“A Soft Coup, or Preserving Our Democracy?” by Giraldi


"Coup or legitimate political pushback depends on which side of the fence one is standing on. There are two competing narratives to choose from and there is inevitably considerable gray area in between depending on what turns out to be true. One narrative, coming from the Trump camp, is that President Obama used the nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies plus judicious leaks of classified information and innuendo to the media to sabotage Trump during and after the campaign. This was largely done by spreading malicious claims about the campaign’s associates, linking them to criminal activity and even suggesting that they had been subverted to support Russian interests. As of this date, none of the “Manchurian candidate” allegations have been supported by evidence because they are not true. The intention of the Obama/Clinton campaign is to explain the election loss in terms acceptable to the Democratic Party, to hamstring and delegitimize the new administration coming in, and to bring about the resignation or impeachment of Donald Trump. It is in all intents and purposes a coup, though without military intervention, as it seeks to overturn a completely legal and constitutional election.

The contrary viewpoint is that team Trump’s ties to Russia constitute an existential national security threat, that the Russians did steal information relevant to the campaign, did directly involve themselves in the election to discredit U.S. democracy and elect Trump, and will now benefit from the process, thereby doing grave damage to our country and its interests. Adversarial activity undertaken since the election is necessary, designed to make sure the new president does not alter or eliminate the documentary record in intelligence files regarding what took place and to limit Trump’s ability to make serious errors in any recalibration with Moscow. In short, Trump is a dangerous man who might be in bed with an enemy power and has to be watched closely and restrained. Doing so is necessary to preserve our democratic system."  Giraldi


 This article is a balanced view of the political disaster emerging in the US.  As such it may suffer from the basic flaw often contained in "balanced" views.  The two partisan views are mutually exclusive.  Either the Obama Administration sought information useful to HC's campaign or they did not.  Either civilian career employees conspired to destroy Trump's candidacy or they did not.  Either the IC chiefs conspired to get GCHQ to produce "evidence" against Trump or they did not.

Trump is certainly a less than optimal president.  Impetuous, ignorant of other than his narrow business interests, grossly vain, ridiculous haircut, gold plated apartment in a building named for him.  Yes!  He is bloody awful in many ways, but he IS president of the United States and if he is removed from office by what will be seen by the "Deplorables" as an agitprop driven conspiracy of the bi-coastal elites, the long term political stability of the United States will be damaged.   The question Mika raised by saying on national TV that it is the job of the MSM to dictate the content of the collective national mind will be answered in the negative by many.

And then there was the performance of the Germans at the White House presser.  The presumption and arrogance displayed by German journalists in daring to lecture the President of the United States  was breath-taking.   I am not a big fan of NATO, and have not been since the fall of the Soviet Union.  I certainly have been opposed to the eastward expansion of NATO to Russia's doorstep.  This expansion seems to me to be driven by a mindless jingoism that seeks an enemy.  Angela Merkel does not seem to share my opinion.  She stated clearly in her prepared remarks that NATO is very important to Germany, but at the same time she told us all that Germany, a rich country, will not be able to reach a 2% of GDP level of expenditure on its own defense until 2025.   Say what?   

I suppose the left and the foreign policy Borg imagines that President Pence will be manageable.  Perhaps he will be. Or perhaps he won't be.  Both statements cannot be true.  pl  



This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, government, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

283 Responses to “A Soft Coup, or Preserving Our Democracy?” by Giraldi

  1. Lars says:

    The genius of the founders was that they created a system of government that could be run by idiots. Fairly soon we will find out whether that is still a fact. I would suggest to ease up on all the conspiracy theories. In the end, it will be whether the POTUS is competent (25th Amendment) or has violated the law (impeachment).
    Or Trump decides that since he is not universally loved and admired, which he craves, he will just quit.

  2. All,
    With reference to the performance of the German journalists at the White House press conference, and that of the Western MSM generally: anyone who, after the events of the past years, thinks that a denial of Andrew Napolitano’s claims by GCHQ has any evidential value whatsoever doesn’t deserve the name of journalist. They are stenographers.
    In the attempts to discredit Napolitano’s claims, deft use is being made of the fact that one of his sources is the former CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert Larry Johnson – and he made an ass of himself by spreading the story that Michelle Obama had used the derogatory term ‘whitey’.
    However, Johnson has provided an account of and apology for his error, which he repeated in a post this morning entitled ‘Dishonest NY Times Hit Piece.’
    (See http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/79653/dishonest-ny-times-hit-piece/ .)
    If one wants to approach the claims by Napolitano in the spirit of a serious journalist, but one lacking access to intelligence sources, I suggest that one can usefully break down Napolitano’s account into separate elements.
    As I understand it, it involves the following claims:
    1. That the NSA ‘hoovers up’ so much material that what Obama wanted would already have been collected anyway.
    2. That it would have been within Obama’s rights to have requested what he wanted, without a FISA warrant, but he would have had to have produced a written order. Doing so would have involved leaving a ‘paper trail’ which would obviously have been an enormous hostage to fortune.
    3. That GCHQ has 24/7 access to the NSA computers as a matter of routine.
    4. And that, accordingly, all that was necessary to secure the material Obama wanted, without there being any hard evidence, was for the word to be passed to GCHQ to prepare a transcript.
    In the light of the ‘Vault 7’ materials, and much else, none of these claims strike me as particularly surprising. However, that does not mean that they are true.
    I would be interested in the views of other members of this ‘Committee of Correspondence’ as to how plausible they are.

  3. iowa steve says:

    While the two competing narratives may well be mutually exclusive, they both are real in the sense that they are actively informing, or misinforming, the political debate and political agenda, which is what I believe is the author’s point.

  4. confusedponderer says:

    Trump refuses to talk about his earnings for years, to media as much as to the IRS. The man is simply a blatant and mysteriously unaccused tax evader.
    He must by now owe the US somthing like half a billion or that. Aint it time to eventually pay? Re coup – woldn’t it be an elegant and consequent thing to
    * have Trump to confess what he earned and earns and to
    * make him pay the money he must owe by now, if necessary by confisating some of his oversized houses
    Him paying that finally would be good for US tax incoming and it would be good generally since it would result in Trump getting a well deserved criminal record – iirc that would disqualify him from being able to serve as president.
    That’s be a win-win solution.
    Certainly, Trump that way could be prevented from spontaneously starting a nuclear war or something as … unwise and murderous.
    I write that because Trump recently expressed that he would like to nuke IS, and that it was a great error of the US to not nuke Iraq during the last war. Trump likes nukes a lot – an unhealthy preference.
    That way, eventually if quite late, Trump would finally pay the taxes he STOLE, by keeping it for himself instead of paying it to the US citizens. That ought make one thing clear:
    Despite his patriotic babbling about making America so very great again, Trump being pro Trump was always more important to him than Trump being good for America. Unless the election changed him on this, that is still so.

  5. Valissa says:

    ‘Coup or legitimate political pushback’ is one way to frame the narrative, but it suffers from the limits of dualism. I’m guessing there are multiple factions amongst the political elite that are jockeying for power in various ways. Seems a bit of a free-for-all right now. If Trump proves himself “worthy” through this power-testing process then many will jump onto his train.
    Trump is a fighter… he is pugnacious… something not seen in a president for a long time. I think people underestimate him because to them he is a “barbarian.” One can be an intelligent barbarian, despite the gaudy outer appearance. He is fighting to change the direction of the US, as he was elected to do. How could this not stir up the enmity of much of the existing political power elite? Would you really prefer him to be another mealy mouthed metrosexual politician?
    IMO, the attempt to get rid of Trump via the Russia scam by one faction has been losing traction. However, just because the Russia tactic is not being as effective as hoped, doesn’t mean “they” won’t find another point of attack and narrative that gets pushed by the complicit MSM.
    b has a great post here with many links included to show the breadth of the trend away from the Democrat’s attempt to hogtie Trump with Russia-Putin allegations.
    The Democrats Anti-Russia Campaign Falls Apart (Updated) http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/03/the-democrats-anti-russia-campaign-falls-apart.html

  6. turcopolier says:

    “He must by now owe the US somthing like half a billion or that” You don’t know any of that. pl

  7. Valissa says:

    How Donald trump’s enemies fell for a 1.6 billion dollar hoax https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/how-donald-trumps-enemies-fell-for-a-billion-dollar-hoax
    An elaborate hoax based on forged documents escalates the phenomenon of “fake news” and reveals an audience on the left that seems willing to believe virtually any claim that could damage Trump.
    … Seated at a table toward the rear of a café, away from the street where they might attract unwanted attention, Ariel recalled, he handed over the cash. In exchange he was given a copy of a potentially explosive set of documents. Its 35 pages told the story of a $1.6 billion wire transfer from petroleum giant ExxonMobil to a European office of a Chinese mining company, which a day later transferred 1.4 billion euros to the Trump Organization, the privately held conglomerate founded by President Trump. The transfers appeared to have taken place in mid-June, at the exact same time that Exxon’s then chief executive, Rex Tillerson, was in St. Petersburg at an economic forum, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended. … The only problem: The documents were phony.
    Just one example of the active disinformation campaign against Trump by a faction of the elite. As I said to a friend the other day… now we have dozens of versions of The National Enquirer (which also occasionally reports real news) that compete to implant desired dramatic narratives or often simply plain old nasty gossip, instead of useful information.

  8. Matthew says:

    Col: Equally amazing is the MSM’s default assumption that if President Trump is annoying the Germans, Trump must be doing something wrong.
    I like Germans. But President Trump is absolutely right about the Europeans’ failure to meet their treaty obligations.

  9. Edward Amame says:

    Trump is kind of a gift from the gods to the Dems in a way. Don’t be so sure it’s they who may be pining for a President Pence.

  10. sid_finster says:

    You make an awful lot of assumptions and wishful thinking.

  11. confusedponderer says:

    I read that US president candidates have tended to make their taxes public before elections. As for Trump, he hasn’t and says he won’t release his tax infos while his taxes are under audit.
    Trump said to an ABC interviewer that his tax rate is “None of your business,” and that he fought “very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”
    So, while I dont know for certainty how much tax Trump probably avoided to pay, I suspect it is something. A couple of years make sums add up. Example:
    Trump “used a $916 million loss that he reported on his 1995 income tax returns to avoid paying personal federal income taxes for years.”
    “With a $916 million net operating loss in 1995, Mr. Trump could have avoided paying more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.”

  12. Bill H says:

    Indeed, not to mention that the issue is a red herring. The issues raised in the article are not Trump’s taxes, but have to do with subversion of elections and governance.

  13. Fred says:

    Nice rant. I believe this is right in line with the left in the US. Got any evidence, other than that thing Rachel Maddow put on t.v. showing Trump paid $38,000,000 USD in taxes in 2005?

  14. Jack says:

    You surely are very confused on how the federal tax collection system works and our byzantine tax code. Clearly you show an ignorance of the IRS and it’s powers.
    The fact that Trump’s federal returns are under audit demonstrates that the IRS is reviewing every detail including all deductions claimed. I can assure you that an IRS audit is worse than anything you can imagine. I know having been through one.
    Your clear distaste for Trump, the man, has shorn you of any objectivity.

  15. Thomas says:

    “Certainly, Trump that way could be prevented from spontaneously starting a nuclear war or something as … unwise and murderous.”
    Yes, only the Likudniks have divine authorization to destroy all Goobers of Yokeldim. I guess they would call it “harvesting for the land” since “mowing the grass” sounds so.., so puny in comparison.

  16. turcopolier says:

    In the US EVRYONE tries to pay as little tax as legally possible. This is expected, even by the IRS.

  17. turcopolier says:

    “the left and the foreign policy Borg” Did I say “the Dems” pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    A factor that is being ignored is that the armed forces would not accept anything done illegally against their legitimate CinC. pl

  19. Lefty says:

    Dear cp, There are good reasons to be critical of Trump, but his taxes do not seem to be one of them. When he finishes his audit (apparently annual and likely for good cause) his accountants, lawyers and the IRS come to a decision on what he owes, if anything, and he pays what is due. Revenue Agents are not shy about attaching assets if they have been stiffed, and we have no indications that has ever happened with Trump.
    I have no more love for the IRS than for Trump, but I am pretty sure that the IRS knows something about the (bizarre) US Tax Code, and that they have been thoroughly engaged with ensuring that Trump complies.
    Going after Trump’s taxes distracts from real issues and causes all complaints, even legitimate ones, to be discounted.

  20. The Beaver says:

    Just noticed the following from a Twitter a/c but don’t know the source:

  21. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    LJ just now told me that he will be on Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” show tomorrow to defend his assertions. pl

  22. Lefty says:

    Col. Exactly, it is our obligation under the law to pay what is owed, not more and not less.

  23. The Beaver says:

    I may have given the wrong link:

  24. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Noted. But the left doesn’t stand to gain from a Pres Pence either. Who does stand to gain from a coup?

  25. turcopolier says:

    The left may not stand to gain but they are swept up in the hysteria of defending “the future” as Pelosi said yesterday. The Borg will gain ye stopping Trump’s assault on what they see as their birthright in running international relations. pl

  26. Lars says:

    Mr. Trump has yet to show the letter from IRS that he is being audited. Until he does, that is just an excuse to hide reality.

  27. steve says:

    Coup is overblown. Was Trump’s campaign about Obama’s birth certificate a coup attempt? There is always a campaign of sorts to try to discredit the sitting president. When we had dozens of Benghazi investigations, when the GOP didn’t even accept investigations done by their own party, when you have 60 or 70 repeal votes on the ACA, really there are just too many examples of this stuff.
    confusedponderer- The US tax system and code is specifically set up so that wealthy people in the US can find ways to avoid paying taxes. It is unlikely that Trump did anything illegal in regard to his taxes. (That said, I am pretty darn sure he bought off people in New Jersey, as if that is hard to do, to get out of trouble with his casinos there while going bankrupt 4 times. But there again, that is pretty normal real estate developer stuff. He was exceptionally well connected politically and took advantage of that.)

  28. Andy says:

    To me the biggest question is why would President Obama do this?
    Any information, gained in such an illegal manner, could not be used for political purposes (first assuming there was information that could hurt Trump) – this isn’t something the President or his staff could leak because of the obvious danger that its provenance could be discovered. What actual advantage would the information give him or even Clinton considering the huge risk involved? To me it doesn’t make any sense, so I tend to think the story isn’t true.

  29. Farmer Don says:

    The Video clip mentioned above, where Pres. Trump says that Merkel and Himself may both share being bugged is widely viewed, but anti Trump and Pro Trump people see two COMPLETELY different things!
    The comments on twitter from anti Trump people see a highly embarrassing spectacle of Trump at his worst. They read into Merkel’s expression, (she didn’t have her translation ear piece in), one of utter amazement of what a boor she has to contend with.
    The pro Trump people see this as a very witty remark by Trump, and Merkel’s expression as surprise of hearing the truth.
    The for and against Trump people populate different copies of the video and have hundreds of uniform replies depending on who’s camp aired it.
    I have never seen such a striking example of people watching the same film and instantly SEEING two completely different things.

  30. Steve,
    That’s exactly what I was thinking. Trump was actively pushing a “coup” of the presidency for almost eight years. That coup was no more likely to succeed than this attempt. But those arrayed against him are more numerous and embedded than the birthers ever were.
    I do want solid investigations of the whole Trump-Russia accusations to continue. Based on my experience of various aspects of Russian information operations, I think we will find there was a robust, aggressive long term campaign to influence/weaken our political and governmental systems. We will also find that Trump has fairly extensive business and financial connections with some shifty Russians. Some of these shifty Russians will have connections with Russian government and intelligence services. Those connections will have nothing to do with Trump. It may even reveal Trump was unwittingly used, but I think that is less likely. This will be embarrassing and a massive blow to Trump’s ego, especially if he was unwittingly used. None of this will force him out of the presidency. The only way he leaves early is if he becomes bored and/or overly annoyed. Even that’s unlikely since I don’t see him ever admitting he is wrong or defeated.
    I’d also like to see an investigation into our robust, aggressive long term campaign to influence/weaken the political and governmental systems in Ukraine. I bet that’s an uglier story than Russia’s meddling in our elections.

  31. Bobo says:

    Regarding Trumps Tweets on wiretapping I believe people are looking at the wording way to deeply. When Clapper was caught in his lie we found out that metadata was being collected under the Patriot Act which was signed by Obama. Thus every phone call, e-mail, tweet, text or other communication was/is collected, stored and placed into a searchable archive. That is the simple explanation and anything else gets us into that devious world.
    Now all these high faluting journalists running around claiming Trump was tapped and said this or that have egg on their faces for spewing Fake News. Perfect example was the NY Times front page on Inaugaration Day something they will never live down.
    The present Russia meme is falling apart but just give them a month or so and they will be spouting something else.

  32. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    If you’re talking about this: “The budget is a statement of values, and President Trump has shown he does not value the future of children and working families,” that’s not hysteria, that’s politics.

  33. scott s. says:

    Steve- I don’t agree that the “tax system” (or individual income tax which I guess is what is meant) is set up for the wealthy. The core problem is that “income” is an accounting concept and it is difficult to reduce a concept to hard numbers. To make matters worse, there’s actually four different definitions of income — gross income, adjusted gross income, modified adjusted gross income (for purposes of the Alternative Minimum Tax) and taxable income. All of which require detailed regulations subject to interpretation (which is why there is an Administrative Law court, the Tax Court, to adjudicate this mess). And all this is before Congress starts using the income tax as a way of distributing welfare in the form of “tax credits”.
    The “income tax” was first invoked under Congress’ taxing power during the Civil War as a remedy for perceived unfairness of the Direct Tax (essentially, a national property tax) that allowed owners of joint-stock companies to “carry their property in their vest pockets” and hence avoid the direct tax.
    Note also that the income tax was never “illegal”. Rather, a series of Supreme Court decisions ruled that you had to look to the source of income to determine if the tax was direct (following the rule of apportionment) or “indirect” (duties, imposts, and excises following the rule of uniformity). This was seen as unworkable hence the passage of the XVIth amendment, which declared income tax would follow the rule of uniformity, regardless of source.
    While on the subject, also may be worth noting that the history of the so-called “three-fifths rule” was based on taxation. During the debates on drafting the Articles of Confederation there was consideration of taxes for the Confederation. It was generally agreed to that states would be assessed based on their “wealth”. The problem was determining wealth. It was suggested that population could act as a proxy for wealth. The slave-holding states argued that slaves were not as productive as free persons and shouldn’t be counted in population. A compromise was suggested by applying a three-fifths rule, but in the end the population proxy was rejected.
    The main advantage of being “wealthy” is you get to do your taxes twice: once using the “regular” rules and a second time using the AMT rules. (you pay the higher amount)

  34. turcopolier says:

    No. I am talking about what has become a mindless witch hunt designed to destroy Trump’s Administration and anyone who fails to get in line with the mob of peasants headed for Dracula’s castle carrying torches and pitchforks. I am talking about the trolls who send me and others messages asserting that I/we are hypocritical servants of the “devils” because I defend the established constitutional order, something that evidently means nothing to the mob that has been called into being by agitprop reminiscent of methods in the 20th Century that I never expected to see in America. I am talking about people who tell me every day that my senile dementia is accelerating because I don’t shut up. Are you one of them? You seem more rational. pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    I really think that Trump’s birther nonsense is irrelevant to what is going on now unless his enemies just want to indulge themselves in revenge at the expense of the innermost assumptions we have held about the US republic. The birther thing was never going to unseat Obama. Whether or not you think the effort against Trump will succeed is interesting but not dispositve. I am told by sources on the Hill that Republican members are under constant pressure from the Democrats and media to abandon Trump. The intention is clear. It is to reduce his support enough to make him vulnerable to the 25th Amendment or impeachment and this is succeeding. His polling numbers are steadily declining. It is clear to me from confidential sources that leaders of the IC DID approach GCHQ with an informal and, of course, un-written request to dig through the intercepts available to them in the joint NSA/GCHQ system for material adverse to Trump. The then director of GCHQ accommodated them and was fired when his presumption was discovered at 10 Downing Street. This, in spite of British protestations of outrage to the contrary. This kind of skullduggery is essentially not provable unless those who were in certain meetings come out of the woodwork and they will not. Efforts like this re planned to be un-provable in court or a hearing and this one was done fairly well. pl

  36. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Pelosi was just doing the job that she got elected to do. I do support the idea of resistance to Trumpism by demonstrating peacefully, getting involved politically at the local level – maybe by joining or starting a political club, pressuring elected officials, donating to orgs to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, etc.
    As for your trolls, I wish they’d cut it out. Bullying is poor salesmanship, for starters.

  37. VietnamVet says:

    The flack you are getting must be intense. Keep it going. You’ve handled worse.
    Since George W Bush, I noticed that Presidents like to have the military personnel as background for their speeches. Probably because it looks patriotic and the military will behave themselves. However, when President Trump spoke at MacDill AFB, the enthusiasm from the back of the room was palpable. Together with his staff of retired Generals, a coup against his Presidency will have to be legal; either by resignation, the 25th amendment or an impeachment.
    Corporate media has gone crazy trying to rub their insanity off on him. The elite’s gravy train of exploiting the little people is coming to an end; ready or not.

  38. turcopolier says:

    Why do you want to participate in resistance to this man in his exercise of office? Do you think it is patriotic to impede the functioning of the government? What gives you the right to defy the constitution? It is one thing to oppose his policies and quite another to oppose the outcome of the election. pl

  39. Fred says:

    What vengeance are they going to pursue once victorious? Surely those presumed to be vulnerable in Congress or government don’t think they’ll be safe after Trump is gone? I think the deplorables know that vengeance will be inflicted upon them and they could look forward to open borders in the effort to import a replacement demographic loyal to the right political orthodoxy.

  40. turcopolier says:

    Farmer Don
    “what a boor she has to contend with.” I guess you don’t remember the tremendous flap she caused when she realized that NSA was listening to her cell-phone chatter. someone in the BND must have broken the news to her since they and NSA are partners in such activity in Eastern Europe. pl

  41. turcopolier says:

    “could not be used for political purposes” what? It has been used to hurt Trump. Is that not obvious? pl

  42. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I don’t have your sources, but what I’ve been reading/hearing is that if anybody’s agitating for impeachment, it’s the base not Dem elected reps.
    IMO, the Dems in congress are (correctly) looking to the midterms not impeachment.

  43. turcopolier says:

    Yes, You do not have my resources. Yes, your base is fired up because of the agitprop war in the media. Your party’s members are actively engaged in the effort. Just listen to them on TV. He is the worst human imaginable. Look at people like Adam Schiff. He is engaged in jihad, a holy war. pl

  44. Hunsdon says:

    The nomination and subsequent confirmation of Gen. (now Secretary) Mattis was, I realized a day or so later, excellent anti-coup insurance.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Yes, but they never would have accepted a soft coup that was not legal whether or not Mattis was SECDEF. pl

  46. turcopolier says:

    Trolls come in different tribes. The political ones sent by a cause like the anticonservative jihad often use exactly the same themes and even language. They are easily recognizable. Unfortunately the present troll activity is a powerful incentive for me to continue for a while. pl

  47. pl,
    The Brits first gave us a tip off about Russian hacking of the DNC in 2015. A Baltic service gave the CIA a tip off of Russian efforts to fund efforts to influence the election in Spring 2016. That’s when the inter-agency investigation started. I would not be surprised if we asked the Brits for further assistance after that. It’s hard to stonewall the investigations into the Russian end of this mess.
    Unfortunately for Trump and his supporters, his virulent opposition smell blood, real or imaginary, and will not let it go. Trump is not helping matters by denying any connection to anything Russian. That’s demonstrably false and smacks of cover up. Of course, with his opposition so bloodthirsty, he can’t afford to give them an inch. Instead, he’s left with throwing up distractions like the wiretapping.

  48. Jack says:

    Your assertion that “Mr. Trump has yet to show the letter from IRS that he is being audited. Until he does, that is just an excuse to hide reality.” makes no sense. He is under no obligation to show any letter from the IRS. He’s never gonna convince NeverTrumper like you. So why bother?
    Those that get it know that if he lied on this with the legions of leakers in the bureaucracy it will only be a matter of time before it came out. And it would be 24×7 on all the hyperventilating channels.
    Unlike Donna Brazile who fed Hillary the debate questions and then brazenly lied only to get caught and now having to admit it. But that’s not gonna hurt her career as the MSM were all in cahoots to take down Trump. They just didn’t count on voters seeing through their propaganda.

  49. different clue says:

    Edward Amame,
    The Clinton courtiers all want revenge against Trump for having defeated their Highness. They would accept a President Pence as the price of having their revenge.
    The R2P Wilsonians and the NeoCons and NeoLibs would prefer a President Pence because he supports the same Forced Trade Agreements they support, he supports the same Cold War 2.0 with Russia that they support, and he supports the same Assad-must-go that they support.

  50. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    The Birther “coup” attempt is qualitatively different than the current “coup” attempt where elements in the federal intelligence bureaucracy are placing stories in the MSM to insinuate that POTUS Trump is a Manchurian Candidate. This is then amped up by the MSM with the agitprop that we see.
    To be equivalent we’d have seen elements in the State of Hawaii bureaucracy seeding stories that Obama was not a US citizen. So there would have been stories with lines like ” A senior official in the Hawaii Department of Health stated there are no records of President Obama’s birth in the State of Hawaii”. And then the MSM going hog wild.

  51. Laura says:

    David, I agree. I think Obama was too much of of an optimist to even feel the need. He was wrong to be optimistic but certainly there was no particular reason to wire-tap.

  52. Laura says:

    Farmer – What do the two sides see in the video of Trump ignoring the handshake request/Merkel’s suggestion?

  53. charly says:

    Trump trying to dodge paying taxes is not a negative. It is the expected behavior of a businessman.

  54. charly says:

    Nato is a defense organization. It is there to not have war. If Germany had a 2% defense budget the change of war would have been greater so spending the 2% is unwise and absolutely not a failure.

  55. raven says:

    You do understand that “the left” is just as convinced that the “borg” media was crucial to Trump winning the election?

  56. sid_finster says:

    The real estate developers I know are *always* being audited, *always* in at least one spv workout or bankruptcy, *always* in litigation.

  57. charly says:

    I doubt she would need an earpiece to understand what he was saying

  58. Bandolero says:

    Trying to impeach Trump based on taxes is based on the assumption that Trump used illegal methods to evade taxes. I doubt he did that.
    I think the reality is that rich persons have so many legal ways to evade taxes that they pay very little, if at all, taxes anyway, if they use them. And I think that’s what Trump did: using every rule in the book to reduce his taxes in legal ways. Using all legal ways to reduce taxes may not look good to an electorate, but I think that’s quite a usual procedure for all business people.
    So far I haven’t seen any evidence for Trump using illegal methods to evade taxes, and I don’t think he did. Why should he have used illegal methods to reduce taxes when there are so many legal ways to reach the same goal? So, as I politically understand the tax accusations against Trump for violating some ethics, I don’t think they hold water regarding violations of law.

  59. Don’t be silly. For those gazillionaires who want to shrink their tax bills, there are plenty of perfectly legal tax shelters available. There are also plenty of lawyers and accountants who specialize in precisely that.

  60. Farmer Don says:

    I know, the whole incident seems to have been forgotten. Salon.com even charges that he is blurting out “State Secrets”!!!
    I’m also wondering.
    1 Trump wants everyone in Nato to pay their fair share.
    2 As a businessman he knows the Golden Rule. (He who pays the gold makes the rules)
    3 He realizes that if this happens Nato nations will be less willing do the US’s bidding
    4 Therefore, he must have no plans for “Nation building” or “Regime change” that will require Nato members to tow the line.

  61. Eric Newhill says:

    Your leftist buddy Michael Moore says that your goofy resistance has the goal of removing Trump from office.
    Sometimes I almost hope you guys are successful. Then we can just get on with the civil war that looks more inevitable all the time and rid the country of the leftists once and for all and start over with the republic with the lessons of the past written in stone to hopefully never be repeated. I mean you don’t seriously think you guys would win do you? And you don’t seriously think that us deplorables are going to just sit there and watch it happen? Right? Or is this more leftist magical thinking in which things work out as you say because you say. Who’s got all the guns, Edward?

  62. robt willmann says:

    David Habakkuk mentioned Larry Johnson in his comment above. The loquacious and boisterous Alex Jones, who tends to interrupt his guests and push them in a different direction, had Johnson on as a guest on 17 March, I think it was. Johnson does manage to talk about the issue of surveillance of Trump, and other things–
    Recently, on 10 March, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who has a pretty large audience, had former NSA Technical Director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, Bill Binney, on as a guest. Ingraham went to law school and was a law clerk for a federal appeals court judge and for Judge Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court. She worked for a law firm for a short while before moving to what she does now. Late in the interview, she mentions that she spent some time in Russia (early 1980’s), and after returning to the U.S., her Russian friends told her that they were hauled in later by the MVD/KGB for questioning after her visit with them–

  63. If the efforts of the “soft coup” allegedly in progress lead to the removal of Trump by the Constitutional processes of impeachment or the 25th Amendment are those efforts still n attack on our institutions??

  64. David,
    Anonymous source gives information to reporter who appears on cable news and repeats that information.
    Anonymous source gives information to Larry C. Johnson who appears on cable news and repeats that information.
    Why is Larry C. Johnson felt to be more credible??

  65. Swami Bhut Jolokia says:

    The presumption and arrogance displayed by German journalists in daring to lecture the President of the United States was breath-taking.
    pl, I thought they were engaging in robust questioning, something our journalists don’t do enough of. We need more people asking tough questions of our elected officials, at all levels. Part of the deal when running for and holding public office is that you will be challenged about what you do and say.

  66. Bandolero says:

    What I find deeply ironic is that the German mood is quite different to what Merkel says. I am quite convinced that large numbers of Germans, likely a majority, do neither want a large increase of German defense spending nor a sharpening of troubles with Russia.
    It’s quite the opposite: entrenched Borgist forces, most of them located in the US, pressure Merkel for more defense spending and for renewed conflict with Moscow. German business mode is neither so. There people would like to see Northstream part II. How much influence the US president really has on Germany I don’t know, but I tink Trump could do more to counter the US influence in Germany putting Germany on a war path versus Russia.

  67. turcopolier says:

    you know that I oppose jingoism against Russia. Perhaps Germany should withdraw from NATO or repudiate its commitment to spending 2% of GDP on defense. pl

  68. turcopolier says:

    There is a big question between asking hard questions and arrogantly lecturing. pl

  69. turcopolier says:

    Farmer Don
    Nobody forced the member states of NATO to commit to a 2% commitment to their own defense. pl

  70. turcopolier says:

    Absolutely not! They opposed him every step of the way. pl

  71. turcopolier says:

    OK. Then Germany should repudiate the commitment it made to 2%. pl

  72. turcopolier says:

    In this case the IC leaders specifically asked the head of GCHQ for material that would be useful against Trump. pl

  73. Farmer Don says:

    Sorry, I should have made clear, the clip showing him say that they may have something in common, ie being wire tapped.

  74. MRW says:

    They didn’t need GCHQ. They could have asked the Israelis who invented NARUS in the late 90s, the interface between NSA and the backbone. (Plausible deniability anyone? Remember Alex Klein and the San Francisco facility in 2007? And the ridiculous claim that it only involved one location?)
    NARUS, now owned by Boeing–after complaints of Israeli (foreign) access to NSA dumps–hoovers e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. [Israel had already designed a pipe of this info–the stuff NSA sends to their current Utah location–to their computers in-country.] Nevertheless, the Israelis would know the interface fields and how they operate, something I taught NSA in the 80s when NSA was still in direct control of the nodes attached to AT&T’s 10 (then) backbone nodes nationwide. It was called the Private Line Network (PLN) then and only 100 AT&T scientists knew how it worked. I had to learn it, and I can tell you definitively that NSA attached its hoovers to each backbone node and copied every domestic and foreign telephonic and electronic communication in its entirety. Everything. Don’t ever believe the ‘only metadata’ or ‘call-record data’ horseshit; it’s bogus.
    There are any which way to glean that info without involving Five Eyes, which in my view would be ludicrous to attempt because it would leave a trail. The secret lies in Utah. That’s why they put their facility there: the Mormons are accommodating as long as you don’t bitch about their marriage practices, now considered illegal, but still practiced just east of NSA’s facility.

  75. MRW says:

    He must by now owe the US somthing like half a billion or that.
    Based on what? Some assumption you pulled out of your ass? What a ridiculous statement. It’s beneath you, confusedponderer.

  76. MRW says:

    now we have dozens of versions of The National Enquirer (which also occasionally reports real news)
    That was true before the Carol Burnett/National Enquirer suit that the National Enquirer lost in the late 1980s. A friend of mine, a retired Air Force “Full-Bird Colonel,” worked for them for over a quarter of a century. (I dont know the significance of the Bruno Magli shoes in the OJ Simpson case, but he discovered them.) He said that since the Carol Burnett suit, every controversial story that the National Enquirer prints has to have three reliable sources on tape and they have to be stored in the National Enquirer vaults. No exceptions.
    You need to understand the point of the supermarket tabloids. I do not know the law, but apparently there is some directive that the CIA and the other alphabets must publish the truth of what they are doing. Again, I DONT KNOW what the directive is. Apparently, it’s a legal requirement.
    So when the alphabets are concocting disinformation, those tales go to the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc. They printed the truth in the National Enquirer (used to before the Carol Burnett suit) and, today, rags like the “Weekly World.” The Weekly World is the black and white shit sheet that has covers like “I gave birth to Siamese Baby Elephants in the Back of a Cab.” Totally off-the-wall.
    However, Valissa.
    As various A-list print reporters told me when I lived in Manhattan, including broadcaster John Chancellor (personally)–I don’t think we have their ilk anymore–the tabloids, the cheezy cheap supermarket tabloids that no thinking person would be caught dead buying were what they stocked up on every week. They never missed them. I’m talking TOP New York Times and WSJ and Washington Post reporters, the cream of the crop at the time. I was told BY THEM that was how they knew Reagan was going to trounce Carter in the 1980 election. The stories were in there because Reagan’s people used these tabloids to spread disinfo about Carter to erase his hold on the Southern Democrats.
    These cheezy tabloids give the alphabets cover. When someone asks “Where did you read that?” and the response is the Weekly World, the respondent is immediately discounted. What better cover could you have?
    Do you know that Clinton’s personal attorney–forget his name, remembered it for years–is head of the group in Boca Rotan that overseas all these tabloids, and his connections to the CIA are golden.
    So do yourself a favor and pick some up. My cousin worked for all of them. He made shit up based on what the wire services–if you understand the business–call the “C Wire.” By ‘made shit up’ I mean that my cousin would supply details of the subject of the story from his office in Montreal. If you read them religiously, all of a sudden a certain story will stick out. That’s the plant. But you have to be sharp-eyed.
    Let’s put it this way, the alphabets have your superiority attitude covered. (lol) And they are manipulating it. WHO, among your educated class would be caught dead buying a “Weekly World?” Tell me. None. Right? But TENS of millions read them every week. Those are votes, darlin’.

  77. MRW says:

    Trump “used a $916 million loss that he reported on his 1995 income tax returns to avoid paying personal federal income taxes for years.”
    He’s a fucking developer. He could have lost it in a year.

  78. confusedponderer says:

    “presumption and arrogance displayed by German journalists in daring to lecture the President”
    Curiously, to call them presumpting and arrogant, not to mention nazis, for doing their job is a BS verdict on German and Dutch journalistst that one can hear from Erdogan ever day.
    “We need more people asking tough questions of our elected officials, at all levels.”
    Absolutely. Still, there is Trump’s notable rejection of answering tough qestions of nasty german repoters:
    “Ms Dunz asked, according to a translator: “Why are you so scared of diversity in the news, and in the media, that you speak so often of fake news? And that things after all, in the end, cannot be proven, for example, the fact that you have been wiretapped by Mr Obama?”
    Mr Trump’s answer largely addressed her other question, regarding his global trade policy, however, and he rejected the suggestion he was an “isolationist”.”
    I found the non-answers from Trump to these not so really presumpting and arrogant questions actually notable. It is a reporters job to ask questions. Trump shouldn’t be surprised about that. Instead, Trump simply ignored the qustions he didn’t like.
    Actually, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump was just outraged when an judge in a recent trial verdict dared to call his new immigration decree as unconstitutional as the first one. So, when a judge in a trial doesn’t applause but calls a decree unconstitutional that’s … insulting and a subversion? What if his verdict is accurate in that point? Ouch.
    The verdict giver can basically do three things – insult the judge for doing his job, asert that he mistook the law, or think about the decree again and ideally reread it while doing actual thinking.
    That said, I recently had the displeasure of joyfully, sadly at length, getting lectured by a turkish tax driver on media, Erdogan the great, propaganda, our coming war with Islamic states – and German dumbness and Dutch dumbness.
    He explained to me that we Germans and the Dutch are all dumb idiots if we believe any of the stuff that media report – that’s all just propaganda, lies about Turkey and Erdogan and that all German and Dutch journalists are being agitated by CIA and, curiously, Freemasonry (which, as he added, made Trump the US president).
    To my driver all media in the west are utter corrupt because they are … owned by corporations – Turkish media aren’t and they always soberly and accurately report on the world – they are so famous for that. Thank god for his proof of the high niveau and utter truthfulness of Turkish media under Erdogan.
    He added that he, coming from Turkey, understands all that because Turkish media (after Erdogan closed 150 disagreeing newspapers and tv stations in his cleansing of Turkish media) are just utterly free, free of nonsense (or stuff like reports on Holstein cows and Turkey’s Association of Red Meat Producers), free of political pressure or random arrests, free of propaganda.
    He then added that he, having done Karate, was totally ready for the coming religious war with Europe. How encouraging.
    I was lucky that the man during his rant narrowly escaped three accidents on the route. It would have been unhealthy. One truly shouldn’t go to 200 km/h on an autobahn when ranting. It is somewhat fast, unwise (since accidents may happen), it is unsafe (little time to react, and even healthy people are dead when they die), it’s unsafe driving (even a Mercedes can wreck) … etc.

  79. MRW says:

    I am pretty darn sure he bought off people in New Jersey, as if that is hard to do, to get out of trouble with his casinos there while going bankrupt 4 times. But there again, that is pretty normal real estate developer stuff. He was exceptionally well connected politically and took advantage of that.
    Don’t forget that it was the mother of his first three children who ran those properties, Ivana, not Trump. He did not trash her. He kept his mouth shut and paid the freight. I used to watch Ivana’s black Trump Helicopter travel down the Hudson river every morning at 10 AM from my apartment in Manhattan. (I lived on the 19th floor.)

  80. MRW says:

    I’d also like to see an investigation into our robust, aggressive long term campaign to influence/weaken the political and governmental systems in Ukraine.
    Wait until the hoi polloi in this country understand that the decision to decide whether Crimea remains in Ukraine or moves to Russia WAS CAST IN STONE IN THE 1992 UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION as a legal right of the citizens of the Crimeans to decide on their own.
    The 1992 Ukrainian Constitution was explicit. The Crimeans had the legal right BY REFERENDUM to make that decision. They pulled that vote on March 14, 2014. Something like 91% of the country voted.
    At 8 PM they informed the Russian Duma (Parliament).
    The Duma stayed up all night debating it, including Putin.
    They accepted the Crimean vote at 8 AM the following morning.
    By 10 AM Putin sent in troops to secure Russian military assets in Crimea.
    Only Reuters and USA Today reported this accurately at first notice, then it was buried and hidden.
    Everything you’ve been told about this just absolute bullshit.
    This was a vote of the Crimeans. Their legal right.

  81. MRW says:

    Taxes are a thermostat to control the economy. All the bullshit you read about them is to occupy your mind, not your common sense.

  82. b says:

    To the 2% nonsense
    The 2% are from a declaration of intention by the heads of governments of some NATO states which has been repeated for decades at various NATO meetings at the urge of U.S. weapon sellers. No one has ever given a f*** about it until now.
    The heads of government DO NOT HAVE budget authority. Merkel can not promise what the parliament has to legislate. Neither can any other democratic head of government. Said differently: She can promise whatever she wants but do not expect that the voters will agree to it or that the Bundestag will follow through.
    To set the military spending of a country at some X% of GDP is strategically nonsense. Why should it be necessary to spend that much??? Why measure it at a flunky GDP share and not some other number? Question should be what the real situation is, are there enemies, what capacity do they have, what are intentions, is real defense better helped by more expansive foreign policy or by buying more tanks, etc, etc. In shoprt That 2% of GDP mark is economic and strategically bullshit.
    The U.S. is spending WAY too much on its military. Most of this spending has NOTHING to do with defense at all, with NATO or defense of European NATO partners.
    To use the U.S. mil budget as some marker for others is pretty lunatic.
    If you expect Europeans to take you seriously stop this bullying about the 2% mark. Stop the “Russia is an enemy” bullshit. Go invent some more reasonable products than overvalued and over-expensive weapons.

  83. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    IMO Trump is not interested in a functioning gov’t. He and Bannon seem intent on tearing it all down. And how in the hell is what I described (demonstrating peacefully, getting involved politically at the local level – maybe by joining or starting a political club, pressuring elected officials, donating to orgs to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood) defying the constitution?

  84. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I don’t know Adam Schiff and frankly don’t care. He and Maxine Waters are outliers. But have you forgotten this?
    Sarah Palin, a whole slew of GOP elected officials in congress, and the GOP base wanted to impeach Obama. In at least one case, just to stop him from “pushing his agenda.” Boehner had to tamp that down too, just like Pelosi’s doing. I don’t recall any conversations back then here about “resistance to Obama in his exercise of office how it was patriotic to impede the functioning of the government.” What’s good for the goose and all.

  85. The main thrusts of your post are that 1. an impeachment of Trump would cause political instability in the U.S., and 2. Germany should pay up, on NATO. There are lots of side discussions to these of course, but I will try to keep it short.
    1. The Democrats don’t want impeachment. Trump is the major advertisement for them to gain seats in the midterm elections.
    2. Money, money, money. It’s BS. We already print all of the goddamn money. (The Big Argument in our civilization, is over who should print it: the private bankers, or democratic governments, or both?) Germany points out that it is doing its share for the alliance by taking in tons of refugees. You can think this is a good or a bad idea for social stability, but let’s not distract from the real argument here: This is not about the money-price of NATO, but about Western strategic policy in the Middle East. And yet that strategy is pretty much back to what it was, before the U.S. election. (The U.S. has ramped up the fighting tactics a little, but that was foretold in the cards, anyway: Q. What wuz that evil, evil Hillary gonna do? Ans. Send more troops to Syria. Q. What did the Trumpster just do?!! )… And so, WHY are we back to Mid East business-as-usual? Because there aren’t any other options that don’t cost more blood. The only way forward is a generations-long strategy — a hundred years, maybe — of trying to keep a lid on violence until autocratic governments give way to a modernized, secularized Islam. Nobody knows how long that will take, but Merkel has invited them in to see how a democratic society can cope, can work with them, can maybe change them. She got with the program. You may think, with Steve Bannon, that this is a fool’s errand, or you may think (as I do) that Bannon is a short-sighted jackass, another Ivy-Leaguer with the emotional brain of a 2-yr. old, & they are a dime a dozen — but don’t blame Germany. Making them “pay up” for NATO isn’t going to make them think any clearer about the virtues of Western civilization.

  86. Bandolero says:

    I don’t think Germany made a hard commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense. MoD von der Leyen and Chancellor Merkel – both CDU – said they would like to do that until 2024, but FM Gabriel – SPD – said there is no such obligation for Germany and he called von der Leyen “naïve” to give the impression that it is possible. What is totally impossible with the SPD is to cut social spending to increase defense spending, Gabriel said.
    And Germany spending 2% of GDP on defense is not desirable anyway in the eyes of Gabriel. Just think what it means to have a Germany in the middle of Europe spending 60 billion Euros on defense, Gabriel said.
    So when Merkel and her party affiliates speak of Germany increasing defense spending up to 2% of GDP in 2024, they speak neither for Germany nor for the German government, but just for their party CDU.
    And, my impression is that talk of almost doubling defense spending will hurt Merkel badly in the upcoming elections. When money is in short supply the German people are usually overwelmingly for spending money on other things then defense, and money is always in short supply.
    If Merkel loses the election in September to Schulz (SPD) it may well be appropriate to blame her intention to increase defense spending for that instead of the “Russian hacking” nonsense.
    Current polls have Schulz running neck to neck with Merkel.

  87. turcopolier says:

    “At a 2014 summit in Wales, members pledged to increase their military spending to 2% of GDP by 2024, a goal some have said is unachievable and unrealistic for several member states.
    Ultimately, members’ contributions are based on each nation’s capability. Therefore, Nato member nations do not “owe” or have to compensate any other country.
    On Saturday Ivo Daalder, who was permanent representative to Nato from 2009 to 2013, respond to Trump in a series of tweets.
    “Sorry, Mr President, that’s not how Nato works,” he wrote. “The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato. This is not a financial transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment.
    “All Nato countries, including Germany, have committed to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. So far five of 28 Nato countries do. Those who currently don’t spend 2% of their GDP on defense are now increasing their defense budgets. That’s a good thing.” the Guardian 118 March
    OK. The Guardian is misleading us?
    Also, you Germans fear yourselves if armed? pl

  88. Lars says:

    If such a letter was produced, it would support the claim that an audit is being conducted. The absence of such evidence, makes the claim dubious. That should be rather clear.

  89. LondonBob says:

    Merkel was criticised for being to soft on Russia, now she is lauded as being the leader to stand up to Putin. Without Borgist pressure she would never have even taken the position she had, I am somewhat surprised with Trump now President she hasn’t abandoned her prior stance. German business and opinion would like her to as you say.
    Afraid Germany must start taking some of the burden of being the dominant power in the EU, on issues like Libya, Syria etc. Germany has been too quiet. Increased defence spending will inevitably be part of that equation.

  90. Fred says:

    Excellent. What is the credibility of “Anonymous Source” …”who appears on cable news and repeats that information.”. What is the credibility of the information and how was that determined? What is the credibility of Larry C. Johnson? Is the “anonymous source” for Mr. Johnson the same as for the unnamed reporter? Regardless of the “anonymous source” being the same or not how was the information checked for validity?
    It appears many are walking back the Russia story, even President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morell:
    Of course why would Glenn Greenwald or Michael Morell be considered credible?

  91. LondonBob says:

    I think events have largely confirmed the piece by ‘Harper’. The left are obviously a player, driven by the trauma of their, for them, unexpected electoral defeat. But they cannot do anything themselves, it is a question of whether they can then be used by a more powerful player. The ultimate useful idiots. Clearly the Obama administration driven in some cases partisan political reasons, Borgist reasons, or indeed fearful of what various investigation might turn up on them, in their hubris and arrogance started the ball rolling on various investigation and smear campaigns. This was supported by Borgist elements.
    The problem for Trump is in his desire to drain the swamp he is garnering opposition from other interest groups from DC graft, to the cheap labour lobby, to the MIC, to the Israel lobby, to the Saudi lobby etc. This brings in his own party who can’t be relied upon given how in hock they are to these various interest groups. I suspect how it will ultimately play out is that it will be much like his Presidential campaign, a constant guerilla war against the media, his own party, the neocons and the organised left. The economy and midterms in 2018 will see how this will playout. Trump has too much support from the grass roots, the alternative media, the military for impeachment to work, it is a case as to whether he will neutered in implementing his program. Trump has surprised me so far, I hope he continues to do so.

  92. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Lars, re: “The genius of the founders was that they created a system of government that could be run by idiots. Fairly soon we will find out whether that is still a fact.”
    I thought we began finding that out sixteen years ago.

  93. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Or was it twenty four.

  94. turcopolier says:

    The MIC? Military Industrial Complex? Why would they be again against Trump? He wants to spend 54 billion more on their products? pl

  95. turcopolier says:

    There is the additional question as to whether or not Trump understands what th e2% commitment means. In his statements he seems to think that NATO countries owe the money to some NATO central slush fund or to the US. This is incorrect. The commitment as I understand the commitment is to spend that % of GDP on their own defense. There have been instances in the past in which some NATO countries have subsidized the cost of maintaining US forces on their territory but that is quite separate from the 2% commitment. Businessmen like Trump have a bad habit of overstating their positions as a negotiating tool. Perhaps he is doing that. pl

  96. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    1. Taking in refugees from the ME does nothing for NATO which is a defensive alliance specifically pointed at Russia as it was previously pointed at the USSR. If Merkel and the Germans want all these Arabs, etc in their country that is their business but it has nothing to do with NATO as an alliance. 2. A modernized, secular Islam? Do you actually know anything about Islam? There have been many attempts internal to the various Islams to “modernize” the religion and culture and all failed except the forcibly imposed partial “modernization” brought by colonialism and the internal process of the Ottoman tanzimaat. Babak will deal with you on this point. 3. IMO Trump intends to defeat IS on the ground in Syria and Iraq using whatever means are necessary. that is quite different from Obama’s policy about this. pl

  97. turcopolier says:

    As you know these Republicans had no chance whatever of impeaching Obama. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?” Ah, you admit this is merely revenge. Once again does this justify you and your confreres in seeking to immobilize the government? pl

  98. turcopolier says:

    You and those like you in their absolute opposition to the government do not accept the outcome of the election. That, is defying the constitution. You are incorrect in saying that Trump and Bannon seek to destroy the government. What they want is a much smaller government reduced in scope and deflected from the cause of revolutionary progressivism. pl

  99. turcopolier says:

    It is a shame that you cannot discuss a topic like this without your anti-Americanism coming to the surface. American weapons makers? The last time I looked at world military goods production and sales it seemed that Germany produces its own toys and seeks to market them abroad. With regard to the 2%, it may be true that Europeans have sought to ignore this commitment made in the way mentioned in the Guardian article I cited, but it is untrue that the gross difference in levels of defense spending between the US and NATO countries has not long rankled Americans. This may be unfair given the global self inflicted costs of the role we have been trying to play in the world, but the resentment is nevertheless real. Life is unfair. As you must know I agree that our armed forces are too large. I have long believed that we should withdraw from NATO and the Korean peninsula and reduce our ground forces by 50%. Russia and Iran are “enemies” of choice, but if Iran should return to a nuclear weapons program or if North Korea shoots an ICBM into the sea near something of value to us that would be a different situation. pl

  100. turcopolier says:

    Let me make my position crystal clear. IMO it is grossly disrespectful for a foreign reporter while a guest in the presidential residence to challenge the president in an extended exposition and lecture on her views that was harshly accusatory and mocking. A similar situation would be for an Americans or Americans at an audience with the pope to challenge the basic beliefs and character of the pontiff. BTW IMO either you are not the same person who used to call himself confusedponderer or you need some more convalescent time. pl

  101. Thanks P.L.! Horse hooves on castle cobblestone at midnight? Doubtful but as the Frank Bruni post and thread indicate the elites in this country largely suffer from being undereducated whether by non-profit colleges tilted to benefit unaccountable administrators while professors worry about their research firms. No such thing as NOBLISSE OBLIGE in America.

  102. Bill H says:

    When the losing side is able to discredit and remove the winner of an election it can no longer be claimed that we have a democracy. So yes, it is very much an attack on our most basic institution.

  103. turcopolier says:

    My extensive liaison experience of the Israeli government and intelligence services is that they take. They do not give. IMO Netanyahu’s government would calculate he pluses and minuses in such cooperation and then decline. pl

  104. Ghostship says:

    Germany could no doubt go and buy half a dozen squadrons of F-35s tomorrow and go a long way to fulfilling the objective but it’d be a waste of money anyway you look at it. If the F-35 is a useless as some make it out to be, it’d be a complete waste of money.If the F-35 is really effective as the manufacturers claim, then it’d also be a waste of money as German does have the infrastructure to use and maintain them. Alternatively, F-35s are aggressor weapons, and if German doesn’t intend to go to war with anyone, they’re also a complete waste of money.
    My point is that the 2% target is arbitrary and if you don’t need to spend the money (who’s going to attack NATO? Russia? Turkey? Transnistria?) it’s a waste that encourages interventionism.
    BTW, I’ve always understood that NATO is the United State’s bridgeheadon the Eurasian landmass, so why should the Europeans pay for its security?

  105. LondonBob says:

    Detente with Russia (my impression is NATO expansion has primarily been driven by the defence sector seeking new markets), not being the world police. Increasing defence spending might be a way of keeping them quiet for the time being. Trump still seems to be looking to cut the cost of specific progams anyway.

  106. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Germany has a trade surplus that is 50% larger than China’s. Since China’s population is 26 times that of Germany’s, that means that Germany’s per capita trade surplus is 13 times that of China!”
    James, you have only a chance to be taken seriously if you do NOT start your contribution with nonsense like this. 🙂
    The German population is around 15 times smaller than the population of China. OK?
    If you were smart, you would not use per capita trade surplus – other countries may even have a larger one. The interesting aspect is that these countries are not criticized.
    BTW The US answer in the past was that one has to improve competitiveness. You remember when Germany was considered the sick man around 1999?
    “It is astounding – and nobody criticizes Germany for this … except for Trump.”
    You obviously live in the valley of the clueless – until 1989 this was a part of the GDR which did not receive western TV programes. The point you miss is that Merkel can not reduce the competitiveness of German industry and some of Trumps policies will increase the problem.
    “No wonder Merkel doesn’t like Trump.”
    I – and most Europeans – would be more concerned if she liked him.
    “Then Germany complains that it can’t afford the 2% of GDP to meet its NATO commitments?”
    Provide evidence that the 2% are enough or that the 1.5% are not.
    BTW: the 2% would not change the lack of US products that are markable in Germany.

  107. turcopolier says:

    Sweet Jayzus! More merchants of death dogma! I understand how this government works quite well and it is not true that the MIC as you all call it drives policy but you will never believe that. pl

  108. J says:

    Is the setting up of a False Flag in D.C. underway? The Daily Mail and others have reported that DHS is experiencing a unusually high amount of suspicious cell phone activity in the D.C. area. They are referring to fears that diplomats and U.S. officials could be targeted.
    ‘If’ there is any legitimacy to it, might be the Russians are just a wee wee bit pissed off that they have had seven diplomats murdered since the elections, and what clouds it even more is that DHS doesn’t want Russian Ambassador Churkin’s autopsy released, yet he was ‘supposedly’ to have died of a heart attack. Hmmm…. Seems there’s a lot goings on taking place behind the scenes.
    One would think that if you’re DHS the ‘last thing’ you’d want to do is broadcast to the world and tip off the whomsoever that investigators are heading their way. DHS’s behavior defies logic doesn’t it? …. unless a False Flag is in the works designed to frame somebody.

  109. Lefty says:

    Expect real estate development is to the IRS sort of like Willie Sutton’s attraction to banks, there is often a lot of money in one place. There are also a lot of opportunities in real estate for tax avoidance, some legitimate and some not so much.
    In the prior return we saw Trump had nearly $1B in losses, at least some of which were non-cash to him. They were legal or they would have been disallowed. But we can bet the IRS looks closely at very large returns, and especially closely at those with non-cash losses that shelter otherwise taxable income.
    Incidental to the question at hand, but interesting, is that over the course of about a decade we can infer Trump had enough taxable income to absorb that nearly $1B loss and to have enough residual taxable income to pay $38M in taxes in 2005. That is a lot of income and adds credibility to his seemingly somewhat sketchy claims of wealth.

  110. Blrturner says:

    So true. It is truly ashame the hoops people are jumping through to aviod admitting Donald John Trump is dangerous. Col. Lang has become an apologist for incompetence. He and Larry Johnson hated Obama.

  111. Each Department and agency is subject to the Presidential Transition Act and wondering if mandated reports published somewhere?
    to me
    The Act is here:
    See also this related CRS report:
    Can you name President-elect Trump’s TRANSITION CHAIRS?
    Do you know what is covered by federal budget code 050?

  112. I consider the DoD an HRO (Highly Reliable Organization)! Secretary Kelley is trying to do the same at DHS IMO.

  113. J,
    More likely that the DHS is just now discovering the broad scope of surveillance activities that are going on, especially in the D.C. area. They were alerted to this by a new contractor ((ESD America) who noticed a great deal of subscriber location data is being siphoned off cell towers. This is getting easier to do all the time. Local police can do it. Criminals can do it. Marketing firms can do it. Hackers can do it just for the lulz. Even second rate intel services of small countries can do it.
    I have no idea what’s the story about Churkin’s autopsy. It does seem odd that the cause isn’t released publicly. Is anybody clamoring for its release?

  114. Old Microbiologist says:

    I wouldn’t assume the IRS understands the tax code any better, and perhaps worse, than a good tax attorney. I say that based on my experience about an esoteric tax law which we went to the IRS district office to get a signed written opinion. My now ex-spouse is a good tax attorney. We were audited and fined for doing what the district commissioner said was legal and approved but was overturned at IRS HQ. SO even the IRS disagrees with itself sometimes. I also agree that an audit is a complete and deep look into a persons finance. Once you durvive an audit you are certain to have not broken any tax laws.
    There is no legal reason why a President or any other federal officer must show their taxes. All must file an annual financial disclosure form (I forget the document name). I am very familiar with this and had to do one every year back when I was a GS-15 scientist. Mine was hundreds of pages long as my wife is a Day Trader and every stock transaction must be listed. They really hated me for that.
    I was also despised as part of my duties was administering research in former Soviet Republics and my wife is a naturalized American citizen but holds dual citizenship with Russia. Having a TS clearance you are required to list every foreign national you come into contact with. Flynn is being hounded for forgetting to list one Russian girl he talked to as an example of how this can bite you later. I literally met hundreds of people at conferences or in my projects, several of which required farm animal sampling at hundreds of farms. There is no way I could possibly remember every person I had contact with so I always just listed it as TNTC (too numerous to count) which of course got me an interview with someone senior to me who was never happy about that. Such is life.
    My point being that working in the Federal government has a lot of bizarre limitations for example everything I did was typically classified as TS and all of it is in my head so I can never lose my clearance apparently. If you have ever been a part of the Personnel Reliability Program then you understand how invasive that is. But I live outside the US (in a former communist country) which must be a problem for someone, especially being married to…gasp! a Russian!!!
    Trump has to push the noodle down the road and I am confident none of this bothers him at all. It is just a problem for Americans being ignorant of procedures and requirements and the MSM appear to be the most ignorant of all.

  115. jld says:

    “you are not the same person who used to call himself confusedponderer…
    Could be… the difference is quite noticeable.

  116. turcopolier says:

    I voted for Obama twice and sent him money at the limit prescribed by law.
    you are an obvious troll. you are typical of organizational trolls in that cutting off one f your IPs just causes you to find another one. You are still banned. Now that includes this IP as well. pl

  117. Bandolero says:

    From what I understand the 2% rule was pushed already for by then United States Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland in 2006, but she was rebuffed. In 2014, after Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and her political friends sparked the trouble in Ukraine participants of the NATO summit in Wales – Merkel among them – made a soft pledge to work in direction to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. However, as Gabriel sees it that was not a binding pledge. Budget authority in Germany is not with Merkel, but with the parliament. And the soft pledge had no enforcement mechanism. If the German parliament just doesn’t give the money to spend 2% of GDP on defense, there are no direct consequences. Now Trump hinted he may look about who spends 2% of GDP before defending a European country from aggression. Since Germans don’t feel threatened in any meaningful way most Germans aren’t impressed very much by that.
    Regarding whether Germans fear themselves if better armed that is true for some Germans. These German people just don’t trust the government and think it’s good if the government has fewer military toys so it can do fewer harm. The destruction of Libya by NATO, which was seen by people like Ivo Daalder as a model intervention, reinforces the view of these German people, that it’s better to have fewer military so the government can do less harm with it. But that is not the view of the majority of people in Germany.
    The majority of people in Germany simply think other things are more important to spend more on instead of military. So if the finance minister announces that he suddenly found some extra billions to spend for the military, most people in Germany would be happy that he found some more money to spend, but they will want the extra money being spent on schools, roads and railways instead of the military. If you look what the German military does it’s scattered all around the globe with a couple of soldiers, from Afghanistan over Kosovo, Mali up to the coasts of Somalia:
    Most Germans reject many, if not all of these global engagements. The Bundeswehr engagement in Afghanistan for example had for many years constant rejection rates of about 70% in German opinion polling. German politicians – especially those with close ties to the US based Borg – send the Bundeswehr around the globe anyway, sometimes using the argument that it’s needed to prove allies that Germany is a trustworthy ally.
    Now these very same German politicians would be quite happy to increase the German military budget due to Trump’s talking about the 2%, so that Germany’s “footprint” in the world will grow in the service of the NATO and the US based Borg. Other German politicians want also a military budget increase, but not to strrengthen NATO. Instead they want more defense money to build a European military force more or less independent of NATO – with the argument that the US is an unreliable ally as the election of Trump shows whom they see as kind of a “dangerous populist” or “hate preacher” if not a mentally ill person.
    What I find very interesting is the timing of the debate on German military. It used to be in Germany the way that politicians from the large German parties agreed to not have such discussions in pre-election time, but only when the elections were held or are still far away. That was so because they understood that the German population is overwhelmingly against more German military spending and engagement while the ruling Borgist political class is all for more military spending.
    Now that more German military spending is discussed in pre election time – and discussed as a partisan issue – I think it will be tough for Merkel to manage reelection with a pledge to sent Germany on the way to nearly double German military spending if she is reelected.
    The SPD was given an incredibly powerful election topic by Trump. I already see the SPD election punchline:
    “Ms Merkel promised to almost double German military spending in the next years to please the ugly Mr Trump, but Germany needs more urgently to spend more money on better schools, roads and hospitals instead of more money for war. We as SPD are committed to do that. Vote SPD.”
    I’m quite sure that such a message may bring an election victory for the SPD.

  118. Old Microbiologist says:

    It is actually the legal responsibility for a citizen to fully comply with all tax requirements. Failure to take proper deductions you are entitled to could thus be considered a crime. If you do a comparison of the deductions and advantages used by all rich people you will see a pattern emerge. If it is done under advice of counsel then there is no intent to defraud thus civil penalties are the only things the IRS could get you for in addition to whatever was disallowed. You must show clear intent to be prosecuted these days. It is why the banisters were not prosecuted as all of them have affidavits and records of legal advice. Hard to sell to deplorables but the system is rigged to the advantage of the wealthy. Congress writes these laws based on specifications their donors require. Personally, I would love to see a flat rate uniform tax code with zero deductions for anything. I would also love to see a national VAT and no more state income or sales taxes. But we all know that will never happen. We are taxed to death in the US and it really needs to be simplified and made fair to all. Everyone should contribute equally in a democratic republic.

  119. Andy says:

    “It has been used to hurt Trump. Is that not obvious?”
    Except it’s not going to hurt Trump if the information was gained through such unprecedented means as an illegal, politically motivated wiretap. If it’s shown that is what happened, then it will be a bigger scandal than Watergate which will damage President Obama and the Democrats much more than President Trump.
    The question is why would a President who is on his way out the door, who is primarily concerned about his legacy, decide to risk that legacy, his credibility and possibly criminal sanctions by requesting or approving such a blatantly criminal action? What does President Obama gain from taking such a risk? To me it doesn’t make any sense that he would order or request that – I think it’s much more likely, if this is even true, that a member of his “children’s crusade” did it. But at this point we don’t really know if this even happened, much less who is responsible.

  120. Fred says:

    Trump is the climate change America believes in.
    The Borg believe he will change the climate vis-a-vis Russia and regime change policy in general;
    The professoriate and thier student accolytes believe that he will change the climate on America’s snowflake preserves college campuses and the federal funding that goes with many of their current and future sinecures;
    The Democratic operatives believe he will change the size and scope of government and thus force their constituents to not only work for themselves but let them keep more of their own money;
    The think tanks believe that he will change the size and scope of government and thus their sinecures;
    The federal work force (millions of employees) that he will change the size and scope of government and thus their sinecures;
    The BLM politicians and activists believe he will change the climate in the inner cities by actually doing something constructive about the cess-pits of corruption and violence that many have become and thus they will lose influence, status and incomes;
    The fake Americans – legal and illegal immigrants and those others temporarily here whose loyalties are to wherever they once came from – they believe he will ‘send them back’ and they are right, he will.
    The Deplorables believe he is going to do all the above, which is why they love him.

  121. Bandolero says:

    I completely agree that Trump is talking of the 2% stuff and Germany owing the US money for defense to use it as a negotiation tool.
    However, the big question for me is what Trump wants to achieve in these negotiations. I can’t believe that Trump is happy that Germany bought more A400M transport planes as it really wants for example.
    Such things mean German military spending is going up, but it’s not really helpful to anyone to have costly unused military equipment laying around.
    If Trump wants to achieve in negotiations that the US is placing fewer – or even none – military assets into Germany, he’s welcome anyway to just do it, regardless whether German military spending goes up or not.

  122. Ghostship says:

    Ulenspiegel – my guess is that it’s going to get worse, Germany seems to have taken a fairly substantial hit from sanctions imposed on Russia in the U.S. backed response to the democratically-supported secession of Crimea from Ukraine to join Russia. The goods that can no longer go to Russia need to go somewhere, and it looks like it might be a long time before those goods can go to Russia again if ever with Trump keeping the sanctions in place as a bargaining chip while 75% of the Russian public support Putin doing nothing much about lifting those sanctions. Germany could be looking at a long wait to get back into the Russian market which would in the meantime be sourcing goods from Asia. Perhaps Merkel should demand that Trump allow her to include the costs to Germany of the sanctions on Russia in the 2% NATO contribution.

  123. turcopolier says:

    Why do you write “wiretap?” That is what the Borgist press calls it in order to narrow the scope of the possible SURVEILLANCE. IMO Obama sees his “legacy” as a progressive, socialist future fr mankind. Trump threatens that legacy. Did BHO personally participate in the decision for the surveillance operation? Probably not. If they had any sense they would be careful to avoid that. pl

  124. turcopolier says:

    I sympathize with German rejection of global obligations. IMO we should do the same. we have wide and water obstacles to east and west and IMO fair trade and a strong navy and air force should be our priorities. pl

  125. Thomas says:

    “The question is why would a President who is on his way out the door, who is primarily concerned about his legacy, decide to risk that legacy, his credibility and possibly criminal sanctions by requesting or approving such a blatantly criminal action? What does President Obama gain from taking such a risk?”
    Perhaps it is to avoid something very serious happening in the future? Such as the military radar tapes of a certain airliner flying over a certain Eastern European country on a July day in 2014, revealing a façade of falsehood perpetrated by his administration to cover up the actual culprit’s deed. That story would destroy legacy and credibility while leading to possible criminal sanctions.
    Fear of punishment and humiliation would be a powerful motivator to push all bounds of legality.

  126. Cvillereader says:

    I vote for the idea that the Obama Administration was worried about negative information that Russia could provide to Trump that could damage Obama’s legacy. Obama cares mostly about himself, and that includes cashing in on all of his contacts in the future.

  127. Lesly says:

    I hope the campaign against Trump gives the GOP a come to Jesus moment with regards to the exponential surveillance power of the IC. So far the chambers remain fixated on programs that benefit the undeserving poors. I’m unsure this is an indication of GOP support for Trump. Voters disenchanted with both parties would welcome public hearings and legislation contracting the programs that may exceed the agencies’ mandated powers with little government oversight as indicated in Vault 7. Questions about the lawfulness of these surveillance programs aside, the hacking benefits of intentionally compromising consumer electronic/software products to assess a threat provides a temporary boost to intelligence gathering operations with a hard shelf life date. Proposed legislation must be hard to overturn come win or lose in future election cycles to enjoy wide public support. Maybe it can be presented after the Russian ties are dis/proven.
    Ragarding the DNC, you have lost your mind when there is an effort underway to reform Bush into a president preferable to Trump. Bush, Cheney et al could hold a major conference on the White House lawn, beg forgiveness for invading Iraq before committing seppeku and could not atone themselves for the unnecessary suffering their unforced choices created. The New Yorker may turn out to be an enemy of causes I care about but he won because there was no better candidate. This covers Pence, a man who doesn’t need public approval because God is on his side. There is no what-if plan if the DNC successfully impeaches/resigns Trump. The DNC will not come up with popular alternatives as long as the party establishment refuses to cede power to its invigorated “commie” wing.

  128. Thomas says:

    “you are not the same person who used to call himself confusedponderer…
    Could be… the difference is quite noticeable.
    It is a zombie troll.
    Damn thing didn’t take an earlier hint to crawl back into the grave.

  129. steve says:

    scott s- There are wait many examples of ways to avoid paying taxes that largely are only available to the wealthy. Trusts are an obvious one if you understand them. The one that almost everyone should understand is the carried interest rule. This affects more than just real estate groups. Really, the scams are galore and the wealthy have their congresspeople write it up so they can dodge taxes. Link goes to just the latest.

  130. All,
    Picking up on various points made.
    1. It had seemed to be reasonably clear from the history of the ‘BuzzFeed’ dossier that important sections of British intelligence were on board with the attempt to undermine Trump’s candidacy before he was elected, and his presidency thereafter.
    In the thread on Clapper, ‘LondonBob’ referred to a piece published in the ‘Mail’ by Peter Oborne after it was first reported that Christopher Steele was the author of the dossier.
    (See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4119152/PETER-OBORNE-fear-Britain-pay-lethal-price-MI6-s-meddling-Donald-Trump-backfires.html .)
    What Oborne notes is that MI6 must have had full knowledge of the preparation of the Christopher Steele dossier, and that it had been reported that he had sought the approval of Whitehall before showing it to the FBI. He then went on to write that this implies that ‘British spy chiefs gave the green light to a scheme intended to destroy the man who would be President of the United States of America.’
    And he explained that: ‘Like most people, I find it very hard to comprehend this. But it is the only interpretation which makes any sense of the facts as we know them. If so, what on earth did MI6, a highly respected organisation, think that it was doing?’
    2. Unfortunately, although a decent man and a fine journalist, Oborne has not grasped that MI6 is only ‘highly respected’ among people who have not looked at what it has been doing.
    Currently, people on both sides of the Atlantic are going around in circles, both in relation to the merits or otherwise of the dossier – see Mike Morrell’s recent comments – and also to Steele’s involvement with the late Alexander Litvinenko.
    From a report in the ‘Guardian’ following Steele’s emergence from hiding earlier this month:
    ‘Several of the lurid stories about him that have appeared in the press have been wrong, said friends. The stories include claims that Steele met Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident who was murdered in 2006 with a radioactive cup of tea, probably on Putin’s orders.
    ‘As head of MI6’s Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko’s polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.’
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)
    The claim that Steele was Litvinenko’s ‘case officer’ appeared in, among other places, a report by the Chief Reporter of the ‘Telegraph’. It cannot be dismissed as a ‘lurid story’.
    (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/12/christopher-steelethe-former-british-spy-created-donald-trump/ .)
    3. The backtracking may result from the fear people might look at the BuzzFeed dossier and the Litvinenko case in conjunction.
    Where the MSM appears still on the same page – to quote the ‘Guardian’ again – is in accepting that: ‘As head of MI6’s Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko’s polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot.’
    Actually, in that capacity he appears to have displayed the inability to get his story straight that characterises the BuzzFeed dossier.
    I dealt with this in some detail in a post on SST following the publication of Sir Robert Owen’s report into the Litvinenko affair in January last year, and the subsequent exchanges of comments.
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html .) An excerpt, lightly corrected:
    ‘According to Owen’s summary: “Mr Litvinenko left home at about 12.30pm. He travelled into central London by bus and tube, arriving at Oxford Circus shortly after 1.30pm. The bus on which he travelled was subsequently identified and tested for radiation. No radiation was detected.” According to the “evidence” on which Owen relies, the bus in question was a number 234, identified by Litvinenko’s Oyster Card – an electronic device which everyone who travels regularly on public transport in London uses. Unfortunately, this account is new. Originally, it was suggested that Litvinenko was given a lift into central London by car. Then he was said to have travelled the whole distance on a number 134 bus (which also goes near his house) which was identified by a £1.50 ticket. Only in April 2007, in a book by the former BBC Moscow Correspondent Martin Sixsmith, did the Oyster Card appear, and the bus was still a 134. In the August 2008 study by the “NYT” correspondent Alan Cowell, this became a 134 bus and unspecified tube. According to Sixsmith’s – vivid – account, Litvinenko arrived in central London at 11.30am – two hours earlier than the time now given. None of the journalists involved appear to have bothered to check what their SO15 sources told them with what others had been told. This is stenography, not journalism. Most if not quite all of these discrepancies, together with a large number of similar ones, have been pointed out in memoranda supplied by me to the Inquiry team, starting back in September 2012. I have been assured by the Solicitor to the Inquiry, Martin Smith, that these memoranda have been read.’
    (If anyone wants detailed links, or indeed quotes, to back this up, I am happy to supply them.)
    4. In relation to the claims about the DNC hacks, we see a similar inability to get the story straight. Actually, Larry Johnson covered some of the relevant material in a post on Friday entitled: ‘Was the CIA Behind the DNC “Hack”?–UPDATE.’
    (See http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/79644/cia-behind-dnc-leak/ .)
    According to the version we were originally given, the DNC were tipped off about the hacks in late April 2016, ‘Crowdstrike’ were brought in, and the identified ‘Fancy Bear’, supposedly sponsored by the GRU, Russian military intelligence.
    (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html?utm_term=.656591cf3a94 .)
    As Johnson brings out, by the time the story was embroidered, we were asked to believe that ‘Fancy Bear’ had ‘superb operational tradecraft’, but left the initials of Dzherzinsky there for all to see. (Incidentally, he was the creator of the organisation that largely destroyed both the Red Army’s General Staff and military intelligence, in the judgement of many competent figures precipitating ‘Operation Barbarossa’, so obviously a figure to whom today’s GRU look back with nostalgia.)
    And now, in a report in the ‘Independent’ on Friday, are were told that:
    ‘GCHQ had been the first to alert its US counterpart, the NSA, about Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee computers in the run up to the presidential elections: information gained from the hacks which were selectively released to help Trump’s campaign.’
    (See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/wiretapping-trump-obama-nsa-gchq-not-the-way-you-think-a7634871.html .)
    No date is given, but TTG tells us that the tip was given in 2015.
    Already, in the ‘Sunday Times’ a week ago, we had been told that: ‘Spies at GCHQ have called an emergency summit with Britain’s political parties after warning them that they are at risk of Russian cyber-attacks disrupting the next general election.’
    And it was claimed that:
    ‘The intervention comes after GCHQ stepped in to foil an attempted cyber-attack on BBC election coverage by the Kremlin-backed gang of hackers known as Fancy Bears. The attack came after Russian hackers crashed 11 French television channels.
    ‘GCHQ traced the source of the French attacks to Russia and was able to advise the corporation and other media organisations about protecting their systems.
    (See http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/gchq-russian-cyber-threat-touk-elections-20wl9s5ld .)
    That attack was in April 2015. As it happens, in its accounts of the hacks, the BuzzFeed dossier contradicts both itself and the claims now being made. In the 13 December 2016 memorandum which concludes the series, a redacted source is quoted reporting that
    ‘over the period March-September 2016 a company called XBT/Webzilla and its affiliates have been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one Aleksei GUBAROV were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, Seva KAPSUGOVICH, were significant players in this operation.’
    This report contradicts both the ‘Crowdstrike’ report and Steele’s own earlier report. Among the striking conflicts, according to the original ‘Washington Post’ report, while some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for ‘about a year’, ‘all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign’. But according to Steele’s source, Gubarev – which is his actual name – went straight ahead, not only to ‘steal data’ but to conduct “altering operations”.
    However this miasma of contradictions can be resolved is not clear to me. But as Gubarev has sued Steele, perhaps some information may emerge from the proceedings.
    5. For what little it is worth, I agree with Larry Johnson that the evidence supposed to incriminate the Russians of intervention in American elections is thin.
    By contrast, if indeed Steele was Litvinenko’s case officer, as I outlined in the discussion back in January last year, there is a ‘prima facie’ case that he is implicated in a variety of ‘black propaganda’ projects. Among these, were attempts to demonstrate that Kuchma had sold the Kolchuga system to Iraq, Putin was involved in attempting to supply a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ to Al Qaeda, and Romano Prodi was a KGB/FSB agent. In all cases, among the clear objectives was to get rid of leaders considered objectionable.
    Hell, they’ve got away with it, time and again, so why not up the ante, and do the same with the United States?
    And in any case, MI6 and the CIA may have a good reason for doing so: to avoid their past misdeeds being exposed. And this could apply to Obama.
    6. As to GCHQ. Going back to the argument about Larry Johnson’s credentials, the original source of the claims about that organisation was actually Philip Giraldi, and they have been endorsed by Colonel Lang.
    All three were signatories of a memorandum published by the ‘Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity’ group on 6 September 2013, entitled ‘Is Syria a Trap?
    (See https://consortiumnews.com/2013/09/06/obama-warned-on-syrian-intel/ .)
    The case they made – that the sarin attack at Ghouta on 21 August 2013 was a ‘false flag’ intended to facilitate another disastrous ‘régime change’ project – has clearly been vindicated.
    Clear evidence of some measure of GCHQ complicity in this can be found in a report in the ‘Sunday Express’ from 1 December 2013, entitled ‘Senior Syrian military chiefs tell captain: fire chemicals or be shot.’
    (See http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/425981/Senior-Syrian-military-chiefs-tell-captain-fire-chemicals-or-be-shot .)
    Clear evidence of the attempt by the White House to misrepresent the evidence ‘SIGINT’ produced about Ghouta is contained was presented not long after it was published in an analysis by ‘sasa wawa’ of the 30 August 2013 ‘Government Assessment’ on the ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ blog.
    (See http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-us-intelligence-assessment_19.html .)
    Ironically, evidence which has appeared more recently strongly suggests that ‘sasa wawa’ is a former employee of Unit 8200 – the Israeli equivalent of NSA or GCHQ.
    (See https://www.rootclaim.com/claims/who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013-8394 .)
    It seems likely that ‘pushback’ by honest intelligence analysts, both former and current, can occur in unexpected places. Perhaps, some day, it may even occur in MI6.

  131. steve says:

    And the Trump attempt was different in that we don’t generally have leading candidates for POTUS making such unsubstantiated claims and then this was picked up by others in Congress.

  132. BillWade says:

    I don’t care for the HuffPost but this is an enjoyable read:

  133. turcopolier says:

    Perhaps you should wait to see if Trump’s claims of surveillance are demonstrated to be unsubstantiated. pl

  134. turcopolier says:

    steve et al
    We have a family revocable trust in which there is a question on taxes for me. i.e., If the value of the trust declines in a given year and then rises in the next year this creates a taxable event for the recovered value? pl

  135. Cvillereader says:

    Does anyone here think that Obama’s month long trip to a luxury resort in French Polynesia at this particular point in time is more than a little odd? So far, it’s been reported that he is sans wife.

  136. fanto says:

    do you really think that if Germany would fulfill the 2% GDP demand from the US, the US would “leave Germany in peace”??

  137. crf says:

    The political point of the Republican cooperation about investigating “Russian hacking” is that if Trump ever threatens to use his Veto power against any arch-conservative bills they may pass, the Republicans will have enough rope to hang him.
    The Republicans do not want to get rid of Trump, but politically weaken him so much that he cannot challenge their legislative agenda. For example, the Republican’s health care plan likely is something Trump would strongly disagree with. But now, Trump has to allow its passage without any veto threat.

  138. David Habakkuk,
    That info about the Brits tipping off the Yanks about the DNC hack came from a 7 Jan 2017 piece in The Guardian. If the report’s true, it means info from the DNC server was flowing to Moscow in the autumn of 2015 and probably earlier.
    “The New York Times, citing “two people familiar with the conclusions” of the report, said British intelligence was “among the first” to raise the alarm in autumn 2015 that Moscow had hacked the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee. The UK’s role suggests that the compromise of email exchanges among senior Democrats was spotted when voice intercepts, computer traffic or agents picked up content of the emails flowing towards Moscow.”
    The only other point I can comment on is the claim of the DNC servers being declared clean. That would be a pretty bold claim. The State Department spent a year trying to remove hackers from their unclassified systems and are still not sure they’re clean. It’s quite possible the hackers were still in the DNC servers after they were supposedly cleaned.

  139. different clue says:

    If it makes you feel any better, I knew that Trump was dangerous when I voted for him. But Clinton was more dangerous, and Trump was the only tire iron I could see to pick up to use to break the Clintonites’ filthy teeth off at the gum line.

  140. turcopolier says:

    I vote for him because I think McCain is certifiable and then Romney was just another business creep. pl

  141. different clue says:

    I do not have the endless hours and days to read every line and word of the Podesta emails. I remember reading that one subject discussed in one of them was the “pied piper” strategy. That referred to the strategy of feeding the most marginal Republican nomination-chasers with abundant media exposure and oxygen in the hopes of getting one of them nominated instead of one of the RepParty mainstreamers ( most presumably Jeb Bush) nominated. The theory was that Her Imperial Borgness could more easily defeat the most marginal possible GOP candidate.
    In the pursuit of that strategy, the ClintoBorg MSM gave Trump billions of dollars worth of Free Media Exposure in hopes of getting Trump nominated. Her Imperial Borgness and all the Little Courtiers thought that Trump was the most defeatable candidate. So Trump was literally the Clintonites’ most preferred candidate, and turned out to be the “her own petard” upon which Her Imperial Borgness found her own self to be hoist.
    Did you notice how hysterically the ClintoBorg MSM fake news media tried to tear their Trump back down after they came to realize that he could really win?

  142. 1. NATO may have no business in being concerned about the Middle East or refugees yet it holds policy meetings on those things. We may also feel that Germany’s involvement in the defeat of ISIS etc. may be its own affair. But, drawing a line so that Germany pays more, is not truly related to either objection. If you want to end NATO, then say so. The money has nothing to do with it. 2. I don’t think Islam is going to be modernized & secularized in under a hundred years, as I wrote. My question is, How do we keep the option open, for individual Muslims? 3. You know about the changes in tactics and troops better than I do. Whatever the details, I foresaw greater U.S. involvement coming in Syria and Iraq before ISIS proclaimed itself a state. But that wasn’t the general view. The biggest problem any President has, in ramping-up military operations, is that the U.S. electorate needs to see the writing on the wall, so that Congress feels pressured too (particularly after suffering through a big war, like Vietnam or Iraq). And the public support was not there, until nearly the end of Obama’s term. But everybody knows (or should know) that brand new Presidents are usually given the license by the public to commit more ground troops etc., without much objection (at least for a while). So Obama handed it off. And so, Hillary would be doing what Trump is doing. This is totally predictable. I haven’t seen anything unpredictable in U.S. policy in the Middle East since the time of the Yom Kippur War, except for the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq.

  143. turcopolier says:

    Lee A Arnold
    You must be new here. I started saying that NATO should be abolished just after the end of the Warsaw Pact and USSR. I am also against any kind of foreign expeditionary war. We need to build the ground forces down to impede such adventures. pl

  144. Eric Newhill says:

    Let’s just come out and tell it like is.
    We – the Deplorables – don’t care if Trump had or has business deals with Russia. That’s what makes this whole witch hunt so pathetic.
    In fact we kind of like Putin and Russians, generally. We know the whole hoopla over Russia is all hypocrisy of the highest order since most of Trump’s accusers are on the dole with Israel and Saudi Arabia/Gulfies and God knows who else. We all know that US FP is influenced by these loyalties to foreign governments – as are US elections. Far better an alignment with Christian Russians than greedy self-interested Jews and backwards Muslims. As far as we know, the Russians aren’t trying to get us into wars against governments tolerant to Christians.
    We sure like Trump and Russia better than what Democrats/Liberals have to offer us, which, in addition to what you list, is basically Sodom and Gommorah with confiscation of wealth from the hard working and despised white man to be given to the freak slackers that burn the US flag.
    All this hoopla proves in that the sodomite one worlder commies are profoundly dense and, under Obama, they got carried away and exposed their true nature too much. And now they will keep on losing elections, Russian connection or not.

  145. Lefty says:

    Agree. There are a few folks at IRS with profound understanding of the tax code. But at the operating level, private sector tax attorneys and accountants who make their livings by saving clients more in taxes than they charge in fees, or for minimizing tax liabilities, are on average better than their IRS counterparts. You’d think that relying on IRS advice, especially from the district commissioner level, would be a good reason to have a fine abated. Bet that’s an interesting story.
    Financial disclosure and foreign national contact reporting can get voluminous. Spousal business or overseas posting can generate a surprising amount of reporting. While I don’t particularly miss Flynn it sure has looked like they have been playing “gotcha” with him.
    I was married to a microbiologist for a long time so have an interest in your business. Strangest person I ever met was a histo-pathologist who wore a gas mask in the office. What did you think of Bruce Ivins? Everything I read made me think he was like a lot of the folks I met, very bright and someplace on the autism spectrum. Similar to people you’d see in the Microsoft or other scientific/technical institution cafeteria. Seemed from the outside that Ivins offense was contempt of Agent, and it cost him his life.

  146. Old Microbiologist says:

    Yes, but what is interesting is that what was actually in those emails are now obfuscated through the red herring of Russian hacking. It is this that the MSM are complicit in with this conspiracy. It looks like multiple countries have proven to actually attempt to interfere in the election. Ukraine rises to first place, the Israelis second, and the Saudis third.

  147. Edward Amame says:

    Eric Newhill
    Michael Moore’s not my buddy. And what’s with all the BS about who’s got the guns and how you’re gonna shoot us lefties up. It’s really pathetic. Real wild west you guys are online.

  148. different clue says:

    I think I know what you mean about the “tabloids”. But the Weekly World strictly speaking I think is written somewhat in jest. I think its readers are at least somewhat in on the joke.

  149. Edward Amame says:

    different clue
    I dunno, the entrenched D.C. FP bureaucracy might want a Pres Pence but I’m REALLY certain the Dem Party leadership wants to keep the current pres in place for the midterms.

  150. Edward Amame says:

    My guess is that the Dem leadership are pretty happy with Trump’s performance so far, at regarding looking to the midterms. Yup, Trump’s base still loves him, but it might be the case to suggest that the GOP leadership might be more concerned about his performance so far, at least looking to the midterms. We’ll see what happens.

  151. MRW says:

    Maybe to you, but not to people who buy it.

  152. MRW says:

    Of course they wouldn’t. There isn’t an inch of reciprocity. The Israelis, imo, are not only traitors to everything the Americans stand for, but active actors to destroy everything Americans stand for. Nationality, for example.
    Harsh? Perhaps.
    But they haven’t displayed any evidence to the contrary since 1948.
    American Jews and Evangelicals who support them are, imo, traitors to our values. And we refuse to recognize it out of fear of being called anti-semitic. Douglas Rushkoff in a video no longer available on the web said (although I have a copy but can’t link to it) said that the thing that makes “Judaism dangerous to everyone” is that Jews want the “destruction of nation states” (like the United States).

  153. Eric Newhill says:

    Because civil wars, armed insurrections and revolts never happen?
    Do you not understand that the military, as a whole, likes Trump a lot, in addition to the oath they’ve taken and that he’s their CinC?
    Have you not heard that there are a lot of armed non-military groups, consisting of veterans, former law enforcement among the members, that really like Trump and really despise liberals.
    Are you unaware that many non-group affiliated people are armed and really like Trump and really hate liberals?
    Do you really believe that all of these armed people are going to let a bunch of smarmy media elitists, thin beard lefties and treasonous rats in the intelligence community take down the lawfully elected leader that they voted for and put their hopes on and just stand around saying, “Oh shucks. I guess that’s it”?
    Because at that point the left and, behind the scenes, The Borg, will have achieved its goal of turning this country into a banana republic and the rule of law will be gone. And all of these people know they have nothing to lose because the left hates them.
    Dream on.
    And yes. I am from the West, the wild part along the Arizona border with Mexico, and before I was in insurance, when I was in my 20s, I carried a gun. I actually fired shots in anger, as they say, legally. But I’m not personally threatening you or anyone. I am trying to tell you that if you were to achieve your coup, you might not like the consequences. This isn’t a game.

  154. confusedponderer says:

    “The US tax system and code is specifically set up so that wealthy people in the US can find ways to avoid paying taxes”
    Irespective of legality, in doing so they still escape from having to tax incomes by exploiting tax law weaknesses.
    “Based on what? Some assumption you pulled out of your ass? What a ridiculous statement. It’s beneath you, confusedponderer.”
    It’s free to you to disagree and to change your mind.
    Trump, suggesting lack of enthusiasm for its publishing, has already called the tax return published by Maddow “fake news”.
    As I wrote later:
    “So, while I dont know for certainty how much tax Trump probably avoided to pay, I suspect it is something … Example:
    Trump “used a $916 million loss that he reported on his 1995 income tax returns to avoid paying personal federal income taxes for years.”
    The reports said that Trump was avoiding personal federal income taxes on 50 millions every year for 18 years.
    Stuffs like that sum up.

  155. “Lee A Arnold” – This part of your post in particular I don’t understand – “The only way forward is a generations-long strategy — a hundred years, maybe — of trying to keep a lid on violence until autocratic governments give way to a modernized, secularized Islam”
    Far from keeping a lid on violence in the ME we have been causing it for many years. That much at least must be evident.

  156. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think what you suggest requires a replacement for the defunct Peace of Yalta; some sort of international settlement among major world powers has to be reached.

  157. Bill, the President can only be removed from office by Constitutional means. There’s just no other way to do it. Discrediting him won’t cause him to be removed from office.

  158. different clue says:

    Edward Amame,
    If you are correct in this, then there will be No, no, NO impeachment effort launched against President Trump. Because the Mainstream Republicans who would launch it know that it would need a commanding majority of Democratic officeholders to succeed . . . esPECially at the Senate-votes-to-Convict-or-Acquit stage.
    And probably no stealth-undermining and subversionary “unfitness” based effort to sideline the President either.
    One of us is right and one of us is wrong about whether the Insider Topsider Democrats prefer Trump or Pence for President. Time will tell which one, and we will just have to wait for time to reveal its choices . . . as the minutes pass like kidneystones.

  159. charly says:

    DNC is not big so i think they just rolled out a complete new system. In that case you can say it was cleaned

  160. TonyL says:

    I have read every posts (I think so) by confuseponderer in the past. And I think this is definitely not the same confuseponderer.

  161. Yeah, Right says:

    An honest question, because I do not know the answer: if Trump decided tomorrow to pull the plug on all US contributions to NATO would the German government:
    a) feel obliged to up its military spending to “cover the gap” left by those departing GIs?
    b) simply conclude that, hey, who cares?
    It seems to me that most American commentators take it as a given that the former is the correct answer i.e. the Germans would have little choice but to take up the slack once Trump puts a stop to the “freeloading”.
    Isn’t it just as likely that the law of unexpected consequences will apply i.e. the Germans would look around them, see no credible military threat on the horizon, and simply shrug their shoulders at this latest turn of events?

  162. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, right
    US Ratification of the NATO treaty made it US law. The Congress would have to agree to US withdrawal from NATO. Trump h\no authority to do that. What the Germans would do after that would be their choice, not ours. pl

  163. Yeah, Right says:

    Colonel, thank you for your reply.
    Isn’t it possible for Trump to run down American NATO deployment without actually withdrawing from the treaty? A “call us when you need us” policy, as it were, without all the current huge expense.
    After all, Germany doesn’t deploy any troops or station any ships in North American and nobody calls that a repudiation of the NATO treaty.
    I agree that the Germany alone would decide how to respond, but the choices they make in response to pressure that you apply is, surely, something that needs to be factored into your own decision-making.
    As in….
    If they reacted the way you expect them to then goading them makes sense, and the USA should keep goading them.
    If they reacted in exactly the opposite way then maybe, just maybe, goading them is counter-productive.
    And if the USA doesn’t care either way then why goad them at all?

  164. raven says:

    Now that you have a real narcissistic in office ya’ll just can’t stop with this “Borg” can you?

  165. MRW says:

    Trump “used a $916 million loss that he reported on his 1995 income tax returns…reports said that Trump was avoiding personal federal income taxes on 50 millions every year for 18 years.
    (1) So his 2005 tax return where he paid $38 million in taxes would have been $88 million otherwise, since 2005 was within the 18-year-from-1995 freebee period?
    (2) Sounds like someone has seen all of Trump’s tax returns to make those assertions. Why haven’t they come forward with them? Or is it more surmisal?

  166. Edward Amame says:

    Eric Newhill
    Now I’m gonna accuse YOU of reading incomprehension: I DO NOT SUPPORT A COUP. THERE WILL NOT BE A COUP. So please cut out your concern trolling me about threats of angry armed deplorables coming after me and my fellow antifas.

  167. Nancy K says:

    I would rather lose elections than stop resisting racist attitudes like yours i.e. “greedy Jews” “backward Muslims”.
    Your comments are so wrong on so many levels. Not everyone on some type of assistance is a freak slacker nor are all taxpayers “despised white men”. Do you write for Breitbart?

  168. Nancy K says:

    I have no desire for Trump to be impeached and accept he will most likely be our president for four years. I feel though I have a fundamental right to make my differences with his policies known by calling my representatives, giving money to groups that support my beliefs and supporting and voting for candidates of my choice.

  169. LeaNder says:

    the ClintoBorg MSM gave Trump billions of dollars worth of Free Media Exposure in hopes of getting Trump nominated.
    only sounds as a good argument, but doesn’t convince me, dc.
    From the moment Trump declared his campaign he automatically was a person of interest for media. From that point on, media couldn’t ignore him any more. … random pick: how many of the news values did work for him well? And how worked that? Or how did he feed the process?

  170. turcopolier says:

    The Borg is the foreign policy establishment in government, media, academia, think tanks. It has nothing to do with party politics. It is its own party. I call that the Borg. People talk about the Deep State but that is different than the Borg. pl

  171. LeaNder says:

    confusedponderer, basically I wish no one uses your name here, although, admittedly I have been wondering too.
    But it could be explained by the fact that you fell out of SST times and the longer debates on the issue for quite a while. 😉
    I cannot pretend I was too fond of the questions, but I understand why they would be picked up by media to the extend they are. … I also would have preferred if she asked in English….
    Concerning the tax issue. How would that be related? It already surfaced after one of his debates with Hillary here on the blog. Obviously it is a topic that lends itself to outrage. Feeding the hate? In this case by Hillary? From my own limited perspective, meaning only selectively aware of investigative reporting and publications on the issue over the decades, he did rather well challenging Clinton on the tax issue.
    Hadn’t she been a lawmaker and thus have the best of all chances to change the law, is how I remember it.
    Trumps Tax Bill doesn’t mean the tax system is not working:
    I cannot help, but a lot of issues feel a bit like sham debates, or as we call it in German “Scheindebatten”. Trump and taxes might be one such issue.
    The lady of course has both recent German debates and American debates in mind. I am not an expert in the larger context. But obviously neither was she? Mixing fake news,
    What hypes the fears that Russia could influence our own elections “too”? To the extend I looked into matters at all, I wasn’t convinced. No doubt the Russian media may indeed run with one or the other story too, that may irritate us too. The Russian girl kidnapped and raped by a refugee? Noticed? Fake news? Rumors around Le Pen in France being sponsored by Putin? From the top of my head. New projects in the realm of IT. The larger Facebook, twitter bots and fake news thus spread debate? … Maas in this context?
    Fear of American money influence in the Netherlands:
    Fear of the Russians spreading fake news?
    If there it is a more deep problem, it may no doubt help to to project it on outside forces, only. On the other hand a purely national perspective, getting out of the EU, closing the frontiers, with whatever variant of the national dream would be a basic demand of the classical right. Wouldn’t it be? German idiom: My shirt is closer to me then your jacket?
    But instead reflecting a little better on what to ask, and maybe how to ask. Her basic intent seems to have been, at least partially, to make Trump look ridiculous, that’s why it was eagerly picked up.

  172. TTG,
    Thanks for the link to the ‘Guardian’ piece. Unfortunately, it is simply impossible to make sense of anything if one assumes that material in that paper is likely to be reliable. In any case, I see that what the paper was doing was simply uncritically recycling claims made by the New York Times.
    The Guardian, like the BBC and the Financial Times, are not what they were back in the ‘Seventies. Today, all three are part of what has become a system of ‘Ingsoc’. I am not joking – I could describe to you how the intellectual and moral standards of the MSM in particular and the British élite in general have disintegrated, since I lived through the process.
    However, briefly, one part of the picture is that ‘perception management’ has become so central to government that people cannot escape from their own BS. People are so lost in it that they simply cannot grasp that the world cannot be remodelled on the basis of their fantasies.
    A sometime BBC colleague of mine, Mark Laity, is Chief of Strategic Communications at SHAPE. In October 2014, he gave a presentation entitled ‘Behavioural approaches to perception management.’
    (See file:///C:/Users/David/Downloads/20141024115144_07_BehavioralInfluence_Laity.pdf .)
    An example of what he appeared to regard as a promising approach in relation to Ukraine:
    “I am a Ukrainian” “ We have this freedom inside our hearts… …we have this freedom in our minds… …and now I ask you to build this freedom in our country.”
    And the next slide explained ‘Perception becomes reality.’
    The short answer is: ‘Oh no it doesn’t Mark, you and Chrystia Freeland simply become lost in your own bullshit, and it blows up in your face.’ (‘Perhaps you should try personally testing out the message late at night in a bar in Sevastopol, and see if you can escape without incurring a large dentist’s bill, if not something much worse.’)
    However, living inside the ‘bubble’ provides an intoxicating sensation of happiness, compounded of a sense of omnipotence and absolute virtue, which may be one reason why writers for the MSM simply recycle what the ‘perception management’ people at MI6 tell them. A corollary is that all concerned may really believe that they are presenting the pure milk of unadulterated truth, by contrast to RT, or Press TV, or TeleSUR.
    Anyone who tries to call out the BS is either simply ignored, or provokes a response of anger. (Trying to exchange views with FT columnists today is like trying to talk to Marxist students decades ago.)
    A good example of the way today’s ‘Guardian’ operates is provided by the paper’s response to the claims by Seymour Hersh about Ghouta.
    As you obviously know, he could not find a publisher for these in the American MSM, so his two articles on the subject – the December 2013 ‘Whose Sarin?’ piece, and the follow-up entitled ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’, were published in the ‘London Review of Books’.
    The latter piece raised a critical question about the British end of the story, in that it claimed that the tests which enabled General Dempsey to prove to Obama that Ghouta was a ‘false flag’ were done by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, on samples provided by Russian military intelligence.
    If this is the case, it raises a question as to whether the Joint Intelligence Committee, who essentially endorsed the claim that Assad’s responsible for Ghouta was a ‘slam dunk’ – that is, the claim that James Clapper denied to Obama – were engaged in a grave contempt of Parliament: a very serious matter in our system of government.
    The response of the ‘Guardian’, on 22 April 2014, was to publish an article by Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta, entitled ‘It’s clear that Turkey was not involved in the chemical attack on Syria’.
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/22/allegation-false-turkey-chemical-attack-syria )
    That there are strong reasons to suspect that Higgins is a part of a ‘StratCom’ network was well brought out in a post by Dr Patrick Armstrong on his attempt to show that the attack on the Red Crescent convoy West of Aleppo in September 2016 was the work of the Russians and the subsequent exchanges of comments.
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/09/bellingcat-proves-the-russians-didnt-do-it.html )
    In fact, Higgins and Kaszeta had already been demolished on the ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ site by ‘sasa wawa’ – who it now appears was a former employee of Unit 8200. When the site opened for business, on 19 September 2013, as well as demolishing the 30 August ‘Government Assessment’, ‘sasa wawa’ had produced a preliminary analysis of the initial report of the UN/OPCW inspectors, which he subsequently refined.
    The detailed discussions of Appendix 7 of the report proved beyond reasonable doubt – months before Hersh quoted intelligence sources making the claim – that the material used at Ghouta was ‘kitchen sarin.’ So, this was powerful evidence that Hersh was right – and the JIC were committing contempt of Parliament.
    (See http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-un-report.html .)
    Attempting to refute this, Kaszeta and Higgins argued that the presence of hexamine in the samples proved a Syrian government origin. The claim had been rebutted by ‘sasa wawa’, most recently in a post on 5 April.
    (See http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/hexamine-again.html .)
    That August, Theodore Postol, who is Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT, dealt with the issue in a paper entitled ‘A Brief Assessment of the Veracity of Published Statements in the Press and Elsewhere Made by Dan Kaszeta, A Self-Described Expert on the Science and Technology of Chemical Weapons.’
    (See https://cryptome.org/2014/08/postol-debunks-kaszeta.pdf .)
    When however Hersh’s articles, together with his January 2016 article ‘Military to Military’ and the May 2015 piece ‘The Killing of Osama bin Laden’, were republished in book form, Andrew Anthony, the reviewer in the ‘Observer’, sister paper to the ‘Guardian’, was as ignorant as ever. A quick Google search would have turned up the materials I have quoted – but he made no attempt do basic ‘fact-checking.’
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/18/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden-review-seymour-m-hersh-abbottabad-syria-sarin-al-nusra-government .)
    Harking back to the Higgins/Kaszeta article, Anthony explained that:
    ‘Elsewhere – notably in the Guardian – evidence has been produced to show that the Syrian military have indeed stockpiled the same type of sarin, whereas there is no evidence that al-Nusra had any track record with it.’
    And he further sneered at Hersh, writing that:
    ‘Like an intelligence report, his method relies purely on the quality of his informants. And as they all to a man speak in the same paranoid tone of disillusioned whistleblowers from a TV thriller, they don’t sound very convincing.’
    This is not how a competent journalist assesses a report. I could cite you many more examples from the Guardian. Have a look, for example, on Luke Harding on Litvinenko. At no point does he ask any of the obvious questions raised by the latest collection of BS from Steele and his friends.
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/alexander-litvinenko-the-man-who-solved-his-own-murder .)
    But most of the MSM people do not operate like journalists any more, but as happy instruments of an apparatus of power. I was looking at Brian Stelter’s interview with Larry Johnson. In the course of this, Stelter questioned how Napolitano had behaved, saying that he would not have been allowed to use Johnson as an anonymous source.
    (See http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/79656/that-was-cnn/ )
    All this is very well and good, but when I was Steltser’s age, sitting thirty feet from my editor’s office, as he told us he was, I would have been in that office saying: we must check this out. And I like to think that the we would have been sitting there discussing whether to clear next Sunday’s show for a panel discussion, set in motion a multi-week investigation, or both.
    And reading the NYT and Guardian claims that GCHQ were on to the DNC hacking in autumn 2015, I would have been ‘phoning up ‘Crowdstrike’ and others and asking how they could reconcile this with the earlier Washington Post version.
    Likewise, if I had read Hersh’s piece, I would have been discussing with colleagues how we might approach things in a manner that persuaded key people to talk.
    On no account would I simply have assumed that what anonymous spokesmen for security and intelligence organisations asserted was likely to be true – or indeed, taken claims by the likes of Higgins at face value. And I certainly would not follow what appears the general pattern in the MSM, in exploiting hostages Larry Johnson has given to fortune to discredit him, rather than actually looking at what he has to say.
    The ‘Alt Right’ has taken up the word ‘Luegenpresse’, which I very much regret, because of its Nazi-era associations.
    But substantively, they are right. It is difficult to overstate the contempt an old-style television current affairs person has both for people like Laity and Steele, who seem to regard it as a key part of their job to manipulate journalists, or the journalists who allow themselves to be manipulated.
    In relation to the current situation, the critical point is that a great many people – including, it seems likely, the whole of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee – have a great deal to hide. This may be a reason why some of them are prepared to help subvert the constitutional order in the United States.
    It may also be a reason why Trump would be well advised to blow some of these cans of worms open.

  173. Bandolero says:

    Of course CinC Trump could just close US bases in and remove US assets from Germany.
    Regarding closure of bases their is a precedent. The Brits announced in 2015 that their troops will all have left Germany by 2020:
    It’s real. They already started leaving. German reaction to this was like: “Thank you friends for your service, and good bye.” And that’s it.
    If the US did the same, there would surely be a lot more discussions on policy consequences of this, with the war party likely doing what they always do: try to get more money for military, while most of the German population feeling not threatened by anyone and prefering to spend money on schools, roads and railways instead of military.
    And, I told the story already a couple of times here, but I repeat it for you:
    Regarding a possible withdrawal of the expensive US nuclear assets in Germany, after the 2009 election Merkel’S FDP-CDU coalition was about to take it in their coalition agreement that the German government should ask the US to remove all nuclear weapons from Germany because most of the German people doesn’t like nukes to be in Germany. But the US ambassador got word of that German intention and intervened, asking Merkel not to ask the US to remove the US nukes from Germany. The US ambassador said Germany should not ask the US to remove US nukes from Germany because other countries then may want to remove US nukes from their countries and the US doesn’t want to do that. So, here is a bit of reality: these specific and very expensive assets – US nuclear bombs – are not in Germany because Germans want them to be in Germany, but because the US wants them in Germany.
    So, if Trump would decide to remove US nuclear weapons from Germany to cut oversee deployment costs, all reaction he would get from Germany would likely be “Thank you, Mr. Trump, for removing that stuff from Germany.” For some other expensive US assets, like say the “drone center” in Ramstein, a similar German reaction might be expected. However, a complete drawdown of US forces from Germany would likely trigger some German adaptions, like getting some of the then missing reconnaissance capabilities from EU partners or building them. It may not be big changes because Germany does that anyway: a project to build more German intel capabilities to reduce dependence on the US and others already started.

  174. Nancy K says:

    Civil wars are never civil and both sides lose, look at history. You never said if you had been in the military only that you had fired shots in anger, not really the best emotion to have when shooting. As Edward mentioned us on the left do not want a coup, it is more those like you, who think war and killing are fun,who want a revolution.

  175. charly,
    I doubt that. Rolling out a complete new system is very seldom done even within the DOD. The DNC system was/is tied to the DCCC systems including analytical databases of voters, all their email and messaging systems and the Clinton Campaign system. The DNC certainly wasn’t going to take all that off line during the election season. I doubt anyone could guarantee those systems are clean today.

  176. David Habakkuk,
    Thanks for that well presented and well documented piece on the perception management industry. I first became aware of it when I was drawn into the information warfare concept as it developed within the DOD in the middle 90s. Propaganda with its nasty aftertaste morphed into perception management. Even the PSYOP branch changed into the Military Information Support Operations (MISO).
    I would suggest that you examine the new press with same keen discernment that you have used to illustrate the descent of the the old press of professionals like yourself and Cronkite into the sordid perception management machine it is today. The new press of the alt-right, RT and others have been built from the ground up as perception management machines. They are good at it. Think meme wars. I would never give up RT. It puts out some magnificent programming that I can’t get elsewhere. But it very much has a perception that it carefully and expertly manages.
    I am reminded of a scene in “Men in Black” when the Tommy Lee Jones character picks up all tabloid papers from a news stand while the Will Smith character asks why they had to read that garbage. The Jones character responds that this is where the real news is written. All these tales of marrying three eyed alien creatures were the intel they needed to do their alien hunting jobs. There’s probably a lot to that… as long as you read the papers from multiple sides of the perception management wars.

  177. LeaNder says:

    From what I understand the 2% rule was pushed already for by then United States Ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland in 2006, …
    Bandolero, I stumbled across the US demand for Germany to increase spending long before that in US media. Can you recall the demand: Europe should learn to clean up their own backyards. And if, what could that have referred to?
    Personally, from my limited perspective I recall well when I stumbled across it, or the demand to increase military spending in Europe. I doubt it already had the 2% figure in it. But then, I might just as well have forgotten about it.
    In other words from my always admitted nitwit perspective nothing at all new in Trump’s demand. I didn’t experience it as something brought into the debate by Nuland et al.
    But: What is the specific paragraph in the respective treaties, or its specific history? What are the precise terms? If it was there from the start, how did it allow 23 out of 5 to circumvent matters from the moment they joined NATO. Or were there amends in the treaty?
    What would a closer look at defence budget and their respective military history between 1949 to lets say 2014 look like? For all the 28, obviously adjusted for later joiners. In Germany, no doubt that would be from 1955 on. 😉

  178. J says:

    The Russian Duma is now investigating U.S. Media’s activities in Russia, in particular violations of Russian law as it pertains to propaganda and mass brain manipulations.
    Radio Liberty (propaganda arm), the Voice of America (propaganda arm), and CNN are just some of U.S. Media outlets under investigation.
    What is being investigating in particular is their possible violations of the Russian Constitution Article 29 Sections 2 and 5

  179. turcopolier says:

    No one wins in a civil war? Did you have to get a passport and visa to move from California to North Carolina? Are you aware that Francisco Franco won the Spanish Civil War? Are you aware that the parliamentary party (Cromwell et al) won the English Civil War? “not really the best emotion to have when shooting.” I was unaware of your intimate knowledge of desirable states of mind in combat. pl

  180. Fred says:

    Please refer to the suggestions from Snoop Dog. Surely he wasn’t making a joke.

  181. jld says:

    fired shots in anger, not really the best emotion to have when shooting”
    It’s only a technical term to mean that you DO intend to hit the target.

  182. turcopolier says:

    Don’t lecture me about “technical terms.” Have you ever shot anyone? Want to hear about what it feels like? pl

  183. confusedponderer says:

    well, I am the same confuseponderer, and if you like my posts or not and perhaps notice any differences to my old posts, well, I cannot help that.
    Currently I am somewhat annoyed by what I read in news.
    I entertain myself with grandees like Trump, his speaker Spicer, grand genius Erdogan, turkish stupid babble that dutch and germans are nazis if they dare to tell Erdogan’s ministers to stop their propaganda, fly back home and shut up.
    I read the weirdo reports on Turkish plans of killing dutch Holstein cows ‘to teach’ something to the dutch, or that iirc Istanbul, in revenge for ‘dutch naziism’, brilliantly won’t refresh a coop treaty with iirc Rotterdam. Then there is all the disturbing nonsense my turkish tax driver shares with me. Oh, and of course, then there are all these ‘fake news’ that Trump sees three to five times a week.
    That means I have to read and hear a lot of nonsense. So far I am not used to this. In time that’ll change.
    Anyway, I had a hard year with four operations. Fortunately they worked well, were well done and I had good doctors and helpers. I am happy that my broken bones have healed well, that I can walk safely again, eat with spoons and knifes again, run in sport, still know the way through my town in mind, still read fast and can still speak and write english.
    It may sound odd, but I have met patients who didn’t have such luck.
    One case: There was one lady patient. She has had a stroke, was noodle after that, blind and she insisted angry that it was … 1945.
    She called for her doctor of the time by screaming his name. She sometimes started at 3am with that. It was quite annoying to be waked up by it. Assuming that the doctor was 40 in 1945, he’d be about 112 years old by now (irrelevant, since it is 1945 …) and he is by now retired, either dead or lives in a nursing home.
    Certainly he wasn’t working in the clinic and just wouldn’t come even if she screamed his name for a couple more hours. Trying to explain that it was 2016 or 2017 so she would shut up eventually was like pulling teeth from a hostile patient.
    I spare you more scary stories. For a change, I have a nice story:
    On saturday I got mail from my employer, with a nice gift. The letter congratulated me for the decade I work for the company, whishing me good recovery and that I would come back soon.

  184. jld says:

    Excuse me but my reply was to Nancy K, not you, is my explanation misguided or “technically erroneous”?

  185. Valissa says:

    Thanks for the informative post!
    Regarding this intriguing bit… “In October 2014, he gave a presentation entitled ‘Behavioural approaches to perception management.’”
    The link does not work.

  186. turcopolier says:

    You were a useful and contributing member of this committee. Now you are a shrew ranting on the subject of American government. If you continue I will remove you from this forum. pl

  187. Valissa,
    Apologies for that. Try this: ‘https://www.cmdrcoe.org/download.php?id=341
    Failing that, try Googling: ‘Mark Laity’ ‘Behavioural approaches to Perception management’.
    It is a matter of some import. Although I was aware of his having become a ‘StratCom’ person, I had not actually looked at anything Laity had produced until it seemed appropriate to do so to respond to TTG.
    When I read his piece, I actually felt something like the hot winds of hell blowing. It seemed to me purely evil. And my own political ideology does not naturally lend me to portray things in ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ terms.
    It seemed to me not simply evil but stupid.
    Back in 2008, Chrystia Freeland produced a piece in the ‘Financial Times’ about a contest run by the BBC to name the greatest Ukrainian of all time. She wrote:
    ‘Yaroslav the Wise, the 11th-century prince of Kievan Rus, was named the winner in a last-minute surge, edging out western Ukrainian partisan leader Stepan Bandera, who led a guerrilla war against the Nazis and the Soviets and was poisoned on orders from Moscow in 1959. When the programme’s editor cried foul, alleging that Yaroslav’s backers had flooded the show with computerised phone-in votes, the story suddenly became irresistible abroad. After all, stuffed ballot boxes have figured prominently in recent Ukrainian politics, sparking the 2004 orange revolution.
    ‘The contretemps is being framed as yet another example of the divide between western and eastern Ukraine, where the Soviet portrayal of Bandera as a traitor still lingers. That would be a mistake. The real story of Ukraine is the astonishing rapprochement between east and west, which began in 1991 and accelerated after 2004, when big business decided it paid to buy into independence.’
    (The report is behind a subscription wall, but for the record, the link is https://www.ft.com/content/50364f76-3955-11dd-90d7-0000779fd2ac .)
    Obviously, the fact that Freeland covered up the history of her prominent Nazi collaborator grandfather fills me with disgust. The fact that Victoria Nuland is happy to associate with those whose heroes were up to the eyeballs in the Lviv pogrom also fills me with disgust. What scum.
    What is almost worse is the stupidity. Someone I have known for many years married a woman from near Lviv, with a truly bizarre Ukrainian/Russian background.
    A relative of hers – I think it was a cousin – said the wrong things when doing his national service in Eastern Ukraine, and ended up dead.
    The same thing would have happened, if someone from Crimea had done it in reverse in Lviv.
    Someone who thinks that the fact that crooked oligarchs decide they are better off as big fish in a Ukrainian pond than smaller fish in a Ukrainian-cum-Russian one is a not only a very nasty piece of work but dangerously stupid.

  188. It’s not the same CP. His English is markedly worse, and the whole cast of mind is different.
    These trolls are completely shameless, seeking to play upon our respect and affection for a comrade no longer with us. But then, it may be a sign of desperation, which would be a good sign.

  189. turcopolier says:

    I received my copy of TOTC today. to remind, the authors are economists, not historians and Fogel won the Nobel Prize in economics. the life expectancy of Whites in the US in 1850 was 40 years at birth and that of slaves 36 years. The slave life expectancy was higher than that of Italy, Austria and Manchester, England. Interestingly the mortality rate for slave women in pregnancy and childbirth was lower than that for white women in the south, but the mortality rate for slave children under 1 year old was higher than that for whites. pl

  190. Fred says:

    You are correct. The database of voters isn’t going to be all that accurate either. It is one reason Obama kept his organizations information and that is now “organizing for America” or some other such moniker.

  191. Fred says:

    Speaking of crooked oligarchs it appears that some Senators are taking notice.

  192. different clue says:

    Well, we could . . . but we won’t. If that makes you mad, then that makes me happy.

  193. different clue says:

    Sanders was just as much of a primary candidate as Trump was. But the ClintoBorg MSM put as strong of a media blackout and cone of silence over the Sanders campaign as they felt they could get away with. They also colluded with the Clinton campaign to engineer various set-up lie-scenarios against Sanders and then catapult the Clintoganda.
    So the differential treatment given the Clintons’ chosen “pied-piper” nominee-wannabe Trump as against the suppressive treatment given the Clintons’ unwanted rival Sanders by the ClintoRat Media supports my argument.

  194. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A truly deplorable act, if true, of identity theft.

  195. Sam Peralta says:

    “It’s not the same CP. His English is markedly worse”
    I agree. Just take a look at the past posts by the CP we knew and look at the language and style of writing by this impostor. Very different.

  196. Sam Peralta says:

    Perception management is the name of the game. Just as Mika Brezinski said at her Morning Joe show that it is their business what content should be allowed for the American public.
    The lead-up to the Iraq invasion was another example of how this was used to bamboozle the public. Check out the role of the Rendon Group in that endeavor.
    The hysteria that we see now is that the perception management by the elites and the MSM failed in preventing Trump from winning the election.

  197. Nancy K says:

    I’m glad you are doing better. We should always be thankful for what we have as there are so many without. Maybe people thing you are a different confusedponderer because you have come through a very bad time and that makes you a different and better person.

  198. walrus says:

    If CP had spent the best part of a year in hospital, that may account for his unhelpful state of mind.

  199. turcopolier says:

    My theory is that the original CP is gone and a relative or someone else is using his IP address and e-mail. It is interesting that you interpret hostility to the US as evidence that CP is a better person. pl

  200. Nancy K says:

    Obviously someone wins I was referring to the fact that everyone loses also. Cromwell his head, the Spanish, perhaps millions of lives and US, more American deaths than any other war. I do not have intimate knowledge of combat as you well know, however I know and have known family members who were in combat and they state they felt fear more than anger.

  201. Edward Amame says:

    Nancy K
    Thanks for catching this comment of his. I will remember it.

  202. turcopolier says:

    No. No. No. Listen to me. The North won the Civil War. They won it in every way imaginable. Their population grew immensely during the war. They ruled the South and inflicted constitutional amendments on it that would never have been accepted in the South if they had not been defeated. The agribusiness economy of the South was reduced to a pitiful remnant that created a hundred years of poverty. The North won the Civil War. pl

  203. LeaNder says:

    I wish I understood, what’s on your mind.
    Can you name President-elect Trump’s TRANSITION CHAIRS?
    Do you know what is covered by federal budget code 050?
    Is this a test?
    budget code 050 = budget function 050?
    Function 050: National Defense
    The National Defense function includes the military activities of the Department of Defense (DoD), the nuclear-weapons related activities of the Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration, the national security activities of several other agencies such as the Selective Service Agency, and portions of the activities of the Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The programs in this function include: the pay and benefits of active, Guard, and reserve military personnel; DoD operations including training, maintenance of equipment, and facilities; health care for military personnel and dependents; procurement of weapons; research and development; construction of military facilities, including housing; research on nuclear weapons; and the cleanup of nuclear weapons production facilities.

  204. turcopolier says:

    If the left thinks that they are dumber than I had thought. With the exception of Fox the MSM was hostile to Trump throughout the campaign. pl

  205. turcopolier says:

    Edward Amame
    What is it that you referring to with regard to NancyK? pl

  206. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I’ll admit nothing of the sort. “Good for the goose… etc” was a poor choice of cliches. My attempted point was that absolutely nobody on this blog was not in an uproar over the Obama impeachment hype (or whatever it was), yet it is over Trump’s not-gonna-happen impeachment. (That’s how I clumsily tried to apply the cliché).
    Immobilize the gov’t? Seriously? I know you know what the GOP leadership pulled on day 1 of Obama’s first term. It is well known and I have talked about it here before and you basically shrugged your shoulders. What happened was that the GOP “Party of No,” the party of absolute and total opposition to ANY Obama proposal was born so as to make him a one-term pres and was continued throughout his second term.

  207. turcopolier says:

    Edward Amame
    Yours is a meaningless reply. It still amounts to a desire for revenge above all else. Find me an instance in which I suggested that Obama should be impeached or that the Republican policy of total resistance was not a bad idea. pl

  208. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Trump is president. End of story as far as I am concerned.
    Please stop continually lumping me in with others “like me” and putting words in my mouth or thoughts in my head that aren’t there. And IMO I am absolutely correct that Trump and Bannon are out to destroy the gov’t…in order to rebuild it again to their liking and THAT is what I oppose, THEIR POLICIES, not THE GOV’T and I have every right to do that under the constitution — and I outlined very clearly upthread how I think the best ways to oppose Trumpism are. I will repeat them: Demonstrate peacefully; start or join a local Democratic club; donate to Planned parenthood, the ACLU or the like.

  209. turcopolier says:

    Until the next election Trump IS president and you are to be correctly lumped with people like NancK, raven, CP in opposing his governance. You are a group. It is clear from the behavior of Schiff and Hines today that they seek to depose the president. IMO you will become actively a member of that faction of you think they have any chance of success. are you going to respond to my comment about slave life expectancy? pl

  210. Sam Peralta says:

    Collusion between the Fourth Estate and Intelligence agencies and the political elites leads to totalitarianism.
    What are the implications for Britain where long standing institutional conventions and the general rules of behavior among the governmental elites were the benchmark for others?

  211. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Thanks for that research. You certainly piqued my interest in the subject. I’ll try to keep an open mind.

  212. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how many ways I can say that I think the idea of impeaching Trump is political suicide and that the Dems should concentrate on the midterms and nothing else. THAT is how to stop Trumpism.
    I didn’t say that you suggested that Obama should be impeached. I said that there was never criticism on this blog for all the threats of impeachment by the GOP base and a pretty fair number of their elected GOP reps.
    I wouldn’t know where to begin researching what I recalled (maybe incorrectly) was your indifference to the Party of No’s absolute obstruction of Obama. May I ask you now how you feel about it now?

  213. Sorry, I meant “generations-long” starting from the present. I should have written, “for generations to come in the future,” or something like that. It is evident that past Western policy in this area over the last 100 years is part (or maybe most) of the cause of the current disasters.

  214. turcopolier says:

    I interpret their data as meaning that planters valued pregnant slave women and saw to it that they were fed and cared for, but that in the first year of life slave children were not well cared for. that would account statistically for some of the difference in over all life expectancy for slaves (4 years). pl

  215. Sorry, I didn’t mean to write “you” as in you personally. I should write, if Trump wants to end NATO, then trying to stick Germany with a phony debt is a dishonest way to go about it.

  216. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I oppose his manner of governing, just like the Tea Party had the right to oppose Obama’s. And your opinion is wrong. Schiff and Hines should shut the hell up and let Party Leadership try to capitalize on Trump’s bumbling to retake the House. That’s how our system works.
    I already responded. Thanks again for that.

  217. turcopolier says:

    OK I believe that you, personally, do no want him impeached, but many others do and I agree that this would be a disaster for the Democrats. pl

  218. Nancy K says:

    Sorry, wrong Cromwell, I just finished watching Wolf Hall and my mind was on Thomas, not Oliver.

  219. Nancy K says:

    I realize the north won the war but the country paid a horrible price and is still devided. As far as CP I really know nothing about him or what he believed in the past or believes now I was just sympathizing with what sounded like a very difficult time for him.

  220. Nancy K says:

    I swear on anything you want me to swear on that I do not want him impeached. What I hope for is the Senate to go Democratic in 2018 and a Democratic president, not Hillary in 2020. The last thing I want for my children and grandchildren is a civil war.

  221. Eric Newhill says:

    Nancy K,
    I have been upset by your comment most of the day and am only now composed enough to write a response. Do you really think that anyone would enjoy killing? That is so demented that I am flabbergasted.
    I was a BLM Ranger covering much the same territory that Tyler does. I encountered some of your friends from South of the border who were smuggling drugs. They almost blew my head off before I even saw them. Ever heard a high velocity round snap past your head? That’s all I’m going to say about it and I’m sorry I brought it up in the first place. I was trying to impress on Edward that a lot of people here and out there generally are not just internet smart asses – which he seemed to be assuming – and they take this country and the Constitution seriously. I guess if I need to explain that, then who ever I’m talking to is already a lost cause.

  222. My error. I think “forward” made the meaning clear and I simply misread the sentence.
    Nevertheless I profoundly disagree with the thrust of your argument. It’s not up to us to show them the true meaning of democracy, if we know it ourselves. And I do believe that as far as Syria goes the best way of keeping a lid on the violence would be simply to stop it being imported.
    Assad said as much in a recent interview and I think he was correct. I hope I’m not again misreading you by attributing to you a view that is certainly widespread elsewhere – that it’s our job to nursemaid the ME nations into a more civilised way of governing themselves. Even were that a correct view our record in the ME since well before Iraq must show that we wouldn’t be up to the job.

  223. Bandolero says:

    I’m glad to see you again. I believe I understand what a year with four operations means though I spent recent days, weeks and months just as visitor in hospital. I saw similar things in hospital as you described them and I’ll spare you and others the details. I wish you a good recovery from your illness whatever it was.
    My tip: Take yourself the time you need for this, read a bit, walk a bit, talk to common people and forget about all the politics for a while. From what I saw repeated anesthesia and medication with pain killers after operations may make the head a bit pulpy for quite some time. That may well recover but it needs time. Try to have some easy going in the meantime!
    Best greetings from Berlin

  224. Fred says:

    Please refresh my memory on the groups leading protest marches against Obama in in 2008 and 2012? What was comparable to 75+ groups identified by The Nation back in February of this year?
    The Democrats were a majority in the House in 2009 Remind me again how the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, led the Congressional opposition against Obama in the first year he was in office?
    How oh how did that majority change? It couldn’t have been anything Obama did, maybe it was the Russians?
    It is IRS Tax Scandal Day 1,411. That was not Republicans using the IRS to target conservative organizations. Perhaps you can point me to something comparable that was actually done by Republicans.

  225. Bandolero says:

    I remember talk of “Europe should learn to clean up their own backyards” – especially with regard to gobbling up Yugoslavia into the EU. However, the Borg and others trying to push for more German military spending failed back then. See, German military spending went from more than 2,7% of GDP in 1988 down to about 1,2% in 2007.
    Peace dividend we called this after the fall of the Berlin wall.
    So, now we see another attempt by the Borg, Trump and some others to bring that number up again, and again, Moscow is the bogeyman for this. But I think these forces trying to up military spending can and will be defeated again, because the German people seriously prefers more money for schools, roads and railways to more money for the military. And, yes, for this last not least America is to be thanked, because I think that set of mind of the German people is one of the good consequences of US-led “re-education” after WWII.

  226. pl and EA,
    I think there are many on the left who, in the heat of the moment, want to see Trump removed from office prematurely. But upon a little thought, they realize that a pure Republican government under Pence would be worse for their agenda than a Trump administration. I do think the Borg foreign policy crew and a host of true red Republicans would love to see Trump gone so they can push their agendas without Trump’s interference. However, Republican party true believers may also be fearful that the fall of Trump will seriously damage their party’s future, especially if it happens close to an election.
    I personally do not want to see most of the Republican agenda implemented. I’d rather see Trump remain in office. If having his administration damaged into near impotence by serious scandal and investigations is the price to pay for slowing the most strident goals of the Republican agenda, I’ll live with it. In this situation, Trump will still be able to keep us out of a war with Russia, help destroy IS and gain control of our borders even if the big beautiful wall doesn’t come to fruition. Without Trump, these things won’t happen. Unfortunately, the infrastructure plan probably won’t happen either, but I don’t know how serious Trump was about this judging by his budget plan for next year… No mention of money for infrastructure development.
    I’m also wondering where this investigation into possible Trump team collusion with the Russians will lead. It may end up being truly nothing or just unprovable. If it comes down to a few on his team having dirty hands, I think Trump will survive. He would be seriously damaged, but he’ll survive as will what I consider the better parts of his agenda. The chance of Trump being personally involved is highly improbable, but not inconceivable. I can’t see Trump being recruited as a Russian asset. He doesn’t have the personality for that. However, I can see a recruitment pitch involving a commercial/financial deal having a chance of success. It wouldn’t look like a recruitment and Trump certainly wouldn’t consider it a recruitment. I’ve done this to people. They never knew what hit them or who they were working for. If Trump did get himself involved in something like this, he has to go. That would probably destroy him and it would certainly damage our political system, but our country and Constitution would survive and recover.

  227. fanto says:

    call me paranoiac, but in my first remark upon CP´s reemergence from ´de profundis´ – I had the suspicion that this is someone else. I also see a definite different style, and lack of erudition, the real cp was remarkable for.

  228. TonyL says:

    I’m really glad you feel weel enough to post again! I enjoyed reading your posts in the past and sincerely hope you will be posting more often. I think Nancy has a good point below.

  229. Fred says:

    If what you propose is possible shouldn’t we be investigating those who were in Russia advising the “shock and awe” economic policies that were enacted which made so many oligarchs and resulted in a number of Americans also getting very rich?

  230. Fred,
    I was glad to see that.
    With Soros, I am puzzled that someone who is clearly very brilliant about some things can be so stupid about others. Can he not see that the way he pursues his ‘open society’ agenda has been bound to produce a massive backlash? Also that at the fringes, which could expand quite markedly, this backlash is bound to turn antisemitic?

  231. Eric Newhill says:

    Trumps is doing a rally a week, to massive cheering crowds, to show everyone – both left and right – that he’s still got the people on his side. I do not think the Rs can afford to damage Trump too much and they know it.
    I keep saying that no one that voted for Trump cares a bit about this Russia nonsense. They see the whole affair for the BS that it is and they know that all the other politicians, foreign policy and elections are influenced by Zionists and Arabs, who they dislike a hell of a lot more than Russia.
    So, in your vision, the US is to be not governed based on rational discourse, but by Byzantine intrigue and targeted fake news releases? I realize that such intrigue will always be a feature and always was. However, I find the open acceptance of it as a primary means to be corrosive and, frankly, disheartening. Moreover, I think that it will lead to a dissolving of the republic. We may be on the precipice now.
    Looking at the current economic situation, IMO, the country doesn’t have much time until it is in serious trouble. If Trump can bring back jobs and institute public works (i.e. infrastructure) while cutting off sources of drain on public safety nets and other expenditures, we can, indeed become great again. Time is short, though. If Trump is crippled by all of these efforts against him, then the country will be crippled eventually. The Democrats have no plan other than to tax, spend and put more and more people on the dwindling public dole and to start ruinous wars on behalf of the foreign masters. I say this as someone who typically voted D (Obama X 2, Bill Clinton X 2).
    All of this political intrigue is the desperate acts of people who clearly have an ideology that has failed and was rejected in the last election. If they had anything good to offer, they wouldn’t need the intrigue. The people would recognize the goodness of their platform. What you’re advocating denies these realities.

  232. LeaNder says:

    Pat, that’s easy nowadays. It’s now 3:04 PM, 3/21/17 on my home ground.
    I give you all the time you need to handle the more respectable SST members. But let’s see with what date it shows up and you can check with what IP? Familiar? American?
    On the other hand, I wish I knew why I keep having these series of “helpful computer help” voices calling me, started off in, don’t ask me what country, shifted to GB or OO31 from my side, and then after I told them I didn’t need their help from whatever destination, the attempts shifted to a somewhat less easy to distinguish English–initially it was the familiar Indian accent, to first North German phone numbers then slightly south. None of those really exists. Or they are only one-way-phones. Out-bounding.
    A pity I didn’t record it. After I heard the accent I didn’t even wait for someone to tell me, I assumed he was from the Microsoft Help Desk wanting to help me out or whatever variation thereof. …
    Harvesting the internet for phone numbers? Seems to be a pretty organized affair. How high are the changes the person called has a) some type of web tool, b) recently experienced something s/he couldn’t explain. Or was to lazy to try to find out?

  233. turcopolier says:

    Pls don’t talk down to me about technology. I do try to keep up and like you get calls from Cebu City or Kerala from people who claim to be in Colorado Springs or Sacramento. This CP has exactly the same IP as the previous CP and exactly the same e-mail address which contains CP’s supposedly true name. pl

  234. Edward Amame says:

    Since when have protest marches become illegal? But since you asked: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_protests
    There was no IRS scandal. Please Google IRS scandal debunked.

  235. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    She noted this in a comment by Eric Newhill:
    “Far better an alignment with Christian Russians than greedy self-interested Jews and backwards Muslims. As far as we know, the Russians aren’t trying to get us into wars against governments tolerant to Christians.
    “We sure like Trump and Russia better than what Democrats/Liberals have to offer us, which, in addition to what you list, is basically Sodom and Gommorah with confiscation of wealth from the hard working and despised white man to be given to the freak slackers that burn the US flag.”
    Eric’s comment confirms what liberals think motivated a number of people to vote for Trump.

  236. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    OK, I found two instances where I discussed the congressional GOP’s total resistance to Obama, their idea to create a Party of No that would oppose every single piece of legislation that he put forth.
    I didn’t say that you thought total GOP resistance was a good idea. I was referring to this comment of yours. “Once again does this justify you and your confreres in seeking to immobilize the government?” During Obama, the GOP congress didn’t just seek to do that, they actually did it. Judging by the few comments in response to mine in those threads, it would seem apparent that I was about the only person around here who was concerned about that. Now that it’s Trump who’s president, suddenly it’s become something that needs to be “justified?”

  237. Sam,
    I think that is a very good question, about which I need to think.
    One remark in passing. A problem with ‘perception management’ is often that it is very easy to end up fooling oneself. The end result of Rendon’s efforts was greatly to increase the jihadist threat, while handing over power in Baghdad to sectarian Shia close to Tehran – thus creating the ‘Shia Crescent’ which it has since been an overriding objective of Western and Israeli policy to destroy.
    Among other problems is that people practising ‘perception management’ are liable to lock themselves in their own lies, while if it ceases to work a complete collapse in public trust can result.
    The outcome now is that élites cannot escape from an increasingly ‘totalitarian’ attempt to control the ‘narrative’, while the traction of this on a range of actually very diverse sectors of opinion is collapsing.
    How these conflicting pressures resolve themselves is unpredictable, to put it mildly.

  238. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I had an experience elsewhere with an antagonist; I started doubting that I was dealing with a single individual. At times, the responses took longer, as though there was some consultation or research taking place in the background, before a response was proffered.
    I thought it odd especially since I did not think then (and I do not think now) that I was worth that type of effort.

  239. turcopolier says:

    Edward Amame
    I am not Harper. pl

  240. Fred says:

    Please do not insult my intelligence by implying I’ve stated protest marches were illegal. Thank goodness that google has confirmed that employees of the IRS did not use their positions to target conservative groups for denial of non-profit status by utilizing “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.”:

  241. Nancy K says:

    Drug smugglers are not my friends and I find your comments as insulting as you found mine. I take our country and constitution very seriously just as I assume you do also. Just because we don’t agree does not mean we do not equally love our country.

  242. Fred,
    Who were those people advising the Yeltsin crowd with shock economics which did just enrich the already rich and criminal. I also have a disdain and mistrust for that crowd. They’re the same one percenters and one percenter wannabes sucking the life blood out of our middle class and the poor. They should all be investigated, but by who and on what grounds? They’re also the ones who write the laws and pay the cops.

  243. Jonathan House says:

    This post captures the thinking of many I know, people who, like me, consider themselves leftists of various stripes from identifying with Dorothy Day to identifying with Herbert Marcuse. Last night, at dinner with my children the consensus was indeed that as you, TTG, put it “a pure Republican government under Pence would be worse for the agenda we favor] than a Trump administration.
    The whole of the second paragraph captures my attitude and puts it better than I could. However, it is true that many of those of my friends who share my political point of view have been captured by the anti-Russian propaganda.
    The third paragraph too seems eminently reasonable to me.
    Jonathan House (70 year-old who has been a lefty since college)

  244. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    I know you’re not Harper. You asked earlier in a comment upthread, “Do you think it is patriotic to impede the functioning of the government?”
    I had similar concerns regarding the GOP’s total opposition to anything Obama in the comments sections of those two Harper posts. I just figured out how to link directly to those comments.
    Here they are:
    Again, note the lack of interest regarding the GOP’s impeding the functioning of the government.

  245. Jack says:

    TTG, Eric
    This whole – Russia influenced and threw the election to Trump who is a Russian agent – story that has completely dominated DC including Congress, the IC, the Democrats and of course the MSM is perceived as a red herring by many Trump supporters.
    Why? They know that foreign money plays a huge role in funding many of our politicians and governmental elites. Many of our top government officials become lobbyists immediately to rake in the big bucks. The Clintons have been mired in scandals from Bill’s time of taking money from all kinds of foreign sources. And the Clinton Foundation was a cesspool for pay-to-play schemes. What does anyone think Michael Hayden, Keith Alexander and so many other 4-stars like Wesley Clark are doing with their “consulting” gigs? Flynn was no different. Everyone is trying to cash out for themselves. There is so much Arab & Jewish money floating around. Tony Blair has become wealthy on that!
    This is the fundamental problem. Very few in the highest echelons of our government truly care about the national interest. They all get along to play along to rake in the big bucks for themselves disregarding any conflicts of interest or ethics let alone national interest. IMO, the Russian influence pales in significance to the Likudnik and Saudi influence.
    How do we know that it wasn’t a CIA operation? We know from the Wikileaks release that CIA have hacking tools that leave behind Russian attribution. And one thing about Wikileaks is that the veracity of their releases have never been disputed. How do we know the DNC leak was a hack and not an insider leak? Why was the DNC guy killed and there’s no reporting on that. The media never focused on the content of the DNC leaks, only the Clinton campaign assertion that it was a Russian hack. Donna Brazile after denying for so long she was feding Hillary debate questions now has to admit it.
    If Trump is not to be runover by the Borg, he needs to exercise the power of his office and clean house at the CIA, NSA, FBI by firing a large number of people at the top ranks. These agencies have got away for so long that it is now in their DNA that they can act with impunity and even lie under oath as Clapper and Alexander did.
    The genie is out of the bottle. Our government and the people that staff its top ranks are by and large fundamentally corrupt. Our political system is completely corrupt with money ruling the roost particularly since Citizens United. Social media and digital media have created echo chambers whereby people only see and read stories that reflect their pre-existing views. We’ll either have a civil war at some point or the system will crash. There can be no reform until a major crisis that shakes the foundations.

  246. turcopolier says:

    You left out the Bush 43 regime that used the Sultan of Brunei as a piggy bank for congressionally unfunded and unauthorized expenditures. pl

  247. Edward Amame says:

    Col Lang
    Also. Remember that in addition to birtherism and the numerous calls for impeachment of Obama by the GOP base and their elected reps, the GOP was the party that shut down the gov’t in 2013 because they refused to fund the ACA, a federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by a president. Not to mention their threats to default on government debt that same year. And their absolute refusal to allow a sitting president to nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court.
    So I absolutely reject your contention that it’s the Dems who are impeding the function of our gov’t.

  248. turcopolier says:

    I don’t write the posts and comments here that are not my own. I do not censor comments unless they are insulting to someone or so absurd as to demean SST. pl

  249. turcopolier says:

    That was then. This is now. Do you want to sink to that level? BTW I think the senate should have given Garland a hearing a full senate vote. pl

  250. Eric Newhill,
    I gather you believe that Russia is incapable of conducting this “Russia nonsense” against the U.S. either because they find it too abhorrent to contemplate or they lack the intellectual, political and technical skill to do so. I can assure you that they are fully capable of doing such things. I’ve seen it and this was Russian stuff, not Soviet stuff. We’ve done it on at least as grand a scale, and probably greater, as the Russians. As one example, Nuland admitted that we spent five billion over ten years to accomplish that hideous mess in Kiev. That, I think, is a far more sordid story than what Russia’s did. As far as I’m concerned, Russia has every reason to attempt to influence the politics and policies of our country. I also think it’s our duty to identify, investigate and deter those attempts. None of this means we should go to war with Russia hot or cold. It’s just the seamier side of relations between countries that goes on in the shadows.
    I am dismayed by the direction Trump is taking on the economy. He completely left out the idea of public works and infrastructure rebuild in his budget plan and wants to sink more money into an already wasteful military buildup. I wish he would reform the military rather than just throw money at the problem. However, I am fairly confident he will not start a war with Russia or support the jihadist unicorns in Syria. That’s good news. I’m also not sure what his plans are Iran, Afghanistan and for the Sunni-Kurdish area of Syria. He’s still too cozy with the Saudis, Qataris and Israelis for my liking.

  251. Edward Amame, Nancy K,
    There is nothing necessarily racist about references to ‘greedy self-interested Jews’ or ‘backward Muslims’.
    As it happens, some of those who have argued most strongly and persuasively against the Russophobia which has come to characterise Western élites are Jewish. A classic example is obviously Stephen F. Cohen.
    But over the past few years, people who want to understand what is happening in Russia have commonly turned to, among others, the Moscow fund manager Eric Kraus, and the Russian émigré literary scholar Vladimir Golstein.
    Unfortunately the late great Moshe Lewin, the sometime Red Army soldier who became one of the great social historians of modern Russia, is no longer with us.
    The political tradition with which Putin has identified himself, which is Russian ‘conservative liberalism’, has as a core text the 1909 symposium ‘Vekhi’, in which a group of Russian intellectuals denounced the ‘Jacobin’ tendencies of the Russian ‘intelligentsia.’ In Russian conditions, they warned, a ‘liberal’ revolution would simply simply lead to a catastrophic collapse into anarchy.
    The volume was the brainchild of Mikhail Gershenzon, who was Jewish, as was another of the contributors, Semen Frank. (On his ‘Facebook’ page, Golstein has written about Gershenzon.)
    In his own contribution to ‘Vekhi’, Gershenzon argued that the mass of Russians had rather good reasons for distrusting the intelligentsia, and went on to write – in a deliberately provocative sentence, that proved prescient – that ‘we must bless this government which alone, with its bayonets and prisons, still protects us from the people’s wrath.’
    As a result of another prescient anticipation, Gershenzon turned against Zionism, arguing that it would necessarily become a kind of Prussian-German nationalism, and a Jewish state in the Middle East would be in a state of permanent war with its neighbours.
    My own view of the Middle East shambles is that it is precisely the kind of tragedy which Gershenzon – and other anti-Zionist Jews, like Edwin Montagu, who as the sole Jewish member of the British Cabinet at the time fought tooth and nail to prevent the Balfour Declaration – anticipated would happen.
    Precisely what Montagu feared was that Jews would come to be regarded as a ‘people’ whose ‘home’ was Israel.
    On the ways in which the declaration divided British Jews, see a post by an intelligent British Jew, Robert Cohen, from November last year, entitled ‘Reclaiming the lost Jewish voices of the Balfour Declaration.’
    (See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/writingfromtheedge/2016/11/reclaiming-the-lost-jewish-voices-of-the-balfour-declaration/ .)
    However – a state of affairs which is driving people like Cohen to something close to despair – we are now told that Jews are in fact a ‘people’ entitled to ‘self-determination’.
    Accordingly, Binyamin Netanyahu is in some sense a representative Jew.
    And if he isn’t ‘greedy and self-interested’, who is?
    Likewise, the Jews who actually have power and influence in the United States are precisely those who appear in the ‘rogues gallery’ of portraits featured in the piece just posted by Philip Giraldi, under the title ‘Neocons as a Figment of Imagination: Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?’
    (See http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/neocons-as-a-figment-of-imagination/ .)
    If they aren’t ‘greedy and self-interested’, who is?
    As it happens, a crucial element in Putin’s ‘conservative liberalism’ is the belief that people cannot simply jettison the heritage of belief and ritual which they take over from the past, without courting catastrophe.
    As part of this, he has repeatedly praised the importance of what he terms the ‘traditional religions’ of Russia – by which he means the Russian Orthodox Church, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.
    (See, for example, his 2012 pre-election article on ‘The Ethnicity Issue’ at http://archive.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/17831/ .)
    Do American Jews not realise that this is the first time in Russian history that any leader has talked about Judaism in these terms? For the first time ever, they have a genuine philosemite in power in Russia, and they want ‘régime change’? Are they psychologically more comfortable with the ‘Black Hundreds’ in power?
    Apparently, Victoria Nuland and her like prefer the ‘Azov Battalion’, whose symbol features light transformations of two central SS emblems.
    One of these is the ‘Black Sun’ symbol, which was placed in the centre of the ‘Obergruppenführersaal’ in the castle of Wewelsburg, which Himmler intended as the centre of the new SS world, the other the ‘Wolfsangel’, symbol of the SS ‘Das Reich’ division. The SS mission was to eliminate the Jewish ‘Weltfeind’, and as it were ‘thin out’ the Slavs, by killing 30-45 million of them.
    Cannot influential American Jews realise that they are themselves in the process of recreating anti-Semitism? Or at least, persuading people that they are hopeless trauma-written nutcases, for whom a special ‘Medicare’ programme should perhaps be created, but who should on no account be allowed near any position of political influence?

  252. Eric Newhill says:

    I think there is a difference between what the GOP did to Obama and what the IC and their tools such as media and Michael Moore types are trying to do Trump.
    All of your protestations and smoke screens aside, it’s clearly one thing to have elected representatives say “We will not vote on your budget and will allow a shut down of govt because that’s what my constituents want” – or even do some grandstanding talk about impeachment using fully legal processes….
    …and it’s entirely another to have unelected operators within secretive aspects of the govt infrastructure create an information operation, complete with false evidence, designed to overthrow a lawfully elected representative; especially the POTUS.
    Thwarting government activity via legal means is not the same as doing so using means that are normally reserved for banana republics and MENA dictatorships. This Trump/Russia thing is all too reminiscent of mobile bio-weapon labs, aluminum tubes, yellow-cake, etc.

  253. Edward Amame says:

    Eric Newhill
    I think your conspiracy theory about
    “the IC and their tools such as media and Michael Moore types are trying to do Trump”
    …and it’s entirely another to have unelected operators within secretive aspects of the govt infrastructure create an information operation, complete with false evidence, designed to overthrow a lawfully elected representative; especially the POTUS.
    is nuts. But we’ll see.
    As for this
    “Thwarting government activity via legal means is not the same as doing so using means that are normally reserved for banana republics and MENA dictatorships. This Trump/Russia thing is all too reminiscent of mobile bio-weapon labs, aluminum tubes, yellow-cake, etc.”
    You forgot to add the part about an FBI Director attempting to throw a presidential election to a particular candidate.

  254. Jack says:

    I also left out the selling of Israeli arms to Iran to fund the Contras in violation of Congressional prohibitions. Now, the Israelis want us to take on the Ayatollahs after empowering them in Iraq. What a tangled web!
    There is so much money both domestic and foreign flowing to our political and governmental elites of both parties. And the laws don’t matter as there is no longer any rule of law when it comes to the elites.
    What is the FBI gonna conclude, that Manafort, Stone and Flynn received money from the Russians. And that Russians invested in Trump projects. Whoopity doo! What are they gonna say about the Chinese investment in a Kushner real estate project? And who are Podesta’s clients? Are they gonna investigate that too? The whole thing about the Manchurian Candidate is so ridiculous when our entire political system is up for sale. What I find is different is the role being played by elements in the IC to take down a legitimate POTUS. If no action is taken where will the go next? There are no longer any checks on their actions.

  255. I am on the middle ground, between you and your version of me. I think the U.S. and its allies should help to get rid of ISIS, for example. I think that demonizing Islam or having poorly-justified travel bans is counterproductive.
    I agree that we should not “impose” democracy, that’s kind of silly. But I disagree that it isn’t up to us “to show them the true meaning of democracy”, if that means not lodging publicized diplomatic protests against cruel governments, or not accepting destitute refugees.
    Assad is a case in point. We can take the Machiavellian view that he is the best stabilizer for Syria, but then we owe something more than lip service to his victims. His opponents are not all necessarily bad.
    We are not off-the-hook due to our own lucky births into democratic, free societies. We don’t get to wash our hands of it. Particularly since, as you point out, the West helped make this mess. If you break it, you should try to help fix it.
    I think that the idea that we can never be “up to a job” is an unjustified belief. It is partly justified by examples from history, sure, but that doesn’t make it necessarily true, and it disregards learning. There are no simple solutions, it goes without saying.

  256. Jack says:

    Pat Buchanan has a very good analysis of the Russian whodunit.
    “If the investigation of Russiagate turns up no link between Trump and the pilfered emails, Democrats will have egg all over their faces. And the Democratic base will have to face a painful truth.
    Vladimir Putin did not steal this election. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lost it. Donald Trump won it fair and square. He is not an “illegitimate” president. There will be no impeachment. They were deceived and misled by their own leaders and media. They bought into a Big Lie.”

  257. Thomas says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I agree with Babak that this is an effort from outsiders using CP’s info (or maybe borg insiders). Considering what he thought of a certain country and they have an active internet campaign against one and all who don’t bow to their perceived superiority, the suspicion would lie there.
    The man was a humane soul, if he was truly hurt and recovering the he would have informed you via private e-mail. Something the troll masters would not think of. It is also interesting who it will and won’t respond to.
    The below link is were he showed up then disappeared and until reviving again.

  258. Booby says:

    I was born & raised in the South & came of age during the racial turbulence of the ’60s. I grew up in a rural area with black friends, neighbors & co-workers. During my career in the Marine Corps I lived that “Marines come in one color – green”.
    Much to my surprise, in the past couple of years I’ve been told that I’m a racist because I was born in the South & white. Even worse, I’m an irredeemable racist because both sides of my family were slave owners.
    A few years ago I bought property in Edgefield, SC & plan to soon retire there. Edgefield is a mecca for southern geneology & history because Sherman’s forces were defeated by Gen Joe Wheeler at the Battle of Aiken & failed to burn down the Edgefield Courthouse. Edgefield was a bastion of the Confederacy. Six Confederate generals, including Longstreet, came from Edgefield. The small rural area fielded 10 Companies for various Confederate armies.
    Prior to the war, the county was agricultural, primarily cotton, but also had a thriving commercial pottery industry. The economy was slavery based. Reading of old wills indicates that about 1/2 of the wealth of most families was in the value of their slaves. Most of the rest of the wealth was in the value of the land. Slaves were so valuable that it would not make sense to physically abuse them. A healthy male slave had a value on the tax roll of $1000 -$1500 at a time when a horse had a value of $10-$20. I have read that slaves had more value than indentured servants, who had a decreasing value as their period of indenture declined. Thus slaves were better cared for than indentured servants.
    Relationships were not black & white in the pre-war South. Free blacks also often owned slaves. White men sometimes had children & families by slave women. These cases are often apparent in the treatment of the black family members in wills. Slaves were not all on plantations. Small yeoman farmers would have a few slaves. Town folks would have house slaves. Many of the slaves were artisans & mechanics – tradesmen. The most famous in Edgefield was “Dave the Slave”, now a famous & collectable potter – Google him.
    My favorite example of the complexity of race in the pre-war South is in the record of a 1858 Edgefield court case. A free black lady had married a slave. She worked hard & was buying his freedom in installments. Occasionally he would be sold; but, the new owner always recognized the deal. When she had paid of 75% of his price of freedom, he was sold to a new owner who failed to recognize the deal & the prior payment. The black lady sued a white man in southern court & won her case in 1858.

  259. Eric Newhill says:

    No. That’s not it. I have no doubt the Russian could and would do something to try to bend circumstances to meet their interests. Any power center would do that.
    First, the IC – or people claiming to represent the IC – have lied to us very badly in the past (e.g. build up to Iraq war). So I have no trust for whatever it is they are supposedly saying today.
    Second, no one can tell me just what it is that the Russians allegedly did. I don’t like vague accusations. They are designed to be a Roschach test to further excite already inflamed opinions while maintaining plausible deniability, etc etc [fill in the blank weasel technique].
    Comey says no evidence of penetration of voting machines nor changed votes. When I went down to vote no one put a Makarov to my head and told me to pull the lever for Trump.
    Isn’t it odd that Clinton lost in 2008, before her failed tour as Sec State? Were the Russians assisting Obama too?
    So, Out with it please.
    1.What exactly is it that the Russians were supposed to have done?
    a) what supports that?
    2.How did the answer to #1 actually impact the election?
    3.To what extent did it impact the election?
    4. What is your methodology for assessing the amount of impact?
    If the answer to the above centers on hacking the DNC, then I am unconvinced that the Russians were behind it or that there was any impact to the election. I am not even sure it was all that illegal. Is there anything else? I could be convinces if solid evidence – or at least logic – were to be produced.
    I too am disappointed that Trump will be spending more on the military as I also think that we could and should cut ground forces in half and rely on a strong Navy and Air Force to defend our shores and strong cyber defense development. OTOH, he did run on that platform. I too would like to see infrastructure projects. That may take time.

  260. Eric Newhill says:

    Agreed. Comey apparently said, in testimony today, that there is no evidence that Russia hacked the DNC.
    I am still waiting for someone – anyone – to tell me exactly what it is the Russians are supposed to have done.

  261. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    great stuff- thanks for the run down.

  262. Cee says:

    Thank you, thank you for going into much more depth on this topic than I did the other day.
    Cannot influential American Jews realise that they are themselves in the process of recreating anti-Semitism?
    Many do, but they don’t dare speak up for fear of being called self hating. The rest of us are accused of being bigots. It gets old.
    All we can do later is to remind folks that they had been warned – if we live though more of their madness.

  263. Eric Newhill and Jack,
    Comey and Rogers stated in their sworn testimony that the Russians hacked the DNC as well as the RNC. In fact, they reiterated the key judgements in the January IC report on Russian efforts to influence the election. Comey also noted the lack of evidence presented in that report. Whatever that evidence is (probably HUMINT and SIGINT), it will remain classified. I doubt we’ll see it. However, it was shown to Trump and he has said he now believes Russia did the hacking.
    Comey also gave sworn testimony that there was no evidence of Russian hacking of vote tallies (which was also in the January IC report) and that they have not even tried to make a determination of whether the Russian information operation was effective in influencing the outcome of the election. I doubt anyone can made such a determination. It would rely on too many what ifs. What the investigations can do is determine the full extent and scale of the information operation and whether members of the Trump campaign were actively involved in that operation. The more we can learn, the better off we’ll all be as Americans… except for any guilty parties.
    However, the bottom line is that no American had his vote physically changed by Putin and no American was forced to vote for Trump or against Clinton by Putin’s actions. The campaigns may have been tainted by outside dirty tricks, but they were still essentially a war of ideas. The election was free and fair and the results are legitimate.

  264. Edward Amame says:

    Why bring them up then? Nothing you wrote had any bearing on my comment, just an attempt at playing “gotcha.” Really truly, you are tiresome. Please go stalk somebody else.

  265. “The Guardian, like the BBC and the Financial Times, are not what they were back in the ‘Seventies. Today, all three are part of what has become a system of ‘Ingsoc’.”
    The latest Ingsoc offering from the BBC, and plenty more where that came from:
    I used not to take much notice of the BBC. Like a respectable maiden aunt it was always there in the background but didn’t make a lot of fuss. If you wanted real facts and analysis you got hold of the weekend papers (yes, those days). But recently by chance I bought an old car that actually had a working radio so I’m more au courant with the day to day offerings. The maiden aunt’s got herself kitted out with what I imagine to be a Soviet style line of suggestive news management.
    Most of us date the transformation of the old BBC to the time around the death of Dr Kelly. I have heard of several old BBC hands saying that it was after that that the BBC was rough-housed into what it is today.
    I suspect that it might always have been more or less a progressive hothouse, just that we didn’t notice so much; in earlier times the progressives weren’t so firmly tied to the neo-con neo-liberal agenda and therefore weren’t so conflicted or extreme. Do you also see that transformation as dating from the time of Dr Kelly’s death? When did the maiden aunt get hold of the knuckledusters?

  266. turcopolier says:

    EO, LB, DH et al Englishers
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W1A_%28TV_series%29 One of the funniest things I have seen in years. pl

  267. Eric Newhill says:

    I see what you’re doing there.
    Perhaps the Russians hacked the DNC. The evidence is classified so we’ll never really know about it.
    However, that IS NOT the same as the Russians influenced the election.
    Comey also testified that there is no reason to – no evidence – to falsify Assange’s claim that the Russians were the source of the wikileaks from the DNC.
    You appear to be conflating with Russians hacked the DNC w/ Russians provided the wikileaks material that could, reasonably, be seen to have influenced the election.
    I am saying that the Russians may have hacked the DNC, but stopped there. They kept the captured material for their own internal consumption and analysis.
    At the same time SOMEONE ELSE hacked the DNC as provided the resulting data capture to Wikileaks for public release.
    Comey appears to support my assertion.
    In which case the Russian were doing there due diligence as a power center. Same as we do. Big deal. It’s expected.
    But Russia did not – and did not attempt – to influence the election via leaked material from hacks.
    Case closed.

  268. Edward Amame says:

    The FBI is also looking at the possible intersection of a Russian cyber operation and alt-right news sites. I believe that’s referred to as a covert op?
    Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.
    The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.
    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html#storylink=cpy

  269. Jack says:

    TTG, Sir
    Considering that the DNI and NSA chief have lied under oath we should take IC assertions not backed by evidence with a grain of salt. Classification could be genuine or a cop out.
    But, assuming that it is true that the Russians hacked and downloaded Podesta’s emails, is the IC also claiming that the Russians provided Wikileaks those emails? Have they ruled out that it was not an inside operation? I am puzzled there are no news reports on the findings of the death of the DNC staffer who was sympathetic to Sanders.
    When you describe the information operation and the potential role of members of the Trump campaign, do you mean the hacking of the DNC servers or something else?

  270. Jack says:

    Thanks for this post.
    The complexity, nuance and the different shades of reality in the pre-war south are much obfuscated in contemporary discussion on the subject. There’s a lot of revisionism by the victors of the WBS.

  271. rjj says:

    I think it was a Docu-Drama labeled and sold as parody. They are soooo good!!!!

  272. Fred says:

    “Please go stalk somebody else.”
    You’ll have to explain where all the other locations I may have reached out to “stalk” you might be since this is the only place I’ve ever communicated with you. If you think that disagreeing with your viewpoint is stalking feel free to ask the host to ban me. That’s certainly one tactic to silence someone who does not agree entirely with your viewpoint.

  273. Sam Peralta says:

    “…said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity…”
    Yeah, right! Not one shred of evidence disclosed in this story.
    Just like the Iraq WMD claims and the Syria chemical warfare claims. And the many, many false claims by “sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity”.
    This is the information operation being run by elements in our IC, nicely hidden under the cloak of either classified information or matters under investigation, but presented as fact. Perfect for the gullible!

  274. English Outsider,
    It is a long and complicated story.
    Hutton was a disaster – but his report was only part of a whole series of a process of degeneration that started much earlier, and has gone on ever since.
    The events of the ‘Seventies seriously panicked the Tory Right – and they had a lot of good reasons for their panic, as well as bad ones.
    The influence of the ‘New Left’, which came out of ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies student radicalism, and of which much of what became ‘New Labour’ had been part, was almost wholly nefarious. Among their many other follies and crimes, they encouraged union ‘Luddism’ at a time when anyone who actually wanted to look at the facts could see this was ruining the country.
    The destructiveness of ‘Luddism’, in the industries in which I worked – newspapers and television – and also those about which I made programmes, in particular the motor industry, had to be seen to be believed.
    For a mixture of reasons – some perfectly reasonable, some wildly unreasonable – the Thatcherites hated the the old kind of élitist liberalism in some ways more than they hated the Left.
    So, once successive electoral victories had made them confident they could get away with it, they set about destroying its ‘power positions’ in the media.
    In the old ITV system, this was done by replacing the old system where to win a franchise you had to meet commitments about ‘quality’ by a simple system of auctions. As soon as it was mooted, people who had worked in the system and knew how it operated, as I had, knew it was curtains for serious current affairs.
    As regards the BBC, it was quite clear that Thatcher hated it and was all too happy completely to destroy it.
    In an attempt to contain this, ‘Duke’ Hussey – who was a decent but not very bright old-style Tory – brought in John – now Lord – Birt from ITV. He had created the current affairs and features department at London Weekend Television, for whom I once worked.
    (He was the product of an Oxford education superimposed on that of a direct grant school north of Liverpool run by the Irish Catholic Brothers, famous alike for success in getting working class pupils into university, and sexual molestation.)
    To cut a long story short, Birt’s department had been a place where ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies student radicals – including people critically involved in the Hutton Inquiry, like Peter – now Lord – Mandelson, and Greg Dyke – were reprocessed into ‘neoconservatives’ and ‘neoliberals’.
    This seemed to me a good joke at the time.
    The story here gets much too complex. But, to abbreviate, a critical part of it is that during the Thatcher period a ‘nexus’ involving MI6, who were always corrupt and incompetent, had been allowed to pursue which was in essence a covert foreign policy.
    When Blair became Prime Minister, his lack of any sensible ideas or serious principles meant that he could easily be co-opted. The one element of their old beliefs ‘New Labour’ thought they could retain, to give themselves a shred of dignity and self-respect, was the ‘rainbow coalition’ nonsense.
    And then, when Thatcherism itself ran out of ideological impetus, and ‘New Labour’ had their ‘time in the sun’, the ‘modernists’ in the Tory Party swallowed this whole.
    So Cameron and Osborne apparently refer to Blair – that eunuch without any shred of principles or self-respect – as ‘the Master’.
    While I have very mixed feelings about Evelyn Waugh, to describe this shambles one needs something of his bizarre nihilistic genius.

  275. Jack and Eric Newhill,
    The IC key judgements affirmed by this weeks testimony includes the DNC and Podesta hacks and the dissemination of that information through DCLeaks and WikiLeaks.
    “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”
    I think this investigation will go on for many months and we will never see all of the evidence. That fact, along with the slow trickle of real information and the deluge of rumors will damage the Trump administration no matter what the investigation finally reveals. Come to think of it, we’ve never seen any evidence of the Chinese hack of the OPM databases. Does that mean it didn’t happen?

  276. Edward Amame says:

    Sam Peralta
    McClatchy is the only news org that got it right in the runup to GWB’s Iraq war.

  277. Eric Newhill says:

    It appears that Trump communications probably were scooped up http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/22/trump-team-communications-captured-by-intelligence-community-surveillance-nunes-says.html
    Then we get the BS about masking, which I am quite sure doesn’t really prevent joining to a name a la Flynn as opposed to US Person 1.
    Comey says no reason to question Assange’s statement that Russia was not the source. So FBI and IC not coordinating?
    “IC key judgments” – Same IC that had Saddam getting all that yellow cake for nukes? Same IC that looked Americans right in the eye and said it doesn’t collect data on US citizens, and then had to admit it does?
    Forgive me if I don’t just reflexively accept the IC assessment, “high confidence” or otherwise. Sorry, you guys have blown your trust worthiness too many times.

  278. Pat,
    The world has changed. When my SWMBO and I were starting out in life, much of the time you began at the bottom. (And, however uncomfortable it could feel when one was at the bottom, it could do one a lot of good.)
    Both my SWMBO and her oldest friend – whose mother got her family out from Vienna shortly before the outbreak of the war, and was a wise and witty lady, who massacred the English language until the day she died – started out as secretaries in BBC drama. They came a long way since, but both know the world depicted in the series backwards.
    I have not watched it, but my SWMBO has, and really liked it. An actress called Jessica Haynes, who apparently has done a lot of work for my wife’s oldest friend – she thought absolutely brilliant.
    What seems unclear is why the BBC – who is now run by precisely the kind of lunatics depicted in the series – allowed it.
    But perhaps that might indicate that there are some grounds for optimism.

  279. Jack says:

    David & EO
    I’d like to echo the question that Sam Peralta raised. What has happened in Britain that media has become Ingsoc? Britain always had the institutional ethos of transparency.
    I’m reminded of this story in the Telegraph from our recent election season.

  280. Lee A. Arnold – yours was one of the most difficult posts I’ve read on this site. Not in itself but because it stirred dormant historical memories that still for many older Englishmen exert a pull irrespective of rationality or of our own experience.
    Empire. The unending line of low grey ships barely visible in the sleet. The unbroken square in some near hopeless action under foreign skies. And the constant flow of dedicated colonial administrators bringing prosperity and order to regions that were like, under the brutal impact of first contact with the Western commercial and cultural powerhouse, to otherwise fall into ruin.
    But that vision was long ago exploded and in modern times is only summoned up by the chancers and the cronies who wish to con us yet again into some ersatz colonial adventure. And that last and most unexceptionable aspect of the vision is dead; however genuine the intentions of those dedicated colonial administrators, in serving empire they served neither their own people nor the peoples they were ruling. All we can say of that is that it happened so, and there was much good in it. It is impossible to assert that any good came out of it.
    This is not the place to expand upon that thesis although it will seem to many of us self-evident. We might observe, however, that Switzerland was pretty backward and underdeveloped in the nineteenth century but seems to have done OK since, at least until recently, without the benefit of imperial intervention. It would take Babak Makkinejad to compare the fate of non-Western countries that didn’t have that benefit with the fate of similar countries that did; but to an outside observer they all seem to end up in much the same sort of mess. We might also observe that Switzerland didn’t go in for empire itself, but that doesn’t seem to have disadvantaged the Swiss much. Even had we and the other former colonial powers taken up the White Man’s Burden with impeccably disinterested motives it can’t honestly be said to have done the white man or the burden much good. Profitable for the various sets of cronies of course, as always, but they tend to fall on their feet whatever happens.
    And now, this late in the day and after all this experience, we hear siren voices attempting to convert the transparently false doctrine of R2P into the more seductive doctrine of Responsibility to Assist – these uninstructed savages do savage things and we can make the world better by coaxing them into better ways. Leaving aside the question of motes and beams I am firmly convinced that no nation can help another nation by attempting to impose its own culture or its own values on that other nation. It is a pretence for the pursuit of Realpolitik, whatever that Realpolitik hopes to achieve, and is seen as such, accurately, by those unfortunate countries that are the target of such assistance.
    As you are perhaps saying, we should attempt to clean up the mess we have created. History, both ancient and modern, warns us against trying to do more.

  281. Thanks. Complex indeed. I share your mixed feelings about Waugh. A highly gifted fake. And he should have shared those bananas with the children.
    So how does this background you have been kind enough to set out translate into the sad stuff I hear on my radio or see on the BBC internet site? When, for example, major fighting was occurring in the Donbass did they simply not know about it, or would there have been some editorial decision to fail to report it? Same quite often in Syria. Same when Putin or Lavrov makes a major statement. Slanted news is at least news, but a complete blank is another matter. How does that happen?

  282. falcone says:

    The bigger question, of course, would be if he ordered such information be delivered to him, why didn’t he use any of it?

  283. Edward Amame says:

    David Habakkuk
    Oh please. The tell was “Far better an alignment with Christian Russians.”

Comments are closed.