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[IJR] DNC Previews Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech: Biden Will ‘Tell the Truth and Trust Science’ "He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith." Published:8/17/2020 5:21:23 PM
[Markets] A Reality-Based Look At Trump & The Post Office A Reality-Based Look At Trump & The Post Office Tyler Durden Mon, 08/17/2020 - 14:15

Authored by Byron York, op-ed via WashingtonExaminer.com,

The news is filled with reports of President Trump's "assault" on the U.S. Postal Service. The president, Democrats and some in the media say, is deliberately slowing mail delivery and crippling the Postal Service so that it cannot handle an anticipated flood of voting by mail in the presidential election. Former President Barack Obama said Trump is trying to "actively kneecap" the Postal Service to suppress the vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session this week and has set an "urgent hearing" for Aug. 24, demanding Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the head of the Postal Service Board of Governors testify "to address the sabotage of the Postal Service."

Some of the accusations have grown so frantic that they resemble the frenzy of a couple of years ago over the allegation, from many of the same people, that Trump had conspired with Russia to fix the 2016 election. Now, it's the Postal Service. But what, actually, is going on? Here is a brief look at some of the issues involved.

142.5 billion pieces of mail

The idea that the Postal Service will not be able to handle the volume of mail in the election, or not be able to handle it within normal Postal Service time guidelines, does not make much sense. According to its most recent annual report, last year, in fiscal year 2019, the Postal Service handled 142.5 billion pieces of mail. "On a typical day, our 633,000 employees physically process and deliver 471 million mailpieces to nearly 160 million delivery points," the report says. This year, that number is higher, given the Postal Service's delivery of census forms and stimulus checks. Those alone added about 450 million additional pieces of mail.

In 2016, about 136 million Americans voted in the presidential election. The number will probably be a bit higher this year. If officials sent ballots to every single American registered to vote, about 158 million people, and then 140 million people returned ballots, the roughly 298 million pieces of mail handled over the course of several weeks would be well within the Postal Service's ability to handle. Of course, officials will not send a ballot to every American registered to vote, and not every voter will vote by mail. Whatever the final number is, the ballots that are cast by mail will not cripple a system that delivers 471 million pieces of mail every day.

There are, of course, compelling examples of election dysfunction, most notably the mess New York made of some of its congressional primaries this summer. But rather than representing a Postal Service problem, that was because some states are unprepared for a dramatic increase of voting by mail. The states have to prepare the ballots, address them, and process and count them when the Postal Service delivers them. That is the focus of the entirely legitimate fears of a possible vote-counting disaster this year. But it's not the Postal Service.

$25 billion for what?

Some news reports have left the impression that the Postal Service will not be able to handle mail-in ballots without an immediate infusion of money from Congress. That is not the case.

The Postal Service is not funded by a regular appropriation. It is, instead, an "independent agency" and is expected to support itself, beyond a yearly appropriation of about $55 million to cover the costs of mail for the blind and overseas balloting in elections.

The Postal Service has lost money for a very long time. In fiscal year 2019, it had operating revenues of $71.1 billion and operating expenses of $79.9 billion, leaving it with a deficit of $8.8 billion. At the moment, Postal Service officials have told Congress, it has about $14 billion in cash on hand, putting it on the road to fiscal insolvency (without further aid) in late 2021.

In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief measure passed in March, Congress gave the Postal Service a $10 billion borrowing authority. After the bill became law, there were negotiations between the Postal Service and the Treasury Department on the terms of the borrowing; a deal was announced in July. The ability to borrow $10 billion, the postmaster general said, would "delay the approaching liquidity crisis."

That was all the aid for the Postal Service in the CARES Act. Completely separately, the bill also gave $400 million to something called the Election Assistance Commission for distribution to states to "prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 federal election cycle."

The next mega-relief package, a $3 trillion bill known as the Health and Economic Recover Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, was passed by the House in May by a vote of 208 to 199. The winning total of 208 votes was comprised of 207 Democrats and one Republican. Fourteen Democrats and one independent voted against the measure. The bill has so far gone nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The House HEROES Act would give $25 billion to the Postal Service in what is essentially a bailout. The bill mentions nothing about helping the Postal Service handle the upcoming election or any other election. Indeed, the only stipulation at all placed on the $25 billion is that the Postal Service, "during the coronavirus emergency, shall prioritize the purchase of, and make available to all Postal Service employees and facilities, personal protective equipment, including gloves, masks, and sanitizers, and shall conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of Postal Service facilities and delivery vehicles." If the House Democrats who wrote and passed the bill intended the money to be spent specifically for elections, they did not say so in the text of the legislation.

Separate from the Postal Service provisions, the bill would give $3.6 billion to the Election Assistance Commission for distribution to states "for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for federal office." There has been some confusion about that; some discussion of the current controversy has left the impression that Democrats want $3.6 billion for the Postal Service for the election. In fact, the $3.6 billion would be for the states' election use. In neither the CARES Act, which is now law, nor the HEROES Act, which has been passed by the House but not the Senate, is there any money given to the Postal Service specifically for the election. In any event, the Postal Service has the capacity to handle the election and does not need any additional money specifically to do the job.

The latest reform proposal

Whatever its other concerns at the moment, the Postal Service does have chronic financial problems. This year, Trump chose DeJoy, who made a fortune in shipping and logistics and whose former company was a contractor of the Postal Service for many years, as the new postmaster general. (DeJoy is also a major donor to Republicans and the Trump campaign.) DeJoy has attempted to deal with some of the Postal Service's systemic problems with a pilot program to make deliveries more efficient while reducing the Postal Service's crippling overtime costs, which added up to more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2018.

In the past, postal delivery worked this way: A worker would arrive in the morning and work on various things in the office — sorting mail, handling holds on mail, waiting for incoming mail to arrive to prepare for delivery. That often involved waiting around for hours and then starting an actual delivery route later in the day. Once started, a route has to be finished, and that involved workers going into overtime as they delivered through their route as evening approached.

DeJoy's plan, now being implemented in a pilot program in about 200 cities, is called Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation, or ESAS. Under it, a worker would arrive in the morning, collect all the mail that was ready to go out, and head out for delivery — "retrieve, load, and go." Then, after finishing the delivery route, the carrier would return to the office and do in the afternoon the office work that used to be done in the morning. That way, when the end of his or her shift arrived, that would be the end of the workday, with no overtime incurred. Mail that arrived to the office in the afternoon, while the carrier was doing office work, would be delivered in the next morning's route. It would be ready and waiting when the carrier arrived for "retrieve, load, and go."

The effect to customers would be that mail that was delivered to the office in the afternoon would be delivered the next morning, instead of that evening. The effect to the Postal Service would be to save an enormous amount of money in overtime.

In addition, there have been reports of the Postal Service removing collection boxes and sorting machines. While some Democrats and journalists have portrayed that as another effort toward voter suppression, the fact is the number of letters the Postal Service handles each year has declined for 20 years since the arrival of email. In those last two decades, the Postal Service has downsized its capabilities as the number of letters handled has decreased. Here is how the Washington Post described the situation, specifically concerning sorting machines:

"Purchased when letters not packages made up a greater share of postal work, the bulky and aging machines can be expensive to maintain and take up floor space postal leaders say would be better devoted to boxes. Removing underused machines would make the overall system more efficient, postal leaders say. The Postal Service has cut back on mail-sorting equipment for years since mail volume began to decline in the 2000s."

Some Democrats have characterized the current reform efforts, much needed in an agency losing so much money, as part of the president's master plan to steal the election. But together, the Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation program and the cutback in sorting capacity would seem to be reasonable measures of the type the Postal Service needs to implement, and indeed has been implementing over the years. Yet this is what Democrats, and some of their allies in the press, have labeled as an "assault" on the Postal Service.

Nightmare scenarios

Many news accounts have included stories of Americans suffering from interruptions in Postal Service deliveries. For example, a story in the New York Times headlined "Postal Crisis Ripples Across Nation As Election Looms" included the story of Victoria Brownworth, a freelance journalist in Philadelphia. "For Ms. Brownworth, who was paralyzed four years ago, the mail is her lifeline," the Times said, "delivering prescriptions and checks and mail-in ballots to her Philadelphia home. But that lifeline has snapped. She said she had received mail just twice in the past three weeks, and she dreaded November's election, worried that her ballot would suffer the same fate as the oxygen tube that she ordered three weeks ago -- and that had still not arrived."

Other news reports have included many other examples. They are largely, if not entirely, anecdotal. While each is serious for the person involved, at the moment, it is impossible to tell how much of a national problem they represent. People who keep track of the Postal Service suspect that many of the stories are rooted in workforce availability problems related to the coronavirus pandemic, plus the changes in operations -- for example, closing a facility to clean it during an outbreak -- that have become part of life during the pandemic. The Postal Service would not be the only large organization that has found it impossible to operate as usual during the crisis.

There is also the fact that the Postal Service does on occasion fail to deliver the mail. In its annual reports, it includes data on "performance outcomes." For example, for first-class mail, which is the type of mail that would be most employed for election purposes, the goal in fiscal year 2019 was to deliver 96 percent of letters in one to three business days. Its actual performance was 92 percent. So eight percent of first-class letters were not delivered on time. Now, consider that the Postal Service handled 54.9 billion pieces of first-class mail in fiscal year 2019. That is more than four billion pieces of first-class mail that were not delivered on time. And that, in a fraught political situation, could be the basis for a lot of anecdotes in news articles.

Many of those anecdotes, by the way, appear to have made it to the media with the help of the Postal Service unions. There are two major unions representing Postal Service workers. On Friday, the largest postal union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for president. In June, another union, the American Postal Workers Union, endorsed Biden as well. In 2016, both unions endorsed Hillary Clinton. In 2008 and 2012, both unions endorsed Barack Obama. In 2004, they endorsed John Kerry. And so on.

One more note about delivery times. A few days ago the Washington Post published a story headlined "Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots." The paper obtained letters from Postal Service leadership to various states informing them that some of their election deadlines are "incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards." The resulting "mismatch," the Postal Service said, "creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them." In other words, several states are not giving the Postal Service long enough to deliver a ballot to a voter and then deliver the filled-in ballot to the state election board. For example, if a state's law allows a voter to request a ballot seven days before the general election but also requires that votes must be received by election day to be counted -- that would be a recipe for a lot of votes not being counted. It was an entirely reasonable concern on the part of the Postal Service, and it is a problem more for the states than the Postal Service. Yet media discussion of the story suggested it was just another chapter in what one source in the Post account called "the weaponization of the U.S. Postal Service for the president's electoral purposes."

Trump confuses everything

Despite the heated rhetoric, many of the Postal Service's problems are relatively clear, if extremely difficult to solve. In the context of the upcoming election, President Trump has repeatedly added confusion to the situation, most recently with extended discussions in a television interview on Thursday and a press conference on Friday.

In the press conference, Trump was asked, "If the Democrats were to give you some of what you want...would you be willing to accept the $25 billion for the Postal Service, including the three and a half billion dollars to handle mail-in voting?" As has happened many times in this controversy, the question conflated the Democrats' proposal for $25 billion for the Postal Service and the request for $3.6 billion for the Election Assistance Commission. In any event, Trump answered, "Sure, if they give us what we want." He then began to elaborate on other policy priorities.

"So if they were to give you that, you would sign off for the money for the Postal Service?"

"Yeah, but they're not giving it to me," Trump said. "They're giving it to the American people."

"But if they were to agree to that -- "

"Yeah, I would," Trump said. "I would certainly do that. Sure, I would do that. Yeah."

The next day, Friday, Trump spoke to Fox News' Maria Bartiromo. "They [Democrats] want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes, OK, universal mail-in ballots, $3.5 billion," Trump said. "They want $25 billion for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now in the meantime, they aren't getting there. By the way, those are just two items. But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it."

In fact, while the $3.5 billion proposal for the Election Assistance Commission -- it is actually $3.6 billion -- is specifically for the purpose of facilitating mail-in voting, the $25 billion for the Postal Service is basically a bailout. In April, the previous postmaster general, Megan Brennan, citing a "steep drop" in mail volume during the coronavirus crisis, had asked for far more -- $75 billion. The Postal Service didn't get anywhere near that much money in the first relief bill, the CARES Act -- just $10 billion in borrowing authority. So when the second relief mega-bill came up, Democrats threw in $25 billion for the Postal Service. It was not about mail-in voting. (On Sunday morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who as a congressman followed postal issues closely, said the administration offered House Democrats $10 billion for the Postal Service.)

Nevertheless, the president connected the two and suggested that the Postal Service needed the $25 billion, and the Election Assistance Commission needed $3.5 billion, to handle ballots in the election, and that he would not give it to them for that very reason.

"How would you like to have $3.5 billion -- billion -- for mail-in voting?" Trump asked. "So if you don't have it -- do you know how much money that is? Nobody has any idea...oh, $3.5 billion. They want $25 billion for the Post Office because the Post Office is going to have to go to town to get these ridiculous ballots in...Now, if we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting, they just can't have it."

The bottom line was that Trump made a mess of the issue. He didn't make a case against universal mail-in voting, which does not exist in the United States. He didn't make clear why Democrats wanted $25 billion for the Post Office. He suggested that not agreeing to the $25 billion was a way to stop universal mail-in voting, which it is not. He didn't address the serious problems at the Postal Service which need attention and do not have anything to do with voting. In all, he left the issue more confused than it had been beforehand -- and that was saying something.

Democrats smell victory

On Friday the Washington Post published a story headlined "Trump's assault on the U.S. Postal Service gives Democrats a new campaign message." Put aside the casual use of the word "assault." The fact is, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and other top Democrats are jumping on the Postal Service controversy with both feet. "Democrats are already blanketing the airwaves, latching on to the opportunity to highlight support [for the Postal Service]," the paper reported. Obama has joined in, tweeting that seniors and veterans and small businesses "can't be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus."

The Democratic commentariat cheered and signaled it is ready to press the issue until election day. "Trump donor & Postmaster General Louis DeJoy should be in the crosshairs of every relevant congressional committee, inspector general, prosecutor, investigative journalist, whistleblower, class action lawyer, editorial board, etc. etc. etc.," tweeted former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. No doubt that is precisely what will happen in the Democratic world and some major media outlets between now and November 3. But shouldn't someone, sometime take a look at what is actually happening?

Published:8/17/2020 1:17:53 PM
[Politics] Sen. Wyden: 'Deeply Concerned' FBI Isn't Sharing Information With Dems Sen. Ron Wyden told FBI Director Christopher Wray that he is "deeply concerned" the agency isn't supplying Democrats with information it is giving to Republicans investigating the Obama administration, The Hill reports. The Oregon lawmaker is the top Democrat on the Senate... Published:8/17/2020 12:48:01 PM
[Politics] Obama Seriously Doubts Biden Can Win Former President Barack Obama has privately raised concerns over the ability of Joe Biden to beat President Donald Trump on Election Day, Politico reports. Obama has raised doubts over Biden's chances to other Democrats. According to Politico, Obama told one Democrat during... Published:8/17/2020 10:49:21 AM
[Politics] Trump: Democrats 'Don't Know How to Unite Their Party' Democrats "don't know how to unite their party," and that will continue at this week's convention, where Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and more will speak virtually before formally nominating Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala... Published:8/17/2020 8:46:52 AM
[Markets] Mueller Aide Weissmann Urges DOJ Attorneys 'Not' To Help On Investigations Mueller Aide Weissmann Urges DOJ Attorneys 'Not' To Help On Investigations Tyler Durden Sun, 08/16/2020 - 20:30

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

recently wrote a column discussing how Democratic leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, have argued against continuing the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham despite growing evidence of misconduct by Justice Department officials and now the first guilty plea by former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.

Now, Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, has derided the Clinesmith plea while actually calling on Justice Department attorneys to refuse to help on ongoing investigations that could implicate aspects of his own prior work.

I was among those who expressed concern when Mueller selected Weissmann due to his history of controversial prosecutorial decisions, including a pattern of prosecutorial overreach in the Enron litigation.

Weissmann’s recent statements (made before the release of his new book on the Russian investigation) have only served to reaffirm those concerns.

Recently, Weissmann wrote an extraordinary and disturbing New York Times op-ed (with former Defense Department special counsel Ryan Goodman). In the column, he appeared to call on Justice Department lawyers to undermine the Durham investigation as well as the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Bash’s investigation into the “unmasking” requests by Obama administration officials. They wrote “Justice Department employees in meeting their ethical and legal obligations, should be well advised not to participate in any such effort.”

Consider that line for a moment...

Weissmann is openly calling on attorneys to refuse to help on investigations that could raise questions about his own decisions.  Durham is looking at a pattern errors, false statements, bias, and now criminal conduct in the Russian investigation. There is obviously overlap with the Mueller investigation which discussed many of the same underlying documents and relied on work by some of the same individuals.  The failure to address misconduct, bias, or criminal conduct by such individuals would be embarrassing to both Weissmann and Mueller. Despite that obvious conflict of interest, Weissmann is calling on attorneys to stand down.

It is the same troubling position that was once taken by Sally Yates, who told an entire federal agency not to assist the President in his travel ban.

After Weissmann called on Justice Department attorneys not to assist investigations by the Justice Department, Durham disclosed that the first guilty plea would be entered by Clinesmith. That would ordinarily cause embarrassment for someone who was calling for DOJ lawyers to effectively hinder the investigation.  Not Weissmann.  He has now attacked the criminal plea.

Weissmann mocked Attorney General Bill Barr to explain the difference between the Flynn plea and the Clinesmith plea.

Weissmann tweeted:

“Question for Barr: how are Flynn’s confessed lies to the FBI (repeated to the VP) not a crime, but Clinesmith changing an email (the full version of which he also sent to DOJ) is?

Clinesmith is charged with adding the words ‘not a source’ to an email about Carter Page, but no where does the charge say that is false, i.e. that Page was a source for the CIA. Without that, how is the addition ‘materially’ false?”

Here is Durham theory: even though Clinesmith gave the complete and accurate email to DOJ to use in the Page FISA, when asked by an FBI agent if the CIA had represented IN WRITING that Page was not a source, Clinesmith said yes, when CIA had not said so explicitly in writing. no where is it alleged that Page was in fact a CIA source or, if so, that Clinesmith knew that. How is any of this false or material to the Page FISA, using Barr’s new Flynn materiality standard. It’s not. Two systems of justice at play.”

“Clear from Durham charge that the FBI supervisor wanted to know if CIA confirmed “in writing” that Page was not a source because of distrust of CIA — but whether in writing or not, no allegation that Clinesmith lied about the fact Page was not a source. That’s a federal crime?”

The tweets reveal more about Weissmann than Clinesmith or this guilty plea.

First, Weissmann is completely distorting both the law and the facts to disregard the significance of this guilty plea. The fact that Page was a source for the CIA is not disputed. The Horowitz investigation and various congressional investigations have confirmed that the CIA made clear to Clinesmith that Page was working for United States intelligence, a fact that critically undermined the basis for the original application for secret surveillance. The statement that “no where does the charge say that is false, i.e. that Page was a source for the CIA” is bizarre. The charge is that Clinesmith made this false statement to the court and there is a wealth of evidence to support that charge. It was clearly enough to prompt Clinesmith to take a plea and enter into what appears a cooperative agreement with prosecutors.

Second, the claim that “Clinesmith gave the complete and accurate email to DOJ” would not negate the charge. It was the false information that he gave to the court that mattered. Prosecutorial misconduct often involves telling courts something different from what is known or discussed by prosecutors.  Moreover, the implications of such a contrast adds to the need for the investigation that Weissmann has sought to hinder.  If other DOJ attorneys and investigators knew that the court was being given false material information, the concerns are magnified not reduced for the Durham investigation.  Indeed, it means that this investigation dragged on for many months despite other attorneys knowing that the original claims of Page being a Russian assets were directly contradicted by American intelligence and never disclosed to the Court.

What is astonishing is that the FISA court itself as well as Horowitz have flagged this as a serious matter of false or misleading information. Weissmann however is actively seeking to convince Justice Department lawyers to refuse to help on the investigation.

Weissmann also misrepresents the law and the position of the Justice Department in Flynn.  I have been one of the most vocal critics of the plea.  It is true that Flynn gave false answers to the investigators.  However, he fought the allegations until the Mueller team drained him of his savings and threatened to prosecute his son.

Keep in mind that Flynn was the incoming National Security Adviser and held entirely lawful discussions with Russian diplomats. Even James Comey told President Obama that the discussions were “legit.” Moreover, in December 2016, investigators had found no evidence of any crime by Flynn. They wanted to shut down the investigation; they were overruled by superiors, including FBI special agent Peter Strzok, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Director James Comey. Strzok told the investigators to keep the case alive, and McCabe is described as “cutting off” another high-ranking official who questioned the basis for continuing to investigate Flynn. All three officials were later fired, and all three were later found by career officials to have engaged in serious misconduct as part of the Russia investigation. Recently disclosed material indicate that Obama, Biden, and other discussed the use of the Logan Act as a pretense for a criminal charge. The Logan Act criminalizes private negotiations with foreign governments. The Logan Act is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used successfully against any U.S. citizen since the earliest days of the Republic.

Then, in February 2017, Comey circumvented long-standing protocols and ordered an interview with Flynn. Comey later bragged that he “probably wouldn’t have … gotten away with it” in other administrations, but he sent “a couple guys over” to question Flynn, who was settling into his new office as national security adviser. Indeed, Yates recently agreed that Comey “went rogue” on the Flynn matter.

This history is what was detailed to the court in the Flynn motion to dismiss the charge. The materiality point reflected the governing law that indictments require more than mere “relevance” or relatedness but rather a statement that is “reasonably likely to influence the tribunal in making a determination required to be made.” United States v. Weinstock, 231 F.2d 699, 701 (D.C. Cir. 1956) (emphasis added). The distinction with Clinesmith is obvious. Clinesmith lied to the Court in an investigation to influence a “determination required to be made” by the court.

Imagine if this were not the rule. It would mean that any prosecutor could intentionally lie to a court to secure warrants or other actions without the risk of a criminal charge.  Yet, Weissmann is mocking the very notion that Clinesmith could be charged while insisting that his office was correct in prosecuting Flynn despite the absence of an ongoing federal case and the fact that the agents themselves did not believe Flynn intentionally lied. There is no question the Clinesmith lied and that the lie was critical to the court’s consideration of the FISA application.

Weissmann’s public effort to derail the Durham investigation and his distortion of the Clinesmith guilty plea only reinforces the view of many of us that the Durham investigation must be completed and made public. Despite saying that I did not believe that Mueller would find crimes of collusion or conspiracy with the Russians, I supported the Special Counsel investigation. I also supported the Horowitz investigation and the Durham investigation. The reason is the same. I believe that the public needs to have a full and transparent account of what happened in the Russian investigation on both sides. Like many, Weissmann would like transparency on only one side and to shutdown the Durham investigation despite Horowitz referring matters for criminal investigation and finding a host of false statements, errs, and professional misconduct.  Even the addition of a criminal plea has not stopped Weissmann from denouncing this investigation.

For years, I have criticized Weissmann’s record of dubious prosecutorial judgment, bias, and overreach. However, that case against Weissmann is not nearly as powerful as the case he is making against himself.

Published:8/16/2020 7:43:09 PM
[Markets] Here's Every Presidential Candidate's Running-Mate Since WWII Here's Every Presidential Candidate's Running-Mate Since WWII Tyler Durden Sun, 08/16/2020 - 18:15

Since the U.S. Constitution was first instituted, there have been 48 vice presidents. They’ve supported presidents in seeing the country through wars, economic expansions and contractions, a global pandemic - and much more.

A president’s success depends on the strength of their team, so it’s only natural that as second-in-command, the pick for a VP carries significant weight; and, as Visual Capitalist's Iman Ghosh notes, in some cases, they can even make or break the race to secure a spot in the White House.

In this graphic, we take a look at the hand-picked running mates of presidential hopefuls since 1940, including the upcoming November 2020 elections.

Running More Than Once

The graphic highlights 33 running mates, out of which nine have ran for VP more than once. Here’s how their number of terms compare, and who continued on to become an eventual presidential candidate:

Of the running mates since WWII, Republicans Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush are the only two to have served as president after being vice presidents for two previous terms—unless Joe Biden wins in November 2020.

Prior Gigs

What career paths did aspiring VPs take before running on the big ticket?

Interestingly, 2 of 3 running mates profiled in today’s graphic had a prior background as a lawyer before choosing to enter politics.

A curious exception to the typical career path is that of former professional football player Jack Kemp, who was chosen as the running mate for Bob Dole’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 1996.

At the President’s Right Hand

The vice president is the first in line of succession for the Oval Office, in the event that the sitting president dies, resigns, or is removed from office. Throughout history, nine VPs have ascended to presidency this way, of which three occurred since 1940.

  • After Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945, Harry S. Truman ascended to the presidency.

  • Lyndon B. Johnson became the President upon John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

  • Following evidence of political corruption, Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973. He was replaced by Gerald Ford, who then became President after Nixon’s post-Watergate resignation in 1974.

Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump are three Presidents who have been through the impeachment process, but were later acquitted by the Senate. Otherwise, the list of VPs ending up as the commander-in-chief might look much more different.

The Youngest and Oldest Running Mates

Based on the first time they ran on the ticket, the average running mate is 54 years old. In contrast, the average presidential candidate is 58 years old.

Comparing the age difference between presidential candidates and their running mates paints a unique picture. The biggest age gaps both occurred in 2008:

There was a 28-year difference between older candidate John McCain (72) and younger VP pick Sarah Palin (44) on the Republican ticket. On the Democratic side, younger candidate Barack Obama (47) and older VP pick Joe Biden (66) saw a 19-year gap.

Harry S. Truman’s historic win in 1948 was considered a surprising political longshot. His running mate, Alben W. Barkley was the oldest running mate ever picked, 71 years at the time.

Meanwhile, Richard Nixon was one of the youngest running mates to be chosen, 39 years in 1956—second only to John C. Breckinridge (36 years old in 1856). Finally, at age 92 years in 2020, Walter Mondale is the oldest living former VP.

Cracking the Glass Ceiling

Last but not least, there have only been three women selected as VP running mates to date.

  • Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman VP nominee for the Democratic Party in 1984.
  • Although she had only two years of political experience as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin was the first female Republican VP nominee in 2008.
  • Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor with almost four years of experience as a Senator, is the first woman of color to be nominated on any major party’s ticket in 2020.

Palin herself shared a few words of wisdom for Harris across the aisle:

Congrats to the democrat VP pick  Climb upon Geraldine Ferraro’s and my shoulders, and from the most amazing view in your life consider lessons we learned...

- Sarah Palin (via Instagram)

Could Harris become the first ever right-hand woman? We’ll find out in a few months.

 

Published:8/16/2020 5:43:06 PM
[Al Qaeda] Hey, Dems: Take a Look at What Happened to the USPS Under Obama

Hey, Dems: Take a Look at What Happened to the USPS Under Obama. What happened under Hussein? Not much, other than sticking us with Obamacare, race-bating, and setting pallets of money to Iran.

The post Hey, Dems: Take a Look at What Happened to the USPS Under Obama appeared first on IHTM.

Published:8/16/2020 2:41:32 PM
[Markets] The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery The Manufactured Hysteria Over Mail Delivery Tyler Durden Sun, 08/16/2020 - 15:20

Authored by Rick Moran via PJMedia.com,

That dastardly Donald Trump is at it again. He is either the evilest man ever to hold the office of president or the dumbest. He is either a Machiavellian genius manipulating the media and his hypnotized followers or a bumbling know-nothing idiot.

Trump is being accused of sabotaging the November elections because he won’t give the postal unions and incompetent managers in the postal service $25 billion to play with. The money will stave off catastrophe for about a year at the rate the USPS is burning through cash. Without that money, we’re informed by those in the know, thousands — no, tens of thousands — no, millions of voters who wait until the last minute to mail in an absentee ballot might not have their votes counted because, well, Trump.

The procrastinators in America are up in arms and plan a demonstration to show their outrage. But it probably won’t happen until after the election since that’s when they’ll eventually get around to it.

The “crisis” in postal delivery presupposes that, prior to Trump’s shenanigans, the USPS was doing fine — nothing that a few tens of billions of taxpayer dollars couldn’t fix. In fact, that’s what the postal unions are saying. In a statement released on Saturday, the letter carriers and postal workers’ unions assure the public that even without the money, they can do the job.

“The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) know the truth; the members of these unions are the people who actually process and deliver the mail. Postal Workers and Letter Carriers both say, unequivocally, that no matter how much the administration tries to undermine trust in the postal system, the system remains fully capable of delivering every single ballot cast by mail in a secure and timely manner.

“Indeed, the NALC assures that even if every single vote in the November 2020 election were cast by mail, the U.S. Postal Service would have no problem delivering the ballots, whether or not Congress provides the funding included in the HEROES Act.

“The U.S. Postal Service has an entire structure in place to coordinate with state and local election boards to facilitate secure and timely delivery of mail ballots.

So what’s all the hubbub about? The letter carriers say they can deliver the ballots on time. The postal employees claim they don’t need the extra cash.

Where, pray tell, is there a “crisis”?

Nancy Pelosi knows. In fact, she’s about to call the members of the House of Representatives off the campaign trail and back to Washington to deal with the “crisis.”

Politico:

Pelosi and other top Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), discussed the possibility of returning early during an emergency leadership call Saturday afternoon.

Democrats are looking to address organizational issues at the Postal Service in the coming weeks, not to provide additional funding at this time, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

Nothing says “crisis” in Washington quite like pulling politicians away from their campaigns for a political stunt like holding an “emergency” session of Congress.

One option would be to vote on a modified version of a bill introduced by House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) earlier this week that would prohibit USPS from implementing a planned organizational overhaul that critics maintain would handicap mail-in voting.

Other top Democrats also floated addressing other issues, including expired federal unemployment benefits and voting rights. But Democratic sources said the immediate focus — at least for now — is preserving the Postal Service ahead of the election.

So now Democrats want to become experts at mail delivery and dictate to management how the mail is to be delivered?

Sheesh.

The media is doing their part in fanning the flames of crisis. Some of the headlines are choice.

  1. “USPS removes mail collection boxes and reduces post office hours as critics accuse Trump administration of voter suppression” — CNN  (Obama removed tens of thousands of mail boxes without a peep from the unions or Democrats)

  2. “Trump’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service gives Democrats a new campaign message” — Washington Post

  3. “Postal Crisis Ripples Across Nation as Election Looms” — New York Times

  4. “Exclusive: UPS, FedEx warn they cannot carry ballots like U.S. Postal Service” — Reuters

That Reuters headline is hysterical. UPS and FedEx are not supposed to carry ballots. They aren’t the U.S. Postal Service. There would have to be an act of Congress before they could carry ballots.

But if it gins up fear and outrage, all the better...

Published:8/16/2020 2:27:50 PM
[National Security] BEASTMODE: O’Brien Says Only Opponents of Israel-UAE Deal Are Ayatollah and Ben Rhodes

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Sunday the only two people who opposed the historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates were the Ayatollah of Iran and former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes.

The post BEASTMODE: O’Brien Says Only Opponents of Israel-UAE Deal Are Ayatollah and Ben Rhodes appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/16/2020 2:11:22 PM
[Markets] Barack Obama Has "Privately Expressed Grave Concerns" About Joe Biden's 2020 White House Run Barack Obama Has "Privately Expressed Grave Concerns" About Joe Biden's 2020 White House Run Tyler Durden Sun, 08/16/2020 - 09:45

President Obama sure did take a long time to finally endorse Joe Biden for his 2020 run. The world couldn't help but notice that Biden's former partner in crime didn't exactly hop at the chance to endorse Biden after it was clear that Biden would be the Democratic candidate for 2020.

Now, we might know why...

President Obama has "privately expressed grave concerns" about Biden's run for the White House, according to a stunning new report from Politico. Obama reportedly said of Biden: 

“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”

Despite the endorsement and the former Obama administration painting a rosy picture of the relationship between the two, the Post describes their relationship as being "fraught with tension".

Former White House communications director Jen Psaki commented of their relationship:

 “You could certainly see technocratic eye-rolling at times.” 

The attitude reportedly is what led Obama to endorse Hillary Clinton, instead of Joe Biden, in the 2016 Presidential race. 

“The president was not encouraging,” Biden said of Obama's support in 2016. 

And while Obama was keeping his distance from Biden after his 2020 announcement he was "talking him down" behind the scenes. 

Obama finally caved and endorsed Biden in April of this year, stating: 

“I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now. He’s someone whose own life has taught him how to persevere,”

But speaking about Biden's presence in Iowa during the caucuses Obama said:

 “You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”

Why leak this story now? Right before the DNC convention? And sourced by Politico of all places. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Interestingly,  Jim Rickards recently  suggested , admittedly a prognostication at best, that Biden won't even make it to The White house and will soon be replaced as the nominee soon.

Democratic insiders will probably force him out of the race in the next week or so.

They don’t want to risk exposing him to the American people before the election. For Democrats, the stakes are simply too high.

One public incident or serious slip-up is all it could take to kill his chances in the election. The American people simply aren’t going to elect someone who they feel is mentally unfit for office.

Many voters obviously dislike Trump. But, no one could credibly argue that he’s suffering from cognitive decline.

So what’s going to happen?

The Democrat power brokers (Tom Perez, Donna Brazile, Valerie Jarrett, Philippe Reins, AOC, John Podesta and a few others) will get in a room and pick a new nominee.

Biden will “release” his delegates, and party leadership will direct the super-delegates to support that choice. This will start a stampede among the former Biden delegates.

The Bernie Sanders delegates will already be onboard because they’ll be part of the consultation. Then the new nominee will pick a VP and  the “convention” will tidy things up. The race will continue from there.

Alternatively, the power brokers could allow Biden to get the nomination and then remove him as nominee before the debates. That’s even easier because there are no delegates involved. It’s just an executive committee decision the candidate cannot refuse.

Still, the process will be a shock to millions of Americans who’ve been expecting a Biden candidacy.

How much of a surprise would that really be?

Published:8/16/2020 9:10:41 AM
[Uncategorized] Report Claims Obama Said of Biden: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up” Says tensions linger between Obama's team and Biden's 2020 campaign. Published:8/16/2020 9:10:41 AM
[78bd4f7d-1352-5d48-a62b-d1a6c010306d] Adonis Hoffman: Chicago needs Obama more than Hollywood Barack Obama is the perfect “convener in chief” to bring peace to Chicago. After all, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2009. Published:8/16/2020 7:43:24 AM
[Politics] LOL NO KIDDING: Obama privately worries Biden could ‘F*** THINGS UP’, cost Dems 2020 Former President Obama has one fear in common with all of America. He’s afraid that Joe Biden is going to “f*** things up.” A perfectly understandable and widespread emotion for sure. Of . . . Published:8/15/2020 9:10:39 PM
[Politics] LOL NO KIDDING: Obama privately worries Biden could ‘F*** THINGS UP’, cost Dems 2020 Former President Obama has one fear in common with all of America. He’s afraid that Joe Biden is going to “f*** things up.” A perfectly understandable and widespread emotion for sure. Of . . . Published:8/15/2020 9:10:39 PM
[2019 News] Obama and other Democrats scream hysterically about Social Security checks

Obama and other Democrats scream hysterically about seniors getting Social Security checks in the mail. When in fact almost nobody gets a Social Security check in the mail. You can always tell it’s an election year when the Democrats start screaming about Republicans endangering Social Security payments.

The post Obama and other Democrats scream hysterically about Social Security checks appeared first on IHTM.

Published:8/15/2020 11:34:10 AM
[Politics] Rep. Louie Gohmert to Newsmax TV: Clinesmith Might Be Flipped Witness Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith is either the "fall guy" for the Obama administration's spying on the Trump campaign or a flipped witness to expose it all, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, on Newsmax TV. Published:8/15/2020 11:34:10 AM
[Markets] 52% Of Democrats Wish Someone Else Were Their Nominee Vs Only 25% Of Republicans 52% Of Democrats Wish Someone Else Were Their Nominee Vs Only 25% Of Republicans Tyler Durden Sat, 08/15/2020 - 12:25

By Megan Brenan of Gallup,

Highlights:

  • 36% say Biden would be a good president; 33% say Trump would

  • 52% of Democrats/leaners wish someone else were their nominee

  • 42% of Americans view Trump favorably; 47% view Biden favorably

As both political parties prepare for their conventions, one in four Americans do not think either of the major-party presidential candidates would be a good president. At the same time, roughly equal percentages say only Joe Biden (36%) or only Donald Trump (33%) would make a good president, while 5% say both candidates would.

Similar percentages of Democrats (75%) and Republicans (79%) think only their candidate is suitable, while a 37% plurality of independents do not think either would be a good candidate and nearly equal percentages say only Biden or only Trump would be.

These readings, from a July 30-Aug. 12 poll, mark the fourth U.S. presidential election of the five that have occurred since 2004 for which Gallup has asked this question. The current percentage saying neither candidate would make a good president is the highest on record.

In 2004 and 2012, when incumbents were also running, 11% and 17%, respectively, lacked faith in both candidates' ability to be a good president. In 2008, an open-race year, 19% said the same -- however, Gallup did not track this measure in 2016 when both non-incumbent candidates, Trump and Hillary Clinton, were historically unpopular.

Republicans More Pleased Than Democrats With Their Party's Candidate

The new poll also asked people who identify with either of the two major parties if they are generally pleased with the selection of their party's nominee. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are more likely than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to say they are generally pleased with their party's candidate.

About three-quarters of Republicans/leaners are generally pleased with Trump, while 25% wish someone else were the nominee. In contrast, 48% of Democrats/leaners are pleased with Biden and 52% would prefer another candidate.

However, Democrats are much more pleased with Biden as the nominee than are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (56% vs. 34%, respectively). Likewise, Republicans (81%) are more satisfied with Trump as the nominee than are Republican-leaning independents (63%).

While Gallup has not asked this question in all recent presidential election years, this imbalance in the views of partisans follows a pattern from past elections when an incumbent was running. This can most likely be attributed to the fact that those whose party had a nominating contest may have supported a candidate other than the eventual party nominee and are not yet fully on board with the nominee. In the past, this has often changed after the winner accepts the nomination at the party's convention, as Biden will -- virtually -- next week.

In May 2012, 80% of Democrats/leaners were satisfied with then-President Barack Obama as their party's nominee, while fewer Republicans/leaners were satisfied with Mitt Romney (59%). Likewise, in June 1992, 80% of Republicans/leaners were pleased with then-President George H.W. Bush, while 46% of Democrats/leaners were satisfied with Bill Clinton.

Satisfaction with an incumbent has not always translated to victory, as seen in 1992; Democrats were about as pleased with Clinton as they are with Biden today, and Clinton went on to defeat Bush that November. The Clinton reading was taken before the Democratic convention -- which, along with Ross Perot's departure from the campaign, led to a Clinton surge in the polls after which he never trailed in pre-election polls.

Further evidence of an incumbent advantage on the measure comes in comparing Trump's current standing to what it was in 2016. In August of that year, after he had accepted his party's nomination, less than half of Republicans/leaners said they were pleased he was the nominee.

Biden's current standing is slightly worse than it was for Hillary Clinton in 2016 after the Democratic convention (56%).

This year, Democrats/leaners who say they would have preferred another nominee are slightly more likely to be men (56%) than women (49%). Those younger than 35 are the least satisfied with Biden as their nominee -- 82% would rather have someone else.

Trump and Biden Favorable Ratings Remain Below 50%

Although Republicans are more pleased with Trump's nomination than Democrats are with Biden's, Biden holds an edge in candidate favorable ratings among all Americans. Currently, 47% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Biden, compared with 42% for Trump. Trump's rating is down from 49% the last time Gallup asked this question in April, while Biden's is essentially unchanged from 45%.

While Trump's favorable rating has not reached 50% since 2005 -- long before he became a Republican politician -- Biden has been viewed favorably by a majority of U.S. adults as recently as April 2019.

Trump's unfavorable rating is 57% among all Americans, resulting in a net favorability of -15. Biden's net favorability is closer to positive territory, at -1.

Republicans and Democrats view their party's presidential candidate nearly as favorably -- 91% of Republicans hold a favorable view of Trump, while Biden's favorable rating is 87% among Democrats. However, among independents, favorability is far lower and about equal for both Trump (39%) and Biden (41%).

Bottom Line

Although a quarter of Americans overall do not think either Trump or Biden would be a good president, about seven in 10 Democrats and Republicans alike think their party's candidate would be. Yet, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they are pleased with their party's nominee.

Neither of these measures has been predictive of election outcomes in the past -- likely in part because partisans' attitudes tend to change closer to Election Day, with each group falling in line behind their candidate. These pre-convention ratings may simply provide some perspective on the importance of conventions for rallying the partisan base.

Historically, the more important measure is what Americans as a whole think of the candidates, as reflected in their favorable ratings. In general, since 1992, the candidate who is rated more favorably by Americans has won the election. The 2016 election was a notable exception, when Hillary Clinton was viewed more favorably than Trump but still lost the election. In addition to favorability, in incumbent election years, presidential job approval ratings are also strong predictors of reelection.

Published:8/15/2020 11:34:10 AM
[Politics] Obama Pod Bro Mocks Media for Describing Kamala Harris as ‘Moderate’

When Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) as his running mate, the American media performed the journalistic equivalent of breaking into song. Harris was resoundingly celebrated as a "historic" figure who, despite not wining any votes in the primary, had nevertheless electrified the voting public with her intoxicating charisma and middle-aged dance moves.

The post Obama Pod Bro Mocks Media for Describing Kamala Harris as ‘Moderate’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/14/2020 2:00:18 PM
[Politics] Obama Blasts Trump for Trying to 'Kneecap the Postal Service' Former President Barack Obama accused President Donald Trump of trying to "actively kneecap the Postal Service" to impact mail-in voting in the November election.Obama made his comments during an interview on the Campaign HQ podcast hosted by his former campaign manager... Published:8/14/2020 1:27:55 PM
[IJR] Obama Slams Trump: He Is Attempting to ‘Actively Kneecap the Postal Service’ Obama explained the difference between voter suppression in the past compared to Trump's recent remarks. Published:8/14/2020 12:28:16 PM
[Politics] Politico: Tension With Obama Drives Biden Former President Barack Obama's "complicated" relationship with former Vice President Joe Biden, which caused "hairline fractures in the Democratic foundation," has colored his 2020 presidential campaign, according to Politico. Published:8/14/2020 9:56:29 AM
[Politics] GOP Rep. Zeldin: Obama, Biden Have No Claim on Israel-UAE Peace Deal Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., rejected Joe Biden's claims the historic peace deal reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates builds on the progress made by the Obama administration and other administrations through the years. Published:8/14/2020 8:26:37 AM
[Politics] On China, Biden may have little choice but to continue Trump's hard-line policy

Biden will rally allies and set a new tone, yet underneath his China policy may look closer to Trump's than to Obama's a decade ago.

Published:8/14/2020 6:26:11 AM
[National Security] Obama Alums Lash Out After Trump Announces Israel-U.A.E Peace Deal

Prominent Democrats took to social media to lash out at President Donald Trump after Washington helped broker a historic peace deal normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The post Obama Alums Lash Out After Trump Announces Israel-U.A.E Peace Deal appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/13/2020 5:25:53 PM
[Markets] DoJ Finds Yale Admissions Illegally Discriminated Against Whites, Asians DoJ Finds Yale Admissions Illegally Discriminated Against Whites, Asians Tyler Durden Thu, 08/13/2020 - 18:15

After more than two years of investigations, the DoJ has finally determined that Yale university's discriminatory practices during the admissions process amounted to evidence of discrimination against white and Asian-American applicants, in violation of a federal civil rights statute.

The DoJ's two-year investigation concluded that Yale "rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit."

Not only did Trump's DoJ pick up the previously rejected 2016 complaint, breathing new life into a movement to return US civil rights policy concerning collegiate admissions back to the standard from the Bush era, which was "race blind" admissions. After many years of squawking about that standard being unfair, the Obama Administration ushered in a new "affirmative action" policy that called for quotas.  Trump officially reversed the policy in July 2018.

"Yale’s race discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular Asian American and White applicants," Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, the head of the department’s civil rights division, wrote in a letter to the college’s attorneys.

The complaint was based on years of complaints from white and asian applicants who claim they were only rejected because their race made them "similar" to other applicants. Phrases like "she doesn't have the right profile" - with "profile" being used as a kind of dog whistle for "she's not the right race" - were uncovered in the records obtained by the DoJ from schools including Yale, Harvard and Dartmouth.

The findings detailed in a letter to Yale's attorneys mark the Trump administration's latest step in advancing its college admissions agenda (a low-key critical issue for many white suburban mothers, who spend dozens of hours stressing about their child's academic future, as we learned during the College Admissions scandal, an extreme example of this instinct.

Prosecutors found that Yale has been discriminating against applicants to its undergraduate program based on their race and national origin and “that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.” The investigation found that Asian American and white students have “only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials."

"Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division," Dreiband said in a statement. "It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin."

The investigation also found that Yale uses race as a factor in multiple steps of the admissions process and that Yale “racially balances its classes."

As the AP reminds us, SCOTUS precedent has a narrowly defined procedure for how race can be factored in to promote diversity. Schools are responsible for showing why their consideration of race is appropriate.

Yale has previously denied that its admissions process discriminates against Asian Americans or any other ethnic group. Responding to the 2018 announcement of the investigation, Yale’s president said race is just one of “a multitude” of factors the school considers when weighing applications.

Yale denied the DoJ's allegations - and remember, right now, allegations is all they are.

"Yale College could fill its entire entering class several times over with applicants who reach the 99th percentile in standardized testing and who have perfect high school grade point averages, but we do not base admission on such numbers alone," President Peter Salovey wrote. “Rather, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants."

Over the previous 15 years, he said, the number of Asian American students in Yale’s incoming classes grew from 14% to 22%. He added that the school’s approach "complies fully with all legal requirements and has been endorsed repeatedly by the Supreme Court."

The Justice Department has demanded that Yale immediately stop and agree not to use race or national origin for upcoming admissions.

This isn't the first time the DoJ has tried to unilaterally pressure top colleges into eliminating the Obama-era "affirmative action" policies Harvard and other schools ahve also been found guilty of the same violations. The DoJ is now demanding that Yale must come up with a detailed plan to factor in race via the Trump administration's guidleines, or simply revert back to the blind admissions of yore

Knowing the prevailing sentiments in the world of academia, we suspect they will resist the administration, at least at first, before trying to come to some kind of compromise.

Published:8/13/2020 5:25:53 PM
[Administrative state] How dare you, Gene Scalia! (Paul Mirengoff) We have written before about the Department of Labor’s action against Oracle for alleged pay discrimination. In my view, the case against Oracle is without merit. It was brought by the Obama administration, based on specious statistical analyses. The Trump administration should have promptly dismissed the action, but former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, not wanting to alienate the left or the mainstream media, allowed holdovers from the Obama administration Published:8/13/2020 5:25:53 PM
[] NUNES: Obama and Biden Knew About Spying on the Trump Campaign Published:8/13/2020 1:29:06 PM
[b294e6b3-964d-5f4f-8a3a-78201c47234b] Miranda Devine: Touting Kamala Harris as a moderate is a liberal dose of deception If by pragmatic, the Times means this Barack Obama protegé will be whatever you want her to be, it’s correct. Published:8/13/2020 1:29:06 PM
[Funding] Omaze raises $30M after expanding beyond celebrity campaigns Omaze, the startup became famous for its celebrity-centric fundraisers, is announcing that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Some of the company’s best-known campaigns include opportunities to meet Michelle Obama, meet Star Wars cast members and visit the set of “Star Trek Beyond.” (I’ll admit that I thew my hat in the […] Published:8/13/2020 8:22:28 AM
[2020 Election] Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility

Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility. Here we go with Obama 2.0. Is she or isn’t she a US Citizen? The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has some questioning her eligibility for the position. The 12th Amendment provides […]

The post Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility appeared first on IHTM.

Published:8/12/2020 8:47:38 PM
[] New Title IX rule will take effect Friday after judge refuses to strike it down Published:8/12/2020 6:20:30 PM
[Markets] Andrew Kimbrell On The Origins of COVID-19 Andrew Kimbrell On The Origins of COVID-19 Tyler Durden Wed, 08/12/2020 - 19:05

Via Corporate Crime Reporter (emphasis ours),

What are the origins of the COVID-19 virus?

Did it come from nature?

Or did it leak from a lab in Wuhan, China?

The International Center for Technology Assessment is placing its bets on a leak from a lab in Wuhan.

“After considerable research, including a thorough review of the selected research materials and discussions with experts in the field, we have come to agree with the view that the virus causing COVID-19 did not evolve naturally but rather is the product of one of the high-security bio-medical laboratories in Wuhan, China,” the group said in a statement issued last month.  “We believe that there is a preponderance of circumstantial and scientific evidence demonstrating that the ‘laboratory virus’ hypothesis is not only possible but probable. By contrast, recent refutation of the hypothesis that the virus originated at a Wuhan wet market and new findings that the virus has not been found in nature despite significant effort to do so, makes the view that the virus evolved naturally unlikely.” 

“No dispositive finding on the virus’ origin can be made without a full review of the records and logs of the Wuhan high security laboratories involved, which the current stance of the government of China makes improbable. Nevertheless, in coming to a conclusion as to the probability of its laboratory origin, ICTA understands that it is critical that any analysis of the origin of this catastrophic contagion be apolitical and constructive. ICTA’s work in this area is not intended to blame individual scientists or any country,  but rather to help provide the insight, and encourage the action needed to spare humanity from a series of future man-made pandemics that could surpass the current one in transmissibility and lethality.”

Andrew Kimbrell is executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment. 

Let’s start with the probability – more likely than not – that the COVID-19 virus is a lab created virus – from one of the two labs in Wuhan China,” Kimbrell told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last month. 

“Let’s take a look at the virus itself.” 

“Is there anything about the virus that would indicate one way or another? The other four categories are more circumstantial. Circumstantial evidence is fine in a court of law.” 

“One is – location. Where did it happen?”

“Two – precedent. Has anything like this ever happened before?”

“Three – warnings. Did anybody warn that this might happen?”

“And four – cover-up. Did the labs and the Chinese government try to cover it up?”

“Those are the five categories that I would ask your friends and skeptics to go through carefully before they use words like conspiracy or baloney. And later on I will go through why some of them are using those terms. We will get into the corporate support for these people and why you are getting this misinformation.”

Let’s go through it. It is undisputed that this is a chimeric virus that has never been seen before. It’s a hybrid virus.“

“The bat coronaviruses that are closest to COVID-19 are lacking two incredibly important things that COVID-19 has that make it so dangerous. One is the proteins that spike the cell – the spike proteins. The spike proteins that are on COVID-19 are completely different than those on the bat coronaviruses that are closest to it otherwise. Then there is the furin cleavage site. This is something that allows the virus to get inside the cell and have the cell mechanism reproduce it. That does not exist in this group of bat coronaviruses.” 

You have a basic bat coronavirus and you have two things that have been added to it. The spike protein is closest to an animal called the pangolin. We do know that somehow this bat virus was infected by at least two other animals and then went into a human host. And for that virus to be the way it is, it had to happen simultaneously.”

“We have a hybrid virus never seen before in nature, it had to have been infected simultaneously with these other elements that make it more dangerous – make it more infective and more transmissible.”

“There is no theory about how they got in there. They used to think it was the wet market. That has been completely debunked, including by the Chinese government. No one believes that anymore. That explanation was a smoke screen put up by the Chinese and Americans who want to support that idea.”

What are the chances it happened naturally?

“Someone will have to come up with a scenario. It sounds almost like a joke. A horseshoe bat, a pangolin and some other creature met in a bar in Wuhan and somehow simultaneously infected them.”  

“I haven’t seen any scenario of how that happened or where that happened. But we know that had to happen. It happened somewhere. It either happened in nature or it happened in the Wuhan Institute of Virology or it happened at the CDC lab in Wuhan.” 

“That is undisputed. Then at the end of May, Nickolai Petrovsky and his team in Australia said – let’s see if we can find a creature that might have an affinity for this. That way we might find the animals that might have come together to create this virus. Their conclusion was that they could not find it anywhere else in nature. These are objective researchers. They are not Trump supporters. That study made it even more difficult to accept the natural theory.

“Meanwhile, we know that this was exactly the kind of work that was going on at one or both of the Wuhan labs. They call it gain of function research. I call it gain of threat research. They were taking NIH money, through the EcoHealth Alliance to do exactly this. And they did exactly this. They added different kinds of protein spikes. They mixed and matched various viruses. They genetically engineered them. They infected a number of animals. They put them into human cell cultures to increase the threat.”

Why were they doing this research?

The point of the research was to collect all of these bat viruses from 1,000 miles away from Wuhan and bring them back into their labs. The bat coronavirus was also the basis for the first SARS outbreak. They collected the bat viruses and brought them back to the labs. And then we are going to see what it would take for them to become really dangerous. What would it take? The idea was – if we can show what it takes in a laboratory for them to become incredibly dangerous then maybe we can predict that happening in nature. And then maybe we could have vaccines or interventions and be ready for the next pandemic.”

It was a way to develop vaccines?

“No. It was a way to develop a potential pandemic virus that might have occurred in nature at some point in the future. By having it, they would be able to think about what intervention strategies might work against this virus, which is now only in the lab, not in nature.”

“They would say – we’re trying to not have the next pandemic. And there are a couple of problems with that argument. I sent you an article by Marc Lipsitch at Harvard and Tom Inglesby at Johns Hopkins. They pretty much demolished this argument. They say – there are hundreds of combinations of coronaviruses that could happen in nature. The idea that you can pick one or two and that is going to be the one that nature comes up with is like winning the lottery. And then to create a vaccine for a non existent virus – except in your laboratory – no one is going to do that. They are going to wait to see what happens in nature.” 

“This whole gain of threat research, there are many reputable scientists now saying – it gives you no information, it’s not useful for vaccines, it’s not useful for anything except for the curiosity and interest of this small group of scientists who do this research.”

“Meanwhile they are creating novel pandemic viruses.

“Let’s get back to the list.”

“Location. Why did this happen in Wuhan? Of all the cities in China. Of all the areas where bats are – and they are nowhere near Wuhan, they are 1,000 miles away. Of all of the cities it could have happened in, of all the small towns it could have happened in, why did it happen in Wuhan? What are the odds of this happening in Wuhan naturally versus happening in Wuhan because researchers there were doing exactly the kind of research that would create it? What are the odds of that? If I was in court, I would say that’s a very strong indicator that it happened in the labs. And in the interview with Shi Zhengli, she was so surprised. Why would this happen in Wuhan? And that’s why she got so nervous. Check that in favor of the lab theory.”

“Two is precedent. Was there any precedent? Yes. In 2003 and 2004, the original SARS virus was leaked four times from Chinese laboratories. It was reported in Science magazine. So, we’ve already had a leak of SARS 1. And a couple of people who worked in that laboratory died in 2004. We have a precedent with the SARS virus.” 

“What about warnings? There were numerous warnings. UPMC Center for Health Security looked at ten nations including China. In 2016, they found inadequate training and inadequate safety personnel in China to secure biosecurity.”

“In 2017, there is an article in Nature where scientists say they are very concerned about a biosafety level 4 laboratory in China doing all of this controversial research. We don’t feel they have the experience or the expertise to do that.”

“In 2018, we have the cables from the U.S. State Department saying – we are in this lab in China and we are very concerned that they are not taking appropriate precautions. And we are hoping that the United States government is coming to help them because this could be a very bad result. That was reported on by Josh Rogin in the Washington Post. You can read these cables.”

“In 2019, the Global Health Security Index for the very first time looks at biosecurity for 195 nations. No one has ever done anything that comprehensive. They found that China was not even in the top fifty of the most biosecure countries.” 

“NBC reported that in October 2019 there was cell phone silence at the Wuhan lab. They were concerned that might have had something to do with an accident.”

You had all of these warnings. You had precedent. Then you have a massive cover-up. Milton Leitenberg in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists goes over that cover-up in great detail in an article in June titled “Did the SARS-CoV-2 virus arise from a bat coronavirus research program in a Chinese laboratory? Very possibly.” 

“Leitenberg goes over the cover-up in detail. China orders the virus destroyed. They punish those who were publishing stories about it. They refused to make any records from the labs available. They put out disinformation that it came from a U.S. military lab.” 

What about the so called batwoman?

“The Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli. She works at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. She says she didn’t sleep a wink for days, fearful that the virus came from her lab. But now she assures us that it didn’t come from her lab. She may be right or she may be wrong. I don’t know. It may have come from the other lab or from someone else working there. But she herself was so frightened about the possibility that her research had created this pandemic that she didn’t sleep a wink for days. That’s enough to say to me – that research should never happen.”

What you call gain of threat research was banned for a while, correct?

“That’s correct. Gain of function research is used for different kinds of research. If you were to be working with a plant and were trying to get the plant to fixate nitrogen better, that would be gain of function for that plant. There is nothing wrong with gain of function research. But to use the term as they do is dishonest. The term gain of function sounds innocuous. Gain of function – that doesn’t sound bad.”

You don’t want to ban gain of function research.

“I don’t want to ban gain of function research. I’m going to take away the double speak and call it what it is – gain of threat research on potential pandemic viruses. That’s what I want to ban. No one in the world should be doing gain of threat research on potentially pandemic viruses. It’s the definition of insanity.”

In 2014, the Obama administration declared a moratorium on any federal funding of gain of threat research. The reason they did this was because two researchers – Ron Fouchier in the Netherlands and Yoshihiro Kawaoka in Wisconsin – were working on the H5N1 bird flu, which had a 60 percent mortality rate, but was not transmissible through the air. It killed a few hundred people, but because it was not transmissible, it didn’t go very far. But they decided they were going to try and turn it into a transmissible virus and publish their results.”

“With a 60 percent mortality rate, if that virus escaped, you have a potential 1.6 billion casualties.” 

Did they actually turn it into a transmissible virus?

“According to them, they did yes.”

What are the ethics of turning that into a transmissible virus?

“Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health said this ‘We have accepted principles, embodied in the Nuremberg Code, that say that biomedical experiments posing a risk to human subjects should only be undertaken if they provide benefits that sufficiently offset the risks – and if there are no other means of obtaining those benefits. Although these experiments don’t involve people directly, they do put human life and well-being at risk.’” 

[For the complete q/a format Interview with Andrew Kimbrell, see 34 Corporate Crime Reporter 30(10), Monday June 27, 2020, print edition only.]

Published:8/12/2020 6:20:30 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Joe Biden, a profile in pandering (Paul Mirengoff) This column by David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist in 2008 and 2012, suggests that Joe Biden didn’t really want Kamala Harris to be his running mate. Axelrod doesn’t quite put it this way, but he does say that “others Biden considered may have fit more comfortably into partnership with him.” This is similar to my take last week. I agreed that Harris was probably the frontrunner for the nomination, Published:8/12/2020 2:14:39 PM
[Markets] New Memos Reveal Aggressive US Lobbying Campaign By Hunter Biden's Corrupt Ukrainian 'Friends' New Memos Reveal Aggressive US Lobbying Campaign By Hunter Biden's Corrupt Ukrainian 'Friends' Tyler Durden Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:40

New memos obtained by Just the News and the Southern Foundation reveal that Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma conducted an aggressive lobbying campaign directed at the US State Department throughout the 2016 US election, with the goal of pressuring the Obama administration to lean on Kiev to drop corruption allegations.

"They keep trying through every channel they can," said one State Department official in the summer of 2016, referring to Burisma's relentless lobbying - efforts which appear to include over $3 million collected by Hunter Biden's firm from Burisma while his father supervised Obama's Ukraine policy.

The new memos, released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal "far more contact between Burisma and the U.S. embassy in Kiev than was acknowledged by witnesses during President Trump's impeachment proceedings," according to the report.

"We have been so frustrated in our attempt to get the documentation that we need before we can sit down and interview people, and as I understand it, the documents you just obtained in your FOIA request we haven't received unbelievably," Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) said on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

"I cannot tell you how frustrated and ticked off, I'll use that word, ticked off about where we are here. So yeah, I subpoenaed the FBI. And, you know, expect additional subpoenas to be forthcoming," he added.

The memos show Burisma's lobbying efforts were led by a Democratic firm called Blue Star Strategies and aided by the nonprofit Atlantic Council foreign policy think tank, stretching from the State Department's executive suite in Washington at the start of the election to the U.S. embassy in Kiev in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Burisma representatives repeatedly pressed for meetings, at times invoking Hunter Biden's name, starting with a Blue Star conversation with then-Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli in January 2016 before turning their attention to U.S. diplomats on the ground in Kiev, the memos show.

By summer 2016 — their mission to clear Burisma's name still incomplete — Blue Star officials pigeonholed the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her Senate confirmation hearing and then attended a private reception where she was honored, according to the memos. -Just the News

"We had already offered our regrets to Blue Star. But they keep trying through every channel they can," State Department official Catherine Croft wrote July 29, 2016 to official George Kent, a key player at the US embassy in Kiev.

Blue Star, meanwhile, attended a private reception honoring former Kiev ambassador and Trump impeachment witness Marie Yovanovitch in August 2016 before she departed for Ukraine.

When their efforts to approach the State Department directly failed, Burisma tried a different approach - former US diplomat John Herbst who was then working at the Atlantic Council, had dinner with Kent to discuss Burisma and other matters.

Kent would brief Yovanovich on Herbst's attempts.

Meanwhile, during the same month, American attorney John Buretta wrote Yovanovitch a lengthy letter suggesting that accusations against Burisma were unwarranted, and requesting that the Untied States reconsider their views on the company.

Then, on January 13, 2017 - days before Trump took office, Kent was notified by Herbst that the Atlantic Council had accepted a large donation from Burisma, which was celebrating their successful pressure campaign to shut down the corruption probes.

"George, I wanted you to know before it becomes public that the Atlantic Council decided to accept support for its program from Burisma," wrote Herbst. "We looked at the matter closely and waited for over a month. Information provided to us by the Cravath lawyer for Burisma in the London case was an important factor, although some uneasiness remains."

Johnson said even before the release of the new memos this week, his committee already had plenty of evidence to show that Joe Biden engaged in a prohibited conflict of interest as vice president by continuing to oversee U.S.-Ukraine policy while his son worked for and was enriched by Burisma.

That appearance issue, Johnson said, was made worse when Joe Biden pressured Ukraine in March 2016 to fire the prosecutor overseeing the Burisma probe. Biden has said he sought the firing because he thought the prosecutor was ineffective and not because of the Burisma probe.

Johnson said media reports suggesting there was no wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine are simply wrong. -Just the News

"The public has to be aware of this what I call glaring conflict of interest. The media is covering for Joe Biden. They're part and parcel of the Democratic Party," said Johnson.

Published:8/12/2020 10:46:22 AM
[Markets] "We Will Be Watching You": Dems Put Media On Notice To Avoid 'Racist Tropes' Such As 'Angry Black Women' "We Will Be Watching You": Dems Put Media On Notice To Avoid 'Racist Tropes' Such As 'Angry Black Women' Tyler Durden Wed, 08/12/2020 - 09:40

With Joe Biden having picked Kamala Harris as his running mate - the first Black woman on a presidential ticket, a group of DNC heavyweights  including Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, have penned a warning to media outlets against perpetuating 'racist, sexist tropes.'

For example, "Reporting on and using pictures of women's, particularly black women, show of anger at injustice or any other kind of passion in communication perpetuates racist tropes that suggest unfairly that women are too emotional or irrational in their leadership or worse "hate America."

What?

In short, criticizing Kamala Harris is now racist and/or sexist, and the authors of the aforementioned warning even invoke the death of George Floyd to ensure newsrooms know how serious they are.

"Our country — and your newsrooms — have learned a lot since the [death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody] and the subsequent protests for racial equality that his death spurred … We know from public reporting that many of your newsrooms had internal conversations about your coverage, your diversity and your editorial judgments," reads the letter in part.

"A woman VP candidate, and possibly a Black or Brown woman candidate, requires the same kind of internal consideration about systemic inequality as you undertook earlier this year," it continues. "We are here to help you with this challenge … We intend to collectively and individually monitor coverage and we will call out those we believe take our country backwards with sexist and/or racist coverage. As we enter another historic moment, we will be watching you."

In short, media outlets can't point out that:

- Kamala Harris's career was launched when she slept with former California lawmaker Willie Brown, who was married at the time.

- Her father, respected Jamaican academic Donald Harris, wrote about their  family's ownership of slaves.

- The senior Harris also slammed Kamala after she tried to leverage her Jamaican roots to try and sound cool on "The Breakfast Club"

- When she was California AG, Harris tried to keep inmates locked up to maintain a supply of cheap (mostly minority) labor.

Careful media, they're watching...

Published:8/12/2020 8:43:18 AM
[IJR] Obama Reacts to Biden Naming Harris as His Running Mate: ‘Joe Biden Nailed This Decision’ "And now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead." Published:8/11/2020 6:09:58 PM
[Politics] 'The bells are tolling!' Hollywood celebrates Kamala Harris as Biden's VP pick

Barack Obama, Mindy Kaling and Rita Moreno are among famous folks lighting up over Kamala Harris' historic selection to be Biden's running mate.

Published:8/11/2020 5:12:26 PM
[Politics] Trump Begins at United Nations a Course Correction On Iran Regime This week marks the first stage of President Trump's attempt at dealing a final, fatal blow to President Obama's Iran deal. America's United Nations team expects a Security Council vote on a draft resolution mandating an indefinite extension of a global ban on Iran's ability to legally buy and sell weapons. A previous council resolution the only legal document backing Mr. Obama's nuclear deal with Iran contains several "sunset" clauses phasing out Iran sanctions. Barring an exten... Published:8/11/2020 2:08:06 PM
[Politics] Sen. Cotton: Susan Rice Was 'Typhoid Mary' of Obama Foreign Policy Sen. Tom Cotton Tuesday called Susan Rice the "Typhoid Mary" of President Barack Obama's administration's foreign policy and said that if Joe Biden picks her as his running mate, she would be the first nominee to "potentially face a grand jury." "Every major debacle in President... Published:8/11/2020 10:52:03 AM
[Politics] Rosales: Mi Amigo President Donald Trump The Trump administration's greatest achievement is the awakening of an economy that was lying dormant by the end of 2016. The current administration's economic success has been so impressive that even former President Barack Obama tried to take credit for it. Published:8/11/2020 9:06:23 AM
[] Susan Rice Gives a Pathetic Excuse For Her Benghazi Disinformation Tour Published:8/10/2020 8:08:08 PM
[Politics] Trump: Susan Rice 'Potential Liability' as Biden Running Mate As Joe Biden awaits the announcement of his running mate, President Donald Trump noted the Obama administration's former National Security Adviser Susan Rice is a "potential liability." Published:8/10/2020 7:03:08 PM
[Markets] Willie Brown Tells Kamala Harris To 'Decline' If Tapped For Biden VP Willie Brown Tells Kamala Harris To 'Decline' If Tapped For Biden VP Tyler Durden Mon, 08/10/2020 - 18:55

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) said that if Joe Biden taps her as his running mate, she should decline - as becoming Vice President would curtail her political ambitions.

"Historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end. For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there," wrote Brown in a Saturday Op-Ed for the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride," Brown continues. "Barack Obama and the Democrats saved the nation from economic collapse when he took office, and their reward was a blowout loss in the 2010 midterm elections."

Instead, Kamala would make a better Attorney General, according to the former San Francisco Mayor.

"Given the department’s current disarray under William Barr, just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero," he wrote, adding "Best of all, being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation."

Of course Brown - who had an extramarital affair with Harris at the beginning of her career, launching it, fails to note that if Biden were to be unable to perform his duties, or died, we'd be looking at President Harris.

Biden is expected to name a woman as his running mate. Prospective nominees include Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

 

Published:8/10/2020 6:07:40 PM
[Markets] Senate Chairman Subpoenas FBI Director Wray For Russiagate Records; Puts Bidens On Notice Over Ukraine Dealings Senate Chairman Subpoenas FBI Director Wray For Russiagate Records; Puts Bidens On Notice Over Ukraine Dealings Tyler Durden Mon, 08/10/2020 - 10:50

FBI Director Christopher Wray has been subpoenaed by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to produce "all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation," which includes "all records provided or made available to the Inspector General" regarding the FISA probe, as well as documents regarding the 2016-2017 presidential transition, according to Politico.

The subpoena was issued by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) as part of his investigation into the origins of Russiagate. It gives Wray until 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 to produce the documents.

Johnson also released a lengthy letter on Monday in which he defended his Committee's investigation and accused Democrats of initiating "a coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack" himself and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in order to distract from evidence his committee has gathered on Joe and Hunter Biden's Ukraine dealings.

"We didn't target Joe and Hunter Biden for investigation; their previous actions had put them in the middle of it," reads the Monday letter, which outlines the timeline and connections between Joe Biden's policy actions in Ukraine and his son Hunter's relationship with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, according to Just The News.

"Many in the media, in an ongoing attempt to provide cover for former Vice President Biden, continue to repeat the mantra that there is 'no evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity' related to Hunter Biden's position on Burisma's board," wrote Johnson. "I could not disagree more."

Johnson noted evidence gathered by his committee showed Joe Biden met with his son's business partner, Devon Archer, in April 2014 and within a month the vice president then visited Ukraine and both his son Hunter and the business partner were put on the Burisma board as the firm faced multiple corruption investigations.

"Isn't it obvious what message Hunter's position on Burisma's board sent to Ukrainian officials?" Johnson asked. "The answer: If you want U.S. support, don't touch Burisma. It also raised a host of questions, including: 1) How could former Vice President Biden look any Ukrainian official (or any other world leader) in the face and demand action to fight corruption? 2) Did this glaring conflict of interest affect the work and efforts of other U.S. officials who worked on anti-corruption measures?" -Just The News

Johnson also denied that he had been on contact with, or received documents from, Russian-tied Ukrainians.

"The only problem with their overblown handwringing is that they all knew full well that we have been briefed repeatedly, and we had already told them that we had NOT received the alleged Russian disinformation," wrote Johnson. "The very transparent goal of their own disinformation campaign and feigned concern is to attack our character in order to marginalize the eventual findings of our investigation."

According to the report, Johnson's committee has secured testimony from at least one State Department official who worked in Ukraine, and says the Bidens' conduct created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"The appearance of family profiteering off of Vice President Biden’s official responsibilities is not unique to the circumstances involving Ukraine and Burisma," wrote Johnson. "Public reporting has also shown Hunter Biden following his father into China and coincidentally landing lucrative business deals and investments there.

"Additionally, the former vice president's brothers and sister-in-law, Frank, James and Sara Biden, also are reported to have benefited financially from his work as well. We have not had the resources to devote investigatory time to these other allegations, but I point them out to underscore that Ukraine and Burisma seem more of a pattern of conduct than an aberration."

Johnson also announced that a subpoena was in process for former Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer - who had numerous contacts with debunked dossier author Christopher Steele.

"Mr Winer's counsel has not responded since Thursday as to whether he would accept service of the subpoena," Johnson wrote. "If he does not respond by tomorrow, we will be forced to effect service through the U.S. Marshals. More subpoenas can be expected to be issued in the coming days and weeks."

Johnsons subpoena of Wray comes one day after Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fumed on Fox News, after his committee released a document revealing that the FBI misled the Intelligence Committee during the Russia probe when it claimed that Christopher Steele's salacious dossier was backed up by one of its primary sources.

"Somebody needs to go to jail for this," Graham told Fox's Maria Bartiromo, adding "This is a second lie. This is a second crime. They lied to the FISA court. They got rebuked, the FBI did, in 2019 by the FISA court, putting in doubt all FISA applications."

Published:8/10/2020 10:06:48 AM
[Politics] Michelle Obama, Bernie, Kasich Open for Dem Convention The first night of the Democrat National Convention, Monday, Aug. 17, will feature former first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ohio's former Republican Gov. John Kasich, a source told CNN on Saturday.... Published:8/9/2020 8:52:55 AM
[In The News] Report: Ex-CIA Chief Brennan Has Been Told He Is Not Target Of Durham Probe

By Chuck Ross -

Former CIA Director John Brennan is set to meet with the prosecutor investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, though the Obama-era spy chief has been told he is not a target of the probe, according to reports. NBC News reported this week that John Durham, the U.S. attorney for ...

Report: Ex-CIA Chief Brennan Has Been Told He Is Not Target Of Durham Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/8/2020 3:48:02 PM
[Markets] US Intelligence: If Trump Wins Russia Did It, If Biden Wins It Was China And Iran US Intelligence: If Trump Wins Russia Did It, If Biden Wins It Was China And Iran Tyler Durden Sat, 08/08/2020 - 13:40

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Back in April I said “China’s gonna be so surprised when it finds out it interfered in the November election.”

Now three months ahead of schedule China is already getting its surprise, alongside fellow unabsorbed governments Iran and Russia.

Mass media throughout the western world are uncritically passing along a press release from the US intelligence community, because that’s what passes for journalism in a world where God is dead and everything is stupid.

The press release, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and authored by National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, claims that Russia wants Donald Trump to win re-election in November and is pushing to advance than goal, while China and Iran are doing the same with Joe Biden.

China

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump — whom Beijing sees as unpredictable — does not win reelection,” the press release reads. “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

Russia

“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,’” the press release claims. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

Iran

“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections,” says the press release. “Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content. Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”

What this completely unsubstantiated narrative means, of course, is that no matter who wins in November America’s opaque government agencies will have already primed the nation for more dangerous escalations against countries which have resisted being absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

If Trump wins we can expect his administration to continue its escalations against Russia in retaliation for its 2020 “election interference”, and if Biden wins we can expect his cabinet of Obama administration holdovers to ramp up escalations against China in the same way while Joe mumbles to himself off to the side as his brain turns to chowder.

There is never a legitimate reason to believe any unproven claim made by unaccountable spook agencies about US-targeted governments, but even if everything in this press release were true it’s an incredibly stupid thing to care about. The influence that Russia, China or Iran could exert over public opinion in the United States is a tiny fraction of that which is exerted by the unaccountable US billionaire media every single day, which already has its own factions pushing for Biden over Trump and Trump over Biden. Adding some foreign social media operations into the mix would change literally nothing.

Secondly, as the press release itself acknowledges, the US is openly pushing regime change in Iran. It is already engaging in various acts of economic warfare against all three of the named governments, and it openly interfered in Russia’s elections in the nineties to a far greater extent than anything it has even accused Russia of doing. The US government’s own data shows that it is the very worst election meddler in the world by an extremely wide margin, which would make it a perfectly legitimate target for election interference by any nation on earth.

Lastly, the dumbest thing about believing foreign nations are interfering in American democracy is believing America has any democracy to interfere with. The integrity of US elections ranks dead last among all western democracies, public opinion is constantly manipulated by the media-owning plutocratic class which has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo which keeps them rich and powerful, and it’s a two-headed one party system where both corporate-owned parties advance the same establishment agendas.

Imagine believing that foreign leaders are looking at the dumpster fire that is the United States and thinking:

“I know how we can hurt them! We’ll sow division by saying mean things about their presidential candidates on social media!”

It’s the dumbest thing in the world.

Yet all the establishment narrative managers are jumping on this intelligence community press release as a real thing that we should all be excited about.

All this hand-wringing and arm-waving about foreign interference on social media comes as social media itself makes policy changes to ensure that only western governments are allowed to conduct propaganda on its platforms, with Twitter instituting a new policy of labeling accounts from unabsorbed governments as “state-affiliated media” while placing no labels or restrictions on any accounts with extensive western government ties.

The overall message in all this is that only western government agencies and oligarchs may conduct propaganda on those who live in the US-centralized empire. It should enrage us all that these unaccountable abusers feel so entitled to insert their rapey fingers in our minds and manipulate how we think, act and vote that they get all chest-thumpy about the idea of anyone else getting a word in edgewise. They do this because they understand that whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and there is no amount of evil they won’t do to ensure that they continue to control the world.

The reason sociopaths are able to insert themselves so easily into positions of power and influence in human civilization is because highly manipulative people with no empathy quickly learn that society is dominated by narrative, while the rest of us do not understand this.

This must change before we will be able to create a healthy world.

*  *  *

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

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Published:8/8/2020 12:47:17 PM
[Markets] Russia Hoax: Are We All Being Played? Put Up Or Shut Up! Russia Hoax: Are We All Being Played? Put Up Or Shut Up! Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 21:05

Authored by Sara Carter via SaraACarter.com,

Many people have asked me why I haven’t written a book since the start of my reporting on the FBI’s debunked investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia.

I haven’t done so because I don’t believe the most important part of the story has been told: indictments and accountability. I also don’t believe we actually know what really happened on a fundamental level and how dangerous it is to our democratic republic. That will require a deeper investigation that answers the fundamental questions of the role played by former senior Obama officials, including the former President and his aides.

We’re getting closer but we’re still not there.

Still, the extent of what happened during the last presidential election is much clearer now than it was years ago when trickles of evidence led to years of what Fox News host Sean Hannity and I would say was peeling back the layers of an onion. We now know that the U.S. intelligence and federal law enforcement was weaponized against President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and administration by a political opponent. We now know how many officials involved in the false investigation into the president trampled the Constitution.

I never realized how terrible the deterioration inside the system had become until four years ago when I stumbled onto what was happening inside the FBI. Those concerns were brought to my attention by former and current FBI agents, as well as numerous U.S. intelligence officials aware of the failures inside their own agencies. But it never occurred to me when I first started looking into fired FBI Director James Comey and his former side kick Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that the cultural corruption of these once trusted American institutions was so vast.

I’ve watched as Washington D.C. elites make promises to get to the bottom of it and bring people to justice. They appear to make promises to the American people they never intended to keep. Who will be held accountable for one of the most egregious abuses of power by bureaucrats in modern American political history? Now I fear those who perpetuated this culture of corruption won’t ever really be held accountable.

These elite bureaucrats will, however, throw the American people a bone. It’s how they operate.

They expect us to accept it and then move on.

One example is the most recent decision by the Justice Department to ask that charges be dropped on former national security advisor Michael Flynn. It’s just a bone because we know now these charges should have never been brought against the three-star general but will anyone on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team have to answer for ruining a man’s life. No, they won’t. In fact, Flynn is still fighting for his freedom.

Think about what has already happened? From former Attorney General Jeff Session’s appointment of Utah Prosecutor John Huber to the current decision by Attorney General William Barr to appoint Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to investigate the malfeasance what has been done? Really, nothing at all. No one has been indicted.

The investigation by the FBI against Trump was never predicated on any real evidence but instead, it was a set-up to usurp the American voters will. It doesn’t matter that the establishment didn’t like Trump, in 2016 the Americans did. Isn’t that a big enough reason to bring charges against those involved?

His election was an anomaly for the Washington elite. They were stunned when Trump won and went into full gear to save their own asses from discovery and target anyone who supported him. The truth is they couldn’t stand the Trump and American disruptors who elected him to office.

Now they will work hand in fist to ensure that this November election is not a repeat win of 2016. We’re already seeing that play out everyday on the news.

But Barr and Durham are now up against a behemoth political machine that seems to be operating more like a steam roller the closer we get to the November presidential elections.

Barr told Fox News in June that he expects Durham’s report to come before the end of summer but like always, it’s August and we’re still waiting.

Little is known about the progress of Durham’s investigation but it’s curious as to why nothing has been done as of yet and the Democrats are sure to raise significant questions or concerns if action is taken before the election. They will charge that Durham’s investigation is politically motivated. That is, unless the charges are just brought against subordinates and not senior officials from the former administration.

I sound cynical because I am right now. It doesn’t mean I won’t trying to get to the truth or fighting for justice.

But how can you explain the failure of Durham and Barr to actually interview key players such as Comey, or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, or former CIA Director John Brennan. That is what we’re hearing from them.

If I am going to believe my sources, Durham has interviewed former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, along with FBI Special agent Joe Pientka, among some others. Still, nothing has really been done or maybe once again they will throw us bone.

If there are charges to be brought they will come in the form of taking down the subordinates, like Strzok, Pientka and the former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who altered the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application against short term 2016 campaign advisor Carter Page.

Remember DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in December, 2019: It showed that a critical piece of evidence used to obtain a warrant to spy on Page in 2016 was falsified by Clinesmith.

But Clinesmith didn’t act alone. He would have had to have been ordered to do such a egregious act and that could only come from the top. Let’s see if Durham ever hold those Obama government officials accountable.

I don’t believe he will.

Why? Mainly because of how those senior former Obama officials have behaved since the troves of information have been discovered. They have written books, like Comey, McCabe, Brennan and others, who have published Opinion Editorials and have taken lucrative jobs at cable news channels as experts.

It’s frankly disgusting and should anger every American. We would never get away with what these former Obama officials have done. More disturbing is that the power they wield through their contacts in the media and their political connections allows these political ‘oligarchs’ unchallenged power like never before.

Here’s one of the latest examples.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top prosecutor Andrew Weissmann just went after Barr in a New York Times editorial on Wednesday. He went so far as to ask the Justice Department employees to ignore any direction by Barr or Durham in the Russia investigations. From Weissmann’s New York Times Opinion Editorial:

Today, Wednesday, marks 90 days before the presidential election, a date in the calendar that is supposed to be of special note to the Justice Department. That’s because of two department guidelines, one a written policy that no action be influenced in any way by politics. Another, unwritten norm urges officials to defer publicly charging or taking any other overt investigative steps or disclosures that could affect a coming election.

Attorney General William Barr appears poised to trample on both. At least two developing investigations could be fodder for pre-election political machinations. The first is an apparently sprawling investigation by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, that began as an examination of the origins of the F.B.I. investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other, led by John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, is about the so-called unmasking of Trump associates by Obama administration officials. Mr. Barr personally unleashed both investigations and handpicked the attorneys to run them.

But Justice Department employees, in meeting their ethical and legal obligations, should be well advised not to participate in any such effort.

I think Barr and Durham need to move fast if they are ever going to do anything and if they are going to prove me wrong. We know now that laws were broken and our Constitution was torched by these rogue government officials.

We shouldn’t give the swamp the time-of-day to accuse the Trump administration of playing politics or interfering with this election. If the DOJ has evidence and is ready to indict they need to do it now.

If our Justice Department officials haven’t done their job to expose the corruption, clean out our institutions and hold people accountable then it will be a tragedy for our nation and the American people. I’m frankly tired of the back and forth. I’m tired of being toyed with and lied to. I believe they should either put up or shut up.

Published:8/7/2020 8:14:16 PM
[Politics] Barack Obama’s Filibuster Hypocrisy

In April of 2005, Sen. Barack Obama took to the floor of the United States Senate and passionately spoke out against Republican efforts to end... Read More

The post Barack Obama’s Filibuster Hypocrisy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/7/2020 6:13:44 PM
[] Mnuchin: Stimulus talks with Dems have stalled and so we're recommending Trump sign an executive order Published:8/7/2020 4:42:03 PM
[Satire] John Kerry Finally Accomplishes Something

John Kerry, the failed Democratic politician and Big Ketchup spouse who negotiated the Obama administration's Iran reparations package, finally accomplished something. The billionaire (by marriage) captained the Lark, a 45-foot Alden gaff cutter built in 1932, to a first-place finish in the Edgartown Yacht Club’s Round the Island race over the weekend.

The post John Kerry Finally Accomplishes Something appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/7/2020 2:45:39 PM
[Markets] Ex-Colleagues See Durham Dropping Bombshells Before Labor Day Ex-Colleagues See Durham Dropping Bombshells Before Labor Day Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 11:32

By Paul Sperry of Real Clear Investigations

While much speculation inside the Beltway says U.S. Attorney John Durham will punt the results of his so-called Spygate investigation past the election to avoid charges of political interference, sources who have worked with Durham on past public corruption cases doubt he'll bend to political pressure — and they expect him to drop bombshells before Labor Day.

Durham’s boss, Attorney General Bill Barr, also pushed back on the notion his hand-picked investigator would defer action. Under Democratic questioning on Capitol Hill last week, he refused to rule out a pre-election release.

AG William Barr was asked, "Under oath, do you commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?” His reply: "No.'

"Under oath, do you commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?” Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) asked Barr, citing longstanding Justice Department policy not to announce new developments in politically sensitive cases before an election.

“No,” the attorney general curtly replied.

Justice Department policy prohibits prosecutors from taking overt steps in politically charged cases typically within 60 days of an election. Accordingly, Durham would have to make a move by the Friday before Labor Day, or Sept. 4. 

A low-profile prosecutor, Durham has kept a tight lid on his investigation into the origins of the specious Russiagate investigation of Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign, leading to rampant speculation about who he might prosecute and whether he would take action ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

That could well be of historic consequence, since his probe involves both the Trump administration and high-level officials in the previous administration, including Trump's presumptive Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Recently declassified FBI notes show Biden offered input into the investigation of Trump adviser Michael Flynn in early January 2017. Another declassified document reveals that Biden was among those who requested Flynn’s identity be “unmasked” in foreign intelligence intercepts around that same time.

Former Vice President Joe Biden: Durham's probe involves officials in  two administrations, including Trump's presumptive Democratic opponent.

If Durham announces criminal indictments or plea agreements involving former officials operating under the Obama-Biden administration, or releases a report documenting widespread corruption, independent voters could sour on Biden and sympathize with Trump.  On the other hand, kicking the ball past the election could dispirit Trump’s base.

“I would find it hard to believe that he punts under any circumstances,” said former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker, who knows Durham personally and has worked with the hard-nosed prosecutor on prior investigations.

He pointed out that Durham would risk throwing away 16 months of investigative work if he delayed action beyond the election.

“There’s no question that if Biden is elected, everything Durham has done at that point will be canceled out,” Swecker explained, adding that Biden would replace Barr and possibly even Durham. But by putting indictments and reports "into the public arena” before the election, Durham would put a Biden administration in the position of either taking further action or closing down his probe.

“It would make it very difficult for Biden’s appointees to undo his charges or bury the results of his probe,” he said. “John knows this and I fully expect he will take action before the election.”

Swecker, who’s also a former prosecutor, anticipates Durham will deliver criminal charges, a written report or some combination of the two around the first week in September, if not sooner. “He must get his work done and out to the public by Labor Day,” he said. "That way he avoids any accusations that he was trying to impact the election.”

Democracy 21, a liberal Washington watchdog group, has already cited the department policy in recent complaints to Barr demanding he suspend Durham's investigation and place on hold any further actions or public comments about it until after the election.

“If Barr allows indictments from the Durham investigation to come out during the presidential election campaign, he would be abandoning longstanding DOJ policy by misusing the department’s prosecutorial power to support Trump's reelection campaign,” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer argued.

Swecker, who served 24 years with the FBI before retiring as assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, said he expects Durham to take more action “than just issuing a report” similar to the 500-page document issued in December by Justice’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz. The IG made criminal referrals to Durham, including against an FBI attorney accused of altering evidence used to support a surveillance warrant on a former Trump adviser.

“I know John Durham. I worked under him on the Whitey Bulger case, which resulted in indictments of [corrupt FBI] agents,” Swecker said. “I don’t think he’s the least bit squeamish about bringing indictments if there is criminal exposure.”

Swecker says he’s confident Durham has uncovered crimes. “He's onto something, I’m convinced of it, otherwise he would have folded up his tent by now,” he asserted in a RealClearInvestigations interview.

The lack of media leaks coming from Durham's office is another sign he is building a serious corruption case, Swecker said. Targets and witnesses have largely been kept in the dark about the scope and direction of his investigation, encouraging cooperation and possible plea deals. And the secrecy of grand jury proceedings has been fiercely protected.

“I’m impressed with the discipline his team has shown,” Swecker said. "There’s been no leaks. The investigation has been very close-hold.”

Durham, a Republican, has been known to threaten to polygraph investigators whenever he suspected a leak.

His team is led by his deputy, Nora Dannehy, who specializes in the prosecution of complex white-collar and public corruption cases. A Democrat with a reputation for integrity, she left a high-paying corporate job to rejoin Durham’s office in March 2019, the month after Barr was confirmed.

Barr officially announced in May 2019 that he had put Durham in charge of looking into what he called the government's “spying" on the Trump campaign in 2016. Was that surveillance justified? Or was it done to smear Trump and sink his campaign -- and when that failed, his presidency? Durham is exploring a host of other questions, including: What role did the CIA play? Did it monitor Trump advisers overseas? Were U.S. laws restricting spying on U.S. citizens broken? Did the spy agency slant U.S. intelligence on Russian election interference to justify the anti-Trump operation?

“As a former CIA analyst, Barr recognized that this is the biggest thing since Watergate in terms of the abuse of the intelligence community,” Swecker said. “This is a huge, huge intelligence scandal."

Swecker named former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith among officials most vulnerable to possible criminal charges in Durham’s investigation of the investigators. Justice’s watchdog made a criminal referral pertaining to his conduct – specifically, that Clinesmith forged an email in a way that hid the fact that former Trump adviser Carter Page had been a cooperating CIA source on Russia. The information, if disclosed to the FISA court, would have weakened the FBI’s case that Page was a “Russian agent.”

On the other hand, Swecker does not expect Durham to indict former FBI Director James Comey, nor former CIA Director John Brennan or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. None of these central figures in the scandal has been interviewed by Durham’s office, according to recent published reports, though Durham reportedly is working out details with Brennan’s lawyer for a pending interview. Durham’s investigators have already reviewed Brennan's emails, call logs and other records.

John Brennan: Indictments of the CIA boss, James Comey and James Clapper are not expected. Says ex-FBI official Swecker: “It’s hard to prove criminal intent at their level, and unless there’s a smoking gun, like an email or text, they’ll probably get off with a damning report about their activities.”

“It’s hard to prove criminal intent at their level, and unless there’s a smoking gun, like an email or text, they’ll probably get off with a damning report about their activities,” Swecker said.

Durham’s portfolio also includes exploring the extent to which Ukraine played a role in the counterintelligence operation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Officials from Kiev, the Democratic National Committee and the Obama administration reportedly coordinated efforts to dig up dirt on Trump – and Biden was Obama’s point man in Ukraine at the time.

Though Biden may factor into Durham’s probe, don’t expect him to appear in any pre-election report. Another longtime Durham colleague noted that political candidates cannot be part of indictments or any report on investigative findings, according to Barr’s own rules.

“The policy says you can’t indict political candidates or use overt investigative methods targeting them in the weeks before an election,” said the former federal prosecutor, who requested anonymity.

Barr has publicly acknowledged the policy. “The idea is you don’t go after candidates,” he said in an April radio interview. “You don’t indict candidates or perhaps someone that’s sufficiently close to a candidate within a certain number of days before an election.”

The former prosecutor, who’s worked with Durham, said his old colleague may start revealing developments from his case weeks in advance of the 60-day cut-off, or ideally right after the political conventions. The GOP convention, which follows the Democrats’ gathering, ends Aug. 27.

“They are nervous about affecting the election, so timing is everything,” he said. “It will be tricky."

At the same time, the former Justice official said Durham could exploit a loophole in the department rule, memorialized in memos dating to 2008, that allows for action closer to the election. It states that “law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose is inconsistent with the Department’s mission.” (Emphasis added.)

The operative phrase – “for the purpose of” – leaves leeway for actions close to an election that aren’t taken “for the purpose” of affecting the election. In other words, Durham wouldn’t necessarily have to lie low for the two months in the run-up to the election.

Testing that loophole with an "October surprise” would almost certainly send Democrats and the Washington media into high dudgeon.

Some are skeptical Durham will deliver at all, regardless of the deadline, while others question his reputation as a fierce prosecutor. They point to his nearly three-year investigation of CIA officials who destroyed videos of terrorist detainees allegedly being “tortured.” Congress had sought the evidence, but Durham closed the case in 2012 without filing any criminal charges. And his final report about what he found remains classified. In a 2018 criminal case, moreover, he cleared Comey’s general counsel, James Baker, of unauthorized leaks to the media.

The Senate’s top FBI watchdog, Chuck Grassley, has grown frustrated with Durham’s lack of progress. “Durham sh[ou]ld be producing some fruit of his labor,” the Iowa senator groused in a recent tweet.

Swecker attributes the sluggish pace of Durham’s sprawling probe to the COVID-19 health scare, which has restricted travel and grand jury meetings in the D.C. area. Durham’s team of investigators, who include retired FBI agents, has been operating out of his New Haven, Conn., offices. Besides Washington, they have taken trips abroad. Before the coronavirus outbreak, they interviewed authorities and other sources in Italy, Britain and Australia.

In addition, Durham’s agents have been slowed by an avalanche of subpoenaed electronic media, including emails, texts and direct messages, “which are incredibly difficult and time-consuming to sort through,” Swecker said. Such evidence is not limited to FBI, Justice and CIA officials. Durham also has reportedly obtained, for instance, data and meta-data contained on two BlackBerry cellphones used by Joseph Mifsud, a shadowy Maltese professor who some believe was used by the FBI to create a predicate to open the original case against the Trump campaign.

During last week’s House hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., asked Barr if he would be able to "right this wrong” against Trump before the election.

“I really can’t predict that,” the attorney general answered. "John Durham is looking at all these matters. COVID did delay that action for a while. But he's working very diligently.”

Added Barr: "Justice is not something you can order up on a schedule like you're ordering a pizza.”

McClintock warned Barr that if he is succeeded by a Biden appointee, Durham’s investigation will simply go away.

"I understand your concern,” Barr sighed.

 

Published:8/7/2020 10:42:23 AM
[Markets] Luongo: The DNC Convention Is The Election Luongo: The DNC Convention Is The Election Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 09:40

Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

For nearly a year it has been my primary thesis that the DNC nominating convention would determine the fate of the presidential election here in the states. These four days may, in fact, be more dramatic than any Democratic convention since 1860 when incumbent James Buchanan was tossed aside to ensure a lawyer with railroad ties from Illinois, Stephen Douglas, squared off against Republican Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was also a railroad lawyer from Illinois. Just sayin’.

The convention is less than two weeks away and serious questions about the Democrats’ strategy should be plain to see for anyone who pays even cursory attention to presidential politics.

How can they possibly run Joe Biden?

It’s not that Biden hasn’t been a good soldier for the empire, he has. It is that he is unpresentable as a candidate in public. The evidence of his cognitive decline, which has accelerated in recent months, mounts every time he fails to even read a teleprompter correctly.

The only thing the Democrats are united on is their hatred for Trump. But that hatred cannot be an animating principle to base an election strategy on, though, to this point, they certainly have tried.

Internally, there has been a three-sided war on for control of the party’s future.

  1. There is the Boomers, represented by Hillary Clinton’s faction, who lost spectacularly when she backed a male version of herself, the profoundly disconnected and unlikeable Mike Bloomberg, as a stalking horse to pad her delegate count.

  2. There is the frustrated Gen-Xers, represented by Barack Obama who was supposed to lead the party after his two terms as president. Biden is his representative and was the clear winner in the primaries as the candidate who theoretically could swing the center of the country away from Trump.

  3. And then there is the Millennials, represented in the primaries by Bernie Sanders and the so-called squad. They are led now by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose goal is to kick out all of these globalists and remake the party as the vanguard of a U.S. cultural revolution.

None of these people are acceptable to the center of the U.S. who today, no matter how hard they are being gaslit to believe, ultimately blame Donald Trump for their current problems.

And Obama pressed for Biden to be the candidate. He finally beat Hillary for nominal control of the party, getting his candidate through the primary miasma.

You can’t blame a President for a natural disaster, but that’s been the Democrats’ strategy all year with COVID-19. Whatever Trump said or did in response to the virus was wrong, even if that meant exhibiting blatant hypocrisy or openly contradicting previous positions.

In fact, this has been the Democrats’ strategy since before Trump took office and it has made them look hysterical and irrelevant.

So, with the convention less than two weeks away the big question is who Biden’s running mate will be. The fact that he hasn’t chosen one yet tells you that they have no strategy for actually winning the election other than trying to steal it through mail-in ballots.

Because none of the potential candidates can do what the Democrats need a vice-presidential candidate to do, deliver a key battleground state.

For Biden, given the rapidity of his decline, the V.P. pick has the added burden of actually being the President for most of the elected term, because the convention will make it clear to the world that Biden will step aside for health reasons no later than mid-2021 if he wins.

But, more pressing for the Democrats, is the fundamental problem that in order to beat back AOC’s Squad and keep Hillary bound down, they are now saddled with an unelectable candidate and a platoon of potential running mates who are wholly unacceptable to either the DNC establishment, the country at large or both.

Whoever tunes into the virtual convention will realize almost immediately that this time, more than any election in the televised era, when filling in that ballot in November you will be voting on the qualifications bottom half of the ticket rather than the top.

Moreover, since Biden has declined so quickly the odds of an internal coup against him occurring at the convention in Milwaukee is high. It’s why the New York Times is now calling to cancel presidential debates. It’s not because “never made sense as a test for presidential leadership.” It’s because, though the writer doth protest too much, everyone knows that Trump will wipe the floor with Biden.

In fact, I would argue debates between Trump and Biden will be so lopsided they would work to Biden’s advantage as people who see Trump’s attacks on him as ‘elder abuse.’ Trump would have to actually tone down his persona in a way I’m not sure he’s capable of doing.

But I digress.

The other factions within the DNC are sharpening their knives I type this. Hillary will go in filled with all the bile her gall bladder can still produce to thwart the potential ascension of any other woman to the presidency before her.

AOC and company will go in with Bernie’s delegates and play spoiler. Obama will try to figure out how to hold his new-found power together while Biden, frankly, drools on himself in the corner.

And that may be the most damning image of this pathetic and sordid affair I can muster. Biden should have already stepped aside. He should have already accepted the gold watch for his service and moved on to the great globalist golf course. But instead he’s being abused by cynical, power-mad ideologues desperate to avoid not only their own malfeasance, i.e. Obamagate, but have one last shot at delivering the U.S. back into the hands of The Davos Crowd’s move towards their Great Reset.

It’s clear that this election season has been about prepping the stage for the campaign season that puts so much pressure on Trump to perform miracles that Americans simply reject him as incompetent and will accept anyone other than him as President.

In Milwaukee, no matter what happens, we’re going to find out just how incompetent his opposition truly is.

Published:8/7/2020 8:42:02 AM
[2020 News] Appeals court condemns Obama DOJ’s prosecution of Bundys

Appeals court condemns Obama DOJ’s prosecution of Bundys. This is yet another reason we have the Second Amendment. It worked this time. What’s amazing is this ruling came from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They got one right for a change.

The post Appeals court condemns Obama DOJ’s prosecution of Bundys appeared first on IHTM.

Published:8/6/2020 8:38:17 PM
[IJR] Michelle Obama Reveals She Is ‘Doing Just Fine’ After She Said She Was Experiencing ‘Low-Grade Depression’ "There’s no reason to worry about me." Published:8/6/2020 5:35:29 PM
[Politics] Barack Obama and His Race Card

Former President Barack Obama once again pulled out the race card for political gain, consequences be damned. This time at the funeral of civil rights... Read More

The post Barack Obama and His Race Card appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/6/2020 1:35:39 PM
[Politics] Michelle Obama Says She Has 'Low-Grade Depression' Former first lady Michelle Obama has a case of "low-grade depression" because of the current state of affairs in the country. Speaking on "The Michelle Obama Podcast" that was published Wednesday, she said the racial protests and how the Trump administration reacts to... Published:8/6/2020 8:35:22 AM
[Markets] Atomic Bombings At 75: John Pilger - "Another Hiroshima Is Coming Unless We Stop It Now" Atomic Bombings At 75: John Pilger - "Another Hiroshima Is Coming Unless We Stop It Now" Tyler Durden Thu, 08/06/2020 - 04:40

By John Pilger of Consortium News

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of premeditated mass murder unleashing a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of 21st century U.S. war propaganda, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukemia.

“No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin” said a New York Times headline on September 13, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.” 

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.

Wilfred Burchett (YouTube)

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the U.S. made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.

The U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the U.S. Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.

Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site Marshall Islands. (UNESCO)

I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6.45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle: a deathly void in a place of beauty.

The radioactive fall-out spread quickly and “unexpectedly”. The official history claims “the wind changed suddenly”. It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.

Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said, “They knew where the radioactive fall-out was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do.”

Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on “human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon”.

The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 — like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and 70s — suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.

Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap atoll had not been evacuated during the H-Bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap’s skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes. Food and water were contaminated; and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.

I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap. She had terrible facial burns and much of her was hair missing. “We were bathing at the well on the day the bomb exploded,” she said. “White dust started falling from the sky. I reached to catch the powder. We used it as soap to wash our hair. A few days later, my hair started falling out.”

Lemoyo Abon said, “Some of us were in agony. Others had diarrhoea. We were terrified. We thought it must be the end of the world.”

U.S. official archive film I included in my film refers to the islanders as “amenable savages”. In the wake of the explosion, a U.S. Atomic Energy Agency official is seen boasting that Rongelap “is by far the most contaminated place on earth”, adding, “it will be interesting to get a measure of human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment.”

American scientists, including medical doctors, built distinguished careers studying the “human uptake”. There they are in flickering film, in their white coats, attentive with their clipboards. When an islander died in his teens, his family received a sympathy card from the scientist who studied him.

“Baker Shot”, part of Operation Crossroads, a U.S. nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in 1946. (U.S. Defense Dept.)

I have reported from five nuclear “ground zeros” throughout the world — in Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada, Polynesia and Maralinga in Australia. Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity.

This struck me forcibly when I filmed at Taranaki Ground Zero at Maralinga in the Australian desert. In a dish-like crater was an obelisk on which was inscribed: “A British atomic weapon was test exploded here on 9 October 1957”. On the rim of the crater was this sign:

WARNING: RADIATION HAZARD

Radiation levels for a few hundred metres

around this point may be above those considered

safe for permanent occupation.

For as far as the eye could see, and beyond, the ground was irradiated. Raw plutonium lay about, scattered like talcum powder: plutonium is so dangerous to humans that a third of a milligram gives a 50 percent chance of cancer.

The only people who might have seen the sign were Indigenous Australians, for whom there was no warning. According to an official account, if they were lucky “they were shooed off like rabbits”. 

The Enduring Menace

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan …. Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.

The current phase of this campaign began not with Trump but with Barack Obama, who in 2011 flew to Australia to declare the greatest build-up of U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since World War Two. Suddenly, China was a “threat”. This was nonsense, of course. What was threatened was America’s unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most “indispensable” nation.

What was never in dispute was its prowess as a bully — with more than 30 members of the United Nations suffering American sanctions of some kind and a trail of the blood running through defenceless countries bombed, their governments overthrown, their elections interfered with, their resources plundered.

Obama’s declaration became known as the “pivot to Asia”. One of its principal advocates was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who, as WikiLeaks revealed, wanted to rename the Pacific Ocean “the American Sea”.

Whereas Clinton never concealed her warmongering, Obama was a maestro of marketing. “I state clearly and with conviction,” said the new president in 2009, “that America’s commitment is to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Obama speaks about 60 years of the U.S.-Australian alliance in Darwin, Australia, Nov. 17, 2011. (Sgt. Pete Thibodeau/Wikimedia Commons)

Obama increased spending on nuclear warheads faster than any president since the end of the Cold War. A “usable” nuclear weapon was developed. Known as the B61 Model 12, it means, according to General James Cartwright, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable”.

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one U.S. strategist told me, “the perfect noose”. 

The Unthinkable

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the U.S. Army, the authors evoke the infamous catch cry of its chief Cold War strategist, Herman Kahn – “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war.

Kahn’s apocalyptic view is shared by Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical fanatic who believes in the “rapture of the End”. He is perhaps the most dangerous man alive. “I was CIA director,” he boasted, “We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses.” Pompeo’s obsession is China.

The endgame of Pompeo’s extremism is rarely if ever discussed in the Anglo-American media, where the myths and fabrications about China are standard fare, as were the lies about Iraq. A virulent racism is the sub-text of this propaganda. Classified “yellow” even though they were white, the Chinese are the only ethnic group to have been banned by an “exclusion act” from entering the United States, because they were Chinese. Popular culture declared them sinister, untrustworthy, “sneaky”, depraved, diseased, immoral.

An Australian magazine, The Bulletin, was devoted to promoting fear of the “yellow peril” as if all of Asia was about to fall down on the whites-only colony by the force of gravity.

Obama speaks about 60 years of the U.S.-Australian alliance in Darwin, Australia, Nov. 17, 2011. (Sgt. Pete Thibodeau/Wikimedia Commons)

‘The Chinese Octopus’, The Bulletin, Sydney 1886, an early promoter of the “Yellow Peril” and other stereotypes.

As the historian Martin Powers writes, acknowledging China’s modernism, its secular morality and “contributions to liberal thought threatened European face, so it became necessary to suppress China’s role in the Enlightenment debate …. For centuries, China’s threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting.”

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the “Mandate of Heaven” of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this “mandate”, the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

The trickledown is already evident. In a country historically scarred by violent racism towards Asians, Australians of Chinese descent have formed a vigilante group to protect delivery riders. Phone videos show a delivery rider punched in the face and a Chinese couple racially abused in a supermarket. Between April and June, there were almost 400 racist attacks on Asian-Australians.

“We are not your enemy,” a high-ranking strategist in China told me, “but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay.” China’s arsenal is small compared with America’s, but it is growing fast, especially the development of maritime missiles designed to destroy fleets of ships.

“For the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy…”

In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a “blinding attack on China” was planned, “with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war.”

In 2019, the U.S. staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” – ASB – blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.

In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has travelled and lived in the U.S. and Europe. “Many Americans imagine,” she said, “that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty, and some would say it’s 600 million.”

Modern China’s epic achievements, its defeat of mass poverty, and the pride and contentment of its people (measured forensically by American pollsters such as Pew) are wilfully unknown or misunderstood in the West. This alone is a commentary on the lamentable state of Western journalism and the abandonment of honest reporting.

China’s repressive dark side and what we like to call its “authoritarianism” are the facade we are allowed to see almost exclusively. It is as if we are fed unending tales of the evil super-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. And it is time we asked why: before it is too late to stop the next Hiroshima.

Published:8/6/2020 4:10:50 AM
[] Rand Paul: Republicans should apologize to Obama for pretending that they cared about spending Published:8/5/2020 10:04:20 PM
[Politics] Sen. Graham: Comey 'Radioactive' to Obama Officials Obama administration officials are suddenly and conspicuously quick to distance themselves now from former FBI Director James Comey, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Wednesday. Published:8/5/2020 9:30:35 PM
[Markets] Yates Throws "Rogue" Comey Under The Bus Over Flynn Investigation Yates Throws "Rogue" Comey Under The Bus Over Flynn Investigation Tyler Durden Wed, 08/05/2020 - 21:20

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates threw former FBI Director James 'higher loyalty' Comey under the bus on Wednesday, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI's January, 2017 interview of former national security adviser Michael Flynn was done without her authorization - and she was upset when she found out about it.

"I was upset that Director Comey didn't coordinate that with us and acted unilaterally," Yates said.

We would note that Yates wasn't too upset to warn the incoming Trump administration about Flynn just 48 hours after the FBI launched a perjury trap against him.

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Yates: "Did Comey go rogue?" - to which Yates replied "You could use that term, yes."

Yates said she also took issue with Comey for not telling her that Flynn's communications with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were being investigated and that she first learned about this from President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting. Yates said she was "irritated" with Comey for not telling her about this earlier.

That meeting, which took place on Jan. 5, 2017, was of great interest to Graham, who wanted to know why Obama knew about Flynn's conversations before she did. Graham and other Republicans have speculated that Obama wanted Flynn investigated for nefarious purposes. Yates claimed that this was not the case, and explained why Obama was aware of the calls at the time. -Fox News

Yates testified that Obama wanted to find out why the Kremlin suddenly backed down from threats to retaliate against sanctions over 2016 election meddling, leading to the DOJ's discovery of the communications between Flynn and the ambassador, Sergei Kislyak.

"The purpose of this meeting was for the president to find out whether – based on the calls between Ambassador Kislyak and Gen. Flynn – the transition team needed to be careful about what it was sharing with Gen. Flynn," said Yates - who suggested that the meeting was not about influencing an investigation, which she added would have "set off alarms for me."

Logan Act

Yates was also asked whether former VP Joe Biden brought up the 1799 Logal Act at a January 5 Oval Office meeting about the Flynn investigation, which prohibits American citizens from communicating with foreign governments or officials without authorization "in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States."

Yates said she couldn't recall if Biden mentioned it - but had a vague recollection of Comey bringing it up either at the Oval Office meeting or later.

FISA Fiasco

Later during testimony, Yates said that she had no idea that the FISA applications to spy on the Trump campaign were riddled with false evidence - and also denied knowledge that her own deputy, Bruce Ohr, had facilitated meetings between the FBI and UK operative Christopher Steele, who assembled the infamous Clinton-funded dossier which was used to support the FISA warrant against former campaign aide Carter Page.

Yates claimed that if she knew this was the case, she wouldn't have signed off on the warrant.

Meanwhile, Sen. Hawley called for a "cleaning of house" at the FBI and DOJ. 

Published:8/5/2020 8:34:05 PM
[Law] 4 Takeaways From Top Obama DOJ Official’s Testimony on ‘Rogue’ FBI

A top Obama Justice Department official told a Senate committee Wednesday that she wasn’t aware of many aspects of the FBI’s initial investigation of any... Read More

The post 4 Takeaways From Top Obama DOJ Official’s Testimony on ‘Rogue’ FBI appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:8/5/2020 6:01:01 PM
[Politics] Rand Paul Chides GOP on Spending, Suggests Apology to Obama Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul rebuked his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, sarcastically saying they should apologize to former President Barak Obama about spending as they consider another coronavirus economic relief/stimulus package that could top $1 trillion.... Published:8/5/2020 5:30:46 PM
[Politics] WATCH: President Trump releases epic new ad on “Obamagate” President Trump just released an epic new ad on Obamagate: DRAIN THE SWAMP! pic.twitter.com/68M4sN7LLD — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2020 It starts by showing how Democrats were absolutely sure that . . . Published:8/5/2020 4:58:58 PM
[Politics] WATCH: President Trump releases epic new ad on “Obamagate” President Trump just released an epic new ad on Obamagate: DRAIN THE SWAMP! pic.twitter.com/68M4sN7LLD — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2020 It starts by showing how Democrats were absolutely sure that . . . Published:8/5/2020 4:58:58 PM
[Politics] Michelle Obama says no to public office, but fans still want her as vice president

Joe Biden will soon pick a running mate, and some Michelle Obama fans want her considered. But the former first lady has said she's not interested.

Published:8/5/2020 4:40:40 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Michelle Obama blames Trump for contributing to her depression Former first lady Michelle Obama opened up about some of her struggles in a new episode of her podcast.
Published:8/5/2020 4:40:40 PM
[IJR] Sally Yates Adamant the Obama Administration Was Not Surveilling the Trump Campaign "I also think that there was also no information that the Russians were working to aid another candidate other than Donald Trump." Published:8/5/2020 3:31:15 PM
[] Sally Yates: Jim Comey Went "Rogue" In Setting Up the Pretext Interview With Michael Flynn and I Was Very Angry About That Investigative reporter and Russia Hoax expert Lee Smith notes that this is the third time that Obama's partisan staffers have shifted all blame for Russiagate to Comey: Sally Yates show is part 3 of ongoing coverup blaming anti-Trump operation on... Published:8/5/2020 2:28:00 PM
[IJR] Michelle Obama Reveals How She Is Coping With the Effects of the Pandemic on Her Mental Health "And spiritually, these are not, they are not fulfilling times, spiritually." Published:8/5/2020 12:58:39 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Obama Deputy AG Sally Yates admits that Comey went ROGUE with Flynn investigation Former Deputy AG under the Obama administration admitted to Lindsey Graham this morning that former FBI Director James Comey went rogue with the Michael Flynn investigation: Sen. LIndsey Graham asks if former . . . Published:8/5/2020 11:31:44 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Obama Deputy AG Sally Yates admits that Comey went ROGUE with Flynn investigation Former Deputy AG under the Obama administration admitted to Lindsey Graham this morning that former FBI Director James Comey went rogue with the Michael Flynn investigation: Sen. LIndsey Graham asks if former . . . Published:8/5/2020 11:31:44 AM
[Politics] Trump Team's Dream Pick for Joe Biden's Running Mate: Susan Rice Joe Biden hasn't yet announced his choice for a running mate, but if Donald Trump's team was doing the picking, its choice would be former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. Rice is seen by many as the deep-state enemy who would fire up the president's base for... Published:8/5/2020 7:02:07 AM
[Markets] P Is For Predator State: The Building Blocks Of Tyranny From A To Z P Is For Predator State: The Building Blocks Of Tyranny From A To Z Tyler Durden Wed, 08/05/2020 - 00:05

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.”

- Professor Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Show Business

While mainstream America continues to fixate on the drama-filled reality show scripted by the powers-that-be, directed from the nation’s capital, and played out in high definition across the country, the American Police State has moved steadily forward.

Nothing has changed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a convenient, traumatic, devastating distraction.

The American people, the permanent underclass in America, have allowed themselves to be so distracted and divided that they have failed to notice the building blocks of tyranny being laid down right under their noses by the architects of the Deep State.

Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton: they have all been complicit in carrying out the Deep State’s agenda. Unless something changes to restore the balance of power, the next president—the new boss—will be the same as the old boss.

Frankly, it really doesn’t matter what you call the old/new boss—the Deep State, the Controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the corporate elite, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter who occupies the White House, it is a profit-driven, an unelected bureaucracy that is actually calling the shots.

If our losses are mounting with every passing day—and they are—it is a calculated siege intended to ensure our defeat at the hands of a totalitarian regime.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, media, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more are casualties in the government’s war on the American people.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized federal police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms are being steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

As a result, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

None of these dangers have dissipated in any way.

They have merely disappeared from our televised news streams.

It’s time to get educated on what’s really going on. Thus, in the interest of liberty and truth, here’s an A-to-Z primer that spells out the grim realities of life in the American Police State that no one seems to be talking about anymore.

A is for the AMERICAN POLICE STATE. A police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

B is for our battered BILL OF RIGHTS. In the militarized police culture that is America today, where you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is rarely held accountable for violating your rights, the Bill of Rights doesn’t amount to much.

C is for CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE. This governmental scheme to deprive Americans of their liberties—namely, the right to property—is being carried out under the guise of civil asset forfeiture, a government practice wherein government agents (usually the police and now TSA agents) seize private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then, whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the government keeps the citizen’s property and it’s virtually impossible to get it back.

D is for DRONES. It was estimated that at least 30,000 drones would be airborne in American airspace by 2020, part of an $80 billion industry. Although some drones will be used for benevolent purposes, many will also be equipped with lasers, tasers and scanning devices, among other weapons—all aimed at “we the people.”

E is for EMERGENCY STATE. From 9/11 to COVID-19, we have been the subjected to an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security. The government’s ongoing attempts to declare so-called national emergencies in order to circumvent the Constitution’s system of checks and balances constitutes yet another expansion of presidential power that exposes the nation to further constitutional peril.

F is for FASCISM. A study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups. In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism—a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere economic units or databits.

G is for GRENADE LAUNCHERS and GLOBAL POLICE. The federal government has distributed more than $18 billion worth of battlefield-appropriate military weapons, vehicles and equipment such as drones, tanks, and grenade launchers to domestic police departments across the country. As a result, most small-town police forces now have enough firepower to render any citizen resistance futile. Now take those small-town police forces, train them to look and act like the military, and then enlist them to be part of the United Nations’ Strong Cities Network program, and you not only have a standing army that operates beyond the reach of the Constitution but one that is part of a global police force.

H is for HOLLOW-POINT BULLETS. The government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration stockpiling millions of lethal hollow-point bullets, which violate international law. Ironically, while the government continues to push for stricter gun laws for the general populace, the U.S. military’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

I is for the INTERNET OF THINGS, in which internet-connected “things” monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free. The key word here, however, is control. This “connected” industry propels us closer to a future where police agencies apprehend virtually anyone if the government “thinks” they may commit a crime, driverless cars populate the highways, and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance.

J is for JAILING FOR PROFIT. Having outsourced their inmate population to private prisons run by private corporations, this profit-driven form of mass punishment has given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep their privately run prisons full by jailing large numbers of Americans for petty crimes.

K is for KENTUCKY V. KING. In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers can break into homes, without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home as long as they think they may have a reason to do so. Despite the fact that the police in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between the citizenry and a police state, the Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans with little real protection in the face of all manner of abuses by law enforcement officials.

L is for LICENSE PLATE READERS, which enable law enforcement and private agencies to track the whereabouts of vehicles, and their occupants, all across the country. This data collected on tens of thousands of innocent people is also being shared between police agencies, as well as with government fusion centers and private companies. This puts Big Brother in the driver’s seat.

M is for MAIN CORE. Since the 1980s, the U.S. government has acquired and maintained, without warrant or court order, a database of names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation. As Salon reports, this database, reportedly dubbed “Main Core,” is to be used by the Army and FEMA in times of national emergency or under martial law to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security. There are at least 8 million Americans in the Main Core database.

N is for NO-KNOCK RAIDS. Owing to the militarization of the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams are now increasingly being deployed for routine police matters. In fact, more than 80,000 of these paramilitary raids are carried out every year. That translates to more than 200 SWAT team raids every day in which police crash through doors, damage private property, terrorize adults and children alike, kill family pets, assault or shoot anyone that is perceived as threatening—and all in the pursuit of someone merely suspected of a crime, usually possession of some small amount of drugs.

O is for OVERCRIMINALIZATION and OVERREGULATION. Thanks to an overabundance of 4500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it’s estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it. As a result of this overcriminalization, we’re seeing an uptick in Americans being arrested and jailed for such absurd “violations” as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room.

P is for PATHOCRACY and PRECRIME. When our own government treats us as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police and other government agents, mistreated, and then jailed in profit-driven private prisons if we dare step out of line, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic. Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.” Couple that with the government’s burgeoning precrime programs, which will use fusion centers, data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics in order to identify and deter so-called potential “extremists,” dissidents or rabble-rousers. Bear in mind that anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is now viewed as an extremist.

Q is for QUALIFIED IMMUNITY. Qualified immunity allows police officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing. Conveniently, those deciding whether a cop should be immune from having to personally pay for misbehavior on the job all belong to the same system, all cronies with a vested interest in protecting the police and their infamous code of silence: city and county attorneys, police commissioners, city councils and judges.

R is for ROADSIDE STRIP SEARCHES and BLOOD DRAWS. The courts have increasingly erred on the side of giving government officials—especially the police—vast discretion in carrying out strip searches, blood draws and even anal and vaginal probes for a broad range of violations, no matter how minor the offense. In the past, strip searches were resorted to only in exceptional circumstances where police were confident that a serious crime was in progress. In recent years, however, strip searches have become routine operating procedures in which everyone is rendered a suspect and, as such, is subjected to treatment once reserved for only the most serious of criminals.

S is for the SURVEILLANCE STATE. On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of the electronic concentration camp in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

T is for TASERS. Nonlethal weapons such as tasers, stun guns, rubber pellets and the like have been used by police as weapons of compliance more often and with less restraint—even against women and children—and in some instances, even causing death. These “nonlethal” weapons also enable police to aggress with the push of a button, making the potential for overblown confrontations over minor incidents that much more likely. A Taser Shockwave, for instance, can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button

U is for UNARMED CITIZENS SHOT BY POLICE. No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, often attributed to a fear for their safety. Yet the fatality rate of on-duty patrol officers is reportedly far lower than many other professions, including construction, logging, fishing, truck driving, and even trash collection.

V is for VIRUSES AND FORCED VACCINATIONS. What started out as an apparent effort to prevent a novel coronavirus from sickening the nation (and the world) has become yet another means by which world governments (including the U.S.) can expand their powers, abuse their authority, and further oppress their constituents. With millions of dollars in stimulus funds being directed towards policing agencies across the country, the federal government plans to fight this COVID-19 virus with riot gear, gas masks, ballistic helmets, drones, and hi-tech surveillance technology. The road we are traveling is paved with lockdowns, SWAT team raids, mass surveillance and forced vaccinations. Now there’s talk of mobilizing the military to deliver forced vaccinations, mass surveillance in order to carry out contact tracing, and heavy fines and jail time for those who dare to venture out without a mask, congregate in worship without the government’s blessing, or re-open their  businesses without the government’s say-so.

W is for WHOLE-BODY SCANNERS. Using either x-ray radiation or radio waves, scanning devices and government mobile units are being used not only to “see” through your clothes but to spy on you within the privacy of your home. While these mobile scanners are being sold to the American public as necessary security and safety measures, we can ill afford to forget that such systems are rife with the potential for abuse, not only by government bureaucrats but by the technicians employed to operate them.

X is for X-KEYSCORE, one of the many spying programs carried out by the National Security Agency that targets every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone. This top-secret program “allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

Y is for YOU-NESS. Using your face, mannerisms, social media and “you-ness” against you, you are now be tracked based on what you buy, where you go, what you do in public, and how you do what you do. Facial recognition software promises to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business. The goal is for government agents to be able to scan a crowd of people and instantaneously identify all of the individuals present. Facial recognition programs are being rolled out in states all across the country.

Z is for ZERO TOLERANCE. We have moved into a new paradigm in which young people are increasingly viewed as suspects and treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike, often for engaging in little more than childish behavior or for saying the “wrong” word. In some jurisdictions, students have also been penalized under school zero tolerance policies for such inane "crimes" as carrying cough drops, wearing black lipstick, bringing nail clippers to school, using Listerine or Scope, and carrying fold-out combs that resemble switchblades. The lesson being taught to our youngest—and most impressionable—citizens is this: in the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (politician, police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the post-9/11 America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age.

You can call it the age of authoritarianism. Or fascism. Or oligarchy. Or the American police state.

Whatever label you want to put on it, the end result is the same: tyranny.

Published:8/4/2020 11:29:26 PM
[Markets] Understanding The Gravity Of The Russia Hoax Understanding The Gravity Of The Russia Hoax Tyler Durden Tue, 08/04/2020 - 22:05

Authored by Andrea Widburg via AmericanThinker.com,

One of the claims Democrats love to tout about the Obama administration is that it was “scandal free.” For those who paid attention to the IRS targeting, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, and the cash smuggled to Iran, to name just a few illegal and/or immoral activities, that was always a peculiar boast. The Obama administration was up to its eyeballs in scandals. It was Obama who finally said what had really happened, which was that “We didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.”

In other words, the issue wasn’t that the administration was scandal-free. The issue was that the media protected the administration from voters’ wrath should they learn about those scandals.

The Russia Hoax has benefitted from the media’s continued unwillingness to report on Obama-era scandals. When it looked as if the Russia Hoax could achieve a coup against the Trump presidency, members of the press developed a form of Tourette syndrome that saw them obsessively mouth “Russia, Russia, Russia” all day, every day.

However, when Robert Mueller’s handpicked Democrat-friendly team, despite two years and 35 million dollars, was unable to find a smidgen of proof that Trump or his administration had colluded with the Russians, leftists inside and outside of the media fell silent. Sure, they’ll still raise the fact that Trump, at a press conference, said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing,” but their hearts aren’t in it.

They know that normal people understand that Trump was making a pointed joke about the fact that the Russians, the Chinese, and every other hacker on earth had read through Hillary’s emails for years. Aside from leftists being utterly humorless, the media learned that raising this statement periodically was chum to the true believers but not very interesting to anyone else.

When it came to burying the whole Russia Hoax, the Democrats and their media lackeys were helped by the fact that the story is so gosh-darned complicated. It involved dozens of people (some genuinely bad actors and some useful idiots), several countries, thousands of pages of cryptic papers, and a dizzying timeline. It’s hard to get people who aren’t political junkies excited about something like that, and even harder to arouse them to a sense of outrage over what the Obama administration did.

And that’s where Andrew C. McCarthy’s latest column comes in. His columns are always interesting because they help explain each new revelation about the hoax. This time, though, McCarthy has opted to open with an overview of the entire scandal and why it matters. With unusual clarity, he explains how the Obama administration used the vast power of the intelligence agencies to spy on an opposition candidate and then try to commit a coup.

I’ve cherry-picked a few relevant paragraphs, but I urge you to read the whole thing. Once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why the Russia Hoax isn’t just an inside politics thing that ultimately doesn’t matter:

As I contended in Ball of Collusion, my book on the Trump-Russia investigation, the target of the probe spearheaded by the FBI - but greenlighted by the Obama White House, and abetted by the Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies - was Donald Trump. Not the Trump campaign, not the Trump administration. Those were of interest only insofar as they were vehicles for Trump himself. The campaign, which the Bureau and its apologists risibly claim was the focus of the investigation, would have been of no interest to them were it not for Trump.

[snip]

You don’t like Donald Trump? Fine. The investigation here was indeed about Donald Trump. But the scandal is about how abusive officials can exploit their awesome powers against any political opponent. And the people who authorized this political spying will be right back in business if, come November, Obama’s vice-president is elected president — notwithstanding that he’s yet to be asked serious questions about it.

[snip]

Congress’s investigation was stonewalled. The more revelation we get, the more obvious it is that there was no bona fide national-security rationale for concealment. Documents were withheld to hide official and unofficial executive activity that was abusive, embarrassing, and, at least in some instances, illegal (e.g., tampering with a document that was critical to the FBI’s presentation of “facts” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court).

[snip]

The Obama administration and the FBI knew that it was they who were meddling in a presidential campaign - using executive intelligence powers to monitor the president’s political opposition. This, they also knew, would rightly be regarded as a scandalous abuse of power if it ever became public. There was no rational or good-faith evidentiary basis to believe that Trump was in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin or that he’d had any role in Russian intelligence’s suspected hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.

[snip]

In the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, President Obama authorized his administration’s investigative agencies to monitor his party’s opponent in the presidential election, on the pretext that Donald Trump was a clandestine agent of Russia. Realizing this was a gravely serious allegation for which there was laughably insufficient predication, administration officials kept Trump’s name off the investigative files. That way, they could deny that they were doing what they did. Then they did it . . . and denied it.

It is to be hoped that John Durham releases his long-promised investigative report sooner, rather than later. The American people need to understand just how scandalous the Obama administration and its holdovers were.

Published:8/4/2020 9:25:02 PM
[] Americans Reject Joe Biden's Radical AFFH Housing Rule in a New Poll Published:8/4/2020 8:53:56 PM
[Politics] ‘I CAUGHT THEM’ – Trump tells Dobbs investigation has caught Obama, Biden SPYING, ‘breathtaking’ what was found, BEYOND what we thought President Trump spoke by phone with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs today, and that aired just before the briefing. During the call Trump said that the investigation in to the Obama administration . . . Published:8/4/2020 7:02:14 PM
[Politics] ‘I CAUGHT THEM’: Trump tells Dobbs they’ve caught Obama, Biden on SPYING, ‘breathtaking’ what was found, BEYOND what we thought President Trump spoke by phone with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs today, and that aired just before the briefing. During the call Trump said that the investigation in to the Obama administration . . . Published:8/4/2020 7:02:14 PM
[Parody] ANALYSIS: Trump Humiliates ‘Fake News’ Axios Reporter in Physically Dominant Interview Performance

MINSK — Folks! I am currently en route to [redacted] to attend a happy hour honoring the birthdays of Muslim icons Yasser Arafat and Barack Obama but was compelled to weigh in on the so-called viral interview between President Donald J. Trump and Jonathan Swan, the chief "fake news" reporter for Axios, a remedial blog for people with short attention spans.

The post ANALYSIS: Trump Humiliates ‘Fake News’ Axios Reporter in Physically Dominant Interview Performance appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/4/2020 4:22:25 PM
[Parody] EXCLUSIVE: Election Day War Game Yields Explosive Results

A shadowy group of former Obama officials called the Transition Integrity Project has been hosting Election Day war games to determine what might transpire if Joe Biden and his supporters refuse to concede defeat in November.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Election Day War Game Yields Explosive Results appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/4/2020 4:02:19 PM
[2020 Election] Obama Keeps ‘Squad’ Off List of Endorsements

Former president Barack Obama announced on Monday his first list of endorsements for the November election, but excluded the four members of the far-left group of House Democrats known as “the Squad.” 

The post Obama Keeps ‘Squad’ Off List of Endorsements appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/4/2020 12:24:42 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: August 4, 1961 8/4/1961: President Barack Obama's birthday. He would appoint two Justices to the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Published:8/4/2020 6:19:28 AM
[Markets] The Pentagon's New UFO Disclosures: 75 Years Of MK Ultra Psy Ops The Pentagon's New UFO Disclosures: 75 Years Of MK Ultra Psy Ops Tyler Durden Tue, 08/04/2020 - 00:05

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In my last few articles, I have found myself writing on the theme of the emerging new system and the battle between two paradigms (multipolar vs unipolar).

Within that theme, the important issue of psy ops, false solutions and epistemological warfare which is a part of everyone’s’ daily life (whether they know it or not) arose as well. Recent events and announcements have caused me to tackle another aspect of psychological warfare in the modern age.

UFOs and You

What would you do if the American and British governments both revealed that their secret UFO programs would declassify material from each nations’ respective National Archives?

What if you found out that leading politicians like former House Majority speaker Harry Reid had allocated $22 millions of tax payer dollars to UFO research and that Obama’s former chief counsellor (and rampant pedophile) John Podesta has openly called for UFO disclosure on several public occasions since 2002 or that Hillary Clinton herself called for UFO disclosure during her presidential campaign pledges of 2015?

Would you believe these claims or would you remain skeptical? How would you decide what to do?

With the July 23 public statement from the Pentagon that “off world vehicles not made on this earth” have been kept secret for decades, this question has become extremely important.

Major opinion-shapers like Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson, and even Russia Today have promoted the cause of alien disclosure for the past few years and with the most recent Pentagon announcement, fascination in little grey men has spread like wildfire.

Who’s Playing this Game?

For the past several decades, government-sponsored UFO research has largely been driven by the work of private subcontractors like Bigelow Aerospace which was founded by billionaire real estate speculator Robert Bigelow who allocated large swaths of his fortunes to the creation of organizations like the National Institute for Discovery Science which have always worked in a private capacity with governments and academia. One of Bigelow’s biggest tools was Sen. Harry Reid who not only received generous campaign funds from the billionaire between 1998-2009 but also allocated tens of millions in national defense funds to his company starting in 2007.

In 2014, the creative force driving the “UFO-disclosure cause” has taken the form of a weird organization called To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science run by high level intelligence operatives and using a cardboard cut-out Tom Delonge (former lead singer of the punk band Blink 182). To the Stars has poured millions of dollars into cultural/educational and lobbying projects driven by books, movies, film and documentaries in the cause of “elevating global consciousness” in preparation for a new age of UFO disclosure.

As Delonge says in his promotional video

“through a series of meetings I was soon connected to a large group of U.S. government officials. From the CIA, to the Department of Defense to Lockheed Martin Skunkworks. These were the guys involved in the secretive government programs that dealt with these subjects.”

Some of the shadowy figures affiliated with To the Stars include a former CIA director of operations, former Deputy Assistant secretary for Defense Intelligence, former Director of Information for White House Technology, and former chief of the CIA’s counter-biological weapons program. Both Podesta and Bigelow’s Aerospace have also worked closely with Delonge’s strange group over the past six years.

Bigelow is not the only billionaire who has allocated their vast fortunes to the cause of “UFO truth”.

The Rockefeller Project

In 1993, the Disclosure Initiative was created by none other than financier Laurence Rockefeller (4th son of Standard Oil Founder John D. Rockefeller) which had a two-fold purpose:

  1. Unite all of the largest UFO research organizations in America under one umbrella organization which was promptly accomplished within one year and

  2. Massively lobby the Clinton Administration to declassify millions of documents which was done in 1994, revealing little more than mountains of anecdotal testimonies and correspondences.

During the heyday of the Rockefeller UFO Disclosure Initiative, the Clintons stayed at the Laurence Rockefeller ranch in Wyoming, during which time an early recruit to the “disclosure mission” was Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta. Podesta started going public with calls for UFO disclosure in 2002 and has continued to work with figures like Bigelow and To the Stars Academy over the next 18 years.

A fuller overview of Laurence Rockefeller’s “other” civilization-shifting programs from the 1950s-1990s can be seen here.

During the Clinton White House years, Laurence Rockefeller recruited a bodybuilding biologist named Stephen Greer to become the controller of the Disclosure Project which has provided his meal ticket to this very day. Greer has given thousands of interviews promoting the narrative that NASA’s Apollo Lunar projects were stopped in 1972 merely because the aliens who have been stationed on the Moon for eons didn’t want the truth to leak out (but were at least kind enough to let U.S. keep the technology they gave U.S. earlier in Roswell in the 1950s). If you believe in Greer’s narrative (which gets much crazier I promise), then human creative thought is actually not as special as “the shadowy forces controlling the government” wanted you to believe since space technology only existed because we stole stuff from ETs. Pretty much any inspired awe in universal creation and the power of the human mind to discover this creation with the effect of making life better through scientific and technological progress would easily be killed from this outlook.

The questions an intelligent person should now ask are:

  • Why would a leading figure of the Rockefeller dynasty devote the last decades of his life to the cause of “UFO truth”?

  • Did Laurence Rockefeller or those on his payroll or those in the CIA actually care about the right of the people to know hidden truths, or is the plan just designed to mis-direct the minds of credulous and jaded citizens into an invisible cage?

  • Might such a mis-direction prevent people from dealing with issues of America’s conversion into Nazism and accelerating disintegration?

  • Is it possible that these pedophiles, globalists, and Malthusian billionaires care less about the truth and more about inducing Americans to fixate on aliens while the republic is destroyed under economic collapse and war?

Squaring the Crop Circle

A large portion of the Disclosure Project’s work has gone into the investigation of crop circles which were first recorded in the early 1970s in Britain, and which have the peculiar characteristic of becoming increasingly well executed and complex over the course of five decades. Live Science reported that “the first real crop circles didn’t appear until the 1970s, when simple circles began appearing in the English countryside. The number and complexity of the circles increased dramatically, reaching a peak in the 1980s and 1990s when increasingly elaborate circles were produced”.

My question is: If transcendental alien races travelling at faster-than light speed, have been leaving encoded messages to U.S., then why would their artistic skills have improved so dramatically over a few years? Just a question.

MK Ultra & UFOs

Most people know of the CIA/MI6-funded mass brainwashing operation known as MK Ultra which was launched in 1953. Very few people have recognized the connection between MK Ultra and the rise of the UFO movement that grew in spades throughout the Cold War.

While U.S. and UK government UFO investigations did occur in piece meal starting in 1947 under Project Sign (1947), and Project Grudge (1949), it wasn’t until 1950 that official tax payer-funded departments were created in both nations to pursue “UFO research”. These took the form of the USA’s Project Blue Book (1952) which itself was modelled on the work conducted by Britain’s 1950 “Flying Saucer Working Party” spear-headed by Sir Henry Tizard (Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Defense and Chairman of Britain’s Defense Research Policy Committee).

Journalist Naomi Klein stated in her book The Shock Doctrine that Tizard played a leading role in the creation and funding of MK Ultra during a high level meeting in Montreal and Tizard’s Wikipedia entry notes that:

“One of the most controversial meetings he had to attend in his capacity as chair of the National Research Commission would only emerge many years later with the de-classification of CIA documents, namely a meeting on June 1st, 1951 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal Canada, between Tizard, Omond Solandt (chairman of Defence Research and Development Canada) and representatives of the CIA to discuss “brainwashing”.

This Ritz-Carleton meeting would lay the seeds for MK Ultra that was not only designed to deal with brainwashing, but created LSD, and explored the matter of breaking down a human mind into a blank slate with the explicit intention of reconstructing minds from scratch. As Klein’s book eloquently showcases, the intention was to use these discoveries on a national scale in order to conduct “shock therapy” on nations in order to break cultures and nations from their historic memories and traditions with the purpose of reconstructing them under a post-nation state (and post truth) neo liberal world order. While MK Ultra was funded by the Americans, the guidance for this operation were always driven by London’s Tavistock Clinic. A bone chilling expose of this clinic was produced by EIR’s Jeffrey Steinberg in 1993 which may keep you up at night.

As one can imagine, the very act of providing government funds to investigate flying saucers was itself sufficient to legitimize the existence of aliens in the minds of millions of Europeans and Americans during the Cold War years. During these dark years, faith in honest government collapsed under the imperial wars of Korea, Vietnam abroad and the growth of the Military Industrial Complex and McCarthyism at home. The world of secret patents, secret weapons, secret R&D that developed during this period in facilities like Area 51 made the frequent sightings by civilians and even un-vetted military pilots of “unidentified flying aircraft” an expected occurrence.

Flying Saucers and Area 51

In her 2012 book Area 51 Uncensored, journalist Annie Jacobson provided lengthy detail of the Cold War experiments, aerospace technology and nuclear bomb testing that took place at Area 51 during this period which largely fed off the earlier social engineering experiment of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds emergency broadcast read aloud in 1938. The mass panic that ensued the broadcast provided an insight into the levers of mass psychology that certain social engineers drooled over.

What could account for observed UFO phenomena?

In an interview with NPR Radio, Jacobson stated:

“The UFO craze began in the summer of 1947. Several months later, the G2 intelligence, which was the Army intelligence corps at the time, spent an enormous amount of time and treasure seeking out two former Third Reich aerospace designers named Walter and Reimar Horten who had allegedly created [a] flying disc. 

...American intelligence agents fanned out across Europe seeking the Horton brothers to find out if, in fact, they had made this flying disc.”

During WWII, the Horten brothers were associated with the Austrian scientist Viktor Shauberger whose innovative designs for implosion (vs explosion) flying technology utilized water currents, and electromagnetism to generate flying machines that by all surviving accounts flew faster than the speed of sound. While much of his research was confiscated and classified by victor nations after WWII, Schauberger was promised government sponsorship in America which induced the inventor to move across the Ocean where Canada’s Avro Arrow program sought his designs for supersonic nuclear missile delivery aircraft. When he discovered that his work would only be used for military purposes, Schauberger pushed back and over the course of several months, his patents were essentially stolen, and he returned to Austria to die broke and depressed in 1958.

The Strategic Importance of Space

It was never a secret that the post-1971 globalized world order championed by the likes of Sir Henry Kissinger, David and Laurence Rockefeller and other Malthusians throughout the 20th century was always designed to collapse. With the mass shock therapy that such a collapse would impose upon the world, it was believed that a deconstruction of the Abrahamic traditions that governed western society for 2000 years could be accomplished and a new society could be socially engineered in the image of the Brave New (depopulated) World that would live like happy sheep forever under the grip of a hereditary alpha class and their technocratic managers.

The only problem which these social engineers have encountered in recent years is the re-emergence of actual statesmen who are unwilling to sacrifice their people and traditions on the altar of a new global Gaia cult. Such defenders of humanity’s better traditions have launched the multipolar alliance and have driven a policy of long-term growth and advance scientific and technological progress which is embodied brilliantly by the New Silk Road, and its extensions to the Arctic. The most exciting aspect of this New Silk Road/Multipolar Paradigm is the leap into space exploration as the new frontier of human self-development which has not been seen since the days of President Kennedy.

With China and Russia signing a pact to jointly develop lunar bases and the NASA Artemis Accords calling for international cooperation on Lunar and Mars resource development/industrialization, the age of unlimited growth that was lost with the LSD-driven mass psychosis of 1968’s “live in the now” paradigm shift may finally be recaptured. Programs designed to put humanity’s focus on real objective threats like Asteroid collisions, and solar-induced new ice ages are seriously being discussed by leaders of Russia, China and the USA.

There are billions of suns and potentially billions of galaxies, and chances are there is indeed life on many of the planets orbiting some of the stars within our growing, creative universe… and there is also a fair chance that cognitive life has also emerged on some of those planets. The best way to find out however is not to sit at home while the world economic system collapses under a controlled disintegration thinking about Rockefeller-funded conspiracy theories, but rather to fight to revive humanity’s open system destiny starting with a cooperative space program to extend human culture and economy to the Moon and Mars, and then onto other planetary bodies followed by missions to deep space.

If other civilizations exist, maybe it is our duty to take up the torch left to U.S. by JFK and go find them.

Published:8/3/2020 11:22:51 PM
[Latest News] Top Soros Official Embraces Anti-Semitic Black Nationalist and Slams Bill Clinton

Patrick Gaspard, a former Obama administration official and president of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, blasted former president Bill Clinton on Friday for condemning Stokely Carmichael, a racial separatist who called Hitler the only white man he could respect. 

The post Top Soros Official Embraces Anti-Semitic Black Nationalist and Slams Bill Clinton appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:8/3/2020 6:38:26 PM
[Politics] Obama Backs 118 Candidates in First Endorsements of 2020 Former President Barack Obama has issued endorsements for over 100 Democratic candidates running for federal, statewide and state legislative offices in the upcoming 2020 elections, NBC News reports. Published:8/3/2020 4:47:50 PM
[] Trump Wants Boston Marathon Bomber to Get Death Penalty. Dems Want Him to Vote. Published:8/3/2020 2:46:26 PM
[Markets] Kashkari Says Only Way To "Save Economy" Is To Lock It Down "Really Hard" For 6 Weeks Kashkari Says Only Way To "Save Economy" Is To Lock It Down "Really Hard" For 6 Weeks Tyler Durden Mon, 08/03/2020 - 14:35

With Shepard Ambellas of Intellihub

Minneapolis Fed President (as well as former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability under the Bush and Obama administrations, former PIMCO and former Goldman Sachs employee) Neel Kashkari said the only way to save American lives from COVID-19 is to fully lock down the entire nation and all of its inhabitants.

“That’s the only way we’re really going to have a real robust economic recovery,” the American banker told CBS’s Face the Nation. “Otherwise, we’re going to have flare-ups, lockdowns, and a very halting recovery with many more job losses and many more bankruptcies for an extended period of time, unfortunately.”

Kashkari said that the path of the economy would hinge on success in getting the pandemic under control, and suggested that while very unpopular, a stringent economic lockdown might be the lesser of two evils to more quickly restore growth and hiring, rather than waiting for the eventual arrival of a vaccine.

"I mean if we were to lock down really hard, I know I hate to even suggest it, people will be frustrated by it, but if we were to lock down hard for a month or six weeks, we could get the case count down so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it the way that it’s happening in the Northeast right now”, Kaskhari said.

However, the truth of the matter is that the Federal Reserve banker just wishes to secure another stimulus package bailout for the Fed worth trillions of dollars in a last-ditch effort to prop up the economy one last time before it becomes fully blown out.

To top it all off, Kashkari believes he can convince the general public that having their businesses shut down and forcing people to stay at home with no pay will somehow get the economy bustling again when in all actuality the diabolic plan makes no sense and even JPMorgan now advising against a broad lockdown, to wit:

In our opinion, re-imposing city lockdowns at this stage might be not be the ideal solution to control infection, from a cost/ benefit perspective, especially for developed countries. Even for developing countries, an overall cost-benefit analysis indicates that, in a potentially bigger second wave, lockdowns may not be the ideal approach.

Even Bloomberg admits a new shutdown woutd be catastrohic, with strategist Richard Jones writing that "fresh lockdowns would hurt risk assets in a big way and would test the limits of policy makers’ capacity to enact fiscal and monetary stimulus."

This will be bad news for equities in general, but it could be that the outperfomers during the initial economic shutdown would do so again (eg, tech, basic staples). In order for this to happen, however, it would require another round of unprecedented policy responses.

For the Fed and BOE, the markets would probably look to price negative policy rates more aggressively, and lots more QE. For the ECB, QE expectations would also ramp higher, and lower policy rates could not be ruled out either. On the fiscal side, spending of a similar magnitude of what already was conducted would likely be needed again.

Which appears to be precisely what the Fed wants: another tsunami of liquidity following a second self-inflicted suicide of the economy.

The bottom line is, the Fed - which after failing catastrophically at hitting its inflation objective has now switched to being an expert in such matters as climate change and racial inequality - is setting the stage for another multi-trillion-dollar bailout which would be promptly catalyzed by another economic shutdown, which in turn would set the stage for the next major economic crisis, one in which as discussed yesterday, the Fed would proceed to send money directly to US households, sparking a long-overdue inflationary conflagration.

Published:8/3/2020 1:45:38 PM
[Politics] Mark Levin NAILS it on Obama speech, John Lewis funeral, Barr non-Hearing: ‘A DISGRACE’ Democrats and liberals get to live by different rules, whether its about “respecting our institutions” or who can have a funeral or gather in a church, or even when it comes to . . . Published:8/2/2020 12:58:03 PM
[Politics] Mark Levin NAILS it on Obama speech, John Lewis funeral, Barr non-Hearing: ‘A DISGRACE’ Democrats and liberals get to live by different rules, whether its about “respecting our institutions” or who can have a funeral or gather in a church, or even when it comes to . . . Published:8/2/2020 12:58:03 PM
[Markets] Smith: Martial Law Is Unacceptable Regardless Of The Circumstances Smith: Martial Law Is Unacceptable Regardless Of The Circumstances Tyler Durden Sat, 08/01/2020 - 00:05

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Back in 2014, hundreds if not thousands of conservatives and liberty movement activists converged on a farm in rural Clark County, Nevada. The purpose was to protest the incursion of federal government agents onto the property of the Bundy family, who had defied pressure from the Bureau of Land Management to stop allowing their cattle to feed on “federal land” in a form of free ranging. It was a practice that had been going on for decades and one that was required for the Bundy farm to survive, ended abruptly by environmental laws protecting a tortoise.

The Bundy family had been improving on the area with aquifers and other measures for generations without interference. The claim by the BLM and other agencies was that the farmers were destroying wildlife habitat with their cattle, yet the Bundy's land improvements had actually allowed wildlife to THRIVE in areas where animals would find life difficult or impossible otherwise.

The federal government became fixated on the Bundy's, and decided to make an example out of them. Their defiance of the crackdown on their use of the land was met with extreme measures, including their cattle impounded, their farm being surrounded and sniper teams placed in the hills nearby. The liberty movement saw this as the last straw, and so reacted at a grassroots level. The concern was that Bundy Ranch could become another Waco. They locked and loaded and went to defend the Bundy's.

I completely agreed at the time with the efforts surrounding Bundy Ranch and I still agree with them today. The federal government had overstepped its bounds on multiple occasions when it came to rural farmers in sagebrush country and everyone had finally had enough. The feds were faced with a group of armed liberty movement members and eventually ran away. They even gave the Bundy's back the cattle the feds had initially tried to confiscate. This event showcased the power of the people to repel tyranny when necessary.

The claim that the public is impotent against government force was summarily trounced.  The action was not perfect, and there were many internal disputes and a plethora of mistakes, but overall it had achieved its goal.  It sent a message to the establishment that if you try to assert unconstitutional force against the citizenry there is a chance a Bundy Ranch scenario might happen again, and next time it might not simply be a defensive measure.

I mention Bundy Ranch because I want to remind conservatives of their roots. We are a constitutional movement. We are a small government movement. We believe in individual rights, states rights and the 10th Amendment, as well as strict limitations placed on the federal government and state governments when they try to violate the Bill of Rights.  If you don't believe in these things, you are not a conservative or a constitutionalist.

No government, whether state or federal, supersedes the boundaries placed upon them by the constitution. Once they violate those boundaries, they must be put in check by the citizenry, for the constitution is merely an object that represents an ideal. It can't defend itself. If a government undermines constitutional protections, it is not a failure of the constitution, it is a failure by the public to act.

Sadly, there are "conservatives" out there who supported the efforts at Bundy Ranch in 2014, but are now calling for federal overreach and martial law today. The very same people who argued vehemently against unconstitutional actions back then are arguing for bending or breaking the rules of the constitution now. This is something I have been warning about for years...

The greatest threat to freedom is not the government, extreme leftists or the globalist cabal; the greatest threat is when freedom fighters foresake their own principles and start rationalizing tyranny because it happens to benefit them in the moment. If freedom fighters stop fighting for freedom, who remains pick up the mantle? No one. And thus, the globalists and collectivists win the long game.

Right now there are two sides calling for martial law-like restrictions on the public, and both sides think they are doing what is best for society at large. They both believe they are morally justified and that totalitarian actions are necessary for “the greater good”. Both sides are wrong.

The Pandemic Puritans

On one side, we have a group made up primarily of political leftists but also some conservatives who say that the coronavius pandemic creates a scenario in which medical tyranny must be established to protect the public from itself. Leftists enjoy control in general and the pandemic simply offers an opportunity for them to act out their totalitarian fantasies in real life.

These are the people who wag their fingers at others on the street or in the park or at the beach for not “social distancing” properly. These are the people that inform on their neighbors, or inform on local businesses for not following strict guidelines. These are the people that get a thrill from forcing other people to conform.

This is not to say that precautions are not warranted, they certainly are. However, these precautions MUST be up to individuals, not enforced by bureaucracy. The moment you hand government ultimate power to dictate people's health decisions, personal daily activities, freedom of assembly and their ability to participate in the economy, you have given the government ultimate power to destroy our very culture. No government should be allowed to have that kind of influence.

The issue here is one of the greater EVIL, not the greater good. What is the greater evil? To avoid unconstitutional measures, avoid violating individual rights and allow the virus to spread faster than it normally would? Or, to completely throw out the Bill of Rights, individual liberty and economic security in the name of a brand of “safety” that is ambiguous and undefined?

As I write this, the state of New Jersey among others is implementing a draconian response against businesses that defy lockdown orders. NJ just arrested the owners of a gymnasium in Bellmawr who refused to close down. Even though they used social distancing measures and applied their own guidelines, the state has decided that citizens are children that must be controlled rather than adults that can make their own choices. This sets a dangerous precedence for the whole country.

Understand that small businesses that are not deemed “essential” by arbitrary decree from the state are on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse. Millions of people are having their livelihoods threatened by the lockdowns. Millions of jobs are at risk. Is the coronavirus really worth destroying our own economic system? Because that is EXACTLY what is happening right now. The US economy was already suffering from destabilization, and now the pandemic response is putting the final nail in the coffin.

If the economy tanks far more people will die from the resulting crisis of poverty, crime and civil unrest than will EVER die from the coronavirus pandemic. When you look at the big picture, how can anyone justify medical tyranny and martial law measures? There is simply no logical explanation for violating the economic and personal freedom of Americans in response to a disease. If some people die from the virus, so be it. Its a small price to pay to keep our freedoms intact.  Furthermore, I would stand by that argument even if I get sick from the virus.

Sock Puppet Conservatives

There are people out there that like constitutional rights and civil liberties “in theory”, but in practice they view these rights as inconvenient to their goals.  For these so-called “conservatives”, the Bill of Rights is only for peacetime. When war or domestic conflict rolls around, our rights are suddenly forfeit.

I use this particular metaphor often but I really can't find a better one:

Government power is like the “one ring” in Lord Of The Rings. Everyone desperately wants control of it. The side of evil thirsts for it. The side of good thinks that if only they had it they could use it for honorable ends; they think they can use it to defeat evil. They are wrong.

The “one ring” (government power) corrupts ALL. It cannot be controlled. It cannot be used for good. Eventually, it warps the minds of those who hold it, twisting them into something grotesque. Good people who exploit the ring end up becoming the very monsters they were trying to defeat, and evil wins.

Right now through the Trump Administration conservatives are being tempted with the "one ring". We are being tempted with ultimate government power. The leftist hordes and their actions are egregious. They act irrationally and foolishly. Their communist ideology and mindless zealotry is destructive and they openly seek the collapse of western civilization. But in the end this doesn't matter.  They are nothing more than useful idiots for a greater agenda.

It's interesting that the only solution I see being presented in conservative circles lately is the use of federal power to crush the protests and riots. Again, this might seem like a reasonable action in the face of so much lawlessness, but if taken too far the implications are horrifying.

Some conservative groups are cheering the deployment of federal agencies to cities like Portland in the name of stopping civil unrest, but there is a fine line between law enforcement and martial law. And by martial law, I mean ANY government force that is designed to suppress or break civil protections. This does not only include a military presence, it can also include federal agencies overstepping their bounds, just as they did at Bundy Ranch.

In Portland and other cities like New York, federal agents and police have been snatching protesters off the street in unmarked vans without identifying themselves.  Essentially, they are black-bagging people. This is the kind of behavior which real conservatives traditionally despise.

Yes, some of these protesters did in fact loot or participate in property damage; and some of them did absolutely nothing.  This is being done under 40 US Code 1315 which was signed into law by Neo-con president George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks as part of the tidal wave of unconstitutional Patriot Act measures that were railroaded through during mass fear and panic.

Conservatives have been warning for years about the potential for misuse of these laws to violate people's rights. Will we now support them because they are being enforced against people we don't like? I will say this: If an unmarked van with unidentified armed people tried to grab me off the street, I would do everything in my power to put a bullet in each and every one of them.  And, I would not hold it against any person who did the same, even if they were my ideological opponent.

Some conservatives are calling for much more, including the deployment of the National Guard or a standing military presence. The use of such tactics opens the door to serious consequences, and I believe if we allow the federal government to bend the rules now, we set the stage for expansive martial law in the near future. By extension, labeling looters or rioters as “terrorists” also has dangerous implications.  Those of us that were activists during the Obama years know how freely that label is thrown around by government and the media.

We might feel righteous in violating the civil liberties of social justice Marxists because of their insane behavior and the threat they pose to the stability of the country, but, what happens when the roles are reversed? During Bundy Ranch, conservatives were also being labeled “terrorists”, and who is to say we won't find ourselves in that position again?   Would defying the pandemic lockdowns also be considered an existential threat to the country?

Uncomfortable Questions

There are some questions in all of this that are either not being asked or are being deliberately avoided.  For example:

1) Why is it that the Trump Administration has not bothered to go after the elites and globalists FUNDING Antifa and BLM groups behind the unrest?  Why does George Soros and his Open Society Foundation get to operate in the US with impunity?  And what about the Ford Foundation?  Members of that institution openly admit that they have been funding and organizing the social justice cult for decades.  Shouldn't the men behind the curtain paying for the entire thing be targeted first, instead of going after the useful idiots?  Perhaps the fact that Trump is surrounded by those very same elites in his cabinet has something to do with it...

2) If we support martial law measures, WHO are we giving that power to?  Is it Trump, or the deep state ghouls that advise him daily?  People like Wilber Ross, a New York Rothschild banking agent, Mike Pompeo, a long time Neo-con warmonger and promoter of mass surveillance, Robert Lightheizer, a member of the globalist Council On Foreign Relations, Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs banker, Larry Kudlow, former Federal Reserve, etc.  Even if you think Trump has the best of intentions, can anyone honestly say the same for his cabinet?

3) When the left is "defeated" and the riots stop, will martial law simply fade away, or, is it a Pandora's Box that can never be closed again?  And if it doesn't end, will supporters justify fighting against not just leftists, but also conservatives who will not tolerate it?  I for one will be among the people that will not tolerate it.

Real Solutions

There are other much better solutions than martial law when confronting the leftist riots or the pandemic.

For the pandemic, stop trying to dictate public behavior.  If individuals feel they are at risk from the virus, then they can take their own precautions.  The only other option is to continue on the path of shutdowns and an informant society that will destroy this nation in a matter of months.

For the leftists, communities that stage an armed presence in the face of protests have ALL escaped riots and property damage. Sometimes Antifa and BLM decide to not even show up. We DON'T NEED a federal presence or a military presence to get the job done. We can do it ourselves. We already have proof that this strategy works.

And, if the lefties want to burn down their own neighborhoods and cities and local governments don't want to stop them, then I say let it happen. It's sad for the people in these places that had no dog in the fight, but maybe this will teach the locals to speak out against BLM or Antifa instead of remaining silent or virtue signaling their support in the hopes that their businesses won't be attacked.  Maybe they should look for better government officials as well.

Finally, it's far past time to go after the elites that fund and engineer such groups.  Remove their influence and I suspect many people will be shocked at how fast all this unrest and chaos suddenly disappears.  Isn't this what people wanted Trump to do from the very beginning?  And yet, nothing happens to the vampires at the top.

Only cowards demand everyone else give up their freedoms just so they can feel safe.  The establishment is trying to pit the American people against each other as a means to pave a path to tyranny. I believe what the elites want more than anything else is to trick conservatives into forsaking their own principles. If we do, we become hypocrites that can no longer sustain a movement for freedom. By becoming the monster to fight the monster we hand our enemies victory. This is unacceptable.

*  *  *

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Published:7/31/2020 11:27:30 PM
[Black Lives Matter] No injustice, no peace (Paul Mirengoff) Darren Wilson is the former Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, who assaulted him. The shooting was a wholly justified act of self defense. Yet, it triggered the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s fitting that a phony justice movement originated with a phony claim of police misconduct. Wilson has been cleared of any criminal conduct by a grand jury and by the Obama-Holder Justice Department. But Published:7/31/2020 10:27:36 PM
[Markets] Susan Rice's Testimony On Being Out Of Russiagate Loop Doesn't Add Up Susan Rice's Testimony On Being Out Of Russiagate Loop Doesn't Add Up Tyler Durden Fri, 07/31/2020 - 23:25

Authored by Eric Felten via RealClearInvestigations.com,

Susan Rice, the vice presidential contender with a high-profile history of questionable public statements, has another dubious claim in her past that until now has escaped scrutiny. Rice swore under oath that as President Obama’s national security adviser she was never told about the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. But former FBI Director James Comey testified that Rice was present when he informed Obama all about Crossfire Hurricane just weeks after the investigation was launched.

James Comey: His account of telling the White House about Crossfire Hurricane differs markedly from Susan Rice's. She testified: "We were not informed by Director Comey or the attorney general that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit.” (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The contradiction could lead to charges that Rice lied to Congress about a topic still of intense interest to investigators: How actively involved in the effort to spy on the Trump campaign was the inner circle of the Obama White House, including the president himself? More immediately, the question of whether Rice told the truth on Capitol Hill might damage her bid to join Joe Biden on the Democratic presidential ticket.

Rice earned a reputation for shading the truth after the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. She was famously dispatched to five different Sunday morning news shows to repeat false talking points: that the mob that killed four Americans – including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens – was merely reacting to an obscure YouTube video mocking Islam.

Questions about her forthrightness were redoubled when Senate investigators found that, in the waning minutes of the Obama administration, Rice wrote a curious “memo to the file.” She sent an email to herself on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, and in it claimed that Obama had insisted that everything to do with Russia, whether law enforcement or counterintelligence, be done “by the book.”

President Obama and Rice: Both were present at a meeting where, the FBI's Comey said, the Trump-Russia probe was discussed at its outset. She denied knowing about it. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Asked about that memo later, Rice insisted she knew nothing about the FBI’s counterintelligence probe regarding Trump and Russia, let alone anything that could be characterized as spying on the incoming administration. She had her lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, write a letter to Sens. Charles Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and Sheldon Whitehouse. “While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia,” Ruemmler wrote, “and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey’s subsequent public testimony” – testimony that didn’t occur until March 20, 2017

On Wednesday, September 8, 2017, Rice repeated that she knew nothing of the FBI’s investigation while in the White House. This time she made the claim under oath.

Rice was at the Capitol, sitting in a secure room used by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The official reason for the interview was to ask what the Obama administration had done to thwart Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Behind those questions was a different query: Had Barack Obama’s team used the power of the presidency to spy on and smear the Trump campaign?

With the expectation of facing unfriendly questions, Rice arrived with two attorneys from the law firm Latham & Watkins.

Adam Schiff: “... [W]ould Director Comey brief you on the progress of his investigation?” he asked Rice. “No,” replied Rice under oath. (Scott Applewhite)

 The Republican staffer running the interview emphasized to Rice the importance of telling the truth: “You are reminded that it is unlawful to deliberately provide false information to members of Congress or staff.” She was asked to raise her right hand and take an oath: “Madam Ambassador, do you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

“I do,” Rice said.

The Democrats at the interview weren’t looking to trip Rice up. But it was questions from two California Democrats in the room that Rice may regret. Rep. Adam Schiff cited the former head of the FBI: “Director Comey testified that, in July of last year [2016], he began a counterintelligence investigation into people associated with the Trump campaign and what contacts they may have had with Russia.

“That investigative responsibility,” Schiff asked Rice, “wasn't part of your portfolio, I take it?”

“No, not at all.”

“And would Director Comey brief you on the progress of his investigation?”

“No,” said Rice. And then she elaborated. “I think it's important for everybody to understand: We were not informed by Director Comey or the attorney general that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit,” she said. “[I]n the Obama White House, we maintained scrupulously the firewall between people in the While House and contacts with Justice about potential or actual criminal matters. The only communication that was sanctioned in that vein was between the White House counsel and the Justice Department or the FBl.”

Eric Swalwell: “ls it fair to say that, as the national security adviser, you were not read in on active, ongoing investigations that the Department of Justice or the FBI were conducting?” Rice's reply under penalty of perjury: “Absolutely, that's the case.”  AP Photo/Alex Brandon

If that weren’t definitive enough, Rice added, “And Director Comey did not volunteer to us, not only then but through the duration of the administration, that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit. I knew he was looking at this issue, that he was concerned about it. But he never specifically shared with me or others, to my knowledge, that such an investigation was ongoing. And I learned about it formally in the public domain after I left office.”

A little later in the closed-door Capitol Hill interview, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell came back to the question that Rice had already answered so definitively: “Speaking of investigations, you talked about Director Comey and the FBl,” Swalwell said to Rice. “ls it fair to say that, as the national security adviser, you were not read in on active, ongoing investigations that the Department of Justice or the FBI were conducting?”

If Rice were concerned that she might have misspoken earlier, she was presented with the opportunity to correct her testimony. She didn’t take it.

“Absolutely, that's the case,” Rice replied. “Those were law enforcement matters. They were not things that I was privy to unless the Justice Department chose to share them with me. The Justice Department's normal contact in the White House, at least in the Obama administration, for anything to do with law enforcement, criminal stuff, was the White House counsel.”

Rice’s testimony took place two years before the inspector general for the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, released his report on the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. In that report is an admission from James Comey that contradicts Rice’s sworn statements. According to testimony obtained from Comey by Horowitz, the Obama team knew about the FBI’s investigation from nearly the start, and in detail.

Above, a footnote from the IG report undercuts Susan Rice's claim of no knowledge of Crossfire Hurricane.

DoJ Office of the Inspector General

“Crossfire Hurricane,” as the counterintelligence investigation was called, was officially launched at the end of July 2016. Sometime in August – just weeks into the secret, “close-hold” probe – Comey was at the White House for a meeting, he told Horowitz.

“When we asked Comey about meetings with the White House concerning Crossfire Hurricane” Horowitz writes, the former FBI director said “he did not brief the White House about the investigation.”

Michael Horowitz: In his report on the origins of Trump-Russia, the Justice Department inspector general listed the attendees at a White House meeting where the probe was discussed, including Rice and President Obama. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Comey may not have considered it an official “briefing” but that doesn’t mean he didn’t share the information. Comey told Horowitz that in August 2016 “he did mention to President Obama and others at a meeting in the Situation Room that the FBI was trying to determine whether any U.S. person had worked with the Russians in their efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.”

Comey claimed that he wasn’t eager at that White House meeting to share specifics of the inquiry, but he had done so nonetheless.

“[A]lthough [Comey] did not recall exactly what he said,” Horowitz writes, “he may have said there were four individuals with ‘some association or connection to the Trump campaign.’” This revelation failed to strike anyone at the meeting as remarkable: “Comey stated that after he provided this information, no one in the Situation Room responded or followed up with any questions.”

Who were the strangely incurious officials who remained mum when they were told four individuals associated with the Trump campaign were being investigated on suspicion of conspiring with Russians to interfere in the election? Comey provided Horowitz with a list of those at the meeting. The inspector general shares that list in footnote 194 to his report: President Obama was there, as well as his chief of staff, Dennis McDonough; also present were James Clapper, John Brennan, Michael Rogers and Susan Rice.

So Rice was among those told by James Comey about Crossfire Hurricane within weeks of the investigation’s launch. Yet she told the House Intelligence Committee under oath that “I think it's important for everybody to understand: We were not informed by Director Comey or the Attorney General that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit.”

Reached by RealClearInvestigations, Rice spokesperson Erin Pelton said that Rice’s testimony was true:

“As Ambassador Rice wrote in her book and stated to Congress, she was not briefed by the FBI or the Department of Justice on the existence of an FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, nor was she informed of any FISA applications sought by the FBI in its investigation.” Pelton said Rice “only learned of the fact of this investigation after leaving office, when FBI Director Comey testified before Congress to that effect.”

The spokesperson offered no comment, however, about Comey’s assertion to the inspector general that he had told Obama, Rice, and the others about Crossfire Hurricane shortly after the investigation’s launch in the summer of 2016.

Published:7/31/2020 10:27:35 PM
[Politics] Obama Encourages Senate Democrats to Eliminate Filibuster

Democrats are looking again at eliminating the filibuster so that they can pass legislation in the Senate without difficulty if they retake the majority, and... Read More

The post Obama Encourages Senate Democrats to Eliminate Filibuster appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/31/2020 6:27:02 PM
[AFFH] Getting AFFH wrong (Paul Mirengoff) When President Trump revoked President Obama’s oppressive AFFH rule, we all knew that Democrats and lefty media hacks like Eugene Robinson would accuse him of racism. But I didn’t expect conservative bloggers to support that claim. And I certainly didn’t expect anyone at Hot Air, my favorite conservative blog, to do so. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey has been great on the AFFH issue. However, his colleague Allahpundit gets it wrong Published:7/31/2020 5:27:36 PM
[2020 News] Court overturns death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Court overturns death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Of course, Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson is a Hussein Obama appointee. An appellate court has tossed the death sentence and overturned three of the convictions of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The ruling will not result in Tsarnaev being freed, and the death penalty will now be […]

The post Court overturns death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/31/2020 4:29:01 PM
[Markets] 17 Year Old Tampa Teen Among 3 People Charged With 30 Counts For Recent Twitter Hack 17 Year Old Tampa Teen Among 3 People Charged With 30 Counts For Recent Twitter Hack Tyler Durden Fri, 07/31/2020 - 15:21

Update 7/31/2020 1520ET: The Department of Justice has also noted that 2 additional individuals have been charged, including a 19 year old from the UK and a 22 year old from Orlando, Florida, according to Bloomberg:

*DOJ: THREE CHARGED FOR ALLEGED ROLES IN TWITTER HACK
*DOJ: 19-YEAR-OLD FROM UK, 22-YEAR-OLD FROM ORLANDO CHARGED
*DOJ: 3RD INDIVIDUAL IS JUVENILE WHO WON'T BE FURTHER IDENTIFIED

--

Before Democrats even had time to blame the Twitter hack on Russians and meddling in the upcoming election, a 17 year old from Tampa has stolen their thunder. 

The teenager, 17-year-old Graham Clark, is being hailed as the "mastermind" behind the hack that rocked Twitter weeks ago, when major celebrity accounts like Bill Gates and Barack Obama were hacked and then used to request Bitcoin from their followers.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Clark's name doesn't even sound Russian.

Regardless, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed 30 felony charges against Clark this week for “scamming people across America” in connection with the hack, according to NBC Tampa.

Clark is facing "one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulent use of personal information with over $100,000 or 30 or more victims, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count of access to computer or electronic device without authority."

He was booked into jail at about 6:30am Friday morning. The state attorney's office said: “As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is difficult to track and recover if stolen in a scam. These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here. This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”

Clark was found after a "complex nationwide" investigation. Warren concluded: “I want to congratulate our federal law enforcement partners – the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service – as well as the Florida Department of Law enforcement. They worked quickly to investigate and identify the perpetrator of a sophisticated and extensive fraud.”

“This defendant lives here in Tampa” and “he committed the crime here,” Warren stated. You can watch the state attorney general's press conference here:

Recall, just moments ago we noted that Twitter had blamed the hack on "spear-phishing", which is a targeted attack to trick people into simply handing out their passwords. 

Twitter staff were targeted through their phones, according to a new report from the BBC. The attacks then allowed hackers the ability to Tweet from celebrity Twitter accounts. Twitter has said it was "taking a hard look" at how it could improve its permissions and processes.

"The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems," Twitter wrote on Wednesday.

We had also reported about two weeks ago that the FBI had launched an official inquiry into the massive security breach. For the full details on the hack, you can read our report on it here

We only have one question left: where is the more than $100,000 in Bitcoin he received? 

We would guess probably in his Robinhood account, invested in Tesla call options.

Published:7/31/2020 2:25:11 PM
[Markets] Twitter Says "Human Error" And "Spear-Phishing Attack" Responsible For Massive Bitcoin Hack Twitter Says "Human Error" And "Spear-Phishing Attack" Responsible For Massive Bitcoin Hack Tyler Durden Fri, 07/31/2020 - 14:53

Twitter suffered from a major hack about two weeks ago and has now said that its staff was tricked by "spear-phishing", which is a targeted attack to trick people into simply handing out their passwords. 

Twitter staff were targeted through their phones, according to a new report from the BBC. The attacks then allowed hackers the ability to Tweet from celebrity Twitter accounts. Twitter has said it was "taking a hard look" at how it could improve its permissions and processes.

"The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems," Twitter wrote on Wednesday.

Twitter also said the direct messages of 36 accounts were accessed.

Recall, just days ago we reported that Twitter has had trouble controlling the number of its employees with the ability to reset user accounts. In fact, Jack Dorsey and Twitter's board were warned about the growing problem "multiple times since 2015", according to four former Twitter security employees and "a half dozen" other people close to the company.

The problem is so well known that contractors reportedly made a game out of creating bogus help-desk inquiries in 2017 and 2018 so they could open up celebrity accounts - giving them access to personal data and IP addresses. In other words, Twitter is stalking its users...

Recall, we reported about two weeks ago that Twitter had said 130 accounts were compromised during the hack. We also noted that the FBI had launched an official inquiry into the massive security breach, according to Reuters.

The FBI said two weeks ago:  “We are aware of today’s security incident involving several Twitter accounts belonging to high profile individuals. The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud.”

Twitter had initially commented that there was "no evidence that attackers accessed the passwords of its users".

The massive hack allegedly originated from a Twitter employee with access to the company's user management panel. The hack affected hundreds of billionaires and politicians, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa, Apple, Uber, Jeff Bezos and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tweets urged people to send money to a Bitcoin address; over $113,000 was sent. 

For the full details on the hack, you can read our report on it here. In addition to the hack, a subplot emerged when we reported that sources "close to or inside" the underground hacking community leaked a screenshot of what is allegedly an internal software panel used by Twitter to interact with user accounts. 

Source: Vice

The tool was said to be used to help change ownership of popular accounts and, in the case of the hack, was said to play a role in usurping the high profile accounts involved. Screenshots of the supposed internal software are being aggressively pursued and deleted from Twitter by Twitter itself, with the company claiming that they violate the platform's rules.

Of particular interest are the buttons labeled "SEARCH BLACKLIST" and "TRENDS BLACKLIST".

We asked earlier this month: Could these be tools actively used by Twitter to censor what Tweets and topics appear during searches and on its trends page?

Published:7/31/2020 1:54:02 PM
[Politics] Rep. Jordan: Case Against Flynn Went Up to Obama, Biden The case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn went all the way up to then-President Barack Obama and his vice president, current presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, Rep. Jim Jordan claimed in an interview Friday. "In the Jan. 5, 2017 Oval... Published:7/31/2020 12:54:57 PM
[Podcasts] Turning Up the Temperature
Podcast: James Meigs on tech and Obama.
View Post
Published:7/31/2020 10:58:12 AM
[Politics] Mark Levin, Tucker Carlson slam Obama for comparing police to Bull Connor at funeral of John Lewis During his eulogy for John Lewis yesterday, Obama chose to use that moment to continue to divide the country and compared police to the likes of Bull Connor. Tucker Carlson responded last . . . Published:7/31/2020 8:58:19 AM
[Politics] Mark Levin, Tucker Carlson slam Obama for comparing police to Bull Connor at funeral of John Lewis During his eulogy for John Lewis yesterday, Obama chose to use that moment to continue to divide the country and compared police to the likes of Bull Connor. Tucker Carlson responded last . . . Published:7/31/2020 8:58:19 AM
[IJR] Sanders Pushes for End to Filibuster Following Obama’s Remarks at John Lewis’ Funeral Like Obama, Sanders has concerns about the filibuster. Published:7/31/2020 7:52:36 AM
[Barack Obama] The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Trump, Obama, and Bill Clinton are in the news

Trump, Obama, and Bill Clinton were all in the news on Thursday. Trump’s the Good, Obama’s the Bad, and Bill Clinton is the really, really Ugly. What a day for news, with three presidents making headlines. In my mind, the stories break down into “the Good, the Bad, and the

The post The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Trump, Obama, and Bill Clinton are in the news appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:7/31/2020 2:55:43 AM
[Politics] Barr: DOJ Conducting Separate Probe of Unmaskings Attorney General William Barr testified Tuesday that a U.S. attorney in Texas is investigating unmaskings of people connected with the Trump campaign dating back to the Obama administration, news that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was surprised to hear Tuesday. Published:7/28/2020 1:33:53 PM
[Politics] Valerie Jarrett Denies Obama Directed Trump Campaign Probe Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Tuesday said she has a "high degree of confidence" that the administration's investigators "comported themselves responsibly" while investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, but . . . Published:7/28/2020 11:12:19 AM
[Markets] Goldman Warns "Real Concerns Are Emerging" About The Dollar As Reserve Currency; Goes "All In" Gold Goldman Warns "Real Concerns Are Emerging" About The Dollar As Reserve Currency; Goes "All In" Gold Tyler Durden Tue, 07/28/2020 - 11:28

In his morning critique of goldbugs' resurgent optimism about the future of gold, which has exploded alongside the price of precious metals, which in turn have been tracking the real 10Y rate tick for tick...

... Rabobank's Michael Every argued from the familiar position of one who views the modern monetary system as immutable, and bounded by the "Venn Diagram" confines of the dollar as a reserve currency and financial assets as a bedrock of modern household wealth, of which as Paul Tudor Jones recently calculated, there is just over $300 trillion worth, compared to just $10 trillion in total gold value.

Indeed, according to Every, the surge in gold is meaningless because "if you buy gold, technically that is going to make you money. And yet that money is still going to be priced in US DOLLARS – and that gives the whole game away."

Like fans of the England football team, gold fans can dream of the distant past when gold was the centre of the global monetary system; but they can keep dreaming if they think those days are ever going to return. Gold may be an appreciating asset, but all the evidence suggests that it won’t be one that is of any direct relevance to day-to-day life, finance, and business. Your currency won’t be tied to it. You won’t get paid in it. You won’t spend in it or save in it (other than to the switch back to US Dollars). You won’t be doing deals in it or importing in it."

Yes but... what if your currency ends up getting tied to it? What if you do get paid in gold? What if you save in gold without any intention of switching back to dollars?

In short, what if the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency?

Impossible you say... well, we would disagree. After all, in a world where there is over $100 trillion in dollar-denominated debt which can not be defaulted on and thus must be inflated away, the "exorbitant privilege" of the dollar has become a handicap. But don't take our word: here is Jared Bernstein, Obama's former chief economist warning all the way back in 2014 in a NYT op-ed that the US Dollar must lose its reserve status:

There are few truisms about the world economy, but for decades, one has been the role of the United States dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It’s a core principle of American economic policy. After all, who wouldn’t want their currency to be the one that foreign banks and governments want to hold in reserve?

But new research reveals that what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status.

Agree or disagree with Bernstein's ideology, never has his assessment about the state of the American economy been more accurate than it is now.

To be sure, since then there have been a handful of other "serious" economists suggesting that the only way the US economy can "reboot" itself and reset its economic engine is for the dollar to lose its currency status, but it is only in the past few days - when the dollar plunged and gold soared to new all time highs - that we have seen a barrage of Wall Street reports contemplating what until recently was viewed as impossible: a world where the dollar is not the reserve currency.

Meanwhile, after its explosive burst higher in March and April, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is on course for its worst July in a decade. The drop comes amid renewed calls for the dollar’s demise following a game-changing rescue package from the European Union deal, which spurred the euro and will lead to jointly-issued debt.

Which brings us to this morning, when none other than the world's most influential investment bank Goldman Sachs, by way of its chief commodity strategist Jeffrey Currie, wrote that "real concerns around the longevity of the US dollar as a reserve currency have started to emerge."

Specifically, Goldman looks at the recent surge in gold prices to new all-time highs which has "substantially outpaced both the rise in real rates...

... and other US dollar alternatives, like the Euro, Yen and Swiss Franc"...

... with Currie writing that he believes this disconnect "is being driven by a potential shift in the US Fed towards an inflationary bias against a backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions, elevated US domestic political and social uncertainty, and a growing second wave of covid-19 related infections."

This, combined with the record level of debt accumulation by the US government, means that "real concerns around the longevity of the US dollar as a reserve currency have started to emerge."

Then, Currie reminds his clients that he has "long maintained gold is the currency of last resort, particularly in an environment like the current one where governments are debasing their fiat currencies and pushing real interest rates to all-time lows, with the US 10-year TIPs at -92bp is 5bp below the 2012 lows," and we indeed noted Currie's reco to buy gold one day after the Fed went all-in on March 24.

Four months later, the urgency is even greater, and Currie writes that "with more downside expected in US real interest rates we are once again reiterating our long gold recommendation from March and are raising our 12-month gold and silver price forecasts to $2300/toz and $30/toz respectively from $2000/toz and $22/toz."

There are other reasons why Goldman believes that Gold's surge is only just starting: "This relentless decline in real interest rates against nominal rates bounded by the US Fed has caused inflation breakevens to rise (see Exhibit 3) in an environment that would ordinarily be viewed as deflationary, i.e. a weakening US labor market as the  country re-enters lockdown."

This is bad, and is usually described by what may be the most loathed word in the banker lexicon: "stagflation."

Which also explains the "irony" of the response: the greater the deflationary concerns that policymakers must fight today, the greater the debt build up and the higher the inflationary risks are in the future according to Currie, who expands further on this critical topic:

The deflationary shock caused by the pandemic drives the need to expand balance sheets to support demand today, as seen in the latest US $1.0 trillion Phase 4 stimulus and the €750 billion pan-EU recovery fund. The resulting expanded balance sheets and vast money creation spurs debasement fears which, in turn, create a greater likelihood that at some time in the future, after economic activity has normalized, there will be incentives for central banks and governments to allow inflation to drift higher to reduce the accumulated debt burden.

Indeed, this has already been seen in recent FOMC minutes, as discussions of explicit outcome-based forward guidance raises the prospect for Fed-sanctioned overheating of the economy.

And despite the longer-term nature of these risks, Goldman argues that "asset managers have real concerns today about persistent unanticipated shifts in inflation that can create large discrepancies between current expected real returns and actual realized returns" and this is manifesting itself in the continued faith in the dollar.

What about the gold price? Here is Currie's explanation why gold will continue to surge:

The key point from a hedging perspective is that asset managers care about the level of inflation, not the changes in inflation, and from a level perspective, inflation hedges like commodities and equities are likely far cheaper today than in the future when inflation could arrive. When discussing the drivers of investment demand for gold and commodities, it is important to distinguish between debasement and inflation. The key is that the current debasement and debt accumulation sows the seeds for future inflationary risks despite inflationary risks remaining low today. While debasement in many cases leads to inflation, it is not always the case as witnessed over the past decade. Equally, the best debasement hedge (gold) is not always the best hedge against inflation (oil). Indeed, the word debasement comes from adding base metals like tin or copper to the precious metals that acted as hard currency; therefore, owning the pure precious metal is then the best hedge against debasement.

However, this does not mean gold is the best hedge against inflation — a common misconception of many investors. Gold doesn’t appear significantly in any CPI anywhere in the world. As a result, oil and other commodities that drive the items actually found in different CPIs are the best hedges against inflation. But

Next, Currie goes on to explain why oil may be the best pure play commodity hedge to inflation, "today the risk is from debasement of fiat currencies that sows the risk for inflation and gold is the best hedge against debasement. Further out as inflation risks rise, oil and equities hedge unexpected and expected inflation respectively better than gold (see Exhibit 5), and given the size of the bond portfolios built over the past decade that will need to be hedged against inflation risks, the sheer size of investment demand for commodities is likely to be massive, underscoring the need to act today. "

Hence, gold at $2,000 and soon... $3,000, $5,000 and much more. Indeed, even at $10,000/oz, the total value of gold would be just around $50 trillion, which is still orders of magnitude below the value of global financial assets that need to be hedged (and which according to Paul Tudor Jones is around $270 trillion).

As Currie then notes, the result of this growing debasement risk is that "DM investment demand strength has continued with ETF additions in both Europe and US running high (see Exhibit 6). We see this trend persisting for some time as investment allocations into gold increase inline with allocations to inflation protected assets, similar to what happened after the financial crisis. Following the GFC, inflation fears peaked only at the end of 2011 as the bounce back in inflation ran out of steam, bringing the gold bull market to a halt. Similarly, we see inflationary  concerns continuing to rise well into the economic recovery, sustaining hedging inflows into gold ETFs alongside the structural weakening of the dollar, we see gold being used as a dollar hedge by fund managers. Indeed, decomposing our gold forecast, with returns of 18% over the next 12 months, we estimate 9% of the growth is driven by 5yr real rates going to -2% over the next 12 month, (an est. elasticity of 0.1), while the second 9% comes from the 15% increase in the EM dollar GDP (an est. elasticity of 0.5) (see Exhibit 7)."

On top of these known flows, a large share of physical investment demand in gold is non-visible according to Goldman, in particular vaulted bar purchases by high net worth individuals. Looking at net Swiss imports one can see that gold stocks in Switzerland, where most of these private vaults are located, have been building at close to a record pace.

And in case that wasn't enough, "the stretched valuations in equities, low real rates and high level of economic and political uncertainty all point toward continued inflows by high net worth individuals," in Goldman's view.

But wait there's more, with Goldman singling out the potential of a fresh EM demand surge: Indian gold imports are still down 80% yoy in June and the Chinese gold premium is beginning to turn negative again (see Exhibit 9). More recently, however, the weakness in EM demand has been driven more by gold’s high price, as consumers cannot afford to buy gold products at those levels. However, EM currencies are no longer under pressure and India has begun to see the rupee strengthen over the past month. EM growth is also beginning to recover with EM activity entering positive YoY territory in June for the first time since January and our economists seeing the worst of
the EM outlook behind us (see Exhibit 10). EM retail investment demand is also boosted by easier monetary policy together with continued inflation driving EM real rates down. In India, policy rates fell below the YoY inflation rate for the first time since 2013."

Taken together, and in light of the declining faith in the dollar as a reserve currency, Goldman believes that these factors create a perfect setup for a rebound in EM demand for gold similar to 2010-11:

We will likely see this demand materialize when price stabilizes somewhat and DM investment purchases slow down, creating more room for EM consumers. We feel that for now, investors should not be concerned by weak EM demand prints.

As a final point, Goldman also spared some love for silverbugs, raising its silver forecast to $30/toz on a 3/6/12 month horizon, "pulled upward by higher gold prices and better prospects for silver industrial demand, particularly in solar energy (c.15% of silver demand). Both the European Green Deal and Biden’s war on climate change plans imply a doubling every year of solar panel capacity installations in both the US and Europe. At the same time, silver demand in consumer electronics is benefiting from the transition to working from home as it is heavily used in consumer items such laptops, mobile phones and televisions. Even housing demand, where silver is used in light switches, looks to be better than expected with property sales in both US and China rebounding strongly. Silver has rallied almost 30% over the past few weeks but its ratio with gold is only back to its level at the beginning of this year of 80."

Currie's final point on silver:

Historically there has been a tight relationship between silver industrial demand and the gold-silver price ratio. If silver industrial demand next year is 5% higher versus its 2019 level, the gold-to-silver ratio would fall further to 77. Assuming this ratio, our $2300/toz gold target would imply a $30/toz silver price.

That sounds awfully familiar: oh yes, here's why:

Published:7/28/2020 10:33:33 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] The coming war on suburbs, cont’d (Scott Johnson) I wrote here yesterday about Stanley Kurtz’s appearance on this past Sunday’s edition of Life, Liberty & Levin. The entire show was invaluable, but I thought the key segment included a discussion of the return of the Obama administration’s AFFH program in the “turbocharged” form promised by Joe Biden (Paul touched on it here). I have posted video of the segment below. The discussion of “turbocharging” begins at about 4:30. Published:7/28/2020 10:02:59 AM
[Politics] McEnany: Dems' Real Issue With Barr Is His Stance on 'Russiagate' Democrats' real problem with Attorney General William Barr is that he takes "Russiagate" seriously and that he's looking into "why the Obama administration spied on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday... Published:7/28/2020 9:06:59 AM
[Markets] Watch Live: Attorney General William Barr Squares Off With House Democrats Over Protests, Russiagate Watch Live: Attorney General William Barr Squares Off With House Democrats Over Protests, Russiagate Tyler Durden Tue, 07/28/2020 - 09:50

Attorney General William Barr is appearing before Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-NY) House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET, where he is expected to discuss topics ranging from the ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd, to the Russia investigation, to his warnings over voter fraud.

Things may get heated, as Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have levied a series of accusations and criticisms against Barr, including his role in surging federal agents into Democratic-led cities such as Portland, Chicago and Kansas to control violent riots - which should be fun since Chairman Nadler thinks the violence in Portland is a 'myth.'

Republicans on the panel will likely back Barr, whose view his intervention in the protests as considered necessary to protect the police and federal property against 'trained Marxists.'

In his prepared remarks, Barr will warn that "violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction" across the country, according to the NYT

"We should all be able to agree that there is no place in this country for armed mobs that seek to establish autonomous zones beyond government control, or tear down statues and monuments that law-abiding communities chose to erect, or to destroy the property and livelihoods of innocent business owners."

House Democrats are also expected to drill Barr over his handling of the Russia report - in particular Barr's summary of the Mueller report which Democrats have characterized as misleading.

Since then, the attorney general has directed a criminal prosecutor to scrutinize the F.B.I. inquiry into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and stepped in to reverse key prosecutorial decisions stemming from the investigation.

Specifically, Democrats will ask about his intervention to recommend a shorter prison sentence for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. on seven felony crimes — a sentence Mr. Trump has since commutedand to drop charges against the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn even though he had pleaded guilty. -NYT

Flynn withdrew his guilty plea of lying to federal investigators after new evidence revealed the FBI sought to entrap him over his perfectly legal (and expected) conversations with the former Russian ambassador to the United States, where Flynn asked the Kremlin not to overreact to the Obama administration's sanctions over alleged election interference.

Questions over Durham

Republicans on the panel are expected to query Barr over the status of prosecutor John Durham's investigation into actions the Obama administration took against President Trump and his campaign during and after the 2016 US election - which Barr has characterized as 'spying.'

Watch Live:

Published:7/28/2020 9:06:59 AM
[World] Our Foreign Policy Nightmare: Vice President Susan Rice

Libya, Syria, Afghanistan---Rice was at the table for every Obama debacle. And she has no solid positions of her own.

The post Our Foreign Policy Nightmare: Vice President Susan Rice appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:7/27/2020 1:59:56 PM
[2020 Election News] Swing Voters In Michigan Focus Group Say They Are Voting For Trump, Call Biden A ‘Puppet’: Axios Report

By Chris White -

Former Vice President Joe Biden is not mentally fit for the presidency, and he would likely become a “puppet” for the “deep state,” several Michigan of swing voters said during an Axios focus group session released Monday. The focus group included nine people who voted for former President Barack Obama ...

Swing Voters In Michigan Focus Group Say They Are Voting For Trump, Call Biden A ‘Puppet’: Axios Report 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:7/27/2020 1:59:56 PM
[Markets] Steele's "Primary Subsource" Was Alcoholic Russian National Who Worked With Trump Impeachment Witness At Brookings Steele's "Primary Subsource" Was Alcoholic Russian National Who Worked With Trump Impeachment Witness At Brookings Tyler Durden Sat, 07/25/2020 - 16:50

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com,

The mysterious “Primary Subsource” that Christopher Steele has long hidden behind to defend his discredited Trump-Russia dossier is a former Brookings Institution analyst -- Igor “Iggy” Danchenko, a Russian national whose past includes criminal convictions and other personal baggage ignored by the FBI in vetting him and the information he fed to Steele, according to congressional sources and records obtained by RealClearInvestigations. Agents continued to use the dossier as grounds to investigate President Trump and put his advisers under counter-espionage surveillance.

The 42-year-old Danchenko, who was hired by Steele in 2016 to deploy a network of sources to dig up dirt on Trump and Russia for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was arrested, jailed and convicted years earlier on multiple public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges in the Washington area and ordered to undergo substance-abuse and mental-health counseling, according to criminal records.

Fiona Hill: She worked at the Brookings Institution with dossier "Primary Subsource" Igor “Iggy” Danchenko (top photo), and testified against President Trump last year during impeachment hearings. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

In an odd twist, a 2013 federal case against Danchenko was prosecuted by then-U.S Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who ended up signing one of the FBI’s dossier-based wiretap warrants as deputy attorney general in 2017.

Danchenko first ran into trouble with the law as he began working for Brookings - the preeminent Democratic think tank in Washington - where he struck up a friendship with Fiona Hill, the White House adviser who testified against Trump during last year's impeachment hearings. Danchenko has described Hill as a mentor, while Hill has sung his praises as a “creative” researcher.

Hill is also close to his boss Steele, who she’d known since 2006. She met with the former British intelligence officer during the 2016 campaign and later received a raw, unpublished copy of the now-debunked dossier.

It does not appear the FBI asked Danchenko about his criminal past or state of sobriety when agents interviewed him in January 2017 in a failed attempt to verify the accuracy of the dossier, which the bureau did only after agents used it to obtain a warrant to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The opposition research was farmed out by Steele, working for Clinton's campaign, to Danchenko, who was paid for the information he provided.

A newly declassified FBI summary of the FBI-Danchenko meeting reveals agents learned that key allegations in the dossier, which claimed Trump engaged in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin against Clinton, were largely inspired by gossip and bar talk among Danchenko and his drinking buddies, most of whom were childhood friends from Russia.

The FBI memo is heavily redacted and blacks out the name of Steele’s Primary Subsource. But public records and congressional sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirm the identity of the source as Danchenko.

In the memo, the FBI notes that Danchenko said that he and one of his dossier sources “drink heavily together.” But there is no apparent indication the FBI followed up by asking Danchenko if he had an alcohol problem, which would cast further doubt on his reliability as a source for one of the most important and sensitive investigations in FBI history.

The FBI declined comment. Attempts to reach Danchenko by both email and phone were unsuccessful.

The Justice Department’s watchdog recently debunked the dossier’s most outrageous accusations against Trump, and faulted the FBI for relying on it to obtain secret wiretaps. The bureau’s actions, which originated under the Obama administration, are now the subject of a sprawling criminal investigation led by special prosecutor John Durham.

Rod Rosenstein: In an odd twist, a 2013 drunkenness case against Danchenko was prosecuted by then-U.S Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who ended up signing one of the FBI’s dossier-based wiretap warrants as deputy attorney general in 2017. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

One of the wiretap warrants was signed in 2017 by Rosenstein, who also that year appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller and signed a “scope” memo giving him wide latitude to investigate Trump and his surrogates. Mueller relied on the dossier too. As it happens, Rosenstein also signed motions filed in one of Danchenko’s public intoxication cases, according to the documents obtained by RCI.

In March 2013 — three years before Danchenko began working on the dossier — federal authorities in Greenbelt, Md., arrested and charged him with several misdemeanors, including “drunk in public, disorderly conduct, and failure to have his [2-year-old] child in a safety seat,” according to a court filing. The U.S. prosecutor for Maryland at the time was Rosenstein, whose name appears in the docket filings.

The Russian-born Danchenko, who was living in the U.S. on a work visa, was released from jail on the condition he undergo drug testing and “participate in a program of substance abuse therapy and counseling,” as well as “mental health counseling,” the records show. His lawyer asked the court to postpone his trial and let him travel to Moscow “as a condition of his employment.” The Russian trips were granted without objection from Rosenstein. Danchenko ended up several months later entering into a plea agreement and paying fines.

In 2006, Danchenko was arrested in Fairfax, Va., on similar offenses, including "public swearing and intoxication," criminal records show. The case was disposed after he paid a fine.

At the time, Danchenko worked as a research analyst for the Brookings Institution, where he became a protégé of Hill. He collaborated with her on at least two Russian policy papers during his five-year stint at the think tank and worked with another Brookings scholar on a project to uncover alleged plagiarism in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s doctoral dissertation — something Danchenko and his lawyer boasted about during their meeting with FBI agents. (Like Hill, the other scholar, Clifford Gaddy, was a Russia hawk. He and Hill in 2015 authored “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin,” a book strongly endorsed by Vice President Joe Biden at the time.)

“Igor is a highly accomplished analyst and researcher,” Hill noted on his LinkedIn page in 2011.

“He is very creative in pursuing the most relevant of information and detail to support his research.”

Strobe Talbott of Brookings with  Hillary  Clinton:  He connected with Christopher Steele and passed along a copy of his anti-Trump dossier to Fiona Hill. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Hill also vouched for Steele, an old friend and British intelligence counterpart. The two reunited in 2016, sitting down for at least one meeting. Her boss at the time, Brookings President Strobe Talbott, also connected with Steele and passed along a copy of his anti-Trump dossier to Hill. A tough Trump critic, Talbott previously worked in the Clinton administration and rallied the think tank behind Hillary. 

Talbott’s brother-in-law is Cody Shearer, another old Clinton hand who disseminated his own dossier in 2016 that echoed many of the same lurid and unsubstantiated claims against Trump. Through a mutual friend at the State Department, Steele obtained a copy of Shearer’s dossier and reportedly submitted it to the FBI to help corroborate his own.

In August 2016, Talbott personally called Steele, based in London, to offer his own input on the dossier he was compiling from Danchenko’s feeds. Steele phoned Talbott just before the November election, during which Talbott asked for the latest dossier memos to distribute to top officials at the State Department. After Trump’s surprise win, the mood at Brookings turned funereal and Talbott and Steele strategized about how they “should handle” the dossier going forward.

During the Trump transition, Talbott encouraged Hill to leave Brookings and take a job in the White House so she could be “one of the adults in the room” when Russia and Putin came up. She served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019.

She left the White House just before a National Security Council detailee who’d worked with her, Eric Ciaramella, secretly huddled with Democrats in Congress and alleged Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to launch an investigation of Biden and his son in exchange for military aid. Democrats soon held hearings to impeach Trump, calling Hill as one of their star witnesses.

Congressional investigators are taking a closer look at tax-exempt Brookings, which has emerged as a nexus in the dossier scandal. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the liberal think tank is prohibited from lobbying or engaging in political campaigns. Gryffindor/Wikimedia

Under questioning by Republican staff, Hill disclosed that Steele reached out to her for information about a mysterious individual, but she claimed she could not recall his name. She also said she couldn’t remember the month she and Steele met.

“He had contacted me because he wanted to see if I could give him a contact to some other individual, who actually I don’t even recall now, who he could approach about some business issues,” Hill told the House last year in an Oct. 14 deposition taken behind closed doors. 

Congressional investigators are reviewing her testimony, while taking a closer look at tax-exempt Brookings, which has emerged as a nexus in the dossier scandal.

Registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the liberal think tank is prohibited from lobbying or engaging in political campaigns. Specifically, investigators want to know if Brookings played any role in the development of the dossier.

“Their 501(c)(3) status should be audited, because they are a major player in the dossier deal,” said a congressional staffer who has worked on the investigation into alleged Russian influence.

Hill, who returned to Brookings as a senior fellow in January, could not be reached for comment. Brookings did not respond to inquiries.

Ghost Employee

As a former member of Britain’s secret intelligence service, Steele hadn’t traveled to Russia in decades and apparently had no useful sources there. So he relied entirely on Danchenko and his supposed “network of subsources,” which to its chagrin, the FBI discovered was nothing more than a “social circle.”

It soon became clear over their three days of debriefing him at the FBI’s Washington field office - held just days after Trump was sworn into office - that any Russian insights he may have had were strictly academic.

Danchenko confessed he had no inside line to the Kremlin and was “clueless” when Steele hired him in March 2016 to investigate ties between Russia and Trump and his campaign manager.

Christopher Steele, former British spy, leaving a London court this week in a libel case brought against him by a Russian businessman. Dossier source Danchenko's drinking pals fed him a tissue of false “rumor and speculation” for pay— which Steele, in turn, further embellished with spy-crafty details and sold to his client as “intelligence.” (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

Desperate for leads, he turned to a ragtag group of Russian and American journalists, drinking buddies (including one who’d been arrested on pornography charges) and even an old girlfriend to scare up information for his London paymaster, according to the FBI’s January 2017 interview memo, which runs 57 pages. Like him, his friends made a living hustling gossip for cash, and they fed him a tissue of false “rumor and speculation” — which Steele, in turn, further embellished with spy-crafty details and sold to his client as “intelligence.”

Instead of closing its case against Trump, however, the FBI continued to rely on the information Danchenko dictated to Steele for the dossier, even swearing to a secret court that it was credible enough to renew wiretaps for another nine months.

One of Danchenko’s sources was nothing more than an anonymous voice on the other end of a phone call that lasted 10-15 minutes.

Danchenko told the FBI he figured out later that the call-in tipster, who he said did not identify himself, was Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-born realtor in New York. In the dossier, Steele labeled this source “an ethnic Russian close associate of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump,” and attributed Trump-Russia conspiracy revelations to him that the FBI relied on to support probable cause in all four FISA applications for warrants to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page -- including the Mueller-debunked myth that he and the campaign were involved in “the DNC email hacking operation.”

Danchenko explained to agents the call came after he solicited Millian by email in late July 2016 for information for his assignment from Steele. Millian told RCI that though he did receive an email from Danchenko on July 21, he ignored the message and never called him.

“There was not any verbal communications with him,” he insisted. “I’m positive, 100%, nothing what is claimed in whatever call they invented I could have said.”

Millian provided RCI part of the email, which was written mostly in Russian. Contact information at the bottom of the email reads:

Igor Danchenko
Business Analyst
Target Labs Inc.
8320 Old Courthouse Rd, Suite 200
Vienna, VA 22182
+1-202-679-5323

At the time, Danchenko listed Target Labs, an IT recruiter run by ethnic-Russians, as an employer on his resumé. But technically, he was not a paid employee there. Thanks to a highly unusual deal Steele arranged with the company, Danchenko was able to use Target Labs as an employment front.

It turns out that in 2014, when Danchenko first started freelancing regularly for Steele after losing his job at a Washington strategic advisory firm, he set out to get a security clearance to start his own company. But drawing income from a foreign entity like Steele’s London-based company, Orbis Business Intelligence, would hurt his chances. 

So Steele agreed to help him broker a special “arrangement" with Target Labs, where a Russian friend of Danchenko’s worked as an executive, in which the company would bring Danchenko on board as an employee but not put him officially on the payroll. Danchenko would continue working for Steele and getting paid by Orbis with payments funneled through Target Labs. In effect, Target Labs served as the “contract vehicle” through which Danchenko was paid a monthly salary for his work for Orbis, the FBI memo reveals.

Though Danchenko had a desk available to use at Target Labs, he did most of his work for Orbis from home and did not take direction from the firm. Steele continued to give him assignments and direct his travel. Danchenko essentially worked as a ghost employee at Target Labs.

Asked about it, a Target Labs spokesman would only say that Danchenko “does not work with us anymore.”

Brian Auten: He wrote the memo on the FBI's interview with the Primary Subsource, which is silent about Danchenko’s criminal record. Patrick Henry College

Some veteran FBI officials worry Moscow’s foreign intelligence service may have planted disinformation with Danchenko and his network of sources in Russia. At least one of them, identified only as “Source 5” in the FBI memo, was described as having a Russian “kurator,” or handler.

"There are legions of ‘connected' Russians purveying second- and third-hand — and often made-up -- due diligence reports and private intelligence,” said former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker. "Putin's intelligence minions use these people well to plant information.”

Danchenko has scrubbed his social media account. He told the FBI he deleted all his dossier-related electronic communications, including texts and emails, and threw out his handwritten notes from conversations with his subsources.

In the end, Steele walked away from the dossier debacle with at least $168,000, and Danchenko earned a large undisclosed sum.

The FBI interview memo, which is silent about Danchenko’s criminal record, was written by FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten, who was called out in the Justice inspector general report for ignoring inconsistencies, contradictions, errors and outright falsehoods in the dossier he was supposed to verify.

It was also Auten’s duty to vet Steele and his sources. Auten sat in on the meetings with Danchenko and also separate ones with Steele. He witnessed firsthand the countless red flags that popped up from their testimony. Yet Auten continued to tout their reliability as sources, and give his blessing to agents to use their dossier as probable cause to renew FISA surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

As RCI first reported, Auten teaches a national security course at a Washington-area college on the ethics of such spying.

Published:7/25/2020 3:55:37 PM
[Markets] More Fallout From Iran/China Deal: India Loses Farzad-B More Fallout From Iran/China Deal: India Loses Farzad-B Tyler Durden Fri, 07/24/2020 - 19:25

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

The carnage for following President Trump’s lead on ending the JCPOA continues for India.

From SputnikNews last week comes this note about the Farzad-B oil and gas field and Iran.

Close on the heels of breaking the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project agreement, Iran appears set to deny India’s state-run ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), exploration and production rights for the key Farzad B gas field.

The granting  of rights to OVL was already delayed with New Delhi moving slowly on the issue, but came to a complete standstill after the 2018 imposition of US sanctions on Tehran.

Now that threat looks to be a reality.

Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency quoted India’s External Affairs Ministry (EAM) as saying on Thursday Tehran would develop the Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf region “on its own” and might engage India “appropriately at a later stage”.

Translation: “Stop stalling for Trump’s sake and make good on your promises or the project goes to China.”

Because that’s where this leads in light of the announced mega-deal between Iran and China worth a reported $400 billion.

I wrote last week I thought India has lost its way on the New Silk Road. Losing the contract to build the railway it pushed for to bypass Pakistan and assert independence from China’s OBOR plans should have been a clear enough signal.

But apparently it wasn’t.

India’s involvement in the Farzad-B gas field is now more than a decade delayed because of U.S. interference through sanctions nominally over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Work was supposed to begin in 2012 but President Obama sanctioned Iran, forcing OVL, ONGC’s international arm, to stop. Work was set to begin again after ratification of the JCPOA in 2015 and Trump nixed that in 2018 when he pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

Not only did this stop India’s work on the field but it also put the kibosh on any new pipeline into India.

I reported in November of 2017 that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak announced preliminary development work on a new version of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline. That talk abruptly ended with Trump’s pulling out of the JCPOA.

Some version of IPI has been opposed by the U.S. for two decades now, preferring instead to thread the TAPI pipeline through the needle of failed geopolitics.

Gazprom already operates in three major Iranian oil fields, including Farzaz-B, and IPI was supposed to be a venture tying Iran and India together with Gazprom supplying the expertise and money to get it done.

Remember, pipelines are the stitching that bind nations together. This is why the U.S. is so adamant about stopping ones that don’t serve its or its allies’ interests, in this case the Saudis.

So, while we are regaled incessantly about the dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, the real reason for the pulling out of the JCPOA was always about Energy Dominance, Trump’s plans to further solidify the U.S.’s hold over global energy flows.

Because once Trump did that, multiple projects under development with European and Indian oil majors ended abruptly. Companies like Italy’s ENIFrance’s Total and others were all forced to sell their interests in these major oil and gas development projects.

And China came in to scoop some of them up, presaging where we are today.

The same thing happened in the fallout from the coup in Ukraine in 2014 which led to Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

That prompted onerous sanctions which forced U.S. oil majors out of major deals to develop Russian oil and gas blocs in the Arctic as well as the development of Nordstream 2 and Turkstream.

Speaking recently about the U.S.’s opposition to Nordstream 2, Alexander Mercouris of The Duran connected these dots back to Exxon-Mobil having to pull out of its projects with Russia because of Crimea sanctions (starts at 4:52 in).

Germany, for its part, is fully hacked off about what Trump and Pompeo are threatening over Nordstream 2 and this will be the wedge issue which forces a split in policy direction between them, including counter-sanctions from Germany.

Threats eventually become actions especially when we are dealing with something as fundamental to the future of Germany and the European Union as Nordstream 2. So we should finally see some teeth from Germany if Pompeo goes through with these sanctions.

Remember also, that CAATSA, the updated version of the Magnitsky Act, took sanctions policy out of the hands of the President by a spiteful Congress (spearheaded by John McCain) and placed it in the hands of the Secretary of State and the Treasury Secretary.

In this sense Trump is a tourist in his own foreign policy.

The bottom line here is that Iran and China are countering to up the pressure on India to finally decide where their energy future lies, because the last ten years have been terrible for them in securing their energy future constantly bowing to external pressure.

One of India’s persistent issues is the vulnerability of its currency due to its intense energy import needs. The rupee is the antithesis of stable in part because of its energy imports.

Even with drastically lower energy import prices the rupee has been in free fall versus the U.S. dollar for two years now, and nothing the Modi government has done has alleviated India’s reliance having to buy oil only sold for U.S. dollars.

During the Obama sanction years (2012-15) India and Iran famously traded goods for oil. Under the current environment thanks to CAATSA that option is off the table. Keeping Iran and India at arm’s length is meant to protect the petrodollar system rather than the two countries trading in local currencies.

What I find most ironic is that every attempt to stop Iran and India from coming closer together on energy projects has forced India to develop closer ties to Russia’s Rosatom for nuclear power.

Rosatom is the main equipment supplier and technical consultant in the construction of  Kudankulam nuclear power station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The first and second reactors at the plant are already in service with the third and fourth due to come online in 2023 and 2024, according to Kremlin mouthpiece Tass

Russia and India are also planning the construction of a second nuclear power station. There are plans for up to six Russian-designed nuclear power plants in India.

Each and every time the U.S. pressures one of its ‘allies’ back into the narrow box of acceptable energy sources, the net result is a win for either China or Russia.

The story of the development of Farzad-B is yet another instance of this.

*  *  *

Join My Patreon if you want help navigating the waters of geopolitics. Install the Brave Browser if you want to limit the growing Google-led panopticon.

Published:7/24/2020 6:39:27 PM
[Markets] Why The MSM Hates Judy Shelton Why The MSM Hates Judy Shelton Tyler Durden Fri, 07/24/2020 - 18:05

Authored by Robert Aro via The Mises Institute,

Imagine if a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors said the following :

“When governments manipulate exchange rates to affect currency markets, they undermine the honest efforts of countries that wish to compete fairly in the global marketplace. Supply and demand are distorted by artificial prices conveyed through contrived exchange rates.

Or something honest like:

“The Fed should focus on stable money as a key factor in economic performance. Given that central banks today are the world’s biggest currency manipulators, it’s imperative that the next chairman prioritize the integrity of the dollar.”

And what if they showed an understanding of both history and sound money principles with something intelligent:

“For all the talk of a “rules-based” system for international trade, there are no rules when it comes to ensuring a level monetary playing field. The classical gold standard established an international benchmark for currency values, consistent with free-trade principles.

While she’s not a governor yet, the quotes were from Trump’s appointee Judy Shelton, approved this week by the Senate banking committee on party line at a vote of 13-12. To be nominated to the board of directors, Ms. Shelton will now be put forward to be voted on by the full senate, 53 of the 100 being Republicans.

Yet below, we can see everything wrong with the Mainstream Media (MSM), mainstream economists, and American politics starting with theNew York Times article entitled, God Help Us if Judy Shelton Joins the Fed. Former counselor to the Treasury secretary during the Obama administration, Steven Rattner began with :

Trump’s latest unqualified nominee to the Federal Reserve Board must be rejected.

The defaming article shows Mr. Rattner has no care nor understanding of economics. According to him, Ms. Shelton is known for taking “long-discredited positions in the monetary system,” referring to the gold standard, as he claims it was the “culprit in deepening the Great Depression.” Clearly he is no fan of (or perhaps isn’t educated enough to have heard of) Mises or Rothbard.

In what some may described as laudable on Ms. Shelton’s behalf, Mr. Rattner, fueled by ignorance, continues:

Among other heretical stances, she has supported the abolition of the Federal Reserve itself, putting her in a position to undermine the very institution she is being nominated to serve.

A similar tone was found in the National Review, a magazine which defines itself using the highly nebulous and ill-defined “modern conservative movement.” Going back several months the “controversy” surrounding Judy Shelton was shared in an oxymoronic write-up called: The Wrong Kind of ‘Intellectual Diversity’ at the Fed. It is nothing more than a rant showing the senior editor also knows little about history or economics, but being in a position to publish, does so with a vociferous opinion. He begins with the usual appeal to popularity:

First, she has been a single-minded advocate of a policy that most economists rightly reject: the revival of the gold standard.

What is popular is not always true, especially regarding economics. The article cites quotes from 2009 to the Wall Street Journal in an attempt to discredit her by showing she has not always been consistent in her stances over the span of the past decade. By contrast, the rant implies all other members of the Fed and economists have.

Unfortunately, some people claim to like diversity, but not when it’s different from their own bias. The senior editor who wrote the hit piece can be found on twitter.

Unlike the New York Times and National Review, surprising as it may seem, CNBC’s position was more neutral when discussing the senate hearing, noting :

She faced persistent and at-times hostile questions about her support for the gold standard, her beliefs on whether bank deposits should be insured and whether the Fed should be independent of political influences.

Last but not least, the Wall Street Journal wrote it best , much to the chagrin of its rivals:

the news write-ups inevitably described her with adjectives like “controversial.” She should take it as a badge of honor, given how she would provide needed intellectual diversity at the Fed.

Only in a world this backwards where, in a supposed free country, socialism is considered good and capitalism bad that Shelton could receive so much scorn. To think, 1 out of 7 members of the board could have ideas other than inflationist dogma but they would be shunned for speaking up, says a lot of the society in which we are living. Perhaps the real reason is, if appointed, it could set Judy Shelton in line to the position of Federal Reserve Chair?

Ironically enough, as long Congress stays partisan, we may see her in one of the most powerful central banking positions in the world. It won’t “End the Fed” overnight, but maybe it’s one step closer!

Published:7/24/2020 5:09:37 PM
[Markets] More Than 1,000 People Could Access Twitter's "God Mode" More Than 1,000 People Could Access Twitter's "God Mode" Tyler Durden Fri, 07/24/2020 - 12:25

Authored by Joshua Mapperson via CoinTelegraph.com,

The admin panel used by hackers to access over one hundred accounts can be used by over 1,000 twitter employees — two former Twitter employees revealed.

image courtesy of CoinTelegrpah

More than 1,000 Twitter employees and contractors had access to the internal admin panel that enabled last week’s Twitter hack of 130 high profile accounts.

According to Reuters on July 24, two former employees have shed light on just how vulnerable Twitter’s security was — and may still be. They said that, in addition to employees, contractors like Cognizant could also have access.

Former chief security officer at AT&T Edward Amoroso, told Reuters that such powerful controls should not be available to so many people.

“That sounds like there are too many people with access,” he said, adding that staff should have limited rights with responsibilities split up as well as multiple checks and balances in place for adjusting sensitive information.

“In order to do cyber security right, you can’t forget the boring stuff.”

What happened?

On July 15 attackers accessed Twitter’s admin panel allowing them to take control of any Twitter account, post tweets from them and access personal information including private messages.

They posted scam Bitcoin (BTC) ‘giveaways’, by promising to send back double any sum received. All told, the scammers got away with around 12 BTC.

High profile accounts taken over include Tesla founder Elon Musk, former United States President Barack Obama, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden. Other celebrities, politicians and top business personalities also lost control of their accounts.

Twitter and the FBI are working together to investigate the breach, with regular updates from Twitter on their findings. On Jul 23, the company revealed that in “up to 36 of the 130 targeted accounts, the attackers accessed the DM inbox, including 1 elected official in the Netherlands.”

Twitter has also revealed they are looking for a new security head in order to improve security and employee training.

Security experts are concerned that the required upgrades to Twitter’s security and processes may not be complete before the U.S. elections on Nov. 3 with other countries potentially having the ability to manipulate the outcome through social media account take-overs.

Network security company Tenable founder Ron Gula asked:

“Does Twitter do enough to prevent account takeovers for our presidential candidates and news outlets when faced with sophisticated threats that leverage whole-of-nation approaches?”

 

 

 

 

Published:7/24/2020 11:38:13 AM
[IJR] Pelosi Slams Trump’s Move to Roll Back of Obama-Era Fair Housing Rule: A ‘Shameful Abdication” Pelosi condemned Trump's decision at such a critical time in the U.S. Published:7/24/2020 7:38:03 AM
[93df9895-8ef8-5f09-ac33-201bb84003a1] Doug Schoen: Obama’s support isn’t enough to make Biden president – here’s what Biden must do President Barack Obama sought to give a boost to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign by appearing with his former vice president in a video released Thursday — but while there are clear benefits to Biden’s candidacy from Obama’s active support, there are also clear limitations. Published:7/24/2020 5:38:11 AM
[Markets] Whitehead: The Federal Coup To Overthrow The States And Nix The 10th Amendment Is Underway Whitehead: The Federal Coup To Overthrow The States And Nix The 10th Amendment Is Underway Tyler Durden Thu, 07/23/2020 - 23:50

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.

- Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s defense of the Trump Administration’s deployment of militarized federal police to address civil unrest in the states

This is a wake-up call.

What is unfolding before our very eyeswith police agencies defying local governments in order to tap into the power of federal militarized troops in order to put down domestic unrestcould very quickly snowball into an act of aggression against the states, a coup by armed, militarized agents of the federal government.

At a minimum, this is an attack on the Tenth Amendment, which affirms the sovereignty of the states and the citizenry, and the right of the states to stand as a bulwark against overreach and power grabs by the federal government.

If you’re still deluding yourself into believing that this thinly-veiled exercise in martial law is anything other than an attempt to bulldoze what remains of the Constitution and reinforce the iron-fisted rule of the police state, you need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

This is no longer about partisan politics or civil unrest or even authoritarian impulses.

This is a turning point.

Unless we take back the reins—and soon—looking back on this time years from now, historians may well point to the events of 2020 as the death blow to America’s short-lived experiment in self-government.  

The government’s recent actions in Portland, Oregonwhen unidentified federal agents (believed to be border police, ICE and DHS agents), wearing military fatigues with patches that just say “Police” and sporting all kinds of weapons, descended uninvited on the city in unmarked vehicles, snatching protesters off the streets and detaining them without formally arresting them or offering any explanation of why they’re being heldis just a foretaste of what’s to come.

One of those detainees was a 53-year-old disabled Navy veteran who was in downtown Portland during the protests but not a participant. Concerned about the tactics being used by government agents who had taken an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution, Christopher David tried to speak the “secret” police. Almost immediately, he was assaulted by federal agents, beaten with batons and pepper sprayed

Another peaceful protester was reportedly shot in the head with an impact weapon by this federal goon squad.

The Trump Administration has already announced its plans to deploy these border patrol agents to other cities across the country (Chicago is supposedly next) in an apparent bid to put down civil unrest. Yet the overriding concerns by state and local government officials to Trump’s plans suggest that weaponizing the DHS as an occupying army will only provoke more violence and unrest.

We’ve been set up.

Under the guise of protecting federal properties against civil unrest, the Trump Administration has formed a task force of secret agents who look, dress and act like military stormtroopers on a raid and have been empowered to roam cities in unmarked vehicles, snatching citizens off the streets, whether or not they’ve been engaged in illegal activities.

As the Guardian reports, “The incidents being described sound eerily reminiscent of the CIA’s post-9/11 rendition program under George W Bush, where intelligence agents would roll up in unmarked vans in foreign countries, blindfold terrorism suspects (many of whom turned to be innocent) and kidnap them without explanation. Only instead of occurring on the streets of Italy or the Middle East, it’s happening in downtown Portland.”

The so-called racial justice activists who have made looting, violence, vandalism and intimidation tactics the hallmarks of their protests have played right into the government’s hands

They have delivered all of us into the police state’s hands.

There’s a reason Trump has tapped the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for this dirty business: these agencies are notorious for their lawlessness, routinely sidestepping the Constitution and trampling on the rights of anyone who gets in their way, including legal citizens.

Indeed, it was only a matter of time before these roving bands of border patrol agents began flexing their muscles far beyond the nation’s borders and exercising their right to disregard the Constitution at every turn.

Except these border patrol cops aren’t just disregarding the Constitution.

They’re trampling all over the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from carrying out egregious warrantless searches and seizures without probable cause.

As part of the government’s so-called crackdown on illegal immigration, drugs and trafficking, its border patrol cops have been expanding their reach, roaming further afield and subjecting greater numbers of Americans to warrantless searches, ID checkpoints, transportation checks, and even surveillance on private property far beyond the boundaries of the borderlands.

That so-called border, once a thin borderline, has become an ever-thickening band spreading deeper and deeper inside the country.

Now, with this latest salvo by the Trump administration in its so-called crackdown on rioting and civil unrest, America itself is about to become a Constitution-free zone where freedom is off-limits and government agents have all the power and “we the people” have none.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with its more than 60,000 employees, supplemented by the National Guard and the U.S. military, is an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, a national police force imbued with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies.

As journalist Todd Miller explains:

In these vast domains, Homeland Security authorities can institute roving patrols with broad, extra-constitutional powers backed by national security, immigration enforcement and drug interdiction mandates. There, the Border Patrol can set up traffic checkpoints and fly surveillance drones overhead with high-powered cameras and radar that can track your movements. Within twenty-five miles of the international boundary, CBP agents can enter a person’s private property without a warrant.

Just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.

As Miller points out, the government has turned the nation’s expanding border regions into “a ripe place to experiment with tearing apart the Constitution, a place where not just undocumented border-crossers, but millions of borderland residents have become the targets of continual surveillance.”

In much the same way that police across the country have been schooled in the art of sidestepping the Constitution, border cops have also been drilled in the art of “anything goes” in the name of national security.

In fact, according to FOIA documents shared with The Interceptborder cops even have a checklist of “possible behaviors” that warrant overriding the Constitution and subjecting individuals—including American citizens—to stops, searches, seizures, interrogations and even arrests.

For instance, if you’re driving a vehicle that to a border cop looks unusual in some way, you can be stopped. If your passengers look dirty or unusual, you can be stopped. If you or your passengers avoid looking at a cop, you can be stopped. If you or your passengers look too long at a cop, you can be stopped.

If you’re anywhere near a border (near being within 100 miles of a border, or in a city, or on a bus, or at an airport), you can be stopped and asked to prove you’re legally allowed to be in the country. If you’re traveling on a public road that smugglers and other criminals may have traveled, you can be stopped.

If you’re not driving in the same direction as other cars, you can be stopped. If you appear to be avoiding a police checkpoint, you can be stopped. If your car appears to be weighed down, you can be stopped. If your vehicle is from out of town, wherever that might be, you can be stopped. If you’re driving a make of car that criminal-types have also driven, you can be stopped.

If your car appears to have been altered or modified, you can be stopped. If the cargo area in your vehicle is covered, you can be stopped.

If you’re driving during a time of day or night that border cops find suspicious, you can be stopped. If you’re driving when border cops are changing shifts, you can be stopped. If you’re driving in a motorcade or with another vehicle, you can be stopped. If your car appears dusty, you can be stopped.

If people with you are trying to avoid being seen, or exhibiting “unusual” behavior, you can be stopped. If you slow down after seeing a cop, you can be stopped.

In Portland, which is 400 miles from the border, protesters didn’t even have to be near federal buildings to be targeted. Some claimed to be targeted for simply wearing black clothing in the area of the demonstration.

Are you starting to get the picture yet?

This was never about illegal aliens and border crossings at all. It’s been a test to see how far “we the people” will allow the government to push the limits of the Constitution.

We’ve been failing this particular test for a long time now.

It was 1798 when Americans, their fears stoked by rumblings of a Quasi-War with France, failed to protest the Alien and Sedition Acts, which criminalized anti-government speech, empowered the government to deport “dangerous” non-citizens and made it harder for immigrants to vote.

During the Civil War, Americans went along when Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus (the right to a speedy trial) and authorized government officials to spy on Americans’ mail.

During World War I, Americans took it in stride when  President Woodrow Wilson and Congress adopted the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to interfere with the war effort and criminalized any speech critical of war.

By World War II, Americans were marching in lockstep with the government’s expanding war powers to imprison Japanese-American citizens in detainment camps, censor mail, and lay the groundwork for the future surveillance state.

Fast-forward to the Cold War’s Red Scares, the McCarthy era’s hearings on un-American activities, and the government’s surveillance of Civil Rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr.—all done in the name of national security.

By the time 9/11 rolled around, all George W. Bush had to do was claim the country was being invaded by terrorists, and the government was given greater powers to spy, search, detain and arrest American citizens in order to keep America safe.

The terrorist invasion never really happened, but the government kept its newly acquired police powers made possible by the nefarious USA Patriot Act.

Barack Obama continued Bush’s trend of undermining the Constitution, going so far as to give the military the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights, label them extremists, and detain them indefinitely without trialall in the name of keeping America safe.

Despite the fact that the breadth of the military’s power to detain American citizens violates not only U.S. law and the Constitution but also international laws, the government has refused to relinquish its detention powers made possible by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Then Donald Trump took office, claiming the country was being invaded by dangerous immigrants and insisting that the only way to keep America safe was to build an expensive border wall, expand the reach of border patrol, and empower the military to “assist” with border control.

That so-called immigration crisis has now morphed into multiple crises (domestic extremism, the COVID-19 pandemic, race wars, civil unrest, etc.) that the government is eager to use in order to expand its powers.

Yet as we’ve learned the hard way, once the government acquires—and uses—additional powers (to spy on its citizens, to carry out surveillance, to transform its police forces into extensions of the police, to seize taxpayer funds, to wage endless wars, to censor and silence dissidents, to identify potential troublemakers, to detain citizens without due process), it does not voluntarily relinquish them

This is the slippery slope on which we’ve been traveling for far too long.

As Yale historian Timothy Snyder explains, “This is a classic way that violence happens in authoritarian regimes, whether it’s Franco’s Spain or whether it’s the Russian Empire. The people who are getting used to committing violence on the border are then brought in to commit violence against people in the interior.

Sure, it’s the Trump Administration calling the shots right now, but it’s government agents armed with totalitarian powers and beholden to the bureaucratic Deep State who are carrying out these orders in defiance of the U.S. Constitution and all it represents.

Whether it’s Trump or Biden or someone else altogether, this year or a dozen years from now, the damage has been done: as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have allowed the president to acquire dictatorial powers that can be unleashed at any moment.

There’s a reason the Trump Administration is consulting with John Yoo, the Bush-era attorney notorious for justifying waterboarding torture tactics against detainees. They’re not looking to understand how to follow the law and abide by the Constitution. Rather, they’re desperately seeking ways to thwart the Constitution.

As Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe recognizes,The dictatorial hunger for power is insatiable.

This is how it begins.

This is how it always begins.

Don’t be fooled into thinking any of this will change when the next election rolls around.

Published:7/23/2020 11:02:57 PM
[2020 News] Fauci throws the first pitch with supreme accuracy

Fauchi throws the first pitch with supreme accuracy. This should count as four balls all by itself. Obama: “Damn, I throw like a five year old girl.” Fauci: “Hold my juice box.” pic.twitter.com/UohUXsG7iM — John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 23, 2020

The post Fauci throws the first pitch with supreme accuracy appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/23/2020 8:30:35 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Trump ends AFFH (Paul Mirengoff) The Trump administration has ditched the Obama administration’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule (AFFH). As we have often reported, AFFH is a vast social engineering project that enables the federal government to order more than 1,200 cities and counties that accept any part of annual community development block grants to rezone neighborhoods along income and racial criteria. It thus allows unaccountable federal bureaucrats to dictate who lives where, in order Published:7/23/2020 7:02:40 PM
[IJR] Obama on Biden’s Ability to Handle Pandemic: Would Not Quit on ‘Trying to Actually Bend Down the Curve’ Obama explained how he believes Biden's leadership would differ in comparison to Trump's. Published:7/23/2020 2:00:37 PM
[Politics] Ben Carson: HUD 'Tearing Down' Obama Fair Housing Rule Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson told The Daily Caller on Thursday that President Donald Trump has directed his office to begin "tearing down" a fair housing rule imposed by former President Barack Obama. "At the request of the President, HUD will be... Published:7/23/2020 11:33:06 AM
[Markets] Congress Debates Next Round Of Direct Stimulus Checks Congress Debates Next Round Of Direct Stimulus Checks Tyler Durden Thu, 07/23/2020 - 11:25

As negotiations continue in Washington DC over the next coronavirus relief package, Republicans and Democrats have shifted their focus to the next round of direct stimulus payments.

While Democrats are looking to maintain the same income limits required to receive aid, Republicans are arguing for lower limits.

In March, the CARES Act established that individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 and married couples making up to $150,000 would qualify for the full amount of $1,200 or $2,400 respectively. Individuals making over $99,000 and couples with no children who make over $198,000 annually are excluded from receiving payments.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wants that lowered, saying in a statement earlier this week "I think the people that have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 or less."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slammed McConnell's suggestion, saying "I think families making over $40,000 probably need assistance … depending on their family situation."

It’s unclear how committed Republicans are to lowering the income limits, and what exactly a lower ceiling would look like. But GOP lawmakers and the White House have indicated that they want to focus coronavirus relief efforts on those who have been most affected by the pandemic and that they want to limit the total price tag of the next coronavirus bill.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that Republicans are using a $1 trillion price tag for the overall package as their starting point. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the first round of payments would lower federal revenue by nearly $300 billion, so a second round of payments that is identical in scope to the first would account for a significant percentage of Republicans’ desired total cost. -The Hill

Conservative and Democratic experts are similarly divided on direct payments.

According to The Hill, the right-leaning National Taxpayers Union EVP Brandon Arnold arguest that "it’s definitely a step in the right direction to lower the income threshold," as it makes no sense to give money to people who don't need it.

Former Obama Treasury Department economist and current Eercore ISI employee Ernie Tedeschi disagrees, saying that he doesn't see a good economic reason to curtail the income limits.

He said that the first round of payments “was already well-targeted at lower- and middle-income families” and that these families are likely to quickly spend the money.

Tedeschi analyzed a scenario in which individuals making up to $40,000 and married couples making up to $80,000 were eligible for the full payment amounts, and the phase-out rate was the same as with the first round of payments. He estimated that in this situation, 20 million fewer families would get payments than did under the first round, and many families who still did receive payments would get smaller ones. He also said that payments with these income limits would cost about $60 billion less than payments with the same limits as the first round, and argued that that amount of savings is insignificant in the context of a big stimulus bill. -The Hill

Meanwhile, while 'economists and tax professionals across the ideological spectrum' may have praised the IRS for issuing the vast majority of checks from the March stimulus, some people are still waiting on their money - including many low-income taxpayers who aren't required to file tax returns, and don't receive various Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, veterans benefits, or Railroad Retirement benefits.

On Tuesday, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig asked tax professionals to help the agency deliver payments to people for whom it has no information.

"The underserved communities here need help," he said.

Published:7/23/2020 10:35:54 AM
[Markets] "How We Got Here": The Transformation Of America "How We Got Here": The Transformation Of America Tyler Durden Wed, 07/22/2020 - 23:20

Authored by Frank Miele via RealClearPolitics.com,

Earlier this month, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Twitter that he would “transform” America if he were elected. “We’re going to beat Donald Trump. And when we do, we won’t just rebuild this nation -- we’ll transform it.”

That’s good news if you don’t like America. According to the dictionary, to “transform” is to “make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance or character” of something. It is to reshape, or as the current phrase goes on the left, “to reinvent” -- as the Democrats have promised to “reinvent public safety” by defunding police forces, by encouraging looters, by eliminating cash bail that ensures criminal defendants show up for trial, and by prosecuting people who use their Second Amendment right to bear arms to protect their lives, their families and their livelihood.

When you hear that Biden wants to “transform” America, and then you hear that he is leading President Trump by 10 or 15 percentage points in the polls, you have to fear that perhaps America is already transformed, that it is no longer the sweet land of liberty, that it is no longer the same land where our fathers died, that the dear freedom we once took for granted has been replaced by the cheap freedom of “nothing left to lose.”

But if we as a nation no longer respect the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, in the articles of the Constitution, in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans who put honor and country first, then we must ask -- those of us who still have a moral compass and are looking for the direction home -- “How did we get here?”

It’s no accident that Biden’s promise to transform America echoed the words of the man he served as vice president. The week before Barack Obama was elected president, he told a crowd in Missouri, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” After his election, he endeavored to fulfill that promise, most overtly by co-opting the nation’s health care system, one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and putting it under the auspices of the federal government with the Affordable Care Act.

But let’s not blame Obama and absolve ourselves of all responsibility. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault is not in our star politicians, but in ourselves. Ben Franklin said that the Founding Fathers had given the nation a republic “if you can keep it.” Well, we’ve done a rather poor job of keeping it. The descent into the madness on our streets and in our courthouses and in our legislatures today did not just start with Barack Obama, and as we now see clearly it will not just stop with Donald Trump.

For well over 100 years, the nation has toyed with socialism like a fifth-grader experimenting with cigarettes. What harm could it do, right? But before you know it, your fifth-grader is all grown up and struggling to breathe or is starting another round of chemotherapy. Actions have consequences, and so does looking the other way.

In my new book, “How We Got Here,” I look at some of the roots of the radical ideology that is now threatening to destroy our country. It is no accident that the subtitle is “The Left’s Assault on the Constitution,” because it is that document which restrained the socialist impulse for many years and yet is now proving dangerously susceptible to court-ordered subversion.

In retrospect, I submit that our faith in the Constitution was perhaps ill-placed. We forgot the warning of John Adams that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

That quote is  well-known to conservatives, if not sufficiently honored, but the rest of President Adams’ letter to the Massachusetts Militia in 1798 is little remembered. That’s unfortunate, because it sounds the alarm on our current crisis quite presciently:

“[S]hould the People of America, once become capable of that deep …  simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Sound familiar? It should. Black Lives Matter and its allies on the left have adopted the “language of justice” while indeed “practicing iniquity” in the form of arson and shootings and “rioting in rapine and insolence.” Though the word is out of fashion, rapine seems an apt description of the state of our city streets since the end of May. It is defined as the “violent seizure of someone’s property.” How else do you describe what happened in Minneapolis and Atlanta and Seattle and is still happening in Portland, Ore.?

Adams warned that “this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World” should these conditions come to pass, and we do not have to guess if he was right. We are living it. We know full well that the instincts of “avarice, ambition and revenge” can indeed “break the strongest cords of the Constitution.” Witness what happened to the St. Louis attorney who defended his home with a weapon when he was threatened by an unlawful assembly. No one protected him, no one answered his call for police, and within a week his gun was seized and he was threatened with prosecution for a “hate crime.” So much for the Second Amendment.

“We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion,” said Adams. “We the People” have no way to contend with a government that is unbridled by morality and religion. That, ladies and gentleman, is the point we have reached, so discovering “how we got here” may be only an academic exercise. Nonetheless, if we are going to have any chance to restore morality to government -- and power to the Constitution -- we must do the hard work of finding out what went wrong. After that, we shall see if there is any hope.

Let’s start with the loss of morality. This is the north star of behavior, the bellwether of decency, the certainty of right and wrong. Morality is what C.S. Lewis in “The Abolition of Man” called the Tao — “the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are.” In other words, it was that force which existed independent of man but embedded in him that impelled our Founders to describe certain inalienable rights as “self-evident.” The Tao was not created by religion, but rather was the reason why religions existed. It is what our Founders called Natural Law.

So what went wrong? In a word, education. In two words, “progressive education.” For the first hundred years or so of our nation’s history, education served its usual purpose of reinforcing social norms, teaching values and passing on the heritage and traditions that bind us together. All of that began to change in the 1880s, thanks in large part to one man — John Dewey, the godfather of progressive education, who insisted on teaching children what they want to learn instead of what they should learn. Essentially, what the progressive education movement wanted to accomplish — and did accomplish by the 1960s — was to jettison traditional values and replace them with transient values (those which each generation or even each student adopted individually). This meant that society was no longer tethered to the Tao. Morality had become relative. Education had switched from being a method of reinforcing social conventions and standards to uprooting them.

Time magazine in 1958 put it this way:

“In a kind of country-club existentialism, Dewey and his boys genially contended that the traditional ends of education, like God, virtue and the idea of ‘culture,’ were all highly debatable and hence not worth debating. In their place: enter life adjustment. The Deweyites thus transformed conditioning techniques into ends in themselves. ... Within the schools, discipline gave way to increasingly dubious group persuasion. ‘With teen-agers,’ one high school principal said proudly, ‘there is nothing more powerful than the approval or disapproval of the group. When the majority conforms, the others will go along.’ It would not easily occur to the modern educationists that such blind fostering of group pressure is a travesty of free democracy.”

Dewey’s system of education emphasized students doing what feels good rather than learning what is good for them. Progressive education does not believe in moral, religious or cultural absolutes, but rather teaches students that they have the right to reject any system of belief, any principles, and values that they find to be “restrictive” or that make them “uncomfortable.” In essence, Dewey said to question everything and respect nothing. That model did permanent damage to the family, to the church, and to the country. Progressive education does not believe in moral, religious or cultural absolutes and makes every individual the master of his own moral universe. It also means that nothing can be taken for granted, nothing is certain, and the concept of right and wrong is malleable.

Which brings us -- in this truncated history -- to the 1960s. The social revolution of that decade was the illegitimate child of progressive education and the affluent society. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, my own generation was able to smoke weed, skip class, and raise Cain — all while on the family allowance. Somehow along the way, these products of indulgence decided that America didn’t live up to their high standards of social justice. They rejected the principles of rugged individualism and free enterprise and substituted their socialist fantasies. The Vietnam War gave them the perfect foil to foment civil unrest and to enlist most of their generation into a war on “the establishment,” which meant a war on law and order, a war on religion, a war on the nuclear family, and a war on authority in general. These were the godchildren of John Dewey: Question everything, respect nothing.

One mastermind of the ’60s revolution was Bill Ayers, who was first a progressive educator, then a bomb-throwing revolutionary in the Weather Underground, and then a fugitive from justice. It was while he was hiding from the FBI for the entire decade of the 1970s that Ayers realized that violent revolution could not topple the government unless it was first rotted from within. In “Prairie Fire” and other radical writings, Ayers described how young people, minorities and women could be turned against the system, and most importantly how revolutionaries who wore suits and ties could infiltrate boardrooms, political parties, the military, the courts and other institutions of society in order to bring about change from within.

When you see how many millions of dollars that corporate America has voluntarily given to the communist front organization known as Black Lives Matter, you can gauge just how successful Ayers was in his strategy. When you see that the Democratic Party is led by communists and socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you can thank Bill Ayers. When you see military generals publicly condemning the commander-in-chief for his efforts to ensure public safety, you know that Bill Ayers has come close to victory. When you watch our courts chip away at our freedoms, you can bet that Bill Ayers thinks he has won. And maybe he has.

A recurring theme in “How We Got Here” is that the Constitution no longer means what it says it means, but rather what any five Supreme Court justices say it means. These justices have a remarkable knack for discovering new powers for the government hidden in nooks and crannies of the document that somehow were missed previously. Under such a scenario, the Constitution becomes a tool for social engineering rather than a protection against government excess, as was originally intended.

It too is all part of the plan. After all, judges are lawyers, and lawyers are graduated from law schools, and the top law-school students come from the top Ivy League and radical-left colleges, and most radical college students come from public schools, and public schools are to progressivism what politics is to the swamp. You can thank John Dewey, and you can thank Bill Ayers, who after he returned to public view, became an influential educator of educators at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In “Prairie Fire,” Ayers outlined how the revolution would transform America. Yes, violence would play a role. Yes, bankrupting the system by increasing dependence on government would play a role. Yes, spurring foreign wars to spread America’s military too thin would play a role. Yes, encouraging division among the races would be part of it, as would weakening the influence of religion on the masses, but if you wanted to win the revolution, Ayers made it perfectly clear how to begin: “The real question is: Who will control the schools?”

How did we get here? The answer by now should be obvious.

*  *  *

Frank Miele's new book “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at HeartlandDiaryUSA.com to read his daily commentary .

Published:7/22/2020 10:30:17 PM
[Markets] Facebook's Neutral "Fact Checkers" Exposed As Ex-CNN Staffers And Democratic Donors Facebook's Neutral "Fact Checkers" Exposed As Ex-CNN Staffers And Democratic Donors Tyler Durden Wed, 07/22/2020 - 14:05

Today in news about the radical left-wing censorship machines our social media companies have become, it was exposed this week that Facebook's fact-checker, Lead Stories, is an outfit that is stocked to the brim with ex-CNN staffers.

The organization presents itself as neutral yet "most of its employees" have donated to the Democratic party, according to RT.  

The National Pulse reached out to Facebook's fact checkers this week after a story they published about Black Lives Matter was flagged as "partly false" by the platform. This led TNP to "do some digging" on who was behind the smear. 

What they found was stunning: an organization "staffed almost entirely by Democratic donors, half of whom had worked for CNN in the past."

25% of the organization's employees were recurring Democratic donors and Lead Stories' founder, Perry Sanders, has donated over $10,000 to Democratic political campaigns - including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's Presidential runs. 

TNP also exposed that "several other writers" had Democratic contributions on their records. For example, one writer named Gita Smith, was listed in "99 separate small-dollar donations" to various Democratic candidates - in addition to contributions to ActBlue.

The org's editor, Alan Duke, spent nearly three decades with CNN as a reporter and editor and the org's senior editor, Monte Plott, spent over 10 years with CNN. Five other names at the organization were also found to have worked at CNN as some point. 

Writer Jessica Ravitz spent 10 years with CNN and also spent "nearly four years with the Anti-Defamation League, a self-styled anti-'hate' watchdog that spends most of its considerable resources demonizing political voices that deviate from the neoliberal centrist mainstream-media line."

TNP's investigation followed Lead Stories taking exception with their article titled:  “Black Lives Matter Website, ‘Defund the Police’ Donations Go to ‘Act Blue’, the ‘Biden for President’ Campaign’s Top Source of Donations”.

Facebook posted the story in the "Hoax Alert" section of its website as a result of Lead Stories' flagging. The fact checked pointed out that "BLM’s donations go through, not to ActBlue, which is a payment processor for Democratic campaigns and not the ultimate source of the Biden campaign’s cash."

TNP corrected the word "to" to "through" but claimed Lead Stories still would not lift the "partly false" flag on its story.

And so it appears to us what we have yet again is a social media platform clearly acting as a publisher yet not having to incur the legal liabilities that come with it. This slippery slope is going to continue - and only get worse, we predict - until at some point it gets even more blindingly obvious than it is now that these Silicon Valley firms are using their power to nudge the country toward the political ideologies they support, rather than providing unbiased "fact-checked" outlets for public discussion.

Published:7/22/2020 1:22:33 PM
[Markets] Former Obama Economic Adviser on renewed U.S.-China tensions Former Obama Council of Economic Advisers Chairman and Chicago's Booth School of Business Professor Austan Goolsbee joins Yahoo Finance's Zack Guzman to discuss how escalating U.S-China tensons are weighing on markets. Published:7/22/2020 12:55:45 PM
[Law] Don’t rehear this (Scott Johnson) We have followed the extraordinary case against General Flynn as events have warranted. By all rights it is should be a sidebar to the biggest scandal in American political history by far, yet it opens a window on incredible wrongdoing at the highest reaches of the Obama administration in the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, including Team Mueller. It is a disgrace that Attorney General Barr has Published:7/22/2020 8:51:30 AM
[Markets] New Kosovo Indictment Is A Reminder Of Bill Clinton's Serbian War Atrocities New Kosovo Indictment Is A Reminder Of Bill Clinton's Serbian War Atrocities Tyler Durden Wed, 07/22/2020 - 02:00

Authored by James Bovard via The Mises Institute,

President Bill Clinton’s favorite freedom fighter just got indicted for mass murder, torture, kidnapping, and other crimes against humanity. In 1999, the Clinton administration launched a 78-day bombing campaign that killed up to fifteen hundred civilians in Serbia and Kosovo in what the American media proudly portrayed as a crusade against ethnic bias. That war, like most of the pretenses of US foreign policy, was always a sham.

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci was charged with ten counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by an international tribunal in The Hague, in the Netherlands. It charged Thaci and nine other men with “war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.” Thaci and the other charged suspects were accused of being “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” and the indictment involved “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.”

Hashim Thaci’s tawdry career illustrates how antiterrorism is a flag of convenience for Washington policymakers. Prior to becoming Kosovo’s president, Thaci was the head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), fighting to force Serbs out of Kosovo. In 1999, the Clinton administration designated the KLA as “freedom fighters” despite their horrific past and gave them massive aid. The previous year, the State Department condemned “terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.” The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden.

But arming the KLA and bombing Serbia helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many shameless members of Congress anxious to sanctify US killing. Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CN) whooped that the United States and the KLA “stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” And since Clinton administration officials publicly compared Serb leader Slobodan Miloševic to Hitler, every decent person was obliged to applaud the bombing campaign.

Both the Serbs and ethnic Albanians committed atrocities in the bitter strife in Kosovo. But to sanctify its bombing campaign, the Clinton administration waved a magic wand and made the KLA’s atrocities disappear. British professor Philip Hammond noted that the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorize the country into surrender.”

NATO repeatedly dropped cluster bombs into marketplaces, hospitals, and other civilian areas. Cluster bombs are antipersonnel devices designed to be scattered across enemy troop formations. NATO dropped more than thirteen hundred cluster bombs on Serbia and Kosovo, and each bomb contained 208 separate bomblets that floated to earth by parachute. Bomb experts estimated that more than ten thousand unexploded bomblets were scattered around the landscape when the bombing ended and maimed children long after the ceasefire.

In the final days of the bombing campaign, the Washington Post reported that “some presidential aides and friends are describing Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton’s ‘finest hour.’” The Post also reported that according to one Clinton friend “what Clinton believes were the unambiguously moral motives for NATO’s intervention represented a chance to soothe regrets harbored in Clinton’s own conscience….The friend said Clinton has at times lamented that the generation before him was able to serve in a war with a plainly noble purpose, and he feels ‘almost cheated’ that ‘when it was his turn he didn’t have the chance to be part of a moral cause.’” By Clinton’s standard, slaughtering Serbs was “close enough for government work” to a “moral cause.”

Shortly after the end of the 1999 bombing campaign, Clinton enunciated what his aides labeled the Clinton doctrine: “Whether within or beyond the borders of a country, if the world community has the power to stop it, we ought to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing.” In reality, the Clinton doctrine was that presidents are entitled to commence bombing foreign lands based on any brazen lie that the American media will regurgitate. In reality, the lesson from bombing Serbia is that American politicians merely need to publicly recite the word “genocide” to get a license to kill.

After the bombing ended, Clinton assured the Serbian people that the United States and NATO agreed to be peacekeepers only “with the understanding that they would protect Serbs as well as ethnic Albanians and that they would leave when peace took hold.” In the subsequent months and years, American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serb civilians, bombing Serbian churches and oppressing any non-Muslims. Almost a quarter million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Mr. Clinton promised to protect them. By 2003, almost 70 percent of the Serbs living in Kosovo in 1999 had fled and Kosovo was 95 percent ethnic Albanian.

But Thaci remained useful for US policymakers. Even though he was widely condemned for oppression and corruption after taking power in Kosovo, Vice President Joe Biden hailed Thaci in 2010 as the “George Washington of Kosovo.” A few months later, a Council of Europe report accused Thaci and KLA operatives of human organ trafficking. The Guardian noted that the report alleged that Thaci’s inner circle “took captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.” The report stated that when “transplant surgeons” were “ready to operate, the [Serbian] captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.”

Despite the organ trafficking charge, Thaci was a star attendee at the annual Global Initiative conference by the Clinton Foundation in 2011, 2012, and 2013, where he posed for photos with Bill Clinton. Maybe that was a perk from the $50,000 a month lobbying contract that Thaci’s regime signed with the Podesta Group, comanaged by future Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, as the Daily Caller reported.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo, where a statue of him was erected in the capital, Pristina. The Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton “with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999.” It would have been a more accurate representation to depict Clinton standing on a pile of corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the US bombing campaign.

In 2019, Bill Clinton and his fanatically pro-bombing former secretary of state, Madeline Albright, visited Pristina, where they were “treated like rock stars” as they posed for photos with Thaci. Clinton declared, “I love this country and it will always be one of the greatest honors of my life to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing (by Serbian forces) and for freedom.” Thaci awarded Clinton and Albright medals of freedom “for the liberty he brought to us and the peace to entire region.” Albright has reinvented herself as a visionary warning against fascism in the Trump era. Actually, the only honorific that Albright deserves is “butcher of Belgrade.”

Clinton’s war on Serbia was a Pandora’s box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and most of the media portrayed the war against Serbia as a moral triumph, it was easier for the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq, for the Obama administration to bomb Libya, and for the Trump administration to repeatedly bomb Syria. All of those interventions sowed chaos that continues cursing the purported beneficiaries.

Bill Clinton’s 1999 bombing of Serbia was as big a fraud as George W. Bush’s conning this nation into attacking Iraq. The fact that Clinton and other top US government officials continued to glorify Hashim Thaci despite accusations of mass murder, torture, and organ trafficking is another reminder of the venality of much of America’s political elite. Will Americans again be gullible the next time that Washington policymakers and their media allies concoct bullshit pretexts to blow the hell out of some hapless foreign land?

Published:7/22/2020 1:17:46 AM
[Politics] If Biden Wins, He May Discover Trumpism Abides Anyone hoping that electing Vice President Biden president is going to turn America's clock magically back to the end of the Obama administration is in for an unpleasant surprise. Even if President Trump loses his re-election campaign, Trumpism is here to stay. Sure, Mr. Trump does have a significant chance to pull off a come-from-behind victory like the one he won in 2016. Yet imagine, just for the sake of this analysis, that Mr. Trump is defeated. On a whole range of issues foreign an... Published:7/20/2020 7:11:41 PM
[Markets] Trump Chief Of Staff: Indictments Expected From Durham Probe Trump Chief Of Staff: Indictments Expected From Durham Probe Tyler Durden Mon, 07/20/2020 - 12:55

Authored by Isabel van Brugen via The Epoch Times,

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that he expects criminal charges to come out of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence Russia probe.

Meadows, who replaced Mick Mulvaney as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff in March, said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” that based on what he’d seen, he expects federal prosecutor Durham will file criminal charges against people involved in the investigation into supposed Trump-Russia collusion that was said to have swayed the 2016 election.

The former House representative sat on the House Oversight Committee throughout former special counsel and former FBI head Robert Mueller’s probe into the alleged collusion. Mueller ultimately didn’t establish any such collusion.

“I think the American people expect indictments,” Meadows told host Maria Bartiromo.

“I know I expect indictments based on the evidence I’ve seen. [Senate Judiciary chairman] Lindsey Graham did a good job in getting that out. We know that they not only knew that there wasn’t a case, but they continued to investigate and spy—and yes, I use the word ‘spy’—on Trump campaign officials, and actually even doing things when this president was sworn in and after that, and doing it in an inappropriate manner.”

The White House chief of staff also said that he expects other damning documents will soon be made public.

“You’re going to see a couple of other documents come out in the coming days that will suggest that not only was the campaign spied on, but the FBI did not act appropriately as they were investigating,” Meadows continued. “It’s all starting to unravel, and I tell you, it’s time that people go to jail and people are indicted.”

Attorney General William Barr assigned Durham in early 2019 to investigate the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and to assess whether the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page was free of improper motive. The probe was designated a formal criminal investigation later in 2019.

Durham could scrutinize the conduct of several current and former senior FBI officials during his investigation, including former Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. Those officials were involved in obtaining a warrant for surveillance on Page and deployed at least two spies to target Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.

Barr had previously expressed concern over some of the information he had received so far from Durham about the probe, saying that he was “very troubled.” He said in May that he doesn’t expect Durham’s probe to result in criminal investigations into former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, based on the information he possessed at the time.

“It is stunning, and here’s the interesting thing: it’s not only that it wasn’t true, the problem is they knew it wasn’t true, and when you know something is not true and you continue the investigation, that’s collusion, that’s the kind of thing that we must stop, and that’s where we need to hold people accountable,” Meadows said.

His remarks came as Strzok, the former FBI head of counterintelligence operations, on Sunday tore apart a 2017 New York Times article that alleged the 2016 presidential campaign of Trump had contacts with Russian intelligence. Strzok criticized the article as inaccurate in multiple regards in a recently declassified internal document.

The Feb. 14, 2017, New York Times piece titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contact With Russian Intelligence” was said to rely on information from four unnamed “current and former American officials.”

“Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election,” the article said in its opening paragraph.

“This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written,” Strzok said, annotating the article with comments on how it squared with reality as he was portraying it (pdf). “We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian] IOs [intelligence officers].”

The document was released on July 17 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chair of the Senate judiciary committee.

Published:7/20/2020 12:11:15 PM
[Markets] Florida COVID-19 Deaths Top 5,000 As State Suffers More Than 10k Cases For 6th Straight Day: Live Updates Florida COVID-19 Deaths Top 5,000 As State Suffers More Than 10k Cases For 6th Straight Day: Live Updates Tyler Durden Mon, 07/20/2020 - 11:29

Summary:

  • Florida deaths top 5,000
  • NYC begins Phase 4 reopening
  • Cuomo warns about risks to reopening as NYC enters Phase 4
  • Stocks turn red despite Oxford-AZ vaccine data
  • Scientists warn of 2nd wave in Sweden as COVID-19 deaths dwindle
  • India suffers 40k+ new COVID cases in new record
  • Global death toll tops 600k
  • Cases top 14.5 million
  • China reports 16 new cases
  • Victoria outbreak could take "weeks" to subside
  • Pfizer reports incremental vaccine results
  • Tokyo confirms 168 new infections

* * *

Update (1100ET): Stocks shot into the green earlier after the release of Phase 1/2 trial data in the Lancet earlier showed that one of the most hyped up vaccine candidates appeared to be safe for human consumption.

However, as that rally fades and both AstraZeneca shares and the broader market slump back into the red, analysts are pointing to one important detail of the study results: the fact that responses were strongest after a booster dose.

If a patient needs two doses of a vaccine for it to be effective, than it will take twice as long to produce and distribute to the population.

"We saw the strongest immune response in the 10 participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination," Professor Pollard said.

Read more on that here.

In other news, Florida and New York kicked off Monday's big numbers. On Monday, Florida reported 10,508 new cases and 92 newly reported deaths, marking the sixth straight day with more than 10k new cases. Of all the tests counted over the past 24 hours, 14.74% of them came back positive, which is still well below Florida's peak north of 20% (all these COVID-19 data are reported with a 24 hour delay).

The new deaths reported Monday pushed Florida's total north of 5,000 to 5,072. The state has also counted 360,394 infections, still rough;y 70k shy of New York's 411k+ total. New York has also reported more than 30k deaths. Monday’s data follow a new weekly record for cases, deaths and tests in Florida that was cemented on Sunday. Statewide, 740 virus deaths were reported from Sunday to Sunday, compared with 511 the prior week. 

As Florida and Texas draw nearer to NY's COVID-19 case total, the two states have logged only 1/10th the death rate of NY.

How come we haven't seen more reporting on what Fla and Texas did to keep the mortality rate low? We suspect it has something to do with the fact that they didn't explicitly ask hospitals to send COVID-19 positive patients back to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Meanwhile, NYC entered 'Phase 4' reopening on Monday with Gov Andrew Cuomo warning that he wouldn't hesitate to roll back the reopening if cases start to climb once again. Any rule-breaking "has to stop" Cuomo said, as he threatened to revive the lockdown if compliance doesn't improve.

He also shared the latest NY numbers.

* * *

Update (0930ET): Sweden's approach to tackling the virus has become a major topic of COVID-19-related discussion as more skeptics argue that the country's approach to tackling the virus - which never involved lockdowns - shouldn't be written off solely because it tracked higher mortality rates than several of its neighbors.

While Sweden's high (relatively speaking) mortality rate figures heavily into these criticisms, the truth is Sweden has reported fewer deaths per million than several of the worst-hit countries in Western Europe, including the UK, Spain, Italy and Belgium, all of which adopted strict lockdowns to combat the virus.

  1. Belgium: 858
  2. UK: 681
  3. Spain 608
  4. Italy: 580
  5. Sweden: 552
  6. Chile: 454
  7. France 449
  8. US: 429
  9. Peru: 412
  10. Brazil: 379

Goldman once claimed that Sweden's success was largely attributable to cultural factors, like the fact that most Swedes obeyed the government's social distancing guidance.

CBS News traveled to Stockholm recently and found that, despite the worrying statistics, most Swedes still back the public health agency's approach.

"I think the people are taking their responsibility to social distance, so I am fine," said Stockholm resident Mia Soderberg.  "I am glad...because I think people are in better shape mentally, because we've been able to go out."

Though, to be sure, Sweden's neighbors have punished Swedes by imposing travel bans that prohibit Swedes from crossing over the border.

But while herd immunity remains a ways off, according to Sweden's top virologist, the country's efforts to safeguard nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have caused deaths to drop precipitously.

Although Sweden never locked down, and never mandated masks, the country is for the most part finished with the outbreak. Deaths and new cases have dwindled, as critics of the country's approach continue to warn about the possibility of a dangerous second wave. Although the country is reporting daily deaths in the teens, CBS News warned that in a month or so, when the summer ends, millions of Swedes will head back inside, triggering the start of a whole new wave of the pandemic.

* * *

Globally, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths surpassed 600,000 on Monday, while the number of confirmed cases topped 14.5 million over the weekend.

The world saw two consecutive daily record tallies over the weekend, as the pandemic continues to intensify in the US, India, Brazil and elsewhere.

In the US, daily deaths saw a promising pullback yesterday.

As deaths and hospitalizations creeped higher over the weekend and last week, the number of new cases in the four worst-hit states have climbed. Most notably, Texas reported a promising slowdown just last night, even as LA Mayor Eric Garcetti warns that his city is on the verge of another shutdown.

For the first time, India reported more than 40k new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a new daily record. Exactly 40,425 cases were reported on Monday, which brought the total in the world's second-most-populous country to more than 1.1 million. The number of confirmed deaths has climbed to 27,497, up 681 since Sunday morning.

In Japan, Tokyo confirmed 168 new infections, according to Nikkei, down from 188 a day earlier. Tokyo's metropolitan government raised its COVID-19 alert to the highest level out of four last week, and has urged workers who can to stay home. In South Korea, 26 new cases were confirmed on Monday, down from 34 a day ago. Total infections reached 13,771, with 296 deaths.

After suffering more than 100 new cases in a day - a new record - over the weekend, Hong Kong reported just 73 new coronavirus cases on Monday, including 66 that were locally transmitted, as sweeping new restrictions imposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam took effect.

The city reported more than 100 cases on Sunday, a record, as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that nonessential civil servants must work from home.

Melbourne's surge in COVID-19 cases over the past month could take "weeks" to subside despite a lockdown and other social distancing measures, according to Australia's acting chief medical officer. Victoria state, where Melbourne is located, reported a daily record on Friday with 438 new cases. Numbers have cooled slightly since then. People in Melbourne must wear masks when leaving their homes, and could be fined $200 Australian dollars ($140) if they are caught outside without one.

Mainland China reported 16 new cases of the novel coronavirus as of the end of July 18, up from 22 a day earlier. Of these new infections, 13 tested positive in Urumqi, the capital of China's far western region of Xinjiang region, which assumed a "warlike posture" over the weekend as new cases surged.

As the world awaits the results of the Oxford University-Astrazeneca trial, which is expected to be published by the Lancet, a medical journal known for its early work on SARS-CoV-2, later on Monday. Pfizer reported some early results Monday morning, including the first T-cell response data.

  • PFIZER INC - T CELL CYTOKINE PROFILE SHOWS VACCINE ELICITED T CELLS EXHIBIT A TH1 PHENOTYPE, WHICH IS ASSOCIATED WITH ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES
  • PFIZER - BNT162B1 INDUCED ANTIBODIES HAD BROADLY NEUTRALIZING ACTIVITY IN PSEUDOVIRUS NEUTRALIZATION ASSAYS ACROSS PANEL OF 16 SARS-COV-2 RBD VARIANTS

The data "supports and expands" on previously published results, marking the news as largely incremental.

Meanwhile, earlier, Scott Gottlieb focused his daily commentary on CNBC on the lessons we've learned about pandemic preparedness, repudiating the narrative pressed by Democrats who have blamed Trump for 'dismantling' an Obama-era preparedness office.

Published:7/20/2020 10:42:09 AM
[Markets] Gunman Kills Son Of Federal Judge Recently Assigned To Epstein Case Gunman Kills Son Of Federal Judge Recently Assigned To Epstein Case Tyler Durden Mon, 07/20/2020 - 08:01

When we first spotted headlines about a lone gunman's lethal assault on the home of a federal judge in New Jersey, we feared this was just another example of how criminals have been emboldened by the nationwide backlash against law enforcement embodied by the 'defund the police' movement.

But that was before we learned that the judge targeted in the attack - Newark-based US federal judge Esther Salas - had been assigned to the Deutsche Bank/Epstein case just four days before the attack.

The shooting occurred Sunday night at around 5pmET. Salas 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl, a student, opened the door at the family home in North Brunswick after hearing the doorbell ring. The man outside appeared to be a FedEx employee, according to media reports.

Almost immediately, the gunman started blasting, shooting and killing Anderl, and badly wounding his father, Mark Anderl, 63, a prominent defense attorney in the area. Salas has reportedly received threats from time to time, but local press reported that Salas hadn't received any threats recently.

Seated in Newark, Salas' most high-profile cases recently involved the tax evasion prosecution of Joe Giudice, the husband of RHNJ star Theresa Giudice. She also spared a murderous gang leader from the death penalty over what she ruled was an intellectual disability that made him ineligible for capital punishment.

But Salas is now presided over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its AML policies while failing to monitor "high-risk" customers like sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. After all, how would Epstein have managed to run his international child-sex-trafficking ring without banks to move the money around for him.

The FBI revealed last night that it would be taking over the case.

Investigators said they're looking into any connections to the Epstein/DB lawsuit, while also investigating any connections to her husband's work as a criminal defense attorney.

The FBI's announcement was met with a sarcastic response by many on twitter.

The FBI says it's looking for one suspect. The Marshals Service is also carrying out its own investigation, since the agency takes its responsibility to protect federal officials "very seriously".

So far, authorities have refused to confirm that the Epstein connection might have been a motive. A friend of the judge's said Salas hadn't received any threats recently.

Salas, 51, was New Jersey’s first Hispanic woman to serve as a US district judge. She was nominated by Barack Obama in 2010, and confirmed by the Senate the following year.

Published:7/20/2020 7:06:30 AM
[2020 Election] TARGETED Son of Obama-appointed judge Esther Salas dead and husband critical after attack by gunman dressed as FedEx driver

TARGETED Son of Obama-appointed judge Esther Salas dead and husband critical after attack by gunman dressed as FedEx driver. She’s an Obama appointee, her husband is a criminal defense attorney. Nothing about her son yet. Someone was pissed off about something.

The post TARGETED Son of Obama-appointed judge Esther Salas dead and husband critical after attack by gunman dressed as FedEx driver appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/19/2020 9:34:02 PM
[In The News] ‘Starting To Unravel’: Trump Chief Of Staff Expects Indictments From Durham Probe

By Chuck Ross -

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday he expects indictments to be handed down in U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, and that documents will be released in the coming days that suggest the FBI spied on the Trump campaign. “You’re going ...

‘Starting To Unravel’: Trump Chief Of Staff Expects Indictments From Durham Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:7/19/2020 8:31:25 PM
[Markets] What Lies Ahead? What Lies Ahead? Tyler Durden Sun, 07/19/2020 - 21:30

Authored by Dr. Jack Rasmus via JackRasmus.com,

On July 6, 2020 I posted my extended view and analysis why the 3rd quarter US GDP would falter–and lead to a W-shape recovery, as it typical of all Great Recessions. The current recession’s scenario was compared with 1929-30 and 2008-09, and 8 reasons were given why the US current economic rebound (not recovery) would falter. In this follow-on post a somewhat longer term scenario is added to the prior shorter, 3rd quarter view. It’s an addendum and sequel to the prior post, focusing on the more permanent impacts on the economy that will continue well into 2021 and beyond. Here’s the addendum piece, “What Lies Ahead”

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

The US economy at mid-year 2020 is at a critical juncture. What happens in the next three months will likely determine whether the current Great Recession 2.0 continues to follow a W-shape trajectory - or drifts over an economic precipice into an economic depression. With prompt and sufficient fiscal stimulus targeting US households, minimal political instability before the November 2020 elections, and no financial instability event, it may be contained. No worse than a prolonged W-shape recovery will occur. But should the fiscal stimulus be minimal (and poorly composed), should political instability grow significantly worse, and a major financial instability event erupt in the US (or globally), then it is highly likely a descent to a bona fide economic depression will occur.

The prognosis for a swift economic recovery is not all that positive. Multiple forces are at work that strongly suggest the early summer economic ‘rebound’ will prove temporary and that a further decline in jobs, consumption, investment, and the economy is on the horizon.

A Second Wave of Permanent Job Losses

Through mid-June to mid-July, the COVID-19 infection rate, hospitalization rate, and soon the death rate, have all begun to escalate once again. Daily infections consistently now exceed 60,000 cases—i.e. more than twice that of the earlier worst month of April 2020. Consequently, states are beginning to order a return to more sheltering in place and shutdowns of business, especially retail, travel, and entertainment services. The direction of events cannot but hamper any initial rebound of the economy, let alone generate a sustained economic recovery. Exacerbating conditions, a second wave of job layoffs is clearly now emerging—and not just due to economic shutdowns related to the resurging virus.

Reopening of the US economy in June resulted in 4.8 million jobs restored for that month, according to the US Labor Department. That number included, however, no fewer than 3 million service jobs in restaurants, hospitality, and retail establishments. These are the occupations that are now being impacted again with layoffs, as States retrench once more due to the virus resurgence underway. But there’s a new development as well: A second jobless wave is now emerging in addition to the renewed layoffs due to shutdowns not only of the resumed service and retail occupations, but reflecting longer term and even permanent job layoffs across various industries.

Household consumption patterns have changed fundamentally and permanently in a number of ways due to both the virus effect and the depth of the current recession. Many consumers will not be returning soon to travel, to shopping at malls, to restaurant services, to mass entertainment or to sport events at the levels they had, pre-virus.

In response, large corporations in these sectors have begun to announce job layoffs by the thousands. Two large US airlines—United and American—have announced their intention to lay off 36,000 and 20,000, respectively, including flight attendants, ground crews, and even pilots. Boeing has announced a cut of 16,000, and Uber,n just its latest announcement, a cut of 3,000. Big box retail companies like JCPenneys, Nieman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, and others are closing hundreds of stores with a similar impact on what were formerly thousands of permanent jobs. Oil & gas fracking companies like Cheasepeake and 200 other frackers now defaulting on their debt are laying off tens of thousands more. Trucking companies like YRC Worldwide, the Hertz car rental company, clothing & apparel sellers like Brooks Brothers, small-medium independent restaurant and hotel chains like Krystal, Craftworks—all are implementing, or announcing permanent layoffs by the thousands as well.

Reflecting this, since mid-June new unemployment benefit claims have continued to rise weekly at a rate of more than 2 million—with about 1.3 million receiving regular state unemployment benefits plus another 1 million independent contractors, gig workers, self-employed receiving the special federal government unemployment benefits. The latter group’s numbers are rising rapidly since mid-June.

As of mid-July no fewer than 33 million are receiving unemployment benefits, with another 6 million having dropped out of the labor force altogether and no longer even being counted as unemployed. Unemployment therefore remains at what will likely be a chronically high number, at around 40 million—with about 25% of the US labor force unemployed—as renewed service-retail sector layoffs, plus new permanent layoffs, both loom on the horizon.

Added to the growing problem of renewed service layoffs and the 2nd wave of permanent layoffs in the private sector is the growing likelihood of significant layoffs in the public sector, as states and cities facing massive budget deficits are forced to lay off several millions of the roughly 22 million public sector workers in the US. This potential public employee layoff wave will accelerate and occur sooner, should Congress in summer 2020 fail to bail out the states and cities whose budgets have been severely impacted by the collapse of tax revenues while facing escalating costs of dealing with the health crisis. Estimates as of last May are that the states and cities will need $969 billion in bailout funding this summer—roughly two-thirds for the states and the rest for cities and local governments.

The resurgence of layoffs from all these sources is a sure indicator that the economy’s rebound—let alone recovery—is in trouble. Rising joblessness means less wage income for households and therefore less consumption and, given that consumption is 70% of the economy, a slowing of the rebound and recovery. Problems in consumption in turn mean business investment suffers as well, further slowing the economy and recovery. Exacerbating the decline in personal income devoted to consumption due to unemployment is the evidence that even those fortunate enough to return to work after spring 2020’s economic shutdown are doing so increasingly as part time employed—which means less wage income for consumption compared to the pre-COVID period before March 2020.

Overlaid on these negative prospects for employment, consumption, business investment is the intensification of economic crisis-related problems.

Rent Evictions, Child Care & Education Chaos

There is an imminent crisis in rents affecting tens of millions. At the peak in April, it is estimated that roughly one-third of the 110 million renters in the US economy had stopped making rent payments due to the COVID-related shutdowns of the economy. The CARES ACT, passed in March, provided forbearance on rental payments, although perhaps as many as 20 states failed to enforce it. That forbearance directive expires at the end of July, with as many as 23 million rent evictions projected in coming months. A major housing crisis is thus brewing, as well as the second wave of job layoffs.

A combined education-child care crisis is about to occur almost simultaneously. The K-12 public education system is approaching chaos, as school districts plan to introduce remote learning on a major scale in order to deal with the renewed COVID-19 infection and hospitalization wave. The heart of the crisis is that tens of millions of US working class families dependent on two paychecks to survive economically cannot afford to accommodate school district practices for remote learning—especially for young children in the K-6 grade levels. Even if such families could afford to pay for expensive child care, the current US child care system is far from being able to accommodate them. Many minority and working class households, moreover, lack the computers and networking equipment, or even the requisite skills to set it up, to enable their children participate in remote learning.

Several forces are driving the shift to remote learning: school district fears of liability actions by parents if children become ill, the significant cost of ensuring disinfected classrooms, the lack of classroom space to allow distance learning on site, and the growing concern of teachers regarding their own exposure to infection. At least 1.5 million public school teachers are over age 50 and have health conditions that put them at greater risk of serious infection, should they attend closed-in classroom environments.

The child care plus K-12 education crisis will likely erupt within months on a major scale. Chaos in education is around the corner.

This fall, higher education—colleges and universities—will also experience chaos of their own kind. While distance learning will not be as serious an implementation problem as it will in K-12 levels, costs from the pandemic will force many smaller, private colleges into bankruptcy, consolidation or closure. Public colleges’ funding problems will require them to sharply reduce available services. Remote education will create a two-tier system of higher education—educational services delivered remotely and those of a more traditional nature on campus; or a hybrid of both.

However, demand for higher education services will likely decline sharply in the short term, during which higher education will experience a devastating decrease in tuition and other sources of college revenues. Some estimates show a third of freshmen plan to take what’s called a ‘gap year’: i.e. accept entrance but not attend for a year. That’s a massive revenue loss. Some estimates foresee a 15%-30% decline in new student attendance, with another 5%-10% decline in transfer students, and a similar decline of 5%-10% in continuing students. In addition, the attendance by international students, the ‘cash cow’ for most colleges, will also decline sharply due to the Trump administration’s new rules.

Still other developments will sharply reduce college revenues. Students forced to attend classes via remote learning will demand lower tuition. One can expect a wave of legal suits as students seek to ‘claw back’ full tuition expenses. Other secondary sources of college revenues—from fees, on-campus room and board, endowment earnings and gifts, and sports revenues—also spell a looming revenue crunch.

A wave of college consolidations and closures is inevitable. And with student loan debt at $1.6 trillion it is unlikely that the federal government will introduce new aid through that channel. Nor will States increase their subsidization of public colleges, given the severe state budget deficits on the horizon.
In short, the economic crisis is about to assume more socio-economic dimensions and character: rent, child-care, education chaos will soon overlay the continuing unemployment problem and worsening recession. Social and political discontent, frustration, and anxiety are almost certainly to rise in turn in coming months as a consequence.

Global Recession & Sovereign Debt Defaults

The weakness of the global economy is yet another factor likely to ensure the US economy’s W-shape trajectory. As noted previously, with 90% of other countries in recession, global demand for US exports will remain weak or declining. In addition, global supply chains have also been severely disrupted by the health crisis, or even broken, and will not be restored soon. The global economy is suffering from deep problems of both demand and supply. This too is a unique historical event. Never before have demand and supply problems occurred congruently. Together, they increase the potential for a global depression.
Commodity producing economies have been hard hit, especially oil and metal producing countries. Many were in a recession well before the COVID health crisis. Global trade in general had stagnated, registering little to no growth in 2019, for the first time since modern records were kept. Many countries had over-extended their borrowing, expanding their sovereign debt loads during the last decade. This was money capital borrowed largely from western banks and capital markets (i.e. shadow banks).

Now, with global trade flat and declining, and prices for their export goods deflating in price as well, these debt-extended countries cannot earn sufficient income from exports in order to pay the principal and interest on their debt. As a result, several countries in the worst shape may soon default on their debt payment to western banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, and so on. Debt defaults potentially mean the same western financial institutions that loaned the funds now experience financial crises in turn. In such a manner, financial instability events abroad are often transmitted to the domestic US economy through its banking system. It would not be the first time, moreover, that foreign bank crashes have spilled over the US and rest of the world economy and in the process significantly exacerbated a recession already underway.

Theoretically, countries experiencing severe sovereign debt crises could borrow from the International Monetary Fund. However, the IMF has nowhere near the funds to accommodate multiple large sovereign defaults that occur simultaneously. Nor is it likely that the US and Europe will increase the IMF’s funding to enable it to do so. Once it becomes clear the IMF cannot handle a crisis of such potential dimensions, the global capitalist economy will slip even further toward global depression.

The further deterioration now already occurring in economic relations between the US and China may also potentially impact the Great Recession in the US, and ensure its continued W-Shape recovery. Trump’s trade pact with China signed December 2019 has proven thus far a colossal failure. The president declared at the deal’s signing it would mean $150 billion in China purchases of US goods in 2020—especially farm products, oil & gas, and manufactured goods. At mid-year,

China has purchased only $5 billion of the agreed $40 billion in farm products and only $14 billion of $85 billion in US manufactured goods. Trump’s promised $150 billion was never agreed to by China, even before the Covid pandemic struck the US economy in 2020. China never agreed to a dollar value of purchases of US exports, but announced it would purchase based on conditions in 2020-21. Trump’s $150 billion was typical Trump misrepresentation of a deal never made. At best China would purchase perhaps $40 billion in agricultural goods—i.e. about the level of it purchases before Trump launched a trade war with it in March 2018. Failure to deliver his exaggerated public promise in 2020 Trump turned on on China and embraced further his anti-China hard line advisors on trade and other matters. The former ‘trade war’ with China will likely transform now, in the wake of Covid, into a broader economic war with China. Furthermore, the deterioration of relations with China, set in motion by the current recession and the collapse of global trade, shows signs of spilling over to other political and even military affairs.

Permanent Industry Transformations

The COVID health crisis is accelerating the transformation of entire industries and sectors of the economy, US and global. As noted above, household consumption patterns are already changing fundamentally and will continue as changed even after the health crisis passes. Entire industries will shrink as a consequence. Company consolidations and downsizing are inevitable in airlines, cruise lines, and even public land transport. So too will companies fail, consolidate and restructure in the hospitality, leisure and hotel industries, in mall-based retail establishments, inside entertainment (movies, casinos, etc.) to name but the obvious. Sports and public entertainment companies are struggling to redefine their business models and how they bring their ‘product’ to the public for consumption. Even education—public and private—is undergoing a radical shift. Not so obvious is similar fundamental change in oil & energy industries, and later as well in manufacturing as supply chains are slowly returned to the US economy.

Not only will these changes significantly (and often negatively) impact employment levels and wage incomes, but business practices as well. Already businesses are instituting new cost cutting practices under the pressure of the health crisis and shutdowns. These practices will become permanent. And since much of the practices and cost cutting will focus on workers’ pay and benefits, more of what economists call ‘long term structural unemployment’ will result—in addition to the current ‘cyclical unemployment’ occurring due to the current recession.

An historic consequence of the current Great Recession precipitated by the COVID-19 health crisis is the accelerating introduction underway of what some call the Artificial Intelligence revolution. AI is about cost-cutting. It’s about new data accumulation, data processing and statistical evaluation, to allow software machines to make decisions previously made by human beings. AI will eliminate millions of low level decision-making by workers in both services and manufacturing. A 2017 report by the business consulting firm, McKinsey, predicted no less than 30% of all workers’ occupations will be severely impacted by AI by the end of the present decade. 30% of jobs will either disappear or have their hours reduced significantly. That means less wage income and less consumption still.

The important linkage to the current Great Recession 2.0 is that the introduction of AI by businesses will now speed up. What McKinsey formerly predicted for the late 2020s decade will now take place by mid-decade. The economic consequences for the next generation of US workers, the late Millennials and the GenZers will be serious, to say the least. After decades of the permeation of low pay, low benefits ‘contingent’ part time and temp jobs since the 1990s, after the impact of the 2008-09 crash and aftermath on employment, after the acceleration of ‘gig’ jobs with the Uberization of the capitalist economy since 2010, and after the even more serious negative economic effects of the current Great Recession 2.0, the tens of millions of US workers entering the labor force today and in coming years will have to face the transformation of another 30% of all occupations. The future does not portend very well for the 70 million millennials and GenZers. US neoliberal economic policies and the Great Recession 2.0 is accelerating the long term structural unemployment crisis of both the US and the global capitalist economy.

Return of Fiscal Austerity

The US federal budget deficit under Trump averaged more than a trillion dollars annually during his first three years in office. The federal national debt at the end of 2019 was $22.8 trillion. As of July 2020 it has risen to $26.5 trillion—and rising. Earlier projections in March were that it would increase by $3.7 trillion in 2020. That has already been exceeded. So, too, will projections for 2021, or another $2.1 trillion. The deficit and debt will likely rise to more than $4 trillion in this fiscal year and another $3 trillion in 2021. That means the current national debt within 18 months will reach $30 trillion. And that’s not counting the debt level rise for state and local governments, already $3 trillion; nor the debt carried on the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, balance sheet which is scheduled to rise another $3 trillion at minimum.

The point of presenting these statistics is that the US elites, sooner or later, will introduce a major austerity program. It will likely come later in 2021. And it will make little difference whether the administration that time is headed by Democrats or Republicans. It will come and it will target social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, education, housing, transport and other social programs.
A The first Great Recession provides a historical precedent. Obama’s recovery program in January 2009 provided for $787 billion in stimulus. But the joint Republican-Democrat austerity agreement introduced in August 2011 took back nearly twice that stimulus, or $1.5 trillion, in 2011-13. That austerity contributed significantly to the W-shape recovery from the 2008-09 economic crash and contraction—i.e. the first Great Recession. With the current deficit surge of $6 trillion to date, likely to increase to $9 to $10 trillion, the US economic elites will no doubt pursue a new austerity regime at some point within the next few years. That austerity will, like its predecessor, ensure at best a W-shape recovery typical of Great Recessions. At worst, it may prove the final event that pushes the US economy into another Great Depression.

Financial Instability

Those who deny that the US and global economy have already entered a second Great Recession offer the argument that the 2008-09 crash and recession was caused by the banking and financial crash of 2008-09, and therefore, since there has not yet been a financial crash, the economy at present is not in another Great Recession. But they are wrong.

Great Recessions are always associated with a financial crisis, but that crisis need not precede the deep contraction of the real, non-financial economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has played the role of a financial crash in driving the real economy into a contraction that is both quantitatively and qualitatively worse than a ‘normal’ recession. Furthermore, a subsequent banking system-financial crash is not impossible in the coming months, although not yet likely in 2020.
The preconditions for a financial crisis are in development. It won’t be precipitated by a residential mortgage crisis, as in 2007-08. But there are several potential candidates for precipitating a financial crash once again. Here are just a few:

  • The commercial property sector in the US is in deep trouble. Commercial property includes malls, office buildings, hotels, resorts, factories, and multiple tenant apartment complexes. Many incurred deep debt obligations as they expanded after 2010 or just kept operating by accruing more high cost debt when they were unprofitable. Today they are unable to continue servicing (i.e. paying principal and interest) on their excessive debt load. Many have begun the process of default and chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Banks and investors hold much of the commercial property debt that will never be repaid. Excess derivatives (credit default swaps) have been written on the debt. A debt crisis and wave of defaults and bankruptcies in 2020-21 in the commercial property sector could easily precipitate a subprime mortgage-like debt crisis as occurred in 2008-09. And derivatives obligations could transmit the crisis throughout the banking system—as it did in 2009. Regional and small community banks in the US are particularly vulnerable.

  • The oil and gas fracking industry, where junk bond and leverage loan debt had already risen to unstable levels by the advent of the COVID crisis. The collapse of world oil and gas prices—which began before the COVID-19 impact and continues—will render drillers and others unable to generate the income with which to service their debt. Already more than 200 companies in this sector are in default and bankruptcy proceedings. Again, regional banks that financed much of the expansion of fracking in Texas, the Dakotas, and Pennsylvania will be impacted severely by the defaults. Their financial instability could easily spread to other sectors of banking and finance in the US.

  • State and local governments, should Congress fail to appropriate sufficient bailout funding in its next round of fiscal spending in July 2020. State and local governments are capable of default and bankruptcy—unlike the Federal government, which is not. The US has a long history of state defaults associated with the onset of Great Depressions. This time around, state financial instability will quickly spill over to public pension funds, and from public to private pensions, and from there to the municipal bond markets with which state and local governments raise revenue by borrowing to fund deficits.

  • Global sovereign debt markets, as previously noted. Defaults on massive debt accumulated since 2010 by many countries could result in serious contagion effects on the private banking systems of the advanced economies, including the US, Europe, and Japan. Should the IMF fail to contain a chain of sovereign debt crises that could follow in the wake of the current Great Recession, a chain reaction of defaults across emerging market economies in particular has the potential to precipitate a global financial crisis.

History shows that financial crises often originate from unsuspected corners of the economy. The above candidates are the ‘known unknowns’. There may also lurk in the bowels of the capitalist global financial system still more ‘unknown unknowns’—i.e. what are sometimes called ‘black swan’ events.

Political Instability

The US and other countries are on new ground in terms of potential political instability. The piecemeal curtailment of democratic and civil rights has been progressing at least since the mid- 1990s. In the 21st century it has been accelerating, both in the US and across the globe. Recent years have seen a growing public confrontation between contending wings of the capitalist elites and their political operatives. Institutions of even limited capitalist democracy are under attack and atrophying. And now political instability is growing as well at both the institutional and grass roots levels. One should not underestimate the potential for even more intense political confrontation among elites, or between segments of the US population itself, from having a negative impact on the current economic crisis and 2nd Great Recession. A Trump ‘October Surprise’ or a November 2020 constitutional crisis are no longer beyond the realm of the possible, but even likely.

The expectations of both households and business may serve as transmission mechanisms propagating political instability into more economic and financial instability. Political instability has the effect of freezing up business investment and therefore employment recovery. It has the further effect of causing households to hoard what income they have and raise the savings rate—at the expense of consumption. It also leads to government inaction on the policy necessary to provide stimulus for recovery.

On a global front, political instability may even assume a global dimension. History in general, and US history in particular, reveals that US presidents seek to divert public attention from domestic economic and social problems by provoking foreign wars. Targets for US attack, in the short term, are Iran and Venezuela—especially the latter, which is more susceptible to US military action. But tomorrow, in 2021 and after, it could well be Russia (Ukraine or Baltics US provocations), North Korea (a US attack on its nuclear facilities) or China (a US naval confrontation in the South China sea)—irrespective of the unlikely success of such ventures.

Like another financial-banking crash, a major political instability event—domestic or foreign—could easily send an already weak US economy struggling in the midst of a Great Recession into the abyss of the first Great Depression of the 21st century.

Published:7/19/2020 8:31:25 PM
[Markets] Railway Politics: India Gets Lost Along The New Silk Roads Railway Politics: India Gets Lost Along The New Silk Roads Tyler Durden Sun, 07/19/2020 - 19:30

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

The ground is quickly shifting in Asia and India is quickly finding itself in a difficult position.

For years India has dithered and played games over central Asian development. Since the rise of Narendra Modi as India’s leader, he has played the game of courting both the West and the East to wheedle India a better position.

Modi shifted India back towards a pro-West position immediately after taking over. He’s famously dragged his feet on major infrastructure projects in Central Asia, continuing India’s dreams of outmaneuvering China to become the central power of the Heartland.

So, color me not shocked to see just days after the $400+ billion mega-deal between China and Iran is announced to be close to completion, Iran gives India the boot over delays involving an important infrastructure project.

Four years after India and Iran signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.

India has played footsie with Iran for two years now over major projects like this rail line since President Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA and began his maximum pressure campaign on Iran.

This all comes down to Modi who has pulled India away from Iran as the pressure ramps up versus being one of the few countries willing to flout U.S. sanctions back in 2012/3 when President Obama put them on the first time.

Back then India and Iran traded oil for goods and/or local currency. India is still a major energy importer and they’ve purposefully strained relations with their energy-rich neighbor.

Go back to November 2017 when Gazprom announced preliminary work on a new version of the long-delayed IPI Pipeline — Iran, Pakistan, India. Since that announcement very little work has been done.

The IPI pipeline, like other major Russian pipelines, like South Stream, Nordstream 2 and Turkstream, has long been fought aggressively by the U.S. going back 20 years.

We’ve pushed for the TAPI Pipeline to come down from Turkmenistan and through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. And, indeed, the Turkmen national gas company has laid the first 200 miles of the project to the Afghan border but it cannot secure the funding to go further.

Urged on by the U.S. to begin the project, which was supposed to be finished this year, Turkmenistan is now stuck with an unfinished, uneconomical boondoggle since the U.S. could never deliver on its promises to control the ground needed in Afghanistan nor cut a deal with the Taliban to ensure its passage.

The whole thing is a mess while the IPI pipeline remains stalled, exactly as Washington wants it.

So now, with China moving in to secure Iran’s future, cementing their strategic partnership with both Iran and Russia, it’s clear Iran has run out of patience with Modi’s games.

India, especially under Modi, has resisted China’s One Belt, One Road program, being one of the few nations to not send a head of state to the first OBOR summit in 2018. Even the U.S. sent an undersecretary, 3rd class to monitor things.

But this is par for the course with India. They feel entitled to be the major hub in any future trade routes and that entitlement is fueled by U.S. promises of future rewards.

Before their opposition to OBOR, which makes sense given the strained relations between India and China, India was opposed to being a strong partner in the North South Transport Corridor (NSTC) which connects St. Petersburg as well as points east in Russia, with a termination point at the Iranian port at Bandar Abbas as well at Chabahar.

From there goods could traverse the Arabian Sea to Mumbai. The point of the NTSC is to create an overland route which drastically cuts down the time to bring goods from Russia to and from Southern Asia and the Pacific Rim.

It is an important part of OBOR making Iran, not India the key geographical component to Eurasian connectivity and economic development.

This railway from Chabahar to Zahedan was, in part, a concession to India as a spur off the NTSC to open up Afghanistan and satisfy its need to retain some semblance of control over the big picture.

India and Iran have a relationship over Chabahar itself, upgrading its capacity. This was a major breakthrough for the Asian powers which India has now, effectively, thrown away because Trump told them to.

Because it should be clear by now that despite still buying Russian military hardware, Modi chose Trump over its neighbors to the west and east. His aggression in Kashmir last year along with slow-walking this rail line, he’s been holding up central Asian integration for years, including his disastrous opening salvo in the globalist’s war on cash.

Modi has been a good little foot soldier for the West.

Sure he kicks every once in a while, but ultimately, he does what the U.S. wants him to do.

The problem for him and India is now that Trump has raised the stakes on China as well as Europe in the hopes of keeping the petrodollar system afloat, he’s also trying to pull the U.S. out of region physically, leaving only the financial weapons behind.

Trump wants out of Afghanistan. The U.S. will be forced out of Iraq and Syria. Iran will weather whatever Israel throws at them. Trump has already proven that he’s willing to fund proxies like the Saudis and the Kurds but he’s not willing to involve the U.S. in an actual shooting war.

And because of this India’s foreign policy will eventually have to reconcile with its neighbors rather than its bigger dreams of replacing China as the rising power in Asia.

Simply put, look at the Heartland now. Western influence is collapsing. Not only does Trump want out of Afghanistan but Pakistan isn’t coming back into the Saudi/U.S. orbit any time soon.

China just splashed another $11 billion into Pakistan while its huge deal with Iran all but cuts the Saudis out of future oil exports to China. And if the Saudis do want to do business with China it will be on China’s terms.

And those terms will be settled in yuan, not dollars.

This is why I said last week that Trump has reaped the whirlwind in his dubious foreign policy towards the Middle East and Asia.

In article after article I patiently explained how and why Trump and the U.S. had no real leverage over Iran short of bombing the country back to the stone age. That would never happen on Trump’s watch because Iran’s leadership would never do anything so overt as to invite that response.

Even the attack on the U.S. bases in Iraq in January in response to Trump’s miscalculated assassination of General Qassem Soleimani was measured, precise and, officially, without U.S. casualties. If there was ever a moment for the Iranians to make a strategic mistake that invited Trump’s wrath, it was that.

And once his bluff was called there, that was the end of Energy Dominance and the entire strategy of isolating Iran.

Modi to me looks like another Erdogan, a political cockroach who thinks geography gives him more leverage than it actually does. He keeps overplaying his hand and now Iran has chopped it off for being an unreliable partner.

The railway to Afghanistan gets built with Chinese money through the AIIB — Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. AIIB was developed to be a competitor to the U.S.-led Asian Development Bank (ADB) and it just got a major scalp.

China and Russia will have access to not only the ports at Bandar Abbas and Chabahar but also Gwadar near the Iran/Pakistan border in Balochistan, which China has turned into a focal point for OBOR.

By the time Modi is done playing his games India will have lost a lot of ground. Maybe that’s why despite violent clashes along the disputed border with China, peace quickly ensued.

Because India can’t afford to push China away given the size of their trade relations. I’m sure Trump is telling Modi the U.S. will substitute in goods from the U.S. but that’s going to be a hard sell with China now a major partner with its neighbor to the north and west.

The new silk roads are coming. India to me looks lost.

*   *  *

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Published:7/19/2020 6:31:45 PM
[Markets] Mueller And Weissmann Op-Eds Greatly At Odds With Their Report And Evidence Mueller And Weissmann Op-Eds Greatly At Odds With Their Report And Evidence Tyler Durden Sat, 07/18/2020 - 18:30

Submitted by Aaron Mate of Real Clear Investigations

In response to President Trump's commutation of Roger Stone's prison sentence last week, the Russia investigation's two lead prosecutors published op-eds in the nation’s top newspapers that fueled the collusion narrative their own investigation failed to validate. As they chided Stone and others for alleged deceptions, both Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and one of his top deputies, Andrew Weissmann, made claims greatly at odds with their official report, discrepancies that they did not acknowledge.

Neither responded to emailed requests Thursday for comment.

The Mueller op-ed, published in the Washington Post, does not just take aim at Stone – who was convicted for lying about his failed efforts to make contact with WikiLeaks regarding emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Mueller focuses, instead, on what he calls "broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper."

Andrew Weissmann: Now the prosecutor argues Roger Stone should be brought "before a grand jury," something his probe could have done earlier but didn't.

In a bid to refute that criticism, Mueller begins by defending the FBI's justification for launching the probe. "By late 2016," he writes, "the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate," Hillary Clinton. The campaign adviser is George Papadopoulos, whose barroom conversation with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer served as the basis for the Trump-Russia probe. (Downer passed this tip to the U.S. government in late July – though Mueller writes "late 2016.")

Contrary to Mueller's assertion, the record shows the FBI was not acting on any evidence that "the Russians had signaled" anything to Papadopoulos, but instead on the Australian diplomat's recounting of vague hearsay -- which Papadopoulos never relayed to anyone else in the Trump campaign. The bureau’s own documents make this clear. The recently declassified FBI electronic communication (EC) that officially opened its Russia investigation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, states that Downer had told the U.S. government that Papadopoulos had "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist" the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging, yet "unclear," information about Clinton and President Obama. Not only was this tip vague, there was no evidence that the "some kind of suggestion" actually came from the Russian government or even a Russian national.

George Papadopoulos: Mueller had no evidence that "the Russians had signaled" anything to the junior Trump adviser. But the Special Counsel wrote otherwise in the Washington Post on Saturday.

Instead, Downer was relaying what he claims Papadopoulos told him about an unspecified suggestion he had received of Russian assistance. Papadopoulos later told the FBI that the suggestion came from a conversation with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic. But Downer did not hear about Mifsud at the time, and his tip to the FBI accordingly made no mention of him. Regardless of the exact date it learned of Mifsud, the U.S. government has never formally claimed or presented evidence that he was a Russian government representative or was relaying information that he had received from Russia. (After leaving office, former FBI Director James B. Comey claimed without evidence that Mifsud was “a Russian agent” in a Washington Post op-ed.)

The Mueller Report conspicuously avoided such a label. It instead stated that Mifsud had suspected "connections to Russia." Its inventory of such connections is this: Mifsud was apparently in touch with "a one-time employee" of the Internet Research Agency (the private Russian social media company that Mueller indicted before dropping the case) about "possibly meeting in Russia," but the investigation "did not identify evidence of them meeting." Mifsud was also apparently in contact with a social media account "linked to an employee of the Russian Ministry of Defense." At his congressional hearing one year ago, Mueller declined to discuss Mifsud's identity or explain why the FBI had not arrested him after interviewing him in Washington, D.C., in February 2017. Mueller also did not explain why his office did not charge Mifsud for perjury despite claiming in its final report that he had made false statements.

Joseph Mifsud: The Mueller Report conspicuously avoided labeling him a "Russian agent," but that hasn't stopped Mueller from implying otherwise.

Recently declassified December 2017 testimony from Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who helped launch and oversee the Russia probe, support these details.

Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee, McCabe said the Papadopoulos-Mifsud tip was not considered evidence of a Russia connection. Asked to explain why the FBI never sought a FISA surveillance warrant on Papadopoulos, McCabe responded: "Papadopoulos' comment didn't particularly indicate that he was the person that had had -- that was interacting with the Russians." That admission not only contradicts Mueller's claim that the "FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled" something, it raises an important question for his team to answer: Why did the FBI open – and continue – the Trump-Russia investigation based on a hearsay comment from a Trump adviser whom they did not believe was actually interacting with Russia?

After claiming that the collusion investigation was predicated on evidence of Russian outreach to the Trump campaign, Mueller's op-ed turns to Roger Stone. The veteran Republican operative, Mueller writes, "lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks," as well as about "the existence of written communications with his intermediary."

Roger Stone (center): A new Mueller claim is at odds with his investigation’s failure to establish that Stone had an intermediary to WikiLeaks.

But that claim from Mueller is at odds with his investigation’s failure to establish that Stone had an intermediary to WikiLeaks. In both public and private, Stone claimed to have intermediaries, but as the Mueller team found out, they were two individuals, Randy Credico and Jerome Corsi, who never made contact with WikiLeaks. The only interaction that either Credico or Corsi had with WikiLeaks during the campaign came when Credico interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on his radio show in August 2016. And the only known contact between Stone and WikiLeaks before the election came when WikiLeaks wrote Stone, in a Twitter message, to cease making "false claims of association." This exchange was excluded from Stone's indictment and the Mueller Report, and Mueller's op-ed is no different.

Mueller also makes a striking claim about Stone's supposed Russian contacts and foreknowledge of WikiLeaks releases. "Stone became a central figure in our investigation," Mueller writes, "for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers."

Jerome Corsi: Evidence showed he had no contact with WikiLeaks and no inside information of its plans, despite Weissmann's suggestion to the contrary now.

While Stone claimed advance knowledge, Mueller omits that he never asserted that Stone actually had such knowledge.

Mueller's reference to communication with Russian agents is likely the Twitter messages exchanged with Guccifer 2.0, the online persona that Mueller alleges was a front for Russian intelligence. Yet the only known communication between the two is in fact exculpatory for Stone. Stone sent Guccifer 2.0 just three short messages. None mentioned the stolen DNC emails. The closest they came to coordination was when Stone asked Guccifer 2.0 to retweet an article in The Hill. Mueller implies that all of this was grounds to investigate Stone, when it was evidence that Stone's contact with Guccifer 2.0 was minimal and inconsequential.

Three days after Mueller’s piece was published, the top prosecutor on his team, Andrew Weissmann, published an op-ed in the New York Times that went even further. While Mueller's article tried to defend his investigation, Weissmann effectively called for it to continue: Stone, Weissmann argued, should be brought "before a grand jury."

Weissmann – now a legal analyst for MSNBC and preparing for the September publication of his memoir on the Mueller probe -- bases his argument on the possibility that Stone hid incriminating information in order to protect Trump. Stone, Weissmann claimed (approvingly quoting the sentencing federal judge), "had been prosecuted for 'covering up for the president.'" Stone, Weissmann added, was found guilty of "lying to Congress about the coordination between the Trump 2016 campaign, Mr. Stone, WikiLeaks and Russia," and putting him before a grand jury would "get at the truth of why he lied."

The Mueller Report: It doesn't agree with what its lead author and his deputy write now.

Yet Stone's own case – and, of course the Mueller Report, which found no conspiracy -- underscored that there was no such "coordination," which is presumably why Stone was never accused, let alone convicted, of lying about it. The word "coordination" only appears once in his indictment: in describing the FBI investigation of potential Trump-Russia collusion, not in describing anything to do with Stone.

Stone was instead convicted of making false statements to Congress about his failed efforts to obtain information about WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. Stone's case and trial underscored that these efforts went nowhere: Both individuals whom he tapped as his intermediaries, Corsi and Credico, had no contact with WikiLeaks and no inside information of its plans. The suggestion to the contrary by Weissmann in the New York Times' op-ed section is contradicted by the paper's own reporting on Stone's trial last year, when it noted that Stone "had no real ties to WikiLeaks."

Despite this, Weissmann goes on to suggest, without evidence, that Stone still has something to hide. "If there was nothing nefarious about his coordination efforts, why did he lie about them to Congress?" the investigator writes. "This question remains unanswered, as the Mueller report notes." Yet the Mueller team has already answered Weissmann's question. In revealing that the Trump campaign tried to learn about WikiLeaks' plans through Stone – who had no inside information – Weissmann and his colleagues showed that the campaign had no "coordination" with WikiLeaks and no advance knowledge of its publications.

Weissmann fails to mention that his own team of prosecutors consciously avoided the very action that he is now advocating. The Mueller team never interviewed Stone or tried to bring him before a grand jury after an exhaustive investigation of Stone and his associates. By November 2018, CNN reported, "[r]oughly a dozen of Stone's current and former associates have been contacted by Mueller's team for interviews or to testify before the grand jury."

The Mueller team's pursuit of Stone included an engagement with Corsi that descended into farce. The Mueller investigators, the Washington Post later reported, spent more than two months "chasing tantalizing leads offered by Corsi," even "dispatch[ing] FBI agents around the country to interview potential witnesses," but, after "expending valuable government money and precious time," found "themselves unable to untangle Corsi’s assertions." This included multiple sessions with Corsi where Mueller prosecutors "spent weeks coaxing, cajoling and admonishing the conspiracy theorist, as they pressed him to stick to facts and not reconstruct stories." They even delved into philosophical territory:  "At times, they had debated the nature of memory itself."

If, after all of this effort, Weissmann and the Mueller team thought that Stone was coordinating with WikiLeaks or had something to hide, they could have questioned him or brought him before a grand jury. But by the end of 2018, Stone was no longer claiming that he had a back channel to WikiLeaks and had corrected his prior statements to the contrary. Presumably, the Mueller team had reached the same conclusion after questioning scores of Stone's associates and chasing down leads from coast to coast. And presumably, they would have expected Stone to tell them the same story under oath.

That would have negated their ability to prosecute him, and it would have denied them an opportunity to advance the collusion theory with one final indictment. In January 2019, the Mueller team chose an off-ramp: Stone was indicted for making false statements to a House inquiry all the way back in September 2017. The Mueller team released a lengthy indictment that suggested a collusion angle, and conducted an early morning SWAT raid on Stone's Florida home with television cameras present.

Stone's January 2019 indictment appeared to be the Mueller probe's final act, the last in a series of cases that publicly implied collusion without ever alleging that such collusion occurred. These two op-eds suggests that effort continues.

Weissmann and Mueller's new public statements about Stone and the Russia investigation are only the latest in a series of contributions to the collusion narrative. In response, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has said that he will seek Mueller's testimony. If Weissmann is summoned as well, this would be a critical opportunity, through sworn testimony under penalty of perjury, to get to the bottom of claims about the Russia investigation – although perhaps not the ones that the prosecutors behind it want the public to focus on.

Published:7/18/2020 5:53:50 PM
[Entertainment] Devon Terrell Never Thought He'd Get the Chance to Play King Arthur Until Cursed Came Along CursedDevon Terrell has just a five film or TV credits to his name, two of them pretty famous roles. In Barry, he played Barack Obama, and his most recent one is another famous leader, King Arthur in...
Published:7/18/2020 9:21:54 AM
[In The News] Senate Panel Releases FBI Memo Related To Mystery Source For Steele Dossier

By Chuck Ross -

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday released a newly declassified FBI memo from an interview with the primary source for Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the memo “indicates that the reliability of the dossier was completely destroyed” after the interviews, which were conducted ...

Senate Panel Releases FBI Memo Related To Mystery Source For Steele Dossier 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:7/18/2020 7:51:50 AM
[Markets] Atlanta Congressman & Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Dead At 80 Atlanta Congressman & Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Dead At 80 Tyler Durden Sat, 07/18/2020 - 08:45

Nearly nine months to the day after his fellow longtime Democratic leader, Congressional colleague and Trump nemesis Elijah Cummings succumbed to a rare form of cancer, longtime Atlanta Congressman Rep. John Lewis, who represented Georgia's 5th district for more than 30 years, has died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Lewis, whose district includes 3/4ths of the city of Atlanta, first came to national prominence as the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee - otherwise known as SNCC - in the aerly 1960s. He became a leader in the national civil rights movement and was the youngest speaker during the March on Washington in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech. He helped lead the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama's capital.

He was also the last living member of the “Big Six” group of civil rights organizers who led the March on Washington.

The Congressman reportedly first learned of his Stage IV pancreatic cancer in December during a routine medical visit.

Lewis was born the son of sharecroppers on Feb. 21, 1940. He and his siblings grew up working on the family farm in Troy, Ala. Like many other cities in the southern US at the time, Troy was legally segregated by race.

Lewis's family released a statement confirming his death and expressing their tremendous grief:

“It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis. He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother. He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being. He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America. He will be deeply missed.”

Condolences poured in on twitter from politicians, civil rights figures and others.

On the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma in 2015, Lewis marched with then-President Barack Obama on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where he and the other marchers faced off against Sheriff Jim Clark and a squad of police tasked with breaking up the peaceful march.

Obama bestowed a presidential medal of freedom on Lewis back in 2010.

Martin Luther King's son was one of the civil rights icons who weighed in.

Billary released a statement offering their condolences. Somehow, they failed to mention the fact that Bill's political career started in the early days of post-Jim Crow south, and his tough on crime policies helped fill America's jails with nonviolent offenders, often black men.

President Obama once said that Lewis was one of his "heroes" and that "I was only there because of the sacrifices he made".

Published:7/18/2020 7:51:50 AM
[Markets] NYT Interviews 4 'Twenty-Somethings' Who Claim Responsibility For Twitter Hack NYT Interviews 4 'Twenty-Somethings' Who Claim Responsibility For Twitter Hack Tyler Durden Fri, 07/17/2020 - 17:45

As we suspected, claims that the Twitter hack was perpetrated by a state actor because it was 'among the most sophisticated hacks in history' have proven suspect, as the New York Times has apparently tracked down a group of hackers (all of whom refused to reveal their identities even to the paper's reporters, a major no-no when using anonymous sources) who say they helped perpetrate Wednesday's hack, which saw dozens of accounts including high-profile 'blue checkmark' accounts belonging to Joe Biden's campaign, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others.

Among other things, the hack has revived fears about foreign manipulation and "disinformation" on social media (or at least that's what the mainstream media has reported).

But if the NYT has this right, the hack was actually perpetrated by a bunch of bored twenty somethings working with a mysterious mastermind only identified by the screenname "Kirk". Though that sn betrays the mastermind's status as an avowed Trekkie, it conveys little else. In total, the NYT says it spoke with four people who claimed to be involved in the attack.

According to the NYT, it connected with the hackers via a security researcher in California named Haseeb Awan who had been communicating with them. The hackers had previously targeted a bitcoin-related company Awan once owned, and had once unsuccessfully targeted his current company.

Why Awan would want to help these hackers after they purportedly tried to destroy his livelihood doesn't exactly make sense to us. But the two individuals who spoke with the Times - one who went by the screenname "lol" and another who went by the screenname "ever so anxious" - are both twentysomethings, one of whom lives in California, and the other somewhere in England. One claimed to still be living in his mother's basement.

As if all of this background didn't sound strange enough, the NYT reported that the two hackers claimed they met their co-conspirators via a penchant for owning and/or selling rare screen names on social media, names like @y or @6.

The interviews indicate that the attack was not the work of a nation-state or a sophisticated group of hackers. Instead, it was done by a group of young people — one of whom says he lives at home with his mother — who got to know one another because of their obsession with owning early or unusual screen names, particularly one letter or number, like @y or @6.  

But after committing fraud on such a massive scale, why would these men come forward? Their explanation is vague and not entirely convincing.

They said they wanted to get out in front of the story and get it on the record that they didn't participate in the hacks of the big-name blue checkmarks who helped pull in most of the bitcoin when the fraudulent tweets were sent. Kirk did that solo, they said. But the story doesn't reveal anything about the cybercriminals behind the attack. Perhaps they have a reason to worry that the true story of their exploits will eventually leak, either to the press, or to law enforcement.

Or might this just be another classic bit of misdirection? To be sure, the NYT has chat logs and other evidence backing up its reporting.

"I just wanted to tell you my story because i think you might be able to clear some thing up about me and ever so anxious,” “lol” said in a chat on Discord, where he shared all the logs of his conversation with Kirk and proved his ownership of the cryptocurrency accounts he used to transact with Kirk.

“lol” did not confirm his real-world identity, but he said he lived on the West Coast and was in his 20s. “ever so anxious” said he was 21 and lived in the south of England with his mother.

Investigators looking into the attacks said several of the details given by the hackers lined up with what they have learned so far, including Kirk’s involvement both in the big hacks later in the day and the lower-profile attacks early on Wednesday.

The men were able to convince the NYT reporters of their credibility by sharing chat logs showing the planning and execution of the attack with "Kirk". They also reportedly demonstrated that they had control over the bitcoin wallet where the stolen coins had been sent.

But something here just doesn't sound right. The Times says right at the beginning that lol didn't trust Kirk's claim of being an employee at Twitter. Instead, lol concluded, he probably gained access in some other way.

A Twitter hacking scheme that targeted political, corporate and cultural elites this week began with a teasing message between two hackers late Tuesday on the online messaging platform Discord.

OAKLAND, Calif. — yoo

bro, wrote a user named “Kirk,” according to a screenshot of the conversation shared with The New York Times.

i work at twitter

don’t show this to anyone

seriously

He then demonstrated that he could take control of valuable Twitter addresses — the sort of thing that would require insider access to the company’s computer network.

The hacker who received the message, using the screen name “lol,” decided over the next 24 hours that Kirk did not actually work for Twitter because he was too willing to damage the company. But Kirk did have access to Twitter’s most sensitive tools, which allowed him to take control of almost any Twitter address, including those of former President Barack Obama, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elon Musk and many other celebrities.

But if a Twitter insider didn't mastermind the attack, then who did?

Wait a minute...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published:7/17/2020 4:47:48 PM
[Politics] Biden: Trump 'Ignored' Pandemic Playbook Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee for the November election, said President Donald Trump "ignored" a "playbook" left for him by the previous administration on how to deal with a pandemic. "President Obama and I left a... Published:7/17/2020 10:46:02 AM
[Politics] Senate GOP Continue Biden, Russia Probes Ahead of Election Republicans in the Senate are gearing up to resume investigations of Obama-era officials and people tied to them, including Hunter Biden, as the November election draws closer. Published:7/17/2020 9:45:39 AM
[] Obama DOD Started 'Indoctrinating Our Troops' on Racism and 'Privilege,' New Docs Show Published:7/16/2020 5:21:56 PM
[Markets] The FBI Has Launched An Official Inquiry Into Last Night's Twitter Hack The FBI Has Launched An Official Inquiry Into Last Night's Twitter Hack Tyler Durden Thu, 07/16/2020 - 16:31

The FBI has now launched an official inquiry into last night's massive security breach and hack at Twitter, according to Reuters.

The FBI said earlier today:  “We are aware of today’s security incident involving several Twitter accounts belonging to high profile individuals. The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud.”

Also today, Twitter has commented that there is "no evidence that attackers accessed the passwords of its users," according to Bloomberg. Regardless, the company said it's locking any accounts that have attempted to change its password during the past 30 days anyway. 

And while they may not have gotten passwords - the real question is whether or not they got the DMs...

By now, you probably already know about the massive Twitter hack that took place yesterday where, in summary, the following took place:

  • A massive hack which allegedly has originated from a Twitter employee with access to the user management panel affected hundreds of billionaires and politicians, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa, Apple, Uber, Jeff Bezos, Benjamin Netanyahu

  • Tweets urged people to send money to a Bitcoin address; over $113,000 has been sent so far

  • Twitter has investigated and appears to have resolved most of the issue after taking down the offending Tweets and restoring access to the site for those with blue checkmarks, all of whom were previously shut down from the site

For the full details on the hack, you can read our report on it here. In addition to the hack, a subplot emerged last night when we reported that sources "close to or inside" the underground hacking community leaked a screenshot of what is allegedly an internal software panel used by Twitter to interact with user accounts. 

Source: Vice

The tool is said to be used to help change ownership of popular accounts and, in the case of the hack, was said to play a role in usurping the high profile accounts involved. Screenshots of the supposed internal software are being aggressively pursued and deleted from Twitter by Twitter itself, with the company claiming that they violate the platform's rules.

Of particular interest are the buttons labeled "SEARCH BLACKLIST" and "TRENDS BLACKLIST".

We asked last night: Could these be tools actively used by Twitter to censor what Tweets and topics appear during searches and on its trends page?

Maybe the FBI will find some answers. We look forward to their findings...

Published:7/16/2020 3:40:47 PM
[Democrats] Kaine Takes Shot at Obama Over Failure to Protect 2016 Election

Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D.) slammed the Obama administration for its failure to respond to Russian interference during the 2016 election.

The post Kaine Takes Shot at Obama Over Failure to Protect 2016 Election appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/16/2020 12:46:39 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Trump presses attack on Biden’s war on the suburbs (Paul Mirengoff) Yesterday, we asked whether President Trump will make Joe Biden’s war on the suburbs an issue in this campaign. Today, Stanley Kurtz reports that Trump already has. In a speech Wednesday in Atlanta on “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure,” the president emphasized his determination to eliminate President Obama’s radical and legally baseless rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). Trump stressed Biden’s determination to “hold hostage billions in federal Surface Transportation Grants Published:7/16/2020 12:10:56 PM
[] National Association of Police Organizations rewards Trump with endorsement for support of cops Published:7/16/2020 10:09:31 AM
[IJR] National Association of Police Organizations Endorses Trump, After Previous Support of Obama and Biden "Our endorsement recognizes your steadfast and very public support for our men and women on the front lines." Published:7/16/2020 8:50:08 AM
[Markets] US Futures Slide As Chinese Stocks Crash US Futures Slide As Chinese Stocks Crash Tyler Durden Thu, 07/16/2020 - 07:26

S&P futures slipped back under 3,200 and Chinese stocks finally cracked overnight, after a surprise drop in China’s retail sales signaled a bumpy economic recovery, with investors now turning to for guidance from the ECB on on its massive stimulus program. The dollar jumped and Treasury yields drifted lower.

Nasdaq futures led declines among the main American equity benchmarks, with Twitter plunging 6.6% in the premarket as hackers accessed its internal systems to hijack some of the platform’s top voices including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency. Tesla dropped 4.9% as its vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the second quarter, according to data from a marketing research firm.

Bank of America Corp shares edged lower after it reported a more than 50% decline in second-quarter profit, setting aside $4 billion for potential loan losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic. Morgan Stanley is due to report quarterly results later in the day, wrapping up what has been a mixed bag of quarterly earnings updates from the top six U.S. lenders. Johnson & Johnson was flat as it posted a 35.3% fall in quarterly profit as demand for its medical devices was hammered by hospitals putting off non-urgent procedures such as knee and hip replacement. Diversified manufacturer Honeywell and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) are also slated to report their quarterly results on Thursday.

Stock markets in Asia and Europe also fell earlier in the day after data showed China's retail sales fell 1.8% in June.

Asian stocks fell, led by communications and health care, after rising in the last session. Most markets in the region were down, with Shanghai Composite dropping 4.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index falling 2%, while India's S&P BSE Sensex Index gained 0.5%. Trading volume for MSCI Asia Pacific Index members was 20% above the monthly average for this time of the day. The Topix declined 0.7%, with Yoshimura Food Holdings and ITmedia falling the most. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 4.5%, with China Life and Nacity Property Service posting the biggest slides.

The slump in tech shares and the reminder of the long road ahead to a full global recovery is quashing optimism seen earlier in the week spurred by progress in developing a coronavirus vaccine. While China is experiencing a modest domestic recovery, it remains vulnerable to setbacks as shutdowns continue to hamper activity across the globe.

“The problem is, this is still uneven,” Helen Qiao, chief greater China economist at Bank of America Corp., said on Bloomberg TV, referring to the latest data. “It is hard to see how China can remain on a firm footing at a time when the rest of the world is still coping with a very deep recession.”

In macro, the dollar rose against all Group-of-10 peers and the euro fell to a two-day low in European hours as risk sentiment worsened and given positioning ahead of the ECB. The central bank is widely expected to keep its QE program unchanged at 1.35 trillion euros, supplemented by negative interest rates and generous long-term loans to banks. The Swiss franc and the yen held up well, in line with familiar risk-off patterns; the Norwegian krone was the worst Group-of-10 performer as oil prices edged lower after closing at a four-month high; the OPEC+ alliance confirmed it would start tapering output cuts from next month. The Australian dollar fell as traders focused on the upward revision of job losses in May and a record spike in coronavirus cases in the nation’s second-most populous state.

In rates, 10Y Treasurues were modestly higher, with 10Y yields at 0.62% last. Gilts edged higher after Britain ramped up its bond sale plan by another 110 billion pounds, which was less than the 115 billion pounds estimated in a Bloomberg survey of primary dealers. Most regional bonds climbed ahead of the ECB’s policy decision, where it’s expected to keep its emergency bond-buying program unchanged. President Christine Lagarde will likely face questions over whether the current level of support is sufficient.

Looking at the day ahead now, the ECB meeting and President Lagarde’s subsequent press conference are likely to be the highlights. Other central bank speakers today include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic and Evans. Data releases include June’s retail sales, the weekly initial jobless claims, the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook survey for July, and the NAHB housing market index for July. Earnings releases will include Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Bank of America, Abbott Laboratories and Morgan Stanley.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.8% to 3,194.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1% to 370.26
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to -0.45%
  • Euro down 0.07% to $1.1404
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 1.1 bps to 1.074%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.4 bps to 0.426%
  • MXAP down 1.5% to 164.16
  • MXAPJ down 1.8% to 538.13
  • Nikkei down 0.8% to 22,770.36
  • Topix down 0.7% to 1,579.06
  • Hang Seng Index down 2% to 24,970.69
  • Shanghai Composite down 4.5% to 3,210.10
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 36,212.32
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 6,010.86
  • Kospi down 0.8% to 2,183.76
  • Brent futures down 0.9% to $43.38/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,805.32
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 96.18

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Tokyo joined Australia’s second-biggest state in posting record coronavirus cases as second waves spread in several hotspots
  • The Chinese economy expanded 3.2% in the second quarter from a year ago as the nation returned to growth, but the economy remains 1.6% smaller than a year ago and details showed the recovery was uneven, with a contraction in retail sales continuing in June
  • As countries across Asia Pacific struggle with resurgences of the coronavirus, one data point is steering government responses: the share of cases with no clear indication of how infection occurred
  • For all the pressure on U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to explain how he’ll repair public finances ravaged by the coronavirus, investors are lending the money with very few questions
  • A relentlessly expanding physical hoard of bullion stored in London and New York means exchange-traded funds have usurped managed money in the futures market as the key driver of the price of the shiny metal
  • The number of hours worked in the U.K. economy fell the most on the record in the coronavirus lockdown, underlining the risk facing the labor market as government income support is phased out

Asian stocks traded negatively as the recent vaccine optimism that underpinned global stocks took a back seat to the slew of tier-1 releases in the region including Australian Employment numbers, as well as Chinese GDP, Industrial Production and Retail Sales data. ASX 200 (-0.7%) was subdued with underperformance seen in commodity names and amid rumours of a potential Stage 4 lockdown surrounding Victoria state where its capital Melbourne is currently under stage 3 restrictions. Nikkei 225 (-0.8%) was pressured by recent detrimental currency flows and after falling short of the 23K status, while KOSPI (-0.6%) also declined after the BoK kept rates unchanged at 0.5% as expected and provided a grim tone on the economy. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (-2.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (-4.5%) failed to benefit from the mostly better than expected Chinese data in which GDP and Industrial Production topped estimates but Retail Sales disappointed and showed a surprise contraction which led to concerns related to consumer demand and an uneven recovery. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher amid the negative mood across stocks and improved demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs.

Top Asian News

  • Apple Supplier JDI Surges as CEO Reveals Mobile OLED Talks
  • Worst China Stocks Selloff Since February Caps Brutal Reversal
  • Hong Kong Sees Record 63 Local Virus Cases in Swelling Wave
  • Thai Finance Minister Quits in Cabinet Shake-Up Amid Slump

European equities have started the session on the backfoot (Eurostoxx 50 -0.7%) as markets take a breather from some of the recent vaccine-inspired gains. Macro newsflow from a European perspective has been light as markets look ahead to the latest policy announcement from the ECB today and perhaps more importantly the upcoming negotiations on the EU recovery fund and budget. In terms of the composition of losses in Europe, all sectors trade lower with the exception of oil & gas names which trade closer to the unchanged mark post-yesterday’s JMMC agreement while telecom names are erring higher as well. The laggard in Europe is Food & Beverage with Heineken (-2.5%) a noteworthy underperformer after the Co. reported a 16% decline in H1 sales. Elsewhere, for the luxury sector, Richemont (-5.3%) sit near the foot of the Stoxx 600 after posting a near 50% decline in Q1 trading revenue in what was a particularly bleak earnings report. Other movers include Zalando (+2.1%) and Atos (-1.7%) post-earnings, whilst Deutsche Lufthansa (-3.0%) lag other travel & leisure names despite noting that it hopes to get around 90% of its short haul flights back up and running by the end of October.

Top European News

  • Analysts Wary After Biggest Swedish Bank Has Tiny Impairment
  • U.K. Bond-Sale Plan Is Now Equal to 18% of GDP to Fund Recovery
  • Risky Debt Threatens U.K. Recovery, Finance Lobby Says
  • Johnson Battles U.K. Spy Watchdog Ahead of Key Russia Report

In FX, the Dollar has clawed back more lost ground vs G10 and EM rivals on renewed safe haven demand as euphoria over COVID-19 vaccines fades somewhat and markets look ahead to key events, like the ECB, US retail sales data and weekly initial claims. However, the DXY still looks precarious just above 96.000 after Wednesday’s bearish break below the round number (to 95.770 and just off the June low), as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in several states and reach fresh record peaks in some areas, such as Texas yesterday.

  • GBP/NZD/AUD - The major victims of a reversal in broad risk sentiment and associated Greenback revival, but with Cable also undermined by negative technical factors having lost grip of the 1.2600 handle and a series of shorter term MA levels, including the 50, 100 and 200 markers, on the way down through 1.2550. Note, conflicting UK jobs data has not really impacted, but the Pound may be taking heed of NIRP expectations in Short Sterling futures that been brought forward by some 6 months in wake of BoE’s Tenreyro’s ‘live’ revelation yesterday. Meanwhile, benign NZ CPI and a mixed Aussie employment report have not helped the Nzd or Aud retain gains vs the Usd, with the former back under 0.6550 and the latter retreating through 0.7000.
  • EUR/CAD/JPY/CHF - Also unwinding outperformance relative to the Buck, as the Euro relinquishes 1.1400+ status ahead of the ECB policy meeting and press conference amidst another heavy spread of option expiries descending from just shy of Wednesday’s high (circa 1.1452) at 1.1440-30 (1 bn) through 1.1380-75 (1 bn) down to 1.1350 (2 bn). Note, a full preview of the upcoming July ECB convene and presser is available on our Research Suite and will be reposted via the headline feed in the run up to the event. Similarly, the Loonie is paring back post-BoC between 1.3502-29 parameters against the backdrop of softer crude prices, while the Yen has pulled back from over 107.00, albeit some distance from 1.5 bn expiry interest at 107.25-35, and the Franc is straddling 0.9450.
  • SCANDI/EM - General weakness, or payback after midweek session strength with few exceptions and the oil/commodity bloc bearing the brunt of the general deterioration in temperament. However, the Cnh is holding around 7.0000 following another firm PBoC Cny fix and a slew of Chinese data overnight that was either side of expectations, but comfortably above consensus in terms of Q2 GDP.

In commodities, WTI and Brent are once again subdued following the modest pullback in sentiment more broadly before today’s key central bank event. For the crude complex itself, since yesterday’s JMMC meeting where they confirmed OPEC+ will begin easing production cuts to 7.7mln BPD (~8.3mln BPD when taking compensation into account) there has been very little in the way of fundamental updates. As attention now returns more so to the demand side of the equation and the impact of any further COVID-19 induced headwinds; for the supply side, attention will be on whether OPEC+ members who are required to over-compensate do so as well as the situation in areas including Libya. Elsewhere, spot gold has had a somewhat more rangebound session but has most recently erred lower as European equity bourses attempt to rise from their session lows. Saudi Energy Minister said the effective oil cuts in August will be around 8.1-8.2mln BPD and reportedly commented that it is too late to change August quotas at this JMMC since term lifters' nominations are already set for the month. (Newswires)

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 1.25m, prior 1.31m; Continuing Claims, est. 17.5m, prior 18.1m
  • 8:30am: Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 5.0%, prior 17.7%; Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. 5.0%, prior 12.4%
    • Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 5.0%, prior 12.4%; Retail Sales Control Group, est. 4.0%, prior 11.0%
  • 8:30am: Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook, est. 20, prior 27.5
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, prior 42.9
  • 10am: Business Inventories, est. -2.3%, prior -1.3%
  • 10am: NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 61, prior 58
  • 4pm: Net Long-term TIC Flows, prior $128.4b deficit; Total Net TIC Flows, prior $125.3b

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Risk assets were positive but volatile yesterday. It looked like a decent session was going to fizzle out as stocks dipped from their peaks 45 minutes before the European close as US/China tensions hit the headlines again and tech stocks came under some pressure after a dizzying run. However by the end of the session the S&P 500 reversed its downward course to finish just shy of its post-pandemic high. The reversal seemed driven by headlines that President Trump has told aides that he does not want to escalate tensions with China and also that Senate Majority Leader McConnell reiterated his plans to release a fiscal stimulus bill early next week. By the close the S&P 500 had advanced a further +0.91%, but was up as much as +1.27% at the day’s high and had briefly erased its YTD losses. The Nasdaq was up a lesser +0.59%, having been up over 1% earlier in the session but in negative territory after Europe closed. The best performing stocks were some of the most affected by the pandemic and the shutdowns. In the US, Airlines were among the leading industries, up over +10%, while Norwegian Cruise Line (+20.68%), Carnival (+16.22%), and Royal Caribbean Cruises (+21.20%) were among the best performing stocks in the S&P.

It was a similar story in Europe, where the Travel and Leisure sector (+6.06%) led the STOXX 600 higher, however the sector is still over -33% down from pre-pandemic highs compared to the broad index which is down -13.83%. The rise of cruise lines, airlines and other hospitality stocks in both the US and Europe was likely tied in parts to the positive vaccine stories over the last 36 hours. Europe managed to survive the aforementioned dip in risk sentiment with most of the bourses up by around 2%, including the STOXX 600 (+1.76%), the DAX (+1.84%) and the CAC 40 (+2.03%).

In terms of earnings, Goldman Sachs rose +1.4% yesterday as they announced, like their American peers, a large jump in fixed incoming trading. FICC sales and trading revenue of $4.24 billion beat an estimate of $2.64 billion. Also in-line with peers was the large Q2 provision for credit losses, up $1.59 billion from the prior year. Alcoa slightly beat after the close, but most importantly on the earnings call CEO Harvey said, "if the number of virus cases increases substantially in a prolonged first or potential second wave, a new round of strict lockdown orders would likely cause the current demand recovery to reverse course."

Asian markets are trading lower this morning with the Nikkei (-0.71%), Hang Seng (-1.17%), Shanghai Comp (-1.41%), Kospi (-0.52%) and Asx (-0.97%) all down. A miss on retail sales data seems to be weighing on Chinese bourses even as Q2 GDP surprised on the upside (more below). The jump in COVID-19 infections in the region seems to also be acting as an overhang. Futures on the S&P 500 are also trading down -0.40%.

In more detail on the data, China’s Q2 GDP surprised on the upside with a reading of +3.2% yoy (vs. +2.4% yoy expected). Only 2 out of 28 economists on Bloomberg had pencilled in an above +3% print. Bloomberg highlighted that public investment swung to growth of +2.1% yoy in 1H, after contracting in the first 5 months. China’s 1H GDP growth now stands at -1.6% yoy (vs. -2.4% yoy expected). Alongside GDP we saw the other main data releases for June with industrial production rising in line with expectations at +4.8% yoy while YtD fixed asset investment came in at -3.1% yoy (vs. -3.3% yoy expected). Retail sales disappointed with a print of -1.8% yoy (vs. +0.5% yoy expected). The surveyed jobless rate for the month fell to 5.7% (vs. 5.9% last month). Elsewhere, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote in a brief letter to a group of global chief executives that “We will continue efforts to deepen reform and opening, and provide a more sound business environment for Chinese and overseas investors.”

On the coronavirus, markets were initially reacting to the previous night’s news from the Moderna’s trial, in which their vaccine produced antibodies in all the patients tested. In response the company’s share price was up by +6.90% yesterday. The other news came through from UK ITV’s Robert Peston, who tweeted that “Positive news is coming on Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is generating the kind of antibody and T-cell (killer cell) response that the researchers would hope to see, I understand.” AstraZeneca shares surged following that tweet, ending the day up +5.23%, and Peston’s report on the ITV website said that the news could come as soon as today. Sky News also reported that the Lancet medical journal will publish data on the potential AstraZeneca Plc vaccine on Monday, so one to look out for.

There are some signs that the virus’ continued spread throughout the US may be slightly slowing in states that showed sharp increases in mid-June. Florida reported a 3.5% increase in cases yesterday, below the 4.5% weekly average. Still deaths continue to rise in the state, a further 112 reported yesterday compared to the average of 90 per day over the last week. Meanwhile Arizona saw a 2.5% increase that is also lower than its weekly average of 2.9%, however positive tests in the state remain very high at 23.4%, indicating that the official count may be missing a large number of cases. Deaths in the state rose by 97, the 5th increase in the last 6 days, and well above the 7 day average of 68. We would expect case growth to slow down this week as activity has dropped in these regions. Overall cases in the US rose by 2.0%, in-line with the last week’s average. According to rtlive’s model, only 6 states currently have an Rt under 1.0 and so there is very real concern of cases rising throughout the country even as the majority of the northeast sees limited case growth.

In Asia, after Tokyo raised their alert level to the highest point on a 4-point scale yesterday, they reported a record 280 confirmed cases today. The 7-day average of new cases in the city is now above its April peak. Tokyo‘s governor has urged residents to avoid stores that don’t meet guidelines designed to reduce the spread, but hasn’t called on businesses to close their doors yet. Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria recorded 317 new cases in the past 24 hours, the largest single-day increase for any of Australia’s states and territories.

On another note, the use of masks continued to become more widespread, with Walmart announcing that it would require all customers to wear them in its US stores from July 20. This comes as more US states have adopted mask mandates in recent days, the most recent of which was Alabama yesterday. The state borders recent hotspot Florida and has seen daily new cases rise by over 1,500 for 4 days in a row for the first time. In Europe, both Ireland and Serbia announced that the use of masks would become mandatory. The former also announced that they will delay the latest phase of reopening, which included bars and nightclubs, after the effective transmission rate rose over 1.0 in the country.

Attention today will turn to the ECB’s latest monetary policy decision, along with President Lagarde’s subsequent press conference. Our European economists write in their preview (link here ) that they expect the policy statement to remain unchanged, following the decision at the last meeting to expand the envelope for their Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme by a further €600bn, bringing the total up to €1.35tn. Though recent comments from ECB officials have shown signs of an emerging optimism, our economists don’t believe these signal a change in the policy stance, and expect the commitment to “substantial monetary policy stimulus” to be repeated. Other issues to look out for include any comments from President Lagarde on the German Constitutional Court, now that the German Bundestag has passed a motion on proportionality.

Staying on Europe, our economists have written a fresh blog post on the proposed EU recovery fund ahead of the special European Council summit that commences tomorrow in Brussels (link here ). Their view is that although an agreement is still possible this weekend, it would now be a positive surprise, with the political messaging having shifted away from expecting a (full) agreement on Friday and Saturday. This could simply be expectations management, but so far there is no indication of the differences of opinion between member states having been bridged yet. That said, if agreement is not reached this weekend, then they still expect an agreement within weeks. The question of how the market will respond to the lack of an agreement will ultimately depend on the post-summit statements on how close or far the EU is from an agreement.

Ahead of that and the ECB later today, the euro actually strengthened to a 4-month high against the US dollar yesterday, at $1.1412. Indeed, if it surpasses the $1.145 it reached at the height of the market’s pandemic fears in early March, that’ll take the euro to its strongest level against the dollar in over a year. Meanwhile in fixed income, yields on 10yr Italian debt fell by -1.1bps to close at their lowest level in over 3 months, but bunds held steady, with just a +0.3bps rise. Over in the US, yields on 10yr Treasuries similarly rose by just +0.7bps.

Looking at yesterday’s data, the main news came from the US, where industrial production rose by a stronger-than-expected +5.4% in June (vs. +4.3% expected), though this still left IP -10.9% below its level in February before the pandemic hit. Further positive news came from the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing survey, with the headline general business conditions index rising to 17.2 (vs. 10.0 expected), the first positive reading since February. Finally here in the UK, the June CPI reading rose by a tenth to +0.6% (vs. +0.4% expected),which is the first time that the inflation rate has risen since January.

To the day ahead now, and as mentioned the ECB meeting and President Lagarde’s subsequent press conference are likely to be the highlights. Other central bank speakers today include BoE Governor Bailey, along with the Fed’s Williams, Bostic and Evans. Data releases include May’s UK unemployment and the Euro Area trade balance, while over in the US, we’ll get June’s retail sales, the weekly initial jobless claims, the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook survey for July, and the NAHB housing market index for July. Earnings releases will include Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Bank of America, Abbott Laboratories and Morgan Stanley.

Published:7/16/2020 6:41:37 AM
[Markets] Is Trump Using Nord Stream 2 To Exit NATO? Is Trump Using Nord Stream 2 To Exit NATO? Tyler Durden Thu, 07/16/2020 - 05:00

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

The one thing I never thought I’d say is that Donald Trump is consistent, and yet on the subject of the Nordstream 2 pipeline he has been.

No single project has caused more wailing and gnashing of teeth than Nordstream 2. And since Nordstream 2 is simply the substitute for South Stream, which was supposed to come across the Black Sea into Bulgaria and then feed eastern Europe, this U.S. opposition to another Russian pipeline spans multiple administrations.

So, this is policy that goes far beyond simple 2020 electoral politics, Trump trying to look tough on the Russians, or his misguided Energy Dominance policy.

With Trump rescinding the sanctions exemption for Nordstream 2 he now has declared open war against Europe, specifically Germany over this project.

But here’s the thing, I think Trump is doing this for updated reasons that fit a different agenda than why the U.S. opposed Nordstream 2 previously, because he knows he can’t stop the pipeline now. All he can do is further alienate Germany, who he has targeted as the main problem in Europe.

Before I go any further, though, I think a little history lesson is in order.

U.S. opposition to Nordstream 2 is deeply ingrained on all sides of the political aisle in D.C. From Republicans still fighting the cold war to Democrats having deep ties to Ukrainian gas transit there are a multitude of reasons why Nordstream 2 is verboten in D.C.

On the other hand, Europe’s relationship with Nordstream 2 is, in a word, complicated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin scuttled South Stream back in late 2014 because the EU changed its pipeline rules during its development after the contracts were in place.

Most of that was U.S. pressure, but some of that was Germany’s Angela Merkel working with then-President Barack Obama to create the worst possible scenario for Gazprom – a pipeline that wasn’t profitable.

Merkel backed Obama’s play in Ukraine in 2014 as a power move to control prices for Russian gas into Europe, putting Soviet-era pipelines under EU gas directive jurisdiction.

The EU was always going to use Ukrainian gas transit as leverage over Putin to drive gas prices below Gazprom’s cost thinking they had no other options.

Putin famously pivoted to China, singing the mega-deal for Power of Siberia in retaliation to that. Since Putin had already brought Crimea in from the cold war and tacitly backed the breakaway of the Donbass Merkel was now the one on her back foot.

At the same time, to salvage the work done on South Stream to that point, Putin cut a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to replace South Stream’s volumes to eastern Europe with Turkstream’s to Turkey.

The plans for Turkstream include multiple trains into eastern Europe with countries like Serbia, Hungary and the Czech Republic itching for that gas.

Russia’s options were manifest and Putin deftly outmaneuvered Merkel and Obama. These events forced Merkel’s hand after she stupidly caved to the Greens over ending Germany’s use of nuclear power and now she needed Nordstream 2.

And so Nordstream 2 became a big geopolitical football because Merkel saw, as well, the opportunity to bring the recalcitrant Poles and Baltics under her control as well, solidifying long-term EU plans to engulf all of Euope to Russia’s borders.

Nordstream 2 would nominally replace Ukrainian gas supplies and she could set Germany up to be the gas transit hub, supporting political power emanating from Brussels.

This would give her leverage over Poland, who are trapped between their hatred of the Russians and their unwillingness, rightfully, to submit to Germany.

But Merkel, ever the deft three-faced keeper of the status quo, worked with Putin to secure gas flows through Ukraine for another five years, allaying the worst of Poland’s fears while they have courted Trump to bring in over-priced U.S. LNG.

But from the beginning, Nordstream 2 becomes a different animal geopolitically the moment Trump comes to power. Because Trump is opposed to the EU’s consolidating power over Europe while also sucking the U.S. dry on trade and defense.

He’s made this abundantly clear.

Since the beginning of the year Trump has ratcheted up the pressure on both China and the EU. And the only way that makes any sense is if you are willing to see them as allies in undermining the U.S.’s global position.

This isn’t to say that the U.S.’s global position should remain as it is. Far be it for me, of all people, to argue that. But with the insanity of the COVID-19 fake pandemic, the World Economic Forum’s plans for The Great Reset, and the fomenting a cultural revolution in the U.S. the stakes are now as high as they’ve ever been.

The Davos Crowd is making their big move to consolidate power in Europe. Trump is working with Boris Johnson in the U.K. to oppose that. That’s the simplified version of the chess board.

And this is why I think Trump refuses to give up on stopping Nordstream 2. He’s seen the depths to which The Davos Crowd will go to implement this radical change and he’s forcing the moment to its crisis, as T.S. Eliot put it.

He’s making the choice very clear for Merkel and company. If you want Nordstream 2, suffer the consequences of having to do business without the U.S.

This isn’t about Russia anymore, at all. It’s about Germany and the future of the U.S. If Trump loses in November all of the work done to slow down this push for transnational technocratic oligarchy will end.

If he wins then the current policy sticks, the EU is forced to deal with the U.S. retrenching completely, pulling back on commitments to Europe while divorcing U.S. trade from China.

He may actually be courting lower U.S. dollar flow the world over and forcing Europe into real economic crisis by early next year.

This sanctions policy against Nordstream 2 is consistent with his ‘snap’ decision to pull troops out of Germany, his unilateral abrogation of both the INF treaty and the JCPOA while pressuring NATO to do more.

Merkel, meanwhile, is trying to run out the clock on both Trump and Brexit, as I talked about in my podcast from last week. She’s hoping that Trump will be defeated which will set things back to the way they were before him, force U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to knuckle under in trade deal talks and establish the primacy of the EU as the center of Western power.

Putin, for his part, doesn’t care who he deals with in the long run. He can’t afford to. He has to play the cards on the table in front of him with the people in power, since Russia is still a minor player but with big potential.

For Trump, I believe he sees Nordstream 2 as the perfect wedge issue to break open the stalemate over NATO and cut Germany loose or bring Merkel to heel.

This next round of sanctions will target the companies involved directly in the pipeline. Germany can’t afford not to finish Nordstream 2. So, we are headed for an epic clash here.

Trump and Merkel hate each other, with good reason. And while I have mixed feelings about the way Trump does business, I know Angela Merkel is the key to the EU’s future.

I mentioned in a recent article that I feel Trump is a guy with almost nothing left to lose. If he’s going out he’s going out with a bang. Arrest Ghislaine Maxwell, sanction China and threaten war over Hong Kong, ramp up dollar diplomacy on Europe.

He knows that hybrid war is the only war the U.S. can ‘win’ decisively given the relative dominance of the U.S. dollar today.

While the end of dollar hegemony is in sight, do not underestimate how much damage can be done to the status quo while Trump is in power. That status quo isn’t good for anyone except those who currently want that power back.

*  *  *

Join My Patreon to get help navigating the waters of hybrid war, Install the Brave Browser to take power from Google’s ability to erase the past.

Published:7/16/2020 4:12:44 AM
[] Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Kanye, Elon Musk, Hacked in Twitter Bitcoin Scam Published:7/15/2020 9:06:24 PM
[Markets] Solomon: As Obama Marched Toward Iran Nuclear Deal, FBI Worried Russia Was Aiding Tehran's Program Solomon: As Obama Marched Toward Iran Nuclear Deal, FBI Worried Russia Was Aiding Tehran's Program Tyler Durden Wed, 07/15/2020 - 17:50

Authored by John Solomon via JustTheNews.com,

As President Obama aggressively pursued a nuclear deal with Iran, the FBI used an  operative who worked undercover for years inside Vladimir Putin’s nuclear empire to investigate and raise alarm that Russia was aiding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

The undercover work on Iran by William Douglas Campbell was overshadowed by his effort to help the FBI successfully prove that an executive at Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company, was engaged in kickbacks, bribery and other crimes on U.S. soil and had compromised a U.S. uranium trucking company.

Campbell’s harrowing work posing as a consultant while informing for the FBI inside Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary from 2007 to 2014 led to the successful prosecution of several players in the kickback scheme, including Russia’s top American nuclear executive, Vadim Mikerin.

The FBI warned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other major federal agencies in August 2010 that Campbell had uncovered significant evidence of wrongdoing inside Rosatom’s Tenex agency. But the Obama administration nonetheless proceeded to approve billions of dollars in nuclear fuel contracts and Moscow’s purchase of a large swath of U.S. uranium through a company known as Uranium One.

But Campbell’s efforts to uncover the nuclear alliance between Tehran and Moscow raised similar concerns inside the FBI and are chronicled in the new book Fallout: Nuclear Bribes, Russian Spies and the Washington Lies that Enriched the Clinton and Biden Dynasties.

Agents actually pressed Campbell so hard to get more intelligence on Iran from his Russian contacts that it ultimately blew his cover, the books reveals.

Campbell began providing evidence of the Russia-Iran nexus starting in 2010, including a memo he intercepted inside Rosatom written by an American adviser, Cheryl Moss Herman, who later would go to work in a senior nuclear energy policy job inside the Obama Energy Department.

Herman’s 11-page report, titled “Policy/Legislative Issues Affecting the Business Climate in the U.S. for TENAM/Tenex,” warned there was a growing concern inside Congress that Russia’s determined march into new U.S. uranium business conflicted with Western intelligence that Moscow was still aiding Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

“There are some in Congress who believe that Russia is providing Iran with sensitive nuclear technology as well as the nuclear know-how that will allow it to proliferate a nuclear weapons program, despite Russian Government statements to the contrary,” the report told the Russians.

The FBI had similar concerns. Here are excerpts from the books that reveal just how extensive those concerns were.

In one debriefing, for instance, Campbell related to his handling agents that Mikerin had identified a specific Russian company that was facilitating business between Iran and Tenex.

“As I have mentioned previously they do all the uranium business between Russia and Iran,” Campbell wrote of the intermediary. “Vadim is involved in the process under the same kind of payment network between Iran and the special TENEX group.

“I have asked him if he visits Tehran and he indicates he will not go because he feels it will cause trouble both for [U.S.] relations as well as his US travel.”

Such intelligence was intriguing for FBI counterintelligence, especially as the Obama administration secretly began discussions with Tehran aimed at reaching a deal to delay Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

In 2010, Campbell had obtained from his Russian sources a nonpublic report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN watchdog that was bird-dogging Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program. The public version of the May 2010 report identified current enrichment-related activities inside Iran, including evidence that UN inspectors gathered related to a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

While U.S. officials likely already knew the contents of the report, Campbell’s acquisition had provided valuable insight: an IAEA report marked “restricted” for limited distribution had fallen into the hands of Rosatom’s leadership quickly. The long arm of Putin’s nuclear team knew few bounds.

Campbell continued to provide fragmentary intelligence on the Moscow-Tehran nuclear dealings, including additional IAEA reports that the Russians had obtained.

But in early 2012, a harbinger arrived that the bureau was preparing to pull out its operative and finally close the counterintelligence gathering part of the probe and transition to criminal prosecutions.

Special Agent [Timothy] Taylor contacted Campbell with the most specific instruction the team had ever given him over the years: a detailed list of 15 questions that the bureau wanted asked of Mikerin.

The questions were transmitted via the secret Sigma email accounts that the bureau had set up with Campbell. All were about Iran:

  • Is Iran seeking to create a weapon, either through obvious means, or through the design of their nuclear program?

  • Are there any other countries, other than Russia, partnering to help Iran’s nuclear program?

  • If there are other countries participating, what model for security and nuclear power generation is Iran following?

  • What security measures has Iran put in place at nuclear facilities to prevent the computer failures, the failure of automated systems, or a computer virus?

  • What political issues are of concern to Russia if they are to continue to support the Iranian nuclear program?

  • If Iran is seeking to enrich uranium to HEU, what is the timeframe in which they expect to achieve that level?

  • How many Russian employees are currently working on Iranian projects?

  • How many Iranian scientists are currently working on nuclear energy projects? Who are they? What are their specialties?

  • What is the megawatt capacity of Bushehr?

  • What are the long-term goals for the facility?

  • Are there other facilities currently enriching uranium?

  • Have there been requests for assistance or indications of interest in new facilities?

  • How may centrifuges are currently operating at Bushehr?

  • What are the safety standards to which Iranian nuclear facilities are built? IAEA standards?

  • How is Iran prepared to ensure force protection and answer international security concerns? · Are there concealed or restricted areas at Iranian nuclear facilities where Russians are not allowed to visit? Where are they, and what do the Russians feel is going on there?

  • Are there temporary storage facilities where nuclear materials are stored? How are they secured?

  • How is new and used nuclear material moved and stored, and by whom?

When Campbell got this list, he joked that the FBI was signing his death warrant. The questions were too specific, the kind only an American spy might ask. Campbell had already been threatened by the Russians with polonium poisoning to ensure that he would not betray their criminal network.

The FBI, however, would not back off, insisting that Campbell press ahead and corner Mikerin with the Iran questions. The agents even coached him on how he could put his Russian friend at ease while unloading this barrage of inquiries.

“As discussed: You spoke with contacts who understand US policy. After the conversations you wrote down notes and have some ideas. You believe that Russia, Rosatom and Tenex could improve working relations with the US by being transparent about activities in Iran. You believe that it would be easier for Tenex to do business in the US if the US knows that Rosatom and Tenex have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on in Iran and can ensure that the nuclear energy is being produced responsibly and safely,” the agents wrote Campbell in their instructions.

It might have sounded good to the agents, but after 30 years in the business of spying, Campbell knew that these questions would blow his cover, or at the very least break the bond of trust that he had built with his Russian targets.

Campbell was right.

Mikerin refused to provide much in terms of answers, and soon backed away from his longtime Sigma consultant.

Campbell’s work for Tenex dwindled, and his access to Rosatom diminished.

Published:7/15/2020 5:05:26 PM
[Politics] Massive Twitter hack hits Biden, Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Bill Gates, and nets hackers MILLIONS Well this is weird. A very well coordinated hack is netting some cryto-hackers millions by offering a fake donation through the hacked accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama: Joe Biden and Barack . . . Published:7/15/2020 5:05:26 PM
[Politics] Massive Twitter hack hits Biden, Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Bill Gates, and nets hackers MILLIONS Well this is weird. A very well coordinated hack is netting some cryto-hackers millions by offering a fake donation through the hacked accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama: Joe Biden and Barack . . . Published:7/15/2020 5:05:26 PM
[2020 Election] Former Iranian Hostage Slams Biden for Abandoning Him in Tehran

A former Iranian hostage who was tortured by the oppressive regime slammed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for abandoning him and other detainees while the Obama administration pursued the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

The post Former Iranian Hostage Slams Biden for Abandoning Him in Tehran appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/15/2020 2:03:39 PM
[The Courts] Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Federal Execution

D.C. District Court judge Tanya S. Chutkan on Wednesday halted the scheduled execution of a federal death row inmate, marking another instance of the Obama appointee stalling the Department of Justice's efforts to restart federal executions.

The post Obama-Appointed Judge Blocks Federal Execution appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/15/2020 2:03:39 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Will Trump make Biden’s war on the suburbs a campaign issue? (Paul Mirengoff) Stanley Kurtz considers this question. Biden intends to wage the war in question via the Obama administration’s affirmative furthering fair housing rule (AFFH), as we discussed here. President Trump signaled his intent to make AFFH a campaign issue in remarks yesterday. He promised to reverse the AFFH rule — something we’ve been Published:7/15/2020 1:35:43 PM
[Markets] America, You've Been Blacklisted: McCarthyism Refashioned For A New Age America, You've Been Blacklisted: McCarthyism Refashioned For A New Age Tyler Durden Tue, 07/14/2020 - 23:50

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“If we confuse dissent with disloyalty—if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox—if we deny the essence of racial equality then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought.”

- Edward R. Murrow

For those old enough to have lived through the McCarthy era, there is a whiff of something in the air that reeks of the heightened paranoia, finger-pointing, fear-mongering, totalitarian tactics that were hallmarks of the 1950s.

Back then, it was the government - spearheaded by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee - working in tandem with private corporations and individuals to blacklist Americans suspected of being communist sympathizers.

By the time the witch hunts carried out by federal and state investigative agencies drew to a close, thousands of individuals (the vast majority of them innocent any crime whatsoever) had been accused of communist ties, investigated, subpoenaed and blacklisted. Regarded as bad risks, the accused were blacklisted, and struggled to secure employment. The witch hunt ruined careers, resulting in suicides, and tightened immigration to exclude alleged subversives.

Seventy years later, the vitriol, fear-mongering and knee-jerk intolerance associated with McCarthy’s tactics are once again being deployed in a free-for-all attack by those on both the political Left and Right against anyone who, in daring to think for themselves, subscribes to ideas or beliefs that run counter to the government’s or mainstream thought.

It doesn’t even seem to matter what the issue is anymore (racism, Confederate monuments, Donald Trump, COVID-19, etc.): modern-day activists are busily tearing down monuments, demonizing historic figures, boycotting corporations for perceived political transgressions, and using their bully pulpit to terrorize the rest of the country into kowtowing to their demands.

All the while, the American police state continues to march inexorably forward.

This is how fascism, which silences all dissenting views, prevails.

The silence is becoming deafening.

After years of fighting in and out of the courts to keep their 87-year-old name, the NFL’s Washington Redskins have bowed to public pressure and will change their name and team logo to avoid causing offense. The new name, not yet announced, aims to honor both the military and Native Americans.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, a delegate to the House of Representatives who supports the name change, believes the team’s move “reflects the present climate of intolerance to names, statues, figments of our past that are racist in nature or otherwise imply racism [and] are no longer tolerated.”

Present climate of intolerance, indeed.

Yet it wasn’t a heightened racial conscience that caused the Redskins to change their brand. It was the money. The team caved after its corporate sponsors including FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America threatened to pull their funding.

So much for that U.S. Supreme Court victory preventing the government from censoring trademarked names it considers distasteful or scandalous.

Who needs a government censor when the American people are already doing such a great job at censoring themselves and each other, right?

Now there’s a push underway to boycott Goya Foods after its CEO, Robert Unanue, praised President Trump during a press conference to announce Goya’s donation of a million cans of Goya chickpeas and a million other food products to American food banks as part of the president’s Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

Mind you, Unanue—whose grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Spain—also praised the Obamas when they were in office, but that kind of equanimity doesn’t carry much weight in this climate of intolerance.

Not to be outdone, the censors are also taking aim at To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Atticus Finch, a white lawyer in the Jim Crow South who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. Sixty years after its debut, the book remains a powerful testament to moral courage in the face of racial bigotry and systemic injustice, told from the point of view of a child growing up in the South, but that’s not enough for the censors. They want to axe the book—along with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—from school reading curriculums because of the presence of racial slurs that could make students feel “humiliated or marginalized.”

Never mind that the N-word makes a regular appearance in hip-hop songs. The prevailing attitude seems to be that it’s okay to use the N-word as long as the person saying the word is not white. Rapper Kendrick Lamar “would like white America to let black people exclusively have the word.”

Talk about a double standard.

This is also the overlooked part of how oppression becomes systemic: it comes about as a result of a combined effort between the populace, the corporations and the government.

McCarthyism worked the same way.

What started with Joseph McCarthy’s headline-grabbing scare tactics in the 1950s about Communist infiltrators of American society snowballed into a devastating witch hunt once corporations and the American people caught the fever.

McCarthyism was a contagion, like the plague, spreading like wildfire among people too fearful or weak or gullible or paranoid or greedy or ambitious to denounce it for what it was: an opportunistic scare tactic engineered to make the government more powerful.

McCarthy, a young Republican senator, grasped the opportunity to make a name for himself by capitalizing on the Cold War paranoia of the time. In a speech in February 1950, McCarthy claimed to have a list of over 200 members of the Communist Party “working and shaping the policy of the U.S. State Department.” The speech was picked up by the Associated Press, without substantiating the facts, and within a few days the hysteria began.

McCarthy specialized in sensational and unsubstantiated accusations about Communist infiltration of the American government, particularly the State Department. He also targeted well-known Hollywood actors and directors, trade unionists and teachers. Many others were brought before the inquisitional House Committee on Un-American Activities for questioning.

“McCarthyism” eventually smeared all the accused with the same broad brush, whether the evidence was good, bad or nonexistent.

The parallels to the present movement cannot be understated.

Even now, with modern-day McCarthyism sweeping the nation and America’s own history being blacklisted, I have to wonder what this sudden outrage and crisis of conscience is really all about.

Certainly, anyone who believes that the injustices, cruelties and vicious callousness of the U.S. government are unique to the Trump Administration has not been paying attention.

No matter what the team colors might be at any given moment, the playbook remains the same. The leopard has not changed its spots.

Scrape off the surface layers and you will find that the American police state that is continuing to wreak havoc on the rights of the people under the Trump Administration is the same police state that wreaked havoc on the rights of the people under every previous administration.

So please spare me the media hysterics and the outrage and the hypocritical double standards of those whose moral conscience appears to be largely dictated by their political loyalties.

While we squabble over which side is winning this losing battle, a tsunami approaches.

While the populace wages war over past injustices, injustice in the here and now continues to trample innocent lives underfoot. Certainly, little of significance is being done to stem the tide of institutional racism that has resulted in disproportionate numbers of black Americans who continue to be stopped, frisked, shot at, arrested and jailed.

I’ve had enough of the short- and long-term amnesia that allows political sycophants to conveniently forget the duplicity, complicity and mendacity of their own party while casting blame on everyone else.

When you drill right down to the core of things, the policies of a Trump Administration have been no different from an Obama Administration or a Bush Administration, at least not where it really counts.

In other words, Democrats by any other name have been Republicans, and vice versa.

War has continued. Surveillance has continued. Drone killings have continued. Police shootings have continued. Highway robbery meted out by government officials has continued. Corrupt government has continued. Profit-driven prisons have continued. Censorship and persecution of anyone who criticizes the government have continued. The militarization of the police has continued. The devastating SWAT team raids have continued. The government’s efforts to label dissidents as extremists and terrorists has continued.

The more things change, the more they have stayed the same.

We’ve been stuck in this political Groundhog’s Day for so long that minor deviations appear to be major developments while obscuring the fact that we’re stuck on repeat, unable to see the forest for the trees.

This is what is referred to as creeping normality, or a death by a thousand cuts.

It’s a concept invoked by Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond to describe how major changes, if implemented slowly in small stages over time, can be accepted as normal without the shock and resistance that might greet a sudden upheaval.

Diamond’s concerns related to Easter Island’s now-vanished civilization and the societal decline and environmental degradation that contributed to it, but it’s a powerful analogy for the steady erosion of our freedoms and decline of our country right under our noses.

As Diamond explains, “In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism… Why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?”

His answer: “I suspect that the disaster happened not with a bang but with a whimper.”

Much like America’s own colonists, Easter Island’s early colonists discovered a new world—“a pristine paradise”—teeming with life. Yet almost 2000 years after its first settlers arrived, Easter Island was reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they failed to preserve paradise for future generations.

The same could be said of the America today: it, too, is being reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they are failing to preserve freedom for future generations.

In Easter Island’s case, as Diamond speculates:

The forest…vanished slowly, over decades. Perhaps war interrupted the moving teams; perhaps by the time the carvers had finished their work, the last rope snapped. In the meantime, any islander who tried to warn about the dangers of progressive deforestation would have been overridden by vested interests of carvers, bureaucrats, and chiefs, whose jobs depended on continued deforestation… The changes in forest cover from year to year would have been hard to detect… Only older people, recollecting their childhoods decades earlier, could have recognized a difference. Gradually trees became fewer, smaller, and less important. By the time the last fruit-bearing adult palm tree was cut, palms had long since ceased to be of economic significance. That left only smaller and smaller palm saplings to clear each year, along with other bushes and treelets. No one would have noticed the felling of the last small palm.

Sound painfully familiar yet?

We’ve already torn down the rich forest of liberties established by our founders. It has vanished slowly, over the decades. Those who warned against the dangers posed by too many laws, invasive surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids and the like have been silenced and ignored. They stopped teaching about freedom in the schools. Few Americans know their history. And even fewer seem to care that their fellow Americans are being jailed, muzzled, shot, tasered, and treated as if they have no rights at all.

The erosion of our freedoms happened so incrementally, no one seemed to notice. Only the older generations, remembering what true freedom was like, recognized the difference. Gradually, the freedoms enjoyed by the citizenry became fewer, smaller and less important. By the time the last freedom falls, no one will know the difference.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls: with a thousand cuts, each one justified or ignored or shrugged over as inconsequential enough by itself to bother, but they add up.

Each cut, each attempt to undermine our freedoms, each loss of some critical right—to think freely, to assemble, to speak without fear of being shamed or censored, to raise our children as we see fit, to worship or not worship as our conscience dictates, to eat what we want and love who we want, to live as we want—they add up to an immeasurable failure on the part of each and every one of us to stop the descent down that slippery slope.

We are on that downward slope now.

The contagion of fear that McCarthy helped spread with the help of government agencies, corporations and the power elite is still poisoning the well, whitewashing our history, turning citizen against citizen, and stripping us of our rights.

What we desperately need is the kind of resolve embodied by Edward R. Murrow, the most-respected newsman of his day.

On March 9, 1954, Murrow dared to speak truth to power about the damage McCarthy was inflicting on the American people. His message remains a timely warning for our age.

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine; and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it—and rather successfully. Cassius was right. ”The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

America is approaching another reckoning right now, one that will pit our commitment to freedom principles against a level of fear-mongering that is being used to wreak havoc on everything in its path.

The outcome rests, as always, with “we the people.” As Murrow said to his staff before the historic March 9 broadcast: “No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.”

Take heed, America.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this may be your last warning.

Published:7/14/2020 11:00:14 PM
[Markets] Trump Signs Sanctions Bill Ending Preferential Treatment For Hong Kong Trump Signs Sanctions Bill Ending Preferential Treatment For Hong Kong Tyler Durden Tue, 07/14/2020 - 17:52

Update (1736ET): Trump just confirmed that he will indeed be signing the sanctions bill in retaliation for Hong Kong, slapping sanctions on officials who help enforce the CCP's new national security law that flouts the city's independence accorded by the Basic Law, and stripping Hong Kong of its preferential treatment, according to Trump.

The bill passed through Congress with unanimous consent, highlighting how Trump's more aggressive posture toward China has become a point of bipartisan favor - even Joe Biden has suffered a political toll for his friendly rhetoric. A chorus of western countries has criticized China's move to curtail political freedoms, including speech and assembly, labeling it "terrorism" and "secessionist".

* * *

Update (1715ET): As we wait for Trump to take the podium, media reports are claiming that Trump is planning to announce that he's signing the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a bipartisan measure to penalize banks that work with Chinese officials found to be interfering in Hong Kong affairs.

It's essentially sanctions-lite for CCP officials involved with enforcing the new Hong Kong national security law that prompted Sec Pompeo to declare that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous.

* * *

One day after the State Department announced that the US would no longer recognize the South China Sea as Chinese territory, President Trump is holding his first press briefing in weeks, purportedly to discuss these latest actions against China.

Though we suspect most of the questions will focus on the administration's coronavirus response and President Trump's latest efforts to pressure states to commit to holding in-person classes when the new school year begins, Trump has much to discuss, including Magnitsky Act sanctions on Chinese officials tied to Xinjiang and the administration's continued pressure campaign against Huawei, which received a boost earlier today when the UK's decision to exclude Huawei from its 5G network also

The briefing begins at 1700ET, though we suspect Trump will be late. It will take place in the Rose Garden, Trump's favorite venue, despite the heat in Washington.

 

Published:7/14/2020 4:57:59 PM
[Markets] When Will Sen. Ron Johnson's Promised Biden-Burisma Investigation Report Be Released? When Will Sen. Ron Johnson's Promised Biden-Burisma Investigation Report Be Released? Tyler Durden Tue, 07/14/2020 - 17:10

Authored by Ben Wilson via SaraACarter.com,

It was March 3 when Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) appeared on Martha MacCallum’s Fox News show to discuss his committee’s investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s involvement with a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings Limited.

Questions surrounding the former Vice President’s middle child have swirled since Biden’s presidential campaign announcement on April 29 of last year.

Hunter Biden was a paid board member of Burisma Holdings Limited. His firm Rosemont Seneca was paid over $80 thousand a month during that time, despite the fact that Hunter Biden had no experience in natural gas, nor could he speak the language. He did, however, have the Vice President as his father.

At the same time, Joe Biden was tasked with heading the Obama administration’s Ukrainian policies. His crowning achievement was forcing the country to fire one of its top prosecutors: Viktor Shokin — who was investigating Burisma Holdings when he was fired.

Johnson told the Fox News audience, “if there’s wrongdoing, the American people need to understand that.” The sentiment is surely genuine but how close his committee — the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs — is to providing this understanding is unclear. And with the Senate in session for a mere 37 more days before election day, time is running out.

Sen. Johnson did not respond to this reporter’s request for comment.

Eight Republicans and six Democrats compose the committee with Johnson at the helm — this majority grants relative ease in conducting the investigation — with the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) inconsistency.

Referring to the investigation and Biden’s corruption on March 4, President Trump said, “That will be a major issue in the campaign, I will bring that up all the time…I don’t see how they can answer those questions…that was purely corrupt.”

The most significant step taken in providing Democratic primary voters and Americans as a whole clarity on the Biden corruption was Johnson’s May 20 party-line vote victory to subpoena Blue Star Strategies — despite months of Sen. Romney flirting with a vote against it.

Blue Star Strategies is a public relations firm that consulted for Burisma. The committee’s probe is looking into allegations that the firm attempted to use Hunter Biden’s board position to influence the State Department.

“The question I would ask is, what is everybody worried about?” Johnson told Politico in late May. “If there’s nothing there, we’ll find out there’s nothing there. But if there’s something there, the American people need to know that.”

More recently, the committee has reached out to and demanded testimony from three former Obama administration officials: former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, former Special Envoy for International Energy Amos Hochstein, former senior State Department officials Victoria Nuland and Catherine Novelli, and former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, David Wade, according to Politico.

The committee is currently scheduling the above witness interviews and subpoenaing transcribed interviews and documents pertaining to the Bidens and Ukraine.

These actions are steps in the right direction for producing a report — a large component of which will be a timeline of events depicting Hunter’s actions alongside his Vice President father’s actions.

An indication of a release date, however, has yet to be given for when the conclusions will be made public.

There is no question Democrats are opposed to the investigation — when reached out to for comment, committee-member Tom Carper (D-DE) sent a press release calling for Johnson to address other problems the nation is facing instead of “trying to score political points and help a President in an election year.”

On the other side, Republicans have not been fully supportive, either. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) told Johnson that the investigation into BIden may aid Russia in causing chaos and uncertainty in American politics.

The lacking support in both parties may be a reason for a potential delay in the investigation — or perhaps Johnson is taking a breather after receiving immense Republican blowback over his co-proposal to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday — an idea he later retracted.

Whatever the reason, a clear release date has not been made.

A July 2 tweet from Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio is the most recent indication that there isn’t one.

When asked, neither Johnson’s office nor the committee provided further details on the report’s expected release date.

Delays from COVID-19 lockdowns and precautions are unavoidable, but there is no indication if it will actually arrive before voters cast ballots on Nov. 3.

Voters have a right to know the truth about their candidates before they vote. Just like former FBI Director James Comey’s July 5, 2016 press conference on Hillary Clinton’s email scandal — it was held almost exactly four years ago and right before a consequential election. Voters deserve to know.

For the critics of the investigation, let us not forget President Donald Trump’s impeachment was over the same issue: uncovering the truth about the Biden family cashing in with shady oil companies.

A few headlines from mainstream outlets during the impeachment process include: “Trump Impeachment Is Based on Law, Not Politics,” “Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political,” and “Impeachment is the law. Saying ‘political process’ only helps Trump’s narrative.”

Since the Trump impeachment was about due process and justice under the law, an investigation into seeming corruption done by a former vice president and possible president is exactly the same.

Another issue is the Senate has just 37 scheduled days of work before election day on Nov 3. They have big questions to face like coronavirus relief packages, too.

Time is running out.

Senator Ron Johnson is leading an important investigation and the voters deserve to know the truth before they vote.

With the limited days of Senate work ahead, this report can easily get sidelined until voters find out the truth too late.

A deadline and release date should be promised and committed to immediately.

Published:7/14/2020 4:27:49 PM
[Markets] GoFundMe Campaign Raising Money To Buy Goya Products For Food Banks Tops $175,000 GoFundMe Campaign Raising Money To Buy Goya Products For Food Banks Tops $175,000 Tyler Durden Tue, 07/14/2020 - 14:20

Authored by Alex Nitzberg via JustTheNews.com,

A GoFundMe campaign soliciting funds to purchase Goya products for food pantries near the nation's capital has surpassed $175,000 as the Hispanic food company has become a focus of cultural contention.

"Buy GOYA — Support Trump & Feed the Hungry," the fundraiser headline reads.

"What if we rise up to say no to cancel culture AND feed the hungry at the same time?" a portion of the campaign description declares.

At the time of this writing, the amount raised by the campaign was still climbing.

Calls for a boycott of the company came after Goya CEO Bob Unanue, whose grandfather founded the company in 1936, made positive comments about President Trump at a Thursday White House event related to a Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

"We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder," Unanue declared during the event.

 "And that's what my grandfather did, he came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so we have an incredible builder, and we pray, we pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country that we will continue to prosper and to grow."

Former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, who previously served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, on Thursday urged Americans to "think twice" prior to purchasing Goya's goods. 

Progressive icon Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, also expressed her displeasure on Thursday: "Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling 'how to make your own Adobo,'" she tweeted

Unanue during a Friday interview with "Fox and Friends" defended his decisions and noted that he had previously engaged with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. When asked about the boycott targeting Goya, Unanue remarked that "it's suppression of speech." 

Republicans including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and President Trump came out in support of the food company.

Casey Harper, the 27-year-old Virginian who launched the fundraising campaign, spoke to Fox Business:

 "People are seeing in the news a double standard for one political view," Harper said.

"Americans are fundamentally generous people. … I'm not surprised we have raised so much because people are tired of having to walk on eggshells in political discourse." 

"In a time where speaking your mind can cost you your job, or get you facing legal action because the corporate elite fear the mob just as much as anyone, the most important issue is to speak boldly at the risk of your own well-being," he said, according to the news outlet. "If enough people do that, lovers of free speech and limited government will win."

Published:7/14/2020 1:34:18 PM
[Markets] Solomon: Joe Biden's Energy Adviser Aided Kremlin Nuclear Agenda Solomon: Joe Biden's Energy Adviser Aided Kremlin Nuclear Agenda Tyler Durden Tue, 07/14/2020 - 11:44

Exclusive excerpts from 'Fallout: Nuclear Bribes, Russian Spies and the Washington Lies that Enriched the Clinton and Biden Dynasties' by John Solomon and Seamus Bruner. These excerpts come from chapter 9, ‘The Ukraine Boomerang: Obama's Russia Failures Unleash New Chaos and Cronyism in Ukraine.'

Last month, Just the News reported  that shortly after Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company landed a deal with the Obama State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID). At the time, Burisma was under multiple investigations for corruption.

Not only did the controversial Ukrainian energy firm get a deal with USAID while Hunter Biden was on the board, but Joe Biden's energy advisor, Amos Hochstein, promoted the very program which worked to legitimize Burisma amid the allegations.

As an Obama official, Hochstein testified repeatedly to Congress, urging lawmakers to help "reform" Ukraine's energy sector to mitigate Putin's advances.

At an event hosted by the Atlantic Council (a think tank funded in part by Burisma), Hochstein warned that Russia's weaponization of energy deals was predictable and must be counterbalanced:

"When the gas was shut off from Russia to Ukraine on June 16th [2014], that was not a unique event. It happened in 2006 and it happened in 2009 and, therefore, it happened again in 2014. And there is no reason to believe it will not happen again," Hochstein said.

"The way to prevent it from happening again is to … [create] new infrastructures that can allow for energy, for gas and for other sources of energy to come into Europe from other places to compete with Russian supplies."

As it turned out, Hochstein was uniquely aware of Putin's energy strategy, according to chapter 9 of John Solomon’s and Seamus Bruner's "Fallout: Nuclear Bribes, Russian Spies, and the Washington Lies that Enriched the Clinton and Biden Dynasties."

Here is an excerpt from that chapter that lays out Hochstein's role

Between his visits to Congress (and well-connected think tanks) to apprise decision makers of Putin's energy antics, Hochstein was Biden's right-hand man meeting with numerous world leaders. He frequently flew to Ukraine (and other nations) with Biden to work out energy deals.  

But Hochstein had a secret. 

Time and again, Biden's advisor failed to mention that he had witnessed Putin's energy strategy firsthand. Hochstein communicated Putin's energy dominance strategy in the oil and gas sectors very effectively, but he never mentioned Russia's attempts to corner the global uranium market. It was something he had assisted personally.

While working as a U.S. lobbyist in the private sector, Hochstein had advised Rosatom's subsidiary: Tenex.

Hochstein became a revolving door extraordinaire early in his Beltway career. As he weaved in and out of the private sector, his positions (and profits) rose substantially. From 2001 to 2007, Hochstein worked in various capacities at Washington lobbying powerhouse Cassidy & Associates. In 2006, then-Governor Mark Warner (D-Va.) hired Hochstein to serve as a senior policy advisor. Hochstein purportedly left Cassidy in January 2007 to join Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd's presidential campaign, according to a press release by the firm. ...

Yet, Hochstein continued to work for Cassidy's deep-pocketed foreign clients, even while he was employed by Governor Warner and Senator Dodd's presidential campaign. In 2006, Russian nuclear corporation Tenex asked Doug Campbell (unaware that he was an FBI operative) to find a Beltway lobbying powerhouse to help further their interests.

By March 2006, Campbell found himself meeting with Hochstein, who ensured that Tenex hired Cassidy & Associates. Cassidy claimed that Hochstein left the firm in January 2007, but Hochstein continued to meet with Putin's top nuclear officials throughout 2007 and 2008 while he was working with powerful Democrats.

Did Warner and Dodd know that Hochstein was simultaneously serving Russian interests? Hochstein's public bios make no mention of his work on behalf of Tenex, although he does acknowledge returning to Cassidy in August 2008 (and remaining there until 2011).

Before long, he was directly advising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her successor John Kerry, and finally Vice President Biden (and even President Obama). His LinkedIn profile is meticulously manicured to show no overlap between his public and private sector gigs, but, in fact, Hochstein advised multiple public officials and simultaneously worked to advance foreign interests while on the payroll of Cassidy. 

According to the Obama White House's visitor records, Hochstein visited more than 150 times between December 2010 and September 2016, including several trips to the Situation Room. His first visits occurred while he was still working with Cassidy. 

Hochstein's global perspectives were clearly appreciated within the State Department, and he soon found himself regularly meeting with Secretary Clinton and her inner circle directly. As Clinton's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs and head of the department’s Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), he traveled the globe promoting Secretary Clinton's energy agenda. "I have been privileged to help build and lead the bureau since its creation," Hochstein said.

After Clinton left State, Hochstein initially advised Secretary Kerry and traveled overseas with him to work on EU energy issues. While advising Kerry, Hochstein worked closely with other Obama officials including Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, Special Coordinator Jonathan Winer, and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director Charles Kupchan (each of these individuals played starring roles in Obama's Russia and Ukraine operations and they later helped perpetrate the political dirty tricks against Trump). 

Hochstein soon found himself in the good graces of Vice President Biden. He traveled around the world with Biden — numerous times to Ukraine — and they also visited Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, and even the Caribbean. At an Atlantic Council summit in Istanbul, Biden praised the special energy envoy and announced that he had put Hochstein in charge of European energy security efforts. 

Despite a less-than-stellar review from the State Department inspector general's office, Hochstein was embraced by his superiors, especially Biden, who thanked Hochstein in his recent post-vice presidential memoir.

*  *  *

John Solomon's and Seamus Bruner's new book, "Fallout: Nuclear bribes, Russian spies and the Washington Lies that enriched the Clinton and Biden Dynasties," is available here at Amazon

Published:7/14/2020 10:58:58 AM
[Politics] Susan Rice: Trump's Comments on Obama, Biden on Testing 'Pathetic' Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice Tuesday criticized President Donald Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic while saying she has no idea what he was talking about on Monday when he made an assertion about the Obama administration and testing.  Published:7/14/2020 10:00:27 AM
[Markets] Bridgewater "Manufactured False Evidence" To Crush Potential Competitors... And Was Jim Comey Involved? Bridgewater "Manufactured False Evidence" To Crush Potential Competitors... And Was Jim Comey Involved? Tyler Durden Mon, 07/13/2020 - 21:05

Who knew that part of Ray Dalio's "radical transparency" fetish was accusing potential competitors of stealing trade secrets, and when there is no theft, to radically fabricate "evidence" to shut them down?

While it has long been known that in the annals of active management lore, not one hedge fund comes even close to pursuing non-compete clauses and trade secrets lawsuits against its former employees with the same ferocity, tenacity and unbridled glee as the world's biggest hedge fund Bridgewater (despite valiant attempts by RenTec and Citadel they are at best runners up), what nobody knew until now, is that when Bridgewater was lacking enough legal facts on its side, it would resort to simply fabricating them.

That's what the world's biggest hedge fund did on at least one occasion according to a panel of three arbitrators, who according to the FT, found that Bridgewater "manufactured false evidence" in its attempt to prove that former employees had stolen its trade secrets.

According to humiliating - to Ray Dalio - court documents which were made public on Monday, and which quote findings from a panel of three arbitrators, Bridgewater - which manages $138BN in assets, and whose billionaire founder prides in the way "radical transparency" is shoved down all employees' throats - was found to have "filed its claims in reckless disregard of its own internal records, and in order to support its allegations of access to trade secrets, manufactured false evidence".

The dramatic discovery emerged as a result of a dispute launched by Bridgewater against former employees, Lawrence Minicone and Zachary Squire, in November 2017, in which the fund claimed the duo had misappropriated trade secrets and breached their contracts. However, Bridgewater's attempt to bully not only its former employees from launching a new fund, but also the legal system, promptly suffered a spectacular breakdown, when a panel of three arbitrators found that Bridgewater had “failed to identify the alleged trade secrets with specificity”, knowing Minicone and Squire would have to fight an expensive case in order to defend against the allegations, the court filing states.

In other words, even though its former employees - who quit years prior in mid-2013 - did nothing wrong, Bridgewater knew that simply by throwing armies of lawyers after them, it could bankrupt them into submission. And while this strategy has worked over and over, this time it failed.

"The trade secrets as described constituted publicly available information or information generally known to professionals in the industry, and . . . Claimant [Bridgewater], a highly sophisticated entity, knew that the trade secrets as described did not constitute trade secrets," the tribunal ruled, according to material quoted in the court filing.

There was more. Just to cover its bases, in addition to the trade secrets claim, Bridgewater also accused its two former employees of unfair competition after they co-founded Tekmerion Capital Management, a systematic macro hedge fund with about $60MM in assets under management, which received backing from billionaire Alan Howard and Michael Novogratz.

But here too, Bridgewater hit a brick wall, when the arbitrators found that Bridgewater’s claims had been brought in “bad faith”.

"Claimant’s actions in continuing to press its claims constitute further evidence that its intentions were not to prove misappropriation, but rather, were to adversely affect respondents’ ability to conduct a competitive business," the arbitrators ruling stated, according to the new court filing.

So how did all of this leak? Simple: Bridgewater was too stingy to pay the falsely accused duo $2 million in lawyer fees, forcing Minicone and Squire to file a court petition against Bridgewater on July 1 to confirm the $2 million in lawyers fees awarded by the arbitration panel in January and, in a move that is set to terminally humiliate and expose Dalio as a consummate hypocrite, to have the full decision by the arbitrators made public.

And while it is hardly news to those in the industry just how despicable Bridgewater's tactics have been in the past when faced with a potential competition  emerging from its own ranks who may - gasp - steal the fund's "trading secrets" such as momentum and inverse variance, which incidentally are perfectly public "strategies", or at least expose to the world just how Bridgewater ended up being a $160BN $138BN hedge fund, what we are far more interested in is whether Bridgewater's former general counsel was instrumental in creating the strategy used by the fund against its former employees.

We are, of course, talking about one James Comey.

Here are the specifics: Squire joined Bridgewater in 2010 as an investment associate and spent three years at the group working with its research and trading teams before quitting in mid-2013. Minicone, also an investment associate at Bridgewater, joined in 2008 and remained there for almost five years. He too quit in 2013.

What does that have to do with James Comes? Well, before joining the FBI, readers may or may not know that the man who singlehandedly tried to take down the standing US president on what he knew well were false charges, was general counsel of Bridgewater from 2010 to 2013 - the very years that overlapped with Squire and Minicone's tenure at Bridgewater too.

Comey, Obama, Mueller

Yet what is remarkable is that the exact same strategy was pursued against the two former Bridgewater employees as Comey, now in his capacity as disgruntled former FBI chief, would pursue against Trump: fabricating evidence behind a FISA Warrant, and then purposefully leaking select confidential fact and fiction to the NYT, in order to trigger a Special Counsel probe of a sitting US president.

Sadly for Comey, his attempt at a soft coup failed, but the same fundamental strategy was used in both cases. Which is why we wonder: was Comey also the mastermind behind the legal strategy used to pursue all those Bridgewater traders that dared to leave the highly confidential fund and start their own thing.

As for Dalio, who checked out long ago, and is far more excited about his annual pilgirmage to Burning Man...

... in a TED talk Dalio delivered in April 2017, he said the group had created an “ideas meritocracy” by effectively preventing employees from keeping secrets. “We literally tape almost all conversations and let everybody see everything,” he told the audience. Oddly enough, he said nothing about fabricating evidence to make sure any chance of true meritocracy is trampled before it even has a chance to emerge.

As the FT concludes "Bridgewater has said that one in five hires leaves within a year"... in light of the latest news, it must the non-sociopathic hires.

Published:7/13/2020 8:22:38 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] It’s 3:00 a.m. (John Hinderaker) Remember the Hillary Clinton campaign ad that talked about when the phone rings at 3:00 a.m. in the White House? I looked it up and was reminded that it was part of her 2008 primary campaign against Barack Obama. Here it is: On Saturday, the White House released an ad on Twitter–but I’m not sure it is an official ad, since it doesn’t carry the “I’m Donald Trump…” at the Published:7/13/2020 7:21:24 PM
[Markets] The Left's "Boycott" Of Goya Has Backfired Spectacularly As Conservative Customers Clean Out Store Shelves The Left's "Boycott" Of Goya Has Backfired Spectacularly As Conservative Customers Clean Out Store Shelves Tyler Durden Mon, 07/13/2020 - 08:46

In what is turning into a spectacular backfire, Goya products are being cleaned out of grocery store shelves in what is being dubbed the "Chick-Fil-A" effect by The Daily Wire.

Namely, leftists have called for a boycott over the brand after its CEO publicly praised President Donald Trump. Instead, conservatives took matters into their own hands and are reportedly buying more Goya products than they normally would to show support for the company, its CEO and the President. It's being called a "Buy-Cott". 

It began when radio host Mike Opelka began encouraging people on Twitter to buy $10 worth of Goya products to turn around and donate to their local food bank. 

He Tweeted: “My brother came up with a terrific idea and I am encouraging all to join me in purchasing $10 worth of Goya Foods products and donating them to your local food bank. Let’s push a BUY-cott, not a boycott. Let’s show the #Goyaway people what compassion can do.”

Other conservative voices joined in:

And this weekend a GoFundMe effort was launched to feed the hungry using only Goya products. It has raised over $43,000 so far. 

Casey Harper, who started the GoFundMe, said: “I’m not surprised we have raised so much because people are tired of having to walk on eggshells in political discourse. Also, Americans are fundamentally generous people, so a chance to feed the hungry and stand up to cancel culture was an easy win.”

Recall, three days ago, we reported that the Goya CEO "refused to apologize" for his comments praising President Donald Trump. As a result, many liberals announced they were boycotting his company.

By last Thursday evening, "Goya," #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending topics on Twitter.

Goya's CEO joined other Hispanic leaders at the White House on Thursday to take part in the Administration’s “Hispanic Prosperity Initiative” to promote economic and educational efforts.

“It’s suppression of speech,” he told “Fox & Friends” hosts Friday.

“In 2012, 8 years ago, I was called by Michelle Obama to Tampa and they were mentioning to launch a ‘MyPlate’ thing, it’s putting the nutritional pyramid into a plate of portion control. They wanted to approach the African American community, Hispanic community to eat more nutritionally. So, they called on us as the most recognized Hispanic brand in the United States and I went.”

He continued, “I went to the White House later and I introduced Hispanic Heritage Month, President Obama. And, so, you’re allowed to talk good or to praise one president, but you’re not allowed, when I was called to be part of this commission to aid in economic and in educational prosperity, and you make a positive comment, all of a sudden that’s not acceptable.”

Recognizing the existence of a double standard between the public’s view of working alongside the different administrations, he added, “So, you know, I’m not apologizing for saying, and especially if you’re called by the President of the United States, you’re gonna say ‘no, I’m sorry, I’m busy. no, thank you.’ I didn’t say that to the Obama’s and I didn’t say that to President Trump.”

Published:7/13/2020 7:53:34 AM
[Markets] American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government American Collusion: Weaponizing Media, Big-Tech, & Government Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 22:00

Authored by James Grundvig via WND.com,

The planners quickly deployed the "insurance policy" after Donald J. Trump won the presidential election in 2016. Like an annuity, the payments to the policyholders would be small and steady at first, then lead, they hoped, to a much bigger payoff: the removal of President Trump from office.

At least that was the plan. Three and a half years later, the big day never arrived.

From the unsubstantiated Steele dossier, the discredited Russiagate investigation, to the FISA court abuses, the potholed-strewn road to impeachment circled back to the Mueller Report, which was supposed to clinch the deal. Without a smoking gun on the president, the Mueller team reached and then overreached, picking off a few Trump confidants, in an attempt to tighten the noose. The results were half-baked. That's usually what the FBI perjury trap produces. Plea deals; no evidence of collusion.

Sure, Robert Mueller collected a few big scalps in Gen. Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. But now that Flynn's indictment unraveled, the insurance claim has turned into a liability for the policyholders. Trump is still president. And now the investigation into collusion has moved in the other direction focusing on the planners of the insurance policy.

Going largely unnoticed, the Trump campaign turned social media into a clear advantage in 2016. Twitter emerged as the platform of choice, empowering Trump to communicate directly to the American people without filter, media biased, or interpretation, and with greater reach than all the network news outlets combined.

In late October 2016, Jason Sullivan – then chief Twitter strategist for Roger Stone, used a data-mining tool he created, Power10, to peer into the public sentiment of the election. Outgunning the antiquated polling surveys that got it so wrong, Sullivan witnessed candidate Hilary Clinton catch up to Trump two weeks before the election in real time. He then saw, a few days later, how FBI Director James Comey gave Clinton a temporary boost that helped her overtake Trump when he announced the bureau would reopen the investigation into her email scandal.

Since that time, Jason Sullivan hasn't told his story about what happened behind the scenes leading to the biggest presidential upset election in more than a century. He wasn't able to. That's because the FBI swept Sullivan up in a dawn raid in early 2018, after intimidating other members of his family. The FBI hauled him off to testify under oath of perjury before the Mueller team.

Surviving the FBI interrogation, Jason Sullivan retreated from the social media spotlight. That was until this June when he saw the establishment's coordinated effort to tilt the 2020 election against President Trump, again.

The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns gave blue states cover for an all mail-in paper election. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa protests, looting and riots further shut down cities across the United States. Some posed the theory that funds donated to BLM flow through ActBlue, another political front company, and into the DNC.

The biggest lever in tilting the election this year, however, emerges with the collusion between the mainstream media and the tech giants as de facto gatekeepers of information. They wield tremendous power to determine what can and cannot be said, seen, shared and posted. They include Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube, among others.

All this boils down to one objective: Censorship.

Surviving the Mueller interrogation, Sullivan developed a strong opinion on both censorship and what transpired during the last presidential election.

"On November 8th, 2016, all the laws of gravity were completely defied, and the legitimacy of every last one of the traditional political polls were utterly destroyed and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be completely inaccurate in what went down as the single biggest political upset in modern-day history," Sullivan said.

"The DNC, Hilary Clinton, the Obama administration, all the Democrats, all the leading newspapers and publications, the establishment Republicans and the RINOs were ALL completely caught flat-footed! If any one of the traditional polls were remotely accurate, candidate Trump did not stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning the presidential election."

Sullivan concluded his first salvo, stating, "There is no one today who will argue that Donald Trump won the presidency because of social media … not even President Trump. But social media is what allowed candidate Donald Trump to completely circumvent the mainstream media and get his message out directly to the people."

On Twitter shadow-banning, Sullivan observed the "systemized censorship that if Twitter staff members didn't like a user's tweet, they would zap the user's account, for a period of time. Meaning, everything the user would post would not show up on any of his followers news feeds. It's like getting hit with a digital stun gun."

Another deceptive tool Twitter deploys includes "removing the user's Twitter handle from its search function," Sullivan explained. "The search wouldn't show up or populate in the results of the Twitter search bar. In short, the Twitter handle would not be found by anyone attempting to visit the account."

Today, Twitter has been warning (President Trump twice), suspending (Candace Owens) and deleting accounts at a pace that's picking up speed. Maybe this is due to Twitter's fluid policies on "hate speech" and other rules that provide gray area to surgically remove some content, while allow other more insidious content to remain.

At the Sept. 5, 2018, U.S. congressional testimony, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed, in his opening statement: "Twitter is used as a global town square, where people from around the world come together in an open and free exchange of ideas."

Nice digital utopian vision. What if the "town square" is closed off to some, with groups of other voices silenced? Then Twitter no longer is a forum for the "free exchange of ideas," but a gatekeeper with clear editorial controls.

What's interesting is Sullivan knows that Jack Dorsey and Twitter are censoring more people today than ever before. And he can prove it.

Stifling Free Speech

What worries Sullivan are the other candidates in this election cycle. "Think about it," he said. "Twitter is and has been systematically shadow-banning federal level senatorial and congressional candidates across the country? Twitter could prevent them from campaigning effectively by muting their voices from reaching potential voters."

Jason Sullivan isn't alone in his concern or his quest to expose the censorship being carried out by social media platforms. Bill Binney, the former NSA technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, has joined Sullivan in setting out to reestablish a level playing field for all candidates.

Twice, Binney submitted sworn affidavits to the court where the Mueller team tried Gen. Flynn and Roger Stone. In both cases, "The judge wouldn't allow my testimony in court," Binney wrote in an email.

On Russiagate, Binney stated the three things that bother him about the "insurance policy":

A. "The lack of IC agencies (like NSA, CIA, FBI) looking at forensics of WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 data, or even stating what they had or did not have in their collection."

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B. "Mueller, Rosenstein, the House and Senate committees' failure to listen to our VIPS testimony."

C. "The refusal of judges in the Flynn and Stone cases to allow our Russiagate testimony in court."

Binney added that the reason why mainstream media and their proxies continue to push Russiagate in July 2020, despite it being exposed, "would require them to admit that they have been pushing an outright fraud for three years. That's too big a crow for them to eat."

The insurance policy started as "a diversion to make it look like the Russians interfered and to set the basis to justify the Democratic effort to impeach President Trump," Binney added. "This effort and follow-on ones have failed as they too were obvious manufactured frauds."

Binney explained the CIA's software tool HammerDrill. "My understanding is that it uses NSA and other collection equipment to capture data plus some hacking tools to exfiltrate data." In the case of domestic spying, "HammerDrill was used to keep the rest of government not knowing what the CIA and John Brennan were doing. If they used the NSA data, they would have been recorded; same for FBI."

Jason Sullivan recalled, "President Trump has been wise to the censorship since it began. We know, because we have personally been feeding evidence to the people instrumental to the Trump administration ever since he won the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July 2016."

On what Twitter is currently doing, Sullivan won't discuss the more advanced shadow-banning practices and methodologies, "because there is an ongoing investigation by this administration, by We the People, by reporters and investigators at-large, and by an army digital soldiers," he said. "But I will say, we are hot onto social media's misdeeds and nefarious practices, for which the president is keen. POTUS has recently set the stage by his latest executive order on 'Preventing Online Censorship.'"

Bill Binney has summed up the past three years in a fractious America, stating, "Sad to say, but this is the most serious attack on our Republic since the Civil War."

Jason Sullivan agrees with Binney. Together they make a formidable team to challenge Twitter and the other digital gatekeepers in the free flow of ideas.

Published:7/12/2020 9:24:49 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Trump administration won’t tighten existing ozone standards The Trump administration plans to retain a national limit of 70 parts per billion for the pollutant ozone, the standard set by the Obama administration five years ago after business groups fought tougher standards.
Published:7/12/2020 9:24:49 PM
[Markets] Why Illinois Governor Pritzker's Congressional Testimony On COVID-19 Was False And Hypocritical Why Illinois Governor Pritzker's Congressional Testimony On COVID-19 Was False And Hypocritical Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 20:00

Authored by Mark Glennon via Wirepoints.org,

Let’s start with a central claim Governor JB Pritzker made Wednesday in his testimony about COVID-19 policy before the United States House Committee on Homeland Security:

“We instituted [his mandate to wear masks] in Illinois on May 1st, one of the first in the nation, and it aligns with our most significant downward shifts in our infection rate,” he said.

That’s simply untrue and his own administ