Monday, August 20, 2018

More Links

1--The Financial Crisis Cost Every American $70,000, Fed Study Says

 

2--How Important Is the Protest Against Trump from the National-Security Establishment? Haass reminds Trump he is now taking on entire deep state

 

The blowback intensified on Thursday, when seven former C.I.A. directors issued a public letter supporting Brennan and denouncing the President’s decision. “We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar actions against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances—and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” the letter said. The letter’s signatories included William Webster, George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus, and Robert Gates, whose tenures as the head of the C.I.A. spanned five Presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. (Five former deputy directors of the Agency also signed the letter.)...

 

I spoke with Haass about McRaven’s intervention and the former C.I.A. chiefs’ letter. “I think there has been something of a reluctance to take on this President—we see it among Republican politicians, business leaders, and members of the foreign-policy establishment,” Haass said. “People have been reluctant to do it because he can come back hard at you on Twitter. He can mobilize the machinery of government against you. This represents a moment when members of the élite, the establishment, are standing up and challenging him directly. McRaven created something of a precedent, almost a space, into which others can move into.”

 

To be sure, the former C.I.A. chiefs didn’t go as far as McRaven did. They didn’t attack Trump’s over-all record, call him an embarrassment, or ask him to revoke their security clearances in solidarity with Brennan. But, Haass noted, “They were willing to put their names to something that will not go down well in the White House. It is one thing to take on an individual like John Brennan. But I don’t think the White House counted on this type of reaction. These are patriots. Many of them have served in the military. A lot of members of the Trump base will respect these people.

 

3--Economic war on Iran is war on Eurasia integration

 

US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard 

 

Echoing the Ancient Silk Road, Syria will be configured as an important BRI node, key to Eurasia integration.
In parallel, the Russia-China strategic partnership – from the intersection between the BRI and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) to the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the solidifying of BRICS Plus — has immense economic stakes in the stability of Iran....

 Russia and China will send unmistakable signs that Iran is in their closely coordinated Eurasian sphere of influence, and any attack on Iran will be considered an attack on the whole Eurasian sphere.

 4--After clearance pull, Democrats rush to back Brennan – who spied on them

 

5--Is Facebook outsourcing censorship?

 

Facebook isn’t even hiding the fact that it’s outsourcing much of its “fake news” analysis to the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by NATO, Gulf States and defense contractors....

 

But the lab and Atlantic Council bring geopolitical expertise and allow Facebook to distance itself from sensitive pronouncements. On last week’s call with reporters, Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, said the company should not be expected to identify or blame specific governments for all the campaigns it detects.
“....
Facebook employees said privately over the past several months that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions, leaving fact-checking to media groups and geopolitics to think tanks. The more he succeeds, the fewer complications for Facebook’s expansion, the smaller its payroll, and the more plausible its positioning as a neutral platform. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Atlantic Council's board members include Kissinger, fmr CIA chief Michael Hayden, fmr CIA head Mike Morell (who said US should kill Russians & Iranians in Syria), Bush DHS chief Michael Chertoff (inventor of color coded terror chart). Funded by Lockheed Martin, Chevron, UAE, NATO

 6--When do you know you're old enough to die? Barbara Ehrenreich has some answers

 

7--Putin--Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

Today's Links

1--The Road to Disaster?

The U.S. is actually pursuing an old stratagem – targeting Russia as a mighty obstacle to its imperial designs in the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia, and beyond.  Close Russian ties with Iran only strengthen this geopolitical fixation.....

Heightened access to the Balkans, Middle East, and Central Asia (locale of several former Soviet republics) has consumed American ruling elites since the moment Soviet power disintegrated.  After all, these areas are extremely rich in energy resources, vital metals, and scarce minerals.   A 1992 Pentagon document first outlined a post-Cold War agenda in which the main objective was to checkmate the rise of any threat to regional, and by extension global, U.S. domination, that is “to prevent any hostile power from dominating the region whose resources would . . . be sufficient to generate global power.”   That “region” happens to be rather expansive, covering Western Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

2-- Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South

 

3--Afghanistan: The War That Shames America 

 

Roads are now so dangerous for the occupiers that most movement must be by air. Taliban is estimated to permanently control almost 50% of Afghanistan. That number would rise to 100% were it not for omnipresent US air power. Taliban rules the night.

Taliban are not and never were ‘terrorists’ as Washington’s war propaganda falsely claimed. I was there at the creation of the movement – a group of Afghan religious students armed by Pakistan whose goal was to stop post-civil war banditry, the mass rape of women, and to fight the Afghan Communists. When Taliban gained power, it eliminated 95% of the rampant Afghanistan opium-heroin trade. After the US invaded, allied to the old Afghan Communists and northern Tajik tribes, opium-heroin production soared to record levels. Today, US-occupied Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, morphine and heroin.

US occupation authorities claim drug production is run by Taliban. This is another big lie. The Afghan warlords who support the regime of President Ashraf Ghani entirely control the production and export of drugs. The army and secret police get a big cut. How else would trucks packed with drugs get across the border into Pakistan and Central Asia?

The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers. This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War. But just one. Watching the world’s greatest power bomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonor for Americans.

4--We Are All Lab Rats In The Largest-Ever Monetary Experiment In Human History


This global flood of freshly-printed ‘thin air’ money has no parallel in the historical records. All around the world, each of us is part of a grand experiment being conducted without the benefits of either prior experience or controls. Its outcome will be binary: either super-great or spectacularly awful...

the money supply and the amount of real wealth should exist in balance. As money is a claim on “stuff”, as economic output (i.e. “stuff”) increases, then so should the claims. And vice-versa during periods of economic contraction.
But what happens when the claims start to far outweigh the real “stuff”? That’s when things get precarious.
Note how dramatically the claims represented by just the S&P 500 index alone have quadrupled since the start of 2009, driven by the central banks’ quantitative easing programs:...

The flood of money unleashed by QE didn’t result in vast amounts of new actual wealth being created (i.e. greater productive output per capita). But it did result in grotesquely-inflated financial asset prices that have helped to create the most profound wealth and income inequality seen in our lifetime (perhaps ever).

The Many Sins Of The Central Banks
The list of central bank-induced injustices is long. It reads like the rap sheet of a virulent psychopath: $trillions looted from savers and handed to the big banks and leveraged speculators, ruined pensions, shattered retirement dreams for millions, record amounts of debt in every corner of the global economy, and an increasingly unaffordable cost of living for everyone but the elite 1%...

Turkey isn’t the weakest or the most worrying country faltering: Italy is stumbling, as is Brazil, and even China. But Asia ex-China is the real powderkeg. Their unserviceable debts dwarf everybody else.

5-- John Brennan’s Abuse of Power


“Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

“John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS [The American Spectator] that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with ‘Hillary for president cups’ and other campaign paraphernalia.”

It makes no difference whether 60 or 75 or 175 former intel operators or other people accuse Trump of misusing his power against Brennan or whoever else is about to lose their security clearances. The free speech arrow is more disinformation (fake news). It’s not going to make disappear the fact that Brennan perpetrated a big lie and disinformation campaign for which there was no support in 2016 and 2017 and for which there is no support in 2018. This was the idea that Trump was a Russian puppet or subject to Russian blackmail.

6--The Monolithic fake Media speaks again--Almost 350 news outlets to publish editorials denouncing Trump's 'dirty war' on pres

 

7--Is this 'for real'??

 

New emails reveal Christopher Steele, the British author of the junk Russia dossier, was communicating with Dirty Cop Robert Mueller through Bruce Ohr.

Sara Carter obtained emails this week that show British operative Chris Steele was communicating with Mueller Special Counsel in 2017 during their investigation on Trump based on Steele’s junk dossier.

Friday night on Hannity Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told guest host Judge Jeanine Pirro that Rod Rosenstin refuses to tell investigators when he found out Nellie Ohr was working with Fusion GPS.

 

  8--The media is clearly the enemy of the people, in fact, I don't know how any reasonable person cannot see that.

 

 the warped coverage continued and became the media wing of the resistance movement.

Which is how we arrived at the latest low moment in journalism. This one involved the more than 300 newspapers (including The Post) that followed The Boston Globe and, especially his accusation that they are “the ­enemy of the people.”

A Gallup/Knight Foundation survey of 1,440 panelists earlier this year found adults estimating that “62 percent of the news they read in newspapers, see on television or hear on the radio is biased” and that 44 percent of “news” is inaccurate.
Separately, Axios and SurveyMonkey polled nearly 4,000 adults in June and found that 70 percent believe mainline news organizations report as news things “they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading.”
Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, an astonishing 92 percent harbor that distrust, as do 53 percent of Democrats.
And get this: Two-thirds of those who believe there is rampant false news say it usually happens because journalists “have an agenda.” Clearly, the distrust is not limited to Trump supporters.
These numbers reflect an urgent crisis of confidence in the press. And it’s getting worse...

A Gallup survey three years ago found that 40 percent trusted the media; two years ago, the trust meter declined by 8 points, to 32 percent. Now even that low bar looks like the good old days.
Yet instead of soberly examining their conduct, most in the media ratchet up the vitriol, apparently believing that screaming louder and longer will lead the public to hate Trump as much as they do.
But as the surveys show, their bias is a boomerang. With media behavior undermining public trust more than anything Trump says or does, a return to traditional standards of fairness and a separation of news from opinion are essential.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
And urgent — for the good of a free press and America

9--Political warfare deepens as Democrats, ex-spies circle the wagons around Brennan

 

What they are really defending is the untrammeled “right” of the intelligence agencies to intervene in American politics. Brennan himself complained in the pages of the New York Times last week that “a variety of politicians, political parties, media outlets, think tanks and influencers are readily manipulated, wittingly and unwittingly, or even bought outright by Russian intelligence operatives,” with the clear implication that democratic norms must be restricted in order to combat “Russian meddling.”
In reality, the campaign over alleged and unproven Russian hacking, which began as the means for the Democrats and sections of the state to force Trump into a more aggressive stand against Russia, has expanded into a justification for sweeping acts of censorship, above all against left-wing and anti-war groups.

In the course of his interview with the former CIA chief, Todd asked Brennan, “If you were currently the head of the C.I.A. and the president revoked the security clearance of a former C.I.A. head, what would you do as sitting C.I.A. Director under that circumstance? And what advice would you give to Gina Haspel, the current head of the C.I.A.?” Brennan issued a veiled call for a rebellion by the intelligence agencies against the civilian government:

“I think that’s what a lot of these very senior officials are trying to reconcile in their own minds how much they can stay and be governors on Mr. Trump’s behavior and how much they cannot countenance at all

 







 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

“Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.”  Sy Hersh



1--How Turkey’s Crisis Might Fracture NATO


Turkey’s current problems look very much like a typical emerging markets crisis: a financial bubble fostered ample global liquidity (largely dollar and euro-based), which in turn engendered a spike in Turkish borrowing and resultant domestic credit bubble. Fueled by historically low interest rates, Turkish corporations elevated gross foreign borrowings to the tune of $340bn, of which more than half is coming due this year. For a time, these foreign inflows triggered a consumer boom of illusory economic prosperity as Turks bought foreign goods with the proceeds and GDP boomed. However, the country’s current account deficit swelled to 6.5 percent of national output as a consequence....

Which banks are most affected? According to data from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), “Spanish banks are due $83.3 billion by Turkish borrowers; French lenders are owed $38.4 billion; and banks in Italy are owed $17 billion, the FT reported.” More specifically, some 13 percent of Spanish Bank BBVA’s total loan book is tied up with Turkey (via its ownership of the Turkish bank, Garanti), Italy’s UniCredit (6 percent of total loans) and France’s BNP Paribas (2 percent of total loan book) all have significant Turkish exposure. This information is rapidly being priced into the respective share prices of these institutions, as concerns mount that their borrowers have not adequately hedged their foreign currency exposures, which increases risk of default with each new downward cascade in the lira (and corresponding write-offs by the banks themselves). As far any economic impact beyond Turkey goes, Peter Rosenstreich, a currency analyst at the online bank Swissquote, pointed to Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia and Malaysia among those countries with high non-bank dollar debt as a percentage of GDP, which are now being reappraised by global traders....

Picking off Turkey would be a major geopolitical win for Moscow, given that the country is viewed by Washington as key to the American strategy of splitting Eurasia and blocking Eurasian integration. Turkey is also essential to the U.S. strategy of encirclement of Russia—control of the Black Sea and countering Russia’s breakout with Crimea and Syria (as well as potentially offering the EU a piece of a pipeline venture that could mitigate Europe’s dependence on Russian gas); Turkey plays an equally important role for the U.S. in terms of supporting Takfiri/Salafist destabilization of Syria and Iraq and blocking the “Shia corridor from Iran to Hezbollah,” as well as breaking Israel’s isolation in the Middle East (beyond the tacit alliance with Saudi Arabia) while helping ensure Iran’s isolation. And finally, Turkey is viewed by Washington as an essential ally in controlling the eastern Mediterranean and the eastern Mediterranean energy resources.

Which means (as usual) that Trump’s “bull in a China shop” approach to foreign policy, will create unpredictable knock-on effects well beyond the usual run-of-the-mill emerging markets crisis. Emerging economies as a whole can all expect to experience some adjustment/dislocation as the global central banking community continues to withdraw monetary stimulus. But Turkey’s unique geopolitical position has virtually guaranteed that it will have ramifications that extend well beyond the balance sheets of a few exposed European banks or peripheral emerging economies. A break with NATO may well mean lost leverage for Turkey with the West, but Erdoğan may well think it is essential for his political survival—and that will trump other considerations for the time being. As for Turkey’s love of NATO perks, perhaps the Council on Foreign Relations still believes they are worth something (along with those few Kemalist Turkish officers who have survived the Erdoğan/Gulen purges), but it would be astonishing if the average Turkish voter thinks NATO is in his corner.

It is also worth recalling that while Kipling’s ballad did posit the idea of East never meeting West, he also acknowledged that “there is neither East nor West … When two strong men stand face to face.” Turkey’s crisis is conspiring to bring two modern-day strongmen, Erdoğan and Putin, together in a manner that could facilitate the very fracturing of the one institution, NATO, created to hold the Russian bear in check. Turkey is already up against the wall, deep in their currency/debt crisis, and all the U.S. is offering is a doubling of sanctions and more insults. One has to imagine that Putin can come up with a far more appealing deal for Erdoğan (and perhaps even one that makes money for Russia) than the Trumpian bludgeoning or the total Sinofication of Turkey’s economy.

2--Toxic Mix in Canada: Spiking Inflation, Variable-Rate Mortgages, and a Housing Bubble 

 

3--Brennan's Dilemma

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Thursday took aim at Brennan for "purport[ing] to know, as fact, that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power."
“If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the special counsel, not The New York Times,” Burr said.

Burr added that Trump has the “full authority” to rescind security clearance if the statements were “purely political and based on conjecture.”

4--John Brennan: President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash

(Brennan's desperate attempt to shift blame for his conspiracy to reverse the election.)

 

While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, (proof?) I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances ("highly suspicious dalliances" are not proof) of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services....

 

The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, (no collusion evidence) whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, (no case for obstruction) and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets. (money laundering allegedly took  place in 2005) A jury is about to deliberate bank and tax fraud charges against one of those people, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. And the campaign’s former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.

 

5--The idiot Brennan

 

First, no person has a Constitutional right to a clearance. That includes John Brennan and Donald Trump.

Second, once you are granted access to classified material you accept limitations on what you can say and write. In other words, once you hold clearances you surrender and curtail normal first Amendment rights. No one has birth right to go on TV or pontificate in the opinion pages of newspapers by virtue of having held a security clearance. Just the opposite. The agency or agencies you worked for while holding a clearance get to have a say in what you say and write. And those agencies are under the authority of the President....

Brennan has an established history of incompetence and lying. For example, as Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia before the bombing of Khobar Towers in June of 1996, Brennan refused to allow case officers at the station to collect information on terrorism. That was an Al Qaeda attack (which therefore implicate Saudi interests), but Brennan helped push the lie that it was Iran and Hezbollah.
Brennan is now in full throated insistence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and that Trump, by virtue of the Russian actions, became President. This shows you what a total dumb ass Brennan is. He apparently wants to forget that he was the CIA Director until January 2017. Therefore, he was responsible for warning the President and the country about the nefarious activities of Putin. But Brennan did not do this. He played the political game.

Moon of Alabama has a great take on Brennan's boneheaded play:

Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a somewhat salty and fitting response:
“Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power. If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017? If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times. “If, however, Director Brennan’s statement is purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch.”

6--PCR--"the Washington Post was a CIA asset"


When I received my briefing as staff associate, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which required top secret clearance, I was told by senior members of the staff that the Washington Post was a CIA asset. Watching the Washington Post’s takedown of President Richard Nixon with the orchestrated Watergate story, that became obvious. President Nixon had made too many overtures to the Soviets and too many arms limitations agreements, and he opened to China. Watching President Nixon’s peace initiatives water down the threat level from the Soviet Union and Maoist China, the military/security complex saw a threat to its budget and power and decided that Nixon had to go. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy had resulted in far too much skepticism about the Warren Commission Report, so the CIA decided to use the Washington Post to get rid of Nixon. To keep the clueless American left hating Nixon, the CIA used its assets in the leftwing to keep Nixon blamed for the Vietnam war, a war that Nixon inherited and did not want....

To the casual observer, THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA indictments of July 14 of Russian intelligence agents (GRU) reinforced the argument that the Soviet government interfered in the US 2016 presidential election. Regard these indictments in proper perspective and we find that election interference is only listed as a supposed objective, with charges actually being for unlawful cyber operations, identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money by American individuals unconnected to the Russian government. So … we’re still waiting for some evidence of actual Russian interference in the election aimed at determining the winner....

here is Tom Malinowski, former Assistant Secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor (2014-2017) – last year he reported that Putin had “charged that the U.S. government had interfered ‘aggressively’ in Russia’s 2012 presidential vote,” claiming that Washington had “gathered opposition forces and financed them.” Putin, wrote Malinowski, “apparently got President Trump to agree to a mutual commitment that neither country would interfere in the other’s elections.”
“Is this moral equivalence fair?” Malinowski asked and answered: “In short, no. Russia’s interference in the United States’ 2016 election could not have been more different from what the United States does to promote democracy in other countries.”

How do you satirize such officials and such high-school beliefs?

We also have the case of the US government agency, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which has interfered in more elections than the CIA or God. Indeed, the man who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, Allen Weinstein, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” On April 12, 2018 the presidents of two of NED’s wings wrote: “A specious narrative has come back into circulation: that Moscow’s campaign of political warfare is no different from U.S.-supported democracy assistance.”

“Democracy assistance”, you see, is what they call NED’s election-interferences and government-overthrows. The authors continue: “This narrative is churned out by propaganda outlets such as RT and Sputnik [radio station]. … it is deployed by isolationists who propound a U.S. retreat from global leadership.”

“Isolationists” is what conservatives call critics of US foreign policy whose arguments they can’t easily dismiss, so they imply that such people just don’t want the US to be involved in anything abroad.

And “global leadership” is what they call being first in election-interferences and government-overthrows.

7--Christopher Steele Told DOJ’s Bruce Ohr He Was ‘Afraid They Will Be Exposed’ After Comey’s Firing


Dossier author Christopher Steele told Justice Department official Bruce Ohr after James Comey’s firing last year that he was “afraid they will be exposed.”
What exactly Steele was concerned about having exposed after Comey’s May 9, 2017 firing is not made clear in Ohr’s notes, which were reported by Fox News.

The text message is part of a trove of emails, text messages and handwritten notes that the Justice Department has provided to Congress as part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the Steele dossier.
Steele told Ohr in a May 10, 2017 phone call that he was “very concerned abt Comey’s firing — afraid they will be exposed,” according to Fox....

Justice Department documents given to Congress show that Steele and Ohr were in contact all throughout 2016 and 2017, though Ohr’s involvement was not revealed until December. Following a report from Fox News on Ohr’s contacts with Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, he was demoted as assistant deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was Ohr’s boss, has told Congress that he was not aware of Ohr’s contacts with Steele or Simpson. It is unclear if Rosenstein’s predecessor, Sally Yates, knew what Ohr was up to.

Ohr also corresponded with Steele after the 2016 election about the Russia investigation. By that time, the FBI had ended its relationship with Steele because he made unauthorized disclosures to the media. Steele met with numerous reporters in September and October 2016 about his Trump-Russia findings.
Ohr provided a dozen briefings to the FBI from November 2016 to May 2017 about his interactions with Steele.
An added wrinkle is that Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert named Nellie, was directly involved in the anti-Trump investigation. She worked as a researcher for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele.

8--Revoking Brennan’s Security Clearance: The Right Thing, Even if for the Wrong Reason 

 

9--Afghanistan: The War That Shames America







 



Saturday, August 18, 2018

Today's Links

ARETHA FRANKLIN – I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (1968, HD)

 

 

 

1--The geopolitics of Nordstream


While it has been branded a geopolitical project from the start – and there is no denying Moscow’s strategic interests – ironically, it is the alternatives that now all look politically motivated. Continuing to insist that Ukrainian pipelines must be used above all others is geopolitics, as is constructing an underused LNG terminal in Poland, as is insisting that Europe purchase America’s gas, paying 25 percent more for it than for the Russian alternative. Nord Stream 2 might not be the most profit-driven enterprise in the world, but it certainly makes more sense than any of those.

2--Will Turkey's problems trigger a financial crisis?


Those banking losses might not look likely to presage a broader crisis. But if other emerging-market countries follow Turkey into trouble, the losses could worsen.
“This has the potential to be a real crisis,” said Gary N. Kleiman, an emerging-market investment consultant who argues that too many developing economies have taken on too much debt. “Banks are overstretched, and soon you are going to see an increase in nonperforming loans. It is going to spread.”
On the other hand, events that look like they could shake the foundations of the global financial system sometimes fizzle out

3--"No Collusion" Senate says


After 19 months of a “frustrating as hell’ probe, the Senate Intelligence Committee has found “no factual evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Moscow, the chairman, Richard Burr, says.
 
Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), who heads the last bipartisan probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, shared in an interview with AP while there is “no factual evidence today that [it] received” on any collusion between President Donald Trump and Moscow after almost two years of the probe, the committee is not ready to end it. After all, he says he doesn’t want to be the guy who missed something in the town where nothing “stays classified or secret forever.”

Burr would not give a timeline for the end of the investigation, and the committee wants to do some challenging interviews. It has recently requested that persecuted WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange testify before committee staff “at a mutually agreeable time and location.” Senators also want to talk to Christopher Steele, the author of the notorious dossier about Trump that turned out to be paid for by Democrats.

As for the other episode that the mainstream media and the ‘Resistance’ love to single out as proof of collusion (the Trump Tower meeting), Burr said that he sees no “reason today” to bring back Donald Trump Jr., who appeared before the committee in 2017, to testify about his short meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

So far, the work of the bipartisan probe has not been marred by tensions between Democrats and Republicans, as was the case with the probe in the House that ruled there was no collusion. The leading Democrat on the Senate committee, a known ‘Russiagater’ from Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, expressed his confidence in Burr in May.

In July, the committee backed the conclusions of 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA) that Russia meddled in the US presidential election, saying that it “believes the conclusions of the ICA are sound” and confirmed by “open source” information.

The ICA document, released in January 2017, is long on faith and assertions and short on evidence. It stated that the key judgments made by the US intelligence community came from “a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behaviour.” It even devoted several pages to RT, focusing mainly on its output from 2012 as examples of Russian media influencing American voters in 2016.

Back then, Assange slammed the report for its lack of sources. While the topic of Russia’s meddling in US affairs never seems to fade away, no solid facts have been presented so far. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations. “Until we see facts, everything else will be just blather,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

4--ISIS given ‘breathing space’ in parts of Syria under US-backed forces' control 

 

5--Why Trump revoked former CIA Director’s security clearance

 

6--Is the news media “the enemy of the American people?

Hundreds of newspaper editorial boards across the country answered a nationwide call Thursday to express disdain for President Trump’s attacks on the news media, while some explained their decision not to do so. The same morning, the president tweeted that the “fake news media” are the “opposition party.”
The editorials came after the Boston Globe’s editorial board called on others to use their collective voice to respond to Trump’s war of words with news organizations in the United States.
Trump has labeled the news media “the enemy of the American people” and called much of the coverage “fake news.”..

It is and always has been in the interests of the powerful to dismiss and discredit those who could prove a check on their power. President Donald Trump is not the first politician to openly attack the media for fulfilling its watchdog role. He is, perhaps, the most blatant and relentless about it....

Trump’s broad brush undermines the collective credibility of thousands of American journalists across the country, and the world, who make up the Fourth Estate — so called for its watchdog role over the other three branches of government.
We believe that an informed electorate is critical to Democracy; that the public has a right to know what elected officials, public figures and government bureaucracies are doing behind closed doors; that journalism is integral to the checks and balances of power; and that the public can trust the facts it reads in this newspaper and those facts coming from the mainstream media.

7--Turkey's impending currency crisis


. In 1971, Richard Nixon’s Treasury Secretary John Connally infamously told his G-10 counterparts “the dollar is our currency, but it’s your problem.” The Turkish economy today is at the mercy of its superpower ally. Trump has attacked Trudeau, Merkel, Macron and others, now Erdoğan is on his target. Maybe Trump wants to beat up a tough leader and make an example of him. “This is what happens to you if you mess with the Donald. Go tell all your friends!”

As satisfying as it might be to some, exporting this gangster attitude to the stage of international relations is going to have serious consequences. The Turkish economy was going to go into crisis for several reasons, but none of it matters now. This currency crisis, which could have severe effects on the country’s people, will be remembered as having been caused by the president of the United States. We will revert from constructive self-criticism and define ourselves through our enmities. I believe that this is how very bad things happen.

8--Is Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite? Nah! Norman Finklestein


The degree of anti-Semitism infecting British society has been the subject of numerous polls over a sustained period of time.  These surveys have uniformly, consistently, and unambiguously concluded that anti-Semitism (1) has long been a marginal phenomenon in British society, infecting under 10 percent of the population, (2) is far less salient than hostility to other British minorities, and (3) is less pronounced in the UK than almost anywhere else in Europe. One might suppose that settled matters. But in 2017 the British Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) published a study that purportedly refined conventional wisdom by measuring the “elasticity” of anti-Semitism: that is, not just the percentage of confirmed anti-Semites, but also the prevalence of stereotypes that stigmatize Jews.[1]  It found that, whereas a mere 2-5 percent of the British population can be reckoned anti-Semites, fully 30 percent harbor at least one anti-Semitic stereotype....

 Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically elected head of the Labour Party. His ascendancy vastly expanded and galvanized the party’s ranks. Corbyn has devoted a lifetime to fighting racism; like eponymous labor organizer Joe Hill, where workers strike and organize, it’s there you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn. By British and even global leadership standards, he cuts a saintly figure. On the opposite side, mostly unelected Jewish bodies[21] have dragged Corbyn’s name through the mud, slandering and defaming him. They have refused to meet with Corbyn, even as he has repeatedly extended olive branches and offered substantive compromises.[22] Instead they issue take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums. As it happens, Jews overwhelmingly do not support Labour, even when the head of the party list is Jewish (Ed Miliband in 2015). Nonetheless, these pious-cum-pompous communal leaders do not find it unseemly or even amiss to dictate from afar and from above internal Labour policy. This writer’s late mother used to muse, “It’s no accident that Jews invented the word chutzpah.” The transparent motive behind this cynical campaign is to demonize Corbyn, not because he’s a “fucking anti-Semite,” but because he’s a principled champion of Palestinian rights. However, Corbyn’s candidacy is not just about Palestine or even the British laboring classes. It’s a beacon for the homeless, the hungry, and the hopeless, the despised, the downtrodden, and the destitute everywhere. If Corbyn’s traducers succeed, the glimmer of possibility he has held out will be snuffed out by a gang of moral blackmailers and extortionists. Is it anti-Semitism to believe that “Jews have too much power in Britain”—or is it just plain common sense? (It is, to be sure, a question apart and not one amenable to simple solution how to rectify this power inequity while not impinging on anyone’s democratic rights.) Still, isn’t it anti-Semitic to generalize that “Jews” have abused their power? But even granting that a portion have been manipulated or duped, it certainly appears as if British Jews in general support the anti-Corbyn juggernaut.  If this indeed is a misapprehension, whose fault is it? The tacit message of the unprecedented joint editorial on the front page of the major Jewish periodicals was: British Jews are united—Corbyn must go! Is it anti-Semitic to take these Jewish organizations at their word?...

Jewish elites do not for a moment believe that anti-Semitism is a burning issue. If they truly feared that it posed a clear and present danger now or in the foreseeable future, they wouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops that Corbyn was a “fucking anti-Semite.” For, if the UK was awash with closet anti-Semites, then, logically, broadcasting this accusation would hand Corbyn free publicity as it would be dulcet tones to the ears of potential voters. Far from damaging him, its diffusion could only facilitate Corbyn’s victory and pave the way for a second Holocaust. On the contrary, Jewish organizations know full well that vilifying Corbyn as an anti-Semite would drastically reduce his appeal, as anti-Semitism resonates only among assorted antediluvians, troglodytes, and fruitcakes. In other words, the irrefutable proof that Corbyn’s pursuers don’t believe a word they’re saying is that by labeling him an anti-Semite they hope and expect to isolate him. However, as the accusation is manifestly a red herring, it’s also possible that the current hysteria will pass most people by entirely, not because they are unconcerned by anti-Semitism but because it hardly occurs to them as an issue at all. If the controversy has an effect it will be restricted to exacerbating divisions in the Labour leadership and perhaps also adding to a more general perception that the stories promoted by mainstream media are fake news.

9--The Weekly Standard’s Ties to Fusion GPS


At the very least, the timing of the article suggests there was careful coordination between the central players—including the Hillary Clinton campaign—and Bill Kristol to derail Trump’s candidacy just weeks before the election. But the article’s content also serves to raise alarming questions about the claims by many Republicans that “conservatives” had no knowledge of or involvement with the Christopher Steele dossier.

Let’s back up a bit. On the morning that Kristol’s piece posted, the Trump-Russian election collusion story was in its embryonic stage—nearly all American voters that summer remained blissfully unaware of the details in this preposterous story—but secretly it was being peddled to the media by Fusion GPS, a political opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig up Russian-related dirt on Donald Trump. Talking points produced by Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion, and contained in the Steele dossier, were making the rounds in the D.C.-NYC media claque during July 2016. (At the same time, Steele was working with the FBI and alerting the agency to his dubious findings about the Trump campaign.)

Kristol’s article hits on every single one of the Simpson-Steele talking points: Trump forced the GOP to water-down language on the Ukraine in the party’s platform (it didn’t happen); the Russians were behind Wikileaks’ release of the DNC’s hacked emails (unproven); Trump encouraged foreign powers to interfere in the election (he didn’t); and Trump would not honor U.S. commitments to NATO (an overblown assessment of Trump’s NATO criticism nearly all the Republican candidates made). He listed a handful of unknown Trump campaign associates who would soon become household names, including campaign manager Paul Manafort; national security advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn; and foreign policy aide Carter Page. (Strzok and the FBI formally opened their investigation into the three men—and campaign aide George Papadopoulos—on July 31, 2016.)...

But despite the flimsiness of the accusations, Kristol took his advocacy a step further.
These indications provide sufficient grounds for Trump’s links to Putin to be further investigated. Politicians who are currently supporting Trump should withdraw their unconditional support. We don’t know how direct and close a financial relationship Trump and Manafort have with the Putin regime. If Trump and Manafort don’t act to allay these concerns by releasing their tax returns (or in other ways), wouldn’t it be advisable for a Republican member of Congress to lead an urgent investigation into whether Putin is interfering in the current American election? Trump and Manafort may be Putin’s chumps. Will other Republicans sit by as the whole Republican party becomes Putin’s party?...

We are expected to believe that Bill Kristol’s son-in-law paid Fusion throughout the 2016 presidential campaign cycle but Simpson doesn’t pitch one dossier-related story to either one? Kristol just comes up with the very same flimsy talking points that Simpson and Steele are peddling—at the exact same time—and it’s pure coincidence? Kristol just happens to call for an investigation one week before the FBI takes the outrageous and unprecedented step of probing private citizens working on an opposing presidential campaign? Kristol and Robby Mook just strangely regurgitate the identical Trump-Russia plotline—on the same morning?

Since the election, Kristol and the Standard have ignored major developments in Spygate while shamefully working with Democratic operatives to smear lawmakers such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who are trying to get to the bottom of the scandal. Kristol has been in the forefront of keeping Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation working in perpetuity.

And the Standard has yet to report on Strzok getting fired. (Nor has Kristol tweeted about Strzok.)
Unfortunately, there are still some conservatives who trust Kristol and the Standard fairly to report on the Trump presidency and Republican Congress. It’s important that the public fully understands what role Kristol and his publication played—and continue to play—in fueling the biggest political corruption scandal in American history.
Kristol asks a lot of questions on Twitter. It’s time for him to answer some now.

10--Former CIA Director John Brennan’s brief for dismantling democracy


In his column, Brennan presents a massive conspiracy theory according to which the Russian government has been able to manipulate and exploit US political institutions to advance its agenda. “Before, during and after its now infamous meddling in our last presidential election,” Brennan writes, “Russia practiced the art of shaping political events abroad through its well-honed active measures program, which employs an array of technical capabilities, information operations and old-fashioned human intelligence spycraft.”

The machinations Brennan ascribes to Russia are the stock in trade of US intelligence agencies, including those formerly overseen by Brennan. The Russian “meddling” operation, treated as an established fact by the media, is a fiction. In concrete terms, it consisted, according to the intelligence agencies themselves, of at most a few hundred thousand dollars in social media advertisements, dwarfed by the $4 billion spent in the 2016 presidential election, most of it paid out by corporations and multi-millionaires. This is combined with the entirely unsubstantiated assertion that Russia helped leak Democratic Party emails that exposed the efforts of the Democratic National Committee to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders and the relationship of Hillary Clinton to the banks....

Who are these “politicians, political parties, media outlets, think tanks and influencers?” The answer is: Anyone who does not accept uncritically the narrative of the intelligence agencies and the military, including the lies used to justify war in Syria and aggression against Russia.

The essential problem, Brennan concludes, is that “the very freedoms and liberties that liberal Western democracies cherish” have been exploited by Russia “to distribute propaganda and disinformation, increasingly via the growing number of social media platforms.” The Russian intelligence agencies “troll political, business and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters. Too often, those puppets are found.”

The implications of this argument are clear. All social discontent within the United States is the work of “Russian puppet masters” exploiting “gullible” individuals. If “freedoms and liberties” provide an opening for such operations, then these freedoms must be restricted. To “save democracy,” it is necessary to abolish it....

The source of this unprecedented attack on free speech lies not in Russia, but in the United States. Censorship measures have focused on the Internet because access to social media platforms and alternative sources of news has undermined the authority of the “professional gatekeepers”—the corporate media, which serve as the mouthpieces of the financial elite and its military-intelligence apparatus. Its stranglehold on information, including the blackout of third parties and left-wing and anti-war opinion, is undermined by the Internet.

The initial moves to censor the Internet are only the beginning. The great danger, as the Socialist Equality Party resolution adopted last month states, is that “the conscious preparations of the ruling elites for war and dictatorship are advancing more rapidly than the class consciousness of the working class.” 

11--Google employees protest plans to build censored search engine in China

By Andre Damon
18 August 2018
Hundreds of Google employees have protested the company’s moves to build a censored search engine in China, the New York Times reported Friday.
The Times article follows an August 1 article by the Intercept reporting that the company has secretly devoted a team of engineers and developers to constructing a search engine that would comply with China’s strict regime of Internet censorship

12--About Half Million Of Civilians Returned To Deir Ezzor Since Start Of 2018: State Media

 

 13--John Brennan Is No Match For Trump

U.S President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.
Good. It is probably the best thing Trump has ever done. Brennan is one of the most despicable former U.S. officials alive. He should rot in hell instead of making money off his former status....

Abu Jihad Brennan was the CIA's station chief in Saudi Arabia. Some assert he went native, i.e. converted to Wahhabism. Brennan was in Riyadh when the Khobar Towers were bombed. Al-Qaeda did it, but Brennan was helpful in blaming the attack on Hizbullah and Iran. He was deputy executive director of the CIA on 9/11. That 9/11 happened was an intelligence failure or, as some have it, an incident arranged by the deep state. Brennan was CIA chief of staff while the agency concocted false stories about Iraqi WMD. He was within the line of command that ran the CIA torture program. It was Brennan who conspired with the Gulf dictators to hire Jihadis to destroy Libya and to attempt the same in Syria. In short - the man was always ruthless, incompetent and dishonest.

When Obama became president he wanted to make Brennan Director of the CIA. The Democrats in Congress were opposed to that. Obama then made him his high priest of targeted killings. After Obama's reelection, Brennan finally became director. He ordered the CIA to spy on the Congress committee investigating CIA torture. He lied to Congress under oath when he denied that it had happened. When it was proven that the CIA did what it did, he had to apologize

Most important was "Brennan’s ringleader role in the so-far unsuccessful attempts to derail Trump, both before and after the 2016 election. As far as we can tell it was Brennan who concocted and launched the conspiracy to insinuate that Trump is connected with alleged Russian influence. Brennan bet that Hillary Clinton would win the election. He lost his bet and is now out in the cold. He fears that his role, especially his conspiring with British security services and with the Steele dossier, will come to light.

The idiots who express solidarity with Brennan by offering up their security clearances confirm, simply by doing so, that there IS a deep state cabal that is opposed to Trump. Attacking Brennan and them will help Trump to get reelected.
Trump uses the same playbook when he attacks the "fake news media" for opposing him. He is right in that nearly all U.S. and international editors favored Hillary Clinton over Trump. This week 200 U.S. papers united to write editorials against Trump's attacks against the "freedom of the press". They fell for his trick:
Most journalists agree that there’s a great need for Trump rebuttals. I’ve written my share. But this [Boston] Globe-sponsored coordinated editorial response is sure to backfire: It will provide Trump with circumstantial evidence of the existence of a national press cabal that has been convened solely to oppose him. When the editorials roll off the press on Thursday, all singing from the same script, Trump will reap enough fresh material to whale on the media for at least a month. His forthcoming speeches almost write themselves: By colluding against me, the fake media proved once and for all, that they are in cahoots with the Democrats and have declared themselves to be my true political opposition ...
Trump is excellent in playing his domestic opponents. Brennan made a huge mistake in publicly opposing him. He is now standing in the limelight and people will only dig further into his role in the "Russian collusion" campaign. Yesterday Brennan authored a New York Times Op Ed headlined President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash. It does not provide any evidence for the "hogwash" claim. Brennan can not show that there was a Trump campaign collusion with Russia or anyone else.

Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a somewhat salty and fitting response:
“Director Brennan’s recent statements purport to know as fact that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power. If Director Brennan’s statement is based on intelligence he received while still leading the CIA, why didn’t he include it in the Intelligence Community Assessment released in 2017? If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the Special Counsel, not The New York Times. “If, however, Director Brennan’s statement is purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch.”
In short: "Nut up or shut up."
It is doubtful that Trump will let go of the issue. Brennan is a too juicy target to stop shooting at it. Currently Brennan is still too valuable as an enemy for Trump to destroy him. But once that is over Brennan's day of judgment will come. Here are high hopes that Brennan will finally have to pay for at least one of his many crimes.

 





Friday, August 17, 2018

Today's Links

1--Declining America Is Setting up Itself for Terrible Revenge After the Fall


"As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge."

2--Facebook censors Telesur and Venezuela Analysis

 

3--Trump revokes security clearance for former CIA chief Brennan: Ruling class warfare intensifies

 

Brennan has emerged naturally as the chief spokesman of Trump’s ruling class critics. He is the former head of drone warfare for the Obama administration and the former chief executive of the organization of official assassins, thugs and professional liars known as the Central Intelligence Agency. As CIA director, he sought to block the Senate Intelligence Committee report released in 2014 documenting CIA torture during the Bush administration....

 

Brennan has cashed in on his intelligence career with a lucrative post as an “analyst” and commentator for NBC News. He has played a leading role in the campaign by sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, backed by the media and the Democratic Party, to attack Trump as "soft" on Russia. The aim is not only to impose a shift in the foreign policy of the Trump administration, but to create the framework for criminalizing domestic opposition and censoring the Internet.

 

4--The (Manafort) trial has not touched on Russia or the 2016 election. Instead, the focus has been entirely on Manafort's finances.

Prosecutors said Manafort had collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.
They also alleged that Manafort had lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015 and accused him of hiding foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort also was charged with receiving loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.

5--What was Bruce Ohr Doing?


He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016 - after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau’s rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew - with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected....

It’s bad enough that the bureau relied on a dossier crafted by a man in the employ of the rival presidential campaign. Bad enough that it never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of that dossier’s provenance. And bad enough that the FBI didn’t fire Mr. Steele as a confidential human source in September 2016 when it should have been obvious he was leaking FBI details to the press to harm Donald Trump’s electoral chances. It terminated him only when it was absolutely forced to, after Mr. Steele gave an on-the-record interview on Oct. 31, 2016.

But now we discover the FBI continued to go to this discredited informant in its investigation after the firing—by funneling his information via a Justice Department cutout. The FBI has an entire manual governing the use of confidential sources, with elaborate rules on validations, standards and documentation. Mr. Steele failed these standards. The FBI then evaded its own program to get at his info anyway...
 
did the FBI continue to submit Steele- or Simpson-sourced information to the FISA court? Having informed the court in later applications that it had fired Mr. Steele, the FBI would have had no business continuing to use any Steele information laundered through an intermediary. 
 

6--Bruce Ohr Texts, Emails Reveal Steele’s Deep Ties to Obama DOJ, FBI

text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold”....

A trove of emails and handwritten notes from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr exposes the continuous contact and communication between the DOJ attorney and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, according to notes and documents obtained by SaraACarter.com. The emails and notes were written between 2016 and 2017.

The notes and emails also reveal that Ohr was in communication with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to hire Steele.

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:
“Asked them 3 questions:
  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”
SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified...

“There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application and that question needs to be resolved,” said a congressional official with knowledge of the investigation.
The documents from March 2017, reveal how concerned Steele is with Grassley’s committee and the letter from the senator’s office seeking answers from Steele on the dossier....

n June 2017, Steele tells Ohr,  “We are frustrated with how long this reengagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking.  Anything you can do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated.  There are some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.”
In October 2017, Steele notes that he is concerned about the stories in the media about the bureau delivering information to Congress “about my work and relationship with them.  Very concerned about this.  People’s lives may be endangered.”
And in November 2017, Steele, who is trying to engage with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, writes to Ohr saying, “we were wondering if there was any response to the questions I raised last week.”

Ohr responds by saying, “I have passed on the questions (apparently to the special counsel) but haven’t gotten an answer yet.”
Steele then says,  “I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me.  We have heard nothing from them either.  To say this is disappointing would be an understatement!  Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth.  Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.”

7--Will Brennan’s Text Messages and Emails Be Next?


In August 2016, just two days after Brennan briefed Senator Harry Reid and other members on Russian interference in the election, the Nevada senator wrote a letter to then-FBI director James Comey, calling the FBI to investigate Trump’s campaign.

he letter reads in part, “The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin. The prospect of a hostile government actively seeking to undermine our free and fair elections represents one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War and it is critical for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use every resource available to investigate this matter thoroughly and in a timely fashion.”

8--New Texts Reveal Steele Anxious Over Comey Testimony, Hopes “Firewalls Will Hold

 

9--Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department, Mark Penn

 

Ohr was not even officially part of the Russia investigation, and yet he had more than 60 contacts with Steele. Rosenstein, his boss, has testified he knew nothing about these contacts, so it remains unclear for whom and why Ohr was busy trading notes with Steele about the investigation. This, then, is another reason Rosenstein should have removed himself from supervising the Mueller investigation: He is a witness here as well.

 

Now, these are all established facts. Let’s review them again: Ohr was a senior Justice Department official whose wife was employed by the research firm hired by Clinton and the DNC to get dirt on Trump. This was not reported on any disclosure forms. Ohr’s wife worked on the same Trump-Russia project as Steele, who concocted the dossier, and Ohr himself established a secret back channel with Steele, who had been dismissed for lying to the FBI — all, apparently, so that Steele was never far from learning about the investigation or having input into it. His texts even refer to a fear of “firewalls” being discovered.

This is an absolutely stunning development, suggesting a “deep state” conspiracy hidden even from superiors and driven on the basis of undisclosed dollars ultimately from the opposition candidate going to the wife of a DOJ official. Even moderate senators like Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been shocked by this and called for a special counsel to investigate the FBI. Yet, the mainstream media not only ignores the story while in the throes of Omarosa fever, but suggests only tin-hat conspiracy theorists would believe anything is wrong here.

10--
Soaring US profit margins pose challenge for investors Financial Times. UserFriendly: “Let me get my tiny violin for the investors:”
With 90 per cent of companies in the S&P 500 having reported their results for the second quarter, net profit margins hit 11.8 per cent, the highest level since financial information provider FactSet began recording the data in 2008.

11--The Evidence Is In, and Austerity Is Declared a Loser

 

12--The fragile legacy of Barack Obama

 

 The politics were pretty disastrous. As Zelizer summarizes, “During his presidency, even as he enjoyed reelection and strong approval ratings toward the end of this term, the Democratic Party suffered greatly. . . . Democrats lost more than one thousand seats in state legislatures, governors’ mansions, and Congress during his time in office.” Zelizer could have gone further. According to

more Democratic state legislative seats were lost under Obama than under any president in modern history....

 

Christina Romer, the first chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, came up with a number ($1.8 trillion), “based on arithmetic and data,” that she thought would be necessary to jumpstart the economy again. Given the sense of emergency at the time and the Democratic control of both houses of Congress, Obama could have used his rather large amount of political capital to authorize and then fight for a larger stimulus package, one which focused intensely on job creation and retention. But the star economist on his team, Lawrence Summers, disagreed with Romer and argued that the economy could be stabilized using a much smaller stimulus. Obama chose to go with Summers’s plan; the results of that decision would reverberate throughout his presidency...

 

By 2010 Obama’s fate was sealed. In the midterm elections, Republicans ran on the slow recovery, the perception that the stimulus package favored Wall Street, not Main Street, and the Democrats’ tone-deaf obsession with the health care bill. They easily took control of the House, picking up sixty-three seats—the biggest midterm election gains for the out party since 1938

 

13--Matt Drudge Prepares MAGA Crew for War, Kurt Nimmo

 

Now that Trump—a geopolitical ignoramus—is in office and the neocons are once again driving US foreign policy, it is time to realize the final objective in regard to Iran. The neocons want to do an Iraq repeat. 
And Matt Drudge is here to help by spreading baseless propaganda about Revolutionary Guard sleeper cells in America. The New York Times and The Washington Post draw in the liberals—pro war in that Democrat sort of way—and Drudge is responsible for propagandizing the alt or New Right. Both sides want to annihilate Iran and make sure the neighborhood is safe for Israel and its apartheid system.
 
 
 
Donald Trump is not a savior or monster. He’s a narcissist who wanted to be president. Trump is the King of Political Retards. He is not qualified for the job. 

This was obvious the moment he told us he would run for president. His ignorance of geopolitics and history—real history, not the manufactured version drilled into us by our government education system and corporate propaganda media—make him a near perfect tool for the rulers, owners of the state, the debt slave and infinity war managers. 

For the MAGA crowd this ignorance is an attribute, it shows that Trump is not a swamp creature, he will never go after the Deep State (with the exception of Democrats and the “fake news” media). 

In order to believe this, you will have to ignore Trump’s visits to the feet of Henry Kissinger and his appointment of Goldman Sachs vultures to run the economy, generals to run the wars (thus making sure they never end), and neocons directing the phony war on terror which is—for those not suffering from political retardation—a clear sign the Israelis remain in control of US foreign policy in the Middle East ...

Trump the proclaimed noninterventionist has yet to put an end to this destructive madness. It was silly to expect him to shut down the wars. On the campaign trail he sounded oddly—maybe not so oddly—like a neocon (minus the intellectual pretense). He advocated torture, waterboarding, stealing Arab oil, and “bombing the shit” out of small defenseless countries. 

Neocons despise this interloper, this outlier who bought his way into the White House with lies and false promises. But they love his ownership of the war on terror and his indiscriminate murder of innocents. They can live with his decisions, even as they trash him on social media.

15--U.S. Media’s Use of Its Collective Voice Reveals a Tragic Truth about America



August 16, 2018 will be remembered as the day there was a collective awakening by America’s media that there was something intrinsically and morally and constitutionally wrong with not just the functioning of the President of the United States – but with America itself.
In response to an August 10 appeal from the Boston Globe to newspaper editorial boards around the country to write and publish their thoughts on Trump’s “dirty war against the free press,” more than 300 newspapers responded yesterday....

In the leadup to the bogus U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, it was the New York Times using its bullhorn to cheer on the attack. As media watchdog Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert wrote in 2014:
“[Ahmed] Chalabi was reportedly the main source of bogus information that former Times reporter Judith Miller used in her thoroughly discredited work about Iraq’s supposedly brimming stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. It was Chalabi who wove Saddam Hussein fiction and it was Miller, then a widely respected Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who gave it the Times stamp of approval as the paper did its part to lead the nation to war.”...

Trump’s cruelty pales in comparison to the atrocities inflicted on human beings by the Catholic Church and the war in Iraq – in which the free press served the nation as an inadequate guardian....

one of the worst things the New York Times has done is to brazenly refuse to correct outrageously erroneous reporting on the cause of the 2008 crash, seemingly attempting to downplay the impact of its call for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.
We have repeatedly asked the New York Times to correct the reporting of Andrew Ross Sorkin over the past five years, including as recently as January of this year when we wrote to the new Publisher, Arthur Gregg (A.G.) Sulzberger, who had promised that under his tenure the Times “will hold itself to the highest standards of independence, rigor and fairness — because we believe trust is the most precious asset we have.”

After we emailed Sulzberger, we immediately received an automated reply stating:
“If you have pointed out an error, the article will be corrected online and a correction appended; a correction will also appear in print editions as soon as possible…When an issue of accuracy is raised, at least three editors review the query. Often re-reporting is requested; sometimes the issue is turned over to our research department.”

To this day, that is the last word we’ve heard from the New York Times on this matter, raising the very real possibility that Sorkin’s article wasn’t written in error but was actually written as propaganda for the New York Times’ hometown industry, Wall Street, which doesn’t want Congress to reenact the Glass-Steagall Act because it would gut its institutionalized wealth transfer system which pays depositors meager interest while the Wall Street banks leverage those deposits for wild derivatives schemes that book billions in profits for the banks.
It’s time to reassess if America’s free press has the courage and independence and might it needs to fulfill the role that our founders envisioned and which democracy needs to survive

16- Without a trace of irony?---Idiot media proves it is one-unified propaganda bullhorn by unanimously bashing Trump


The idea of joining together to protest him seems almost to encourage that kind of conspiracy thinking by the president and his loyalists.'
The Los Angeles Times has decided not join 300 other news papers in publishing an editorial in opposition to Donald Trump’s habit of calling members of the news media “fake news,” because it would prove the president’s point — that the media are a monolithic “cabal.”
In a post published early Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Times explained its decision to not answer The Boston Globe‘s call to publish editorials decrying Trump’s “frequent attacks on the media.” Here’s what the Times wrote:
The president himself already treats the media as a cabal — ‘enemies of the people,’ he has called us, suggesting over and over that we’re in cahoots to do damage to the country. The idea of joining together to protest him seems almost to encourage that kind of conspiracy thinking by the president and his loyalists. Why give them ammunition to scream about ‘collusion’?


Makes sense. Calling for all members of the media to all say exactly the same thing in opposition to Trump, whose entire “fake news” schtick is based on the fact that the media monolithically opposes him by all repeating the same thing seems like losing strategy to convince skeptical Americans that the press is not all in bed together when it comes to resisting the Trump administration.


 17--Distrust in media goes way back. The media brought it on themselves


"The lack of trust is a much greater issue and it goes far beyond the president’s trollish remarks about the media," Charles Whitaker, interim dean of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, told ABC News. "The president has been opportunistic in capitalizing on [the distrust] but I don’t think he created this situation."
Whitaker added that "fair, free and robust media environment" is under attack not just by the president but by a business model that is "broken."