opposition activist formerly married to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, called on the US to impose sanctions on Nicaragua’s military in particular.

“The Nicaraguan military has not been touched because they [US officials] are hoping that the military will like act the military in Bolivia,” Jagger said, referring to the military officials who violently overthrew Bolivia’s democratically elected president.

Many of these military leaders had been trained at the US government’s School of the Americas, a notorious base of subversion dating back to Operation Condor. Latin American media has been filled in recent days with reports that Bolivian soldiers were paid $50,000 and generals were paid up to $1 million to carry out the putsch.

VOA added that “in the case of the Central American government [of Nicaragua], the effect that sanctions can have can be greater because it is a more economically vulnerable country.”

VOA quoted Roberto Courtney, a prominent exiled right-wing activist and executive director of the opposition group Ethics and Transparency, which monitors elections in Nicaragua and is supported by the US government’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Courtney, who claims to be a human rights activist, salivated over the prospects of US economic war on his country, telling VOA, “There is a bit of a difference [between Nicaragua and Bolivia] … the economic vulnerability makes it more likely that the sanctions will have an effect.”

Courtney, who was described by VOA as an “expert on the electoral process,” added, “If there is a stick, there must also be a carrot.” He said the OAS could help apply diplomatic and political pressure against Nicaragua’s government.

These unilateral American sanctions are illegal under international law, and considered an act of war. Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has characterized US economic warfare “financial terrorism,” explaining that it disproportionately targets civilians in order to turn them against their government.

Top right-wing Nicaraguan opposition groups applauded Trump for extending the executive order and for pledging new sanctions against their country.

The Nicaraguan Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, an opposition front group that brings together numerous opposition groups, several of which are also funded by the US government’s NED, welcomed the order.

Trump dubs drug cartels in Mexico “terrorists,” refuses to rule out drone strikes

While the US targeting of Nicaragua and Venezuela’s governments is nothing new, Donald Trump is setting his sights on a longtime US ally in Mexico.

In 2018, Mexican voters made history when they elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in a landslide. López Obrador, who is often referred to by his initials AMLO, is Mexico’s first left-wing president in more than five decades. He ran on a progressive campaign pledging to boost social spending, cut poverty, combat corruption, and even decriminalize drugs.

AMLO is wildly popular in Mexico. In February, he had a record-breaking 86 percent approval rating. And he has earned this widespread support by pledging to combat neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy.

“The neoliberal economic model has been a disaster, a calamity for the public life of the country,” AMLO has declared. “The child of neoliberalism is corruption.”

When he unveiled his multibillion-dollar National Development Plan, López Obrador announced the end to “the long night of neoliberalism.”

AMLO’s left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations.

On November 27 — a day after declaring Nicaragua a “national security threat” — Trump announced that the US government will be designating Mexican drug cartels as “terrorist organizations.”

Such a designation could pave the way for direct US military intervention in Mexico.

Trump revealed this new policy in an interview with right-wing Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones and things like that?” O’Reilly asked.

The US president refused to rule out drone strikes or other military action against drug cartels in Mexico.

Trump’s announcement seemed to surprise the Mexican government, which immediately called for a meeting with the US State Department.

The designation was particularly ironic considering some top drug cartel leaders in Mexico have long-standing ties to the US government. The leaders of the notoriously brutal cartel the Zetas, for instance, were originally trained in counter-insurgency tactics by the US military.

Throughout the Cold War, the US government armed, trained, and funded right-wing death squads throughout Latin America, many of which were involved in drug trafficking. The CIA also used drug money to fund far-right counter-insurgency paramilitary groups in Central America.

These tactics were also employed in the Middle East and South Asia. The United States armed, trained, and funded far-right Islamist extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s in order to fight the Soviet Union. These same US-backed Salafi-jihadists then founded al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

This strategy was later repeated in the US wars on Libya and Syria. ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani, to take one example, had been trained by the US military and enjoyed direct support from Washington when he was fighting against Russia.

The Barack Obama administration also oversaw a campaign called Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US government helped send thousands of guns to cartels in Mexico.

Mexican journalist Alina Duarte explained that, with the Trump administration’s designation of cartels as terrorists, “They are creating the idea that Mexico represents a threat to their national security.”

“Should we start talking about the possibility of a coup against Lopez Obrador in Mexico?” Duarte asked.

She noted that the US corporate media has embarked on an increasingly ferocious campaign to demonize AMLO, portraying the democratically elected president as a power-hungry aspiring dictator who is supposedly wrecking Mexico’s economy.

Duarte discussed the issue of US interference in Mexican politics in an interview with The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, on their podcast Moderate Rebels:

Now, a whisper campaign over fears that the right-wing opposition may try to overthrow President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is spreading across Mexico.

AMLO himself has publicly addressed the rumors, making it clear that he will not tolerate any discussion of coups.

“How wrong the conservatives and their hawks are,” López Obrador tweeted on November 2. Referencing the 1913 assassination of progressive President Francisco Madero, who had been a leader of the Mexican Revolution, AMLO wrote, “Now is different.”

“Another coup d’état will now be allowed,” he declared.

In recent months, as fears of a coup intensify, López Obrador has swung even further to the left, directly challenging the US government and asserting an independent foreign policy that contrasts starkly to the subservience of his predecessors.

AMLO’s government has rejected US efforts to delegitimize Venezuela’s leftist government, throwing a wrench in Washington’s efforts to impose right-wing activist Juan Guaidó as coup leader.

AMLO has welcomed Ecuador’s ousted socialist leader Rafael Correa and hosted Argentina’s left-leaning Alberto Fernández for his first foreign trip after winning the presidency.

In October, López Obrador even welcomed Cuban President Díaz-Canel to Mexico for a historic visit.

Trump’s Operation Condor 2.0

For Washington, an independent and left-wing Mexico is intolerable.

In a speech for right-wing, MAGA hat-wearing Venezuelans in Miami, Florida in February, Trump ranted against socialism for nearly an hour, threatened the remaining leftist countries in Latin America with regime change.

“The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well,” he declared, adding that socialism would never be allowed to take root in heart of capitalism in the United States.

While Trump has claimed he seeks to withdraw from wars in the Middle East (when he is not occupying its oil fields), he has ramped up aggressive US intervention in Latin America.

Though the neoconservative war hawk John Bolton is no longer overseeing US foreign policyElliott Abrams remains firmly embedded in the State Department, dusting off his Iran-Contra playbook to decimate socialism in Latin America all over again.

During the height of the Cold War, Operation Condor thousands of dissidents were murdered, and hundreds of thousands more were disappeared, tortured, or imprisoned with the assistance of the US intelligence apparatus.

Today, as Latin America is increasingly viewed through the lens of a new Cold War, Operation Condor is being reignited with new mechanisms of sabotage and subversion in play. The mayhem has only begun.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 23:50
Published:12/3/2019 10:55:33 PM
[Markets] "Chill Out About The Candidates": Obama "Does Not Care" If You Like The Nominee, Just Vote Democrat "Chill Out About The Candidates": Obama "Does Not Care" If You Like The Nominee, Just Vote Democrat

When it comes to the 2020 elections, the Democrats' most powerful if ineligible candidate, former president Obama, just can't quite put his finger on who he wants to be the next democratic president. Two weeks ago, Trump's predecessor cautioned 2020 Democratic candidates not to move too far to the left - a clear warning not to vote for Warren or Sanders - as messages of sweeping societal and government transformations risk turning off the party's moderate base, the New York Times reported.

"Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality," said Obama - who told a room of wealthy liberal donors: "Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality."

"The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it."

Even odder has been Obama's failure of explicitly endorse his own vice president and the on again, off again frontrunner in the democratic primary, Joe Biden.

So as many Democrats look to Obama for inspiration on who to pick amid a field of candidates where nobody sticks out, last week, the former president gave some additional insight into his thought process regarding the coming elections, and last  Thusday Obama simply said that he doesn’t care if his fellow Democrats like the 2020 candidate, he just wants them to pull the lever for whoever wins the nomination.

“Everybody needs to chill out about the candidates, but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process,” Obama told tech leaders during a fundraiser in Silicon Valley last Thursday, the Daily Wire reported.

Barack Obama

And though he stressed that he was calling for unity, Obama reiterated some of his latent criticism.

“When you listen to the average voter — even ones who are stalwart Democrats, are more independent or low-information voters — they don’t feel that things are working well but they’re also nervous about changes that might take away what little they have,” he said. “So there’s always a balance in politics between hope and fear.”

The event — which featured a top-ticket price of $355,000 — was expected to raise over $3 million for the Democratic National Committee. The fundraiser was hosted at the home of Karla Jurvetson, an ascendant Democratic megadonor in Silicon Valley politics. Other key fundraisers for the event included former Twitter executive Katie Jacobs Stanton and former Obama ambassador Denise Bauer.  Stephen Curry, the star point guard of the Golden State Warriors, also attended alongside his wife Ayesha, who spoke at the event.

While there are still 15 candidates running for the Democratic nomination (after the withdrawal of Kamala Harris earlier today), only four are polling in double digits, with most either at 1% or 0%. But Obama said whoever gets the nod should get the vote.

“There will be differences” between the candidates, Obama said, “but I want us to make sure that we keep in mind that, relative to the ultimate goal, which is to defeat a president and a party that has … taken a sharp turn away from a lot of the core traditions and values and institutional commitments that built this country,” those differences are “relatively minor.”

“The field will narrow and there’s going to be one person, and if that is not your perfect candidate and there are certain aspects of what they say that you don’t agree with and you don’t find them completely inspiring the way you’d like, I don’t care,” he said. “Because the choice is so stark and the stakes are so high that you cannot afford to be ambivalent in this race.”

 

Obama was directly addressing Silicon Valley’s wealthiest Democratic donors, telling them to “chill” in their debate over the party’s candidates, and seeking to ease the tensions among tech billionaires who have broken into separate camps backing Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and — most surprisingly — Elizabeth Warren, according to recode.

Obama may have his job cut out for him: with many Democratic voters confused or merely bored silly by the current roster of candidates, two newcomers, Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entered the race adding further to the confusion. Last month, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, drew fewer than 100 people to a South Carolina “Environmental Justice” forum. And she’s a frontrunner!

Meanwhile, Gallup released a poll last week that had some troubling news for Democrats, as only 66% of the party faithful said they’re enthusiastic about the upcoming election. And while for Republicans the number is 65%, "this differed from the typical pattern Gallup has seen over the years, whereby those who identify with the political party of the incumbent president have been less enthusiastic about voting than members of the opposing party,” Gallup wrote.

Ironically, Obama isn't alone in saying Democrats need to hold their nose when they vote for the eventual nominee. Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, said in August that her husband might not be the best candidate, but told voters “maybe you have to swallow a little bit” and vote for him anyway.

"Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care, than Joe is,” Jill Biden said on MSNBC, “but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘OK, I personally like so-and-so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, she repeated the point. “I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that. But I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race. So I think if your goal — I know my goal — is to beat Donald Trump, we have to have someone who can beat him," she said.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 22:10
Tags
Published:12/3/2019 9:26:42 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Breaking: Kamala Harris, Exit Stage Left (Steven Hayward) Unsurprisingly Kamala Harris exited the Democratic presidential field today. The handwriting has been on the wall from the very beginning. She’s merely the latest example of a prominent political figure who succumbed to the media siren cries and sycophants around her who told her that she was the “next Obama,” but who was clearly unprepared for the order-of-magnitude step increase that is a presidential race. (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was Published:12/3/2019 1:55:40 PM
[Markets] House Democrats Mull Pivot Back To Russiagate To Pad Weak Case For Impeachment House Democrats Mull Pivot Back To Russiagate To Pad Weak Case For Impeachment

As House Democrats cobble together a 'less than compelling' case for impeachment based on President Trump's request that Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son for Obama-era dealings with the appearance of obvious corruption, some members of the House Judiciary Committee and 'other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides' are looking back to Russiagate and other accusations for new material to include in articles of impeachment, according to the Washington Post.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee and other more liberal-minded lawmakers and congressional aides have been privately discussing the possibility of drafting articles that include obstruction of justice or other “high crimes” they believe are clearly outlined in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report — or allegations that Trump has used his office to benefit his bottom line. -Washington Post

That said, moderate Democrats wary of impeachment blowback in their GOP-heavy districts have pushed back against the idea, according to the report. In addition, Democratic leaders seeking to keep the impeachment case focused on Ukraine have resisted expanding the case against Trump as well.

The debate is expected to play out in leadership and caucus meetings this week, as the House Intelligence Committee prepares to hand the impeachment inquiry to the House Judiciary Committee. The Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on its final report on Ukraine, allowing Judiciary to then work on writing articles of impeachment based on that document.

But the Judiciary Committee also has asked other investigative panels to send any findings of Trump-related misdeeds that they believe are impeachable. And many of the committee members are hoping articles will refer to and cite their own months-long investigation into the Mueller report, which described 10 possible instances of obstruction by the president.

"One crime of these sorts is enough, but when you have a pattern, it is even stronger," said Rep. Pramila Jaypal (D-WA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus - who added that there's a strong case for citing the Mueller report in impeachment articles.

"If you show that this is not only real in what’s happening with Ukraine, but it’s the exact same pattern that Mueller documented . . . to me, that just strengthens the case," she insisted.

Trump is accused of holding up nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine while simultaneously requesting that newly elected president, Volodomyr Zelensky, investigate the Bidens as well as other matters related to the 2016 US election. Zelensky, who didn't know the aid was paused at the time, has insisted there was no quid pro quo, while several anti-Trump ambassadors who testified in front of Schiff's committee could not establish that the aid hinged on Trump's request. Instead, they assumed it did.

Perhaps this is about more than just having a weak hand on the Ukraine claims. Assuming the House votes to impeach, the GOP-controlled Senate will then hold a trial. If Democrats expand the scope of the impeachment, Senate Republicans would be forced to consider all claims levied at Trump - effectively reducing the spotlight on Ukraine by overwhelming the proceedings.

Whatever the case, even if the Trump-Ukraine claims are forced to share space with Russiagate and emoulments arguments for impeachment, Senate Republicans can still subpoena Joe and Hunter Biden to testify about Burisma, as well as House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), whose staff communicated with the CIA officer whose whistleblower complaint is at the heart of the impeachment.

Earlier this week, House Republicans issued a "prebuttal" of the upcoming House Intelligence Committee report expected to outline claims that Trump abused his power.

In a 123-page document, GOP investigators assert that Democrats failed to make the case that Trump committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by withholding military aid and a highly sought-after White House meeting to compel Ukraine to launch investigations into his political rivals. Nor, the Republicans say, do Democrats have a basis for impeachment in Trump’s decision to spurn House document requests and witness subpoenas pertaining to Trump’s Ukraine dealings.

Instead, the GOP document contends, the impeachment effort is “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system” — one “based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”

 According to the GOP report, "The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor."

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:50
Tags
Published:12/3/2019 1:55:39 PM
[Markets] Macron Hits Back, Questions Trump: How Can Turkey Buy Russian S-400s & Remain In NATO? Macron Hits Back, Questions Trump: How Can Turkey Buy Russian S-400s & Remain In NATO?

Macron hits back after earlier in the day Trump took his NATO "brain death" comments to task saying they were "very nasty" remarks, and the French president also took a swipe at Turkey, saying "technically it is not possible" to purchase the S-400 anti-air defense system from the Russians and be a NATO member

Sitting next to Trump and fielding questions from reporters outlining their respective views of the state of the NATO alliance, it was clear the recent 'bromance' is no longer going strong. 

Trump actually laughed when Macron raised the heart of the Turkey issue, saying Erdogan can’t integrate Russian S-400 defense into NATO systems without deeply compromising the alliance. Macron questioned:

How is it possible to be a member of the alliance - to work with our office, to buy our materials, to be integrated - and to buy the S-400 from Russia? Technically it is not possible...

The two sparred over the question of what to do with western and European foreign fighters leaving the battlefield in Syria. 

Macron said to Trump, who in the past has claimed 100% defeat of ISIS: "The number one priority, because it's not yet finished, is to get rid of ISIS...It's not yet done. I'm sorry to say that."

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” Trump asked. “I could give them to you, you could take every one you want.”

“Let’s be serious,” Macron responded.

Macron then took Turkey to task for now being on the wrong side of counterterror efforts in Syria:

“They now are fighting against those who fight with us, who fought with us, shoulder to shoulder, against ISIS,” Macron said of Turkey.

As Bloomberg summarized of the testy exchange:

Trump, who effectively green-lit Turkey’s Syria incursion by withdrawing U.S. forces from a region on Turkey’s border, again blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for pushing Erdogan toward Moscow by allegedly refusing to sell Ankara the U.S. Patriot missile system.

* * *

earlier

With his allies up in arms over his latest tariff threats directed at France, President Trump landed in London early Tuesday, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, for a two-day summit marking the 70th anniversary of the military alliance's birth. Trump is notorious for blaming America's NATO partners for not paying their fair share when it comes to financing the military alliance.

Sitting alongside NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London, Trump delivered a rambling address that marked the beginning of the summit, bragging about his progress with China, and claiming that the US is doing 'very well' when it comes to the still-unsigned 'Phase One' trade agreement.

There was talk of arms control progress, with Trump insisting that "Russia wants to do something badly and so do we."

During previous administrations, summits like this one would have been a snoozefest. But President Trump has spiced up several NATO summits by starting drama with one or more of his fellow Nato leaders.

Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel have been favorite targets of his in the past; but Trump is focusing his ire on French President Emmanuel Macron.

The problem is that Macron apparently told The Economist Magazine that Nato was experiencing "brain death," and warned that members of the alliance could no longer rely on the US.

Unsurprisingly, Trump took umbrage at this, and dedicated a few minutes of his opening press conference to trashing Macron, accusing him of being "very, very nasty" and that it was "very insulting" for the French president to label Nato "brain dead."

Watch a clip of Trump's remarks below:

Trump added that relations between the US and European Nato members were not causing any divide, except with France. He could even envision France 'breaking' away from the military alliance.

"I do see France breaking off. I’m looking at him and I’m saying he [Macron] needs protection more than anybody and I see him breaking off, so I’m a little surprised at that," Trump said.

Returning to the tariffs once more, Trump slammed France for trying to raise money via a "digital tax" levy on US tech giants like Facebook and Google.

"They are starting to tax other people’s products, so we are going to tax them," Trump said

He also took a swipe a France's economy, with its high unemployment rate, claiming that the country was “not doing well economically at all." There's some truth to that: The Q3 unemployment rate climbed o 8.6%.

Of course, some of the most scathing criticism of Nato has come from President Trump, with the president repeatedly declaring the alliance obsolete.

The president also made some comments about the possibility of delaying notifications.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:15
Published:12/3/2019 1:23:15 PM
[Markets] Krieger: "This Entire Century Has Been An Unmitigated March In The Direction Of Stupidity" Krieger: "This Entire Century Has Been An Unmitigated March In The Direction Of Stupidity"

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Two Paths Forward with China – The Good and The Bad

Since a few things became clear to me last year, I’ve consistently forecasted a significant worsening in U.S.-China relations and remained adamant that all the happy talk of trade deals and breakthroughs is just a lot of hot air.

What first appeared to be a unique quirk of Donald Trump has morphed into bipartisan consensus in Congress, and clear signs have emerged that the general public has likewise become alarmed at China’s growing global clout.

Due to this, as well as a litany of other factors outlined in prior posts, it’s highly unlikely the current trajectory will reverse course and result in a return to what had been business as usual. Instead, we’re probably headed toward a serious and historically meaningful escalation of tensions between the U.S. and China, with what we’ve seen thus far simply a prelude to the main drama. If I’m correct and the ship has already sailed, we should focus our attention on how we respond to what could quickly become a very dicey scenario filled with heightened emotions and nefarious agendas. There’s a good way to respond and a bad way.

In our individual lives we face various daily challenges, but every now and again something really big hits us, a personal crisis of sorts, and how we respond to these major events determines much of our future. The same thing happens to nation-states, particularly in the current world where virtually all human governance is structured in a highly centralized and statist manner. When such an event hits nation-states the public tends to be easily manipulated into a state of terror and coerced into granting more centralized power to the state, an unfortunate state of affairs that accurately summarizes the reality of 21st century America. With each crisis, the empire has grown stronger, the public weaker, and two decades later we find ourselves in a neo-feudal oligarchy where one half of the public is at the other half’s throat for no good reason. This is what happens when you respond poorly.

Three major crisis events have rocked the U.S. this century, and much of the public has embraced, or at least accepted, the worst possible response in all cases.

  • The first was the attacks of 9/11, which officially ushered in the modern national security surveillance state and all but obliterated the 4th amendment.

  • The second was the financial crisis, where the response from Bush/Obama was to bail-out the criminals, destroy any semblance of the rule of law by jailing zero Wall Street executives, and to ensure the Federal Reserve (and mega-banking institutions in general) became stronger and more powerful than ever.

  • Finally, there was the shock election of Donald Trump. Rather than take his ascendance as a warning about centralized power, the faux “resistance” has been obsessed with removing him, celebrating intelligence agencies/military aggression, bemoaning free speech, and rehabilitating George W. Bush.

Three crises, three horribly destructive responses. This entire century has been an unmitigated march in the direction of stupidity.

I’ve become convinced the next major event that will be used to further centralize power and escalate domestic authoritarianism will center around U.S.-China tensions. We haven’t witnessed this “event” yet, but there’s a good chance it’ll occur within the next year or two. Currently, the front runner appears to be a major aggressive move by China into Hong Kong, but it could be anything really. Taiwan, the South China Sea, currency, economic or cyber warfare; the flash points are numerous and growing by the day. Something is going to snap and when it does we better be prepared to not act like mindless imbeciles for the fourth time this century.

When that day arrives, and it’s likely not too far off, certain factions will try to sell you on the monstrous idea that we must become more like China to defeat China. We’ll be told we need more centralization, more authoritarianism, and less freedom and civil liberties or China will win. Such talk is total nonsense and the wise way to respond is to reject the worst aspects of the Chinese system and head the other way.

If you’re horrified by China’s human rights abuses, then push for an end to murderous U.S. wars abroad based on lies. If the Chinese surveillance panopticon concerns you, we should move in the exact opposite direction with less corporate and state surveillance, not more. If China launches a state-sanctioned digital currency system designed to monitor, and if desired, restrict transactions, we should reject this approach and embrace open, decentralized and permissionless systems like Bitcoin. We should fight lack of freedom with more freedom.

Given our track record this century, I’m skeptical Americans will respond in a positive and productive way to increased tensions with China, although perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I hope we can finally face a challenge without cowering in fear and surrendering more freedom in order to feel safe and powerful. I hope we can recognize that empire is not an asset, but a liability. That empire strengthens the state and weakens the public. I hope we can be wise enough not to embrace further authoritarianism to defeat authoritarianism. For once this century, I hope we can respond in a thoughtful and intelligent manner.

*  *  *

Liberty Blitzkrieg is an ad-free website. If you enjoyed this post and my work in general, visit the Support Page where you can donate and contribute to my efforts.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 23:05
Published:12/2/2019 10:21:22 PM
[Politics] Judge Rejects DOJ's Stay Request on McGahn Testimony An Obama-appointed judge rejected the Justice Department's requested longterm stay on requiring former White House lawyer Don McGahn to comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena, Politico reported.The case is already on hold amid an appeal to be heard Jan. 3, per the... Published:12/2/2019 10:05:15 PM
[Politics] Politico: Biden Denies Needing Obama Endorsement The lack of an endorsement from former President Barack Obama is not fazing former Vice President Joe Biden, according to Politico."No, because everyone knows I'm close with him," Biden told Politico in an exclusive, 30-minute interview amid his "No Malarkey" tour through... Published:12/2/2019 8:51:35 PM
[] Pentagon Office Being Investigated by John Durham Is Headed by Obama Holdover Accused of Leaking Classified Document At the Epoch Times. Allegedly James Baker -- who has been repeatedly named in various IG investigations -- was Stephan Halper's "handler." The Obama holdover heading the Pentagon office reportedly under investigation by the U.S. attorney who is conducting the... Published:12/2/2019 1:19:05 PM
[Markets] Biden Reinvents Himself, Drags Wife Around Iowa For Massive 'No Malarkey' Push Biden Reinvents Himself, Drags Wife Around Iowa For Massive 'No Malarkey' Push

Joe Biden is reinventing himself as he embarks on an eight-day bus tour of Iowa, a key state which he's largely failed to impress - unlike many of his Democratic competitors angling for the White House in 2020.

The "No Malarkey!" tour got off to an awkward start on Saturday, when Joe bit former Second Lady Jill Biden on the finger as she introduced him at a Council Bluffs kickoff event.

One almost has to feel sorry for Jill. After going out on a high note in 2016, she watched the establishment reanimate her senile husband - only to have clips of him creeping on women and children flood the internet. Then there was Hunter Biden's rental car crackpipe adventures, Burisma, and now an out-of-wedlock grandchild with an Arkansas stripper. And then Joe bites her finger as they announce the stupidest campaign slogan ever.

"We’re going to go to 18 counties, on a 660-mile trip across the state, and we’re going to touch on what we think is a forgotten part of most campaigns -- the rural part of your state, rural America," said Biden, speaking at the Saturday event.

For months, Biden’s campaign has been dogged by criticism among supporters and critics alike that his Iowa operation was slow to get off the ground. Given the nature of the caucuses, where voters choose the nominee by gathering in public spaces like school gymnasiums, churches and community centers for one night in February, a robust organization that encourages people to participate is critical to success. -Bloomberg

Aside from the eight scheduled stops, Biden will take two side-trips; one in Chicago to raise money - returning to Iowa on Tuesday for a single organizing event in Mason City, and then a jaunt to New York that evening to attend more fundraisers before returning on Wednesday afternoon for more Iowa action.

"I’m running to win. I’m not running to lose. I’m not running to come in third or fourth or fifth or anything like that. So I feel good about it," said Biden.

No Malarkey?

Seeking to turn Biden into an affable elder statesman after a series of 'Mr. Magoo' gaffes, the Biden camp decided to go hard at the depression-era demographic with the slogan "No Malarkey!" - something his grandfather used to say.

As Bloomberg describes it, "The “No Malarkey” theme -- emblazoned on the side of Biden’s tour bus -- nods at both the candidate’s reputation for truth-telling and Trump’s supposed aversion to it."

"The other guy’s all lies, so we want to make sure there’s a contrast," said Biden at one stop.

Of course, things may get awkward when someone asks Joe about 'if you like your health care plan, you can keep it," or discussing Hunter's business dealings with his stimulant-addicted son.

Biden will be traveling with former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, who served as Obama's agriculture secretary. Also joining the tour will be Vilsack's wife, Christie.

As he stops in small towns, he’s sure to allude to rural values and rural needs and to mention that he’s secured the support of Vilsack, the popular two-term governor, who urged Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign to spend more time in rural areas.

“With all due respect to folks who talk about bold, new ideas, the reality is, you’re going to have an incredibly difficult time until the country comes together,” Vilsack told Bloomberg news in an interview in November. -Bloomberg

That said, Vilsack thinks Biden - the current Democratic frontrunner, is best positioned to enact progressive change because he appeals to a much broader audience than other candidates - particularly in swing states. 

"The vice president is speaking to a much broader audience than some of the other candidates. I think he’s speaking to the audience that any Democrat is going to have to speak to consistently through this campaign in order to have the people who will decide this election in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Iowa and Wisconsin basically saying, ‘Yeah this guy has been consistent throughout,’" said Vilsack.

If Biden's attempt to reinvent himself in Iowa doesn't work as planned, what does it mean for the rest of the 2020 campaign?

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 13:25
Published:12/2/2019 12:47:23 PM
[] Hit the road, Joe: Biden tries a bus tour to salvage Iowa Looks like Joe Biden is taking the Democratic primary campaign seriously for a change.

Strategist David Axelrod, who worked closely with the ex-vice president during the Obama administration and both campaigns, says Biden’s handlers have had “him in the candidate-protection program.”

1)   He’s old.

And 2) You may recall Biden is prone to]] Published:12/2/2019 11:17:30 AM

[Politics] 37% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Thirty-seven percent (37%) 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 November 25.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago. By comparison, this number 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 November 10-14, 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:12/2/2019 11:17:29 AM
[Markets] Rabobank: "The Global Institutional Architecture Is Collapsing" Rabobank: "The Global Institutional Architecture Is Collapsing"

Submitted by Michael Every of Rabobank

It’s December, and the start of the season of good will to all and peace on earth. Not much of that about, of course.

In the UK, the election has been interrupted by the terrorist attack at London Bridge, which both sides are naturally playing politics with in different ways (The Left is soft on terrorists vs. police underfunding and foreign policy, etc.); the latest opinion polls suggest Labour continues to make up some ground but remains well behind, but London Bridge may perhaps see that impetus stalled. Let’s see if the imminent arrival of US President Trump tips the scales, as President Obama did on Brexit, or if he can hold off on commenting as protocol dictates.

In Germany, Angela Merkel’s coalition partners the SPD have just elected new leadership, and they have veered to the left, hardly a surprise against this global backdrop, but likely accelerating the eventual collapse of the current government and opening up questions about what any new one could look like. Instability, or at least uncertainty, at the heart of the Eurozone is certainly not going to be welcome to investors – yet could it herald an imminent fiscal shift?  

Tomorrow and Wednesday will also see the 2019 NATO summit, again in London, where the world’s largest military alliance will get together and try to decide what it is for and if it still has a purpose. Trump continues to put pressure on all members to spend the pledged 2% of GDP to keep it a fighting force vs. Russia, and perhaps China(?): relatively few do or show they even want to (e.g., Germany). He’s is also going to bring up Huawei and 5G to discuss. President Macron of France has called NATO “Brain dead” due to the absence of US leadership--I thought it was leading?--and has suggested it should shift from seeing Russia or China as potential enemies and refocus on terrorism: does France keep its nuclear deterrent to deal with events like London Bridge? President Erdogan of Turkey, the second-largest contributor militarily after the US, has no problems making friends with Russia and China--he is buying Russian weapons now--but has publicly called Macron “Brain dead” too. And Jeremy Corbyn, who would of course be the UK PM in under two weeks if the polls are wrong or misleading, has stated that NATO should be used to fight inequality: bomb the rich? Or spend as much on defence as he is pledging on everything else to rebuild British (defence) industry and provide quality jobs? It should make for a remarkable meeting one way or another: at the very least, it will be a world-class exercise in papering-over-cracks.

Does this actually matter for markets? Well, it depends. If the markets in question are only looking at things like the bounce in Chinese PMI data (the headline PMI rose to 50.2 from 49.3 in October, and the private Caixin index edged up to 51.8 from 51.7), or at US Black Friday spending (brick and mortar sales were up 4.2% y/y according to First Data, and on-line shopping pulled in USD7.2bn, up 14% y/y), then perhaps not – all is well with the world! Or the same markets might instead focus on China’s Global Times reporting that Beijing is insisting on the US rolling back tariffs for a trade deal, NOT just the delay of the looming 15 December tariffs, as the price of any ‘phase one’ – in which case all is decidedly not well. Expect USD/CNY and USD/CNH to continue to hover around the Lucky Seven level until this is resolved, of course. (But underlying our CNY bearishness, the data the market isn’t talking about this morning is that China is apparently set to see just 11m births in 2019 in a population of 1.4 billion. That’s down from 15.2m in 2018 and 17.2m in 2017. If true, its demographics are vastly worse than the already-poor projections: it is going to be very old long before it is rich enough to retire, and growth will suffer without automation, innovation, or immigration.)  

Yet from data to the bigger picture: consider it was the likes of NATO that built the post-Cold War (1?) world within which these global markets now operate. As Polanyi pointed out back in The Great Transformation, though not in so many words, ‘free markets aren’t free’ – they are carved out of the political jungle with force, and require constant tending to stop them from being over-run. In that respect, we can posit that the problems in NATO are symptomatic of a broader collapse of the global institutional architecture in the face of populism.

But does that matter in a world which, as Branko Milanovic argues in his new book, and as markets continue to price for, capitalism is actually triumphant and there is no genuine alternative being offered by NATO’s enemies? Perhaps not, which of course fully supports our house view that on rates, “lower for longer” is now “lower forever”. China’s (and Russia’s) state-capitalist models certainly imply lower forever as the cost of capital is suppressed for national/geostrategic goals; in the West, markets are as utterly reliant on central-bank largesse, which hasn’t had any geostrategic goals up to now, but which may be about to get some.

Yet this does not mean there won’t be major financial market volatility if the architecture crumbles. You cannot think of a world dominated by multi-polar state-capitalism vs. a retreating more-free-market US-dominated system without seeing: 1) huge shifts in the USD and all resultant markets – either up, as its rivals falter, or down as its rivals combine to topple it (with what exactly?!); and 2) uncomfortable parallels with the pre-WW1 period. Like I said, not much peace on earth, sadly.

Another sign of the end of institutional architecture. The Apostrophe Society has closed down after admitting defeat in its quest to get Brits to understand when and how this simple but crucial grammar point is used (where tired eyes mean even The Global Daily occasionally falls short). So thats it for its members hopes for its vs. its; and a full societal circle from cave painting to Renaissance men-of-letters back to emojis beckons with a thumbs up. Perhaps current fuzzy market pricing fits perfectly in age where nobody can communicate properly anymore.

And another sign of crumbling related to architecture: Aussie building approvals slumped 8.1% in October, more than reversing the surprise 7.2% surge seen in September and vs. a consensus -1.0% figure. That puts them down -23.6% y/y. Likewise, Q3 Aussie company operating profits were -0.8% q/q vs. an expected 1.0% gain, and inventories -0.4% not the -0.2% consensus. Somehow Aussie yields are still up on the day despite those clear recession warnings: perhaps the apostrophe was in the wrong place.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 09:46
Published:12/2/2019 8:49:03 AM
[Markets] The Secret War In Africa, Part 2 The Secret War In Africa, Part 2

Authored by Steve Brown via TheDuran.com,

The Secret War in Africa (part 1) covered the overall strategic predominance of US military/ NATO bases – some secret – in Africa, and the expansion by private military contractors (PMC) there in aid of corporate and national interests according to the major powers.

In Part 2 we examine the geopolitical associations in Africa which vary by nation, where major powers have a vested interest in a particular resource causing that major power to assume an aggressive posture to ‘protect’ its national interest by dominating or subverting the African state, in possession of that resource.

Typically those resources include natural gas, oil, gold, diamonds, silver, uranium, coal, rare earth elements and minerals, etc.  Thus the major powers have their ‘client states’ in pursuance of the extraction of those resources, where that extraction may result in corruption, confrontation, armed aggression, and even support for terrorist organizations in those states.

In this post-Colonial era the extraction of resources by the major powers in a region where the indigenous people are exhorted to have their own right to self-determination is a significant challenge to global corporations, and former colonial occupiers in Africa like Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, etc.

When corporate interests either collide or collude with state interests the local insurrection may be severe as mining giant Rio Tinto discovered in Bougainville. Other examples include coal and natural gas in Mozambique; uranium and gold in Niger and Mali; oil in Sudan; diamonds in the Central African Republic, and so on.

France in Africa

Perhaps the most notable component for NATO – specifically for France – is the uranium needed to run its nuclear operations. Most of that uranium originates in Africa even though France has reduced its capacity for nuclear power. Even so, France still receives in excess of two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear power via the former Areva Corporation, now called Framatome.

The uranium mined for Framatome’s nuclear reactors is commonly found in the Sahel region of Africa where most of France’s uranium comes from, primarily northern Niger and Mali. Chad** and Mauritania also possess enormous reserves of the dangerous material. Mali is the fourth-largest supplier of gold too, and with falling registered gold reserves and the already accomplished confiscation of gold by the west from its failed states Mali makes an especially attractive target… particularly for the EU’s struggling banks.

After the indigenous people of the Sahel suffered serious illness from the effect of uranium mining – where drinking water is frequently contaminated – activist leader Almoustapha Alhacen and NGO Aghirin cooperated to oppose France’s corrupt mining giant Areva in Niger and Mali after 2001.

By 2006-2009 the protests and strikes in Agadez and Mali became effective versus Areva. And by 2011 – surprisingly coincident with Hillary Clinton’s “Arab Spring” – mysterious new terror cells appeared in the Sahel subsequent to the NATO destruction of Gaddafi’s government, including:

  • Movement for Oneness Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) funded by France/Morocco Intel

  • Ansar Dine funded by France/Morocco Intelligence Services

  • Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) funded by the United States of America CIA

Prior to 2011, a Tuareg rebellion led by the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) had some success versus the Malian government and versus Areva. The MNLA is a legitimate secular rebel group and is not funded by any western intelligence service. MNLA’s success eventually led to air and ground assaults by France in Mali in Operation Serval (with bases in Bamako and N’Djamena) by 2014.

Under the guise of striking al Qaeda and ISIL in Africa – a continent where those groups did not  exist prior to 2010 – France invoked air strikes and ground assaults versus the indigenous  people  who have been most effective in their resistance to Areva.

France’s military uses Bamako airport in Mali (which hosts the MINUSMA mission) and N’Djamena in Chad where these facilities certainly do not provide ideal bases for striking the rebellious indigenous population of the region. * Unfortunately for Macron’s ultra-high-tech world order, Bomako and N’Djamena air strips are ill-equipped for modern military aircraft.

Now, with the commissioning of the US Niger Air Base 201 as of November 1st, 2019, the question arises as to whether Macron will be allowed to use this base to bomb Tuareg protestors. That’s because NATO and the US military will not reveal whether Niger Base 201 may be jointly used, where all such communications appear to be classified. However, Base 201 may be considered a defacto ‘secret’ NATO air base.

Note that the United States imports less than 3% of its uranium from Niger whereas France imports more than ten times that much (in percentage terms).  While the United States imports very little oil from Africa, France by contrast imports large amounts. France imports oil from Nigeria, from Angola, Libya and Algeria — comprising one-quarter of France’s oil imports overall.

These ‘divergent goals’ and the rift between the United States and France has recently come to light.  France’s position in Africa has been modified by the ascendance of Donald Trump because under the Obama regime the United States and France had been marching in goose-step… or, lockstep.. but not anymore — at least for now.

The United States has asked France and all other NATO nations to contribute more funding to the construction and operation of bases – including Air Base 201 and other NATO bases. But even if France does have the use of Niger Base 201 it is clear that Macron prefers to see such a base owned and controlled by the European Union. Overall, the foregoing may lend some insight about Macron’s drastic words ie that NATO is ‘brain dead’.

France is evidently wheeling for a predominant position in the EU as a major power which has escaped France so far and (perhaps) resulted in NATO keeping quiet about its bases in Africa. At present all such NATO bases in Africa are used secretly or covertly by NATO because NATO does not fund any US military base.

United States Bases in Africa

The United States has its own agenda of course for the thirty-four military bases it operates in Africa (with many more under construction). One can only surmise about the rapid growth of bases there since 2016. It appears that this rapid growth is not based on a particular goal to cull resources in Africa at present; instead the US intends to maintain its role as global hegemon, to manage its Empire by Terror in the region, and to resist any nascent exploitation of African resources or expansion by Russia or China.

The United States is of course forward-looking in its role as unilateral global hegemonic and understands that it will not always be self-sufficient in oil. At some point shale and fracking will be done where Oilprice touts that shale is already in trouble with fracking to follow by 2024.

In that event — and since the United States has already destroyed most of the Middle East — Africa will become important to the US as a source for oil going forward. Meanwhile US plans to expand its designs on natural gas from Mozambique and elsewhere in Africa continue apace.

In summary US bases in Africa serve these purposes:

  1. Beheading anyone by drone as seen fit

  2. A gateway to African resources if and when they are needed (generally corporate)

  3. To prevent and discourage Russia and China from exploiting resources in Africa

  4. Use of bases by NATO should that interest coincide with US interest

  5. Reinforcement of the US global hegemonic

Russian Base in Eritrea

Russia has only one base in Africa. Russia’s Eritrea Logistics Centre is a recent development and the intended purpose for this site is presently unclear and it may not be a military base. However the Russian leadership has publicly expressed its interest in developing resources in Africa especially to provide safe nuclear power on the continent, and this site may bear some relation.

As covered in part 1 , private military contractors from Russia have been active providing security in the following African states:

  • Central African Republic, Resources: gold, timber, diamonds

  • Libya: Oil, natural gas, iron ore

  • Mozambique: Russian giant Gazprom was in competition with US Exxon for a large natural gas contract in a lawless region of Mozambique which was awarded to Exxon

  • Angola: iron ore, diamonds, petroleum, bauxite, uranium, feldspar and petroleum

  • Uganda: copper, cobalt, gold, platinum

  • Cameroon: oil, timber, hydroelectric power, rubber, palm oil, natural gas, cobalt, nickel

The relevant resources are listed because PMC contractors are generally hired to protect these resources on behalf of their private clients — no Russian Federation bases in Africa or Russian governmental ambitions are involved. PMC contractors support either Russian corporate interests or the local interests of their hosts and clients in Africa.

Regardless, the presence of private military contractors in Africa with connections to any Russian private business bears no relation – not even a remote comparison — to the massive and bloated US military presence in Africa.

China’s PLA Military Support Base in Djibouti

China’s military base in Djibouti was established in 2017 perhaps to counter the growing threat of US unilateralism. Since the base opened, a number of alarming reports have appeared in the US major media including the idea that the US could ‘lose its only base in Africa’ due to China’s presence when in fact Washington supports a vast number of bases in Africa.

China states that its purpose in Djibouti is to maintain peace in the region and to support humanitarian operations in Africa. That China appreciates African resources and their potential for development is just as relevant as saying that all other major powers appreciate the same.

China has a specific vested interest in patrolling the Gulf of Aden to ensure that piracy versus its shipping is kept in check.

Summary

There is a trite saying that the last frontier is space, but for those of us on earth it’s clear that Africa is the last frontier. Africa is a continent of resources and promise that could be responsibly developed and thrive if there were only any will in the world to do so.

Climate change and a declining world order make the prospect for Africa look bleak, as well as the resurgence in western colonial thought which sees Africa not as a treasure chest for promise, but for greed.

There are tiny rays of hope for Africa in the form of Algeria, Tunisia, and even Eritrea… but the colliding world disorder of west versus east and ever-deepening corruption in the ever-decaying west may not spare Africa.  The ‘secret war’ in Africa is just that – secret, and shall remain so, so long as the new world disorder — primarily engendered by the west – continues in its apparent death spiral.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 02:00
Published:12/2/2019 1:14:36 AM
[Markets] A Wicked Cocktail Of Corporate Greed, Social Media, & Opioids Is Slashing US Life Expectancy Rates A Wicked Cocktail Of Corporate Greed, Social Media, & Opioids Is Slashing US Life Expectancy Rates

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Following decades of increased life expectancy rates, Americans have been dying earlier for three consecutive years since 2014, turning the elusive quest for the ‘American Dream’ into a real-life nightmare for many. Corporate America must accept some portion of the blame for the looming disaster.

Something is killing Americans and researchers have yet to find the culprit. But we can risk some intuitive guesses.

According to researchers from the Center on Society and Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, American life expectancy has not kept pace with that of other wealthy countries and is now in fact decreasing.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that life expectancy in the United States peaked (78.9 years) in 2014 and subsequently dropped for 3 consecutive years, hitting 78.6 years in 2017. The decrease was most significant among men (0.4 years) than women (0.2 years) and happened across racial-ethnic lines: between 2014 and 2016, life expectancy decreased among non-Hispanic white populations (from 78.8 to 78.5 years), non-Hispanic black populations (from 75.3 years to 74.8 years), and Hispanic populations (82.1 to 81.8 years).

“By 2014, midlife mortality was increasing across all racial groups, caused by drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides, and a diverse list of organ system diseases,” wrote researchers Steven H. Woolf and Heidi Schoomaker in a study that appears in the latest issue of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.

At the very beginning of the report, Woolf and Schoomaker reveal that the geographical area with the largest relative increases occurred “in the Ohio Valley and New England.”

“The implications for public health and the economy are substantial,” they added, “making it vital to understand the underlying causes.”

Incidentally, it would be difficult for any observer of the U.S. political scene to read that passage without immediately connecting it to the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Taking advantage of the deep industrial decline that has long plagued the Ohio Valley, made up of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, Trump successfully tapped into a very real social illness, at least partially connected to economic stagnation, which helped propel him into the White House.

Significantly, thirty-seven states witnessed significant jumps in midlife mortality in the years leading up to 2017. As the researchers pointed out, however, the trend was concentrated in certain states, many of which, for example in New England, did not support Trump in 2016.

“Between 2010 and 2017, the largest relative increases in mortality occurred in New England (New Hampshire, 23.3%; Maine, 20.7%; Vermont, 19.9%, Massachusetts 12.1%) and the Ohio Valley (West Virginia, 23.0%; Ohio, 21.6%; Indiana, 14.8%; Kentucky, 14.7%), as well as in New Mexico (17.5%), South Dakota (15.5%), Pennsylvania (14.4%), North Dakota (12.7%), Alaska (12.0%), and Maryland (11.0%). In contrast, the nation’s most populous states (California, Texas, and New York) experienced relatively small increases in midlife mortality.

Eight of the 10 states with the highest number of excess deaths were in the industrial Midwest or Appalachia, whereas rural US counties experienced greater increases in midlife mortality than did urban counties.

A tragic irony of the study suggests that greater access to healthcare, notably among the more affluent white population, actually correlates to an increase in higher mortality rates. The reason is connected to the out-of-control prescription of opioid drugs to combat pain and depression.

“The sharp increase in overdose deaths that began in the 1990s primarily affected white populations and came in 3 waves,” the report explained: (1) the introduction of OxyContin in 1996 and overuse of prescription opioids, followed by (2) increased heroin use, often by patients who had become addicted to prescription opioids, and (3) the subsequent emergence of potent synthetic opioids (eg, fentanyl analogues)—the latter triggering a large post-2013 increase in overdose deaths.

“That white populations first experienced a larger increase in overdose deaths than nonwhite populations may reflect their greater access to health care (and thus prescription drugs).”

In September, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, reached a tentative settlement with 23 states and more than 2,000 cities and counties that sued the company, owned by the Sackler family, over its role in the opioid crisis

Other factors also helped to drive up the U.S. mortality rate, including alcoholic liver disease and suicides, 85% of which occurred with a firearm or other method.

The United States spends more on health care than any other country, yet its overall health report card fares worse than those of other wealthy countries. Americans experience higher rates of illness and injury and die earlier than people in other high-income nations.

Researchers were perplexed but not surprised by the data as there existed clear signs back in the 1980s that the United States was heading for a cliff as far as longevity rates go.

So what is it that’s claiming the life of Americans, many at the prime of their life, at a faster pace than in the past? The reality is that it is likely to be an accumulation of negative factors that are finally beginning to take a toll. For example, apart from the opioid crisis, there has also been an almost total collapse of union representation across Corporate America, which has essentially crushed any form of workplace democracy. This author, a former member of three worker unions, witnessed this egregious abuse of corporate power firsthand, which is apparent by the total stagnation of wages for many decades.

Today’s real average wage – that is, after accounting for inflation – has about the same purchasing power it did about half a century ago. Meanwhile, in the majority of cases, increases in salary have a marked tendency to go to the highest-paid tier of executives.

In a report by Pew Research, “real terms average hourly earnings peaked more than 45 years ago: The $4.03-an-hour rate recorded in January 1973 had the same purchasing power that $23.68 would today.”

One needs only consider the growing mountain of tuition debt now consuming the paychecks of many university graduates, many of whom have yet to land their dream 6-figure job from their relatively worthless liberal education, to better understand the quiet desperation that exists across the country.

At the same time, the exponential rise in the use of social media, which has been proven to trigger depression and loneliness in users, also deserves serious consideration. What society is experiencing with its massive online presence is a total overhaul as to the way human beings relate to each other. Presently, it would be very difficult to argue that the changes have been positive; in fact, they seem to be contributing to the early demise of millions of Americans in the prime of life.

Taken together, abusive labor practices that ignores workplace democracy, the epidemic of opioid usage, compounded by the anti-social features of ‘social media’ suggests a perfect storm of factors precipitating the rise of early deaths in the United States. Since all of these areas fall in one way or another under the control of corporate power, this powerful agency must find ways to help address the problem. The future success of America depends upon it.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/01/2019 - 22:30
Published:12/1/2019 9:46:05 PM
[Politics] Democrats Decry Fake Ice University: Turns Out It Was Created Under Obama

The following article, Democrats Decry Fake Ice University: Turns Out It Was Created Under Obama, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Progressives decry fake ICE university but turns out it was created under President Barack Obama. On Monday, informed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had arrested roughly 250 students since January on immigration violations as part of a sting operation involving a fake university, actress Alyssa Milano, a fervent opponent of ICE, tweeted, “OH ...

Continue reading: Democrats Decry Fake Ice University: Turns Out It Was Created Under Obama ...

Published:12/1/2019 12:42:04 PM
[Books] All the president’s men, take 2 (Scott Johnson) Lee Smith is the author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in US History. The book is an invaluable companion to Andrew McCarthy’s Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency; it adds to and amplifies the case McCarthy makes. I wrote about McCarthy’s book in “All the president’s men, Obama style.” Published:12/1/2019 10:11:19 AM
[Markets] UN Study Finds World's Highest Rate Of Child Detention... Under Obama UN Study Finds World's Highest Rate Of Child Detention... Under Obama

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

A UN study shows the “U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention".

That was under the Obama administration.

Unacceptable Headline

Of course, such a headline is politically unacceptable.

Thus, the UN Withdrew the Study.

A Nov. 18 story headlined “U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study” is withdrawn.

The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015. No replacement story will be issued.

Story Pulled in Multiple Places

Not only did the UN pull the story, Reuters and Agence France-Presse also killed the story.

Oops, can't scandalize the wrong guy can we?

Border Dilemmas Are the Same for Trump or Obama

The Wall Street Journal reports Border Dilemmas Are the Same for Trump or Obama

Most of those turning up at our border and applying for refuge will surely be deported, insists the president’s hardhearted official spokesman. Oh wait. That was Obama spokesman Josh Earnest, referring in 2014 to unaccompanied minors showing up at the southern border: “It’s unlikely that most of those kids will qualify. . . . They will be sent back.”

Still, the current administration’s fans gallingly argue that failing to deport immigration offenders will only encourage more to come: “There is nothing humanitarian in tacitly encouraging tens of thousands of children to risk their lives, often at the hands of cutthroat smugglers, to enter this country illegally.”

Oh wait, that was the Washington Post editorializing in July 2014. As the paper went on to note approvingly: “During the past 14 years, under presidents Bush and Obama, the United States has sent more than 9,000 additional Border Patrol agents to the Southwest frontier, more than doubling the force there. It has built more than 600 miles of fencing; installed almost 12,000 underground sensors; and deployed scores of aircraft, drones and boats.”

When you put it that way, Mr. Trump’s wall sounds merely incremental. Mr. Trump may not be less cynical than other politicians, but he layers on less hypocrisy. This offends.

Proposed Solutions

  1. WSJ author Holman Jenkins, Jr. Solution: Start by welcoming any migrant prepared to post a refundable $5,000 border deposit. Overnight this would drain profits from the people traffickers. The money could be used to sponsor English instruction and other programs to help newcomers. By making the sum refundable, workers would receive an incentive to return home with their skills and capital to help their own countries.

  2. Australia's Solution: According to Emigrate Australia, Australia accepts skilled migrants under the age of 45, with a profession on the Australian skills shortage list. Australia also accepts permanent residency by investment. That means, you need to have enough money.

Australia's solution is far stricter than the proposal of Jenkins.

One Democrat on Right Track

Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, and Democrat 2020 candidate has the right idea:

"We’ve got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we’ll have multiples of that.

Miserable Conditions

The lead image is from Facts Behind the Detention of Immigrants

I have no doubt that conditions are miserable and detentions are up under Trump.

But why?

Assessing the Blame

The current Democrat House will not fund the wall nor fund money for more detention centers. Child misery servers the Democrats well in this election campaign. The more misery the better. And Democrats openly encouraged migrants to come.

Trump is also to hugely to blame. On January 24, 2018, Democrats offered Trump $20 billion for a wall in return for amnesty. That was a fantastic deal in Trump's lap that the alleged king of the deal turned down. For details, please see TTF: Totally Trump's Fault.

So, here were are back at square one where the typical policies apply.

Free Stuff = More Votes

Democrats generally operate on the principle that free stuff buys votes, country be damned. Governor Bullock was an exception.

Politics aside, here's the fundamental economic truth: Open borders and massive amounts of free stuff are completely incompatible.

But free stuff offers buy votes. And demand for free stuff is unlimited. It's a guaranteed train wreck.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/01/2019 - 10:30
Published:12/1/2019 9:41:05 AM
[Markets] America Wages Economic Warfare On The Globe By Weaponizing Its Mawkish Culture America Wages Economic Warfare On The Globe By Weaponizing Its Mawkish Culture

Authored by Denis A. Conroy for The Saker Blog,

American nationalism binds the whole-to-its-parts by using narrative to weaponize emotions and broadcast the idea of American ‘wholeness’ as somehow exceptionally greater than the sum of its parts.

There can be no doubt that zealotry became the dynamic forging the American character . First and foremostly, enunciations spat out by bearded prophets were carried on the winds of ontological time and eventually landing on the shores of the new world along with bible and crucifix to stave off inequities and help shape a mind-set (and foreign policy) for those taking possession of the Kingdom of God. A colonial policy that inevitably consigned the population of the occupied territories into misery and poverty would in time come to be regarded as regime change. The Protestant reformation was always about gilding the God narrative with a work ethic equal to the sum of its mercantile whole.

To this very day, individual achievements take precedence over collective values as missionary zeal is believed to have the potential to sublimate the libido and divert energy into productive work activities. The nub of the narrative being the ineffable Protestant-cum-existentialist credential underpinning the virtues of 19th century Anglophile culture that found ways of appeasing the mind with dreamlike emoluments to convey the promise of earthly rewards for the industrious of mind…or simply put; mercantilism became a-one-size-fits-all solution for man’s irascible struggle with his existential hairshirt.

In time, European mercantile classes would invasively penetrate every corner of the globe for the purpose of wealth extraction. Those who sought material gratification would eventually come to define democracy as freedom to pursue individual desires. What emerged from this was class-identified gentrification and fake sugar-coated democracy supporting a form of fake-individuality that created a class system based on the exploitation on just about everything.

As time passed the existential stature of the state grew, while the existential stature of the individual remained the same. With the advent of mercantilism came a national economic policy designed to maximize exports and minimize imports, with the state taking a more adversarial role in all business arrangements. For the state to be greater than the sum of its parts meant exporting a greater quantity of its manufactured products to its trading partners while minimising the amount of goods they imported from them.

To do this it was necessary to devise policies that aimed to reduce a possible current account deficit and achieve a current account surplus. Mercantilism introduced a national economic policy aimed at accumulating monetary reserves through a positive balance of trade, especially in finished goods…fine policies in theory, but when push came to shove in the competitive arena, greed inevitably exposed these polices to the raw ‘talents’ of people like Sheriff Trump and most of his contemporaries , who interpret business as dealership and mawkishly set out to wage economic warfare on all and sundry.

The practice of sucking in wealth associated with the resources of Africa, India, the Americas, India and other Asian destinations was so successful that Britain…almost inadvertently…found itself in possession of an empire. It had reached a plateau where the sum was greater than its parts and to sustain its ‘sum-status’ meant creating an alliance of collusive narratives to justify its pre-eminence…and the best way to do so and retain control of the narrative was to resort to propaganda and trophy issues that would weaponize the emotions of the population. Hence the modern state found a way to prioritize itself at the expense of the individual. Over time, business cartels in tandem with the government would create ever more contextual paradigms for the individual to deal with.

What was required to sustain the status quo was a narrative to make the people feel proud of the fact that they were part of a-top-dog-team in action. Once the authors of the narrative realized that propaganda, when coupled with patriotism, could produce adherents imbued with convictions that were inherent in the narrative, they realized that language itself could cement a profitable relationship between buyer and seller and public relations became a force unto itself.

If you were part of the bourgeoisie who came into existence in the 19th centuries as a consequence of the wealth pouring into Europe and Britain from the colonial exploitation of Africa or India, Ireland, Asia etc. and your conscience was troubled by virtue of being party to a culture sliding grandiosely up its own existential arse, you could find balm within the isolated confines of the psychiatrist’s couch if your pockets were deep enough. If you were of a humble disposition, there was the pastor or the priest who could deal with your existential woes. If you made it to the 20th century you probably would have become so conditioned by events as to be unaware of other people’s suffering…and if you made it to the 21 century…perish the thought!

It was in this phase of history that commerce cleverly entered the business of explaining the meaning of existence per educational fiat…for a price! Thereafter it would be secular experts who explained the meaning of life to anybody who could afford to pay for enlightenment while simultaneously repressing revolutionary instincts that could, in the first instance, allow the light of reason to filter through.

With the crafting of the existential narrative, more and more people came to see themselves as parts in a new whole. Personal history became the curveball of the 20th century, promoting a vision of America as utopia on steroids, which in turn, produced a sky-is-the-limit kind of optimism. America had long taken over from where Britain had left off after experiencing a fin de siecle stampede through its pearly gates in the 19th century which eventually produced an adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes by the time it put a man on the moon. The net result was that American industry became kingpin for a century which left it convinced of its own invincibility.

When did America start to believe that it had to possess the biggest nuclear arsenal for it to feel that ‘whole’ America had become greater than the sum of its rival’s parts? Which raises the question; given the way power is used by the modern democratic-capitalist state, is the American constitution merely an example of baggage retained for baggage sake? Is there anything beyond raw power that may define its essence? Does it have an essence, or is it merely guided by some dark light that emanates from a single word…’democracy’…that stands alone on the blank piece of paper that was placed in a bottle and cast upon the ocean with information that might help ‘the people’ fulfil their desires?

Do the people not see that they need to be free from illusions that enfold them before they can revolutionize their system…and move on?

The elites who control the narrative remain invisible, they are neither deep nor surface stakeholders, they simply control the money flow. They are the sum-total of the faceless state, protected by protocols, secret intelligence agencies and the reality of the military budget that is put in place to maintain top-dog status for the elites and the illusions that comfort the multifarious minions now quarantined in citizen- zones that continue to emasculate their revolutionary spirit.

The current impeachment process in America best illustrates the sterility the population is immiserated in. They should be impeaching themselves (instead of looking for a scapegoat) for their inability to confront their own record. They seem unaware that they are party to a bloodbath that has devastated much of the Middle East and many other societies across the globe.

Once again, Americans are involved in the early stages of an election that leaves the question of America’s foreign policy in the too hard basket. A charade that would make Machiavelli blush. But alas, when blush comes to shove, American might is a God given right and collateral damage is not something that would soon alter the tone of its pugnaciously thick-skinned approach to reality.

Then there is ever more evidence of the schism that is corporate existentialism as opposed to individual existentialism. The former owning the right to squash the latter ever since Corporate America took the civil out of civilisation by assiduously seeking to remove voices/data/information/truth and honourable journalism from serving the public interest.

To observe how Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden (also Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Wigand, Thomas Andrew Drake and Frank Serpico) were treated for divulging the execrable crimes of the American state are odious to say the least. That so many Americans, in condoning “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mentality, and dismissive of the service their whistle-blowers are providing, is appalling. A new class of people have come into existence and they hate whistle-blowers because they speak truth to power…pity the millions of Americans who don’t think that way!

And what does the MSM really think of all this? That the New York Times continues to readily publish Bibi Netanyahu’s blandishments concerning existential threats to Israel while ignoring the fact that Palestine have had their country invaded and countless Palestinians now live under appalling conditions where existential rights do not even apply to them. The hurt that is inflicted on Palestinians is akin to the hurt that can be extended to say, Julian Assange, because both insidiously demean the human spirit.

These are actions that highlight the schism that exists between governance and the governed…existence of the state in relation to the existence of the individual…or any other agent in the individual legal zone we recognise as being separate from the privileged existential zone of governments that includes corporations who enjoy limited liability by virtue of their status in law. Existentialism, at the individual level, is a concept born of leisure (think affluence), but when dealing with fiscal reality, finds its sovereignty somewhat overshadowed by the external trappings of an existential system designed to keep the checks and balances that favour the imperial narrative.

Six months ago when the US Government slammed Assange with 17 charges under The Espionage Act for publishing the Chelsea Manning Leaks, indications were that these actions were taken to stifle the existence of a precedent that challenged the rights of a government to suppress the existence of truth itself; eventually it became their right to gag the message and the messenger.

The American police state is a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. In its present incarnation, it unmistakably exists as a pariah whose insidious meddling in other people’s systems knows no limitations. It unrelentingly spews out lies at every opportunity which vaunt variations on a theme of America’s self-righteous greatness ad nauseam. Its porous foreign policy exists to suck-out the essence of vulnerable states that are exposed to the gravitation pull of weaponised systems such as Wall Street and The Pentagon.

The systems that have weaponized American culture have spawned a host of ‘yes’ men and women…the MSM is aglow with them. The emotional and intellectual life of main street America is ominously self-righteous and defensive. To understand how reflexive American politics is, is to discover…by merely surfing channels…that the American public has become the meat in a political-duopoly sandwich.

To listen to Elizabeth Warren expostulating on Bolivia attests to a form of political incest that bedevils America. The Massachusetts Senator wanted to air her foreign policy bona fides in an interview with a former Barack Obama administration apparatchik on the podcast “Pod Save America.”

Warren praised Trump’s strategy of appointing the deflated Venezuela coup leader Juan Guaido as president and declared, “I support economic sanctions.” She also described the country’s democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator.” …although the interview was conducted back in February, video clips have recently resurfaced and gone viral on social media.

Which brings me back to the observation that America’s mawkish culture is viral in ways that are mainly lethal for those it disapproves of. It behaves like a giant octopus forever extending its tentacles into places that it wishes to exploit or annihilate. And behold The American Posse has morphed into stealth forces that operate outside of international law, human decency or basic accountability. It abhors the idea that leaders like Nicolas Maduro could curb the extortionist practices of corporate America and set about eliminating poverty in his beloved Bolivia. Worst of all is the fact that the American public condones regime change and all the other rapacious practices it is known for.

Sadly, America has become like an illiterate robot in a mathematical minefield stomping and headbutting everyone and everything it perceives as a competitor while waving its nuclear missiles and pruning shears at spectres of the existential sub-particle kind that threaten to lead humanity in a direction where it might discover that dancing the socialist fandangle might be o.k. after all.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 19:30
Published:11/30/2019 6:37:59 PM
[Markets] Only 3 Ways To Stop Trump 2020 Only 3 Ways To Stop Trump 2020

Authored by 'Thaisleeze' via The Burning Platform blog,

Living on the opposite side of the world to the USA I am obliged to follow American politics as a stone thrown into the Washington swamp sends ripples that reach this far.

With less than a year to go until the next presidential election it is time to assess the current political landscape.

Trump of course is the focus of massive media noise. This must be ignored if a rational analysis is to be produced. 2016 proved that opinion polls must also be ignored.

As things stand today Trump holds the following chips in his stack:

  1. He is the incumbent

  2. The official employment numbers are in his favor

  3. The official economic numbers are in his favor

  4. His Republican approval is over 90%

  5. His Hispanic/black approval ratings are at record levels for a Republican

  6. He has made a dent in the illegal immigration problem

  7. He has not started any new wars

  8. Both Trump and the RNC are raking in record amounts of campaign cash

  9. He will have the vote of most people with a 401(k) account

  10. He will have the vote of most people in the military

  11. He is in control of the social media narrative

  12. He pushed the concept of the deep state and fake news into the mainstream

  13. Democrat controlled cities are clearly in serious decline

  14. He forced the DNC to defend their lunatic far left fringe and embrace their views

  15. He forced the Democrats into the farcical impeachment process

  16. The Democrats have little cash on hand

  17. The Democrats do not have a viable policy platform

  18. The Democrats do not currently have a viable contender for the nomination

Probably the most important fact we have learned since the election of Trump is that the deep state does exist in America and that it is a massively powerful hand on the tiller of American policy.

It has also become abundantly clear that this faction was strongly opposed to the policies Trump ran on in 2016 and that they have tried to impede him ever since he announced his candidacy. It is not unreasonable to conclude that this faction does not wish Trump to win re-election.

The question then becomes how far are they prepared to go in stopping him.

1. The most obvious way to stop Trump would be at the the ballot box. However, given the factors outlined above this is a long shot bet. None of the declared Democrat candidates can beat him. Hillary Clinton would fail again. A Republican cannot unseat him. Obama has been keeping a very low profile, it is possible that his wife Michelle could win, if she could be persuaded to run. Oprah?

2. What would turn the world of Trump upside down would be a financial crisis of a similar magnitude to 2008, or a major dollar collapse (Putin said last week the dollar would collapse soon). If there were a consensus among the deep state to take such action it would be incredibly easy for them to achieve given the highly unstable fabric of markets today.

The corporate credit markets could be pushed into panic by Jamie Dimon alone if he wished such an outcome and had the blessing of his buddies. Indeed, the cynic might argue that the groundwork has been laid since the start of the repo problem in mid September and the launching of QE4. Last time around the patsie was Lehman, has Deutsche Bank been singled out to take the fall this time? Time is running short for this to be an option, a crisis must be in play by spring next year to stymie the Orange Man.

3. The third way Trump could be stopped does not bear thinking about but it happened before to JFK 56 years ago.

Epstein did not kill himself.

*  *  *

The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520 Kulpsville, PA 19443] or Paypal

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 16:30
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Published:11/30/2019 3:39:01 PM
[Markets] Tulsi Gabbard: Wake Up And Smell Our $6.4 Trillion Wars Tulsi Gabbard: Wake Up And Smell Our $6.4 Trillion Wars

Authored by Doug Bandow via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Meanwhile, her fellow Democrats appear abysmally unconcerned about the human and financial toll...

The Democratic establishment is increasingly irritated.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, long-shot candidate for president, is attacking her own party for promoting the “deeply destructive” policy of “regime change wars.” Gabbard has even called Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.”

Senator Chris Murphy complained:

“It’s a little hard to figure out what itch she’s trying to scratch in the Democratic Party right now.”

Some conservatives seem equally confused. The Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry asked:

“where is Tulsi distinguishing herself when it really matters?”

The answer is that foreign policy “really matters.”

Gabbard recognizes that George W. Bush is not the only simpleton warmonger who’s plunged the nation into conflict, causing enormous harm. In the last Democratic presidential debate, she explained that the issue was “personal to me” since she’d “served in a medical unit where every single day, I saw the terribly high, human costs of war.” Compare her perspective to that of the ivory tower warriors of Right and Left, ever ready to send others off to fight not so grand crusades.

The best estimate of the costs of the post-9/11 wars comes from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. The Institute says that $6.4 trillion will be spent through 2020. They estimate that our wars have killed 801,000 directly and resulted in a multiple of that number dead indirectly. More than 335,000 civilians have died—and that’s an extremely conservative guess. Some 21 million people have been forced from their homes. Yet the terrorism risk has only grown, with the U.S. military involved in counter-terrorism in 80 nations.

Obviously, without American involvement there would still be conflicts. Some counter-terrorism activities would be necessary even if the U.S. was not constantly swatting geopolitical wasps’ nests. Nevertheless, it was Washington that started or joined these unnecessary wars (e.g., Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen) and expanded necessary wars well beyond their legitimate purposes (Afghanistan). As a result, American policymakers bear responsibility for much of the carnage.

The Department of Defense is responsible for close to half of the estimated expenditures. About $1.4 trillion goes to care for veterans. Homeland security and interest on security expenditures take roughly $1 trillion each. And $131 million goes to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which have overspent on projects that have delivered little.

More than 7,000 American military personnel and nearly 8,000 American contractors have died. About 1,500 Western allied troops and 11,000 Syrians fighting ISIS have been killed. The Watson Institute figures that as many as 336,000 civilians have died, but that uses the very conservative numbers provided by the Iraq Body Count. The IBC counts 207,000 documented civilian deaths but admits that doubling the estimate would probably yield a more accurate figure. Two other respected surveys put the number of deaths in Iraq alone at nearly 700,000 and more than a million, though those figures have been contested.

More than a thousand aid workers and journalists have died, as well as up to 260,000 opposition fighters. Iraq is the costliest conflict overall, with as many as 308,000 dead (or 515,000 from doubling the IBC count). Syria cost 180,000 lives, Afghanistan 157,000, Yemen 90,000, and Pakistan 66,000.

Roughly 32,000 American military personnel have been wounded; some 300,000 suffer from PTSD or significant depression and even more have endured traumatic brain injuries. There are other human costs—4.5 million Iraqi refugees and millions more in other nations, as well as the destruction of Iraq’s indigenous Christian community and persecution of other religious minorities. There has been widespread rape and other sexual violence. Civilians, including children, suffer from PTSD.

Even stopping the wars won’t end the costs. Explained Nita Crawford of Boston University and co-director of Brown’s Cost of War Project: “the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest no borrowing to pay for the wars.”

People would continue to die. Unexploded shells and bombs still turn up in Europe from World Wars I and II. In Afghanistan, virtually the entire country is a battlefield, filled with landmines, shells, bombs, and improvised explosive devices. Between 2001 and 2018, 5,442 Afghans were killed and 14,693 were wounded from unexploded ordnance. Some of these explosives predate American involvement, but the U.S. has contributed plenty over the last 18 years.

Moreover, the number of indirect deaths often exceeds battle-related casualties. Journalist and activist David Swanson noted an “estimate that to 480,000 direct deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, one must add at least one million deaths in those countries indirectly caused by the recent and ongoing wars. This is because the wars have caused illnesses, injuries, malnutrition, homelessness, poverty, lack of social support, lack of healthcare, trauma, depression, suicide, refugee crises, disease epidemics, the poisoning of the environment, and the spread of small-scale violence.” Consider Yemen, ravaged by famine and cholera. Most civilian casualties have resulted not from Saudi and Emirati bombing, but from the consequences of the bombing.

Only a naif would imagine that these wars will disappear absent a dramatic change in national leadership. Wrote Crawford:

“The mission of the post-9/11 wars, as originally defined, was to defend the United States against future terrorist threats from al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations. Since 2001, the wars have expanded from the fighting in Afghanistan, to wars and smaller operations elsewhere, in more than 80 countries—becoming a truly ‘global war on terror’.”

Yet every expansion of conflict makes the American homeland more, not less, vulnerable. Contrary to the nonsensical claim that if we don’t occupy Afghanistan forever and overthrow Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, al-Qaeda and ISIS will turn Chicago and Omaha into terrorist abattoirs, intervening in more conflicts and killing more foreigners creates additional terrorists at home and abroad. In this regard, drone campaigns are little better than invasions and occupations.

For instance, when questioned by the presiding judge in his trial, the failed 2010 Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen, cited the drone campaign in Pakistan. His colloquy with the judge was striking: “I’m going to plead guilty 100 times forward because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims.”

Ajani Marwat, with the New York City Police Department’s intelligence division, outlined Shahzad’s perspective to The Guardian:

“’It’s American policies in his country.’ …’We don’t have to do anything to attract them,’ a terrorist organizer in Lahore told me. ‘The Americans and the Pakistani government do our work for us. With the drone attacks targeting the innocents who live in Waziristan and the media broadcasting this news all the time, the sympathies of most of the nation are always with us. Then it’s simply a case of converting these sentiments into action’.”

Washington does make an effort to avoid civilian casualties, but war will never be pristine. Combatting insurgencies inevitably harms innocents. Air and drone strikes rely on often unreliable informants. The U.S. employs “signature” strikes based on supposedly suspicious behavior. And America’s allies, most notably the Saudis and Emiratis—supplied, armed, guided, and until recently refueled by Washington—make little if any effort to avoid killing noncombatants and destroying civilian infrastructure.

Thus will the cycle of terrorism and war continue. Yet which leading Democrats have expressed concern? Most complain that President Donald Trump is negotiating with North Korea, leaving Syria, and reducing force levels in Afghanistan. Congressional Democrats care about Yemen only because it has become Trump’s war; there were few complaints under President Barack Obama.

What has Washington achieved after years of combat? Even the capitals of its client states are unsafe. The State Department warns travelers to Iraq that kidnapping is a risk and urges businessmen to hire private security. In Kabul, embassy officials now travel to the airport via helicopter rather than car.

Tulsi Gabbard is talking about what really matters. The bipartisan War Party has done its best to wreck America and plenty of other nations too. Gabbard is courageously challenging the Democrats in this coalition, who have become complicit in Washington’s criminal wars.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 15:30
Published:11/30/2019 2:39:18 PM
[Markets] Leftists Lambaste ICE's Fake University - An Obama-Era Scheme Leftists Lambaste ICE's Fake University - An Obama-Era Scheme

Authored by Kelli Ballard via LibertyNation.com,

Coming up with ways to catch illegal immigrants bent on staying undetected in the United States is not an easy chore. There are only so many border patrol agents and a ton of territory to cover. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been suffering a lot of criticism for its determination to get a handle on the border crisis, especially since President Donald Trump took office. And now the federal agency is coming under fire again, this time for using a fake university to catch recruiters using the system to get money while aiding illegals and foreign students trying to remain in the U.S.

University of Farmington

Mainstream media is mostly reporting on how horrible it is that these students, who are only trying to better their lives, have been duped by the government. True, they were charged tuition fees for a school that didn’t even exist. But there’s much more to the story than that.

First, let’s start off with the fact that this was not a Trump administration program. Yes, you read that right.

The fake university “scheme” began during Barack Obama’s reign, but we all know the president will be the one criticized for it. One need only remember the detention facilities (set up before Trump) being compared to concentration camps and holding babies in cages to know how this one is going to turn out.

Of the 600 or so students “enrolled” in the fake Michigan-based University of Farmington, approximately 250 have been arrested since January. About 80% of those arrested were granted voluntary departure from the country and another 10% were given deportation notices. The other 10% are fighting the arrest and have either contested the deportation orders or have filed for relief.  One student was even given permanent resident status by an immigration judge.

Students’ attorneys claim their clients were “trapped” or “preyed upon” by the government. They noted the website on which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that Farmington was legitimate and an accredited educational institution.  But federal officials say the students should have known better since there were not even any physical classes to attend. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms emphasized this in a sentencing memo for one of the eight recruiters arrested during the operation. In it, he said:

“Their true intent could not be clearer. While ‘enrolled’ at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. If it were truly about obtaining an education, the University would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services.”

The fake university program was designed to catch recruiters who take advantage of foreigners by charging them big bucks and recommending them to schools. Prosecutors say this is a form of visa fraud and jeopardizes the integrity of the student visa program, an initiative that allows immigrants to stay in the country as long as they are studying for a degree and are in good standing both academically and legally.

Some of the students caught in the sting effort were not trying to con the system and had transferred to the university because the school they had been attending lost its accreditation, which made their visas null and void. However, as DHS remarked, in most of these cases, the young academics remained enrolled even though they never attended a class or met a professor, which they should have realized was not appropriate. A very few did transfer to another facility after realizing something was not right, though.

Still, there is a lot of controversy over how ICE set up the operation using DHS to staff the fake facility and accepting tuition fees from the students. So far, no charges have been brought against the federal agency, but once the left has a chance to deflate from Thanksgiving dinner, we can be sure to see this latest issue laid squarely at the president’s feet, even though it was an Obama administration program to begin with.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 14:30
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Published:11/30/2019 1:35:36 PM
[] 'You didn't build that' remix': Elizabeth Warren's latest finger-wagging reminder sure sounds familiar! Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren likes to say she has a "plan" for everything, but not all of them are original. Occasionally Warren has to borrow from the past. Here's an example:

https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1200544248996622336

Does that ring any bells?

https://twitter.com/Neoavatara/status/1200612890882891776
https://twitter.com/HarrietBaldwin/status/1200546331946889218

Warren's dusting off one of President Obama's 2012 classics for her 2020]] Published:11/30/2019 9:07:16 AM

[Uncategorized] ICE Arrests Foreign Students in Fake University Sting Operation The operation began under Obama Published:11/30/2019 9:07:16 AM
[Political Cartoons] A Little Help – A.F. Branco Cartoon

By A.F. Branco -

Dems and the media complain Trump didn’t do enough for Ukraine though he sent Weapons but said nothing when Obama sent only blankets. Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019. See more Branco toons HERE

A Little Help – 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:11/29/2019 12:32:04 PM
[Politics] Ex-Obama Official: WH Obstruction Worse Than Nixon's An Obama-era acting solicitor general says the White House is engaging in "unprecedented obstruction" of the probe into President Donald Trump and Ukraine, making its approach to the impeachment inquiry worse than former President Richard Nixon's actions. Published:11/29/2019 8:58:50 AM
[Markets] A Failure Of Leadership In The Muslim World A Failure Of Leadership In The Muslim World

Authored by James Durso via RealClearWorld.com,

Bad news about China’s persecution of the Uighurs has been coming thick and fast.

In October, the Citizen Power Institute released a report on the use of forced labor. The report finds that up to 1 million imprisoned Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups have been made to work in China’s cotton value chain, which produces cotton, textiles, and apparel. In November, the New York Times released more than 400 pages of internal Chinese government documents that exposed how China organizes the mass detention of Uighurs.

On July, 22 countries issued a joint statement criticizing China for "disturbing reports of large-scale arbitrary detentions" and "widespread surveillance and restrictions" of Uighurs and other minorities in the country's Xinjiang region. The next day, 37 countries, nearly half of them Muslim-majority and none of them democracies, defended China's human rights record and dismissed the reported detention of up to 2 million Muslims.

Azeem Ibrahim of the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute has pointed out that the acquiescence of Muslim-majority countries illustrates “’Muslim solidarity’ is a convenient and effective slogan to be thrown at domestic audiences” but, when push comes to a shove from China, you can “forget about the umma.”

This is a serious issue, not a provocation like Everybody Draw Mohammed  Day. Why are leaders in the Islamic world refusing to take a stand?

Two reasons stand out immediately.

First, faith leaders in the Islamic world probably reckon it is futile to chastise the Communist Party of China for actions taken against a non-Han people practicing what the Party sees as an “illegal superstition”. China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, isn’t some Danish cartoonist -- there would be consequences for speaking out.

Continuing in that pragmatic vein, the Saudi Aramco IPO is looking parlous and oil prices are below the $65-per-barrel price Aramco uses to builds its financial assumptions. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MbS, needs money to complete Saudi Vision 2030, but he would prefer that money to have no strings attached to concerns about human rights -- so, enter the dragon. China has stepped up as a source of capital as the kingdom tries to shift its economy away from energy exports. Xi recently said China was taking a “strategic high view and long-term perspective,” meaning let’s agree not to talk about Uighurs or Jamal Khashoggi. MbS reciprocated by endorsing China’s policies: “We respect and support China’s rights to take counter-terrorism and de-extremism measures to safeguard national security.”

And it’s not just the Saudis.

“Nobody knows nothin’” seems to be the operating principle when someone says “Uighur”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan initially criticized Beijing, but recently muted his comments. With economic relations stalled with the United States and the European Union, the economy weak, and the U.S. Congress threatening sanctions for Russian defense purchases and Turkey’s incursion into Syria, Turkey will continue its turn east. In June, China’s central bank gave Istanbul a $1 billion cash injection, and in August the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China provided a $3.6 billion loan package for Turkey’s energy and transportation sectors.

Pakistan’s normally voluble Prime Minister Imran Khan could only say “[f]rankly, I don’t know much about that” when asked about the plight of the Uighurs, but that may be because of China’s planned investment of $62 billion in ports, infrastructure, industry and energy-generation facilities in Pakistan. And while Pakistan’s Islamist militants as a rule are always ready to raise the issue of persecuted Sunnis, on the issue of Xinjiang’s Uighurs all we get is a “deafening silence.”

Money matters, but it isn’t all about cash. The governments friendly to Beijing know that supporting human rights for Uighurs will lead their own citizens -- even worse, their countries’ religious minorities -- to demand human rights of their own.

China-friendly governments may be successfully dealing with some short- or medium-term cash-flow problems, but they are eroding their legitimacy as defenders of the faith. Into the breach may step groups like the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which may inspire youth, radicals, and the devout.

ETIM was designated a terrorist organization in 2002 by the United States and the United Nations. The U.S. designation might have come in exchange for China’s support for the U.S. attack on Iraq. China’s actions have been ETIM’s best recruiting sergeant. If ETIM narrows its target list to Chinese officials and installations, it may find blind eyes being turned as it takes the fight to its enemies in China and ignores the governments in Central and South Asia.

Uighurs with combat experience in Syria and Afghanistan will want another mission, and fighting is more fun than farming. These new mujahedeen will be ready to fight a Communist regime that suppresses their religion and culture.

What are some lessons for Washington?  

First, if the United States thinks a foreign-policy initiative makes sense, despite disapproval from some Muslim countries, press ahead. The  Trump administration may be testing this idea  by moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and reversing the U.S. position on the illegality of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.  

And, if China wants troublemakers like Pakistan as allies, let Beijing have them.

What should the U.S. do?

  • First, sincerely warn China of the trouble that lies ahead if a serious terrorist campaign is kicked off by ETIM or a likeminded group. Remind them that their policies may lead to a situation wherein nearby countries offer only perfunctory responses to Chinese demands for counter-terrorism assistance, especially if the terrorists only hit Chinese targets. China will ignore any warnings by the Americans, but Washington will know that it tried.  

  • Provide political support for Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan for refusing to return fleeing Uighurs to China, but follow their lead on how much publicity to give the effort. (Use your “inside voice,” America.) If China cancels investments in Central Asian countries as retaliation, support offsetting development assistance from the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank.

  • Then, consider allowing the 22 Uighurs who were held at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp but found to be "no longer enemy combatants" to settle in the United States. It’s likely the Chinese snookered the Americans in the aftermath of 9-11 by portraying all Uighur activists as terrorists, which landed 22 of them in Gitmo for over a decade. In 2009, Congress opposed President Barack Obama’s plan to resettle two Uighurs in the United States. Ten years later, it’s time for Congress to show that its concern for the Uighurs is more than press-release deep.

  • Highlight that the United States continues to be the world’s leading advocate of religious freedom for all, even as the Organization for Islamic Cooperation bent to China’s will and commended it for “providing care to its Muslim citizens”.

  • Last, continue work on a trade deal with China, while continuing to sanction Chinese entities that use forced Muslim labor. Then, deal or not, on November 4, 2020, increase the pressure even more.  

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 22:00
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Published:11/28/2019 9:27:49 PM
[Markets] Christopher Steele Distributed Other Dossier Reports Christopher Steele Distributed Other Dossier Reports

Authored by John Solomon via JohnSolomonReports.com,

Just before Christmas 2015, the British intelligence operative Christopher Steele emailed a report to private clients that included an American lawyer for a Ukrainian oligarch.

The title of the dossier was “FIRTASH Abortive Return to Ukraine,” and it purported to provide intelligence on why the energy oligarch Dmitri Firtash tried, but failed, to return to his home country of Ukraine.

“FIRTASH’s talk of returning to Ukraine a genuine ambition rather than merely a ruse to reveal Ukrainian government’s hand. However the oligarch developed cold feet upon the news of a negative reception at Boryspil airport,” Steele reported on Dec. 23, 2015.

Perhaps most important to the recipients, the former MI6 agent’s report purported to share the latest thinking of Russian and U.S. officials on Firtash, who at the time faced U.S. criminal charges and was awaiting extradition from Austria.

Those charges and extradition remain unresolved four years later. Firtash insists on his innocence, while the U.S. government stands by it case despite recent criticism from Austrian and Spanish authorities.

“The prevarication over his return has lost FIRTASH credibility with the Russians, but his precarious position in Austria leaves him little choice but to acquiesce with Moscow’s demands,” the Steele report claimed.

“Separate American sources confirm that US Government regards FIRTASH as a conduit for Russian influence and he remains a pariah to the Americans.”

The anecdote of the Firtash report underscores that challenges the FBI faced when it used Steele in 2016 as a human source in the Russia collusion probe.

He not only opposed Trump and was paid by Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm to dig up dirt on the then-GOP nominee, he also was in the business of selling intelligence to private clients – all perfectly legal — while informing for the FBI.

Steele had engaged the U.S. government on occasion since his retirement from MI6 in 2009, both as an FBI informant in the FIFA soccer corruption case and as intelligence provider to the Obama State Department. So any assessment he offered from U.S. officials was closely watched by private clients.

His Firtash report cited an unnamed intelligence source indicating that Firtash had little chance of winning any favor under the Obama administration, but that other oligarchs in the region might be welcomed by the Americans if they sought to play a role in Ukraine.

“The source had a separate confirmation from US sources that Washington regarded FIRTASH as a conduit for Russian influence,” the report said.

“Whilst the USG was prepared to do business with the likes of Rinat AKHMETOV and Ihor KOLOMOISKY, FIRTASH remained a pariah.”

The U.S. lawyer who received Steele’s report represented Firtash and had spent part of 2015 checking whether there was an opportunity the State or Justice Department might negotiate to settle the criminal case against his client.  He determined the U.S. government did not, something Steele’s report only affirmed anew.

Steele did not immediately respond to a message to his London business office seeking comment. But his firm has issued a blanket statement on its Web site saying it does highly professional work but doesn’t comment on specific clients or products.

“Orbis Business Intelligence has an established track record of providing strategic intelligence, forensic investigation and risk consulting services to a broad client base,” the firm wrote. “The nature of our business, and our high standards of professionalism dictate that we would not disclose to the public information on any specific aspects of our work.  We remain fully committed to the secure provision of our services to our clients and partners worldwide.”

Steele and his infamous dossier alleging an unfounded conspiracy between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to hijack the 2016 election are expected to play a starring role in a long-awaited Justice Department inspector general’s report reviewing the FBI’s Russian collusion probe.

The report to be made public next month is expected to reveal that one FBI official falsified a document and other U.S. officials withheld information both about Steele and the innocence of some of the targeted individuals when the FBI sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to probe the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia starting in October 2016.

Some intelligence experts have been quoted recently as saying Steele’s information against Trump, much of which the FBI could never verify, may have been Russian disinformation designed to sow chaos during the U.S. election.

After two-plus years of investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded this spring that there was no collusion or conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nonetheless, the allegations have lingered over the Trump presidency and divided the country bitterly.

Steele’s Firtash report is a cogent reminder that while Steele on occasion worked for the U.S. government, he also was simultaneously pitching intelligence he got from American sources and others to his private clients, some who had different interests than the United States.

The back and forth between U.S. and other contacts in Steele’s business was laid bare by email and text messages released by the Justice Department last year. For instance, the messages show that less than three weeks after emailing the Firtash report, Steele reached out in January 2016 to senior U.S. Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, a prosecutor with responsibility for Eurasian oligarchs, to set up a possible meeting in London.

Steele and Ohr had frequent contact all the way through 2017, including when Steele shared on July 30, 2016 some of his anti-Trump evidence with Ohr, who then took it to the top of the FBI. Steele was eventually dropped by the FBI as an informant for leaking to the news media.

Fiona Hill, a recent impeachment witness and a former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, suggested to lawmakers in a deposition recently that Steele’s dual role as government insider/informer and private intelligence provider left him vulnerable to Russian disinformation when he wrote his dossier.

“He was constantly trying to drum up business,” Hill testified when asked about her own contacts from time to time with the former British intelligence agent.

She said that when she read Steele’s anti-Trump dossier in January 2017 she instantly feared it might be disinformation fed to Steele by the Russians because he previously had done spy work for MI6.

“That is when I expressed the misgivings and concern that he could have been played,” Hill testified.

She added:

“The Russians would have an axe to grind against him given the job he had previously. And if he started going back through his old contacts and asking about that, that would be a perfect opportunity for people to feed him some kind of misinformation.”

The IG report set to be released Dec. 9 will give Americans a more comprehensive look at Steele and the FBI’s reliance on him as an informant.

And then it will be up to the FBI, DOJ and congressional oversight committees to re-evaluate what lessons can be learned from the now-debunked Russia collusion probe.  

Those likely are to include better vetting of informants, stronger oversight of the FISA process and new regulations for when the FBI can investigate a candidate during the middle of an election, especially when the allegations emanate from a political opponent.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 16:00
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Published:11/28/2019 3:27:43 PM
[Markets] Trump Makes Surprise Thanksgiving Visit To US Troops In Afghanistan, Says Taliban Talks Have Resumed Trump Makes Surprise Thanksgiving Visit To US Troops In Afghanistan, Says Taliban Talks Have Resumed

President Trump made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday, his first as president, to visit troops for the Thanksgiving holiday. There, Trump said peace talks with the Taliban had resumed, speaking at a US air force base alongside Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

Trump landed at Bagram Airfield around 8:30 pm local time Thursday and greeted U.S. soldiers over a turkey dinner before meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the airfield’s Air Force headquarters.

Following a meeting with Ghani, Trump told reporters that the Taliban “wants to make a deal” and that US officials were "meeting with them." Trump also said that the Taliban was willing to agree to a ceasefire: "The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire, and they didn’t want to do a cease-fire and now they want to do a cease-fire - I believe it’ll probably work out that way," Trump said, standing alongside Ghani.

Trump also said that the US will continue to reduce its troop commitment to the region, from 12,000 now to about 8,600, but would like to go lower without impacting operational duties. “We can go much further than that, but we’ll have it all covered,” Trump said.

According to Bloomberg, both Trump and Ghani said it was an honor to meet. Trump spent about 45 minutes in the building where they met, with press in the room for only a portion of it. In brief remarks to reporters during the bilateral session, Ghani noted that U.S. combat casualties have fallen under Trump’s presidency. Trump took office after the NATO mission in Afghanistan shifted to a training and advisory role.

Ghani thanked Trump for his leadership and called for a deal that won’t give too much power to the Taliban, saying Trump should not put “limits on the type of peace that will ensure the gains of the past year, and will ensure your security and our freedom.”

“Please thank your families for agreeing to miss you on this special occasion at home and for being here defending United States security and our freedom. Together, we will succeed,” Ghani told the soldiers. “We will never permit the repetition of 9/11 again. God bless you, God bless the president.”

Speaking to the US troops, Trump reiterated that they’re working for a peace deal in Afghanistan. “Rest assured that my administration will always be committed to annihilating terrorists wherever they appear,” he said, adding that he looked forward to the day “when we can bring each and every one of you home and safe to your family, and that day is coming and coming very soon.”

Trump’s remarks covered many of the same themes as his campaign events, including discussing highs in the stock market, the recent death of a top Islamic State leader and the role that a U.S. military dog, Conan, played in that mission. He recalled serving turkey earlier to troops, and missing out on his own meal.

“I had a bit of mashed potatoes and I never got to my turkey,” Trump told soldiers at the rally, saying he instead went to take photos with servicemen and -women. “I should have started with that, and not the mashed potatoes. I made a mistake."

“We’ve spent $2.5 trillion since I’ve been here, that’s a lot of money that we’ve rebuilt our military. It was depleted as you know,” Trump told troops seated for dinner. “I want to thank you very much and I’ll be talking to you later but right now I want to have some turkey, OK? I’m going to join you for a little lunch.”

After speaking to the troops, Trump then toured the room speaking with soldiers, who loudly cheered his arrival. “Thank you all very much, what a great job you do, it’s an honor to be here - it’s a long flight,” he said after arriving, to laughter from soldiers. “But we love it.”

The surprise visit and announcement came two months after Trump abruptly halted peace negotiations with the Taliban in early September after accusing them of seeking "false leverage" through a terrorist attack that killed 12 people, including a member of the American military.

The US had been engaged in negotiations with the Taliban and planned to hold further talks with Taliban leaders and president Ghani at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but following the terrorist incident the talks never happened.

Trump has long hoped to strike a deal with the Taliban, which would allow him to claim he has succeeded in ending the war in Afghanistan, something that eluded both George W Bush and Barack Obama, his predecessors in the Oval Office.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 15:43
Published:11/28/2019 2:55:19 PM
[Markets] DOJ Watchdog Expected To Downgrade 'Spying' On Trump Campaign To 'Typical Law Enforcement Activities' DOJ Watchdog Expected To Downgrade 'Spying' On Trump Campaign To 'Typical Law Enforcement Activities'

In late September, RealClearInvestigations' Paul Sperry suggested that Inspector General Michael Horowitz - tasked with investigating and exposing wrongdoing at the highest levels - was feared to be pulling punches in order to protect establishment darlings in his upcoming report on the Russia investigation.

Now we learn that Horowitz, who volunteered on several Democratic political campaigns while in college and is married to a former liberal political activist, Obama donor and CNN employee, is expected to conclude that the FBI didn't spy on the Trump campaign.

Instead, when longtime FBI / CIA asset Stephan Halper and his undercover FBI 'assistant' named "Azra Turk" befriended George Papadopoulos, it was nothing more than "typical law enforcement activities," according  the New York Times.

Mr. Horowitz found no evidence that Mr. Halper tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign itself, the people familiar with the draft report said, such as by seeking inside campaign information or a role in the organization. The F.B.I. also never directed him to do so, former officials said. Instead, Mr. Halper focused on eliciting information from Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos about their ties to Russia.

...

Mr. Trump and his allies have pointed to some of the investigative steps the F.B.I. took as evidence of spying, though they were typical law enforcement activities. -NYT

Recall that the Obama administration had paid Halper over $1 million over a several years, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 election.

The report is also expected to conclude that Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud - who fed Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton - is not an FBI informant. Mifsud, a self-described member of the Clinton Foundation, has been painted by Western media as a Russian asset.

Except, nobody claimed Mifsud was an FBI informant. As The Conservative Treehouse notes, "The concern has always been Mifsud was a western intelligence asset, perhaps CIA."

Moreover, Horowitz will conclude that while the FBI was 'careless and unprofessional' in pursuing a wiretap on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and that a 'front-line lawyer' Kevin Clinesmith, 37, fabricated evidence to support a FISA spy warrant renewal against Page, that the underlying justification to go after page remained intact.

In other slaps on the wrist, Horowitz is expected to criticize DOJ official Bruce Ohr for failing to inform his bosses about his extensive contacts with 'Steele Dossier' author Christopher Steele.

And the icing on the cake - last week The Times also reported that while Horowitz will criticize the FBI for how they handled the Trump investigation, "he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey."

No wonder Comey and team have been so smug!

The report is expected December 9, while Horowitz is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate days later.

Of course, while Horowitz may or may not give key FBI officials a pass in his report, its only one component of the ongoing efforts by the DOJ.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 14:30
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Published:11/28/2019 1:53:58 PM
[Markets] Nation's Progressives Give Thanks That They Have So Much To Be Angry About This Year Nation's Progressives Give Thanks That They Have So Much To Be Angry About This Year

Via BabylonBee.com,

In honor of Thanksgiving week, the nation's progressives have begun to give thanks that they have so much to be angry and offended about this year.

"Thank you, unspecified deity who may or may not exist, for giving us so much stuff to be outraged about," said Staci Walder, 42, of Portland, as she prepared her vegan, kale-wrapped turkey.

"I'm truly humbled that you've blessed me with the Trump presidency, the patriarchy, the laws of economics, and biological facts to rage against."

"Every year, it's important to pause and recognize how much we have to be angry about."

"A lot of people struggle with gratitude, but I'm deeply thankful that the universe has given us a veritable cornucopia of things to be mad about," agreed Mary Wallace, 27, of New York.

"I know that I come from a place of privilege, and when I think about those poor people who have absolutely nothing to be mad about, I utter a prayer of thanks to goddess."

Many progressives partake in an annual tradition of writing down all the things they're thankful to be mad about:

  • White people

  • Pronouns

  • Personal responsibility

  • Satire that does not affirm their viewpoint

  • Billionaires

  • Old tweets

  • 32-ounce sodas

  • Plastic straws

  • People who hold a steady job

  • Appropriating other cultures

  • Excluding other cultures

  • Bush

  • Obama

  • Trump

  • Babies

  • Kanye West

  • America

"If we'd all just remember to count our outrages, we'd have a much worse attitude all the time," Wallace said as she looked over her own list of offensive things that dare to exist.

"We should live our lives as though it's Outrage Thanksgiving every day."

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 14:00
Published:11/28/2019 1:24:36 PM
[Markets] President Trump's Defense President Trump's Defense

Authored by Robert Gore via StraightLineLogic.com,

Democratic representatives should think twice before they vote to impeach President Trump.

I thought I had said all I was going to say on “Ukrainegate” in my article “Make the Truth Irrelevant.” Then I read a column on the Internet by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan whose very title: “Trump’s Defenders Have No Defense” (WSJ, 11/21/19) bespeaks its idiocy. Unfortunately, it also represents a lot of what’s being peddled by the mainstream media.

How would Noonan or anyone else outside Trump’s circle know whether he does or does not have a defense when the rules of the only body that has pursued the case against him preclude him from offering a defense? In the House impeachment hearings, Trump’s defenders cannot call their own witnesses, cannot confront the whistleblower whose complaint launched the case, cannot challenge hearsay evidence and have it excluded, and cannot probe the motives or possibly illegal behavior of his accusers.

Noonan further embarrasses herself with the following: “As to the impeachment itself, the case has been so clearly made you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing. How will they hold a lengthy trial with a case this clear?” She reveals her own ignorance of the law and facts of this particular case, and complete lack of decency or sense of fair play, rendering such a judgment after hearing only one side of the case.

Noonan has prompted this analysis of possibilities concerning Trump’s defense in a Senate trial. It assumes that standard American judicial rules, procedures, and principles will be in force during the trial.

Disclaimer: I am a lawyer, but I am an inactive member of the California Bar Association and have never practiced law.

The best case for a defense attorney is one in which the attorney can say: Assume what the prosecution is saying is true, my client has not broken the law or committed a crime. During his phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump asked for investigations of three matters, but he did not explicitly link receipt of US aid that had been held up to Zelensky conducting those investigations. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that he had either explicitly asked for that quid pro quo or that Zelensky could reasonably infer he was asking for such a quid pro quo. Trump’s first line of defense would be to challenge the ubiquitous characterization—at least among Democrats and the media?of such a link as a crime.

According to the transcript of the call, Trump asked Zelensky to look into the company Crowdstrike, which has been the only entity allowed to examine the DNC servers that were allegedly hacked by the Russians. In a related query, he eluded to possible Ukrainian involvement in initiating the Russiagate fiasco. Later in the phone call, he said: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

Assume for argument’s sake that Trump was holding up aid to get Zelensky to investigate Crowdstrike, possible initiation of Russiagate, and the Bidens. Nobody is calling the first two requests illegal because investigations would not directly redound to Trump’s political benefit (but might well redound to his accusers’ political detriment, see below). Only the third request, if receipt of aid was conditioned on compliance, has been termed illegal, because it could harm Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden, and presumably benefit Trump.

What if the subject of that third request was not Biden and son, but rather some nonpolitical but prominent US figure and son, the investigation of whom would yield no political benefit to Trump? The president would have a strong argument that there was a prima facie (literally translated as “at first face” or “at first appearance”) case of corruption against the nonpolitical figure and his son. He could assert that he had a duty as the chief executive of the laws of the US to launch a US investigation, and to press—because so much of the alleged corruption happened in Ukraine and involved Ukrainian citizens, companies, government bodies, and other entities—the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation. The US and Ukraine have a treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters ratified by the Senate in 2000 and signed by Bill Clinton. Trump could argue that under that treaty he would be well within his powers to ask for such an investigation. He could cite a letter Clinton sent to the Senate recommending passage of the treaty, which lists a number of ways assistance can be rendered, with a final catch-all for “any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state.”

If Trump then explicitly tied US financial and military assistance meant for Ukraine to President Zelensky initiating that investigation against the nonpolitical father and son, no one would bat an eye. In fact, many would commend Trump for applying that leverage. US foreign aid has often had explicit provisions about reducing corruption as a condition of the recipient country receiving the aid. A US president informally linking the two would be a nonevent.

It only became an event because the figures to be investigated were Joe and Hunter Biden. Here the proper question for Trump to ask is: So what? Yes, Trump might benefit politically from such an investigation, prosecutors and politicians often benefit politically from prosecutions, but does that exempt the Bidens from investigation of what are at least prima facie instances of possible corruption? Implicit in the Democrats’ case against Trump is the placement of the Bidens above the laws that would apply to anyone else (except perhaps other favored political figures).

If the prosecution in the Trump impeachment trial wants to contest that characterization and conclusion, then Trump’s defense should insist on calling father and son as witnesses to explain and be cross-examined. How does Hunter’s dealings with Burisma not make out prima facie corruption? How does Joe’s insistence that the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma be fired, and his threat to put a hold on foreign aid to Ukraine not make out prima facie corruption? Hunter, Joe, and their defenders can explain why there should have been no Ukranian investigation, and why Trump should not have used all the leverage he had, including putting a hold on aid—just as Joe Biden threatened to do (and bragged about in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations) to get the prosecutor fired—to prompt Ukraine to launch such an investigation.

If what Trump did is a crime, so too is what Joe Biden did. However, because Biden publicly bragged about what he did, proving Biden’s criminal culpability would be far easier than proving Trump’s. 

It may be news to Peggy Noonan, but unlike in the House proceedings, in the Senate Trump will be able to avail himself of two bulwarks of the American legal system: the Sixth Amendment and the hearsay exclusion. The Sixth Amendment protects defendants’ rights, “to be confronted with the witnesses against him;” and “to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.”

The hearsay exclusion bars “testimony in court of a statement made out of the court, the statement being offered as an assertion to show the truth of matters asserted therein, and thus resting for its value upon the credibility of the out-of-court asserter.” Mutyambizi v. State, 33 Md.App. 55, 363 A.2d 511, 518. Hearsay is “evidence not proceeding from from the personal knowledge of the witness, but from the mere repetition of what he heard others say. That which does not derive its value solely from the credit of the witness, but rests mainly on the veracity and competency of other personsThe very nature of the evidence shows its weakness, and it is admitted only in specified cases from necessity. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, 1979, West Publishing Co. The 6th Amendment and the hearsay exclusion are related, they both embody fundamental fairness by recognizing a defendant’s right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him.

While Adam Schiff was able to keep the whistleblower whose memorandum initiated the House’s impeachment investigation from testifying, such protection would not be available in the Senate trial. Trump has the right to confront his accusers. There are allegations that Schiff and members of his staff conferred with the whistleblower before the memorandum was publicly disclosed. Trump’s defense team could argue that Schiff, by conferring with the whistleblower and leading the House impeachment investigation, was also an accuser within the meaning of the 6th Amendment. If that argument prevailed, Schiff would have to testify and be cross-examined. Who knows where that might lead.

Trump would also have the 6th Amendment right to call friendly witnesses, not just to dispute the particulars of his alleged criminal conduct, but to challenge the credibility of adverse witnesses. Again, who knows where that might lead.

Trump would also contest the whistleblower’s testimony, and the testimony from many of the witnesses who appeared in the House proceedings, as hearsay. There is no doubt that the testimony is hearsay, so it would have to be admitted under one of the hearsay exclusion’s exceptions, which would be problematic. Even if it was admitted, the witnesses would be subject to cross-examination, and that didn’t always go so well for Schiff and company in the House. Noonan cited Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s testimony concerning the alleged quid pro quo that, “everyone was in the loop, it was no secret.” She said his testimony “was kind of the whole ballgame.” Watch Republican Representative Mike Turner’s shred that testimony.

Perhaps Noonan didn’t see that video.

The one item of evidence that’s clearly admissible is the transcript of Trump’s call with President Zelensky. The authors of that transcript would be available to testify as to its authenticity, which means it fits within a hearsay exception. It’s also conceivable that Zelensky, Trump, or both could testify as to the subject matter, tenor, and tone of their conversation.

The transcript contains no explicit mention of a quid pro quo. Both Trump and Zelensky deny a quid pro quoIf the hearsay presented in the House and the whistleblower’s hearsay are barred in the Senate, it would severely weaken the prosecution’s case. It may be news to Peggy Noonan, but the prosecution has the burden of proof (although it’s unclear if the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard would apply). Without the hearsay, the prosecution won’t have much in the way of proof, and there is evidence that arguably tends to exonerate Trump. Supporting the two presidents’ assertions of no quid pro quo,  Zelensky has not initiated an investigation of the Bidens, and Trump did eventually release the aid to Ukraine, although he may have been prompted to do so by the House, which was set to override his hold and release the aid.

In a conventional criminal case, the defendant can attack the integrity, impartiality, and conduct of the prosecution. If Trump is allowed to do so, he would have two strong lines of attack. Noonan approves of “the sober testimony from respectable diplomats,” who made it “clear in a new and public way that pretty much everyone around the president has been forced for three years to work around his poor judgment and unpredictability in order to do their jobs.” Whether that’s true or not, what is such testimony even doing in an impeachment investigation? Trump’s managerial style, and more importantly, his publicly expressed skepticism concerning some of the policies championed by “respectable diplomats” cannot be considered “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Article II, Section 4, US Constitution). Trump could object to such testimony on grounds of relevancy and argue that his accusers were trying to criminalize differences in policy and perceived shortcomings in his personal style.

Trump’s other line of attack would be to illuminate the Democrats’ many questionable ties to Ukraine, and argue that the real aim of their impeachment effort is to prevent him from possibly exposing and jeopardizing those ties.

Ostensibly, Ukraine is a minefield for Democrats. In 2014, the US sponsored a coup against Ukraine’s duly elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who had aligned the country with Russia rather than the EU. That coup has not worked out well for the US. Russia quickly annexed Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine, and has aided a eastern Ukrainian separatist movement that favors Russia and bitterly resents the coup.

The puppet Ukraine government has been a corrupt money pit for Western aid, loans, and loan guarantees, featuring, among many questionable characters, a coterie that reveres Nazi Germany and the role it played in World War II. The Ukrainian government is a loser, but it’s our loser and Trump has doubled down on Obama’s failure, backing monetary aid and weapons shipments to the beleaguered nation.

Russiagate was launched by Ukrainian officials who disseminated rumors in 2016 that Trump was in league with Russia and later, openly questioned his suitability for the presidency. The DNC dispatched a contractor, Alexandra Chalupa, to Ukraine to search for compromising material on Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chairman. In other words, the Democrats sought information from a foreign power to influence the 2016 election, precisely what they groundlessly accuse Trump of doing.

CrowdStrike, the firm that investigated the server the DNC wouldn’t let the FBI or NSA touch, was founded by Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch, a senior fellow of the anti-Russian Atlantic Council think tank, and funded by a fanatically anti-Russian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk, who donated at least $25 million to the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 election. CrowdStrike never even produced a final report on its Russian hacking investigation, and had to revise and retract statements it used to support its conclusion.

- “Make the Truth Irrelevant,” Robert Gore, SLL, 10/16/19

The reason the Democrats have repeated “quid pro quo” over and over is because that’s the one narrow point they can focus on without their Ukrainian shenanigans blowing up in their faces. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike and the possible Ukrainian initiation of the fruitless Russiagate investigation in his call with Zelensky. As the above-cited SLL article makes clear, those are two issues the Democrats definitely want to avoid, and they’re trying mightily to separate the issue of the supposed quid pro quo from the linked issue of Biden father and son’s possible corruption. The Trump defense team should pound the table on the Democrats’ odiferous involvement with Ukraine.

Impeachment is always a political process. Ultimately, legal considerations will be secondary to politics. However, the Democrats’ political strategy appears as flawed as their legal tactics. Assuming the House votes for impeachment, the case moves from the forum they controlled to the Senate, which the Republicans control. Never underestimate the cowardice of Republican politicians, but they cannot afford to roll on this one, given Trump’s popularity within the party’s rank and file. House Republicans voted unanimously against the impeachment proceedings. Any Republican voting in favor would have risked almost certain defeat in the next election. Republican Senators perceived as not giving Trump a fair trail, or who vote to convict, will suffer political backlash, especially those Senators up for reelection in the next election.

At the very least, Trump should be able to exercise all the rights afforded defendants in criminal trails. I have suggested ways he can avail himself of those rights, and he can hire attorneys who are far smarter and more experienced than I am. His team can mount a strong defense. Although the mainstream media will be solidly against him, and their commentary will undoubtedly be biased and tendentious, there will be wall-to-wall television coverage and thousands of YouTube videos, so people can see for themselves what transpires.

Those optics—to use a beloved Washington and media word—could well bolster support for Trump and hurt the Democrats. The Republicans may want to drag his trial out as long as possible. If his defense is effective and the Senate votes not to convict, the Democrats will have given him the last word as the House impeachment hearings fade from memory. He will have a golden campaign issue to rally his base and the Democrats will be even more discredited than they were after the Mueller report (with everyone but there own rabid base).

Trump’s defenders have a solid defense if they’re given a fair chance to present it in a forum governed by the standard precepts of American law. If Peggy Noonan’s column represents what the Wall Street Journal considers informed thought and commentary, I’m glad I cancelled my subscription long ago.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 18:35
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Published:11/27/2019 5:49:34 PM
[] Barack Obama suggests considering a more scientific approach 'before arguing with friends or family around the Thanksgiving table' Today attempts by lefty organizations to help ruin Thanksgiving dinners around the nation have come from the likes of the ACLU, a pro-abortion group and MoveOn.

But former President Obama has arrived to try and calm things down a little, which a call to use a more]] Published:11/27/2019 4:50:29 PM

[] Erick Erickson says ICE's fake university kind of makes him sympathetic to the 'abolish ICE' movement As Twitchy reported, ICE, while working under the Obama administration, set up a fake university as part of a sting operation "designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud." The Detroit Free Press reported that the university "was not staffed with instructors/educators, it had no curriculum, no]] Published:11/27/2019 3:53:39 PM
[] Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean That They Aren't Out To Get You The hard line religious leaders of Iran have experienced unrest on and off for the past 10 years. It was never Obama's fault because he was in bed with them hoping to garner a legacy.... Published:11/27/2019 3:22:30 PM
[Markets] Walter Williams Asks "Who Are The Real Racists?" Walter Williams Asks "Who Are The Real Racists?"

Authored by Walter Williams, op-ed via Townhall.com,

Former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said that racism in America is "foundational" and that people of color were under "mortal threat" from the "white supremacist in the White House."

Pete Buttigieg chimed in to explain that "systemic racism" will "be with us" no matter who is in the White House.

Senator Cory Booker called for "attacking systemic racism" in the "racially biased" criminal justice system.

Let's follow up by examining Booker's concern about a "racially biased" criminal justice system.

To do that, we can turn to a recent article by Heather Mac Donald, who is a senior fellow at the New York-based Manhattan Institute. She is a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. Her most recent article, "A Platform of Urban Decline," which appeared in Manhattan Institute's publication Eye On The News, addresses race and crime. She reveals government statistics you've never read before.

According to leftist rhetoric, whites pose a severe, if not mortal, threat to blacks. Mac Donald says that may have once been true, but it is no longer so today. To make her case, she uses the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics 2018 survey of criminal victimization. Mac Donald writes:

"According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks.

Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent.

That ratio is becoming more skewed, despite the Democratic claim of Trump-inspired white violence. In 2012-13, blacks committed 85 percent of all interracial victimizations between blacks and whites; whites committed 15 percent. From 2015 to 2018, the total number of white victims and the incidence of white victimization have grown as well."

There are other stark figures not talked about often. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting for 2018, of the homicide victims for whom race was known, 53.3% were black, 43.8% were white and 2.8% were of other races. In cases where the race of the offender was known, 54.9% were black, 42.4% were white, and 2.7% were of other races.

White and black liberals, who claim that blacks face a "mortal threat" from the "white supremacist in the White House" are perpetuating a cruel hoax. The primary victims of that hoax are black people. We face the difficult, and sometimes embarrassing, task of confronting reality.

Mac Donald says that Barack Obama's 2008 Father's Day speech in Chicago would be seen today as an "unforgivable outburst of white supremacy." Here's what Obama told his predominantly black audience in a South Side church:

"If we are honest with ourselves," too many fathers are "missing -- missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men."

Then-Senator Obama went on to say,

"Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison."

White liberals deem that any speaker's references to personal responsibility brands the speaker as bigoted. Black people cannot afford to buy into the white liberal agenda. White liberals don't pay the same price. They don't live in neighborhoods where their children can get shot simply sitting on their porches. White liberals don't go to bed with the sounds of gunshots. White liberals don't live in neighborhoods that have become economic wastelands. Their children don't attend violent schools where they have to enter through metal detectors. White liberals help the Democratic Party maintain political control over cities, where many black residents live in despair, such as Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago.

Black people cannot afford to remain fodder for the liberal agenda. With that in mind, we should not be a one-party people in a two-party system.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 14:55
Published:11/27/2019 2:18:04 PM
[Markets] Obama-Holdover Heading Russia-Probe Office Under Investigation For "Illegally Leaked" Classified Document Obama-Holdover Heading Russia-Probe Office Under Investigation For "Illegally Leaked" Classified Document

Authored by Christopher Hull via The Epoch Times,

The Obama holdover heading the Pentagon office reportedly under investigation by the U.S. attorney who is conducting the criminal probe of the Trump–Russia investigation was accused of leaking a classified document, in a recent court filing for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

The connection hasn’t been previously reported.

According to a Nov. 21 report by independent journalist Sara Carter, U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA). ONA awarded about $1 million in contracts to FBI informant Stefan Halper, who appears to have played a key role in alleged U.S. intelligence agency spying on 2016 Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

In addition, however, a court filing indicates that ONA’s director, James H. Baker, “is believed to be the person who illegally leaked the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s calls” to The Washington Post. Specifically, the filing states, “ONA Director Baker regularly lunched with Washington Post Reporter David Ignatius.”

The filing adds that Baker “was Halper’s ‘handler’” at ONA. Moreover, according to the court filing, the tasks assigned to “known long-time operative for the CIA/FBI” Halper “seem to have included slandering Mr. Flynn with accusations of having an affair with a young professor (a British national of Russian descent).”

Baker didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times as of press time.

The filing notes that Flynn’s defense team has requested phone records for then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, likewise in order to confirm contacts with Ignatius. The filing singles out records for Jan. 10, 2017, when, according to the filing, “Clapper told Ignatius in words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn.’”

Clapper didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times as of press time.

The Pentagon’s current inspector general has already found that Baker’s office “did not maintain documentation of the work performed by Professor Halper or any communication that ONA personnel had with Professor Halper.” As a result, according to the inspector general, ONA staff “could not provide sufficient documentation that Professor Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

Acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn A. Fine in November 2017 started an investigation into charges that Baker retaliated against a whistleblower who red-flagged “rigged” contracts, including Halper’s. Another $11 million in contracts under scrutiny went to the Long Term Strategy Group (LTSG), which is run by a schoolmate of Chelsea Clinton, whom she has referred to as her “best friend.”

According to the whistleblower’s attorney, “Baker’s interest was his awareness of the LTSG-Clinton connection; his presumptive desire to exploit that to his advantage in the event of a Clinton election win; and the fact that contractors like LTSG served as a lucrative landing pad for ONA retirees.”

The attorney charged that Baker’s claims about the whistleblower were “demonstrably false,” calling Baker “partisan and highly vindictive.”

At the time, Richard Perle, Ronald Reagan’s former Assistant Secretary of Defense, called Baker “a shallow and manipulative character that should have gone with the change in administration.” Perle further charged that the whistleblower “clearly was the target, for political reasons, of an effort to push him out of government,” saying “he’s a Trump loyalist, and it was launched and sustained by an Obama holdover.”

That inquiry is being carried out by the inspector general’s Investigations of Senior Officials Directorate.

Raising additional questions, a 2016 report further revealed that the ONA had failed to produce the top-secret net assessments the office was established to conduct for more than 10 years, even with a yearly budget approaching $20 million.

Baker was named as ONA director on May 14, 2015, during the Obama administration. A contemporaneous report called his appointment “part of a wave of new Pentagon personnel moves in recent days, senior-level officials who will outlast President Obama’s final term in office.” Baker replaced Andrew W. Marshall, nicknamed “Yoda” for his “wizened appearance, fanatical following in defense circles, and enigmatic nature.” Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in selecting Baker, “passed over several of Marshall’s acolytes who were in the running for the position.”

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees—which interviewed almost two dozen witnesses—concluded in December 2018 that the Obama Justice Department treated Trump and Clinton unequally, affording Clinton and her associates extraordinary accommodations, while potentially abusing surveillance powers to investigate Trump’s associates.

Jacqueline Deal, president of LTSG, wrote in an email to The Epoch Times: “My colleagues and I began performing work in support of the Office of Net Assessment during the George W. Bush administration, over a decade before the office’s current director was appointed. … None of the awards received by LTSG from the Department of Defense resulted directly or indirectly from the actions or influence of Secretary [Hillary] Clinton. Any statement or implication otherwise is false.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 12:05
Tags
Published:11/27/2019 11:21:08 AM
[Markets] European And Middle Eastern Regulators Raise Scrutiny Of 777X As Confidence In Boeing, FAA Plummets European And Middle Eastern Regulators Raise Scrutiny Of 777X As Confidence In Boeing, FAA Plummets

Update: In the latest blow to Boeing, whose sagging shares are helping to weigh on the Dow in Wednesday's thin pre-holiday trade, WSJ has published a story claiming that regulators in Europe and the Middle East are ratcheting up their scrutiny of the new 777x. The news followed a report about a failed stress test by mere hours.

The move marks the end of an era for American aviation, when international regulators simply trusted the US to handle oversight. It's an important sign of the confidence that has been lost as Boeing struggles to move on from the crashes, and mass groundings, of the 737 MAX 8.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said in a statement it is performing a “concurrent validation” of the FAA’s certification of Boeing’s 777X, a new variant of the company’s popular wide-body jet. The plane is expected to be the first new airliner design from either Boeing or rival Airbus SE to come to market since the MAX crisis began. Two recent crashes of that jet exposed problems with its flight-control systems and FAA certification procedures. Regulators around the world grounded the entire fleet, creating turmoil for airlines and passengers world-wide.

The national regulator in the United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, also plans to separately scrutinize the certification process of the 777X, according to people familiar with the matter. While a small agency, the Emirati General Civil Aviation Authority wields outsize influence over the future of the 777X. That is because the U.A.E.’s state-owned carrier, Emirates Airline, is one of the new jet’s biggest customers. It is slated to be the first airline to fly the airliner in 2021.

According to WSJ, the regulators aren't insisting on performing their own complete independent certifications, rather, they're going to scrutinize the process used by the FAA.

European and Emirati regulators aren’t envisioning a full-blown certification of their own. Instead, they will independently scrutinize the processes used by the FAA and Boeing related to a number of specific systems on the plane, including its flight-control system and Boeing’s safety classification system, according to people familiar with the matter. They will also individually review the plane’s unique folding wings, these people said.

These reviews are perhaps the clearest sign yet that the FAA's status as the world's most reliable regulator has been lost, something that President Trump will need to blame on President Obama.

The separate reviews further undercut the FAA’s once-unchallenged stature as the world’s most influential regulator. The agency had lost credibility in the days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airways 737 MAX in March. That followed the deadly crash of a Lion Air MAX, under similar circumstances, late last year. The crashed killed 346 people in total.

There's no question that this is terrible news for Boeing, Fortunately, according to the latest reports, the 737 MAX should be back in the skies by early next year.

* * *

With the FAA reportedly preparing to inspect every 737 MAX individually before it signs off on the planes' return to the air - a decision that will likely delay recertification and add to Boeing's losses - the latest bad news for the aerospace firm comes from its hometown (well, sort of, Boeing is officially based in Chicago but the bulk of its operations are located in Washington State) paper, the Seattle Times.

The paper reported that a recent stress test for a new model of the Boeing 777 resulted in the fuselage (a fancy term for the body of the plane) ripping apart just below the FAA's official threshold for certification.

Driving the story home, the paper also published a grainy cellphone pic of the damage:

Back in September, the ST and a few other outlets reported that there were problems with the stress test, and that a door had flown off the handle. This, as it turns out, is not only incorrect, but it minimizes the seriousness of what actually happened.

During the test, the plane's fuselage "split dramatically" along the underside of the plane near where the landing wheels are stowed. The body of the plane was rent open with the force of a bomb. Workers in another hanger nearby said the ground the shook and they heard a load explosion. The Seattle Times clarified that their earlier reporting about a door flying off its hinges was mistaken: the 777's doors close from the inside and are larger than the holes they cover, but one door was seriously damaged.

When Boeing tested the original 777 model in 1995, it kept going until the aluminum wings snapped at 1.54 times limit load. On the 787, it chose to stop at 1.5 and then ease the composite wings back down again. Breaking a pair of composite wings could result in release of unhealthy fibers in the air, so it’s likely that with the 777X also having composite wings, that was the plan again this time.

But as Boeing personnel along with six FAA observers watched from the windows of a control room, at 1.48 times limit load - 99% of ultimate load - the structure gave way. Under the center fuselage, just aft of the wing and the well where the landing gear wheels are stowed, the extreme compression load caused the plane’s aluminum skin to buckle and rupture, according to the person familiar with the details.

The resulting depressurization was explosive enough that workers in the next bay heard it clearly. One worker said he heard “a loud boom, and the ground shook.”

Then there was the secondary damage...

That then caused secondary damage: The photos show that the fuselage skin split part of the way up the side of the airplane, along with areas of bent and twisted structure that extended through the area around a passenger door.

A day after the incident, based on incomplete information, The Seattle Times and other media outlets incorrectly reported that a cargo door had blown out.

Unlike the plane’s cargo doors, which hinge outward, the passenger doors on airliners are plug-type doors that only open inward and are larger than the hole they close. But the structure around that passenger door just aft of the 777X wing was so damaged that the pressure blew the door out and it fell to the floor.

These secondary damage sites — the rip up the side of the fuselage, the door blown out — alarming as they might seem, are not a concern to air safety engineers. “The doors were not a precipitating factor,” said the person familiar with the details.

It’s the initiating failure, the weakness in that localized area of the keel, that Boeing must now fix.

As uncomfortable as it sounds, Boeing probably won't need to do a retest: Since the rupture occurred so close to the threshold level, the FAA will likely allow Boeing to make the necessary changes independently and then show its work via analysis.

A safety engineer at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), speaking anonymously without permission from the agency, said that because the blowout happened so close to the target load, it barely counts as a failure.

Boeing will have so much data gathered on the way to the 99% stage that it can now compare with its computer models to analyze the failure precisely, the FAA engineer said. It can then reinforce the weak area, and prove by analysis that that’s sufficient to cover the extra 1%.

One engineer said the rip actually isn't anything to worry about.

The engineer said it’s not that unusual to find a vulnerability when taking an airplane structure to the edge of destruction.

"The good news is they found it and can address it," the FAA engineer said. "They found a problem they can fix. They can beef up the structure based on analysis."

And here are some more details about the test, including an explanation of the FAA's standards, as well as what happens to the test plane during the test.

The test conducted that day was the final test of this airplane, which was fixed in a test rig inside the Everett factory specifically to be stressed close to destruction. The jet was surrounded by scaffolding and multiple orange weights hung from the airframe. Wires were hooked to instrumentation that studded the surface to measure every stress and deflection, the data monitored in real time by engineers sitting at control room computers.

As the test neared its climax, weighted pulleys had bent the jet’s giant carbon composite wings upward more than 28 feet from their resting position. That’s far beyond the expected maximum deflection in normal flight of about 9 feet, according to a person familiar with the details.

At the same time, the fuselage was bent downward at the extreme front and aft ends with millions of pounds of force. And the interior of the plane was pressurized beyond normal levels to about 10 pounds per square inch — not typically a requirement for this test, but something Boeing chose to do.

All this simulated the loads in a flight maneuver where a pilot would experience a force of 3.75 G, compared to the maximum of 1.3 G in normal flight.

The combination of the bending forces  on the wing and fuselage created a high compression load on the bottom centerline of the fuselage — the keel — according to the person, who asked for anonymity because the details are sensitive.

Federal certification regulations require engineers to ratchet up the forces until  they reach “ultimate load” — defined as 1.5 times the “limit load,” which is the maximum that would ever be experienced in normal flight — and hold it there for at least three seconds.

Unfortunately for Boeing, traders weren't in the mood for excuses, and sent the company's shares lower in premarket trade...even as the broader market was set to open at record highs.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:30
Published:11/27/2019 10:46:46 AM
[Markets] Gun Sales Surge In October As 2020 Dems Unveil Gun Control Proposals Gun Sales Surge In October As 2020 Dems Unveil Gun Control Proposals

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

Nearly 11 percent more guns were sold in the United States in October than a year ago, according to newly released data.

Roughly 1.2 million guns were sold this October, a 10.8 percent increase from Oct. 2018, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (pdf). The firm also estimated that about 1.1 million guns were sold in September, another increase of almost 11 percent from the same month last year.

The arms industry observer said it expects sales across 2019 to reach 14 million, past the 13.8 million guns sold in 2018 but below the estimates of 14.7 million sold in 2017 and 16.6 million sold in 2016.

“Sales have definitely been brisk, especially of small concealable handguns. We also saw a spike in sales of tactical rifles like AR-15s and AK-47s, for which I think we can confidently thank Beto O’Rourke,” Justin Anderson, marketing director for the North Carolina-based Hyatt Guns, told the Washington Examiner.

O’Rourke, a former U.S. representative from Texas, shouted on the debate stage over the summer “hell yes” when asked if he’d seize guns if elected president. O’Rourke later dropped out of the race, but other candidates have said they’d focus on gun control, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who has proposed banning 9-mm handguns, a popular handgun that’s used by numerous law enforcement agencies.

It seems to me that Biden is preying upon the ignorance of his base by making such a ludicrous suggestion. Black Friday looks to be a huge day for the gun industry, building on what is already a record year for sales. In addition, with so much competition in the marketplace, retail pricing is as low as I’ve seen in over a decade. My message to consumers thinking about buying a gun: Pull the trigger!” Anderson told the Examiner.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks with the media after touring the W.H. Bagshaw Company during an exploratory trip in a Jan. 29, 2019. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who just joined the race, is also known for his gun control advocacy after founding the group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Jurgen Brauer, Small Arms Analytics’ chief economist, told Fox News that he doesn’t think the rhetoric from Democratic candidates “will be the overwhelming contribution to increase sales this season,” but suggested it could boost sales next year.

“These Democratic candidates hashing it out amongst themselves, there is a bit of talk in the industry and among firearms owners for what this may augur for next year or thereafter,” he said.

Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Fox that prospective gun buyers would be aware of the looming 2020 election and the possibility a Democrat championing gun control could win.

“We’re seeing a lot of talk about people, presidential candidates or state governments wanting to severely restrict rights … Some have called for outright confiscation of guns and firearms. People are seeing that their rights are under attack … They start to make sure that they can buy the firearms that they want while they still can,” he said.

“[In] 2015, 2016 firearm sales went through the roof. It wouldn’t surprise me if we start to approach … that again if we continue to hear the rhetoric that we’re hearing.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 09:42
Published:11/27/2019 8:48:32 AM
[Markets] Is Macron Right? Is NATO, 70, Brain Dead? Is Macron Right? Is NATO, 70, Brain Dead?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

A week from now, the 29 member states of “the most successful alliance in history” will meet to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Yet all is not well within NATO.

Instead of a “summit,” the gathering, on the outskirts of London, has been cut to two days. Why the shortened agenda?

Among the reasons, apprehension that President Donald Trump might use the occasion to disrupt alliance comity by again berating the Europeans for freeloading on the U.S. defense budget.

French President Emanuel Macron, on the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, described NATO as having suffered “brain death.” Macron now openly questions the U.S. commitment to fight for Europe and is talking about a “true European Army” with France’s nuclear deterrent able to “defend Europe alone.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose nation spends 1.4% of GDP on defense and has relied on the U.S. and NATO to keep Russia at bay since the Cold War began, is said to be enraged at the “disruptive politics” of the French president.
Also, early in December, Britain holds national elections. While the Labour Party remains committed to NATO, its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is no Clement Attlee, who took Britain into NATO at its birth in 1949.

Corbyn has questioned NATO’s continued relevance in the post-Cold War era. A potential backer of a new Labour government, Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, is demanding the closing of Britain’s Trident submarine base in Scotland as a precondition of her party’s support for Labour in Parliament.

Also present in London will be NATO ally Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan.

Following the 2016 coup attempt, Erdogan has purged scores of thousands from his army and regime, jailed more journalists than any other authoritarian, purchased Vladimir Putin’s S-400 missile system as Turkey’s air defense, and ordered the U.S. forces out of his way as he invaded northern Syria, killing Kurdish fighters who did the bleeding and dying in the U.S.-led campaign to crush the ISIS caliphate.

During the Cold War, NATO enjoyed the widespread support of Americans and Europeans, and understandably so. The USSR had 20 divisions in Germany, surrounded West Berlin, and occupied the east bank of the Elbe, within striking distance of the Rhine.

But that Cold War is long over. Berlin is the united free capital of Germany. The Warsaw Pact has been dissolved. Its member states have all joined NATO. The Soviet Union split apart into 15 nations. Communist Yugoslavia splintered into seven nations.

As a fighting faith, communism is dead in Europe. Why then are we Americans still over there?

Since the Cold War, we have doubled the size of NATO. We have brought in the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but not Finland or Sweden. We have committed ourselves to fight for Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro but not Serbia, Bosnia or North Macedonia.

Romania and Bulgaria are NATO allies but not Moldova or Belarus.

George W. Bush kept us out of the 2008 Russia-Georgia clash over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. And Barack Obama refused to send lethal aid to help Ukraine retrieve Crimea, Luhansk or Donetsk, though Sen. John McCain wanted the United States to jump into both fights.

In the House Intel Committee’s impeachment hearings, foreign service officers spoke of “Russian aggression” against our Ukrainian “ally” and our “national security” being in peril in this fight.

But when did Ukraine become an ally of the United States whose territorial wars we must sustain with military aid if not military intervention?

When did Kyiv’s control of Crimea and the Donbass become critical to the national security of the United States, when Russia has controlled Ukraine almost without interruption from Catherine the Great in the 18th century to Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 20th century?

Among the reasons Trump is president is that he raised provocative questions about NATO and Russia left unaddressed for three decades, as U.S. policy has been on cruise control since the Cold War.

And these unanswered questions are deadly serious ones.

Do we truly believe that if Russia marched into Estonia, the U.S. would start attacking the ships, planes and troops of a nation armed with thousands of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons?

Would NATO allies Spain, Portugal and Italy declare war on Russia?

In 1914 and 1939, in solidarity with the mother country, Britain, Canada declared war on Germany. Would Justin Trudeau’s Canada invoke NATO and declare war on Putin’s Russia — for Estonia or Latvia?

Under NATO, we are now committed to go to war for 28 nations. And the interventionists who took us into Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen want U.S. war guarantees extended to other nations even closer to Russia.

One day, one of these war guarantees is going to be called upon, and we may find that the American people were unaware of that commitment, and are unwilling to honor it, especially if the consequence is a major war with a nuclear power.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 03:30
Published:11/27/2019 2:46:56 AM
[Markets] A Meaningful Milestone In Sweden? A Meaningful Milestone In Sweden?

Authored by Bruce Bawer via The Gatestone Institute,

When I moved to Norway twenty years ago, a term I encountered often was "American conditions" (amerikanske tilstander). It was always used disparagingly. It referred to such things as urban sprawl, strip malls, inner-city gangs, school shootings and private health care. After Barack Obama became president, I heard the term far less frequently -- in Norway, after all, you cannot get too rough on a country with a black president, especially a president to whom you have given the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today, even though Trump-bashing -- in Norway as in the U.S. -- is the media's favorite sport, the term does not seem to have come back into widespread use, which perhaps has something to do with the fact that the U.S., among other things, now has the world's strongest economy and staggeringly enviable employment figures. Meanwhile, there is another term that has become increasingly common in Norway: "Swedish conditions" (svenske tilstander). It really took off about two years ago, when Sylvi Listhaug, Norway's then Minister of Immigration and Integration, used it after visiting some of Sweden's worst Muslim enclaves -- a reaction that outraged politicians and journalists on both sides of the border.

Although recently there has been good news from Sweden -- which I will get to shortly -- let it be said, at the outset, that the term "Swedish conditions," when used in Norway, has exclusively negative connotations. While "American conditions" covers a wide range of purported sins, however, "Swedish conditions" means basically one thing, or rather one set of intimately related things: admitting masses of unvetted immigrants from a very different culture into your country, encouraging them to settle in monocultural, autocratic enclaves that become no-go zones, allowing them to sit home collecting generous welfare benefits instead of learning the local language and finding jobs, and punishing even their most brutal crimes with a slap on the wrist -- all the while continuing to repeat the mantra that their culture has enriched Sweden and to ignore the glaring reality that Sweden is undergoing a long-term conquest as well as what one Norwegian observer has called "an inferno of violence."

Norway is burdened by these problems, too, but not to the extent that Sweden is. After all, Sweden has the second-highest proportion of Muslims in Europe -- an estimated 8.1% to France's estimated 8.8% -- and has the continent's highest rate of population growth through immigration. Since the 1970s, when it was the fourth-richest country in the world per capita and when virtually all of its inhabitants still saw Sweden as folkhemmet, or "the people's home," where everyone would take care of everyone else, conditions in Sweden have deteriorated drastically. Everything from child care to elder care is being deprived of funds that are instead being used to feed, clothe and house refugees, faux refugees, and other foreign freeloaders. Many Norwegians worry, with good reason, about a massive spillover of social chaos, poverty and crime from a country with which it shares a thousand-mile-long border. "Sweden," read a recent headline at the website of Oslo-based Human Rights Service, "is a threat to Norway."

Nor is it just Norwegians who are concerned: Denmark does not share a land border with Sweden, but is connected to it by the Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and the notoriously immigrant-heavy, crime-ridden Swedish city of Malmö. Both Denmark and Sweden are EU members, which generally has meant no border checks, but as of November 12, Denmark -- which has tried to be at least somewhat more cautious in its approach to immigration and integration than its Scandinavian neighbors -- has instituted border controls on the Øresund Bridge and on ferries arriving from Sweden.

To be sure, the cultural, political, academic, and media bigwigs in both Norway and Denmark tend, even now, to express admiration for Sweden's immigration and integration policies, which they profess to regard as models of multiculturalism at its noblest. Audun Lysbakken, the head of Norway's Socialist Left Party, has praised Sweden as "a light in Europe" for pursuing its frankly suicidal immigration policies.

Sweden's own elites talk about their country in similarly glowing terms. In January of this year, a writer for the Swedish daily Aftonbladet mocked Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg for suggesting in her traditional New Year's speech that Norwegians should have more children -- a sensible proposal in a country, and continent, where the natives reproduce at a level considerably below the replacement rate.

In response, Kjetil Rolness, one of the few major authors in Norway to challenge the politically correct consensus, pointed out that, of course, native-born Swedes, who have an average of 1.67 children per household (and the figure is surely far lower among ethnic Swedes), prefer foreign refugees to Swedish babies. The Aftonbladet commentary, Rolness argued, provided a perfect example of the "wishful thinking," "virtue signaling," and "nearly pathological denial" of reality that characterizes official Swedish thinking about immigration and integration. Indeed, this year Sweden actually decided to increase the rate of immigration through so-called "family reunification."

In her recent book Sweden's Dark Soul: The Unraveling of a Utopia, the Swedish journalist Kajsa Norman provided a vivid portrait of Swedish elites' chillingly out-of-touch attitudes toward the calamitous consequences of their immigration and integration policies. Writing about the refusal of police officials and mainstream journalists to deal responsibly with the mass sexual assaults by immigrant youths at a summer festival for teenagers, Norman notes that among these and other people in positions of influence, "sympathy for the refugees trumps sympathy for the girls."

One is reminded, of course, of the indefensible way in which British authorities handled -- or refused to handle -- decades of child-rape cases in Rotherham, Rochdale and other cities throughout Britain. But in Sweden -- whose distinctive history of ideological conformity and self-image as a "moral superpower" Norman writes about illuminatingly -- the readiness to deny unpleasant realities is even more widespread and deep-seated than in the U.K. and other Western European countries. Nobody in Sweden needed to be told what to think or to do about the assaults at the youth festival: "In Sweden," Norman observes, "everyone knows so well what the accepted position on any given issue is; what others are thinking and how they will deviate from that."

Elsewhere in the Western world, ordinary working men and women -- people whose well-being had long been ignored in the corridors of power -- have in recent years made their dissatisfaction known: Brexit; Donald Trump; France's Yellow Vests; the rise of so-called "populist" parties in Italy, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. The relative passivity of the Swedish masses, with their herd instinct and reflexive trust in authorities -- was often commented upon and puzzled over, given that their nation is perhaps in more urgent and immediate trouble than any other in Europe. But no more.

Which brings us, finally, to the good news I mentioned up front. In recent years, after a prolonged period in the wilderness, during which the political and media establishment routinely talked about them as if they were just this side of Nazis, the Sweden Democrats (SD), the only party in the nation that takes a practical position on its wayward immigration and integration policies, have been steadily gaining support. They did not win any seats in the Riksdag, the national parliament, until 2010; by 2014 they had become Sweden's third-largest party in parliament. Now, according to poll results released this month, SD is Sweden's most popular party, dislodging the Social Democrats from a pinnacle of predominance that they have occupied without a break for a century.

If these poll numbers should translate into an equally impressive victory in the next general election, it will amount to an earthquake in Swedish politics. But meanwhile, the Scandinavian elites continue to smear the Sweden Democrats. In an editorial about the sensational rise in support for the party, Norway's largest daily, VG, commented that while SD "describes what is wrong in [Swedish] society," it doesn't have a good answer to those problems; the task facing the two main establishment parties, the Social Democrats and Moderates, asserted VG's editors, is to "convince the voters that they have far better and more responsible solutions to Sweden's challenges than the Sweden Democrats' simple populism."

Poppycock: it was the Social Democrats and Moderates that created Sweden's current crisis and allowed it to endure and worsen and be considered beyond criticism; and if "simple populism" means, for a change, letting the people think for themselves and then actually listening to them, then by all means let there finally be a taste of real populism in the country that claims to be the people's home. Truly drastic, though humane and sensible, action of the proper kind may well put off a total catastrophe for a few years. One fears, however, that the Swedes have waited too long to stand up for themselves and that it is -- alas -- already far too late to forestall Sweden's transformation into a sharia state.

The Sweden Democrats' triumph, then, may well be at once a genuine milestone in the advance of Swedish democracy and individualism and a mere turn in the road to ultimate cultural displacement.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 02:00
Published:11/27/2019 1:16:21 AM
[Markets] "Washington, The Cesspool Of The World, Will Never Rat On Itself..." "Washington, The Cesspool Of The World, Will Never Rat On Itself..."

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Former US Attorney Joe diGenova predicts that US Justice (sic) Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Obama regime’s FISA court violations and US Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation of the Russiagate hoax perpetrated by the CIA, FBI, Democratic National Committee, and presstitute media will be “very bad for people in the Obama administration. . . . it’s going to be devastating . . . it’s going to ruin careers.”

For the sake of accountable government, I hope that Mr. diGenova is right. But I have my doubts. Cabinet departments and government agencies are not very good at investigating themselves. Attorney General Barr’s job is to protect his department. He knows, and will be often told, that to bring indictments against Justice Department officials would discredit the Justice Department in the public’s mind. It would affect the attitude of juries toward DOJ prosecutions. John Durham knows the same thing. He also knows that he will create a hostile environment for himself if he indicts DOJ officials and that when he joins a law firm to capitalize on his experience as a US Attorney, he will not receive the usual favors when he represents clients against DOJ charges. Horowitz knows that his job is to coverup or minimize any illegalities in order to protect the Department of Justice from scandals.

In Washington coverups are the rule, and the DOJ coverup might already have begun. One sign of a coverup is to announce a future release date of the report. This has now occurred with Horowitz’s report on the FISA violations. The purpose of such announcements is to allow the report to be discredited in advance and to be old news by the time it appears.

Another sign of a coverup is the use of leaks to shift the focus from high level officials to lowly underlings, and this has happened with the Horowitz report, which has leaked that a low level FBI attorney is under criminal investigation for allegedly falsifying a document related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign official Carter Page in 2016. According to the leak, the FBI attorney has acknowledged that he did alter the document.

In other words, it seems we are being prepared for a false story that the plot against Trump originated in lower levels and not with CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and the rest.

This is the way the coverups of the US torture prison, Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan was handled and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Only the underlings take the hit as if they were in charge acting on their own, independently of their superiors.

Another sign that a coverup is in place is Attorney General Barr’s assurance that Jeffrey Epstein killed himself and that evidence to the contrary is just a series of coincidences that, misunderstood, resulted in a conspiracy theory. Caitlin Johnstone gives this short shrift.

Barr claims to have personally reviewed security footage that no one entered the area where Epstein was imprisoned. Previously we were told that the security cameras were not turned on, so what security footage did Barr review? Can the rest of us see the “evidence”?

Barr also in his pronouncement evaded the remarks of the Chief Medical Examiner, who stated clearly that the damage to Epstein’s neck is not consistent with suicide but is associated with strangulation.

There was no reason whatsoever for Epstein to kill himself. He had so much dirt on the Western political elite that he could not be given his day in open court. So he was murdered. The question is, why was he picked up and murdered? Was he using the pedophile information to exact blackmail payments from those he had provided with underage sex? Is it possible for an elite society to be more corrupt than the Western elite society is? How can the West survive when its elites are corrupt beyond comprehension?

That Epstein did not kill himself is completely obvious, so when AG William Barr covers up Epstein’s murder, this is an indication that he will cover up the military/security complex/DNC/presstitute coup against President Trump.

From what I know of Washington, I am certain that Washington, the cesspool of the world, will never rat on itself.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/26/2019 - 20:05
Published:11/26/2019 7:13:55 PM
[Society] Obama Rejected Race-Based Politics. The Woke Left Demands It.

In November 2008, the American people elected the country’s first black president. I remember the night clearly—or as clearly as one can given the copious... Read More

The post Obama Rejected Race-Based Politics. The Woke Left Demands It. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:11/26/2019 5:43:36 PM
[] Politico: The Biden campaign is asking why Barack Obama won't say anything about Ukraine Politico Magazine has a pretty extensive piece Tuesday headlined, "Waiting for Obama," and it goes into great detail how former President Barack Obama has remained silent about the 2020 race (except for the news that Obama privately said he would "speak up to stop him" if Bernie Sanders were running]] Published:11/26/2019 4:13:06 PM
[] Weird! Elizabeth Warren's tax return transparency conveniently leaves out the years when she represented big corporations Elizabeth Warren is definitely all about transparency ... in that we can see right through her:

https://twitter.com/jeneps/status/1199334380633755648

More from Bloomberg:

The Massachusetts senator said she has disclosed 11 years of tax returns on her website, exceeding what she said was President Barack Obama’s practice of making eight years of records available. The]] Published:11/26/2019 1:42:24 PM

[Markets] 'Joe Biden Doesn't Have It': Obama Tells It Straight As 2020 Candidates Seek Wisdom 'Joe Biden Doesn't Have It': Obama Tells It Straight As 2020 Candidates Seek Wisdom

Barack Obama has been frustrating the Democratic establishment of late. By refusing to endorse his former VP Joe Biden - who is barely clinging to his lead as the 2020 frontrunner, while at the same time panning progressive candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the former president appears to be tacitly admitting that the current pool of Democratic candidates - and Biden in particular, is not worth risking his reputation over.

Politico's Ryan Lizza sat down with several people in Obama's orbit, including former Attorney General Eric Holder - who wanted to run for President in 2020 but couldn't because of Biden.

Last year, Obama let it be widely known that he would not make his preference known or, in the phrase that his close advisers frequently use, “put his thumb on the scale.” It wasn’t just Biden who was disappointed. Holder was particularly wounded that his close friend wasn’t more encouraging of his own ambitions. ”He’s still pretty sensitive about it,” said someone close to Holder. “He was really frustrated about having arrived at the decision not to run. Holder couldn’t get in because Biden and Holder have the same set of people. Once Biden was getting in then Eric couldn’t get in. So that frustrated Holder. It blocked him. And Biden has turned out the way they all feared, and that’s really frustrating to Eric.” -Politico

The seemingly obvious answer as to why Obama won't endorse Biden is simple; they worked together for eight years, providing ample insight into Biden's gaffe-prone mental faculties and tone-deaf opinions - not to mention the whole Ukraine thing. Both Biden and Obama have stated that Biden asked Obama not to endorse him until he'd 'earned' it.

Instead, the former president has been dispensing advice to all 2020 candidates who seek it, and "sees his role as providing guardrails to keep the process from getting too ugly and to unite the party when the nominee is clear," according to the report.

That said, while Obama has been incredibly careful not to speak ill of Biden - he did take a jab at his former VP, suggesting that when it comes to having an 'intimate bond with the electorate' (especially in Iowa), Biden 'really doesn't have it.':

With several lesser-known candidates, according to people who have talked to him or been briefed on his meetings, he was blunt about the challenges of breaking out of a large field. His advice is not always heeded. He told Patrick earlier this year that it was likely “too late” for him to secure “money and talent” if he jumped in the race. Occasionally, he can be cutting. With one candidate, he pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate, especially in Iowa, that he no longer has. Then he added, “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.” -Politico

More takeaways from Politico:

  •  Biden's camp has been frustrated with Obama's silence over Ukraine

One person who is very close to both Obama and Biden said the only time the Biden campaign has been disappointed in Obama is over Trump’s Ukraine scandal. “I don't think anybody in the Biden world challenges Obama’s affection for Biden, or challenges his strategy of not weighing in for anybody,” this person said. ”I do think there's frustration when Joe Biden and Hunter Biden get attacked by Republicans on the Ukrainian thing and they say, ’Obama and his administration looked the other way back when this was happening,’ and Obama doesn't say anything. The Biden people ask, ‘Why won’t Obama say something?’

  • If Obama saw Bernie Sanders as a serious threat, he would actively campaign against him.

Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him. (Asked about that, a spokesperson for Obama pointed out that Obama recently said he would support and campaign for whoever the Democratic nominee is.)

  • Obama offers candidates three big points: "Don’t run if you don’t think you are the best person to be president; make sure you understand the toll a campaign will take on your family; and ask yourself, “Can you win?”"

As he put it recently at a donor event in Washington, “Not are you guaranteed a win, but do you have a theory, a pathway whereby you win not just a primary but you also win a general election, because there is not an empty exercise if you, in fact, get in. Your goal should be to actually ultimately become the president and then be able to lead the country and the world in a serious way.”

  • Obama planned to focus on setting up his foundation, writing a memoir and dealing with global issues, but feels dragged back in by Trump's 2016 win.

But the original plan of a relaxed post-presidency of writing and thinking and mentoring, one that was relatively unencumbered by partisan politics, was blown up by the twin surprises of Trump’s victory and Biden’s decision to challenge him in 2020. Instead of remaining above the fray, Obama was forced back into the center of politics by Trump and Biden, who, for opposite reasons, talk about him and his legacy at every opportunity.

“In a perfect world, he would have retreated to a greater degree from public life than he has, much in the same way that I think George W. Bush did in his post-presidency,” Holder told me. “He would have liked to have been, though he’s too young, an elder statesman.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/26/2019 - 13:05
Tags
Published:11/26/2019 12:13:35 PM
[Markets] John Solomon: Everything Changes In The Ukraine Scandal If Trump Releases These Documents John Solomon: Everything Changes In The Ukraine Scandal If Trump Releases These Documents

Authored by John Solomon via JohnSolomonReports.com,

There are still wide swaths of documentation kept under wraps inside government agencies like the State Department that could substantially alter the public’s understanding of what has happened in the U.S.-Ukraine relationships now at the heart of the impeachment probe.

As House Democrats mull whether to pursue impeachment articles and the GOP-led Senate braces for a possible trial, here are 12 tranches of government documents that could benefit the public if President Trump ordered them released, and the questions these memos might answer.

  1. Daily intelligence reports from March through August 2019 on Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky and his relationship with oligarchs and other key figures. What was the CIA, FBI and U.S. Treasury Department telling Trump and other agencies about Zelensky’s ties to oligarchs like Igor Kolomoisky, the former head of Privatbank, and any concerns the International Monetary Fund might have? Did any of these concerns reach the president’s daily brief (PDB) or come up in the debate around resolving Ukraine corruption and U.S. foreign aid? CNBCReuters and The Wall Street Journal all have done recent reporting suggesting there might have been intelligence and IMF concerns that have not been fully considered during the impeachment proceedings.

  2. State Department memos detailing conversations between former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. He says Yovanovitch raised the names of Ukrainians she did not want to see prosecuted during their first meeting in 2016. She calls Lutsenko’s account fiction. But State Department officials admit the U.S. embassy in Kiev did pressure Ukrainian prosecutors not to target certain activists. Are there contemporaneous State Department memos detailing these conversations and might they illuminate the dispute between Lutsenko and Yovanovitch that has become key to the impeachment hearings?

  3. State Department memos on U.S. funding given to the George Soros-backed group the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. There is documentary evidence that State provided funding to this group, that Ukrainian prosecutor sought to investigate whether that aid was spent properly and that the U.S. embassy pressured Ukraine to stand down on that investigation. How much total did State give to this group? Why was a federal agency giving money to a Soros-backed group? What did taxpayers get for their money and were they any audits to ensure the money was spent properly? Were any of Ukrainian prosecutors’ concerns legitimate?

  4. The transcripts of Joe Biden’s phone calls and meetings with Ukraine’s president and prime minister from April 2014 to January 2017 when Hunter Biden served on the board of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings. Did Burisma or Hunter Biden ever come up in the calls? What did Biden say when he urged Ukraine to fire the prosecutor overseeing an investigation of Burisma? Did any Ukrainian officials ever comment on Hunter Biden’s role at the company? Was any official assessment done by U.S. agencies to justify Biden’s threat of withholding $1 billion in U.S. aid if Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin wasn’t fired?

  5. All documents from an Office of Special Counsel whistleblower investigation into unusual energy transactions in Ukraine. The U.S. government’s main whistleblower office is investigating allegations from a U.S Energy Department worker of possible wrongdoing in U.S.-supported Ukrainian energy business. Who benefited in the United States and Ukraine from this alleged activity? Did Burisma gain any benefits from the conduct described by the whistleblower? OSC has concluded there is a “substantial likelihood of wrongdoing” involved in these activities.

  6. All FBI, CIA, Treasury Department and State Department documents concerning possible wrongdoing at Burisma Holdings. What did the U.S. know about allegations of corruption at the Ukrainian gas company and the efforts by the Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate? Did U.S., Latvian, Cypriot or European financial authorities flag any suspicious transactions involving Burisma or Americans during the time that Hunter Biden served on its board? Were any U.S. agencies monitoring, assisting or blocking the various investigations? When Ukraine reopened the Burisma investigations in March 2019, what did U.S. officials do?

  7. All documents from 2015-16 concerning the decision by the State Department’s foreign aid funding arm, USAID, to pursue a joint project with Burisma Holdings. State official George Kent has testified he stopped this joint project because of concerns about Burisma’s corruption reputation. Did Hunter Biden or his American business partner Devon Archer have anything to do with seeking the project? What caused its abrupt end? What issues did Kent identify as concerns and who did he alert in the White House, State or other agencies?

  8. All cables, memos and documents showing State Department’s dealings with Burisma Holding representatives in 2015 and 2016. We now know that Ukrainian authorities escalated their investigation of Burisma Holdings in February 2016 by raiding the home of the company’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Soon after, Burisma’s American representatives were pressing the State Department to help end the corruption allegations against the gas firm, specifically invoking Hunter Biden’s name. What did State officials do after being pressured by Burisma? Did the U.S. embassy in Kiev assist Burisma’s efforts to settle the corruption case against it? Who else in the U.S. government was being kept apprised?

  9. All contacts that the Energy Department, Justice Department or State Department had with Vice President Joe Biden’s office concerning Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden or business associate Devon Archer. We now know that multiple State Department officials believed Hunter Biden’s association with Burisma created the appearance of a conflict of interest for the vice president, and at least one official tried to contact Joe Biden’s office to raise those concerns. What, if anything, did these Cabinet agencies tell Joe Biden’s office about the appearance concerns or the state of the various Ukrainian investigations into Burisma?

  10. All memos, emails and other documents concerning a possible U.S. embassy’s request in spring 2019 to monitor the social media activities and analytics of certain U.S.  media personalities considered favorable to President Trump. Did any such monitoring occur? Was it requested by the American embassy in Kiev? Who ordered it? Why did it stop? Were any legal concerns raised?

  11. All State, CIA, FBI and DOJ documents concerning efforts by individual Ukrainian government officials to exert influence on the 2016 U.S. election, including an anti-Trump Op-Ed written in August 2016 by Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington or efforts to publicize allegations against Paul Manafort. What did U.S. officials know about these efforts in 2016, and how did they react? What were these federal agencies’ reactions to a Ukrainian court decision in December 2018 suggesting some Ukrainian officials had improperly meddled in the 2016 election?

  12. All State, CIA, FBI and DOJ documents concerning contacts with a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa and her dealings with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington or other Ukrainian figures. Did anyone in these U.S. government agencies interview or have contact with Chalupa during the time the Ukraine embassy in Washington says she was seeking dirt in 2016 on Trump and Manafort?

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:55
Tags
Published:11/26/2019 10:12:16 AM
[Markets] Is Trump A "Covert Ally" To The Multipolar Order? Is Trump A "Covert Ally" To The Multipolar Order?

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

We are led to understand that the unipolar ‘moment’ of US ascendency is giving way – grudgingly – to a multipolar world: a reversion perhaps to a more nineteenth century ‘concert’ of powers (or, of significant ‘poles’ – since size is not always the prime determinant). And that Trump is trying simply to prolong that hegemonic, US moment – albeit through different means, which is to say, adopting seemingly bizarre, and sometimes counterproductive, acts and language, that infuriate the American foreign policy establishment.

But is this view right? Maybe – Trump is more of a crab. Maybe he needs to proceed towards his ends, crab-like, rather than full-steam straight-ahead, precisely because he is subject to such concerted political attack.

Some in Russia think the very notion of America ‘First’ carries ‘in its belly’ the implication of a letting-go of the globalist ‘Empire’ project, and a return to focus on the internal American situation, and the challenges which the US faces internally (i.e. a return to the type of non-interventionist conservatism which Pat Buchanan represented, but which the US neo-cons loathed, and set out utterly to destroy precisely – because it foreclosed on ‘empire’).

In practical terms, Obama can be viewed, as some in Moscow suggest, as the Gorbachev of the American regime, (i.e. the man who began the retrenchment out from certain of the Empire’s more extended nodes); and Trump then, in this analogy, is the Yeltsin of this regime: (i.e. the president who has re-focused on the internal arena, and on reducing the burdens of the republics that used to constitute parts of the Soviet Union).

The retrenchment-and-rebuild-at-home shift is hard. And it did not turn out well for Russia.

The motives for Trump’s focus on China as a hostile challenger is clear: It serves the need of having a simple popular narrative to account for America’s relative decline (it is all China’s fault – stealing ‘our’ jobs and our intellectual property). It provides too, an unequivocal enemy that culturally threatens ‘our’ way of life – and it offers a solution: ‘We shall take back our economy’.

But what may not be so clear is whether Trump is actually so opposed to the notion (in principle) of a concert of powers. Though bearing in mind the neo-con and liberal interventionist rage at Pat Buchanan’s earlier policy inwardness (and scepticism of intervention), it might be unwise of Trump to admit to such inclinations – even were he to have them. Hence, the crab-like sideways motion towards its destination.

Is then Trump’s outreach toward Russia (whilst China is demonised), simply a Mackinder-ish attempt to divide Russia and China from each other, in order for Trump to be able to triangulate his interests between a (separated) China and Russia – and which therefore is integral to a continuing US hegemonic project – or is it not? Or, does it have another purpose? It is, after all, pretty obvious that such a divide-and-rule ruse will never work, so long as the close personal relationship between Presidents Xi and Putin, holds good. Both leaders understand triangulation, and both view the ‘concert’ of poles initiative – as an existential requirement for their states.

Or, is Trump’s continuous effort at outreach to Russia somehow connected to his understanding of how the US might quietly transition from a moment of overextended empire – to something smaller, within a multi-polar framework?

Why might Trump want – even indirectly and covertly – to encourage such transition? Well, if you were hoping to exit one of empire’s more troublesome nodes, you do not want immediately to be pulled right back-in, through another war, just as you start to pack your bags – the Middle East is one very obvious example.

And by escalating against Iran, Trump both appeals to the globalist ‘realpolitik’ component of the deep state, and to those liberals who support interventions under the ‘moral high ground’ banner, but who implicitly also seek to consolidate globalization. Are Trump’s tactics – berating Iran at every opportunity – somehow an effort at neutralising the globalists (mindful of Pat Buchanan’s fate)?

Trump knows at bottom that his core electoral base is isolationist, and wants an end to ‘forever’ wars. He campaigned precisely on this pledge. Is the ‘maximum pressure’, and threats of war, then precisely meant to substitute for actual war? Whilst, at the same time, appeasing Israel, by effectively taking negotiations with Iran ‘off the table’ (i.e. by undoing Obama’s having putting rapprochement on the table – thus unsettling the sense of security of Israel and the Gulf States?).

Iran seems to think so: both Iranian and Hizbullah leaders have asserted rather emphatically that Iran tensions will not result in war. In such a play, Russia plays a key role: It tries somehow to ‘balance’ between Iran and Israel (at least for now). Is not this exactly how a concert of powers is supposed to work?

So when we speak of Trump’s geo-political ‘strategy’, we mean the meshed strategy of firstly retaining key electoral bases of support: the deplorables, of course, but also AIPAC and the Evangelicals (25% of the electorate claim to be Evangelical, and who are attached to a literal, eschatological view of a Greater Israel, in the context of Redemption); and secondly, of weakening the internal currents in overseas states which support globalism and seek closer relations with the US. This effectively strengthens the sides who not want strong relations with America, and by extension, have a clear interest in a multipolar world.

Wherever you look around the globe, America’s policies have strengthened the sovereigntists: i.e. Iran, Russia and China. Is this simply paradoxical – or deliberate? As one Russian thinker has noted:

“Trump’s conservative tendencies and his deep isolationist predisposition, are placing him in the position of being an objective ally of ours (i.e. Russia and China). One who is facilitating the realisation of our project.”

Is this Iran’s understanding, too? Possibly, but in any event, were it to be so, it would fit well with Iran’s geo-strategy. It would not demand of Iran its compliance with the regional status quo (which it would never agree to).

The seven year Iran-Iraq war had left the revolution intact, but the population war-weary. This war however, taught the Iranian leadership the imperative of preventing another head-to-head conventional war – and instead, to prepare its forces for a new-generation unconventional conflict – mounted ‘far away’ from the homeland, and calibrated carefully, precisely to avoid going head-to-head with a state – or its people, if possible.

And just as the US Evangelicals see the coming into being of Greater Israel as an eschatological necessity, so the founders of the Islamic Republic embraced an eschatology (the Jafari School, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq), which names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi, and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world – as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to both Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised mostly, but not exclusively, of people from the region of Iran, with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Yes: We have almost exact opposite symmetry between the Hebraic and Islamic eschatologies.

A role for Russia as maintaining the ‘balance’ then, is not surprising. This may be how a concert of powers is supposed to work. But will it? Or will it end as disastrously as Yeltsin’s effort, with the collapse of the US economy?

The shift from a unipolar ‘order’ to a concert of poles (in which Iran, Turkey and India may be expected to feature) is a complicated exercise. Much of the Iranian leadership (though perhaps not President Rouhani), may – in principle – think it an excellent idea, were the US to take a turn inwards, and go away. But this sentiment is definitely not reflected in Israel.

In spite of all the unilateral Trump ‘gifts’ to Israel (Jerusalem as capital, Golan as Israel, the settlements as not illegal, etc.), Israel is feeling an existential fear and loneliness. Thus, it is an exceedingly fragile – and indeed increasingly improbable balance – that Trump is trying to mount (with President Putin’s tacit assistance).

It may well collapse – and with it, Trump’s hope for ‘clean’ exit: leaving the Middle East to stew on its own.

And, as a final speculation: Is this somewhat similar to what has been going on between Trump and Xi (i.e. a play analogous to that with Iran)? Is Trump ramping up the max-pressures, and threats of Cold War against China, to substitute for the military war that some of his deep state might love him to fight, but which Trump has no intention of doing?

Is there some tacit understanding that China collaborates in Trump’s blowing of the stock market bubble in the US (China plays well its part in Trump’s market manipulation – with a trade deal always ‘almost there’), as Trump, in his turn, tries to keeps Hong Kong ‘off the table’? All good ‘concert of power’ type trades?

And is the US Congress – with its bill from both ‘Houses’ aimed at putting Hong Kong right back ‘on the table’ – intent, with this bill, on destroying Trump’s implicit collaboration in the creation of a multipolar order?

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 23:45
Tags
Published:11/25/2019 11:10:48 PM
[Markets] David Stockman Exposes The Ukrainian Influence-Peddling Rings, Part 3 Of 3 David Stockman Exposes The Ukrainian Influence-Peddling Rings, Part 3 Of 3

Authored by David Stockman via AntiWar.com,

Read Part 1 here...

Read Part 2 here...

It’s beginning to seem like an assault by the Zulu army of American politics – they just never stop coming.

We are referring to the Russophobic neocon Deep Staters who have trooped before Adam’s Schiff Show to pillory POTUS for daring to look into the Ukrainian stench that engulfs the Imperial City – a rank odor that is owing to their own arrogant meddling in the the internal affairs of that woebegone country.

This time it was Dr. Fiona Hill who sanctimoniously advised the House committee that there is nothing to see on the Ukraine front that involved any legitimate matter of state; it was just the Donald and his tinfoil hat chums jeopardizing the serious business of protecting the national security by injecting electioneering into relations with Ukraine.

She warned Republicans that legitimizing an unsubstantiated theory that Kyiv undertook a concerted campaign to interfere in the election – a claim the president pushed repeatedly for Ukraine to investigate – played into Russia’s hands.

“In the course of this investigation,” Dr. Hill testified before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Folks, we are getting just plain sick and tired of this drumbeat of lies, misdirection and smug condescension by Washington payrollers like Fiona Hill. No Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US election?

Exactly what hay wagon does she think we fell off from?

Or better still, ask Paul Manafort who will spend his golden years in the Big House owing to an August 2016 leak to the New York Times about an alleged "black book" which recorded payments he had received from his work as an advisor to the Ukrainian political party of former president Yanakovych. As we have seen, the latter had been removed from office by a Washington instigated coup in February 2014.

By its own admission, this story came from the Ukrainian government and the purpose was clear as a bell: Namely, to undermine the Trump presidential campaign and force Manafort out of his months-old role as campaign chairman – a role that had finally brought some professional management to the Donald’s helter-skelter campaign for the nation’s highest office.

In the event, this well-timed bombshell worked, and in short order Manafort resigned, leaving the disheveled Trump campaign in the lurch:

…… government investigators examining secret records have found Manafort’s name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies….. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Manafort’s involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign – from Mr. Trump’s favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails – an examination of Mr. Manafort’s activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.

The bolded lines in the NYT story above tell you exactly where this was coming from. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau had been set up by an outfit called "AntAC", which was jointly funded by George Soros and the Obama State Department. And there can be little doubt that the Donald’s accurate view at the time – that Crimea’s reunification with Mother Russia after a 60 year hiatus which had been ordered by the former Soviet Union’s Presidium – was unwelcome in Kiev and among the Washington puppeteers who had put it in power.

For want of doubt that the Poroshenko government was in the tank for Hillary Clinton, the liberal rag called Politico spilled the beans a few months later. In a January 11, 2017 story it revealed that the Ukrainian government had pulled out all the stops attempting to help Clinton, whose protégés at the State Department had been the masterminds of the coup which put them in office. Thus, Politico concluded,

Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

…President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, along with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, insists that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race…..

But Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.

While it’s not uncommon for outside operatives to serve as intermediaries between governments and reporters, one of the more damaging Russia-related stories for the Trump campaign – and certainly for Manafort – can be traced more directly to the Ukrainian government.

Documents released by an independent Ukrainian government agency – and publicized by a parliamentarian – appeared to show $12.7 million in cash payments that were earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned party of the deposed former president, Yanukovych.

The New York Times, in the August story revealing the ledgers’ existence, reported that the payments earmarked for Manafort were “a focus” of an investigation by Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, while CNN reported days later that the FBI was pursuing an overlapping inquiry.

Yet Fiona Hill sat before a House committee and under oath insisted that all of the above was a Trumpian conspiracy theory, thereby reminding us that the neocon Russophobes are so unhinged that they are prepared to lie at the drop of a hat to keep their false narrative about the Russian Threat and Putin’s "invasion" of Ukraine alive.

Needless to say, Fiona Hill is among the worst of the neocon warmongers, and has made a specialty of demonizing Russia and propagating over and over flat out lies about what happened in Kiev during 2014 and after. Thus, in one recent attack she claimed,

Russia today poses a greater foreign policy and security challenge to the United States and its Western allies than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Its annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine’s Donbas region, and military intervention in Syria have upended Western calculations from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Russia’s intervention in Syria, in particular, is a stark reminder that Russia is a multi-regional power…..

There is not a single true assertion in that quotation, of course, but we cite it for a very particular reason. Shifty Schiff & his impeachment tribunal have brought in Hill – and Lt. Colonel Vindman, Ambassador Taylor, George Kent and Tim Morrison previously – in order to created an echo chamber.

That’s right. The Dems are parroting the neocon lies – whether they believe them or not – in order to propagate the impression that the Donald is undermining national security in his effort to take a different posture on Russia and Ukraine, and is actually bordering on treason.
Thus, Adam Schiff repeated the false neocon narrative virtually word for word at the opening of the public hearings:

“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

That’s pure rubbish. It’s based on the Big Lie that the overwhelming vote of the Russian population of Crimea in March 2014 was done at the gun point of the Russian Army. And that event, in turn, is the lynch-pin of the hoary canard that Putin is seeking to rebuild the Soviet Empire.

So it is necessary to review the truth once again about how Russian Crimea had been temporarily appended to the Ukrainian SSR during Soviet times.

The allegedly "occupied" territory of Crimea, in fact, was actually purchased from the Ottomans by Catherine the Great in 1783, thereby satisfying the longstanding quest of the Russian Czars for a warm-water port. Over the ages Sevastopol then emerged as a great naval base at the strategic tip of the Crimean peninsula, where it became home to the mighty Black Sea Fleet of the Czars and then the Soviet Union, too.

For the next 171 years Crimea was an integral part of Russia (until 1954). That span exceeds the 170 years that have elapsed since California was annexed by a similar thrust of "Manifest Destiny" on this continent, thereby providing, incidentally, the United States Navy with its own warm-water port in San Diego.

While no foreign forces subsequently invaded the California coasts, it was most definitely not Ukrainian and Polish rifles, artillery and blood which famously annihilated The Charge Of The Light Brigade at the Crimean city of Balaclava in 1854; they were Russians defending the homeland from Turks, French and Brits.

And the portrait of the Russian "hero" hanging in Putin’s office is that of Czar Nicholas I – whose brutal 30-year reign brought the Russian Empire to its historical zenith. Yet despite his cruelty, Nicholas I is revered in Russian hagiography as the defender of Crimea, even as he lost the 1850s war to the Ottomans and Europeans.

At the end of the day, security of its historic port in Crimea is Russia’s Red Line, not Washington’s. Unlike today’s feather-headed Washington pols, even the enfeebled Franklin Roosevelt at least knew that he was in Soviet Russia when he made port in the Crimean city of Yalta in February 1945.

Maneuvering to cement his control of the Kremlin in the intrigue-ridden struggle for succession after Stalin’s death a few years later, Nikita Khrushchev allegedly spent 15 minutes reviewing his "gift" of Crimea to his subalterns in Kiev.

As it happened, therefore, Crimea became part of the Ukraine only by writ of one of the most vicious and reprehensible states in human history – the former Soviet Union:

On April 26, 1954. The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring the Crimea Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR…..Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR….

That’s right. Washington’s hypocritical and tendentious accusations against Russia’s re-absorption of Crimea imply that the dead-hand of the Soviet presidium must be defended at all costs – as if the security of North Dakota depended upon it!

In fact, the brouhaha about "returning" Crimea is a naked case of the hegemonic arrogance that has overtaken Imperial Washington since the 1991 Soviet demise.

After all, during the long decades of the Cold War, the West did nothing to liberate the "captive nation" of Ukraine – with or without the Crimean appendage bestowed upon it in 1954. Nor did it draw any red lines in the mid-1990’s when a financially desperate Ukraine rented back Sevastopol and the strategic redoubts of the Crimea to an equally pauperized Russia.

In short, in the era before we got our Pacific port in 1848, and even during the 170-year interval since then, America’s national security has depended not one whit on the status of Russian-speaking Crimea. That the local population has now chosen fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev amounts to a giant: So what!

The truth is, when it comes to Ukraine there really isn’t that much there, there. Its boundaries have been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of Washington’s damn business..

Still, it was this final aggressive drive of Washington and NATO into the internal affairs of Russia’s historic neighbor and vassal, Ukraine, that largely accounts for the demonization of Putin. Likewise, it is virtually the entire source of the false claim that Russia has aggressive, expansionist designs on the former Warsaw Pact states in the Baltics, Poland and beyond.

The latter is a nonsensical fabrication. In fact, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine’s last semblance of civil governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazis to gain government positions after the February 2014 putsch.

As we indicated above, in one fell swoop that inexcusable stupidity reopened Ukraine’s blood-soaked modern history. The latter incepted with Stalin’s re-population of the eastern Donbas region with “reliable” Russian workers after his genocidal liquidation of the kulaks in the early 1930s.

It was subsequently exacerbated by the large-scale collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists in the west with the Nazi Wehrmacht as it laid waste to Poles, Jews, gypsies and other “undesirables” on its way to Stalingrad in 1942-43. Thereafter followed an equal and opposite spree of barbaric revenge as the victorious Red Army marched back through Ukraine on its way to Berlin.

So it may be fairly asked. What beltway lame brains did not chance to understand that Washington’s triggering of “regime change” in Kiev would reopen this entire bloody history of sectarian and political strife?

Moreover, once they had opened Pandora’s box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?

Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current anti-Putin sanctions and embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war. The alleged Russian threat to Europe, therefore, was manufactured in Imperial Washington, not the Kremlin.

In fact, in 1989 and 1990, the George H. W. Bush administration assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that if he accepted German unification, the West would not seek to exploit the situation through any eastward expansion – not even by “one inch,” as then-secretary of state James Baker assured Gorbachev. But Bill Clinton reneged on that commitment, moving to expand NATO on an eastward path that eventually led right up to the Russian border.

So Robert Merry said it well in his excellent piece on the entire neocon Ukraine Scam that is being paraded before the Schiff Show.

NATO, with just 16 members in 1990, now includes 29 European states, with all of the expansion countries lying east of Germany. As this was unfolding, Russian leaders issued stern warnings about the consequences if America and the West sought to include in NATO either Ukraine or Georgia. Both are considered as fundamental to Russian security.

True, many in western Ukraine have pushed for greater ties to the West and wanted their elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, to respond favorably to Western financial blandishments. But Yanukovych, tilting toward Russia, eschewed NATO membership for Ukraine, renewed a long-term lease for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and gave official status to the Russian language. These actions eased tensions between Ukraine and Russia, but they inflamed Ukraine’s internal politics. And when Yanukovych abandoned negotiations aimed at an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union in favor of greater economic ties to Russia, pro-Western Ukrainians, including far-right provocateurs, staged street protests that ultimately brought down Yanukovych’s government. Victoria Nuland gleefully egged on the protesters. The deposed president fled to Russia.

Nuland then set about determining who would be Ukraine’s next prime minister, namely Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “Yats is our guy,” she declared to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. When Pyatt warned that many EU countries were uncomfortable with a Ukrainian coup, she shot back, “Fuck the EU.” She then got her man Yats into the prime minister position, demonstrating the influence that enables US meddling in foreign countries.

That’s when Putin rushed back to Moscow from the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi to protect the more Russian-oriented areas of Ukraine (the so-called Donbass in the country’s east and Crimea in the south) from being swallowed up in this new drama. He orchestrated a plebiscite in Crimea, which revealed strong sentiment for reunification with Russia (hardly the “sham referendum” described by Taylor) and sent significant military support to Donbass Ukrainians who didn’t want to be pulled westward.

The West and America have always been, and must remain, wary of Russia. Its position in the center of Eurasia – the global “heartland,” in the view of the famous British geographic scholar Halford Mackinder – renders it always a potential threat. Its vulnerability to invasion stirs in Russian leaders an inevitable hunger for protective lands. Its national temperament seems to include a natural tendency towards authoritarianism. Any sound American foreign policy must keep these things in mind.

But in the increasingly tense relationship between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia, the Alliance has been the more aggressive player – aggressive when it pushed for NATO’s eastward expansion despite promises to the contrary from the highest levels of the US government; aggressive when it turned that policy into an even more provocative plan for the encirclement of Russia; aggressive when it dangled the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia; aggressive when it sought to lure Ukraine out of the Russian orbit with economic incentives; aggressive when it helped foster the street coup against a duly elected Ukrainian government; and aggressive in its continued refusal to appreciate or acknowledge Russia’s legitimate geopolitical interests in its own neighborhood.

George Kent and William B. Taylor Jr., in their testimony last week, personified this aggressive outlook, designed to squeeze Russia into a geopolitical corner and trample upon its regional interests in the name of Western universalism. If that outlook continues and leads to ever greater tensions with Russia, it can’t end well.

That is, what is being desperately defended on Capitol Hill is not the rule of law, national security or fidelity to the Constitution of the United States., but a giant Neocon Lie that is needed to keep the Empire in business, and the world moving ever closer to an utterly unnecessary Cold War 2.0 between nation’s each pointing enough nuclear warheads at the other to destroy the planet.

*  *  *

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution FailedThe Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 22:25
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Published:11/25/2019 9:38:03 PM
[Markets] Trump In Wonderland: Off With His Head? Trump In Wonderland: Off With His Head?

Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategiuc Culture Foundation,

Donald Trump’s millions of detractors without doubt see him as The Mad Hatter: But, no: He’s Alice. The President of the United States has disappeared down the rabbit hole and he’s in Wonderland – Complete with a Red Queen (Nancy Pelosi) shouting “Off with his head!”

The great mistake foreign observers make observing the latest farce in Washington is assuming that there must be some order, rationality and linear logic behind it. There is none. It is Politics According to the Marx Brothers

This is a show trial – incompetently planned and directed with hundreds of crazed scriptwriters: The Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee, their staffs and the salivating Mainstream US Media are writing and rewriting the script as they go along.

If one is to believe the Mainstream Media, who avidly take this bizarre cartoon seriously, enough evidence has already been established to clearly convict Trump of seeking to push an inquiry into the prima facie evidence of corruption on the part of the son of a former vice president and the leading Democratic presidential candidate.

Is this supposed to be criminal or shocking? What is Trump even accused of doing? He is accused of cautiously investigating the possibility of corruption in a sensitive and clearly unstable US ally whose government openly tried to influence the 2016 US presidential election (as Russia did NOT!)

Indeed, top Ukrainian government officials before the 2016 vote openly published opinion articles in the most prestigious US outlets viciously attacking candidate Donald Trump and calling for the election of his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Far from endangering the security of Ukraine and withholding US aid, Trump has unwisely approved a flood of lethal US weapons, most especially Javelin missiles for Kiev.

This massive arms transfer gravely increases the potential threat to the breakaway provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. It therefore also automatically ratchets up the threat of direct war between the United States and Russia – a danger of inconceivable horror that the “Hate Trump!” and “Hate Russia!” fanatics in Washington are insanely blind to.

The metaphor of the Gadarene Swine is repeatedly overused: But only because it works. It is true. The Hate Trump fanatics in the US Congress and in the US Media are stampeding the human race towards an annihilating nuclear war that nobody else remotely wants.

Trump in a very basic way has no one to blame but himself for this horrendous state of affairs in Wonderland. He surrounded himself with Russia-hating Armchair Warriors from Fiona Hill to John Bolton and Kurt Volker. So he should not be surprised that to a man – and woman – they have betrayed him.

Trump did not try to roll back the dark influence of the Deep State, the Jabberwock monster of his Wonderland. So he should not be surprised that now the Deep State Jabberwock is once again trying to eat him.

Former US Ambassador to Kiev Marie Jovanovich and former National Security Council official Alexander Vindman both consistently and relentlessly supported the illegal gangster regime in Kiev which only took power by a violent coup in 2014 by toppling the democratically elected president of the nation.

Yet Jovanovich and Vindman have never been held to account for their double standards and betrayal of their primary loyalty to the government of the United States. They know they are safe: They live in Wonderland, where treason is patriotism and loyalty to the law and Constitution of the Nation is the most unforgivable of crimes.

For it is the Elected President of the United States who sets all foreign policy: Or at least is supposed to. And it is the diplomatic and security apparatus of the United States that is presumed to implement that policy loyally and without questioning it.

Also, all ambassadors explicitly serve at the pleasure of the president and Trump should have fired Jovanovich as soon as he took office. She had been appointed by his predecessor Barack Obama, with the blessing of his own foreign policy guru, Polish-American and Russia-hating former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to implement a policy that Trump was explicitly elected to abandon – reckless, potentially highly dangerous unconditional US support for the unstable coup government in Kiev.

But none of this matters: We are Inside the Beltway and Down the Rabbit Hole. We are in Washington. And Washington is Wonderland. Lewis Carroll and his Alice would have understood immediately.

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 18:25
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Published:11/25/2019 5:41:24 PM
[Markets] Twenty Crazy Beliefs On Economics And Politics Twenty Crazy Beliefs On Economics And Politics

Authored by Donald Boudreaux via The American Institute for Economic Research,

  1. Why do so many American Progressives, fearing that rich people abuse state power, aim to reduce the riches of rich people, instead of the state power that Progressives admit is subject to being abused?

  2. Why do so many American Progressives wish to put even larger swathes of our lives under political control given their belief that politics is so very easily corrupted by oligarchs and big-money donors?

  3. Why do so many American Progressives – fearful of corporate power and understandably dismayed by cronyism – support tariffs and export subsidies (such as those dispensed by the U.S. Export-Import Bank)? After all, each tariff and every cent of subsidy is an unearned privilege granted by government to corporations at the expense of consumers, workers, and households – a privilege that creates corporate power and fuels abuse by corporations that would otherwise not arise.

  4. Why do so many American Progressives, with one breath, criticize free-market economists for allegedly failing to take account of the immense importance that we humans attach to community, cultural identity, and other non-monetary values and features of our existence, and yet with the next breath talk as if the only inequality that matters is inequality of monetary incomes or wealth? (That this “Progressives” criticism of free-market economists is baseless is a subject for another day.)

  5. And why do so many American Progressives, given their correct understanding that monetary values are not all that matter, treat differences in monetary incomes and wealth as sure evidence of economic malfunction? 

  6. Why do so many American Progressives believe that ordinary Americans are far too incompetent to choose for themselves, each individually, the appropriate levels of safety for their automobiles, workplaces, and pharmaceutical products, but supremely competent to choose which political ‘leaders’ are best for the entire country?

  7. Why do so many American Progressives revile business people who seek greater wealth by succeeding in commerce, yet revere politicians who seek greater power by succeeding in politics?

  8. Why do so many Americans Progressives hurl accusations of “greed” at private citizens who wish only to keep for themselves more of the money that they’ve earned, yet celebrate as selfless and noble politicians who wish to take from private citizens money that these politicians did not earn?

  9. Why do so many American Progressives tout the alleged virtues of locally “sourced” foods and of locally produced goods while incessantly pushing for more and more power over individuals and locales to be exercised in far-away state capitals and in even farther away Washington, DC.?

  10. Why do large numbers of American conservatives believe that U.S. government tax hikes and other interventions into the American economy are ham-fisted and, hence, harmful to the American economy, yet believe that similar interventions by foreign governments into foreign economies are genius surgical operations that inevitably strengthen those foreign economies? 

  11. Why do these very same conservatives also believe that the U.S. government somehow becomes capable of intervening successfully into the American economy if such intervention is advertised as being a response to foreign-government interventions into foreign economies?

  12. Why do large numbers of American conservatives oppose taxes but support tariffs? Are these conservatives unaware that the latter is simply one of many different species of taxes?

  13. Why do so many American conservatives boast about the strength of America and the resilience and greatness of her people but insist also that to allow these same American people to freely purchase goods and services supplied by low-productivity (and, thus, low-wage) foreign workers paves a sure path to America’s impoverishment and demise?

  14. Why do so many Americans across most of the ideological space think they are offering sound and operational advice when they tell someone who is unhappy with existing government policies to “change” these policies by going to the polls to vote?

  15. Why do so many Americans across most of the ideological space equate freedom with democracy? Do these Americans not see that oppression by a majority of one’s fellow citizens is oppression no less than is oppression by a minority of one’s fellow citizens?

  16. Why do so many Americans, across most of the ideological space, who have ever waited in a line at the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew a driver’s license or to register a vehicle, or who have suffered long delays in a cavernous passport-control room to reenter the country after traveling abroad, want to turn over to the same institution that is responsible for the inefficiencies regularly on display in those government offices more control over our lives?

  17. Why does not every American who has ever listened to a speech by a successful 21st century politician, or who has ever attended or tuned in to a “debate” among these office-seekers, come away from such an experience filled with terrible fear at the thought of any of these office-seekers exercising even the tiniest bit of say in the lives of ordinary Americans?

  18. Why do so few American conservatives who were rightly appalled by Barack Obama’s performance in the Oval Office – and who rightly fear how that office would be abused by a President Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden – wish to reduce the power of the presidency?

  19.  And why do so few American Progressives who are rightly appalled by Donald Trump’s performance in the Oval Office – and who rightly fear an additional four years of Trump’s abuse of that office – wish to reduce the power of the presidency?

  20. Why does the goal of restraining the power of government in all areas of life have so little political clout given that confidence in government is at historic lows?

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 17:45
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Published:11/25/2019 4:53:26 PM
[] Bill Kristol: I'm Pretending I Would Like to Support a " " " Moderate " " " Like Ultra-Liberal Joe Biden, But I'm Totally Up for an Elizabeth Warren Presidency Too I guess Pierre Omidyar's checks are clearing nicely. I've said it a hundred times: Joe Biden -- who is not a moderate, but was just as much of a radical progressive as Barack Obama; white =/= "conservative" or "moderate" --... Published:11/25/2019 4:45:55 PM
[Economy] How the Trump Administration Could Clear Up Regulated ‘Waters’

The Trump administration last month repealed the Obama administration’s infamous “waters of the United States” rule, by which bureaucrats tried to use the Clean Water... Read More

The post How the Trump Administration Could Clear Up Regulated ‘Waters’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:11/25/2019 1:39:26 PM
[California] What Happened to Chick-Fil-A? They Put an Obama/Hillary Donor in Charge Who Then Dumped Christians What Happened to Chick-Fil-A? They Put an Obama/Hillary Donor in Charge Who Then Dumped Christians. Well here’s the explanation dumping non-LGBT approved charities like the Salvation Army. We expect they’ll soon be offering non-meat chicken sandwiches and tofu french fries. Published:11/25/2019 11:37:00 AM
[] Rick Perry: I told Trump that he was chosen by God -- just like Obama was Perry's getting a bad rap on these comments this morning from the media, much of which is omitting the "Obama" part of what he said in their coverage of it. He's not claiming that Trump was chosen by God uniquely among presidents as the American messiah or whatever. Some hardcore]] Published:11/25/2019 10:35:18 AM
[Politics] 38% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Thirty-eight percent (38%) 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 November 21.

This week’s finding is down one point from a week ago. By comparison, this number 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 November 10-14, 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:11/25/2019 10:35:17 AM
[Markets] Chris Matthews Asks Gabbard: Why Are So Many Democrats War Hawks? Chris Matthews Asks Gabbard: Why Are So Many Democrats War Hawks?

In a rare moment with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard explained why the leading figures in her party are war hawks. Far from days of the Democrats feigning to have any semblance of an 'anti-war' platform (only convenient for Liberal activism during the Bush years, but fizzling out under Obama), today's party attempts to out-hawk Republicans at every turn.

"I'm looking at the Democratic establishment figures," Matthews introduced, "people I normally like. John Kerry, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton. You go down the list. They all supported the war in Iraq. Why were they hawks?" (Though we might ask, what do you mean, "were?"). "Why so many Democrats with a party that's not hawkish, why are so many of their leaders hawks?" Matthews reiterated.

In the segment, Matthews heaps rare praise on Tulsi for being "out there all alone tonight fighting against the neocons."

"Yeah," Tulsi answers. "I point to two things. One is you have the foreign policy establishment and the military-industrial complex in Washington that carries such a huge amount of influence over both parties."

She continues, "There are campaign contributions, the influence that these contractors have in this pay-to-play culture, this corrupt culture in Washington, but you also just have people who don't understand foreign policy and who lack the experience to make these critical decisions that impact our lives and the safety and security of the American people. This is so serious about what's at stake here."

Democratic presidential primary debate, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta, via the AP.

The interview happened immediately after this week's fifth Democratic debate Wednesday night in Atlanta, and after pundits have continued to complain that Gabbard is a 'single issue candidate'. 

However, is there any candidate in her party or in the GOP saying these things? 

We find ourselves in a rare moment of agreement with MSNBC's Matthews: she is "out there all alone tonight fighting against the neocons."

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/24/2019 - 17:50
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Published:11/24/2019 5:02:42 PM
[Markets] Are Democrats Now The Party Of War? Are Democrats Now The Party Of War?

Authored by Andrew Moran via LibertyNation.com,

Is foreign policy the main issue for voters heading into 2020? For the Democratic base, the top priority is ousting President Donald Trump by any means necessary, even if that is casting a ballot for a far-left candidate or sticking with a Swamp establishment creature. While the men and women vying for the nomination squabble over minute details regarding free stuff, there seems to be a broad consensus among the presidential contenders – minus a couple – of maintaining an interventionist foreign policy.

Kamala Harris

The all-female team of NBC/MSNBC debate moderators questioned Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and her criticism of Hillary Clinton as the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” Gabbard then responded that the donkeys are no longer the party “of, for, and by the people.” In an obvious attempt to renew the rivalry and give her an opportunity for retribution, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was asked for her thoughts, even though it had nothing to do with Harris whatsoever.

Hillary Clinton (left), Vladimir Putin, and Tulsi Gabbard (right)

While the two ladies sparring was meant to capture headlines, the quarrel and her subsequent foreign policy comments exposed Harris as someone who will inevitably continue the status quo.

Sen. Harris slammed Gabbard for appearing on Fox News and calling out former President Barack Obama and other Democrats for pushing regime change wars. This was ironic because she later spoke with a Fox News reporter following the debate. She also grieved that Gabbard and President Donald Trump are engaging with adversaries. Harris was ostensibly upset that Trump opened the dialogue with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and has been even more perturbed that the U.S. and South Korea ended joint military exercises in the region.

Unfortunately for Americans who value peace over war, Harris has followed other Democrats in goading Russia and North Korea. Rather than celebrate potential positive diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and Moscow, Harris has depicted the process as some odious scheme concocted by the president. Like every other mainstream politician, she wants to have her cake and eat it too. On one hand, Harris claims that she wants to remove troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. On the other, she says that it is important to do so responsibly and to listen to the generals. In other words, expect an indefinite stay.

What makes this laughable is that Harris believes President Trump is the greatest threat to national security. Yet, she refused to put her convictions on display, choosing to vote for the $677 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2018. She also abstained from casting a vote on a massive $750 billion defense authorization bill for next year.

If you think the Commander in Chief poses a risk to the safety and security of a nation, wouldn’t you want to ensure that person does not get an extra nickel in defense money?

Pete Buttigieg

In another moment that involved Gabbard, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s record and experience were a bit more scrutinized by his rivals during the debate. She called out Buttigieg’s recent ideas to send U.S. troops to Mexico to fight the drug cartels, which he argued were comments taken out of context. According to Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to the top of some latest polls, troops would be sent to Mexico as part of security cooperation and not as an invasion.

Pete Buttigieg

The two veterans got into a back-and-forth spat about diplomatic engagement. Like Harris, the mayor took a jab at Gabbard’s meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2007, saying he would have had “enough judgment that I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator.” Gabbard shot back noting that Buttigieg “would lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends to ensure peace and national security of our nation,” referencing Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

This has been a common theme in this primary season: It is bad to speak with the enemy or someone who might be unfriendly toward the United States. The Democrats and the media continually harp on Gabbard’s conference with Assad, which suggests that they believe the U.S. should isolate adversarial states.

Were the Democrats and the mainstream press always this hostile to diplomacy? Not always. In 2007, when he was running for president, Obama conceded that he would be “willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of an administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries.”

The sudden change of heart could be because Trump and some Republicans are the ones who are trying to initiate peace negotiations.

Elizabeth Warren

War is hell and having a loved one serving in the military can be a stressful experience every day. There is a constant anxiety that you will be told that your parent, spouse, sibling, or best friend was killed in combat. It is devastating and ruins lives. The best way to celebrate troops and to honor veterans is to stop sending brave young men and women overseas to fight in these endless wars that do nothing for America’s national security.

Elizabeth Warren

When asked if more Americans should serve in the military, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she thinks so. Warren, who had three brothers serve in the military, posited that “it’s an important part of who we are as Americans and I think the notion of shared service is important.” She then went into some nostalgic bit about her mother checking the mailbox and waiting for letters from her sons.

“And if there was a letter, she was brighter than the day. And if there wasn’t, she would say, well, maybe tomorrow.

This is about building for our entire nation. And I believe we should do that. I also believe we should have other service opportunities in this country.”

This sounds like the language of the local PTA leader working at a neoconservative think-tank in the Swamp and trying to muster enrollment numbers so kids can die in vain overseas. The preferable answer would have been: Not one soldier more until we end these wasteful and endless regime change wars that obliterate lives, destabilize regions, and exacerbate the destruction of the last 30 years.

Sen. Warren’s foreign policy is vague, using the same platitudes as she does on taxes or health care: “U.S. foreign policy should not prioritize corporate profits over American lives.” At a recent CNN debate, Gabbard attempted to ask Warren a serious question about what makes her qualified to be Commander in Chief, but the debate moderators cut her off and went to a commercial break.

Warren is, at best, a moderate hawk and will employ a foreign policy vision that pleases the globalists. She lacks anti-war convictions that will keep the U.S. from embarking upon another adventure of seeking dragons to slay.

Foreign Policy

Has President Trump’s foreign policy been perfect? Nope, not by a long shot. Has it been an improvement from his predecessors? Certainly – if only for the simple fact that he has not started any new wars. And this is what seems to bother his opponents because the Nobel Peace Prize winner launched and expanded wars. Foreign policy has attracted far less attention in the primaries, and most of the candidates do not possess any original ideas on ending conflicts and hostilities. They seem content on permanent intervention, neo-isolationism, and expanding the presidency’s militarism power.

What happened to the Democrats? The façade of anti-war and pro-civil liberties and being a friend of the middle-class has vanished. They will not even pretend to be against militarism and the Patriot Act, and their disdain for flyover folk remains ubiquitous. The only identifying traits of the Democrats are their hatred of the president and their love of free stuff. That could be the slogan in 2020: Hate Trump, Love the [Deep] State.

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/24/2019 - 12:40
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Published:11/24/2019 11:50:13 AM
[Markets] Ukraine, Trump, & Biden - The Real Story Behind "Ukrainegate" Ukraine, Trump, & Biden - The Real Story Behind "Ukrainegate"

Authored by Eric Zuesse,

Since this news-report is going to be especially harsh regarding today’s Democratic Party in the United States, readers should be aware that until that Party nominated Hillary Clinton in 2016, this writer was, and consistently voted as, a Democrat, and that I have never been, and never could be, a Republican. In no way does this article reflect a Republican viewpoint. It is not partisan — not favoring one person’s viewpoint over any other’s. (Though it does favor trustworthy evidence over untrustworthy hearsay and witnesses, etc.) This article is written by a consistent progressive, which means a person whose top value is truth, nothing else than 100% honesty and reflecting only personally verified sources, real facts. Intense care has therefore been taken in checking and cross-checking and validating information before accepting here anything as constituting information instead of as being disinformation (which is sadly rampant). The following article is written only because it reports what my own independent researches have found to be the actual case regarding what is now commonly called “Ukrainegate” (the focus of the impeachment-proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump).

PART ONE: TRUMP’S 25 JULY 2019 PHONE-CALL TO ZELENSKY

The ‘news’-media and the Democrats have been grossly misrepresenting what the “Ukrainegate” narrative and the impeachment proceedings against the current U.S. President are all about; and, as a result of this widespread misinformation, ABC News headlined on November 18th, “70% of Americans say Trump’s actions tied to Ukraine were wrong: POLL”, and reported that “32%, say they made up their minds about impeaching the president before the news broke about Trump’s July phone-call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.” This poll found that 100% of the 506 scientifically sampled respondents had heard at least some of the impeachment hearings, and that 51% of them agreed with the statement, “President Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate,” while 6% agreed instead with “President Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached by the House but NOT removed from office by the Senate.” 25% agreed instead with “President Trump’s actions were NOT wrong.”

However, far more was actually involved in this phone-call than allegations against the Bidens; and those allegations regarding the Bidens have themselves been grossly misrepresented in the press, as this article will show, and will document in its links to the actual and most trustworthy evidence in the case. (Of course, the very best evidence is the call itself, and that will therefore be the first thing linked to and discussed here.)

Furthermore, the American public should have been far more skeptical about the Ukrainegate narrative than they were, because, at first, Democrats were trying to use, as their ground on which to impeach Trump — and thereby to install the current Vice President Mike Pence as being America’s President — Trump’s having colluded with Russia in order to win the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, but that effort failed because it was false and was based on highly questionable evidence, supplied largely through a firm, Crowdstrike, that the Democratic National Committee had hired in order to find dirt against then-candidate and now-President Trump. Now the Democrats’ ground, for replacing President Donald Trump by his Vice President Mike Pence, is that in Trump’s 25 July 2019 phone-call to Ukraine’s new President Volodmyr Zelensky, Trump supposedly pressured Zelensky to have Joe Biden investigated.

One of the first signs of a liar is that the person switches his story — changes to a new and different reason for ‘justifying’ his actions (in this case, impeachment) — and this clearly is being done now by the Democrats and the ‘news’-media, in order to replace President Donald Trump by his Vice President Mike Pence. Consequently: Americans are insufficiently suspicious against the present impeachment hearings. Americans need to examine carefully beyond the mere surface — much deeper. The links here are provided in order to facilitate the reader’s direct access to the highest quality (i.e., most trustworthy) evidence in the case, so that the reader may see, on one’s own, what the ‘news’-media do not report.

25 September 2019 was when a clear and copyable version of the transcript of that complete July 25th phone conversation finally became published, online, by Rhode Island’s Providence Journal; and here is the only passage in the complete transcript where Trump mentioned Biden (three times, in fact — the only three times that the word “Biden” appears in the entire transcript):

Rudy [Giuliani] very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him, that would be great. The former ambassador [to Ukraine] from the United States, the woman [Marie Yovanovitch], was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the [U.S.] Attorney General [William Barr] would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.

What “prosecution,” of whom, for what, and why? The media ignore those questions. when they aren’t simply assuming an answer to them. But no such answer ought to be assumed. Nor should these important questions be ignored. Here, the answers to those questions will be documented.

Furthermore, elsewhere in that conversation, Trump said:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike. I guess you have one of your wealthy people. The server, they say Ukraine has it.

Zelensky responded by asserting that “the next prosecutor general [in Ukraine] will be 100% my person” and that “he or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company [Crowdstrike] that you mentioned in this issue.” Nothing at all was said by Zelensky about any Biden, at any point in the entire phone-call. It wasn’t mainly about the Bidens such as the press alleges to be the case.

In fact: the “favor” that Trump was asking about wasn’t concerning the Bidens, but it instead concerned the investigation that Trump’s Attorney General (referenced here when Trump said “whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great”) is now heading, into the question of why Obama’s FBI and entire intelligence community had proceeded with the highly suspect Christopher Steele and Crowdstrike report that the Democratic National Committee had hired under Obama in order to come up with allegations to use against Trump, and why the Obama Administration never demanded to inspect the DNC’s own server in order to examine the key physical evidence in the alleged Russiagate case against Trump — much less, what testimony and evidence Julian Assange might have in the alleged Russiagate case. What did Trump mean when he said “The server, they say Ukraine has it”? Did Trump actually think that Zelensky could supply that physical evidence? What did he mean? What was he asking of Zelensky when Trump said, “The server, they say Ukraine has it”?

One can’t understand the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump unless one understands accurately what was happening in Ukraine and what the motivations were of the persons who were involved in U.S.-Ukraine policy, first under U.S. President Barack Obama, and then under his successor Donald Trump. Information will be presented here, about those matters, which probably won’t come up in the House impeachment hearings. These matters are likelier to be publicly discussed afterward, when the case goes to the Senate, but might be too ‘sensitive’ to be brought up even there — especially if they make both Democratic and Republican officials look bad, such as, for example, if both Democrats and Republicans had participated in a February 2014 coup against, and overthrowing, Ukraine’s democratically elected Government, and — if that happened, as we will show it did — how this fact might affect Trump’s relationship with Zelensky. So: a lot is to be shown here, and this will be information that the ‘news’-media have been hiding from the public, not reporting to the public.

There are many instances of U.S. coups that the Government lied about and that afterward had negative blowback. The 1953 U.S. coup against Iran’s democratically elected Government wasn’t revealed to the American public until decades after it had happened. It had long been alleged to have been a ‘democratic revolution’ in Iran. Our Government and media have been lying to us for a long time, and not only about ‘WMD in Iraq’. We shall be documenting here that that 1953 coup in Iran (and other similar instances by the U.S. Government) is being repeated (yet again) in the case of the February 2014 U.S. coup that occurred in Ukraine. The regime is very effective at lying, at deceiving, at manipulating, its public, no less now than it was then. Without understanding the reality of Obama’s coup in Ukraine, there is no way of honestly explaining Ukrainegate. The 1953 Iran coup produced, as blowback, the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Obama’s 2014 coup in Ukraine likewise is having its blowbacks, but of different types.

PART TWO: TRUMP’S PURPOSE IN THE 25 JULY 2019 CALL TO ZELENSKY

The argument to be presented here is that Trump, in this phone-call, and generally, was trying not only to obtain help with evidence-gathering in the “Crowdstrike” matter (which A.G. Barr is now investigating, and which also is the reason why Trump specifically mentioned “Crowdstrike” at the only instance in the phone-call where he was requesting a “favor” from Zelensky), but to change the policy toward Ukraine that had been established by Obama (via Obama’s coup and its aftermath). This is a fact, which will be documented here. Far more than politics was involved here; ideology was actually very much involved. Trump was considering a basic change in U.S. foreign policies. He was considering to replace policies that had been established under, and personnel who had been appointed by, his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama. Democrats are extremely opposed to any such changes. This is one of the reasons for the renewed impeachment-effort by Democrats. They don’t want to let go of Obama’s worst policies. But changing U.S. foreign policy is within a President’s Constitutional authority to do.

Trump fired the flaming neoconservative John Bolton on 10 September 2019. This culminated a growing rejection by Trump of neoconservatism — something that he had never thought much about but had largely continued from the Obama Administration, which invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012-, Yemen in 2015-, and more — possibly out-doing even George W. Bush, who likewise was a flaming neocon. Trump’s gradual turn away from neoconservatism wasn’t just political; it was instead a reflection, on his part, that maybe, just maybe, he had actually been wrong and needed to change his foreign policies, in some important ways. (He evidently still hasn’t yet figured out precisely what those changes should be.)

For example, on 15 November 2019, the impeachment focus was on the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump had recently (in May 2019) fired as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Democrats presented her as having been the paradigm of professionalism and nonpartisanship in America’s foreign service. She was actually a neoconservative who had been appointed as an Ambassador first by President George W. Bush on 20 November 2004, after her having received an M.S. from the National War College in 2001. Obama appointed her, on 18 May 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt (shown and heard in this video confidentially receiving instructions from Obama’s agent controlling Ukraine-policy, Victoria Nuland) as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Obama had selected Yovanovitch because he knew that (just like Pyatt) she supported his polices regarding Ukraine and would adhere to his instructions. Yovanovitch was part of Obama’s team, just as she had previously been part of George W. Bush’s team. All three of them were staunch neoconservatives, just as Ambassador Pyatt had been, and just as Victoria Nuland had been, and just as Joe Biden had been.

A neoconservative believes in the rightfulness of American empire over this entire planet, even over the borders of the other nuclear superpower, Russia. Obama’s standard phrase arguing for it was “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation”, meaning that all other nations are “dispensable.” This imperialistic belief was an extension of Yale’s ‘pacifist’ pro-Nazi America First movement, which was supported by Wall Street’s Dulles brothers in the early 1940s, and which pro-Nazi movement Trump himself has prominently praised. Unlike the progressive U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had planned the U.N. in order to be the anti-imperialist emerging first-ever global world government of nations, which would democratically set and ultimately enforce international laws of a new global federation of nations — a global democratic federation of sovereign republics — neoconservatives are U.S. imperialists, who want instead to destroy the U.N., and to extend American power over the entire world, make America not only the policeman to the world but the lawmaker for the world, and the judge jury and executioner of the world, the global dictator. The U.N. would be weakened to insignificance. This has gradually been occurring. It continued even after what had been thought to have been the 1991 end of the Cold War, and after Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his deceptive rhetoric. Yale’s John Bolton was the leading current proponent of the America First viewpoint, much more straightforward in his advocacy of it than the far wilier Obama was; and, until recently, Trump supported that unhedged advocacy for the neoconservative viewpoint: U.S. imperialism. Regarding the campaign to take over Russia, however, he no longer does — he has broken with Bolton on that central neoconservative goal, and he is trying to reverse that policy, which had been even more extreme than Obama’s policy towards Russia was (which policy had, in fact, produced the coup in Ukraine).

When the Cold War had supposedly ended in 1991, it ended actually only on the Russian side, but secretly it continued and continues on as policy on the American imperialists’ side. The neoconservative side, which controlled the U.S. Government by that time (FDR’s vision having been destroyed when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981), has no respect whatsoever for Russia’s sovereignty over its own land, and certainly not over the land of Russia’s neighbors, such as Ukraine, which has a 1,625-mile border with Russia. Neoconservatives want U.S. missiles to be pointed at Moscow all along Russia’s border. That would be as if Russia had wanted to position Russian missiles all along Canada’s and Mexico’s borders with the U.S.; it would disgust any decent person, anywhere, but neoconservatives aren’t decent people. Neoconservatives (U.S. imperialists) seek for all of Russia’s neighbors to become part of the U.S. empire, so as to isolate Russia and then become able to gobble it up. All neoconservatives want this ultimately to happen. Their grasp for power is truly limitless. Only in the tactical issues do they differ from one-another.

In her testimony behind closed doors to Senators, on 11 October 2019, Yovanovich stated her views regarding what America’s policies toward Ukraine should be, and these were Obama’s policies, too; these views are the neoconservative outlook [and my own comments in brackets here will indicate her most egregious distortions and lies in this key passage from her]:

Because of Ukraine's geostrategic position bordering Russia on its east, the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States [this is like saying that Mexico and Canada are crucial to the security of Russia — it’s a lie] that Ukraine remain free and democratic [meaning, to neoconservatives, under U.S. control], and that it continue to resist Russian expansionism [like Russia cares about U.S. expansionism over all of the Western Hemisphere? Really? Is that actually what this is about? It’s about extending U.S. imperialism on and across Russia’s border into Russia itself] Russia's purported annexation of Crimea [but, actually, “Clear and convincing evidence will be presented here that, under U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Government had a detailed plan, which was already active in June 2013, to take over Russia’s main naval base, which is in Sevastopol in Crimea, and to turn it into a U.S. naval base.”], its invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and its defacto control over the Sea of Azov, make clear Russia's malign intentions towards Ukraine [not make clear Russia’s determination not to be surrounded by enemies — by U.S.-stooge regimes. For Russia to avoid that is ‘malign’, she says]. If we allow Russia's actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will regret for decades to come. So, supporting Ukraine's integration into Europe and combating Russia' s efforts to destabilize Ukraine [Oh, America didn’t do that destabilization?] have anchored our policy since the Ukrainian people protested on the Maidan in 2014 and demanded to be a part of Europe and live according to the rule of law [But Ukrainians before Obama’s takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 didn’t actually want to be part of the EU nor of NATO, and they considered NATO to be a threat to Ukraine. “In 2010, Gallup found that whereas 17% of Ukrainians considered NATO to mean ‘protection of your country,’ 40% said it’s ‘a threat to your country’.”] That was U.S. policy when I became ambassador in August 2016 [after Obama’s successful coup there took over its media and turned Ukrainian opinion strongly against Russia], and it was reaffirmed as that policy as the policy of the current administration in early 2017. [Yes, that’s correct, finally a truthful assertion from her. When Trump first came into office, he was a neoconservative, too.] The Revolution of Dignity [you’ll see here the ‘dignity’ of itand the Ukrainian people's demand to end corruption forced the new Ukrainian Government to take measures to fight the rampant corruption that long permeated that country's political and economic systems [and that still do, and perhaps more now than even before].

That’s just one example —  it’s about the role of Ambassador Yovanovitch. But the focus of Ukrainegate isn’t really that. It’s not Yovanovitch. It is what Trump was trying to do, and what Joe Biden was trying to do, and what Obama had actually done. It is also about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, because this is also about contending dynasties, and not only about contending individuals. Trump isn’t certain, now, that he wants to continue being a full-fledged neoconservative, and to continue extending Obama’s neoconservative policies regarding Ukraine. So: this is largely about what those policies actually were. And here is how Joe Biden comes into the picture, because Democrats, in trying to replace President Donald Trump by a President Mike Pence, are trying to restore, actually, Barack Obama’s policy in Ukraine, a policy of which the Bidens themselves were very much Obama’s agents, and Mike Pence would be expected to continue and extend those policies. Here will be necessary to document some personal and business relationships that the U.S. news-media have consistently been hiding and even lying about, and which might not come up even in the expected subsequent Senate hearings about whether to replace Trump by Pence:

PART THREE: THE CENTRALITY OF UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH IHOR KOLOMOYSKY

The real person who was the benefactor to, and the boss of, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, at the Ukrainian gas-exploration company Burisma Holdings, was not the person that the American press says was, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had been part of the Ukrainian Government until Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, but it was instead  Ihor Kolomoysky, who was part of the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which the Obama Administration itself had actually just installed in Ukraine (and that phone-conversation appointing Ukraine’s new leader is explained here), in what the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor has correctly called “the most blatant coup in history.” (Here’s more explanation of that coup which was done by Obama.)

One cannot even begin accurately to understand the impeachment proceedings against America’s current President Donald Trump (“Ukrainegate”), unless one first knows and understands accurately what the relationships were between Trump and the current Government of Ukraine, and the role that the Obama Administration had played in forming that Government (installing it), and the role that Hunter Biden had been hired to perform for his actual boss at Burisma, Kolomoysky, soon after Obama (via Obama’s agent Victoria Nuland) had installed Ukraine’s new Government.

As I had written on 28 September 2019“In order to understand why Ukraine’s President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn’t want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky’s boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine’s President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places.”

That article, at the phrase “dug up in 2012,” discussed and linked to a careful 2012 study of Burisma which had actually been done in Ukraine by an investigative nonprofit  (Antac) funded by America’s billionaire George Soros (who was another major funder of the 2014 Ukrainian coup, as well as of Barack Obama’s political career itself) in order to help to bring down Yanukovych. However, what this study found was not the incriminating evidence against Zlochevsky which had been hoped. It found instead that the person who owned the controlling interest in Burisma was not really the Yanukovych-supporter Mykola Zlochevsky; it was, in fact, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, who supported Yanukovych’s overthrow. Kolomoysky, shortly after the coup, became appointed as the governor in a region of Ukraine, by the Obama Administration’s post-coup Ukrainian Government. Obama’s financial backer Soros knew, or should have known, that Zlochevsky had sold almost all of his Burisma holdings to Kolomoysky in 2011, but Obama’s Administration was nonetheless trying to get the newly installed Ukrainian Government to prosecute Zlochevsky because Zlochevsky was associated with the Ukrainian President whom Obama had just overthrown. Hunter Biden’s function was to help to protect Mr. Kolomoysky against being targeted by the newly installed Government in the anti-corruption campaign that the Obama Administration and the EU were pressing upon that new Ukrainian Government. Hunter Biden was to serve as a U.S. fixer for his new boss Kolomoysky, to deflect the anti-corruption campaign away from Kolomoysky as a target and toward Zlochevsky as a target. And Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, followed through on that, by demanding that Ukraine prosecute Zlochevsky, not Kolomoysky.

Soros isn’t really against corruption; he is against corruption by countries that he wants to take over, and that he uses the U.S. Government in order to take over.Neoconservatism is simply imperialism, which has always been the foreign-affairs ideology of aristocrats and of billionaires. (In America’s case, that includes both Democratic and Republican billionaires.) So, it’s just imperialism in America. All billionaires who care at all about international relations are imperialists; and, in America, that’s called “neoconservative.” The American issue regarding Ukraine was never actually Ukraine’s corruption. Corruption is standard and accepted throughout the U.S.-and-allied countries; but against countries they want to take over it becomes a PR point in order to win acceptance by the gulls, of their own country’s imperialism and its own associated corruption. “Our country’s corruption is acceptable, but yours is not,” is the view. That’s the standard imperialist view. Neoconservatism — imperialism anywhere, actually — is always based on lies. Imperialism, in fact, is part of nationalism, but it is excluded by patriotism; and no nationalist is a patriot. No patriot is a nationalist. Whereas a nationalist supports his country’s billionaires, a patriot supports his country’s residents — all of them, his countrymen, on a democratic basis, everyone having equal rights, not the richest of the residents having the majority or all of the rights. A nationalist is one-dollar-one-vote; a patriot is one resident one vote. The only people who are intelligently nationalist are billionaires and the agents they employ. All other nationalists are their gulls. Everyone else is a patriot. Ordinarily, there are far more gulls than patriots.

Information hasn’t yet been published regarding what Trump’s agent Rudolph Giuliani has found regarding Burisma, but the links in the present article link through to the evidence that I am aware of, and it’s evidence which contradicts what the U.S.-and-allied press have been reporting about the Bidens’ involvement in Ukraine. So: this information might be what Trump’s team intend to reveal after the Democratic-Party-controlled House of Representatives indicts Trump (send to the Republican Senate a recommendation to replace him by Mike Pence as America’s President), if they will do that; but, regardless, this is what I have found, which U.S.-and-allied news-media have conspicuously been not only ignoring but blatantly contradicting -- contradicting the facts that are being documented by the evidence that is presented hereConsequently, the links in this article prove the systematic lying by America’s press, regarding Ukrainegate.

After the Soros-funded Antac had discovered in 2012 that Kolomoysky ruled Burisma, the great independent Australian investigative journalist who has lived for 30 years in and reported from Moscow, John Helmer, headlined on 19 February 2015 one of his blockbuster news-reports, "THE HUNT FOR BURISMA, PART II — WHAT ROLE FOR IGOR KOLOMOISKY, WHAT LONDON MISSED, WHAT WASHINGTON DOESN’T WANT TO SEE", and he linked there not only to Ukrainian Government records but also to UK Government records, and also to corporate records in Cyprus, Panama, and elsewhere, to document that, indeed, Kolomoysky controlled Burisma. So, all of the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-reporting, which merely assumes that Zlochevsky controlled this firm when Hunter Biden became appointed to its board, are clearly false. (See this, for example, from Britain’s Guardian, two years later, on 12 April 2017, simply ignoring both the Antac report and the even-more-detailed Helmer report, and presenting Zlochevsky — Kolomoysky’s decoy — as the appropriate target to be investigated for Burisma’s alleged corruption.) So: when Joe Biden demanded that Ukraine’s Government prosecute Zlochevsky, Biden was not, as he claims he was, demanding a foreign Government to act against corruption; he was instead demanding that foreign Government (Ukraine) to carry out his own boss, Barack Obama’s, agenda, to smear as much as he could Viktor Yanukovych — the Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown. This isn’t to say that Yanukovych was not corrupt; every post-Soviet Ukrainian President, and probably Prime Minister too, has been corrupt. Ukraine is famous for being corrupt. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Zlochevsky was corrupt. However, Kolomoysky is regarded, in Ukraine, as being perhaps the most corrupt of all Ukrainians.

Perhaps Kolomoysky’s major competitor has been Victor Pinchuk, who has long been famous in Washington for donating heavily to Bill and Hillary Clintons’ causes. For example, on 11 March 2018, the independent investigative journalist Jeff Carlson, bannered “Victor Pinchuk, the Clintons & Endless Connections” and he reported that

Victor Pinchuk is a Ukrainian billionaire.

He is the founder of Interpipe, a steel pipe manufacturer. He also owns Credit Dnipro Bank, some ferroalloy plants and a media empire.

He is married to Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Pinchuk’s been accused of profiting immensely from the purchase of state-owned assets at severely below-market prices through political favoritism.

Pinchuk used his media empire to deflect blame from his father-in-law, Kuchma, for the September 16, 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Kuchma was never charged but is widely believed to have ordered the murder. A series of recordings would seem to back up this assertion.

On April 4 through April 12 2016, Ukrainian Parliamentarian Olga Bielkov had four meetings – with Samuel Charap (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Liz Zentos (National Security Council), Michael Kimmage (State Dept) and David Kramer (McCain Institute).

Doug Schoen filed FARA documents showing that he was paid $40,000 a month by Victor Pinchuk (page 5) – in part to arrange these meetings.

Schoen attempted to arrange another 72 meetings with Congressmen and media (page 10). It is unknown how many meetings took place.

Schoen has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Schoen helped Pinchuk establish ties with the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported how Schoen connected Pinchuk with senior Clinton State Department staffers in order to pressure former Ukrainian President Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko – a political rival of Yanukovych – from jail.

The relationship between Pinchuk and the Clintons continued.

A large network of collaborators, all connected to NATO’s PR agency the Atlantic Council, were also discussed and linked to; and, in one of the video clips, Victoria Nuland headed a panel discussion in Munich Germany at which numerous leading Democratic Party neoconservatives, and neoconservative foreign leaders, discussed how wonderful the “Deep State” is, and praised the Republican neocon John McCain, who had helped Victoria Nuland to install the fascist Government of Ukraine.

On 6 October 2019, Helmer headlined “UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH VICTOR PINCHUK IS PUTTING HIS MONEY ON JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT AT $40,000 PER MONTH – THAT’S $3,000 MORE PER MONTH THAN BURISMA WAS PAYING HUNTER BIDEN”. He reported:

Joe Biden’s campaign for president, as well as his defence against charges of corrupt influence peddling and political collusion in the Ukraine, are being promoted in Washington by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk through the New York lobbyist, candidate adviser and pollster, Douglas Schoen (left).

This follows several years of attempts by Pinchuk and Schoen to buy influence with Donald Trump, first as a candidate and then as president; with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and with John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser in 2018 and 2019. Their attempts failed.

Pinchuk has been paying Schoen more than $40,000 every month for eight years. The amount of money is substantially greater than Biden’s son Hunter Biden was paid by Pinchuk’s Ukrainian rival Igor Kolomoisky through the oil company Burisma and Rosemont Seneca Bohai, Biden’s New York front company.

Pinchuk’s message for the Democratic candidates and US media, according to Schoen’s Fox News [4] broadcast in August, is: “Stop killing your own, stop beating up on your own frontrunner, Joe Biden.”

On November 12th, the New York Times headlined “Ukraine’s President Seeks Face-to-Face Meeting With Putin” and reported that Zelensky is now sufficiently disturbed at the declining level of the EU’s and Trump Administration’s continuing support for Ukraine’s Government, so that Zelensky is desperately trying to restore friendly relations with Russia. The next day, that newspaper bannered “A Ukrainian Billionaire Fought Russia. Now He’s Ready to Embrace It.” This report said: Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine’s most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia.” Kolomoysky, in other words, who had been on Obama’s team in Ukraine, no longer is on the U.S. team under Trump. A reasonable inference would be that Kolomoysky increasingly fears the possibility of being prosecuted. Continuation of the Obama plan for Ukraine seems increasingly unlikely.

Here are some crimes for which Kolomoysky might be prosecuted:

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, along with the newly appointed Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, masterminded the 2 May 2014 extermination of perhaps hundreds of people who had been trapped inside Odessa’s Trade Unions Building after those victims had distributed anti-coup flyers.

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, on 20 March 2015, brought to a board meeting of Ukraine’s gas-distribution company UkrTransNafta, of which Kolomoysky was a minority shareholder, his hired thugs armed with guns, in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the rest of the board to impose Kolomoysky’s choice to lead the company. Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, soon thereafter, yielded to the pressure from Ukraine’s bondholders to fire Kolomoysky as a regional governor, and then nationalized Ukraine’s biggest bank, PrivatBank, which had looted billions of dollars from depositors’ accounts and secreted the proceeds in untraceable offshore accounts, so that the bank had to be bailed out by Ukraine’s taxpayers. (Otherwise, there would have been huge riots against Poroshenko.)

Zelensky is squeezed between his funder and his public, and so dithers. For example, on 10 September 2019, the Financial Times reported that “The IMF has warned Ukraine that backsliding on Privatbank’s nationalisation would jeopardise its $3.9bn standby programme and that officials expect Ukraine to push for recovery of the $5.5bn spent on rescuing the bank.” Stealing $5.5B is a big crime, and this was Obama’s Ukrainian Government. Will it also be Trump’s?

There are others, but those could be starters.

So, both Kolomoysky and Zelensky are evidently now considering to seek Moscow’s protection, though Kolomoysky had previously been a huge backer of, and helped to fund, killing of the Donbassers who rejected the Obama-imposed Russia-hating Ukrainian regime.

Any such prosecutions could open up, to international scrutiny, Obama’s entire Ukrainian operation. That, in turn, would expose Obama’s command-complicity in the ethnic cleansing operation, which Kolomoysky’s co-planner of the 2 May 2014 massacre inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building, Arsen Avakov, euphemistically labelled the “Anti Terrorist Operation” or “ATO,” to eliminate as many as possible of the residents in the former Donbass region of Ukraine, where over 90% of the voters had voted for Yanukovych.

It could also open up the enormous can of worms that is George Soros, because though Trump doesn’t at all care about corruption in Ukraine (nor should he, since that’s a Ukrainian domestic matter and therefore not appropriate and certainly not a matter of U.S. national-security interest), Soros himself was quite possibly breaking both national and international laws in his interventions in Ukraine, and possibly also in his related investments or his threats not to invest there. Not only was he deeply involved in the coup but afterward he was regularly advising Victoria Nuland. Whether even America’s laws against insider-trading were violated should also be considered.

PART FOUR: TRUMP’S MANY POLICY-DILEMMAS REGARDING UKRAINE

If Putin offers no helping hand to Zelensky, what will happen to Ukraine, and to Ukrainians? Might Trump finally campaign for the United States to become one of the “States Parties” to the International Criminal Court, so that Obama, Nuland, Soros, and others who had overthrown Ukraine’s democratically elected Government could be tried there? How would Trump be able to immunize himself for such crimes as his own 14 April 2018 unprovoked missile-attack against Syria? How likely is it that he would ever actually become a supporter of international law, instead of an imperialist (such as he has always been) and therefore opponent of international law? He, after all, is himself a billionaire, and no billionaire has ever fought for international law except in an instance where he benefited from it — never for international law itself. Trump isn’t likely to be the first. But here’s how it could happen:

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives. There’s not much distance between his policies toward Ukraine versus Barack Obama’s and Joe Biden’s. However, after Trump becomes impeached in the House (if that happens) and the impeachment trial starts in the Republican U.S. Senate, there will then be a perfect opportunity for Trump to embarrass the Democratic Party profoundly by exposing not only Joe Biden but Biden’s boss Obama as having caused the war in Ukraine. In order for him to do that, however, he’d also need to expose the rot of neoconservatism. Nobody in Washington does that, except, perhaps the rebelling Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, and she’s rejected in the national polls now by the public within her own Party. Neoconservatism is the uniform foreign-policy ideology of America’s billionaires, both Republican and Democratic, and this is why Washington is virtually 100% neocon. In America, wealth certainly doesn’t trickle down, but ideology apparently does — and that’s not merely neoliberalism but also its international-affairs extension: neoconservatism. Nonetheless, if a Trump re-election ticket were Trump for President, and Gabbard for Vice President, it might be able to beat anything that the Democrats could put up against it, because Trump would then head a ticket which would remain attractive to Republicans and yet draw many independents and even the perhaps 5% of Democrats who like her. Only Sanders, if he becomes the Democratic nominee (and who is the least-neoconservative member of the U.S. Senate), would attract some of Gabbard’s supporters, but he wouldn’t be getting any money from the 607 people who mainly fund American politics. The 2020 U.S. Presidential contest could just go hog-wild. However, America’s billionaires probably won’t let that happen. Though there are only 607 of therm, they have enormous powers over the Government, far more than do all other Americans put together. The U.S. Supreme Court made it this way, such as by the 1976 Buckley decision, and the 2010 Citizens United decision.

So: while justice in this impeachment matter (and in the 2020 elections) is conceivable, it is extremely unlikely. The public are too deceived — by America’s Big-Money people.

As the neoconservative Democratic Representative from Vermont, Peter Welch, said in the impeachment hearings, on November 19th:

And you know, I’ll say this to President Trump. You want to investigate Joe Biden? You want to investigate Hunter Biden? Go at it. Do it. Do it hard. Do it dirty. Do it the way you do, do it. Just don’t do it by asking a foreign leader to help you in your campaign. That’s your job, it’s not his.

My goal in these hearings is two things. One is to get an answer to Colonel Vindman’s question [“Is it improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a United States citizen and political opponent?”]. And the second coming out of this is for us as a Congress to return to the Ukraine policy that Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy both support, it’s not investigations, it’s the restoration of democracy in Ukraine and the resistance of Russian aggression.

He wants a return to Obama’s anti-Russian Ukraine-policy. Though Zelensky had won Ukraine’s Presidency by a record-shattering 73% because he had promised to end the war (which the U.S. had started), America’s Deep State are refusing to allow that — they want to force him to accept more U.S.-made weapons and more U.S. training of Ukraine’s troops in how to use them against its next-door neighbor Russia.

Furthermore, in some respects, Trump is even more neoconservative than Obama was. Trump single-handedly nullified Obama’s only effective and good achievement, the Iran nuclear deal. Against Iran, Trump is considerably more of a neocon than was Obama. Trump has squeezed Iranians so hard with his sanctions as to block other countries from buying from and selling to Iran; and this blockade has greatly impoverished Iranians, who now are rioting against their Government. Trump wants them to overthrow their Government. His plan might succeed. Trump’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, hates Iranians, and Trump is his man. On Iran, Trump remains a super-neocon. Perhaps Adelson doesn’t require him to hate Russians too.

Furthermore, on November 17th, the same day when riots broke out in Iran against Iran’s Government, Abdullah Muradoglu headlined in Turkey’s newspaper Yeni Safak“Bolivia’s Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran’s Mosaddeg”, and he presented strong circumstantial evidence that that coup, too — which had occurred on November 10th — had been a U.S. operation. How could Trump criticize Obama for the coup against Ukraine when Trump’s own coup against Bolivia is in the news? America is now a two-Party fascist dictatorship. One criminal U.S. President won’t publicly expose the crimes of another criminal U.S. President who was his predecessor.

The next much-discussed witness that the Democrats brought forth to testify against Trump was America’s Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, on November 20th. Sondland was a hotels and real-estate tycoon like Trump. Prior to Trump’s becoming President, Sondland had had no experience in diplomacy. At the start of 2017, “four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee”; and, then, a year later, Trump appointed him to this Ambassadorial post. Sondland evasively responded to the aggressive questioning by Senate Democrats trying to get him to say that Trump had been trying to “bribe” Zelensky. Then, the Lawfare Blog of the staunchly neoconservative Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes headlined “Gordon Sondland Accuses the President of Bribery” and Wittes asserted that “today, Amb. Gordon Sondland, testifying before the House in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, offered a crystal clear account of how President Trump engaged in bribery.” But Sondland provided no evidence except his opinion, which can be seen online at “Opening Statement before the United States House of Representatives”, when he said:

Fourth, as I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.

However, in his prior (closed-door) 17 October 2019 testimony to the Senators, he had said (pp. 35-6) that on September 9th:

I asked the President, what do you want from Ukraine? The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall that the President was really in a bad mood. I tried hard to address Ambassador Taylor's concerns because he is valuable and [an] effective diplomat, and I took very seriously the issues he raised. I did not want Ambassador Taylor to leave his post and generate even more turnover in the Ukraine Mission."

That “Ambassador Taylor” was William. B. Taylor Jr., a West Point, Army, and NATO neoconservative, whom George W. Bush had made U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006-9, and whom Trump, at the suggestion of Trump's neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, had appointed to succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch in May.

The testimony of all of these people was entirely in keeping with their neoconservatism and was therefore extremely hostile toward anything but preparing Ukraine to join NATO and serve on the front line of America’s war to conquer Russia. Trump might be too stupid to understand anything about ideology or geostrategy, but only if a person accepts neoconservatism is the anger that these subordinates of his express toward him for his being viewed by them as placing other concerns (whether his own, or else America’s for withdrawing America from Obama’s war against Russia) suitable reason for Congress to force Trump out of office. Given that Trump, even in Sondland’s account, did say “The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times,” there is nothing that’s even close to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard which is provided by their personal feelings that Trump had a quid-pro-quo about anything regarding Ukraine — a policy of Obama’s that Trump should instead firmly have abandoned and denounced as soon as he became President. Testimony from his own enemies, whom Trump had been stupid enough to have appointed, when he hadn’t simply extended Obama’s neoconservative policies and personnel regarding Ukraine, falls far short of impeachable. But right and wrong won’t determine the outcome here anyway, because America has become a two-party, one-ideology, dictatorship.

This is what happens when billionaires control a country. It produces the type of foreign policies the country’s billionaires want, rather than what the public actually need. This is America’s Government, today. It’s drastically different than what America’s Founders had hoped. Instead of its representing the states equally with two Senators for each, and instead of representing the citizens equally, with proportional per-capita representation in the U.S. House, and instead of yet a third system of the Electoral College for choosing the Government’s Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, it has become thoroughly corrupted to being, in effect, just one-dollar-one-vote — an aristocracy of wealth controlling the entire Government — exactly what the Founders had waged the Revolution in order to overthrow and prevent from ever recurring: a dictatorial aristocracy, as constituting our Government, today.

*  *  *

PS: Though I oppose almost everything that the hearings’ Ranking Minority Member, the neoconservative (and, of course, also neoliberal) Republican Devin Nunes, stands for, I close here with his superb summary of the hearings, on November 21st, in which he validly described the Democrats’ scandalously trashy Ukrainegate case against Trump (even though he refused to look deeper to the issues I raise in this article — he dealt here merely with how “shoddy” the case the Democrats had presented was):

Throughout these bizarre hearings, the Democrats have struggled to make the case that President Trump committed some impeachable offense on his phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The offense itself changes depending on the day ranging from quid pro quo to extortion, to bribery, to obstruction of justice, then back to quid pro quo. It’s clear why the Democrats have been forced onto this carousel of accusations. President Trump had good reason to be wary of Ukrainian election meddling against his campaign and of widespread corruption in that country. President Zelensky, who didn’t even know aid to Ukraine had been paused at the time of the call, has repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. The aid was resumed without the Ukrainians taking the actions they were supposedly being coerced into doing.

Aid to Ukraine under President Trump has been much more robust than it was under President Obama, thanks to the provision of Javelin anti-tank weapons. As numerous witnesses have testified, temporary holds on foreign aid occur fairly frequently for many different reasons. So how do we have an impeachable offense here when there’s no actual misdeed and no one even claiming to be a victim? The Democrats have tried to solve this dilemma with a simple slogan, “he got caught.” President Trump, we are to believe, was just about to do something wrong and getting caught was the only reason he backed down from whatever nefarious thought crime the Democrats are accusing him of almost committing.

I once again urge Americans to continue to consider the credibility of the Democrats on this Committee, who are now hurling these charges for the last three years. It’s not president Trump who got caught, it’s the Democrats who got caught. They got caught falsely claiming they had more than circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election. They got caught orchestrating this entire farce with the whistleblower and lying about their secret meetings with him. They got caught defending the false allegations of the Steele dossier, which was paid for by them. They got caught breaking their promise that impeachment would only go forward with bipartisan support because of how damaging it is to the American people.

They got caught running a sham impeachment process between secret depositions, hidden transcripts, and an unending flood of Democrat leaks to the media. They got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians, and they got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative, who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts, and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings. That is the Democrats pitiful legacy in recent years. They got caught.

Meanwhile, their supposed star witness testified that he was guessing that President Trump was tying Ukrainian aid to investigations despite no one telling him that was true, and the president himself explicitly telling him the opposite, that he wanted nothing from Ukraine. Ladies and gentlemen, unless the Democrats once again scramble their kangaroo court rules, today’s hearing marks the merciful end of this spectacle in the Impeachment Committee, formerly known as the Intelligence Committee. Whether the Democrats reap the political benefit they want from this impeachment remains to be seen, but the damage they have done to this country will be long lasting. Will this wrenching attempt to overthrow the president? They have pitted Americans against one another and poison the mind of fanatics who actually believe the entire galaxy of bizarre accusations they have levelled against the president since the day the American people elected him.

I sincerely hope the Democrats in this affair [end this] as quickly as possible so our nation can begin to heal the many wounds it has inflicted on us. The people’s faith in government and their belief that their vote counts for something has been shaken. From the Russia hoax to this shoddy Ukrainian sequel, the Democrats got caught. Let’s hope they finally learn a lesson, give their conspiracy theories a rest, and focus on governing for a change. In addition, Mr. Chairman, pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 2(j)(1), the Republican members transmit a request to convene a minority day of hearings. Today you have blocked key witnesses that we have requested from testifying in this partisan impeachment inquiry. This rule was not displaced by H.Res.660, and therefore under House Rule 11 clause 1(a), it applies to the Democrats impeachment inquiry. We look forward to the chair promptly scheduling an agreed upon time for the minority day of hearings so that we can hear from key witnesses that you have continually blocked from testifying.

I’d also like to take a quick moment on an assertion Ms. Hill made in the statement that she submitted to this Committee, in which she claimed that some Committee members deny that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. As I noted in my opening statement on Wednesday, but in March, 2018, Intelligence Committee Republicans published the results of a year long investigation into Russian meddling. The 240 page report analyzed 2016 Russian meddling campaign, the US government reaction to it, Russian campaigns in other countries and provided specific recommendations to improve American election security. I would [have] asked my staff to hand these reports to our two witnesses today just so I can have a recollection of their memory. As America may or may not know, Democrats refused to sign on to the Republican report. Instead, they decided to adopt minority views, filled with collusion conspiracy theories. Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time, and Republicans believe we should take meddling seriously by all foreign countries regardless of which campaign is the target.

Later that same day, the New York Times headlined "The Impeachment Hearings Revealed a Lot — None of It Great for Trump", and CNN headlined "The public impeachment hearings were a total GOP disaster". The non-mainstream news-medium Zero Hedge instead bannered, “Amid Impeachment Circus, Dems Sneak PATRIOT Act Renewal Past The American People”, and reported that the “bill was pushed through with not a single Republican vote.” The following day, the AP headlined “Analysis: Mountain of impeachment evidence is beyond dispute” and closed “Asked what the consequences are if Congress allows an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, [Fiona] Hill said simply, ‘It’s a very bad precedent.’”

The latest (2019) Reuters international survey in which over 2,000 people in each one of 38 countries were asked whether they agree that “You can trust most news most of the time” shows that the United States scores #32 out of the 38, at the very top of the bottom 16% of all of the 38 countries surveyed, regarding trust in the news-media. Reuters had previously found, in their 2018 edition, that, among Americans, “those who identify on the left (49%) have almost three times as much trust in the news as those on the right (17%). The left gave their support to newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times while the right’s alienation from mainstream media has become ever more entrenched.” In the 2019 edition, what had been 49% in America rose now to 53%, and what had been 17% sank now to 9%: the billionaires’ (i.e., mainstream) media are trusted almost only by liberals here. What the media report is considered trustworthy almost only by liberals, in today’s America. By 53% to only 9% — an almost 6 to 1 ratio — the skeptics of the billionaires’ press are Republicans. Of course, if the media are distrusted, then the nation can’t be functioning as a democracy. But the media will be distrusted if they lie as much as America’s do. Untrusted ‘news’-media are a sure indication that the nation is a dictatorship (such as it is if the billionaires control the media). In America, only liberals think that America is a democracy and therefore might possess the basic qualification (democracy) to decide what nations need to be regime-changed (such as America did to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Bolivia, and is still trying to do to Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran again, Syria, and Yemen; but not to — for examples — Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel); and which ones don’t (such as America’s governmentally-annointed ‘allies’, including some barbaric dictatorships). Liberals trust America’s dictatorship as if it were instead a democracy. Conservatives do not; nor, of course, do progressives. FDR’s vision, of a United Nations which would set and enforce the rules for international relations (neither the U.S. nor any other country would do that), is now even more rejected by the Democratic Party than it is by the Republican Party. And the politically topsy-turvy result is Democrats trying to impeach the Republican Trump for his trying to cut back on Obama’s imperialistic (anti-FDR) agenda. Trump, after all, didn’t do the coup to Ukraine; Obama did.

* * *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/23/2019 - 23:30
Published:11/23/2019 10:35:49 PM
[Markets] JFK: What The CIA Hides JFK: What The CIA Hides

Authored by Jefferson Morley via Counterpunch.org,

When I launched JFK Facts, a blog about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in 2012, I was often asked by strangers, “So who killed JFK?”  “I don’t know,” I shrugged. “It’s too early to tell.” Given that the handsome liberal president had been shot dead a half-century before, my answer was a lame joke based on an apocryphal story. Henry Kissinger once said that when he asked Zhou Enlai, “What was the effect of the French Revolution on world history?” the Chinese statesmen replied, “It’s too early to tell.”

True to Kissingerian form, the story turns out to be not exactly true. Zhou was actually responding to a question about France’s political convulsions in 1968, not 1789.

But Kissinger’s spin on the anecdote struck me as perceptive.

The meaning of a great historical event might take a long time–a very long time–to become apparent. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions about the causes of JFK’s murder in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963.

It’s still too early to tell. Fifty six years after the fact, historians and JFK researchers do not have access to all of the CIA’s files on the subject The 1964 Warren Commission report exonerated the agency with its conclusion that Kennedy was killed by one man alone.  But the agency was subsequently the subject of five official JFK investigations, which cast doubt on its findings.

The Senate’s Church Committee investigation showed that the Warren Commission knew nothing of CIA assassination operations in 1963. JFK records released in the last 20 years show the Commission’s attorneys had no real understanding the extensive counterintelligence monitoring of Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed. We now know that senior operations officers, including counterintelligence chief James Angleton, paid far closer attention to the obscure Oswald as he made his way to Dallas than the investigators were ever told.

To be sure, there is no proof of CIA complicity in JFK’s death. And  conspiracy theories spouted by the likes of the Alex Jones and James Fetzer deserve no attention. The fact remains some of the most astute power players of 1963–including Lyndon Johnson, Charles DeGaulle, Fidel Castro, and Jackie and Robert Kennedy–concluded that JFK was killed by his enemies, and not by one man alone.  Did these statesmen get it wrong, and the under-informed Warren Commission get it right?

The new documentary, Truth is the Only Client, says yes. The film, shown last month in the auditorium of the U.S. Capitol, features interviews with numerous former Warren Commission staffers. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who served as a fact checker for the Commission in 1964, defends the lone gunman conclusion, saying, “You have to look at the new evidence and when you do, I come to the same conclusion.”

Justice Breyer, oddly, passes judgment on evidence he has not seen. The record of the CIA’s role in the events leading JFK’s assassination is far from complete. In 2013 I reported on JFK Facts that Delores Nelson CIA’s information coordinator had stated in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court, that the agency retained 1,100 assassination-related records that had never been made public.

A small portion of this material was released in 2017, including new details about the opening of the CIA’s first Oswald file in October 1959.

Yet thousands of JFK files remain secret.  According to the latest figures from the National Archives, a total of 15,834 JFK files remain fully or partially classified, most of them held by the CIA and FBI. Thanks to an October 2017 order from President Trump, these documents will not be made public until October 2021, at the earliest.

The assumption of Justice Breyer and many others is that any and all unseen CIA material must exonerate the agency. It’s an odd conclusion. If the CIA has nothing to hide, why is it hiding so much? While 95 percent of the still-secret files probably are trivial, the remaining 5 percent—thousands of pages of material–are historically pregnant.  If made public, they could clarify key questions in the long-running controversy about JFK’s death.

These questions have been raised most concisely by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a career CIA officer who served in senior positions. Now a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, Mowatt-Larssen has implicated his former employer in the Dallas ambush. In a presentation at Harvard last December, Mowatt-Larssen hypothesized that a plot to kill JFK emanated from the CIA’s station in Miami where disgruntled Cuban exiles and undercover officers loathed JFK for his failure to overthrow Castro’s government in Cuba.

Mowatt-Larssen has yet to publish his presentation and documentation, so I can’t say if he’s right or wrong. But he asks the right question: “How can intelligence operational and analytical modus operandi help unlock a conspiracy that has remained unsolved for 55 years?” And he focuses on the right place to dig deeper: the CIA’s Miami office, known as WAVE station.

My own JFK questions involve George Joannides, a decorated undercover officer who served as branch chief in the Miami station in 1963. He ran psychological warfare operations against Cuba. In 2003, I sued the CIA for Joannides’ files. The lawsuit ended 15 years later in July 2018, when Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in his last opinion before ascending to the Supreme Court, tossed my case. Kavanaugh declared the agency deserved “deference upon deference” in its handling of Freedom of Information Act requests about JFK files.

Nonetheless, my lawsuit illuminated the extraordinary sensitivity of the psy-ops Joannides ran out of WAVE station. As reported in the New York Times, Fox News, Associated Press, and PoliticoMorley v. CIA forced disclosure of the fact Joannides had received the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal  in 1981. The honor came two years after he stonewalled the House Select Committee on Assassination about what he knew of Oswald’s contacts with pro-and anti-Castro Cubans in the summer and fall of 1963.

I believe Joannides was honored because he concealed the existence of an authorized covert operation involving Oswald that has never been publicly acknowledged. In CIA lingo, Joannides protected the agency’s “sources and methods” concerning Oswald.  And he might have done more. His actions may have also shielded other officers who knew of a scheme to kill the liberal president and lay the blame on Cuba.

Never been seen by JFK investigators, they contain details about his Joannides’ undercover work in Miami in 1963, when he funded Oswald’s antagonists among the anti-Castro Cuban exiles. They also detail his work in 1978, when he duped chief investigator Robert Blakey and the House Select Committee on Assassination. These records, the agency says, cannot be released in 2019 without risk of “irreversible harm” to national security.

It’s a bizarre claim, at odds with the law. These ancient documents, all of them more than 40 years old, meet the statutory definition of “assassination-related,” according to federal judge John Tunheim. He chaired the Assassination Records Review Board which oversaw the declassification of 4 million pages of JFK files between 1994 and 2017.  In an interview, Tunheim told me that, under the terms of the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Joannides files are subject to mandatory review and release. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Yet the files remain off-limits to the public. Thanks to the legal consensus, articulated by Justices Kavanaugh and Breyer, the CIA enjoys “deference upon deference” when it comes to the JFK assassination story. As a result, the JFK Records Act has been flouted. The public’s interest in full disclosure has been thwarted.

Yet legitimate questions persist: Did a plot to kill JFK originate in the agency’s Miami station as Mowatt-Larssen suggests? The fact that the CIA won’t share the evidence that could answer the CIA man’s question is telling.

So these days, when people ask me who killed JFK, I say the Kennedy was probably victimized by enemies in his own government, possibly including CIA officers involved in anti-Castro and counterintelligence operations. I have no smoking gun, no theory. Just look at the suspicious fact pattern, still shrouded in official secrecy, and it’s easy to believe that JFK was, as Mowatt-Larssen puts it, “marked for assassination.”

* * *

Jefferson Morley is editor of the Deep State blog and author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 23:45
Published:11/22/2019 10:52:46 PM
[Politics] Billionaire Bloomberg BEATS OBAMA… in spending the most on political ads EVER At the risk of getting arrested for writing “Bloomberg beats Obama,” it is the truth. El Bloombito has spent more in one week on political spending than anyone ever, including Obama, the . . . Published:11/22/2019 6:19:16 PM
[Politics] Billionaire Bloomberg BEATS OBAMA… in spending the most on political ads EVER At the risk of getting arrested for writing “Bloomberg beats Obama,” it is the truth. El Bloombito has spent more in one week on political spending than anyone ever, including Obama, the . . . Published:11/22/2019 6:19:16 PM
[Markets] NYT Names FBI "Resistance" Lawyer Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating FISA Docs NYT Names FBI "Resistance" Lawyer Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating FISA Docs

The New York Times has revealed that the "low-level lawyer" under criminal investigation for allegedly doctoring materials used to obtain renewals  of the Carter Page surveillance warrant is Kevin Clinesmith - who worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe, was part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, and interviewed Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.

Clinesmith, a 37-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law, "took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author, when it was instead his own understanding," according to the report.

Mr. Clinesmith included this altered email in a package that he compiled for another F.B.I. official to read in preparation for signing an affidavit that would be submitted to the court attesting to the facts and analysis in the wiretap application.

The details of the email are apparently classified and may not be made public even when the report is unveiled. -New York Times

In other words, we won't get to see whatever the FBI used to trick the FISA court into granting Page's renewals.

Clinesmith, a former attorney with the FBI's National Security and Cyber Law Branch while working under FBI's top lawyer, James Baker, resigned two months ago after he was interviewed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horrowitz's office. Horrowitz in turn sent a criminal referral to US Attorney John Durham, who was tasked with investigating the Obama DOJ's conduct surrounding the 2016 US election.

The referral appears to at least be part of the reason that Durham's inquiry was elevated from an administrative review to a criminal investigation, according to the report.

The findings are set to be revealed on December 9, when Horowitz will release his long-awaited report, which Trump's allies believe will reveal an effort to undermine his 2016 campaign. In addition to Clinesmith's fabricated FISA evidence, the FBI used an unverified dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele, paid for in part by the Clinton campaign via law firm Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS, as the basis of their renewal requests.

Did Clinesmith fabricate evidence to support claims in the Steele dossier?

According to the Washington Post, however, Horowitz has concluded that the altered email "did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application."

Viva la resistance

Clinesmith was identified by Horowitz as one of several FBI officials who harbored animus towards President Trump, after which he was kicked off the Mueller Russia investigation in February 2018. Two other FBI officials removed for similar reasons were Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both of whom also worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations, and both of whom have similarly left the bureau.

On November 9, 2016 - the day after Trump won the election, Clinesmith texted another FBI employee "My god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff," adding "So, who knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do."

Then on November 22, 2016, he said "Hell no" when asked by another FBI attorney if he had changed his views on Trump.

"Viva la resistance," he added.

When asked to explain himself, Clinesmith told Horowitz: "It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have," adding "But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI."

A professional document fabricator. We're sure he'll be a GoFundMe millionaire by tomorrow.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 19:00
Published:11/22/2019 6:19:16 PM
[Markets] John Solomon Drops 28 Uncomfortable Facts Crushing The 'Debunked Conspiracy Theory' Narrative John Solomon Drops 28 Uncomfortable Facts Crushing The 'Debunked Conspiracy Theory' Narrative

Authored by John Solomon via John Solomon Reports  (emphasis ours)

I honor and applaud Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s service to his country. He’s a hero. I also respect his decision to testify at the impeachment proceedings. I suspect neither his service nor his testimony was easy.

But I also know the liberties that Lt. Col. Vindman fought on the battlefield to preserve permit for a free and honest debate in America, one that can’t be muted by the color of uniform or the crushing power of the state.

So I want to exercise my right to debate Lt. Col. Vindman about the testimony he gave about me. You see, under oath to Congress, he asserted all the factual elements in my columns at The Hill about Ukraine were false, except maybe my grammar

Here are his exact words:

I think all the key elements were false,” Vindman testified.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y, pressed him about what he meant. “Just so I understand what you mean when you say key elements, are you referring to everything John Solomon stated or just some of it?”

“All the elements that I just laid out for you. The criticisms of corruption were false... Were there more items in there, frankly, congressman? I don’t recall. I haven’t looked at the article in quite some time, but you know, his grammar might have been right.”

Such testimony has been injurious to my reputation, one earned during 30 years of impactful reporting for news organizations that included The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Daily Beast/Newsweek.

And so Lt. Col. Vindman, here are the 28 primary factual elements in my Ukraine columns, complete with attribution and links to sourcing. Please tell me which, if any, was factually wrong.

Fact 1: Hunter Biden was hired in May 2014 by Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, at a time when his father Joe Biden was Vice President and overseeing US-Ukraine Policy. Here is the announcement. Hunter Biden’s hiring came just a few short weeks after Joe Biden urged Ukraine to expand natural gas production and use Americans to help. You can read his comments to the Ukrainian prime minister here. Hunter Biden’s firm then began receiving monthly payments totaling $166,666. You can see those payments here.

Fact 2: Burisma was under investigation by British authorities for corruption and soon came under investigation by Ukrainian authorities led by Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Fact 3: Vice President Joe Biden and his office were alerted by a December 2015 New York Times article that Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma and that Hunter Biden’s role at the company was undercutting his father’s anticorruption efforts in Ukraine.

Fact 4: The Biden-Burisma issue created the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially for State Department officials. I especially refer you to State official George Kent’s testimony here. He testified he viewed Burisma as corrupt and the Bidens as creating the perception of a conflict of interest. His concerns both caused him to contact the vice president’s office and to block a project that State’s USAID agency was planning with Burisma in 2016. In addition, Ambassador Yovanovitch testified she, too, saw the Bidens-Burisma connection as creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. You can read her testimony here.

Fact 5: The Obama White House invited Shokin’s prosecutorial team to Washington for meetings in January 2016 to discuss their anticorruption investigations. You can read about that here. Also, here is the official agenda for that meeting in Ukraine and English. I call your attention to the NSC organizer of the meeting.

Fact 6: The Ukraine investigation of Hunter Biden’s employer, Burisma Holdings, escalated in February 2016 when Shokin’s office raided the home of company owner Mykola Zlochevsky and seized his property. Here is the announcement of that court-approved raid.

Fact 7: Shokin was making plans in February 2016 to interview Hunter Biden as part of his investigation. You can read his interview with me here, his sworn deposition to a court here and his interview with ABC News here.

Fact 8: Burisma’s American representatives lobbied the State Department in late February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company, and specifically invoked Hunter Biden’s name as a reason to intervene. You can read State officials’ account of that effort here

Fact 9: Joe Biden boasted in a 2018 videotape that he forced Ukraine’s president to fire Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid. You can view his videotape here.

Fact 10: Shokin stated in interviews with me and ABC News that he was told he was fired because Joe Biden was unhappy the Burisma investigation wasn’t shut down. He made that claim anew in this sworn deposition prepared for a court in Europe. You can read that here.

Fact 11:  The day Shokin’s firing was announced in March 2016, Burisma’s legal representatives sought an immediate meeting with his temporary replacement to address the ongoing investigation. You can read the text of their emails here.

Fact 12: Burisma’s legal representatives secured that meeting April 6, 2016 and told Ukrainian prosecutors that “false information” had been spread to justify Shokin’s firing, according to a Ukrainian government memo about the meeting. The representatives also offered to arrange for the remaining Ukrainian prosecutors to meet with U.S  State and Justice officials. You can read the Ukrainian prosecutors’ summary memo of the meeting here and here and the Burisma lawyers’ invite to Washington here.

Fact 13: Burisma officials eventually settled the Ukraine investigations in late 2016 and early 2017, paying a multimillion dollar fine for tax issues. You can read their lawyer’s February 2017 announcement of the end of the investigations here.

Fact 14: In March 2019, Ukraine authorities reopened an investigation against Burisma and Zlochevsky based on new evidence of money laundering. You can read NABU’s February 2019 recommendation to re-open the case here, the March 2019 notice of suspicion by Ukraine prosecutors here and a May 2019 interview here with a Ukrainian senior law enforcement official stating the investigation was ongoing. And here is an announcement this week that the Zlochevsky/Burisma probe has been expanded to include allegations of theft of Ukrainian state funds.  

Fact 15: The Ukraine embassy in Washington issued a statement in April 2019 admitting that a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa solicited Ukrainian officials in spring 2016 for dirt on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in hopes of staging a congressional hearing close to the 2016 election that would damage Trump’s election chances. You can read the embassy’s statement here and here. Your colleague, Dr. Fiona Hill, confirmed this episode, testifying “Ukraine bet on the wrong horse. They bet on Hillary Clinton winning.” You can read her testimony here.

Fact 16: Chalupa sent an email to top DNC officials in May 2016 acknowledging she was working on the Manafort issue. You can read the email here.

Fact 17: Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, Valeriy Chaly, wrote an OpEd in The Hill in August 2016 slamming GOP nominee Donald Trump for his policies on Russia despite a Geneva Convention requirement that ambassadors not become embroiled in the internal affairs or elections of their host countries. You can read Ambassador Chaly’s OpEd here and the Geneva Convention rules of conduct for foreign diplomats here. And your colleagues Ambassador Yovanovitch and Dr. Hill both confirmed this, with Dr. Hill testifying this week that Chaly’s OpEd was “probably not the most advisable thing to do.”

Fact 18: A Ukrainian district court ruled in December 2018 that the summer 2016 release of information by Ukrainian Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko and NABU director Artem Sytnyk about an ongoing investigation of Manafort amounted to an improper interference by Ukraine’s government in the 2016 U.S. election.  You can read the court ruling here. Leschenko and Sytnyk deny the allegations, and have won an appeal to suspend that ruling on a jurisdictional technicality.

Fact 19: George Soros’ Open Society Foundation issued a memo in February 2016 on its strategy for Ukraine, identifying the nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Centre as the lead for its efforts. You can read the memo here.

Fact 20: The State Department and Soros’ foundation jointly funded the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. You can read about that funding here from the Centre’s own funding records and George Kent’s testimony about it here.

Fact 21: In April 2016, US embassy charge d’affaires George Kent sent a letter to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office demanding that Ukrainian prosecutors stand down a series of investigations into how Ukrainian nonprofits spent U.S. aid dollars, including the Anti-Corruption Actions Centre. You can read that letter here. Kent testified he signed the letter here.

Fact 22: Then-Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said in a televised interview with me that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during a 2016 meeting provided the lists of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups she did want to see prosecuted. You can see I accurately quoted him by watching the video here.

Fact 23: Ambassador Yovanovitch and her embassy denied Lutsenko’s claim, calling it a “fabrication.” I reported their reaction here.

Fact 24: Despite the differing accounts of what happened at the Lutsenko-Yovanovitch meeting, a senior U.S. official in an interview arranged by the State Department stated to me in spring 2019 that US officials did pressure Lutsenko’s office on several occasions not to “prosecute, investigate or harass” certain Ukrainian activists, including Parliamentary member Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and NABU director Sytnyk. You can read that official’s comments here. In addition, George Kent confirmed this same information in his deposition here.

Fact 25: In May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions sent an official congressional letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking that Yovanovitch be recalled as ambassador to Ukraine. Sessions and State confirmed the official letter, which you can read here.

Fact 26: In fall 2018, Ukrainian prosecutors, using a third party, hired an American lawyer (a former U.S. attorney) to proffer information to the U.S. government about certain activities at the U.S. embassy, involving Burisma and involving the 2016 election, that they believed might have violated U.S. law. You can read their account here. You can also confirm it independently by talking to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan or the American lawyer representing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ interests.

Fact 27: In May 2016, one of George Soros’ top aides secured a meeting with the top Eurasia policy official in the State Department to discuss Russian bond issues. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.

Fact 28: In June 2016, Soros himself secured a telephonic meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to discuss Ukraine policy. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.

Lt. Col. Vindman, if you have information that contradicts any of these 28 factual elements in my columns I ask that you make it publicly available. Your testimony did not.

If you don’t have evidence these 28 facts are wrong, I ask that you correct your testimony because any effort to call factually accurate reporting false only misleads America and chills the free debate our Constitutional framers so cherished to protect.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 17:45
Tags
Published:11/22/2019 5:02:01 PM
[Politics] Ted Cruz MOCKS Democrat who claims Trump voter was saying he hates Trump and Republicans now… A self proclaimed #ImpeachmentTaskForce anti-Trumper who says he’s a former Obama campaign chair and is now the chairman for @TheDemCoalition tweeted this yesterday: Overheard two middle-aged guys who were pumping gas next . . . Published:11/22/2019 3:54:41 PM
[Politics] Ted Cruz MOCKS Democrat who claims Trump voter was saying he hates Trump and Republicans now… A self proclaimed #ImpeachmentTaskForce anti-Trumper who says he’s a former Obama campaign chair and is now the chairman for @TheDemCoalition tweeted this yesterday: Overheard two middle-aged guys who were pumping gas next . . . Published:11/22/2019 3:54:41 PM
[Markets] MSM Ignores Hunter Biden Buds' $130 Million Taxpayer Cookie Jar Raid MSM Ignores Hunter Biden Buds' $130 Million Taxpayer Cookie Jar Raid

On Thursday, the Washington Examiner reported that an investment firm central to Hunter Biden's financial dealings received more than $130 million in federal bailout loans while Joe Biden was vice president.

Devon Archer (far left) is pictured with Joe and Hunter Biden. (Screenshot from Twitter)

Rosemont Capital - named after former Secretary of State John Kerry's 90-acre Heinz family estate outside of Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania - was founded by Hunter Biden, Christopher Heinz, and longtime friend Devon Archer.

According to the report, Rosemont was one of just 177 firms to participate in Obama's 2009 Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), which issued billions of dollars in favorable loans to investors who agreed to buy bonds from struggling banks, including college and auto loans.

The Federal Reserve funded as much as 90% of the investments. If the bonds were profitable, the borrowers benefited. If not, the department agreed to take over the depreciated assets with no repercussions for the borrowers.

...

Under the terms for the program, any U.S. company looking to invest in select categories of bonds was eligible to apply for the loans. However, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve maintained the “right to reject a borrower for any reason,” and the internal selection process was criticized by some lawmakers as opaque and open to corruption.

...

One of the firms that benefited was Rosemont Capital, a company led by Hunter Biden’s business partners, Chris Heinz and Devon Archer. The firm received the loans at a crucial time for Hunter Biden. The younger Biden had stepped down from his lobbying business in late 2008, reportedly due to pressure on his father’s vice presidential campaign. -Washington Examiner

And while the Examiner reviewed "federal banking and corporate records" for their report, the MSM is completely silent about this obvious graft.

CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and FOX have all been radio silent on this report.

Imagine if an investment firm established by Trump Jr., Nicholas Pompeo and a college roommate received a similar government handout?

"This is a great example of the suspicion of many Americans that these bailouts were used to benefit connected insiders while ordinary Americans went broke," said Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center, an organization that was critical of TALF at the time.

Who else got handouts?

According to the report, "In April 2011, Rolling Stone reported that millions in TALF loans had been issued to the wife of Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack, Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga, and Wall Street titan John Paulson, dubbing the program “welfare for the rich.”"

"Our jaws are literally dropping as we're reading this," said Bernie Sanders aide, Warren Gunnels. "Every one of these transactions is outrageous."

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 12:40
Published:11/22/2019 11:47:58 AM
[Politics] Trump: FISA Warrant Scandal Went to 'The Top' President Donald Trump Friday suggested that the knowledge that an FBI agent altered a document leading to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court granting permission to spy on campaign aide Carter Page went "all the way" to then-President Barack Obama.  Published:11/22/2019 10:17:44 AM
[Markets] Ukraine: 10 Talking Points For Rational People Ukraine: 10 Talking Points For Rational People

Authored by Gary Leupp via Counterpunch.org,

1. Ukraine is the largest nation in Europe, with a 1400 mile land border with Russia. The U.S. government under administrations since Bill Clinton’s has sought to integrate Ukraine into the anti-Russian NATO military alliance.

2. NATO is an artifact of the early Cold War and the Truman Doctrine, vowing any means necessary to stop the spread of Communism. Founded in 1949, when the U.S. ruled most of the world, it included most of the countries of Europe except for those liberated from Nazism by the Soviets, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, and Yugoslavia and Albania where anti-fascist partisans seized power.

3. After the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact (a defense alliance formed in 1956 after West Germany was included in NATO) in 1990, and the full restoration of capitalism to the countries of the former Soviet Union, there was no ideological east-west conflict or another rationale to maintain the NATO alliance. It gradually redefined its mission as “maintaining stability” in the post-Soviet era, in the wake of ethnic conflicts across Eurasia, and “counter-terrorism.” Later “humanitarian” missions were added.

4. In 1989 President George W. Bush promised Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that, following the reunification of Germany with Moscow’s assent, NATO would not “move one inch” eastwards. But while Bill Clinton was president in 1999, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia joined the alliance. Under Bush’s son, in 2004, the list grew: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia all joined. NATO now bordered Russia itself. Obama added Albania and Croatia. Under Trump, Montenegro joined and North Macedonian entry is in the cards. The U.S. is obviously trying to incorporate every European nation possible into an anti-Russian coalition for future deployment.

5. NATO forces were never deployed against Soviet or Warsaw Pact forces during the Cold War. But Clinton (prompted by bellicose Hillary) used them to pound Serbian positions in Bosnia in the 1990s and to bomb Belgrade during the 1999 war to sever Kosovo from Serbia and convert it into a NATO base. (In both instances Clinton claimed “humanitarian” motives.) They were used too in Afghanistan and Libya, far away from the North Atlantic, at U.S. direction to topple the Taliban, thereby producing an ongoing insurgency, and to destroy Gadhafi’s modern state of Libya. They are not a force of good in the world.

6. Russia has responded, angrily but cautiously, to NATO’s incessant, inexplicable expansion. The three crucial moments have been in 1999, when Russian troops rushed to Pristina Airport in Kosovo to preserve some national pride following the expansion of NATO and the U.S. humiliation of the Serbs; in 2008 when Russia briefly invaded Georgia to punish it for attacks on South Ossetia (and its just announced pursuit of NATO membership); and in 2014 when in response to the U.S.-backed Kiev putsch Moscow moved to secure ongoing control of the Crimean Peninsula. These were obviously moves to discourage NATO expansion.

7. For NATO strategists and supporters, Ukraine is the ultimate prize. (Thereafter only Belarus and Georgia need absorption.) It is still slated for NATO membership; this year its Secretary General Jens Soltenberg reiterated this commitment in Kiev. It remains the position of the U.S. that both Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. The German government on the other hand, far more sensitive to the historical issues involved, notes that Ukrainian or Georgian membership would “cross a red line” with Russia. The Ukrainian people are divided on the issue. It is good if the Germans and others can block bloc expansion.

8. From February 2010 to February 2014, Ukraine was headed by a democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who opposed NATO membership. He had been elected despite routine U.S. election meddling. He has been depicted in the U.S. press as “pro-Russian” and opposed to Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. In fact, he sought entry into the EU, using his U.S. aide Paul Manafort towards that end, and backed out of an agreement after realizing the political costs of the austerity program required. He was “pro-Russian” in that he is ethnic Russian in a multi-ethnic country, and was while in power inclined to maintain good relations with the northern neighbor. He was targeted by Hillary Clinton appointee Victoria Nuland (wife of neocon warmonger Robert Kagan) for removal. He was charged with denying the Ukrainian people’s “European aspirations”—meaning, he was resisting an association with the EU (and NATO).

He was indeed overthrown, succeeded by an new regime that provoked revolt among the ethnic Russians in the east from the outset. The U.S. attempt to install a regime that could quickly align with the west, joining the EU and NATO as the usual package, resulted in civil conflict and the Russian re-annexation of Crimea. Finally, the NATO effort to dominate Eurasia met a snag when the Russians said: No way we’ll concede to you the base port of the Black Sea Fleet since Empress Catherine’s time, in 1785.

9. After the coup of February 18-21, 2014, Aseniy Yatsenyuk, handpicked by Nuland, became prime minister. Russia refused to recognize the government he headed, stacked with NATO supporters. Only when Ukraine held a presidential election, and a candidate acceptable to Moscow, Petro Poroshenko, was elected, did the Russians actively engage in diplomacy with Kiev. The result is the Minsk Accords and an ongoing process of negotiations between Kiev, the Donbas separatists, Moscow, Germany and France. The key issue of Donbas autonomy as a precondition for peace has met with opposition in the parliament but since the election of Volodomir Zelensky, there have been concrete moves towards peace. Not that there has been much heavy fighting since 2015. Russia and Ukraine are working with Europe to find a solution. It would be good for the U.S. to avoid interfering.

10. After the February 2014 coup (depicted in the western press as a “revolution” toppling a “pro-Russian” leader), Ukraine informally joined the U.S. imperialist camp. There is, in fact, no formal alliance, but Ukraine is now depicted as an ally, indeed one in desperate need of U.S. arms to resist the Russian invasion. But there has been no real Russian invasion, just lots of hype; nowadays the talking heads refer to “Russian-backed” forces in Ukraine, referring to ethnic Russian-Ukrainians; they exploit the general ignorance of people in this country about history and geography and fudge Russians with Russian-Ukrainians (or sometimes any Slavs). And the annexation of Crimea was bloodless and popularly supported. The provision of $ 380 million in Javelin anti-tank missiles and other weaponry to the Kiev government is unlikely to contribute to a settlement of the Donbas problem.

***

Amidst all the attention to detail, to phone calls and transcripts and secret visits, those pressing for Trump’s impeachment (on bribery grounds) never discuss the context of this little scandal.

  • The fact that Ukraine has been hopelessly corrupt since it became independent with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991;

  • the fact that the U.S. underwrote the 2014 coup;

  • the fact that Hunter Biden was hired by Burisma Holdings two months after the coup (while his father was the Obama team’s point man on Ukrainian corruption) and served to April 2019;

  • and most of all, the fact that the U.S. wants to get Ukraine into NATO, surrounding European Russia and grabbing Crimea for itself.

Trying to acquire dirt on the Bidens by strong-arming a foreign leader, threatening an arms supply cut-off, is bad I suppose, by definition. But providing arms to stoke a conflict ignited by U.S. interference in Ukraine is worse. Had the U.S. not spent $ 5 billion (Nuland’s figure) to “support the Ukrainian people’s European aspirations;” had John McCain and Lesley Graham not passed out cookies with Nuland in Maidan; had NATO not declared its intention to include Kiev in the alliance, the east would be quiet as usual. The coup and immediate rescinding of the law respecting Russian speakers’ linguistic rights provoked rebellion.

The Ukraine scandal could be a teaching opportunity: this is where U.S. aggression leads. You provoke Russia again and again, with each new admission into NATO. At some point, Russia has to take action. It cannot let a Texas-size country on its southern flank join a military alliance directed at itself. Especially it cannot accept loss of control of the Crimean Peninsula.

That Nuland in the days before the planned coup did not anticipate this Russian reaction is puzzling. Did she really think the conquest of Ukraine would be so easy? Or did she expect the Russian counter-moves, thinking that once Ukraine was in NATO Russia would have to back off? Is that still the dominant assumption in the State Department?

Now a president with zero concern about Ukraine and its people is accused of a shocking reluctance to deliver weapons to a country invaded by Russia, “our greatest adversary” according to cable anchors.

May he be impeached, of course! But if he falls, replaced by leadership more bent on provoking Russia by NATO expansion, the world will be more dangerous than it is now under Trump.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 11:00
Published:11/22/2019 10:17:44 AM
[Markets] Trump Vs. Warren, & The Fake Battle Against The Elites Trump Vs. Warren, & The Fake Battle Against The Elites

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

It seems like a simple and easy to identify pattern, but for some reason the public keeps falling for the same old globalist tricks. A well-worn tactic the money elites use to endear certain puppet political candidates to Americans is to encourage those candidates to use anti-elitist rhetoric, only to then flood their cabinets with those same elites once they get into office. The rule of politics seems to be, “Say whatever you want to get the people on your side, but once you're in office, you do as we tell you...”

These candidates will aggressively attack the banks, corporations and wall street, lamenting the rapid decline of the middle class or “working class”. They will point out that a mere handful of ultra-rich, the top 1%, control more wealth than nearly half of the population combined. They will seize upon the travesties of the poor and argue for “change” to bring balance back to the system. They will pretend to expose the crimes of the banking cabal and the upper echelons of Wall Street. They will put on a grand show; and then, they will do the bidding of their masters and play the role they were groomed for...

Americans are suckers for fake “people's candidates” and always have been.

But perhaps I should expand on this with some real world examples. How about Jimmy Carter, who started out his presidential campaign with a dismal 4% in the Democratic polls. Carter would go on to explode in popularity after attacking what he referred to as the “Washington insiders”, the elites that ran the show from behind the curtain. A widely distributed paperback book that promoted Carter during his campaign called “I'll Never Lie To You: Jimmy Carter In His Own Words” quoted the candidate as saying at a Boston rally:

The people of this country know from bitter experience that we are not going to get … changes merely by shifting around the same group of insiders.”

His own top aide, Hamilton Jordan, promised:

If, after the inauguration, you find a Cy Vance as Secretary of State and Zbigniew Brzezinski as head of National Security, then I would say we failed. And I’d quit.”

Carter was portrayed as a statesman free from connections to the globalists; a religious man and veritable white knight pure in his associations. This was viewed as an important image to maintain at the time. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the presidential candidacy of true anti-globalist Barry Goldwater and the highly questionable role of Henry Kissinger in Richard Nixon's administration, the public was growing increasingly suspicious of the nature of government and who was really in charge. Carter was initially seen as a cure for the public's distrust.

Of course, as soon as Carter entered office he injected no less than ten members of the globalist Trilateral Commission and numerous other elites into key positions in his administration, including Cy Vance and Zbigniew Brzezinski. And of course, his top aide never quit. The elites knew exactly what the public wanted at that moment in history, and so they gave it to them in the form of Jimmy Carter. Carter's administration would go on to serve numerous globalist interests, but this attracted the ire of the American public, who felt betrayed.

How about another example of fake anti-globalists and anti-elites?

Enter Ronald Reagan, the anti-Carter. The conservative (and former democrat) who wasn't afraid to point out that Carter was surrounded by Trilateral Commission ghouls and question his honesty. Reagan attacked Carter while maintaining a distance from more “conspiratorial” language. Reagan stated in 1980 during his campaign:

I don’t believe that the Trilateral Commission is a conspiratorial group, but I do think its interests are devoted to international banking, multinational corporations, and so forth. I don’t think that any Administration of the U.S. Government should have the top nineteen positions filled by people from any one group or organization representing one viewpoint. No, I would go in a different direction...”

Reagan, like Carter, was touted as having no affiliations with the elites. He was pure and unsullied by the globalists. But alas, Reagan also quickly picked at least 10 Trilateral Commission members for his transition team once he was elected, and he served the interests of the elites throughout his two terms in the White House (for the most part) under the watchful eye of George H.W. Bush.

If this is starting to sound familiar then you are probably more awake and aware than most. The elites use the same strategies over and over and over again, usually with minor variances to keep things fresh. As many of my readers are well aware, I have been consistently pointing out the fraudulent anti-globalist image of Donald Trump the past few years, and his administration has followed a very similar path to those described above with a few important differences.

Trump ran his campaign as a populist and opponent of the elites. His image was that of a person untouched by the influence of the establishment. In fact, the primary argument among his supporters was that Trump was “so rich” that he “could not be bought”. He criticized Hillary Clinton and her deep state connections with banks like Goldman Sachs and announced that once in office he would “drain the swamp” of special interests in Washington.

He also made bold accusations against the Federal Reserve, pointing out that the supposed “economic recovery” and the stock market rally was a fraud; a bubble created through stimulus and near zero interest rates that he didn't want to inherit. Trump was yet another pure white knight ready to expose and do battle with the globalist dragon.

As many liberty activists are well aware by now, Trump is the furthest thing from an anti-globalist. Like Carter and Reagan, Trump swiftly loaded his cabinet with elites from the Council on Foreign Relations, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc. His background was also not so pure; Trump had in fact been bought a couple decades in advance by the Rothschild banking family. Rothschild agent Wilber Ross was the man who brokered the deal to bail Trump out of his massive debts in multiple properties in Atlantic City, saving Trumps fortune and his image. Today, Wilber Ross is Trump's commerce secretary.

Trump also completely shifted his position on the economy, taking full credit for the stock market bubble as well as the fake GDP numbers and fake unemployment numbers he had attacked during his campaign. Trump has now completely tied his administration to the Everything Bubble – a bubble that has been popped and is now deflating into a hard recession.

Trump's theatrical character is different from Carter and Reagan in a couple of ways.

  • First, in the Carter era, the public had a wider trust of the mainstream media, and so, Carter was presented as a media darling. Today, the majority of the public has a severe distaste of the media, and so, Trump was presented as their enemy; a thorn in their side. The media attacks on Trump only garnered him MORE attention and favor with conservatives and independents.

  • Second, Trump's acting role as an anti-globlist in the new world order screenplay is far more important to the elites than Carter or Reagan. Trump is meant to become a symbol of ALL anti-globalism, a nexus point and representative of sovereignty activism. He is meant to co-opt the entire liberty movement, and then sink it into oblivion. In other words, as the economy crumbles around Trump, conservatives and liberty proponents are made guilty by association.

Trump serves the elites by pretending to be starkly anti-establishment while at the same time taking credit for their economic works, not to mention the blame for the collapse of the bubble the establishment created.

But what happens after Trump? Who is next in line to take the lead role in the globalist theater for the American masses? Again, it's important to remember that the elites are not very imaginative, but they do have a lot of practice with tried and true tactics. They will present us with a candidate that is decidedly anti-Trump, but who also continues certain projects that Trump started.

Enter Elizabeth Warren...

Warren is yet another candidate that is being groomed as "unaffiliated" with the elites. Her image as the “daughter of a janitor” from the American midwest who went on to succeed as a woman in a “man's world” is heavily pushed in the media. But here is why I think Warren is the most likely political anti-thesis to Trump and the most likely Democratic candidate; the screenplay essentially writes itself...

Consider this – Warren grows up in a lower middle class family in Oklahoma, the daughter of a lowly service worker. Trump grows up rich, the son of a real estate tycoon who inherits a fortune.

Trump is a billionaire businessman and member of the 1% whose economic policies and tax cuts have consistently favored corporations and stock markets over the middle class. Warren claims she is a “capitalist”, but wants restrictions on stock market buybacks and Wall Street in general, accusing it of being nothing more than a money generator for the super wealthy.

Trump has faced bankruptcy on numerous occasions and his administration sits at the doorstep of the highest national, consumer and corporate debt levels in American history. Warren's background is in bankruptcy and bankruptcy law.

Trump has taken full credit for the economic bubble and boasts about his influence over markets regularly while completely ignoring the crash in fundamentals as well as his own warnings in 2016. Warren is the ONLY democratic candidate so far to predict an economic crash in the near term.

The differences in image are important here, but there are also some similarities between Trump and Warren in terms of policy.

Trump's economic policies demand ever lower interest rates and higher levels of central bank stimulus in order to work. He won't get exactly what he wants, but he is demanding endless central bank intervention all the same.  Elizabeth Warren is a proponent of Neoclassical Economics, which is closely tied to Keynesian economics. Warren was also on the oversight committee for the TARP bailout, and can claim that she's intimately familiar with monetary stimulus measures. Real QE4 and near zero interest rates (not just repo purchases) would be more likely under Warren, after the “Trump collapse”.  In fact, it is likely that Warren would demand and get MMT (modern monetary theory) policies passed.

Trump has instituted aggressive tariff measures against China and the trade war continues unabated so far.  Warren also wants to continue hard-line policies against China, while at the same time blaming Trump for starting the conflict in the first place.

Finally, like Trump, Warren has long been a hawk in support of Israel and it is likely that US troops will be staying in the Middle East for many years to come if she is elected.  She will criticize certain aspects of Israel's Palestinian policy to appeal to the Democratic base.  But, like Trump, her actions will not match her rhetoric.

The setup of this story is almost too perfect. Midwestern middle class girl and self made professional takes on a boastful arrogant billionaire and the 1%. Democrat voters love this kind of garbage. But it doesn't stop there...

Warren's attacks on billionaires are gaining extreme media attention, and the media loves it. Her latest ad campaign criticized four rich guys by name, including Leon Cooperman, the former Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts, the former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and the investor Peter Thiel. Some of these men have responded publicly and angrily, and so another great farce of a wrestling match begins and propels another supposedly anti-establishment candidate into stardom.

But here's the thing – Warren's wealth tax is not so anti-establishment. Elites like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have been openly calling for higher taxes on the super-rich.  In tandem with the wealth tax, her climate change position is seen as a shot across the bow of oil companies and the financial power structure.  Yet, her policies are almost exactly in line with the Green New Deal and the UN's Agenda 2030, which the globalists greatly desire.

Warren's image as anti-establishment? It's as fake as Trump's image.

Warren has been featured multiple times in the magazine Foreign Affairs, the official magazine of the Council On Foreign Relations. On top of that they published her article "A Foreign Policy for All: Strengthening Democracy - at Home and Abroad”. For those that are unaware, the CFR is the premier globalist organization and its membership roster is saturated with many of the billionaire elites Warren claims to stand against. Yet, she has courted Foreign Affairs many times and they have written about her favorably.

Another interesting little fact is that the CFR does not publish articles by presidential candidates often. In fact, candidates that do get their articles published by Foreign Affairs tend to become president, or get a massive boost in their polling numbers and cash support. An example of this would be Richard Nixon, who suffered a stream of campaign failures until his article “Asia After Vietnam” was published in Foreign Affairs in October 1967.  A little over a year later he entered the White House. Another example would be Barack Obama, who published articles in Foreign Affairs in the early stages of his 2008 campaign. Getting an article accepted by the CFR seems to be a signal that the candidate in question is ready to be useful to the establishment.

Warren's explosion in the polls relative to candidates like Joe Biden started a few months after her article was published in the CFR magazine. So far she is the only candidate graced with an article in Foreign Affairs.

Does this mean that the elites want Warren over Donald Trump in 2020? Not necessarily. It is still too early to identify the trend and the signals for the next election. I believe next spring will bring clarity on the matter. However, the point remains that almost every candidate that is given serious consideration within the system is controlled or is seeking favor with the elites. The election process is highly moderated. Good people are not allowed to get though the net. Those that get close are ridiculed and then ignored until their campaigns fade into obscurity.

The candidates that serve the purposes of the elites get endless attention in the media, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, but they are never ignored. And, above all, the candidates that are most likely to be chosen as president are those that pretend to be anti-establishment. This is what sells with the American public, and the globalists know it. Warren is following this pattern, just as Trump did.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:45
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Published:11/21/2019 11:15:53 PM
[Markets] Rethinking National Security: CIA & FBI Are Corrupt, But What About Congress? Rethinking National Security: CIA & FBI Are Corrupt, But What About Congress?

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute. Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.

If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.

More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.

Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.

Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”

Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”

Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.

But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington.

Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis):

“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day:

“They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…

“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”

Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight.

And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”

Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.

It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:05
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Published:11/21/2019 10:15:01 PM
[Politics] Obama tells Democrats to CHILL OUT on the socialist purity tests… Obama told a crowd of Democratic donors that the 2020 Democratic candidates need to chill out on the socialist purity tests: NY POST – Obama spoke to about 100 donors during a . . . Published:11/21/2019 8:43:43 PM
[Politics] Obama tells Democrats to CHILL OUT on the socialist purity tests… Obama told a crowd of Democratic donors that the 2020 Democratic candidates need to chill out on the socialist purity tests: NY POST – Obama spoke to about 100 donors during a . . . Published:11/21/2019 8:43:43 PM
[Markets] Jussie Smollett Demands Nigerian Bros And Cops Pay Him For Concocting Hate Crime Hoax Jussie Smollett Demands Nigerian Bros And Cops Pay Him For Concocting Hate Crime Hoax

Jussie Smollett, whose ham-handed hate crime hoax led to the cancellation of Empire, thinks we're all morons.

The unemployed actor who paid his drug dealing Nigerian friends to buy MAGA hats, bleach and a rope before staging a 2am attack in "MAGA country" - also known as downtown Chicago, has demanded that the city of Chicago, the Nigerian brothers, and former police superintendent Eddie Johnson pay him for conspiring to frame him for concocting the hate crime, according to the Cook County Record.

Smollett's case case was mysteriously quashed after Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, leaned on Cook County top prosecutor Kim Foxx after a grand jury slapped Smollett with a 16 count indictment for lying to the police.

According to a counterclaim to a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago, however, Smollett is the victim of a conspiracy.

On Nov. 19, Smollett, through his lawyer, William J. Quinlan, of the Quinlan Law Firm, filed a counterclaim in Chicago federal court against the city, former police superintendent Eddie Johnson, the Nigerian brothers alleged to have helped Smollett and others. The counterclaim came as the centerpiece of Smollett’s formal answers to the lawsuit brought earlier this year by the city of Chicago, which demands Smollett be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate the city and taxpayers for the costs of the large police investigation into Smollett’s attack claims.

In the counterclaim, Smollett asserts the hoax allegations emerged as a result of a 48-hour “interrogation” conducted by Chicago Police of brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and was then seized on by Chicago Police to advance the story Smollett had orchestrated the attack to gain publicity and public sympathy after he allegedly became unhappy with the lack of response from television executives and others to a threatening racist and homophobic letter he claims to have received weeks earlier. -Cook County Record

Smollett claims that Chicago PD deliberately ignored exonerating evidence from the alleged attack in the very liberal, very upscale Streeterville neighborhood. According to Smollett, his attackers shouted "This is MAGA country," before physically assaulting him while he was innocently walking home at 2am from getting a Subway sandwich.

After evidence suggested it was staged, the two "attackers" - the Osundario brothers - admitted that Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out the hoax, and that the three of them had practiced beforehand.

They also said that Smollett was involved in creating a racist letter containing a white substance that was sent to the actor on the Chicago set of Empire. When the letter failed to achieve the desired level of national outrage, the Osundario brothers say Smollett concocted the hate-crime. 

Or - bear with Jussie - the Osundarios and Chicago PD conspired to frame him for the hate crime hoax.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:05
Published:11/21/2019 7:14:48 PM
[Politics] Graham Seeks Obama-Era Ukraine Docs in Biden Probe Including Vice President Joe Biden, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., requested all documents relating to contacts in 2016 between Obama administration officials. Published:11/21/2019 5:15:21 PM
[Markets] Obama Warns Tech Firms Fueling Wealth Inequality, Fears Polarization Could Lead To Social Unrest Obama Warns Tech Firms Fueling Wealth Inequality, Fears Polarization Could Lead To Social Unrest

Former President Barak Obama was in San Francisco earlier today, giving a keynote speech at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center, reported Axios.

Obama told hundreds of people in the audience that uncertainty in the global economy remains elevated through the 2020s. That's because he addressed a significant issue of how technology companies were fueling massive wealth inequality through globalization and automation.

"What I also see is just this sense of anxiety and rootlessness and uncertainty in so many people, some of which is fed by globalization and technology," Obama said.

Obama then addressed the political turmoil that is spiraling out of control around the world, saying people are feeling economically and culturally insecure.

Obama said globalization and technology have "turbocharged" anxieties around the world, and there needs to be a concerted effort by governments to address the issues that it has created.

"Part of the goal of solving big problems is not just a matter of finding the right technical solution," he said. "Part of it is also finding out how do we restore some sense of our com