Thursday, April 11, 2019

Today's Links

 Betrayal  "The message from voters on all sides has been deafening: the failure of the Government to deliver the manifesto promises it made on Brexit has destroyed trust in the party. You might expect to come across the occasional hostile voter in any election, but now the anger is universal. And the most vitriolic are those who voted Conservative last time. They feel totally betrayed over Brexit." Torygeddon


Remainers ...have given up on proclaiming the positive value of EU membership because the current state of Europe makes that laughable; and the hostility and contempt towards Britain expressed by some European leaders has not helped their cause at all. So they have to take refuge in running down Britain as weak, powerless, second-rate, etc., etc., etc.; in mocking Leavers as old, ignorant, uneducated, xenophobic, racist, etc., etc., etc. and in increasingly desperate attempts to change the parliamentary and constitutional rules to force through a Potemkin Brexit that fails to deceive anyone and enrages almost everyone.  If Charles Moore is gloomily correct, we are looking at the likely triumph of a kind of politics that uses deceitful methods to bring about the incorporation of the United Kingdom under the sovereignty of an emerging imperial power. I wish I could think of a name for that.


 Sen. Paul has also tweeted information from “a high-level source” that it was former CIA Director John Brennan who “insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the Intelligence Report… Brennan should be asked to testify under oath in Congress ASAP.”

Stratfor, the private intelligence service, warned that the 2020 US election represents a “global inflection point,” marked by the intersection of soaring social inequality and a crisis of global dominance for the United States. “The ‘socialist’ label is being bandied left and right,” it wrote, “as a way of questioning the very survival and moral legitimacy of US capitalism.”



1--Attorney General William Barr Testifies on Government Targeting Trump Campaign: ‘Spying Did Occur’


Attorney General William Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that spying did occur during the 2016 presidential election, but he needs to “explore” whether or not it was “predicated.”

“News just broke today that you have a special team looking into why the FBI opened an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections? I wonder if you can share with this committee who’s on that team, why you felt the need to form that kind of a team and what you intend to be the scope of their investigation,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Barr....

 “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal! [In the] Generation I grew up in, which was the Vietnam War period, people were all concerned about spying on anti-war people and so forth by the government, and there were a lot of rules put in place to make sure that there’s an adequate basis before our law enforcement agencies get involved in political surveillance,” he said.

 “So you’re not suggesting though that spying occurred?” Shaheen asked.

“I think there was – spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened,” Barr said. 


2--This is How Stocks Get Hit When BBB-Rated Companies Try to Dodge a Downgrade to “Junk” 


The amount of investment-grade corporate bonds outstanding by non-financial companies in the US and Europe – so excluding bonds issued by banks, insurance companies, and the like – has more than tripled (+204%) over the past ten years, from $1.66 trillion at the beginning of 2009 to $5.06 trillion by the end of 2018.
Split by rating, over the same period, according to data by Fitch:
  • The amount of bonds in the lowest investment-grade category (BBB, red in the chart below) has ballooned by 262%, from $820 billion to $3.0 trillion.
  • But the amount of higher- and highest-rated bonds (categories A, AA, and AAA, green and blue in the chart below) has increased “only” 147% – though that’s a huge increase too – from $842 billion to $2.1 trillion....
  • In the next downturn, many bonds in the BBB-category will transition to junk, and many junk bonds but also some investment-grade bonds – if the past is any guide – will transition to default.  

3-- Trillions in derivatives propped up on wobbly junk bonds. Go figure?

One week ago Wall Street On Parade reported that Morgan Stanley’s 10K (annual report) for the period ending December 31, 2018 that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that some of the counterparties that Morgan Stanley is using for its derivative trades have below-investment-grade ratings — i.e., junk ratings.

Morgan Stanley owns two federally insured banks that are backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer.
We wrote to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which monitors and reports on the derivatives of national banks. We asked if the OCC, a Federal regulator, has a minimum credit rating for a national bank or national bank holding company’s derivative counterparty? The OCC responded with this:

“The expectation from the OCC is for the financial institutions we oversee to have their own internal credit standards, analytics and due diligence processes, and not rely on outside credit ratings.”

After Federal regulators watched the greatest Wall Street collapse since the Great Depression just a decade ago because insatiable greed prevented Wall Street from policing itself, the OCC is still wearing silly rose-colored glasses when it comes to Wall Street banks. Or – is it just one more captured regulator nurturing the seeds for the next financial collapse?

4--Wall Street bank Mafia continue their crime spree

At 8:00 a.m. yesterday, Politico’s Ben White and Aubree Eliza Weaver dropped the news nugget that the nonprofit watchdog, Better Markets, would be releasing one day ahead of today’s House hearing with the CEOs of the largest banks on Wall Street a report titled: “The RAP Sheet for Wall Street’s Biggest Banks’ Crime Spree,” which promised to detail, for the first time, “that of the more than $29 trillion in total bailouts, the six biggest banks in the country (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo) received more than $8.2 trillion, or nearly one-third of the total bailouts provided to the entire financial system.”

Wall Street On Parade has been reporting since 2012 that of the secret $16 trillion bailout loans made at almost zero interest rates by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis, a handful of mega banks on Wall Street received the lion’s share. (See here and here.)

But what Better Markets has done in its new report is to combine the Fed’s largess with that of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and support provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other guarantee programs. It comes up with the following:

“At least $29 trillion was lent, spent, pledged, committed, loaned, guaranteed, and otherwise used or made available to bailout the financial system during the 2008 financial crash. The American people were told that this unprecedented rescue was necessary because, if the gigantic financial institutions, mostly on Wall Street, failed and went bankrupt (like every other unsuccessful private business in America), then they would take down the entire financial system, which would take down the U.S. economy, wreaking havoc on Main Street families.

“This has actually been true since the 1930s for traditional commercial and retail banks, primarily because they provide essential financial services like checking and savings accounts as well as loans to individuals and businesses small, medium, and large.  That is the fuel for the American economy, standard of living, and overall prosperity, which is why those banks are insured by the FDIC and backed by the taxpayers.  In addition, those banks were guaranteed because the odds of their failure were minimized—and taxpayers were protected—by numerous banking regulators who policed their activities to promote safe and sound banking practices, making bailouts less likely.

“However, the $29 trillion in bailouts from the Fed, FDIC, and other regulators (in addition to the $700 billion taxpayer dollars made available under the TARP program) were not only or even primarily provided to those regulated banks that take deposits and make loans. Instead, those bailouts were extended to virtually all financial institutions, including those engaging in the most dangerous, high-risk activities that actually caused the financial crash. Thus, for decades gigantic nonbank financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, AIG, money market funds, and many more were allowed to maximize private profits with little or no regulation, but when their activities triggered the crash, they nonetheless were bailed out.

“This was a stunning violation of the most basic rule of capitalism, applicable to virtually every other business in America:  Failure leads to bankruptcy.”

Now that the researchers have really gotten readers’ blood boiling about the crony regulators and the secret trillions in bailouts, Better Markets delivers the gut punch. Despite all of that taxpayer support, the mega banks that received it not only continued their crime spree but upped their game. The researchers write:

“In fact, they have engaged in—and continue to engage in—a crime spree that spans the violation of almost every law and rule imaginable. Taking the breadth and depth of their illegal conduct as a whole, the six biggest banks in the country look like criminal enterprises with RAP sheets that would make most career criminals green with envy. That was the case not just before the 2008 crash, but also during and after the crash and their lifesaving bailouts…In fact, the number of cases against the banks has actually increased relative to the pre-crash era.”

Better Markets then proceeds to detail the ghastly RAP sheets of each of the six mega banks.

5--Trump's actions on the border are not unprecedented

The 1924 immigration act restricted legal immigration into the U.S. and imposed ethnic quotas. That was American, not Nazi, law and was enforced by Presidents Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

Eisenhower, who led the Allies to victory over Germany, sent Gen. Joseph Swing to the U.S. border to remove a million people who had entered Texas illegally from Mexico, which the general proceeded to do.

Ike had crushed fascism and understood that securing the homeland against illegal mass migration is fascism only in the minds of those who have forgotten, if ever they knew, what a country is.

From his words and actions, Trump clearly senses that this may be the existential issue of his presidency: Can he secure the border against what seems to be an unstoppable invasion from the global south?

6--Justice Dept. Watchdog’s Review of Russia Inquiry Is Nearly Done, Barr Says

And the Page wiretap was only a small part of the broader Trump-Russia investigation: The inquiry involved more than 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants and about 500 witness interviews, Mr. Barr wrote in a letter to Congress describing the conclusions of the coming report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who took over the investigation in May 2017....

Critics have argued that the court should have been explicitly told that the research was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, arguing that the court did not know that the information had potentially biased origins. (proof that the wiretaps were political)

Mr. Horowitz’s investigators have been asking questions about the role of Stefan A. Halper, another F.B.I. informant, and his prior work for the bureau.
Agents involved in the Russia investigation asked Mr. Halper, an American academic who teaches in Britain, to gather information on Mr. Page and George Papadopoulos, another former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.

Mr. Halper’s contacts have prompted Republicans and the president to incorrectly accuse the F.B.I. of spying on the campaign. Mr. Page has also said he met with Mr. Halper in mid-July 2016, about two weeks before the Russia investigation was opened. (incorrectly?)

7--Crossfire Hurricane NYT

In the Russia investigation, Republicans have accused law enforcement officials of improperly obtaining the Page warrant because the application relied in part on Democratic-funded opposition research compiled into a dossier by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who was also an F.B.I. informant.
At issue is whether the F.B.I. and Justice Department made any misrepresentations to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when seeking the warrant, or if they should have flagged any concerns about the credibility of the information in the application during renewals. If the inspector general finds fault with the F.B.I., it could help validate Republican accusations that the Russia investigation was politically motivated.

The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.

The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.

Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”

Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.

Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.

Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.
That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.
Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.
A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.
Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.

8--The resurgence of regional chaos and instability


We have been witnessing interesting processes in the Middle East. The U.S. has been supporting regional autocrats, who prefer a Chinese model of economic development and political stability. While the U.S. has been opposing popular and democratic social groups and political parties, it has been supporting staunch autocrats such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, who have been contributing to regional instability and following a revisionist regional policy.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been held responsible for the civil war and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. On the one hand, the coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia have targeted innocent civilians in Yemen, killing more than 10,000 people in the country so far. On the other hand, they do not allow international actors to provide support to suffering Yemenis. In spite of the opposition of the U.N. institutions, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh continue to violate basic human rights in Yemen and all these atrocities go unpunished.

They also supported the rebel forces of Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Libya and are thus contributing to the disintegration of the country. After meeting with the Saudi king two weeks ago, Gen. Haftar initiated a large-scale military assault of Tripoli, which hosts the U.N.-recognized legitimate government of Libya.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been trying to demolish the internationally recognized government, which is also supported by both Turkey and Qatar. The Libyan case has turned into a proxy war between the Emirati-Saudi and Turkish-Qatari blocs. Considering the withdrawal of American forces from Misrata and the lack of opposition to Haftar's aggressive moves, it seems that Western countries will allow Haftar and his supporters to take control of the Libyan state.

The Israeli, Emirati and Saudi bloc consider Turkey, Qatar and Iran as the biggest threats to the realization of their regional power projections. Therefore, they have been opposing any pro-Turkish, pro-Qatari or pro-Iranian social movements and political groups. Accordingly, they have been demonizing the three countries and trying to punish them with the support of the U.S. and Israel.

While the Israeli-led bloc breaks the main principles of the international system established by the U.S., the Turkish and Qatari-led coalition calls the others to respect these principles, including the right of self-determination. The future of the region will be decided as a result of these two conflicting political discourses. Although today the regional balance of power is in favor of the U.S.-led bloc, with newcomers such as Russia and especially China to the regional power equation, the balance may change in the near future.

9--Turkey's efforts to rebalance Syrian equation


It is no secret the misinformation the United States offered to its strategic ally Turkey was designed to buy as much time possible until the separatist project Washington is preparing to divide Syria is complete. This project will most certainly be copied in the other countries in the region, whether Arab or not, especially those that have an ethnic overlap between their populations.

The failure of the United States to abide by its previous commitments has made it the cause of the problems and tension with Turkey. It did the opposite of its commitments, especially when it came to the area east of the Euphrates and in Manbij. Therefore, Washington's request now that Ankara abandon the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 system and replace them with the American-made Patriots raises many questions about trust in the U.S.

10--Hillary, this is the real reason you lost


In an interview with NPR on Tuesday, Clinton was even more explicit. Trump's message, she said, was "discriminatory, it was bigoted, it was prejudiced. And yet it fed into part of the electorate that just wanted to have a primal scream. They didn't like what was going on. ... They really responded to his racial and ethnic and sexist appeals."

So Clinton believes she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the presidency because of the bigotry of middle America.

One problem with her analysis: Millions of those white people who voted for Donald Trump also proudly voted for Barack Obama. There are nearly 700 counties in the United States that voted twice for Barack Obama, one-third of which flipped to Trump in 2016. According to Nate Cohn of The New York Times, "almost one in four of President Obama's 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate." Are all those Trump-Obama voters bigots? Millions of once reliably Democratic voters pulled the lever for the first black president, yet they were suddenly whipped up into a racist furor by Trump's "racial and ethnic and sexist appeals"? Give me a break.

As Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg has pointed out, many of these working-class Obama-Trump voters were not even white. "The Democrats don't have a 'white working-class problem,' " Greenberg wrote recently in the American Prospect. "They have a 'working-class problem' ... Democrats have lost support with all working-class voters across the electorate, including the Rising American Electorate of minorities, unmarried women, and millennials."

Why did so many Obama voters defect to Trump? It wasn't race or immigration. According to a survey by the liberal super PAC Priorities USA Action, the top seven priorities were (1) protecting Social Security and Medicare; (2) creating good-paying jobs for American workers; (3) making sure Americans have access to affordable insurance; (4) cleaning up corruption in government; (5) cracking down on outsourcing; (6) making sure the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes and (7) keeping Wall Street in check.

That is hardly a white nationalist agenda.

Another reason these Obama voters defected to Trump is that they kept hearing from Clinton and the Democrats how great the economy was doing. Yet, according to Priorities USA Action, "50 percent of Obama-Trump voters said their incomes are falling behind the cost of living, and another 31 percent said their incomes are merely keeping pace with the cost of living." When Clinton touted Obama's economic progress, she seemed hopelessly out of touch.

linton still can't seem to tell the difference between a white nationalist and working-class voters who are upset because their family incomes are stagnant or falling, they feel shut out of the labor force, and their communities are mired in substance abuse and despair. These "forgotten Americans" had legitimate grievances that Democrats ignored. That sent a message to working-class voters that Democrats are not focused on fighting for them. So they defected.

Add to this Clinton's inability to connect with her party's liberal base (the so-called drop-off voters who turned out for Obama but failed to show up for her) — plus the Clinton Foundation and her repeated lies about her personal server, which led large majorities of Americans to conclude that she was dishonest and corrupt — and you had the toxic brew that produced her electoral defeat.

Clinton says she is done with electoral politics, so it really does not matter if she understands "what happened." But there is little sign that Democrats today understand, much less are doing what is necessary to win back these working-class voters in the heartland. Instead, they have declared themselves "The Resistance" — further alienating these voters who put Trump in office, while hoping that they can turn out their liberal base in the next election. That's precisely the strategy that failed in 2016. We'll see if doubling down on failure works in 2020.

11--Popodapolous entrapment?

“Deep State Target” is vague about many details and Papadopoulos doesn’t have all the answers about Russia-gate.  No one at this point does.  But his book leaves little doubt that he was the victim of a full-court press by intelligence assets in and around the FBI, CIA, and MI6....

Halper tried to get him to admit to working with Russia: “It’s great that Russia is helping you and the campaign, right, George? George, you and your campaign are involved in hacking and working with Russia, right?  It seems like you are a middleman for Trump and Russia, right?  I know you know about the emails.” 

It describes a lengthy entrapment scheme that began when Papadopoulos told co-workers that presidential candidate Donald Trump was about to appoint him to his foreign-policy advisory team....The time was March 2016, (8 months before the vote) the place the London Centre of International Law Practice, where Papadopoulos was working as an energy consultant, a job that mainly involves meeting with diplomats and going out for a dinner and drinks.  Regarding the LCILP, he recalls it as a “strange operation” where there’s “no actual law practice going on that I can see” and which he later suspects is an intelligent front.

In late April, Mifsud takes him to breakfast at a London hotel and informs him that he had just returned from Russia where officials say they have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.  “Emails of Clinton,” Mifsud says.  “They have thousands of emails.”  Papadopoulos writes it off as idle chitchat by a dubious diplomatic networker whom he has come to see as all talk and no action.
A friend from the Australian embassy introduces him to a top Aussie diplomat named Alexander Downer, who tells him over gin-and-tonics that his foreign-policy ideas are all wet.

A British foreign-ministry official takes him out for still more drinks and grills him about Russia.

Stefan Halper, an old CIA hand turned Cambridge academic, contacts him out of the blue and pesters him about Russia as well....

What they did was blame Putin for messing up their plans for a clean coup in Kiev and an equally neat ouster of Assad and then blamed Trump for arguing in his behalf. From there, it was a very short step to concluding that Trump was not only siding with Putin, but conspiring with him.
Individual intelligence assets went into action to prove this  theory correct and, if need be, to invent a conspiracy where none existed.


Alexander Downer, the Aussie diplomat with whom he had drinks, turns out to be a director of a London private intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co., which counts among its close associates Halper, the Cambridge academic who was ex-CIA, and Sir Richard Dearlove, ex-director of MI6, the British equivalent of the CIA.  These two — Dearlove and Halper — ran an intelligence seminar at Cambridge and are also partners in a private venture calling itself “The Cambridge Security Initiative.”  (See Spooks Spooking Themselves,Consortium News, May 31, 2018.) 

Millian, the man who offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month, turns out to be a source for the notorious Steele Dossier, compiled by ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele.  Steele, in turn, sought counsel at one point from fellow Cambridge man Dearlove on how to spread his findings.  According to one of Willian’s buddies, Millian works for the FBI as well.

All of which is enough to get anyone’s conspiratorial juices flowing.

As for Charles Tawil, he arouses Papadopoulos’s fears of an intelligence link once he arrives in Mykonos by boasting of his friendship with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and then-South African President Jacob Zuma, and declaring of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, “it wasn’t our fault he got caught.”  In Israel, he brags about helping to wiretap Syrian strong man Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president.  “We could have killed him at any time,” he says.  Finally, Papadopoulos reveals a private diplomatic cable citing Tawil as a U.S. intelligence asset back in 2006.

Five intelligence assets were thus hounding Papadopoulos at every turn while a sixth was compiling the dossier that would send Russia-gate into overdrive. It added up to the greatest propaganda campaign since the furor over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and, like those nonexistent WMDs, turns out to have been manufactured out of thin air
Let me take you back to the events that unfolded after Donald Trump tweeted on March 4, 2017 that he was being wiretapped by the FBI. The media establishment erupted in laughter and saw this as just one more piece of evidence proving Trump’s mental instability. But I had a different take.
I had learned in December 2016  from friends inside the intelligence community that there was collaboration with the Brits to collect and disseminate intel  on persons on the Trump campaign. With Trump’s tweet making news, I was invited by RT (i.e., Russia Today) to come on one of their news programs and discuss the matter that same afternoon.  ...

We know a lot more today then we did in the Spring of 2017. George Papadopoulos was targeted by a MI-6 covert action designed to portray him as a lackey of Russia and promoting Russia to the Trump campaign. Carter Page was spied upon under four separate FISA warrants that were based on the fictitious Steel Dossier. And a CIA "contractor", Stefan Halper, played the role of an agitator trying to lure Papadopoulos into implicating himself in a Russian plot.

And then we have the unmasking of American citizens. Here is but one example:
Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN.
The New York meeting preceded a separate effort by the UAE to facilitate a back-channel communication between Russia and the incoming Trump White House.
Do you understand what this means? If you have never had a clearance and had access to NSA material then you probably fail to understand how profound this is. Let me explain. There were multiple intelligence reports released by the NSA. I am pretty certain all were classified as Top Secret. Some of these may have been generated by NSA, but most, according to the Guardian piece I mentioned above, were from foreign liaison. The names of the American citizens were initially obscured--e.g., Subject 1 or Subject 2. Hence the "request" to unmask. In other words, identify the nameless person by name. That, boys and girls, is known as spying.
Bill Barr is now getting the Larry Johnson treatment for daring to speak a simple, self-evident truth. One big difference. Barr can set in motion the legal process to indict and prosecute those American traitors in the law enforcement and intelligence community who violated their oath to uphold the Constitution and used their positions to launch a political witch-hunt. Stay tuned.





Barack Obama certainly didn’t believe in open borders. By 2015, President Obama had deported some 2.5 million people with time remaining in office. That was already half a million more than George W. Bush deported his entire time as president. Some human rights groups referred to Obama as “The Deporter in Chief.” True, those higher numbers can partly be attributed to a change at the time in how we defined a “deportation.” Still, that’s hardly an administration characterized by open borders....

In 2010, Obama signed a bill designating $600 million to fund 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors, and law enforcement officials along our border with Mexico. He ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the border. And he oversaw the development of a virtual fence, utilizing surveillance sensors, radar, cameras, and drones, which would span 1,300 miles of our border at a projected cost of almost $7 billion. The Department of Homeland Security ended that effort after $1 billion was spent and the results deemed ineffective and too expensive.
These are hardly the actions of an “open borders” president.

Clinton’s policy statement on current immigration in the United States, you’d have to ignore her actual stated policies and her voting record. That same year, Clinton supported putting billions of dollars toward border enforcement, updated surveillance equipment, and 20,000 more border agents. Does that sound like an “open borders” policy? She did support paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. That’s still not an open borders policy.And while running in 2016, Clinton’s policy was explicitly to maintain border security. She even remarked that both she and Bernie Sanders supported border fencing in contrast to Trump’s proposed “wall.” She also highlighted the fact that “we have the most secure border we have ever had.” She then pivoted to immigration reform. At no time did she suggest that we should embrace “open borders.

That Harvard Harris poll didn't find that 8 in 10 Americans want to "close down the borders." Rather, it asked Americans, "Do you think we should have basically open borders or do you think we need secure borders?"
Given the choice between "open borders" — a position that no mainstream political leaders are proposing — and a "secure border," which is current U.S. policy, 79 percent of Americans agreed that the U.S. needs "secure borders

Americans support letting DACA recipients stay.
That latest poll from the Washington Post found that 87 percent of Americans support "a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they arrived here as a child, completed high school or military service and have not been convicted of a serious crime." An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday likewise found that 66 percent of Americans support "the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, which protects those who were brought into the United States as undocumented children from being deported

. Americans aren't that wild about a "wall." (A different kind of fence, however ...)
January polls from Quinnipiac, Pew, ABC News/Washington Post, CNN and CBS all find that around 6 in 10 Americans oppose building or expanding a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
That said, all of those polls asked about building a "wall" specifically. But the definition of "wall" is fluid. While Trump has long advocated for a border wall, he has also said that in some places on the border, "natural barriers" would take the place of that kind of barrier. And Republican senators recently said that the "wall" would be more of a "fence."
But that Harvard Harris poll didn't find such strong opposition to a border barrier. It found that 54 percent of Americans support "building a combination of physical and electronic barriers across the U.S.-Mexico border."
It could be that some Americans oppose a "wall" but believe in using a mix of resources as border barriers. It could also simply be that the word "wall" is at this point so politicized that some Americans instinctively oppose it while still wanting more of a barrier at the border.

Americans are divided on legal immigration levels, but are more in favor of decreasing than increasing them.
For decades, Gallup has asked Americans if they think the level of legal immigration should be "kept at its present level, increased, or decreased." In recent years, Americans have been closely split between holding steady (38 percent as of June 2017) and decreasing (35 percent). The remainder, around 1 in 4, want to increase legal immigration.
While the clear majority want to decrease or hold legal immigration steady, these numbers represent a longer-term pro-immigration shift — as of the mid-1990s, two-thirds of Americans wanted to decrease legal immigration, and only 6 or 7 percent wanted to increase it.

Once again, there's no majority here, but more people wanted to cut legal immigration than grow it.
The Harvard Harris poll tried the question yet another way: "In your opinion, about how many legal immigrants should be admitted to the U.S. each year?" It then provided a series of choices: zero to fewer than 250,000, 250,000 to 499,999 and so on up to 2.5 million or more.

t's hard to know how to interpret the results of that question without the context of current immigration levels. As of 2016, the U.S. accepted nearly 1.2 million new legal permanent residents, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Of those, just over half were new arrivals. The rest of people received changes in status — for example, some might have been refugees who became legal permanent residents.
The poll found that 72 percent of people chose some number under 1 million, which might suggest that those people want to reduce legal immigration. But then, the question didn't provide them with current immigration levels. There was no way for many of them to know what direction they were arguing for immigration to move in. As a result, this is one way that this poll's results may have been misleading.

Clapper and Hiatt are kindred souls when it comes to the “profound effect” of Russian election interference. In his column, Hiatt asserted as flat fact that: “Trump was elected with the assistance of Russian spies and trolls …” At the Carnegie event in November, Clapper opined:

“As a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn’t have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election.”
In a Sept. 2, 2016 text to Strzok, Page writes that she was preparing talking points because the president “wants to know everything we’re doing.”  

On Sunday, Nunes said,
They [the Democrats] have lied multiple times to the American people. All you have to do is look at their phony memos. They have had the full support of the media, 90 percent of the media in this country. They all have egg on their face. And so the fact of the matter remains, is there going to be — is justice going to be served or is justice going to be denied? And that’s why we’re sending over these criminal referrals.”

 open borders??


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