Russia, the U.S. and elections

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Russia, the U.S. and elections

1proximity1
Editado: Dic 17, 2016, 12:17pm

Some background reading :

Russia Is Neither Friend Nor Foe

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russia-neither-friend-nor-foe-18725?page=sho...


St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. Flickr/Creative Commons/Sammy Six

There is no basis for any claims about a “stolen” presidential election.
Nikolas K. Gvosdev

December 12, 2016



There is no basis for any claims about a “stolen” presidential election. Nobody stole anything. No Russian operatives altered ballots or tampered with election machines, which is why the Obama administration itself has declared that state-by-state election results “reflect the will of the people.”

Was Russia able to—or intent upon—ensuring the victory of Donald Trump by, among other things, hacking into the Democratic National Committee computers? Meddling is one thing. Questions of intent and culpability, however, are not as easy to answer as some of Trump’s detractors would have it. Congressional investigations to explore what did, and did not, happen are perfectly appropriate, as long as they proceed in a genuine spirit of inquiry rather than attempting to ratify preexisting beliefs.

Indeed, any investigation would have to take into account that Washington itself has in the past tried to influence foreign elections, including in Russia during the 1990s. This is not to posit a symmetry between America, a democracy, and Russian, an authoritarian state. But it is notable that nearly all of the discussion about Russian hacking—with the exception of some experts who had been warning about these trends developing over the last several years—is taking place with an attitude that the November 2016 election is the equivalent of Captain Renault in Casablanca who is "shocked" to discover that gambling is taking place in Rick's Café Americain.

The most basic question is this: why is anyone surprised that the government of the Russian Federation might have had an interest in the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election? This is basic International Relations 101—countries have interests in the choices other nations make in terms of their leadership and policies based on whether they think they will be good or bad for their own welfare. This is why President Barack Obama urged British voters to reject leaving the European Union and supported the referendum in Italy on constitutional reform backed by his political ally Prime Minister Matteo—because keeping the UK in the EU and strengthening the Italian central government were both important to U.S. efforts to stabilize European affairs. (In both cases, Obama’s preferred outcomes were defeated at the polls by British and Italian voters.) In the U.S. campaign, one candidate signaled an openness to searching for common ground with Moscow, while the other indicated that U.S. policy would take an even harder line against Russian interests.

Thus, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul noted that it was “very rational” that Vladimir Putin might prefer to see Donald Trump become President of the United States in place of Hillary Clinton, on the expectation that a Trump administration might pursue U.S. polices more amenable to Russian interests. Similar calculations seem to have been made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel, while, in a number of Central and East European countries, there was a strong preference for a Clinton victory.

The question becomes more problematic, however, when we move from the “interest” which another country may have in election outcomes to whether that country seeks to “influence” the outcome of the vote and the types of methods used to project that influence. When do steps taken beyond mere public statements of support for a candidate or policy position cross the line into illegitimate interference in the domestic political affairs of another country? While the United States does have laws on the books which address the question of direct financial support of U.S. candidates from overseas sources, what about support in the informational sector—particularly the use of media and cyber tools?

Much of the current discussion instead focuses on whether persons and entities either belonging to or working in the employ of the Russian government interfered in the campaign by intercepting and stealing private, confidential communications of U.S. officials and politicians and providing that material to media outlets, while simultaneously using other media organs under the control or patronage of the Russian state to disseminate a mix of fact and fiction into the overall international media bloodstream—all with the intent to damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and boost the electoral chances of Donald Trump.

To what extent this occurred, and to what extent it was responsible for Trump’s narrow victory, is what is now under debate. Given that Secretary Clinton lost an election she was overwhelmingly favored to win, the narrative of foreign interference may be a welcome balm to assuage a sense of failure among her supporters, but it should also not detract from the many missteps of her campaign—including ignoring former President Bill Clinton’s prophetic advice not to ignore key Rust Belt constituencies and the white working-class vote. Quantifying the effect that leaked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and senior campaign staff or that news stories calling into question Clinton’s health had on the overall vote is difficult to accomplish. As best as can be ascertained, alleged Russian assistance in obtaining and forwarding information helped to confirm pre-existing American voters’ concerns about Clinton, notably her reliability and honesty. Against another prospective Democratic nominee—Vice President Joe Biden, for instance—such efforts would have had much less impact. Nevertheless, the existence of evidence pointing to Russian efforts needs to be clarified and assessed, and to be part of the calculus about the future of U.S.-Russia relations—as well as on U.S. government policy about its own efforts to influence other countries’ political systems.

It is unfortunate, however, that so much of this discussion occurs in such an ahistorical context. If the United States national security establishment and the mainstream media had a series of serious conversations a few years back—when a clear warning shot was fired across the bow—we might not be in this position today with the credibility of both U.S. political and media institutions on the line—and with the possibility that the prediction of a second Cold War between Moscow and Washington has now become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In February 2014, a mobile telephone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, having been intercepted by entities unknown but largely assumed to be acting on behalf of Russian interests, was leaked to the media. The Nuland-Pyatt exchanges, which the State Department, when given the opportunity, declined to characterize as "inauthentic", revealed that, contrary to public U.S. statements, Washington was playing more of a role in trying to direct the course of events in Ukraine, and in particular to guide the leadership of the Maidan protest movement. This included by-name discussions about which Ukrainian politicians the United States wanted to see in any new government—including prospective prime ministerial candidates. As the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus commented, despite official proclamations that the United States would let the Ukrainian people decide their own future, the transcript demonstrated that “the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals.”

The conversation was also personally embarrassing to Nuland, because it broadcast her use of colorful language to disparage the efforts of the European Union to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis—and raised questions in both Brussels as well as many European capitals if there was indeed a gap between what the Assistant Secretary was saying publicly and to them versus what she really thought and was trying to achieve as a matter of policy. The leak even temporarily ruffled U.S.-European relations, with German chancellor Angela Merkel declaring that she found "these remarks totally unacceptable." It also suggested that the U.S. government was not going to let a Ukrainian political process work itself out but would play an active role in determining outcomes, and felt confident that it had levers at its disposal to ensure compliance.

In this incident, we saw several different factors coalesce. One was to put American officials on notice that it was foolhardy to place their trust in relatively flimsy cyber and digital defenses of their mobile and computing devices which could be overwhelmed by a determined party. The second was the effort to exposure the gap between public idealistic rhetoric and private, behind-the-scenes maneuvering. The Nuland disclosures would not have been found embarrassing or dishonorable by Prince Metternich or Talleyrand, who accepted as a matter of course that great powers should be able to move smaller states and their leaders around like pieces on a chessboard (after all, this is how the royal family of Greece was selected!)—but they posed problems precisely because they did not easily fit within a narrative of democracy promotion and American virtue. Finally, it was a warning—that Moscow was watching—and learning—from U.S. actions. After all, even prior to the Ukraine crisis of 2014, many Russians had had up front experience with how American operatives and media interventions (even if operating as private individuals and organizations) could sway elections in Russia, notably during the 1996 fight between Boris Yeltsin and Gennady Zyuganov. Moreover, the Russians—as well as many other countries around the world—do not recognize the niceties of a U.S. system where government grants are dispensed to quasi-non-governmental organizations (the various Institutes for democracy assistance or media outlets like the various “free radios”) but are inclined to view their activities as directed inspired by the U.S. government.

The Nuland affair demonstrated that Russia would be more inclined, in the future, to use these tools of shadowy interception and transmission against the United States—not only where America and Russia engaged in geopolitical competition in the former Soviet space, but ultimately in the West itself—including in both European and American politics. In other words, in the game of international political influence, Russia would no longer confine herself to the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet bloc nations.

Yet the Nuland leak was worth only a few days’ news stories, and then disappeared from consciousness. It apparently did not lead many in Washington to change their communication habits or to recognize that Russia might have an interest in finding more ways to publicize divergences between public statements and private realities of U.S. political figures in the hopes of generating embarrassment—in particular, in being able to expose to raw public view the private hypocrisy on which modern politics depends. It did not lead to any new appreciation for Russia’s ability to wield the tools of both cyber and soft power—based on a mix of dismissiveness of Russian capabilities and a misplaced faith that America was somehow an exceptional country in which such methods would somehow not work or bear influence.

Beyond that, this incident did not lead to any fundamental re-evaluation both of the utility of American efforts to influence the choice of leaders in other countries of the world or of the trajectory of U.S.-Russia relations. It is difficult to look at recent events in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even places like South Sudan—where U.S. diplomacy and pressure has been marshalled to encourage, cajole or prod the deposition or selection of leaders—and to see how precisely such efforts have benefited American strategic interests or even been successful in producing stable governments. Often, the long-term trajectory seems to be negative. Nor is there much assessment of the utility of U.S. support. Indeed, research released by Italy’s Banca Monte Dei Paschi suggests that Obama’s public statements of support for Renzi may in fact have contributed to the defeat of the recent referendum.

The Nuland incident should also have forced a serious conversation about U.S.-Russia strategic competition. That—along with Putin’s very revealing “spring” speech after the annexation of Crimea later that year—were very clear indications that the course of U.S. policy was at odds with Russian strategic preferences. If the clash was not desired, then a policy of recalibration was in order—including talks about new “rules of the road” for conduct in a variety of realms including cyberspace. If the clash was seen as unavoidable because of how U.S. interests were conceived, then actions taken afterwards were quite confusing. In Ukraine, the U.S. did enough to spoil relations with Russia but far too little to ensure the success of the Maidan movement. Efforts to combat Russian cyber and information operations were left unfunded or shut down. There were plenty of critiques about Russian behavior in Syria but nothing to change Moscow’s underlying calculus.

Similarly, the discussion today about how to respond lacks a certain strategic seriousness. Some political figures casually toss out grave consequences, up to even military strikes, to punish Russia for its supposed interference. Others continue to cling to fantasies that the U.S. can dispense sanctions on these matters yet retain complete Russian cooperation in other areas that are of importance to the United States.

Moving forward, the U.S. has several different options. After each major cyber incident over the past several years that is attributed to Russian sources, the Kremlin makes a call for codifying international practices that would restrict what countries can do in cyberspace. The U.S. has traditionally resisted such calls because preserving America’s freedom of action is more important for achieving U.S. interests and objectives. Accepting that Russia (and other countries) now have similar capabilities to influence U.S. developments may be one price to pay, just as the United States has had to accept the loss of its earlier monopoly on drone technologies. Alternatively, the United States could re-ramp up efforts to more effectively identify and combat such efforts at home, while enforcing stricter cyber and digital security and changing the habits of many Washingtonians who otherwise prefer to conduct their business via interceptable e-mails and mobile calls, to reduce vulnerabilities. The United States could make efforts by other government to influence U.S. elections in such fashion the central organizing principle of its relations—and to be prepared to pay the costs in other areas.

... ... ...

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russia-neither-friend-nor-foe-18725?page=sho...

2proximity1
Ene 2, 2017, 9:37am




(Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone Magazine)

"Something About This Russia Story Stinks"

"Nearly a decade and a half after the Iraq-WMD faceplant, the American press is again asked to co-sign a dubious intelligence assessmen"


The Obama administration announced this week that nearly three dozen Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP



... "we don't learn much at all about what led our government to determine a) that these hacks were directed by the Russian government, or b) they were undertaken with the aim of influencing the election, and in particular to help elect Donald Trump.

"The problem with this story is that, like the Iraq-WMD mess, it takes place in the middle of a highly politicized environment during which the motives of all the relevant actors are suspect. Nothing quite adds up.

"If the American security agencies had smoking-gun evidence that the Russians had an organized campaign to derail the U.S. presidential election and deliver the White House to Trump, then expelling a few dozen diplomats after the election seems like an oddly weak and ill-timed response. Voices in both parties are saying this now." -- Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine


http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/something-about-this-russia-story-...


3DugsBooks
Editado: Ene 2, 2017, 4:25pm

Having just skimmed both posts, It is a "huge" provocation for Russian sources to screw with our election and I think it is being glossed over by Trump & company for political reasons.

All that is weighed against the charges from Snowden/wikileaks about the NSA "tapped Germany's head of state Angela Merkel's phone" . I wonder if the hard evidence from this is only an admission from the USA or other sources. In the Russian case we have the hard evidence is my understanding.

As "friend or foe" , in my mind I always separate the sleazy Russian government opinion from what I assume is the Russian people's opinion who are just trying to make a life like we are & the fact that they have endured hardships that the majority of the USA can only imagine. My opinion is bereft of any knowledge of Russian demographics - they may have fewer old people with memories of horrific wars than us.

4proximity1
Editado: Ene 7, 2017, 8:27am

Poll Query-- Do you believe that the allegations of direct and deliberate interference in the most recent U.S. election by Russian hackers working at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin are either certainly or very probably true?

(Note: First, please at least review these excerpts before entering your opinion in the following poll)

___________________________


US intelligence report: Vladimir Putin 'ordered' operation to get Trump elected

Declassified assessment says Russia ‘had clear preference’ for Trump, who met with US intelligence chiefs on Friday but refused to endorse their findings



“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary (Hillary) Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/06/vladimir-putin-us-election-interfe...



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(from RealClearPolitics.com)

Assange To Hannity: Source For WikiLeaks Was Not Russian Government
28.5k Shares

Posted By Ian Schwartz
On Date January 2, 2017


In an exclusive interview with FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange said Russia was not the source for the DNC and John Podesta hacks.

Related Video: Hannity on Julian Assange: "I Believe Every Word He Says"

HANNITY: Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent that you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Yes. We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.

Hannity's full interview with Assange will air Tuesday night at 10pm ET. More from the interview:

ASSANGE: Our publications had wide uptake by the American people, they're all true. But that's not the allegation that’s being presented by the Obama White House. So, why such a dramatic response? Well, the reason is obvious. They’re trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate President...

ASSANGE: Our source is not a state party, so the answer for our interactions is no. But if we look at our most recent statement from the US government, which is on the 29th of December, OK, we had five different branches of government, Treasury, DHS, FBI, White House presenting their accusations to underpin Obama’s throwing out 29 Russian diplomats. What was missing from all of those statements? The word WikiLeaks. It’s very strange.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/01/02/assange_to_hannity_our_source_...



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(from Powerlineblog.com)

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Scott Johnson in Intelligence, Russia

Ishmael Jones: From Russia with doubt



(Editor's Note : "The pseudonymous Ishmael Jones is a former CIA case officer and author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. He writes with a timely comment on the current intelligence controversy that is reaching a fever pitch. Mr. Jones advises that his commentary has been reviewed and approved by the CIA’s publications review board.) He writes:

CIA intelligence reporting stating that the Russian government hacked the presidential election in order to elect Donald Trump is false. It is merely a political attack against Donald Trump with the goal of delegitimizing his presidency.

The depth and quality of the CIA reporting are too good to be true. A December 16 NBC report states, for example: “Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used.” Everyone knows that a great deal of hacking comes out of Russia. But evidence of hacking does not lead to the conclusion that there was a Russian government conspiracy to get Mr. Trump elected.

Such a conclusion would require access to Putin’s inner circle and knowledge of Putin’s plans and intentions. Any spy that close to Putin would be one of the best intelligence sources of all time.

If such a source existed, he doesn’t exist any more. The leaked reporting would have put him in grave danger, and he would already have been imprisoned or executed.

The reporting instead reflects the political opinions and agendas of bureaucrats. CIA bureaucrats are a big blue voting machine with a long record of creating information harmful to Republican presidents. The danger to Mr. Trump is ratcheted up because the recent election influenced many people at the CIA to believe that Trump is the second coming of Hitler. And to stop Hitler, anything is ethical, even treason. CIA bureaucrats have chosen to attack Mr. Trump before he even takes office.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/ishmael-jones-from-russia-with-dou...





_______________________

Please don't enter a vote in ignorance. Review the three excerpts above. The object here is to discover what people with at least this much information believe. Thank you.

___________

Poll Question :

Votar: Do you believe that the allegations of direct and deliberate interference in the most recent U.S. election by Russians hackers working at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin are either certainly or very probably true?

Recuento actual: 4, No 1

5proximity1
Editado: Ene 10, 2017, 4:37am

in the venomous atmosphere of the presidential election campaign, no need for any actual breach of security at the DNC's servers or that in the Clinton's home basement. All that was necessary was for someone to have left copious tell-tale signs of a cyber break-in an.d hostile conspiracist suspicions already at work in vicious US partisan politics would be entirely sufficient to do the rest and should promise rich returns in indications about the real intelligence of the candidates and their teams :

A) can one fool the US intel agencies? --convince them to all agree & report to the president as a real cyber break-in what was just a ploy?

B) if so, is either candidate smart enough not to be taken in by such a ruse? Or, would they bend to their govt. intel agencies' interpretation of misleading information?

C) Can "they" also get the mainstream media to buy this story and convince the general public, too?

Accurate knowledge of the answers to these questions would be quite valuable to any foreign government or comparable power.

Obviously, Putin knows the truth concerning any attempt on his part officially to either breach the DNC computer servers or merely leave false indications of such or, indeed, whether the Russian government had nothing to do with it. Thus, whatever the facts, he now has useful insight into the judgment of the incoming president and that of Obama's intel agencies as to their respective gullibility or astuteness.

Of course it's also possible that none of the US intelligence agencies really believe that a break-in occurred. They may have learned that this was a faked expedition and want to leave the impression that they fell for it when in fact they did not.

Thus, the US intel agencies then also have to assess the probability of their having fooled the people behind any such phony break-in.

6proximity1
Editado: Ene 12, 2017, 6:56am

If Americans want to see their soon-to-be new president Trump boxed-in by scheming foreign powers' efforts by which, hypothetically, they might seek to place and hold him in a compromised position, then all they have to do is play the predictable and hypocritical role of shocked and outraged PC morons and fail--again--to learn an important lesson from Bill Clinton's record of loose morals.

Stop stupidly lending aid to would-be dossier-building extortionate manipulators--foreign or domestic--by acting like prudish children where adult consentual sexual acts are concerned and learn to keep an essential distinction between coerced and consensual sex acts.

Men and women, including staunch PC liberals, have secret sexual affairs in which they violate the trust of their spouses or partners. As long as the dealings remain consentual and between adults, it's no one's business except the three people personally involved.

I never cease to be staggered by the political stupidity of the American people.

Grow the fuck up! or suffer the consequences of being used and played for fools by clever and cynical power-interests.

7proximity1
Editado: Ene 13, 2017, 11:44am

Had U.S. voters wanted to weigh the importance of Trump's real or supposed ties to interests in Russia or to its president, Vladimir Putin, or to any other Russians as factors in their decisions about the best candidate for U.S. president, is there anyone who seriously doubts or questions their right to consider such aspects? It's a virtual certainty that some voters did just that: considered Trump's personal ties to Russians--and some of them voted for Clinton while others of them voted for Trump.

The fact is that voters have a right to consider anything they regard as worthy of their time and attention in weighing up their voting decisions. Anything --no matter its source or the possible motives of the source(s), whether known or only guessed--is within their purview as for their decisions' criteria and bases.

Thus, if information bearing on the election-- as the voters see it-- comes to them from whatever source, domestic or foreign, they have a right to either accept or refuse to take that information into account as, in their sole judgment, they see fit to do. No one has a right to require a voter to reveal how or why he or she voted in a secret balloting and no one has a right to require that a voter account for his decision.

Thus, attempts by foreign individuals or groups to inform, advise or persuasde voters --openly or via hidden means-- are receivable or not according to the judgment of each individual voter.

How else could people be free to vote as they see fit?-- whether it be wisely or foolishly, from fear or in fearlessness, for sound or absurd reasons and motives.

Even if Vladimir Putin had avowed having stolen and leaked information for the expressed purpose of influencing voters, the voters have every right to decide whether or not to take this into account--just as they have the right to urge their fellow voters to accept or reject such an effort to influence them.

(ETA) All of this prior to election-day.

Once the ballots are cast and counted, once a result has come into view, the "rightness," the legitimacy, of the election and its results are properly confined only to whether some ballots were genuine or fraudulent and nothing else about them. Attempts after the ballots are counted to examine or question voters' motives, the grounds and criteria for their private decisions and who or what either did or might have influenced them--unless, of course, organized bribery or threats or intimidation can be shown to have happened-- are out of order and nobody's business to investigate.

9proximity1
Editado: Jun 25, 2017, 9:36am

Face It: The President’s Actions Say Guilty
By Josh Marshall Published June 22, 2017 11:08 am




"The best analog to President Trump’s stance toward the Russia probe and his refusal to accept that Russian interference even happened is a husband who is suspected in his wife’s disappearance and repeatedly insists that she’s probably on a beach in Aruba having a good laugh at his expense.

"In any normal circumstance, by any conventional standard, Trump’s attitude and actions are ones that are only consistent with guilt. He has not only repeatedly insisted on his innocence, which the innocent and guilty do in equal measure, but insisted that the crime itself never actually happened."



Yes, but...

it helps if there is a "missing wife" in the first place. When Trump can say, in effect, "Here's my wife", and produce her, then, very politely, and for the umpteenth time:

WHERE IS YOUR GODDAMNED EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION, ASSHOLES?!!!

"He has not only repeatedly insisted on his innocence, which the innocent and guilty do in equal measure, but insisted that the crime itself never actually happened."

This happens with marked consistency when people are charged with crimes which, as a matter of fact, never actually happened. If this "crime" had happened, instead of pathetic exhortations to "'face it'! ("folks") Trump just looks guilty to us"--(never mind that we hate his fucking guts.)

_______________

PJ Media : by Roger L. Simon
Trump Derangement Syndrome Has Become the New Plague
By Roger L Simon | June 23, 2017


_______________

The Antithesis of Obstruction
by Andrew C. McCarthy June 24, 2017 4:00 AM

| Trump did not obstruct a valid FBI investigation; he demanded the exposure of a false one.




"Trump did not obstruct a valid FBI investigation; he demanded the exposure of a false one. The “collusion” narrative was a fraud, plain and simple. We know that now. Hopefully, it won’t take another six months to grasp a second plain and simple truth: Collusion’s successor, the “obstruction” narrative, is a perversion.

"The Left loves narrative. The ever-expanding story manipulates time, space, and detail to fit a thematic framework. Political narrative has some surface appeal, but it is deeply flawed. It obscures plain and simple truth."

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448940/trump-obstruction-narrative-comey-k...

10proximity1
Editado: Jun 27, 2017, 9:02am





"Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?"
by Norman Solomon | June 26, 2017




"The plan for Democrats to run against Russia may be falling apart.

"After squandering much of the last six months on faulting Russians for the horrific presidency of Donald Trump…

"After blaming America’s dire shortfalls of democracy on plutocrats in Russia more than on plutocrats in America…

"After largely marketing the brand of their own party as more anti-Russian than pro-working-people…

"After stampeding many Democratic Party-aligned organizations, pundits and activists into fixating more on Russia than on the thousand chronic cuts to democracy here at home…

"After soaking up countless hours of TV airtime and vast quantities of ink and zillions of pixels to denounce Russia in place of offering progressive remedies to the deep economic worries of American voters…

"Now, Democrats in Congress and other party leaders are starting to face an emerging reality: The “winning issue” of Russia is a losing issue.

"The results of a reliable new nationwide poll -- and what members of Congress keep hearing when they actually listen to constituents back home -- cry out for a drastic reorientation of Democratic Party passions. And a growing number of Democrats in Congress are getting the message.

“ ' Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia,' The Hill reported over the weekend. In sharp contrast to their party’s top spokespeople, 'rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.' "

... ...



Full text at the hyperlinked Headline, above.


__________________



Proejct Veritas : "American Pravda: 'Project Veritas' Catches CNN Producer Admitting Russia Story Is "Mostly Bullshit," "About Ratings" " Posted By Tim Hains | On Date June 27, 2017



Project Veritas (PJ) (undercover) Reporter: "So why is CNN like, 'Russia this, Russia that'?"

CNN producer John Bonifield: "Because it's ratings."

Project Veritas (PJ) (undercover) Reporter: "Because it's ratings?"

CNN producer John Bonifield: "Our ratings are incredible right now."

"It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss…All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business." - veteran CNN producer John Bonifield

PV Narrator : ... "The 'Russia' story and Trump have made CNN millions." ($)

... ...
"They're feeding their audience a false narrative in order to get ratings."



11proximity1
Editado: Jun 28, 2017, 3:39am

Liberals and faux-liberals, the ordinary American public Duped as Dim-witted Dumbos by the Democratic Party's diabolical managing-directors, are now so desperate as to actually try doubling-down on their doggedly-held dream of dumping Trump by this, the latest twist in this dismal melodrama:



Tick, Tick, Tick: How Watergate unfolded can tell us a lot about the Trump–Russia scandal. | By Michelle Goldberg (Slate)


...

"In retrospect, it might seem like doubts about the scope of the scandal had been resolved by August 1973 when the hearings concluded. Yet according to the 1983 book The Battle for Public Opinion: The President, the Press, and the Polls During Watergate, a Harris poll found that 50 percent of respondents believed the media was giving Watergate “more attention than it deserved.” Another poll found that only 20 percent of Americans considered “Watergate, lack of confidence in government, or problems of Nixon and his administration” to be the most important problems facing the country. Most people were more concerned about inflation.

"In the latest issue of New York magazine, Frank Rich has a terrific cover story, “Just Wait: Watergate didn’t become Watergate overnight, either.” “Among those of us who want Donald Trump gone from Washington yesterday, there’s a fair amount of fear that he, too, could hang on until the end of a four-year term that stank of corruption from the start,” writes Rich. But the Watergate example, he argues, shows that the implosion of a presidency isn’t necessarily obvious as it’s happening."



Unable to face facts, they're clinging to this thin straw-- Nixon's fall was many months in coming. Thus, their hopes are pinned on some historical parallel with Watergate's events and details. But there is really no reasonable comparison.

Are these people seriously incapable of understanding how terribly they've been played--and are still being played-- by an utterly cynical Democratic Party? --a party abetted by national journalism which has now long been formed in the corporate elite's image, one which is now completely sold-out and ratings-driven? (See above at >10 proximity1:)

This attempt to reveal deep similarities between Nixon's Watergatge scandal and Trump's current administration doesn't work because there's no respectable basis to it. It's the product of a mass of people suffering through the trauma of deep psychological loss and disappointment. This is a stage of denial. And they offer the picture of duped suckers who deserve no sympathy at all. Their injuries are self-inflicted and they're going to continue until this ridiculous spell is broken.

It is hard to imagine at this point just what it would take to bring these people back to this side of reality.






(From The Intercept (online) : CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat
| by Glenn Greenwald | June 27 2017, 3:03 p.m.




" Three prominent CNN journalists resigned Monday night after the network was forced to retract and apologize for a story linking Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund under congressional investigation. That article — like so much Russia reporting from the U.S. media — was based on a single anonymous source, and now, the network cannot vouch for the accuracy of its central claims.

In announcing the resignation of the three journalists — Thomas Frank, who wrote the story (not the same Thomas Frank who wrote “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”); Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eric Lichtblau, recently hired away from the New York Times; and Lex Haris, head of a new investigative unit — CNN said that “standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published.” The resignations follow CNN’s Friday night retraction of the story, in which it apologized to Scaramucci:" ...

... "There are great benefits to be reaped by publishing alarmist claims about the Russian Threat and Trump’s connection to it. Stories that depict the Kremlin and Putin as villains and grave menaces are the ones that go most viral, produce the most traffic, generate the most professional benefits such as TV offers, along with online praise and commercial profit for those who disseminate them. That’s why blatantly inane anti-Trump conspiracists and Russia conspiracies now command such a large audience: because there is a voracious appetite among anti-Trump internet and cable news viewers for stories, no matter how false, that they want to believe are true (and, conversely, expressing any skepticism about such stories results in widespread accusations that one is a Kremlin sympathizer or outright agent)."





If people here within this site's discussion threads who have so frequently bought such idiotic bullshit, stupidly swallowing and repeating it as incontrovertible fact, had even an ounce of personal integrity, they'd have already posted admissions of their foolish gullibility and apologized to those here who they shamelessly mocked and ridiculed for having tried to point out to them the actual facts. You know who you are.

12proximity1
Feb 17, 2018, 5:02am



"There is no allegation that any American was a willing participant" in the Russian plan, and there is no allegation that it altered the outcome of the election, Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod J. Rosenstein said in a brief news conference discussing the indictment.

"Nonetheless, the indictment seriously undermines President Trump's repeated contention that the entire Russia investigation is a "hoax" or "witch hunt." It details specific activities the Russians took, initially focused on creating general discord in the U.S., but eventually focused specifically on boosting Trump's campaign."



Try re-reading the OP, at the top of the thread above and consider this pitiful "nothing-burge"r as a result of more than a year's effort and millions of tax-dollars---wasted for this miserable shit.

What a disgrace! And, by the way, this wild-goose chase didn't even succeed in its genuine purpose and design: distract and divert the public and what remains of a decent press from the real scandals which had been hatched in the Obama White House.

What a busted-flush!

Is there even anyone available to face trial on these charges? Were they to do so, I expect they'd walk; a judge might even throw the case out without a trial. Mueller should be ashamed of such a puny result. But he has no shame. Ever the Fuctionary, ready for government-paid work.

13RickHarsch
Feb 17, 2018, 6:14am

>12 proximity1: Help me here, Proximity1: 'Try re-reading the OP, at the top of the thread above...' Where is it?

14proximity1
Editado: Oct 26, 2019, 8:48am


( Originally posted : 19 or 20 February, 2019 )


_________________________________________


NOTE RE: Entrapment —— This post is UP-DATED (as appended below) Saturday, 26 October, 2019 :

__________________________________________

Cites:


my post from : Dec 5, 2017, 3:27am

I also wonder whether Flynn's guilty-plea is irreversible at this point. In his place, if I could, I'd say, "I changed my mind: I'll see you in court. My plea is 'not guilty.'" Then, as part of his defense, he should show the F.B.I. engaged in entrapment.

________________________________


(From The Federalist news website)

By Margot Cleveland || February 19, 2018

How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption || Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys? There is reason to believe so. ||



"On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

"Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday." ...



LOL!

____________________________________

UP-DATE : RE: Entrapment ——



from The Federalist (Washington, D.C.) | Opinion/Commentary

Sidney Powell Drops Bombshell Showing How The FBI Trapped Michael Flynn

'Mr. Flynn will ask this Court to dismiss the entire prosecution based on the outrageous and un-American conduct of law enforcement officials and the subsequent failure of the prosecution to disclose this evidence.' | by Margot Cleveland | Friday, October 25th, 2019

_____________________________


"Earlier this week, Michael Flynn’s star attorney, Sidney Powell, filed under seal a brief in reply to federal prosecutors’ claims that they have already given Flynn’s defense team all the evidence they are required by law to provide. A minimally redacted copy of the reply brief has just been made public, and with it shocking details of the deep state’s plot to destroy Flynn.

"While the briefing at issue concerns Powell’s motion to compel the government to hand over evidence required by Brady and presiding Judge Emmett Sullivan’s standing order, Powell’s 37-page brief pivots between showcasing the prosecution’s penchant for withholding evidence and exposing significant new evidence the defense team uncovered that establishes a concerted effort to entrap Flynn. Along the way, Powell drops half-a-dozen problems with Flynn’s plea and an equal number of justifications for outright dismissal of the criminal charges against Flynn.

"What is most striking, though, is the timeline Powell pieced together from publicly reported text messages withheld from the defense team and excerpts from documents still sealed from public view. The sequence Powell lays out shows that a team of 'high-ranking FBI officials orchestrated an ambush-interview of the new president’s National Security Advisor, not for the purpose of discovering any evidence of criminal activity—they already had tapes of all the relevant conversations about which they questioned Mr. Flynn—but for the purpose of trapping him into making statements they could allege as false.'

The Upper Echelon of the FBI Met to Orchestrate It All


"First came FBI agent Peter Strzok’s text to FBI attorney Lisa Page 'as news of the "salacious and unverified" allegations of the "Steele dossier" dominated the media.' 'Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. . . We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people,” Strzok told his paramour.

"Then, quoting from a sealed statement by Strzok, Powell reveals that over next two weeks, there were 'many meetings' between Strzok and (FBI Deputy Director Andrew) McCabe to discuss 'whether to interview () National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and if so, what interview strategies to use.' And 'on January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target.'

"Next came 'Comey’s direction to "screw it" in contravention of longstanding DOJ protocols,' leading McCabe to personally call Flynn to schedule the interview. Yet none of Comey’s notes on the decision to interview Flynn were turned over to defense. Even Obama-holdover 'Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates candidly opined that the interview "was problematic" and "it was not always clear what the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn,' Powell stressed. Yet again, the prosecution did not turn over Yates’ notes, but only 'disclosed a seven-line summary of Ms. Yates statement six months after Mr. Flynn’s plea.' " ...

...



"Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and current adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity." (Federalist editors)






15proximity1
Feb 20, 2018, 12:41pm



Recommended reading for Robert Mueller:



International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 entry into force 23 March 1976, in accordance with Article 49



_________________________

(Relevant parts: Articles 19-22) as below



Article 19

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or
morals.

Article 20

1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Article 21

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 22

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police in their exercise of this right.

3. Nothing in this article shall authorize States Parties to the International Labour Organisation
Convention of 1948 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize to take legislative measures which would prejudice, or to apply the law in such a manner as to
prejudice, the guarantees provided for in that Convention.





Apparently, Russians, individually and in formal or informal groups may speak and write freely about electoral affairs in the U.S.-- or any other country, for that matter-- and, provided that they aren't behaving in a manner which would make citizens of the nation in question liable to legal sanction, there is no "remedy" in law for their speaking and writing favorably or unfavorably about any candidates for public office in other countries.



Parties and signatories of the ICCPR :

(dark green) State party to the convention

(light green) Signatory that has not ratified

(orange) State party that attempted to withdraw

(gray) Non-state party, non-signatory

Type United Nations General Assembly Resolution
Drafted 1954
Signed 19 December 19661
Location United Nations Headquarters, New York
Effective 23 March 19761
Signatories 741
Parties 1691
Depositary Secretary General of the United Nations
Languages French, English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish

(Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ICCPR-members2.PNG )

16jjwilson61
Feb 20, 2018, 12:49pm

>15 proximity1: But you're missing the point that what's disturbing about the allegations against the Russians isn't what they said, but that they hid their identities and made it look like grass-root American opinion.

17Guanhumara
Editado: Feb 20, 2018, 5:08pm

>16 jjwilson61: Why is that illegal?

I am assuming that your jjwilson61 reflects your real name, and that the location that you list here on LT is genuine, but if you change your username to VVIvanov and state that you live in Moscow, which law would you be breaking?
(Most readers might then assume that you were Russian, but isn't that simply part of the general caveat emptor nature of the Internet?)

18jjwilson61
Feb 20, 2018, 6:10pm

>17 Guanhumara: I didn't say it was illegal, I said it was disturbing. The 13 Russians were indicted on Conspiracy to defraud the United States and Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, but I'm not sure what the actual illegalities were.

19Guanhumara
Feb 20, 2018, 8:30pm

>18 jjwilson61: Sorry, a genuine misunderstanding. Since you were replying to >15 proximity1:, which implied that the Russians' activity has not been illegal, I thought you were explaining why it was.

Am I now correct in thinking that the Russians' (alleged) posting of political opinions, although done in a matter that is understandably disturbing for American citizens, has nothing to do with the offences with which they are being charged?

(n.b. "alleged" because I am not preempting judgement)

20proximity1
Editado: Feb 21, 2018, 3:57am

>16 jjwilson61:

No, really, the point is only about "what they said and wrote", publicly: provided it was not per se illegal--slander, libel, a threat of violence, a clear and open call to insurrection, it doesn't matter that they hid their identities; people's rights to assemble, to write and to speak about political affairs--which included electoral politics in their own and in other's countries--do not require that they act under their own real names or that they first register with the thought-police or CNN. They may legally act anonymously and, in many parts of the world, that is the only non-suicidal option.

Yours is a wildly and weirdly anti-free-expression position. You have apparently no feeling for the importance of free-speech. What's next? Fingerprints and constant drone-monitoring of all who'd presume to engage in political controversy?

"made it look like grass-root American opinion"

LOL! Every detail of their propaganda, every one wthout exception mirrored, represented, actual, real parts of "grass-root American opinion". Nothing they said was alien to U.S. citizens' opinions.

In short, not only was what they did not illegeal, it is protected by state and national laws and international treaties.

>18 jjwilson61:

" I didn't say it was illegal, I said it was disturbing."

Did you grow up in the 50s and 60s? Ever heard of "Radio Free Europe"? What do you think was being broadcast?--nursery rhymes and pie-baking recipes? Are you aware that for decades the official U.S. government openly funded broadcasting beamed into the Soviet Union and its bloc prisoner-states behind the "Iron curtain" and that the broadcasts contained undisguised exhortations to overthrow the communist dictatorial regimes?

What we're seeing today is another breath-taking example of American "exceptionalism". We can fomment revolution in other nations, pour clandestine money into their elections, seek to alter the outcomes--Greece, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. but woe unto those who'd dare interfere in our electoral politics by, gasp!, writing online comments in chat fora!

21margd
Editado: Feb 21, 2018, 10:02am

>18 jjwilson61: The 13 Russians were indicted on Conspiracy to defraud the United States and Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, but I'm not sure what the actual illegalities were.

>19 Guanhumara: Am I now correct in thinking that the Russians' (alleged) posting of political opinions, although done in a matter that is understandably disturbing for American citizens, has nothing to do with the offences with which they are being charged?

Apparently "...the law prohibits a U.S. campaign or person from “soliciting” something “of value” from a foreign national, and it bars rendering “substantial assistance” to illegal foreign national spending...(but) there is little precedent and arguably an increased risk of a defense grounded in the “vagueness” of these prohibitions."" Below is theory that indictments against the 13 Russians were framed in a manner that "... may allow more securely for the prosecution of American actors..." I am wondering if one reason that Trump flipped from triumphal response to tweetstorm is that in interim his lawyers briefed him on possible Mueller strategy?

The Charging Mystery in the Russia Indictments—And Its Indication of What Comes Next in the Mueller Investigation
Bob Bauer | February 17, 2018

The special counsel’s indictment of Russian individuals and organizations brought campaign finance law for the first time into formal charges in the case. But this development came with a mystery. The indictment alleges facts that support charges of federal campaign finance law violations—such as the prohibition on foreign national contributions—but does not charge any such offenses. This is clearly not for want of evidence, since the indictment sets out in considerable detail the millions in foreign national spending to influence the 2016 election. Yet Bob Mueller omitted any direct charge for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Instead, the indictment builds the campaign finance issues into a conspiracy to defraud the United States—it alleges that the Russians conspired to obstruct the capacity of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law. The act of obstruction was a failure to report their illegal expenditures. If the FEC did not know about the expenditures, it could not enforce the law.

Now, of course, those engaged in illegal campaign finance activity, such as spending from foreign national sources, won’t ever make an exception and comply with self-incriminating reporting requirements. And the irony of the premise–that the FEC would get the job done if given the needed facts–will not be lost on those who have observed the agency’s decline. But there is a theory, of course, behind the structure of the charges, and it might hold a clue to what comes next in the campaign finance phase of the case.

Mueller and his team may have concluded that straight statutory campaign finance allegations rest on too much untested ground and would complicate what may well be the next phase of their investigation. This consideration would not affect the foreign national side of the case: Foreign nationals are plainly prohibited from spending in the manner detailed in the indictment. But how the law reaches American co-conspirators is less certain, and the special counsel’s theory of the case, pleading the campaign finance aspect of the case through conspiracy-to-defraud, may allow more securely for the prosecution of American actors...

https://www.justsecurity.org/52610/charging-mystery-russia-indictments-and-indic...

22Crypto-Willobie
Feb 21, 2018, 9:58am

I'm beginning to suspect that proximity1 is a Russian agent, sent over to rile up everyone on every side...

23proximity1
Feb 21, 2018, 11:43am


>21 margd:

"But there is a theory, of course, behind the structure of the charges,"

LOL! Yeah, I know that theory. You can see it in action at any Las Vegas casino where a player at the craps-table is rolling dice. The theory is simple-- it goes like this:

"Make your 'point' before you crap out rolling a 'Seven'."

24proximity1
Editado: Feb 22, 2018, 4:59am

"Instead, the indictment builds the campaign finance issues into a conspiracy to defraud the United States—it alleges that the Russians conspired to obstruct the capacity of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to enforce the law. The act of obstruction was a failure to report their illegal expenditures. If the FEC did not know about the expenditures, it could not enforce the law."

"Expenditures" must mean direct or indirect expenditure for the candidate's campaign's purchase of some material or, here, probably and especially, ' an electioneering communication."

But the point would be that the communication has to be a purchased-good --air-time, etc. cable-access, for a campaign's own communications efforts --as opposed to the opinions of an observing public's members.

But, of course, individuals or groups who go online and air their opinions about candidates and political issues couldn't reasonably constitute an expenditure or the purchase of goods which qualify as such communications because, one, they're the opinions of person or persons writing, speaking and airing the views, not the candidates themselves or their campaigns and, two, they don't replace or lessen the campaign's own lay-outs for such communications. If this weren't the correct view, then each and every news article and report could be viewed, accordingly as it favors or disfavors a candidate, as an "expenditure" for the candidate or his or her opponent. The effect of that interpretation would be to simply shut down any and all public discussion---and I can't think of a more direct and effective way to obstruct the aims of holding elections for public offices than that.



The Federal Election Campagin Act and Commission regulations include a broad prohibition on foreign national activity in connection with elections in the United States. 52 U.S.C. § 30121 and generally, 11 CFR 110.20. In general, foreign nationals are prohibited from the following activities:

Making any contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or making any expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States;

Making any contribution or donation to any committee or organization of any national, state, district,

or local political party (including donations to a party nonfederal account or office building account);

Making any disbursement for an electioneering communication;

Making any donation to a presidential inaugural committee.



In other words, there has to be a distinction between ordinary free-speech rights and expression and what the F.E.C. is trying to prohibit in activities by foreign nationals. There is nothing I can see in the Mueller case as it's presented here that makes any such reasonable distinction.

RE: "Now, of course, those engaged in illegal campaign finance activity, such as spending from foreign national sources, won’t ever make an exception and comply with self-incriminating reporting requirements. "

Gee! Ain't it a shame!? On the other hand, what real law-enforcement agents do is go out and gather actual evidence of the violation of a statute--such as, in this case:

"You (foreign national) purchased the following real-goods which were then used by and for the the direct benefit of (said election campaign / candidate). And we have the following paper evidence of the purchase(s) and the candidate's or his or her campaign's use of the goods for their official campaign communications."

There. That's what's required. Go out and get that evidence, bring it to a qualified grand jury and make your case for an indictment. Otherwise, leave the free-speech rights of people everywhere alone and go peddle your papers.

And I "invite" (defy) one of you Mueller-bots to show us one or more of these.

25Guanhumara
Feb 21, 2018, 4:33pm

I have to agree with >20 proximity1: completely here.

It seems (allegedly) that the Russians engaged in some common-or-garden hacking in order to commit financial fraud, and pay for server space from funds that were not theirs. Yes, if they are guilty of that, that is definitely a crime.

But they don't seem to be charged with donating these stolen funds to either political candidates campaign - which I believe, under U.S. law, would constitute an illegal donation from a foreign national.

Instead, they used their own accounts to promote their own opinions. Surely they have the right, under "freedom of speech" to do that?

If, in the 2020 presidential election, I say: "Vote for Candidate X, because {insert random garbage here}" - would you do it?

If I change my userID and say "As an American, vote for Candidate X, because {insert same random garbage}" - would that change your mind?

It shouldn't matter who I am - or who I pretend to be.
The only part of the statement above that should matter is the content between those brackets.

Moreover, the indictment seems to be referring to some posts that do not directly endorse any candidate, but simply stir up controversy.
As long as this does not libel, incite violence, racial hatred, or call for insurrection, then I do not see what law has been broken.

>18 jjwilson61:

You may find it "disturbing", but why ever do you find it surprising?

The U.S. has routinely attempted to influence the results of elections in other countries (sometimes by overt means, sometimes by clandestine ones).

Who would be naive enough to assume that another nation would not do the same to yours?

26proximity1
Editado: Feb 23, 2018, 9:57am







The hysteria over Russian bots has reached new levels
by Thomas Frank || Opinion || The Guardian (London) || Fri 23 Feb 2018 10.00 GMT




"The grand total for all political ad spending in the 2016 election cycle, according to Advertising Age, was $9.8bn. The ads allegedly produced by inmates of a Russian troll farm, which have made up this week’s ration of horror and panic in the halls of the American punditburo, cost about $100,000 to place on Facebook.

"A few months ago, when I first described those Russian ads in this space, I invited readers to laugh at them. They were “low-budget stuff, ugly, loud and stupid”, I wrote. They interested me because they cast the paranoid right, instead of the left, as dupes of a foreign power. And yet, I wrote, the American commentariat had largely overlooked them.

"Now that Robert Mueller’s office has indicted the Russian actors who are allegedly behind the ads, however, all that has changed. American pundits have gone from zero to 60 on this matter in no time at all – from ignoring the Facebook posts to outright hysteria over them.

"What the Russian trolls allegedly did was 'an act of war ... a sneak attack using 21st-century methods', wrote the columnist Karen Tumulty. 'Our democracy is in serious danger,' declared America’s star thought-leader Thomas Friedman on Sunday, raging against the weakling Trump for not getting tough with these trolls and their sponsors. 'Protecting our democracy obviously concerns Trump not at all,' agreed columnist Eugene Robinson on Tuesday.

The ads themselves are now thought to have been the product of highly advanced political intelligence. So effective were the troll-works, wrote Robert Kuttner on Monday, that we can say Trump 'literally became president in a Russia-sponsored coup d’etat'.

For thoughts on the finely tuned calculations behind this propaganda campaign, The Washington Post on Saturday turned to Brian Fallon, a former Hillary Clinton press secretary, who referred to the alleged Russian effort as follows: 'It seems like the creative instincts and the sophistication exceeds a lot of the US political operatives who do this for a living.'

Of what, specifically, did this sophistication consist? In what startling insights was this creativity made manifest? 'Fallon said it was stunning to realize that the Russians understood how Trump was trying to woo disaffected (Bernie) Sanders supporters ...'

"The Post added a few suspicious examples of its own. The Russian trolls figured out that battleground states were important. And: they tried to enlist disgruntled blue-collar voters in what the paper called the 'rust belt'.

"Okay, stop here. Since when is it a marker of political sophistication to know that some states are more persuadable than others? Or to understand that blue-collar voters are an important demographic these days?

"If you’re one of those people who frets about our democracy being in serious danger, I contend that the above passages from the Post’s report should push your panic meter deep into the red.

"This is the reason why: we have here a former spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, one of the best-funded, most consummately professional efforts of all time, and he thinks it was an act of off-the-hook perceptiveness to figure out that Trump was aiming for disgruntled Sanders voters. Even after Trump himself openly said that’s what he was trying to do."




_____________________________________________


27proximity1
Editado: Mayo 24, 2018, 8:20am

"The Strzok-Page Texts and the Origins of the Trump-Russia Investigation"

(National Review.com) By Andrew C. McCarthy | May 14, 2018 5:10 PM




"But all that aside, it may not be necessary to pry into informant files in order to find answers to the most pressing questions. Those answers may be found in the thousands of Strzok-Page texts. These provide a day-to-day narrative of the goings-on in the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations by two of the highest, most plugged-in officials in the government.

"This fact has eluded us for months, ever since the existence of the texts was first made known. Yes, a few explosive messages have captured our attention, most notably, Strzok’s 'insurance policy' assertion: An account of an August 15 discussion among top FBI officials in then-deputy director Andrew McCabe’s office, with Strzok observing that although it was highly unlikely 'Trump gets elected,' the government 'can’t take that risk' and needed an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency. But for the most part, the texts have been dismissed as the ravings of star-crossed lovers whose loathing of Trump and disdain for Trump supporters should not be thought to reflect on the Bureau’s legions of hard-working non-partisans.

"That’s the wrong way to look at it.

"Strzok and Page are singularly well-informed, central players in the Clinton and Trump investigations. They tell us exactly what is going on and why — or at least they would if the Justice Department had not blacked out key parts of their running conversation."



______________________




From The Wall Street Journal
Potomac Watch

"Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’? " |
At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?


By Kimberley A. Strassel
May 17, 2018 7:06 p.m. ET

__________________________



"House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. 'If the campaign was somehow set up,' he told the hosts, 'I think that would be a problem.'

"Or an understatement. Mr. Nunes is still getting stiff-armed by the Justice Department over his subpoena, but this week his efforts did force the stunning admission that the FBI had indeed spied on the Trump campaign. This came in the form of a Thursday New York Times apologia in which government 'officials' acknowledged that the bureau had used 'at least one' human 'informant' to spy on both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The Times slipped this mind-bending fact into the middle of an otherwise glowing profile of the noble bureau—and dismissed it as no big deal.

But there’s more to be revealed here, and Mr. Nunes’s 'set up' comment points in a certain direction. Getting to the conclusion requires thinking more broadly about events beyond the FBI’s actions." ... ...




__________________________________

Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI’s Trump Investigation (National Review magazine)

By Andrew C. McCarthy | May 17, 2018 12:22 PM


__________________________________

"10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign"
(From The Federalist ) By Mollie Hemingway | May 17, 2018


__________________________________


What are lynch-mob members out to get Donald Trump going to say when the lid finally blows off this episode in ways no longer possible for them to ignore or deny? What are they going to say (to themselves and others) when a sordid concerted effort mounted from within the Obama adminstration from mid-2016, implicating the Dept. of Justice (F.B.I.) and other executive branch agencies' misusing and abusing federal government powers to spy on and seek to to undermine the Trump campaign --and, later, the Trump presidency itself--by the hold-over members of the Obama administration still in place-- maliciously spreading false and calumnious rumor. hypotheses and unfounded innuendo at last becomes so apparent that not even they can deny it?

__________________________________



WSJ's Kim Strassel: "Mindboggling" That Obama's DOJ Spied On The Republican Party's Presidential Nominee | Posted By Ian Schwartz || On Date May 19, 2018



... ...

TUCKER CARLSON: Kim, so you've just heard Jim Clapper tell us it's a good thing. Do you think it would be worth just putting a permanent FBI or CIA spy in every presidential campaign going forward?

KIM STRASSEL: THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Why not? It sounds like it would be a good thing, Tucker.

Look, you and I have been doing this for a long time. Can you think of any time in history when this has happened or when anyone thought it was OK for - by the way, the Department of Justice is being run by one political party, electronically surveilling and then also spying on the leading candidate, for a nominee for opposing party running for the presidency.

TUCKER CARLSON: It's almost too big to get your head around. And you've got to think -

STRASSEL: It's mindboggling.

CARLSON: - any other moment in the last 50 years, if this came to light, it would be considered a stop the presses moment. It would be a legitimate constitutional crisis and a scandal, people would go to prison. And, yet, this is passing almost without comment, except really on this channel and at your newspaper. Why?

STRASSEL: Well, the mainstream media doesn't want to have to put this the way it is because they still want the Russia collusion narrative to be true.

They still want a pretext to get this president out of office. And so, people are no longer using standard measures.

Look, I'm a libertarian. I don't want a government spying on anybody in any situation that's illegitimate. And so, I try to put that measure out there.

But one other thing too that I think is so astounding and that also deserves some note is the games the Department of Justice is playing in terms of coming clean with this information.

They have now flouted a subpoena from Chairman Nunes for weeks, saying that there is no way that they can give him the information he wants because it might put this source of theirs at risk.

And yet, they have over the past couple of weeks leaked more information about this person than was prior known and would be known and they're doing it all in order to get friendly media to write stories about how they did everything right in 2016, which, of course, we know they didn't.

... ...


___________________________________

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is asking the Justice Department for a document that lays out the full scope of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.



___________________________________



22 May 2018 :

The “Sensitive Matter Team”

by Sharyl Attkisson || on May 22, 2018 || in News ||


_________________________



Newly-examined emails among high-ranking U.S. intel officials at the time—including then-Director James Comey and his chief of staff James Rybicki—reference a “sensitive matter team.”

Based on the context of the emails, the “sensitive matter” appears to be the Trump-Russia narrative, and political opposition research funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The research— known as the “Steele dossier”— was peddled to the press and secretly used, in part, to justify controversial FBI wiretaps against at least one Trump associate.

The emails were first obtained by the Justice Department Inspector General and recently turned over to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray Monday asking for the identity of all members of the “sensitive matter team.”

According to Sen. Johnson’s letter, Comey chief of staff Rybicki emailed unidentified recipients on the morning of Jan. 6, 2017 stating, “(Director Comey) is coming to HQ briefly now for an update on the sensitive matter team.”

Later in the day, Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a few of the salacious, unverified allegations in the Steele dossier. The next day, Comey reported on his briefing in an email to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI General Counsel James Baker and Chief of Staff Rybicki. (All four men have since resigned or been fired from the FBI.)

“I said there was something Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wanted me to speak to President Elect Trump about alone or in a very small group,” Comey wrote in the email. “I then executed the session exactly as I had planned…I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook.” (Clapper now works as a CNN contributor.)

... ...



Sharyl Attkisson on Youtube.com :

Attkisson: Media no longer follows rules because of Trump

How Real Is Fake News? | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada



28proximity1
Mayo 26, 2018, 3:47am



(From The Federalist.com) :
I’m A Democrat, And The Left’s Russia Gaslighting Scares Me More Than Trump Does
|| My fellow Democrats are increasingly becoming the kind of low-information voters they despise and think are only on the other side. || By Saritha Prabhu || May 24, 2018



“I am an ordinary voter living far from the Beltway who feels gaslighted by our political and media establishments regarding the Russia investigation. Our current Yanny versus Laurel political moment is probably confusing even for professional political commentators. But for ordinary Americans it is a bewildering, disorienting spectacle.
“Which is it: Is Donald Trump a threat to the republic, or is the deep state the threat? Was the Russia investigation legit, or was it concocted by an out-of-control Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency? Was it an FBI “informant,” or was it a “spy”?
“Has America become Venezuela, as Republicans say, because the Obama administration spied on the campaign of a political adversary? Or has it become Venezuela, as Democrats say, because our current president is attacking his investigators?

“The answers to the above questions depend on which camp one is in. In our hyperpartisan times, each side has its own narrative.
“Each Side Couldn’t Be Farther From the Other”

“The Democrats and their supportive media outlets (CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times) have been saying for a year that Trump and his campaign likely colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will eventually find proof of it, and that Trump will, as a result, get impeached.
“Those on the Right point to the various leaks and reports to say there was no collusion, the Russia investigation was a set-up to undermine Trump’s presidency, and that the investigation needs to wrap up.

“Looking at all of this, one wonders: If Watergate had happened today, would there be a bipartisan, national consensus that the president had done grave misdeeds and needed to resign? Probably not. There would be two narratives, each spinning madly, with no consensus.

“I’m a Democrat, and it would be easier to accept my side’s version of unfolding events. It would certainly make my life easier when talking with my liberal friends. But facts are pesky things, and I’ve become increasingly aggravated by my own side. It seems the desire to win the 2016 election and Trump hatred has not only warped the Democratic political and media establishments, but exposed them for what they are.

“Yes, Trump is intemperate, narcissistic, and the most unconventional president ever. But it appears that his opponents in our political and media establishments are far worse: they wanted to subvert democracy to save it from Trump; they wanted to thwart the will of Trump’s 63 million voters and not just undermine his presidency, but to concoct an investigation to impeach him and get him out of office.
“Looked at this way, it appears that Trump’s election is vindicated for many reasons: There appears to be a deep state in this country comprising both Republicans and Democrats, which will not abide an outsider president.” … ...
This Is a Horrible Look for Democrats



29proximity1
Mayo 28, 2018, 10:29am




(from The Federalist.com)

Corruption

It’s Time To Admit The Russia Investigation Was Illegitimate From The Start ||
While claims that the FBI properly inquired of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia were valid to a point, that point has long since passed. ||

____________________
By Margot Cleveland | May 23, 2018



“In the last week, as revelation upon revelation hit that Obama administration officials and career employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) spied on the Donald Trump campaign in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, the mainstream media, the Left, and Never Trump Republicans have fallen back on three ready responses.

A solid plurality of this contingent continue to avert their eyes from the facts and dismiss the claims of misconduct as peddled by tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. There is not much you can say to this faction, because they refuse to consider the proof.

A second—and more extreme group—believes Trump conspired with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. There is not much you can say to this bunch either, because they are tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists.

But the final group sees things differently. While they don’t necessarily believe Trump was treasonous, they argue that the FBI and other intelligence-gathering agencies rightly targeted the Trump campaign. With Russian-leaning Paul Manafort and Carter Page involved in the campaign, and Trump trolling Hillary with praise for Vladimir Putin, the government could not just ignore the risk, they posit. And there was no impropriety in doing so.

“I Was Once In Group Three, Too”

“For two years, I teetered between that third contingent and utter disinterest. But then we learned that the DOJ intentionally failed to inform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court that the Democratic National Committee had paid for the Christopher Steele dossier. That unverified and mainly false dossier formed a significant part of the government’s application for a wiretap for former Trump aide Page.”

This admission changed everything for me: I had spent nearly 25 years reviewing challenges to warrants based on claims of withheld (or false) evidence. However, unlike the typical criminal case in which a defendant later has access to the warrant application, in the case of a FISA court order, the target cannot view the information the government used to obtain a wiretap, making FISA court proceedings ripe for abuse.”

My rule of law alarms went off. Trump’s criticism of the Russia collusion investigation no longer sounded staged, and he no longer seemed paranoid. Then the revelations kept coming, as did leaks intended to harm Trump, change the narrative, or soften soon-to-be released news of other misconduct.

Meanwhile, what was not forthcoming was the information Congress requested, and when it belatedly arrived it was heavily redacted to protect “national security.” Then later releases revealed the national security excuse didn’t hold. So while claims that the FBI properly inquired of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia were valid to a point, that point has long since passed.

Was there good faith in the beginning? Did political appointees and career agents rightfully pursue leads to see if something was there? Or was the investigation always an insurance policy?

I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that there is a convincing mosaic of evidence that the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, and DOJ acted with improper motives—some related to the Obama administration’s general modus operandi, and some specific to Crossfire Hurricane.

Let’s Look at That Mosaic … …



30proximity1
Mayo 31, 2018, 3:36am





(from "AmericanGreatness.com")

Dear Ex-Friends in #TheResistance

|| By Julie Kelly| May 30th, 2018



"Hey, what’s up. Long time no talk.

"I think the last civil conversations we had occurred just days before November 8, 2016. You were supremely confident Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election; you voted for her with glee. As a lifelong Republican, I bit down hard and cast my vote for Donald Trump. Then the unimaginable happened. He won.

"And you lost your fucking minds.

"I knew you would take the loss hard—and personally—since all of you were super jacked-up to elect the first woman president. But I did not imagine you would become totally deranged, attacking anyone who voted for Trump or supported his presidency as a racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic Nazi-sympathizer.

"The weirdness started on social media late on Election Night, as it became clear Hillary was going to lose. A few of you actually admitted that you were cradling your sleeping children, weeping, wondering what to tell your kindergartner the next morning about Trump’s victory. It continued over the next several days. Some of you seriously expressed fear about modern-day concentration camps. Despite living a privileged lifestyle, you were suddenly a casualty of the white patriarchy. Your daughters were future victims; your sons were predators-in-waiting. You threatened to leave Facebook because you could no longer enjoy the family photos or vacation posts from people who, once friends, became Literal Hitlers to you on November 8 because they voted for Donald Trump.

"I admit I was a little hurt at first. The attacks against us Trump voters were so personal and so vicious that I did not think it could be sustained. I thought maybe you would regain your sanity after some turkey and egg nog.

"But you did not. You got worse. And I went from sad to angry to where I am today: Amused.

"As the whole charade you have been suckered into over the last 18 months starts to fall apart—that Trump would not survive his presidency; he would be betrayed by his own staff, family, and/or political party; he would destroy the Republican Party; he would be declared mentally ill and removed from office; he would be handcuffed and dragged out of the White House by Robert Mueller for “colluding” with Russia—let me remind you what complete fools you have made of yourselves. Not to mention how you’ve been fooled by the media, the Democratic Party, and your new heroes on the NeverTrump Right.


"On November 9, you awoke from a self-induced, eight-year-long political coma to find that White House press secretaries shade the truth and top presidential advisors run political cover for their boss. You were shocked to discover that presidents exaggerate, even lie, on occasion. You became interested for the first time about the travel accommodations, office expenses, and lobbyist pals of administration officials. You started counting how many rounds of golf the president played. You suddenly thought it was fine to mock the first lady now that she wasn’t Michelle Obama. Once you removed your pussy hat after attending the Women’s March, you made fun of Kellyanne Conway’s hair, Sarah Sanders’ weight, Melania Trump’s shoes, Hope Hicks’ death stare; you helped fuel a rumor started by a bottom-feeding author that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slept with Donald Trump. You thought it was A-OK that Betsy DeVos was nearly physically assaulted and routinely heckled. You glorified a woman who has sex on camera for a paycheck.

"You have learned all kinds of new things that those of us who didn’t willfully ignore politics for the past eight years already knew. For example, we already knew that illegal immigrants were being deported and families were being separated. We already knew about misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency. We already knew that politicians gerrymander congressional districts for favorable election outcomes. We already knew that citizens from certain countries had restricted access here.

"But American politics became a whole new thing for you.

"Some of your behavior has been kinda cute. It was endearing to watch you become experts on the Logan Act, the Hatch Act, the Second Amendment, the 25th Amendment, and the Emoluments Clause. You developed a new crush on Mitt Romney after calling him a “sexist” for having “binders full of women.” You longed for a redux of the presidency of George W. Bush, a man you once wanted imprisoned for war crimes. Ditto for John McCain. You embraced people like Bill Kristol and David Frum without knowing anything about their histories of shotgunning the Iraq War.

"Classified emails shared by Hillary Clinton? Who cares! Devin Nunes wanting to declassify crucial information of the public interest? Traitor!

"But your newfound admiration and fealty to law enforcement really has been a fascinating transformation. Wasn’t it just last fall that I saw you loudly supporting professional athletes who were protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem?" ... ...



31proximity1
Editado: Ago 22, 2018, 11:29am



The President in a Vise | Editorial of The New York Sun |
August 21, 2018


___________________________



"From President Trump’s point of view, it will be hard to put the gloss on the developments today in federal criminal court. First came news that the president’s erstwhile personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, would be pleading guilty, albeit without an obligation to turn state’s evidence. Then came news of a jury’s conviction of Mr. Trump’s erstwhile campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on eight counts, albeit crimes unrelated to the president. The crimes of both are felonies.

"Yet if we were the judge — a stretch to be sure — we would reject the guilty plea in the one matter that intimately threatens Mr. Trump’s presidency. That is Michael Cohen’s claim that his role in arranging to pay so-called hush money to Stormy Daniels and another woman amounts to a violation of campaign finance law. That, at least to us, is by no means clear. If the law bars such payments, it’s probably unconstitutional. Americans deserve to have it tried in court."

... ...

"What needs to be kept in mind at every stage is that this whole investigation is not about Russian meddling. Everyone agrees that they did it and it was wrong. No one needs a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of that. This is part of an effort by the Democrats and their collaborators to overturn a presidential election that they thought they would win. No crime of which either man was pronounced guilty today is as foul as the campaign underway to foil the decision of the American people."





__________________________________________________​




The American Spectator |

Let him keep indicting and convicting ham sandwiches. Most Americans won’t care. | August 22, 2018, 12:05 am


___________________________







32lriley
Ago 22, 2018, 2:12pm

Maybe if I were a regular reader of the Sun I would understand them better but it's not entirely clear to me why they think making hush payments with political campaign donations should be deemed unconstitutional. The fact that it is against written law though is why it's a crime and why a judge would be obligated to view it as such. Is it that the writers for the Sun believe that campaign donations should be acquired with no limitations or restrictions and used in any way that a candidate decides? I would not agree with that.

Reading further into the article the writer laments that Trump has not had a chance to defend himself in court against Cohen's accusations. The writer thinks it unfair but if Michael Avenatti is to be believed he's very gung ho about getting Donald Trump on the witness stand and giving himself a chance to defend himself in the civil (not criminal) suit brought against him by Ms. Daniels. There's his chance.

As far as the last statement about overturning an election. Even if Trump is deposed the election will not really be overturned. The Vice President will then assume the office--that is unless of course he is subsumed in the process too which doesn't appear all that likely. The other part I would quibble about with that analysis though is there's never really been plurality support from the voters for Trump. Clinton got almost 3 million more voters than he did. He pegs out in the low 40's and sometimes drops into the low 30's in popularity polls. He's never really remotely been the 'people's choice' so 'will of the people' is a real stretch. The majority of adults--voters in the country do not like him and do not want him and that's always been the case.

What he has is a fanatical base that's significant enough in size that it keeps Republicans lawmakers in fear and in line. That's what's keeping his head above water. If or when they show some backbone he'll drown.

33DugsBooks
Editado: Ago 22, 2018, 4:53pm

>32 lriley: I did not understand that paying off the ladies was a crime even if the money was not from political donations - but it was according to several sources {as influencing an election}. Making it simple for myself I think it is equivalent to the Monica Lewinski scandal but believe it will influence more voters perhaps. People are being jumped on with both feet however as there is talk about active jail sentences right?

34lriley
Editado: Ago 22, 2018, 5:21pm

#33--Cohen was paying off the ladies with his own money because Donald wanted to cover his tracks. Just from the released tape that Cohen made---in it Donald is talking about paying them off with cash money (no paper trail) keeping even the banks out of it. But apparently Cohen and Broidy handled it all with their own accounts and then Cohen would go back to Donald later on and they'd make up some phony transaction to recompense him and they weren't very careful about where the money was coming from and apparently it wasn't really from Donald.

Cohen had exactly three clients--Trump, Elliott Broidy and what's that clucks name on Fox news--oh yeah, Sean Hannity. Some law practice. Think about it---here you have a guy worth billions and he's got himself an incompetent ambulance chaser of a lawyer who's willing to do all kinds of funny stuff bordering or crossing the line of criminality---you would think he'd have some fancy law firm and they'd have all his crimes buried so far underground you'd never find them. And now he's got Rudy Giuliani who over the last few months has shown himself to be a clown over and over again. Perhaps he has some legal adviser giving him some sound advice but if he does I'm not aware of it. Perhaps no law firm with any sense would touch him. He'd be better off with a run of the mill public defender than with Giuliani from what I can see.

35proximity1
Editado: Ago 23, 2018, 6:58am

>33 DugsBooks:

"Hush-money" is a criminal offense only when it constitutes a bribe -- that is, (for those who do not understand bribery) offered and received to compensate (buy) someone's silence (in the present example) regarding some other criminal act.

I pity people-- whether they are trained in the law or not--who are so stupid that they cannot grasp the important distinctions here. It is a scandal that the idiocy-driven mainstream press can make a story such as the "Stormy Daniels" 'affair' have such 'legs.' A fucking scandal.

Eg.

You (man or woman) are married and you have a clandestine affair (a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse). This is not a crime (in the U.S. and other supposedly civilized countries)--and you ought to be damned grateful for the fact that it isn't, for it used to be criminally punishable in many places.

Next, you may, if need be, pay someone--the person himself or herself with whom you had the affair or some other witness--for his or her voluntary silence: i.e. in return for a payment or other inducement, he or she does not reveal the affair to your spouse. (or the press, etc.) That, too, is legal, for fuck's sake!

And it doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether or not your motivation in paying for the other party's cooperative silence about the clandestine affair is mainly or entirely predicated on a concern that, if revealed, it could damage your electoral prospects in an impending election. There is nothing in election-law that requires a candidate to reveal a past or present clandestine sexual affair. There is nothing in election-law that says that a candidate's concern for the revelation of such an affair and his or her efforts, including payments to third-parties, to keep it secret constitute some kind of illegal manipulation of or tampering with the electoral processes.

Fucking morons!





Let the American People Decide Donald Trump's Fate

If Trump is as bad a president as Democrats say he is, then they should have no trouble pushing him out of office in 2020. The proper place to get a verdict on a president is not in a court of law or through a Senate impeachment hearing, but at the ballot box.


by Daniel McCarthy | August 22, 2018

________________________________________



"If you can’t impeach a president for lying about then sex, can you impeach one for buying the silence of a mistress? Common sense says “no,” but that won’t stop Democrats from making the most of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to a campaign-finance violation involving Donald Trump and his alleged affairs.

"For a year and a half, President Donald Trump’s enemies have tried to make him out to be a new Nixon embroiled in a second Watergate, one that will end his presidency far advance of the voters having their say in November 2020. The more obvious comparisons between Trump and former President Bill Clinton somehow never get drawn by this president’s critics. But the parallels are unmissable (i.e. unmistakable). Even as Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has failed to come up with evidence of a grand conspiracy between Trump and Putin to steal the 2016 election, various Trump associates—including Cohen and Paul Manafort—have been going down for tax evasion and similar petty crimes characteristic of sleazy political operators. The name “Webster Hubbell” comes to mind."


________________________________________







( The Washington Examiner )

Opinion | Media’s latest attempt to stand up to Trump is a giant self-own
by Becket Adams | August 22, 2018 08:21 AM





__________________________________________________​

Meanwhile, as millions of morons are fixated on such bullshit as the above-mentioned nonsense topic highlights, there's this going on:

(excerpted from the morally-lost, idiotic piece-of-shit pseudo-'news'paper, The Guardian (London))



Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history? | by Yuval Noah Harari | Wed 24 May 2017 09.15 BST

___________________________

... ...

"Industrial economies relied on masses of common workers, while industrial armies relied on masses of common soldiers. Governments in both democracies and dictatorships invested heavily in the health, education and welfare of the masses, because they needed millions of healthy labourers to work in the factories, and millions of loyal soldiers to serve in the armies.

Consequently, the history of the 20th century revolved to a large extent around the reduction of inequality between classes, races and genders. The world of the year 2000 was a far more equal place than the world of 1900. With the end of the cold war, people became ever-more optimistic, and expected that the process would continue and accelerate in the 21st century.

In particular, they hoped globalisation would spread economic prosperity and democratic freedom throughout the world, and that as a result, people in India and Egypt would eventually come to enjoy the same rights, privileges and opportunities as people in Sweden and Canada. An entire generation grew up on this promise.

Now it seems that this promise was a lie.
" ... ...
________________________

(emphasis added)

36proximity1
Editado: Ago 31, 2018, 9:28am

The Russia-Trump 2016 election collusion 'investigation' farce by 'special' prosecutor Robert Mueller is just about ten weeks from its second anniversary; and many Americans still fail to grasp why this idiotic operation is a serious danger to the health of the body politic. It's fascinating to me how many parallels exist between today's political affairs and the history I study: the society, political affairs and the literature of England's Tudor period--especially the reign of Elizabeth I.

Understanding the Tudor period helps one to understand things going on today.
__________________________________________________​



The Truth Will Set Us All Free | By Victor Davis Hanson
| August 30, 2018

____________________________________



… …
“Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was star-crossed from the start. His friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, by his own admission prompted the investigation -- with the deliberate leaking of classified memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump to the press.

“Mueller then unnecessarily stocked his team with what the press called his ‘dream team’ of mostly Democratic partisans. One had defended a Hillary Clinton employee. Another had defended the Clinton Foundation.

“Mueller did not at first announce to the press why he had dismissed Trump-hating FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strzok from his investigative team. Instead, he staggered their departures to leave the impression they were routine reassignments.

“But Mueller's greatest problem was his original mandate to discover whether Trump colluded with the Russians in 2016 to tilt the election in his favor.
“After 15 months, Mueller has indicted a number of Trump associates, but on charges having nothing to do with Russian collusion. They faced inordinately long prison sentences unless they ‘flipped’ and testified against Trump.

“We are left with the impression that Mueller cannot find much to do with his original mandate of unearthing Russian collusion, but he still thinks Trump is guilty of something.
“In other words, Mueller has reversed the proper order of jurisprudence.

“Instead of presuming Trump innocent unless he finds evidence of Russian collusion, Mueller started with the assumption that the reckless raconteur Trump surely must be guilty of some lawbreaking. Thus, it is Mueller's job to hunt for past crimes to prove it.

“While Mueller so far has not found Trump involved in collusion with foreign citizens to warp a campaign, there is evidence that others most surely were colluding -- but are not of interest to Mueller.” … … …




Both before, during and, for a time after the reign of England's Elizabeth I, 'treason' was a very fluid concept. In essence, anything which threatened the political elite seriously enough to strike fear into their most influential ranks could be and often was labelled 'treason' and prosecuted; the convicted were often sentenced to death--typically by hanging, being cut down while still alive, disemboweled, and then drawn out upon stretched cords attached to the feet and hands and these limbs severed. Finally, the almost-certainly-decesased was decapitated and his (usually his) head was displayed upon the end of a pike on the Tower bridge or other Thames bridge. Nobles (and other non-noble landowners holding heritable real estate) convicted of treason, whether condemned or not, lost their titles, their lands and all their noble privileges. Their heirs were thus left bereft of inheritance of real property and of noble title. This is what is meant by the legal term, "attainder". (1) Sometimes that was reversed upon an act of the reigning monarch as it applied to the heirs.

Such things happened over the course of the reigns of numerous if not all Tudor monarchs and this history was well known to the founders of the United States who, when drafting the Constitution for the new United States which replaced the confederation of independent states (the original thirteen colonies made newly independent at the end of the war of independence from the British crown) made a point of strictly defining 'treason' by a very carefully limited definition.

The Constitution's drafters put this restrictive definition right into the text of the Constitution; it is the only serious criminal offence to be set out by a definition in the body of the Constitution., indicating how important it was to them that treason no longer be resorted to in such an arbitrary manner.

They wrote:

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

"The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

________________________________________________

(1) attainder | /əˈteɪndə/ (noun)
historical | noun: attainder; plural noun: attainders

Definition: the forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony.

37proximity1
Nov 28, 2018, 12:05pm


>36 proximity1:


""Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

"The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

__________________________________

MORE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT-IC PARTY INSANITY:



REP. JACKIE SPEIER: "Clearly, Manafort has been not at all reluctant to continue to lie after he cut a deal with the special counsel. And he's seeking a pardon," (she also said.)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: For more I’m joined by California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, member of the House intelligence committee, and Daniel Goldman, former U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. What a busy court that is.
Let me go to the congresswoman. We just spent about 15 minutes talking about the latest developments, "the Guardian" newspaper reports that has Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange three times, including a critical meeting apparently in March of 2016 about the time he went to work for the Trump campaign and about the time he went to work for the Trump campaign, at about the time we were getting the Podesta -- right after the Podesta stuff was coming out, and the hacking by the Russians, and then right before the DNC stuff was coming out from the Russians.

It's all starting to paint a picture of collusion between the people around Trump, including -- including Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi and Paul Manafort, et cetera, et cetera, and the Russians.

Your thoughts?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER: I think what it's also suggesting is that Manafort may have even committed treason, when all is said and done.

I mean, this is all becoming very clear. The president became manic with his tweets after he submitted his answers to questions by the special counsel. And I'm beginning to wonder if there were answers that he gave that now would suggest that maybe he wasn't being as truthful as he should have been.



Speaking of mania, how are people this stupid even in Congress?

38proximity1
Dic 6, 2018, 5:11am




“Is This It? A Trump-Hater’s Guide to Mueller Skepticism”

| Mueller’s comportment suggests a man who’s fallen prey to the same state of mind that warped Ken Starr—namely disgust over the people you’re investigating and a desire to justify the sunk capital. Even if the special counsel presents one hell of a report, Democrats must ask: was it worth it? | By T. A. Frank | 3 December 2018 17:22
__________________________________



“In the autumn of 1995, millions of Indians flocked to New Delhi after reports that a statue of Ganesha, the Hindu deity of good luck, was drinking milk from a spoon. It turned out that Ganesha, in the form of carved white stone, was a bit porous, and he wasn’t drinking the milk so much as getting coated in it, as each of the thousands of spoonfuls trickled down his side, but a collective thrill prevailed for a while. I relate this incident because its rhythms—big news, then frenzy, then comedown—bear a strong resemblance to those of Russiagate, with each development setting the Resistance into a frenzy of milk-buying and statue-feeding that fades only after a few days, replaced by an unspoken agreement to wait for further reports on Ganesha’s movements.

“For many Robert-Mueller-watchers, the air these days is electric. People sense the big shoes are about to drop. Donald Trump has submitted his written answers to Mueller’s questions. Paul Manafort has entered a plea agreement, but then continued to lie—at least according to Mueller. Jerome Corsi, fringe-right author and personality, is vowing to go to jail for life rather than sign on to Mueller’s version of events. Roger Stone is expecting to be indicted for something. So is Donald Trump Jr. And, most significant of all to those looking for a big payoff, Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline of a deal he was trying to make to construct a 100-story Trump-branded tower in Moscow. It turns out that the deal exploration continued past the time Trump had secured the Republican nomination, and Cohen and his associate Felix Sater, a real-estate promoter and one-time racketeer, had even discussed giving Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse in the building. ‘This is it,’ people are saying. ‘This is the big one!’

“But, with all due reverence to the deity Ganesha, why? We see the familiar cycle of hype, and there’s no use fighting it, but, once heart rates have slowed, the same old question remains: so what? Some of the news, such as a Guardian (London) story that Manafort met three times with Julian Assange, seems to be based on nothing at all. But even the solid news turns out to be generally non-earth-shattering.”




39davidgn
Dic 9, 2018, 4:31am

>38 proximity1:

https://consentfactory.org/2018/12/03/manufacturing-truth/

I’m not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook, Craig Murray, Glenn Greenwald, Moon of Alabama, and many others). The short version is, The Guardian‘s Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed “Russians”) on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding’s earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on … well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous “intelligence sources.” After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece (employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other “respectable,” “authoritative” outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian‘s story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump … well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and “leftists” who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange.

At this point, I imagine you’re probably wondering what this has to do with manufacturing “truth.” Because, clearly, this Guardian story was a lie … a lie The Guardian got caught telling. I wish the “truth” thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes’ lies). Unfortunately, it isn’t. Here is why....

40proximity1
Dic 9, 2018, 6:51am


>39 davidgn:

"The Guardian‘s Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, "...

describes the sort of person and the sort of circumstances which intelligence agencies are only too happy to instrumentalise shamelessly. A reporter so lacking in scepticism, so eager to leap immediately on anything and everything which seems to serve a range of flagrantly biased hopes and expectations is a reporter who is simply ripe for the picking. Joy Behar and most of the others on the panel of host-commenters on ABC Television's (U.S.) idiotic daily, "The View", are other examples of such morons.

So there should be no surprise at all that a Harding would be easily susceptible to Russian (or other, for that matter) efforts to "make Luke Harding look like a moron," since, after all, he offers any such design abundant 'help.'

Any astute person might ask, "Why oughtn't Luke Harding (and the rest of the fucking stupid Guardian reporters and management ) be made to look like the morons which, in fact, they give every indication of being?

41prosfilaes
Dic 9, 2018, 4:19pm

>39 davidgn: I wish the “truth” thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes’ lies).

Of course, the civil servants in the CIA are part of the ruling class. All the ruling class go straight for a career that earns an average of $82K a year and offers no publicity. The US isn't great for class mobility, but Obama and the Clintons are evidence that people can come from middle class backgrounds and reach the presidency. (If Wikipedia is to be believed, so is Putin.) Trump, the wealthiest man to be President, was clearly born into the ruling class.

You want to label this the "ruling classes' lies"? Then it's clearly an internecine squabble, and clearly irrelevant to anyone outside the "ruling class". Karl Marx would shake his head at anyone letting Trump and Mueller distract them from the real issues*. I don't see how you can fit the world into that box and see this story as mattering.

* At least a caricature of him would; I understand the world changing lead to him adapting his views in his later years, and the 20th and 21st centuries would give him a lot to think about.

42proximity1
Editado: Dic 11, 2018, 9:28am

"The US isn't great for class mobility, but Obama and the Clintons are evidence that people can come from middle class backgrounds and reach the presidency."

So what?

In the first place, very strictly-speaking, we already knew this. We didn't need the two rank grifters, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, or their wives, to help prove any such thing.

James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson or Harry Truman—none of these men were, by the standards of their own time—and still less by those of today—fabulously or even ‘quite’ wealthy. Some would not even qualify as exceptional or as having been in any remarkable way “wealthy.”

Nearly all of the first fifteen presidents were either quite wealthy or extremely wealthy whether measured by the standards of their own time or ours—though their peak wealth would not place even the richest of them in the upper reaches of the wealthy today.* Not even Donald Trump is in that class. One, John Tyler, the 10th president, though at one time he had considerable wealth (via a combination of marriage and tobacco farming), was ruined in the Civil War and died in (relative) poverty.

And in the second place, as some sort of definitional bench-mark of what it means to have achieved "success" in life, "becoming president of the United States" (or winning the Nobel Peace Prize) looks more and more like it has seen its best days. Morally, many, if not all, of these men were hardly paragons of virtue; but they have little or nothing to apologize for when faced with most of the post-World War II presidents—none of whom have suffered to any degree from financial hardship since they left their tenures in the White House. Nor have any of them done other than token efforts to combat poverty, hunger and, most of all, an obscene and increasingly wide division between poverty and wealth with wealth becoming more and more concentrated as the co-opted press look on and poverty reaches up and drags more down into its grasp, from which only a few then escape.

When it comes to calculating the evil men and women do, the ordinary drudge civil servant (both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world) contributes to what, collectively, is surely at least equal to the worst of what our "admirable" presidents did in their time in public and private life. We're led to at least suspect this, since the worst evils of heads of state—to say nothing of private-business malefactors—depend on the willing or the grudging cooperation of legions of ordinary people doing routine tasks and getting little in financial reward or recognition for it.

_____________________________________



*
"Many of America's richest agree that extreme wealth inequality is a detriment to the economy.

" 'As the economy evolves, it reallocates resources,' billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said on PBS Newshour in 2017. 'Now, the real problem, in my view, is ... the prosperity has been unbelievable for the extremely rich people.'

" 'If you go to 1982, when Forbes put on their first 400 list, those people had (a total of) $93 billion. They now have $2.4 trillion, (a multiple of) 25 for one,' Buffett said. 'This has been a prosperity that’s been disproportionately rewarding to the people on top.'

Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder and CEO of Facebook, has expressed a similar sentiment. ' We have a level of wealth inequality that hurts everyone' Zuckerberg said in his May 2017 commencement address at Harvard. 'Let's face it: There is something wrong with our system when I can leave Harvard and make billions of dollars in 10 years, while millions of students can't afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.'

______________________

(emphasis added)


To Obama, Zuckerberg and Buffet: "Talk is cheap." Actions, not words.

43DugsBooks
Dic 10, 2018, 4:04pm

>39 davidgn: "alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed “Russians”) on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton"

Didn't Manafort just admit to a meeting/contact with?

44davidgn
Dic 11, 2018, 4:55am

>41 prosfilaes: Seems an odd objection to a satirical piece. Strictly speaking, the epistemology is bad, too...

>43 DugsBooks: With Assange? No.

A good summary:
https://fair.org/home/misreporting-manafort-a-case-study-in-journalistic-malprac...

Straight from the Ecuadorian consul/first secretary:
https://www.thecanary.co/exclusive/2018/12/03/former-diplomat-challenges-fake-gu...

And most importantly, in this context:
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/u-k-and-ecuador-conspire-to-deliver-julian-ass...

45lriley
Dic 11, 2018, 8:28am

#44--I have my doubts whether Manafort met with Assange too. It just doesn't seem likely because I suspect that the Ecuadorian embassy is under constant and continual surveillance by US and/or British agents. They would know if Manafort had gone in and they would know times and dates. That's hard evidence and no one up until now has provided any that I've seen or heard and I would think CNN or MSNBC would include and be all over any Manafort entries into the Ecuadorian embassy into the timelines they're always working away at. That leaves the option of surrogates for either meeting somewhere or some kind of electronic communication though the electronic communication would probably get picked off by US or British surveillance.

46davidgn
Editado: Dic 11, 2018, 10:36pm

>45 lriley:
That leaves the option of surrogates for either meeting somewhere or some kind of electronic communication though the electronic communication would probably get picked off by US or British surveillance.

Hypothetically. But that's not what The Guardian reported: viz. that Manafort physically turned up in Knightsbridge on three occasions.

The story seems to trace back to a very dodgy Ecuadorian political operative named Fernando Villavicencio who has been spoon-feeding The Guardian anti-Assange material for some time. Plenty of coverage out there (though not much in the mainstream.)

Here's an Australian take:
https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/12/11/guardians-wikileaks-expose-only-revealed-it...

ETA:
Villavicencio actually appeared as an author on the print edition.
https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaks/comments/a2up06/guardian_mysteriously_hid_thi...

47prosfilaes
Dic 11, 2018, 9:21pm

>44 davidgn: Seems an odd objection to a satirical piece.

The only definition of satire I'm familiar with that applies is "something I said that I don't want to have to defend, especially if I can mock objectors for missing the point."

Strictly speaking, the epistemology is bad, too...

Strictly speaking, that's using a big word to dismiss an issue without actually saying anything.

Tossing out phrases like "debunking the ruling classes’ lies" seems to be a 21st century issue. Yes, stereotyping your opponents has pretty much always been done, but it seems to be a 21st century thing that you can dismiss your opponents as "the ruling classes" or "Jew bankers" and when someone calls you on it, label it as "ironic" or "satirical", thus letting you talk to people who feel uncomfortable being conspiracy theorists or anti-Semites at the same time you signal to people who are conspiracy theorists or open anti-Semites that you're one of them.

48davidgn
Dic 11, 2018, 10:08pm

>47 prosfilaes:

In that case (remembering that The Guardian is a British publication), please someone tell The Telegraph.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/29/britains-ruling-classes-were-only-gr...

49lriley
Dic 11, 2018, 10:15pm

#46--Corsi? Stone? I don't know really. It seems that Villavicencio might have something in common with those two--a would be wanna-be operative.

The Ecuadorian embassy has been under very close watch ever since Assange entered looking for asylum. That goes without saying---no doubt they're listening in too. The British are past masters at surveillance--they've been at the cutting edge of that technology since the beginning of the Northern Ireland troubles. That and their spying on the Russians as well--throughout the cold war. Smiley wasn't just a figment of Le Carré's imagination. Anyone entering that embassy will be checked on and any conversations inside will be scrutinized as well.

50prosfilaes
Dic 12, 2018, 3:47am

>48 davidgn: There's a big difference between "ruling classes" in a monarchy with a House of Lords and in the US. And I'm not a huge fan of how the Telegraph uses it; it's clearly a clickbait title for an actual article, and is a bit weird when you're talking about how the so-called "ruling classes" didn't support the most important decision in British government since the Good Friday Agreement. The actual article says that the support for Brexit was inversely proportional to income; it seems obfuscating to say "ruling classes", particularly as that means that 57% of British votes are in in their group AB and therefore are "ruling classes".* In a democracy, anytime you get 57% of voters together, they should be "ruling"!

I've taken the time to take a better look at the article you linked to, and I feel, if anything, like I was a little generous. The word satire is clearly being used as an excuse to avoid critical commentary. What is he satirizing? What point is he making? Why did you quote him? It's got all the depth of a rich hippie college student at some Ivy League university going on about "the Man" instead of understanding that he is "the Man" in many ways and that his professors are not "the Man" in many ways and reality is complex in many ways that are exploitable if you stop thinking of "the Man".

Again, you'll dismiss my comments because he claims he writes "satire". But if there is no truth, then what the Guardian said wasn't a lie. Like I said above, there is no "the Man" and there is no "ruling classes" or "those in power"; there's a huge collection of groups and people who have influence. Hopkins has got his platform that influences people. Trump has his, Vladimir Putin has his, Ann Coulter has hers, Hillary Clinton has hers, Angela Merkel has hers, Noam Chomsky has his, and James W. Loewen has his. They don't agree; there is no one truth according to them, even though they all have some sort of power, and several of them have official power.

Donald Trump is in power, and has media outlets to support him. There can be no one truth from those in power that doesn't support Donald Trump.

* 57% of group AB voted for Brexit, 36% of others voted for it, and overall 48% voted for it, then .57x + .36(1-x) = .48, where x is the percentage in group AB (aka the ruling class) and thus x = .57.

51proximity1
Editado: Dic 13, 2018, 6:32am

>50 prosfilaes:


" In a democracy, anytime you get 57% of voters together, they should be 'ruling'! "


Laughable, "Anytime"? Seriously? That's a nursery-school vision of how politics supposedly works. It ignores what other more sophisticated observers understand about reality in political affairs:

on a variety of policy issues, groups of electors (and sitting members within elected assemblies are included in this phrase) can and do find themselves forming coalitions which can muster a 50%+ 1 vote-majority, despite many of these people being in opposing parties or opposing factions within the same party, despite their often being quite determined ideological opponents on most issues.

This is no way diminishes the fact that across broad policy areas, there exists a consistently identifiable group which, by any meaningful definition of the term, is correctly described as a comprising a"ruling class" or "those in power"

Similarly, the suggestion that the fact that, within the 0.01% of the wealth-holding-and-controlling world, one can find influential individuals and sub-groups fighting and differing on a variety of aspects of some policy issues (mainly concerning the "How?" questions rather than the more essential "What?" or "Why?" questions) does not in the least negate the fact that these people, taken together, are consistently the "ruling", the "major-decision-making" class.

52proximity1
Dic 14, 2018, 8:07am




(The New York Post) (Opinion) Sorry, but hush-money payments won’t send Trump to prison | by Rich Lowry | December 13, 2018 | 8:13pm | Updated


..."Smith, the former FEC chairman, makes a telling point: If Trump had paid the women with campaign funds, his critics would certainly be screaming that he’d improperly diverted campaign resources for personal use." ...


53proximity1
Editado: Dic 20, 2018, 10:05am



(From The Hill (Opinion) ) 10 pieces of evidence against most diabolical Russian spy ever
BY SHARYL ATTKISSON
OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 12/18/18 08:30 AM EST


__________________________


(Quote)



As special counsel Robert Mueller presumably wraps up the Russia probe, one important point, about one important suspect, has escaped much scrutiny.

Evidence revealed over the past two years indicates former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is the most diabolical Russian spy ever known. Ever.

Ten pieces of evidence support this conclusion:

1) ..... We know Carter Page is a diabolical Russian spy because the FBI wiretapped him. Under our laws, FBI agents cannot wiretap a U.S. citizen based merely on suspicion or hunches, or to fish for information; they must possess hard evidence indicating the target is currently — or imminently about to become — a foreign spy. So the FBI would not have wiretapped Page if it couldn’t meet the legal evidence threshold. (At least they shouldn’t have.)

2) ..... Page became a Russian spy after he assisted the FBI in a Russian spy case in 2013. It takes the most diabolical sort to be an asset for the FBI in one Russian spy case, and then to go on to become a Russian spy yourself! (At least that's what the FBI claims.)

3) ..... Page is so diabolical that he spied for Russia even as he knew the FBI was watching. (The FBI interviewed him in March 2016, prior to wiretapping him.) Only a seasoned operative with ice water in his veins would have the nerve to spy for Russia right under the FBI’s nose — and think he can get away with it! (At least that’s the FBI's apparent theory.)

4) ..... After the FBI interviewed Page, he traveled to Moscow, where he used to live and do business, in July 2016 to give a university commencement address. Obviously, this was a diabolical cover for a diabolical spy trip. Fusion GPS, the Democrats’ political opposition research team, would later tell the FBI that Page met with Russian officials on the trip. (Page later denied it under oath, but I think we all know who to believe here, don't we?)

5) ..... Page is so diabolical that the FBI reportedly sent onetime CIA operative Stefan Halper to meet multiple times with him (and also with another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos) to gather information prior to opening the “Russia probe.” In fact, Halper, who later offered his services as a Trump foreign policy adviser, invited Page to his Virginia farm. (It’s important, after all, to get close to diabolical spies to shore up the evidence.) ...

... Clearly, all of this implies that the FBI’s efforts drew mounds of incriminating evidence enabling Mueller to quietly build an airtight case against the central figure in a wide-ranging conspiracy to change votes in Campaign 2016, at the direction of Donald Trump. We now await the indictments.

And yet ...

As of now, Carter Page hasn’t been charged with so much as lying to the FBI or filing a faulty tax return, let alone Russian spying. He endured the most intrusive, intimidating methods the government has at its disposal. He was the subject of media leaks. His reputation was destroyed. If he’s never charged with being a Russian spy, he’s either that slippery … or it would suggest that the top intelligence officials who targeted him were either incompetent or corrupt. It would seem to border on criminal. ...



(Endquote)

(See the full text, the remaining five points, at the hyper-link, above)

54proximity1
Ene 3, 2019, 6:42am




(from The Federalist) | New Documents Suggest The Steele Dossier Was A Deliberate Setup For Trump |

After nearly two years since the Steele dossier was published, it remains the cornerstone of the case for collusion. The dossier model has also given rise to similar operations. | by Lee Smith | 02 January 2019 |


_____________________________________

“A trove of recently released documents sheds further light on the scope and logistics of the information operation designed to sabotage an American election. Players include the press, political operatives from both parties, and law enforcement and intelligence officials. Their instrument was the Steele dossier, first introduced to the American public two years ago.

“A collection of reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, the dossier is now engraved in contemporary U.S. history. First marketed as bedrock evidence that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, the dossier’s legitimacy took a hit after reports showed the Hillary Clinton campaign paid for the work.

“The revelation that the dossier was used to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page compromised the integrity of the investigation the FBI had opened on Page and three other Trump associates by the end of July 2016. Nonetheless, that same probe continues today as the special counsel investigation.

“The revelation that the dossier was used to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page compromised the integrity of the investigation the FBI had opened on Page and three other Trump associates by the end of July 2016. Nonetheless, that same probe continues today as the special counsel investigation.

“The dossier plays a central role in Robert Mueller’s probe. In the unredacted portions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo outlining Mueller’s scope are allegations that Trump adviser Paul Manafort colluded with Russian government officials interfering in the 2016 race. That claim is found in no other known document but the dossier. It is unclear whether further dossier allegations are in the redacted portions of the scope memo.

“Further, with Mueller in charge, the dossier-won warrant on Page was renewed a third, and final, time in June 2017. It expired in September, when confidential human source Stefan Halper reportedly broke off regular communications with Page.

The Dossier Model Is Being Replicated

“Paradoxically, it is the Mueller investigation that has most thoroughly tested the veracity of the dossier’s claims. After the FBI’s monitoring of Page for nearly a year, with access to his electronic communications prior to the warrant, the special counsel has brought no charges against the former Navy officer alleged in the dossier to be at the center of a criminal conspiracy.” ... ...

(full article at hyperlink)



55jjwilson61
Ene 3, 2019, 10:03am

>54 proximity1: After nearly two years since the Steele dossier was published, it remains the cornerstone of the case for collusion.

Right off the bat this article is a fail. The Steele dossier may have been the starting point of some of the investigations but Mueller has gone way beyond it by now.

56proximity1
Editado: Ene 4, 2019, 11:07am

>55 jjwilson61:

... "The Steele dossier may have been the starting point of some of the investigations but Mueller has gone way beyond it by now."


“The dossier plays a central role in Robert Mueller’s probe.

"In the unredacted portions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo outlining Mueller’s scope are allegations that Trump adviser Paul Manafort colluded with Russian government officials interfering in the 2016 race.

"That claim is found in no other known document but the dossier.

It is unclear whether further dossier allegations are in the redacted portions of the scope memo."



Not a single plea-bargain agreed to between Mueller (or members of his group of investigators) and members or former members of Trump's election-campaign or his administration--not a single one of these few deals has revealed or has been based in anything reasonably related to some activity which is both illegal and concerns in some way the influencing or, still less, the manipulation, of potential voters' opinions. None.

If you claim the contrary, I invite you to cite one.

You won't.

There aren't any as yet revealed or known and no sound evidence for supposing that there shall be any found. It has been two fucking years. Mueller is scraping the barrel trying to avoid looking like the failure his special-Op on getting something, anything, on Trump.

57Carnophile
Ene 22, 2019, 3:40pm

A green-card holder voted illegally 3 times in North Carolina. The judge scolds election officials.

Let’s see if the “foreign meddling in our elections!” crowd at the Washington Post, NYT, etc., will even report this, let alone condemn it.

58davidgn
Editado: Ene 23, 2019, 2:17am

>57 Carnophile:: Why should they? It's one old guy in one obscure precinct in North Carolina. Local beat reporter's got it covered.

>50 prosfilaes:: Okay, so you don't like Hopkins. I've appreciated some of his past work, and I share his sense of frustration at manipulation of the news media and its pattern of dysfunctional reporting on various sensitive topics, which is why I shared the piece. Perhaps this wasn't his most compelling production, but frankly, your haste to smear him and launch an inquisition does tend to prove his point.

But if we're proceeding humorlessly, we might examine the latest media debacle involving Russiagate:

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/01/20/buzzfeed-writer-fails-again/
(which treatment includes a link to a handy little list of dozens of other recent misfires:
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1086424261709881344.html )

Plus, as it happens, WL has a list of their own out recently: https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1087424714094583809

If you want a serious discussion of plurality (or lack thereof) in media, you don't want to read Hopkins. You might try Bob McChesney. Or, say, this.
https://newint.org/features/2018/06/19/internet-media-democracy

And if we're looking for hidden hands, we might look at outfits like this. Just, you know, for example.
https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/12/17/inside-the-temple-of-covert-propaganda-th...

Recent hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers, all engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions.

This “network of networks”, as one document refers to them, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy.

The whole operation appears to be run by, and in conjunction with, members of British military intelligence.

According to David Miller, professor of political sociology in the school of policy studies at the University of Bristol and the director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, the Integrity Initiative “appears to be a military directed push.”

“The most senior government people are professional propagandists and spooks,” Miller explained. “The ‘charity’ lead on this (Chris Donnelly) was also appointed as a colonel in military intelligence at the beginning of the project — a truly amazing fact that suggests this is a military intelligence cut out.”

A minister for the UK FCO has officially confirmed that it has been funding the Integrity Network.

In addition to conducting diplomacy, the FCO oversees both the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) the UK equivalent to the National Security Agency, and the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) commonly known as MI6.

The think tank that oversees the Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft, has also received funding from the British Army and Ministry of Defense.

Mark Curtis

@markcurtis30
This is pretty major. UK govt admits that not only the Foreign Office but also the Army and the Ministry of Defence have funded the Institute for Statecraft, the body behind anti-Corbyn propaganda. https://bit.ly/2PBekNm


The entire extremely shady enterprise, as Miller explained, is an elaborate front for the British military-intelligence apparatus. Its covert coordination with friendly politicians and mainstream journalists recalls the Cold War-era intrigue known as Operation Mockingbird.

That scandal involved the unmasking of “more than 400 American journalists who…in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency,” as Carl Bernstein revealed in a 1977 Rolling Stone report.

The exposing of the Integrity Initiative has just scratched the surface of what appears to be a much more sophisticated, insidious, and extremely online version of Operation Mockingbird. With new internal documents appearing each week through a hacker’s organization called Anonymous Europe, the revelations are yielding one of the most potentially explosive national security scandals in recent times.

But even as members of Britain’s parliament thunder with demands for official accountability, the UK and US mainstream media still strangely refuses to touch the story.


https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/08/new-documents-reveal-a-covert-british-mil...

A bombshell domestic spy scandal has been unfolding in Britain, after hacked internal communications exposed a covert UK state military-intelligence psychological warfare operation targeting its own citizens and political figures in allied NATO countries under the cover of fighting “Russian disinformation.”

The leaked documents revealed a secret network of spies, prominent journalists and think-tanks colluding under the umbrella of a group called “Integrity Initiative” to shape domestic opinion—and to smear political opponents of the right-wing Tory government, including the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Until now, this Integrity Initiative domestic spy scandal has been ignored in the American media, perhaps because it has mostly involved British names. But it is clear that the influence operation has already been activated in the US. Hacked documents reveal that the Integrity Initiative is cultivating powerful allies inside the State Department, top DC think tanks, the FBI and the DHS, where it has gained access to Katharine Gorka and her husband, the fascist-linked cable news pundit Sebastian Gorka.

The Integrity Initiative has spelled out plans to expand its network across the US, meddling in American politics and recruiting “a new generation of Russia watchers” behind the false guise of a non-partisan charity. Moreover, the group has hired one of the most notorious American “perception management” specialists, John Rendon, to train its clusters of pundits and cultivate relationships with the media.


If you don't know the name John Rendon, you should.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/reflecting-on-rumsfeld/
(discussion towards the bottom)

Naturally, the Integrity Initiative should be a front-page scandal on both sides of the Atlantic. But anybody who dares talk about it is clearly playing into the hands of "the enemy."

59prosfilaes
Editado: Ene 24, 2019, 6:16pm

>58 davidgn: Perhaps this wasn't his most compelling production, but frankly, your haste to smear him and launch an inquisition does tend to prove his point.

I recall an argument I had with someone who was arguing the value of pi wasn't 3.14159.... In this case, like that, any response could be used to "prove his point"; e.g. if I didn't bother responding, that's evidence that I couldn't respond.

Naturally, the Integrity Initiative should be a front-page scandal on both sides of the Atlantic.

I am shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on in here! Government-funded propaganda is hardly major news.

What I really find interesting is a couple things; first, the 2019 article complains about practices of "when confronting a critic, ignore the message and destroy the messenger." But John Rendon! is doing ... something, the article doesn't really say what, for them. But John Rendon! What this group has done is left unclear; it's all about who.

Second, The existence of the Integrity Initiative was virtually unknown until this November, when the email servers of a previously obscure British think tank called the Institute for Statecraft were hacked, prompting allegations of Russian intrusion. When the group’s internal documents appeared at a website hosted by Anonymous Europe,

An obscure think tank is hacked, posting materials about a government anti-Russia propaganda program. But who did it is simply not a question that needs asked here. The obvious answer that Russia benefits from the hacking and therefore should be the first suspect is not mentioned or discussed. Concerns that the release might have been filtered or even edited to maximize the damage are missing from the article.

60proximity1
Ene 24, 2019, 5:26am


>59 prosfilaes:

I don't know what the hell your jumble of occasionally-coherent sentences there is supposed to be about but I see nothing in your mess that relates to any of my points in >51 proximity1:, which you reference.

Try waking and having some coffee before you post.

61Carnophile
Editado: Ene 25, 2019, 12:08am

>57 Carnophile: Let’s see if the “foreign meddling in our elections!” crowd at the Washington Post, NYT, etc., will even report this...

>58 davidgn: Why should they? It's one old guy in one obscure precinct in North Carolina...

There you have it. The real leftist attitude toward foreign citizens subverting U.S. elections.

62Carnophile
Ene 25, 2019, 12:14am

Obama’s Top Lawyer Implicated In Crimes Including Collusion With A Foreign Government.

Even the leftist Politico is forced to admit this, though they write their headline as misleadingly as possible:

Headline: “Law firm that worked with Manafort in Ukraine admits to misleading DOJ.”

The words “that worked with Manafort” is irrelevant to the story, and is added only to avoid a headline admission that Obama’s lawyer is the culprit.

In the 2nd paragraph Politico admits that Manfort’s only “involvement” was that he “helped the Ukrainian government hire Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 2012.”

Obama’s lawyer Craig Greg was the actual lawyer who worked for that law firm, and did the work in question.

It’s not until the 5th and 6th paragraph that Politico admits, through gritted teeth,
John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement that Skadden’s failure to register with the Justice Department “hid from the public that its report was part of a Ukrainian foreign influence campaign.”

The settlement doesn’t name the Skadden partner, but it appears to be Greg Craig, a former White House counsel under President Barack Obama who led the Ukraine work.

63davidgn
Editado: Ene 26, 2019, 2:21am

>59 prosfilaes:

I am shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on in here! Government-funded propaganda is hardly major news.

Well, not as such. But until a few years ago, it was illegal if domestically targeted, at least in the U.S.
(https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130715/11210223804/anti-propaganda-ban-repea...) Plus, as the 2019 article does mention, in the current climate where the Foreign Agent Registration Act is being invoked at seemingly every possible opportunity, it seems only a matter of consistency that so blatant a foreign agent of influence ought to be required to register, does it not?

Also, a charity in the UK (falsely registered with the address of a derelict Scottish mill), particularly one funded by a government agency which is legally bound to be politically neutral, is not supposed to be engaging in partisan political attacks smearing the opposition party and its leading figure. That is also illegal, on multiple grounds.
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/foreign-office-funds-2m-infowars-137...

Politicians and academics have reacted with fury to news a covert Government-funded unit had been attacking the official opposition in Parliament.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “It would appear that we have a charity registered in Scotland and overseen by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator that is funded by the UK Government and is spewing out political attacks on UK politicians, the Labour Party and the Labour movement.

“Such clear political attacks and propaganda shouldn’t be coming from any charity. We need to know why the Foreign Office have been funding it.”

David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine.

“People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”


But no, naturally this is all just old news. Nothing to see here, and nothing to worry about.

----

John Rendon!

John Rendon? Yeah, nothing shady about that fellow. Of course, Mr. Rendon and his Rendon Group are not constructed of unicorns and pixie dust, and they're hardly the only public relations/perception management/MIL-INT PSYOPS contractor outfit in the world. They just happen to be rather notorious -- one might say infamous -- in their field.
https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

I've recommended Col. Gardiner's Truth From These Podia here before to those who might have missed it in 2003. (Which is understandable. As I recall, I myself only discovered it several years later.)
https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Sam_Gardiner
(Links die, but U. Leeds still has a full version up. Thanks, Leeds.)
http://media.leeds.ac.uk/papers/pmt/exhibits/2028/gardinerfullversion.pdf

But John Rendon! is doing ... something, the article doesn't really say what, for them.
Based on Rendon's past track record and his firm's signature techniques, juxtaposed with some of the cases listed in >58 davidgn:, I don't suppose anyone might harbor the slightest suspicion of how they might be involved in the present context.

To wit: (quoting from Goff's piece, which I cited in >58 davidgn:) : https://www.truthdig.com/articles/reflecting-on-rumsfeld/

Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner in October 2003 published a remarkable document online, “Truth From These Podia,” which I recommend. He found over 50 systematic and intentional lies that were generated for the express purpose of deceiving not some putative enemy but the press and the people of the United States and Britain.

He describes the evolution and structure of the White House’s Office of Global Communications — an office almost run by Rendon people — and how it generated news stories out of CENTCOM and elsewhere faster than the press could keep up in order to push deadlines and competition and thereby inhibit fact-checking.

As the stories come apart, sometimes in mere days or hours, the Rendon technique counsels that fabrications be allowed to “ linger” without comment.

This tactic is combined with message control — explaining why “Americans are not the running kind” can show up in two separate speeches in the same day by different members of the administration. Redefining all opposition to U.S. actions as “terrorists” is another example of building false associations through repetition — “echoing,” as it is called in the perception management trade.

How many times did we hear “September 11,” “terrorists” and “Saddam Hussein” in the same breath? Gardiner shows how this is a PSYOPS technique, a method to “construct memory.”

When the spinners get caught, they reconfigure the story with elliptical language, then let it “linger” some more. Weapons of mass destruction become a “weapons program,” then a “seeking” of WMD. George Tenet’s CIA “had questions” about the British forgery on Niger’s purported yellow-cake uranium. Caraccilo just “wanted to share that pride with the people back home.” And let the lingering constructed memory kick in as the next flurry of stories is released to bury the newly emergent lie.


Caraccilo, curiously enough, took the heat off the Bush administration in the Wilson-Plame case, and who could even remember the Jessica Lynch fable, the stage-management of Basra, the yellow-cake uranium, the Iraqi anthrax, the bio-weapons trailers, the Iraqis using American uniforms, the Iraqis who used white flags to lure their prey, the 10-year-old soldiers, the disappearing Scuds, the Iraqi killer drones, the Iraqi woman hanged by the Fedayeen for waving to an American, and the whole wretched list of fabrications that came and went — what I referred to in my book Full Spectrum Disorder as the CENTCOM lie of the day.

All of this was dutifully echoed by the press, blindly obedient to some self-censoring convention of their own, called “the presumption of goodwill and good faith,” which the press gives to government officials.


(eta) Now, here's what the 2019 piece does say:

The Integrity Initiative has also recruited one of the most infamous American PR men to organize its clusters of journalists and political figures.

He is John Rendon, best known as “The Man Who Sold The War” — several wars, in fact, but most notoriously the Iraq invasion. Rendon was the self-described “information warrior” who planted fake news in the major US-UK media about non-existent WMD threats. With deep ties to the CIA and other military-intelligence agencies, his PR firm was paid $100 million to organize and sell Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. In 2002, the New York Times exposed a Pentagon program using Rendon to plant “disinformation” — including “false stories” and “the blackest of black PR” — in media outlets around the world, in order to shape public opinion and sell the Iraq invasion.

Journalist James Bamford outlined a catalogue of disinformation feats Rendon performed for the Pentagon, such as identifying “the biases of specific journalists and potentially obtain an understanding of their allegiances, including the possibility of specific relationships and sponsorships.” Bamford also found proposals and programs Rendon was involved in that aimed to “’coerce’ foreign journalists and plant false information overseas… (and) find ways to ‘punish’ those who convey the ‘wrong message.’”

These tactics seem particularly relevant to his work with the Integrity Initiative, especially considering the internal documents that reveal further Rendon-style plans to produce reports and studies to be “fed anonymously into local media.” (Among the outlets listed as friendly hosts in Integrity Initiative internal memos are Buzzfeed and El Pais, the center-left Spanish daily.)

https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/08/new-documents-reveal-a-covert-british-mil...

Again: worth taking another look at those lists in >58 davidgn: of stories that fell apart. Just for reference.

Finally, as for the authenticity of the documents: yes, that's always a question with any such release. But the hack and the authenticity of at least a portion of the documents has been explicitly acknowledged by the principals, and neither has the authenticity of any of them yet been challenged. Instead, within the past few days, we have the Integrity Initiative deleting their website and yanking their Twitter history from view. The questions are, does the information in the leaked documents hold up to scrutiny, and can it lead to further investigation and reporting? Answers (respectively): it seems to have done so far, and it damned well ought to. I'd expect to see a healthy debate in the papers. Instead, it chills me to see near-total silence. Indeed, I wonder how many people would be aware of this subject at all had I not posted about it.

Apparently, in this climate, the prospect of being hit with the heavy hammer, i.e. accusation of aiding "the other side" in an information war (in which context truth and accuracy become at best secondary considerations subordinated to "correctness" and loyalty) seems to have been enough to scare most media outlets away from doing the sort of investigative journalism clearly called for here. Journalists in a healthy media landscape in a open society should not be subordinated to such a sclerotic paradigm. They're supposed to be journalists, not military and intelligence conscripts in information wars. No doubt you consider that a very old-fashioned idea and ideal -- in which case I bow to the superior sophistication of your well-cultivated cynicism.

64davidgn
Editado: Ene 26, 2019, 4:28am

>63 davidgn:: A couple select pieces of watching for anyone interested.

Chris Williamson MP (bravo, sir -- and only 3 minutes)
https://www.facebook.com/chriswilliamsonmp/videos/we-need-an-inquiry-into-integr...

And for a more in-depth treatment (exceedingly valuable):
"Moderate Rebels episode 32: Journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss Britain's Integrity Initiative and the information war it is waging on the public, with propaganda expert Professor David Miller. We address the scandal surrounding this UK government-funded think tank, which has attacked Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-war left and laundered disinformation through the corporate media under the guise of countering Russia."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doip79-pYn0

65prosfilaes
Ene 26, 2019, 7:27pm

>63 davidgn: You talk a lot about Iraq, which is not on point. When you say "Now, here's what the 2019 piece does say:", you quote four paragraphs, and the two thick ones are all history; the shortest one just says they hired Rendon, and the final one starts "These tactics seem particularly relevant to his work with the Integrity Initiative, especially considering the internal documents that reveal further Rendon-style plans to produce reports and studies to be “fed anonymously into local media.”" "seem". "especially considering". "Rendon-style". In other words, there's no fire found here, no nefarious emails signed by Rendon, but maybe if they pull together enough insinuation, people will mistake the smoke for fire.

You offer a long paragraph about what journalists should be, but you play it so biasedly. They're supposed to be journalists, which means in the middle of an information war (i.e. life), they should be suspicious of anonymous drops of information. Who hacks Scottish charities, unless they know what they are, in which case they have a major information service behind them, like a major spy organization? When a CIA agent a journalist has had repeated contact with slips them some information, they can weigh it against history; if a source unknown to them offers the same information, it should be treated at least as suspiciously.

My bias may lead to these questions, but they're still good questions. Who hacked a Scottish charity, knowing it was a face for government propaganda? Was it (logically enough) the target of that propaganda, Russia?

66theoria
Ene 27, 2019, 7:11pm

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today lifted sanctions imposed on En+ Group plc (“En+”), UC Rusal plc (“Rusal”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”), following an earlier notification submitted to Congress on December 19, 2018.

Under the terms of their removal from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”), En+, Rusal, and ESE have reduced Oleg Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake in these companies and severed his control. This action ensures that the majority of directors on the En+ and Rusal boards will be independent directors – including U.S. and European persons – who have no business, professional, or family ties to Deripaska or any other SDN, and that independent U.S. persons vote a significant bloc of the shares of En+.
https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm592

Putin: Spasibo
Trump: How high?

68proximity1
Editado: Feb 27, 2019, 6:22am





_______________________________________


SHARYL ATTKISSON, (excerpt video from the program with a partial transcript) “FULL MEASURE”
:

“Nearly two years ago, Special Counsel Mueller was named to investigate whether President Trump broke the law by somehow conspiring with Russian President Vladimir Putin to win the presidency. We still don’t know the outcome of that. But we’ve learned a lot about what some in our intelligence community have been up to. And some argue that’s proving to be an equally important— and chilling— story.

“From Trump associate Roger Stone to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, the Trump-Russia probe has indicted or convicted 34 people so far. And although Special Counsel Robert Mueller has yet to publicly pinpoint illegal Russia collusion on Trump’s part he’s still looking. Meantime, former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell is making an explosive allegation. She’s among those who believe there’s now compelling evidence pointing to a parallel scandal.

“In the simplest of terms if possible, what do you think is the story that's been uncovered in the past two years?

SIDNEY POWELL:
“That the entire Russia collusion narrative was made up. That the FBI and the intelligence community and the Department of Justice began an investigation against four American citizens simply because they worked for the opposition political candidate, that being Donald Trump.

“Powell, who calls herself politically independent, served as an assistant prosecutor under nine U.S. Attorneys, both Democrats and Republicans. Where many see 'Russia collusion' she sees systemic corruption inside the Justice Department and intelligence community. A topic she writes about in “License to Lie.” Crucial evidence, Powell claims, lies within these little-reported court documents— where our intel agencies get lambasted— not by partisans, but by the lead judge in the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

SIDNEY POWELL: —
“A 99-page opinion, in which she is taking the FBI to task for having given unlimited, unsupervised access to raw intelligence, that means the database of everything the NSA, the National Security Agency, collects on everybody. Word searches, keystrokes, what do you look at in Google, telephone information, calls, texts, you name it. Everything, every nightmare anybody has of information being collected by big brother, the FBI gave three private contractors unlimited, unsupervised access to that as far back as 2015.

“In an opinion dated October 2016, Judge Rosemary Collyer writes that an Inspector General found the FBI and National Security Agency—NSA—had committed “widespread” violations of key protections for Americans. And because they waited to notify the court until days before the election— many months after government watchdogs discovered the abuses— Collyer said the NSA was guilty of ‘institutional “lack of candor” ’ and ‘This is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.’

SHARYL ATTKISSON:
“The Judge's language in this opinion is pretty harsh. She says that there could be Constitutional violations—

SIDNEY POWELL:
“Oh there were—

SHARYL ATTKISSON:
“She may say there were Constitutional violations.

SIDNEY POWELL:
“Yes, at one point she talks about egregious Fourth Amendment violations.” …



(Bold-face emphasis added)

69StormRaven
Feb 28, 2019, 4:23pm

Mueller hauled before secret FISA court to address FBI abuses in 2002, Congress told

As usual, proximity leaves out the reality of what happened in his desperate efforts to carry water for Trump. Quoting from the article:

Most of the omissions occurred in FBI work that pre-dated Mueller’s arrival, the sources said. But the court wanted assurances the new sheriff in town was going to stop such widespread abuses.

Mueller told the court the FBI had created a new system called the Woods Procedures — named for the FBI lawyer who drafted them — to ensure FISA warrant applications were accurate and did not omit material information, according to Anderson’s congressional interview.

“My understanding is he committed to the court to address the problem and then that the series of reforms that we implemented, including the use of the Woods form, were the direct result of his engagement before the FISA court,” Anderson told Congress.


In other words, the abuses happened mostly before Mueller came to the FBI, and procedures were implemented under his watch to prevent them from happening again.

70StormRaven
Editado: Feb 28, 2019, 7:31pm

Sidney Powell is a conspiracy theory loving lunatic who thinks, among other things, that Cohen didn't commit any crimes despite the fact that he admitted to committing crimes and pled guilty to the charges brought against him. She also thinks that Trump got historic concessions in the talks with North Korea (despite the fact that he did not, and the fact that the most recent talks were a disaster that were terminated early).

Sharyl Attkisson is also a nut who, for example, still claims that vaccines cause autism despite the fact that this has been debunked thoroughly. She claims, without evidence, that vaccine companies are suppressing research into the "vaccine-autism" link.

Anyone who takes anything Sidney Powell or Sharyl Attkisson say seriously is a loon.

71proximity1
Editado: Mar 1, 2019, 5:38am

>69 StormRaven:

... " the abuses happened mostly before Mueller came to the F.B.I." ...

LOL! "Mostly" That's all I need.

'The Manson Family'-cult's murderers, "Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel, under the direction of Charles Manson" (Wikipedia), on the night of August 8–9, 1969, murdered five people at the home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. They left the rest of the neighborhood mostly undisturbed.

>70 StormRaven:

"Anyone who takes anything Sidney Powell or Sharyl Attkisson say seriously is a loon."

People skilled in debate will recognize that as a response by argumentum ad hominem*. The second-lowest form of argumentation, after outright lying, of course.

______________________

*


"Ad hominem (Latin for "to the person"(1), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.(2)" ... (Wikipedia)

_______________

(1) "Ad hominem". Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

(2) Dr. Michael C. Labossiere (2002–2010). "42 Fallacies: Ad Hominem" (PDF).

72davidgn
Mar 3, 2019, 12:42am

>64 davidgn: And now they got Chris Williamson.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/01/britains-witchfinders-are-ready-to-burn-...

Apparently he was trying to screen this:
https://witchhuntfilm.org/ (about a black Jewish Labour activist suspended for "antisemitism")
https://jackiewalker.org/

Which is apparently a no-no.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/26/labour-mp-chris-williamson-face...
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/chris-williamson-suspension-antisem...

Perhaps he was also too outspoken...just a bit.

73proximity1
Editado: Abr 5, 2019, 9:35am

To those readers of this thread generally who may be wondering about this hypothetical question:


"If there really was nothing substantial and valid behind the allegations of Trump's 'Collusion' with 'Russians', then why did the Obama-Clinton Washington establishment go ape-shit over the matter, pulling out all the stops to criminalize 'collusion' between a presidential campaign and non-U.S. actors and interests?--and, in the process of making this a cause célèbre, get Trump out of office by hook or by crook? Why?"


I offer the following---

To understand the answer to that question one should review and consider what, from the point of view of this jilted Obama-Clinton Washington establishment, had just happened to them with the election of Donald Trump.

Trump, according to these very important people, was never supposed to win. And his victory blind-sided them in the way that only a "Black swan event", as Nicolas Nassim Taleb would put it, could do.

But these establishment insiders needed little time to discover fairly well how their electoral "sure-thing" had been scuppered.

Voters, many tens of thousands of them, were effectively analysed, profiled and then bombarded with highly-tailored messaging the aim of which was to sour them on the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. This was a very concerted effort and it was conducted with great skill and psychological and IT sophistication.

In sum, these messages had just the effect intended. Rather than persuade these people to vote for Trump, a goal which was not viewed as very probable, they were persuaded not to bother voting for Clinton.

Now, ask yourself: "Is a 'Get Out the Vote' ("GOTV") effort fair and legal in U.S. politics?"

The answer is obvious. Of course it is.

What Trump's campaign did was to undermine that with what amounted to an "Anti-GOTV" campaign. That, too, is completely legal and, as the case here is an example, potentially devastatingly effective. A candidate for public office may legally look for, analyze, profile and then communicate with potential voters, those deemed highly-probable supporters of his opponent(s), in an effort to dissuade them from bothering to go out and vote.

Using social media platforms, especially FB and Twitter, the Anti-GOTV effort found and messaged thousands and thousands of highly-likely Clinton-voters and successfully discouraged their enthusiasm for Clinton to the point where they resigned themselves from even casting their ballot for her.

The anti-Trump witch-hunt was premised on the outraged Obama-Clinton Washington establishment's assumption that, if Hillary Clinton's campaign failed to win its "sure-thing" victory, this could only be due to serious and illegal malfeasance throughout the main opponent's campaign. In other words, it seems not to have occurred to them (the Obama-Clinton Washington establishment) that, targeted with the "right" messaging, many thousands of potential Clinton-voters could, for their own reasons, be legitimately left disgusted with her and her campaign--to the point of resigning from their intentions to cast their ballots for her--just because a clever campaign correctly identified a range of indicators which pointed to the voters who were susceptible to such messaging--and sent it to them.

What a concept!

That illustrates what is clearly tremendous influence, influence which, in any close race, can alter the outcome of an election. It is that which motivated those behind the Trump witch-hunt. Unless Trump could be effectively punished, and, at best, removed, for having recognized so effective a set of electoral tactics and techniques, and unless those who'd lent their technical expertise to this effort could be made criminally liable in some manner, there was nothing to stop these measures from being deployed in future elections.

And, to make an example of them, to punish them for their devilishly clever and effective electoral tactics, the Obama-Clinton Washington establishment stopped at nothing to subvert the entire federal Justice Department's upper echelon, making the F.B.I. and a special counsel investigation into Trump and his campaign's management the instruments of their own partisan thuggish muscle.

This was the key, the central, motivation in the complex effort to unseat President Trump and punish as many of those in his campaign as possible for whatever kinds of wrong-doing might be found--or trumped up. That explains why in virtually every case, those indicted were charged with what are called "process crimes," behavior which included failing to be excruciatingly exact in one's statements on the record to law-enforcement's investigators. It also explains why, again, in virtually every instance, the crimes alleged, the crimes to which these ' "process" criminals' eventually pleaded guilty and granted their cooperation in the ensnarement of others,in exchange for lighter treatment, were for acts committed long before the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. The whole point was to punish Trump's associates, period, not to use the law to enforce proper comportment among a presidential election-campaign's management.

For interesting insight into and background knowledge on the phenomena at work in this whole matter, I recommend your listening to the "Making Sense" podcast interview by Sam Harris #152 - THE TROUBLE WITH FACEBOOK | A Conversation with Roger McNamee .

If you don't have time to listen to the entire interview, you could begin by skipping ahead to the time-counter's position at 01 (hour) :13 (minutes) and listen from there to the conclusion. But I strongly urge those interested to listen to the entire interview if at all possible.

_______________________________

About Roger McNamee. (Wikipedia)

Main pages for "Making Sense" (podcasts) by Sam Harris

(from The Washington Examiner) The Russian collusion hoax meets unbelievable end
by Rep. Devin Nunes | April 05, 2019 12:00 AM |

74jjwilson61
Abr 5, 2019, 9:42am

>73 proximity1: "If there really was nothing substantial and valid behind the allegations of Trump's 'Collusion' with 'Russians', then why did the Obama-Clinton Washington establishment go ape-shit over the matter, pulling out all the stops to criminalize 'collusion' between a presidential campaign and non-U.S. actors and interests?--and, in the process of making this a cause célèbre, get Trump out of office by hook or by crook? Why?"

Because that's not what happened.

75RickHarsch
Editado: Abr 5, 2019, 1:16pm

>75 RickHarsch: This is neither here, nor--wait...it IS there.

When I read this at the beginning of >73 proximity1: 'To those readers of this thread generally who may be wondering about this hypothetical question:' I immediately skipped to >74 jjwilson61:.

76StormRaven
Abr 8, 2019, 12:15am

And, to make an example of them, to punish them for their devilishly clever and effective electoral tactics, the Obama-Clinton Washington establishment stopped at nothing to subvert the entire federal Justice Department's upper echelon, making the F.B.I. and a special counsel investigation into Trump and his campaign's management the instruments of their own partisan thuggish muscle.

Ah yes, the "Obama-Clinton Washington establishment" consisting of a Republican Attorney General appointed by Trump selecting a Republican former FBI head as Special Counsel supervised by a Republican-Deputy Attorney general appointed by Trump to investigate the matter. Oversight in Congress in this matter, of course, was conducted by the "Obama-Clinton Washington establishment" consisting of the appropriate committee chairman from the Republican-controlled Senate selected by the Republican Majority Leader and the appropriate committee chairmen from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives selected by the Republican Speaker of the House.

77StormRaven
Abr 8, 2019, 12:20am

Mostly" That's all I need.

Sure, if you're a conspiracy theory loving loon who doesn't understand how the world works. Mueller came to the FBI, there were abuses which is how the practices came to his attention, and he took steps and put in place procedures to prevent them from happening again. If none of the issues had arisen in his watch, then he would not have known that there was an issue. That's how organizations work.

People skilled in debate will recognize that as a response by argumentum ad hominem.

People who understand reality understand that loons who lack credibility are loons who lack credibility.

78proximity1
Editado: Abr 14, 2019, 9:06am



"What is going on here?" :



(from The National Review magazine) | Law & the Courts|

Why Isn’t Assange Charged with ‘Collusion with Russia’?

| By Andrew C. McCarthy | April 13, 2019 7:06 PM



__________________________________________________​


(quote)

The government would have a chance to prove in court that Russia was WikiLeaks’ source.

Prior to the publication of the stolen Democratic-party emails and internal documents, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks exhorted Russian government hackers to send them “new material.”

That is what we are told by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence officers. (I won’t offend anyone by calling them “spies” — after all, they were just doing electronic surveillance authorized by their government, right?*) Assange wanted the Russians to rest assured that giving “new material” to WikiLeaks (identified as “Organization 1” in the indictment) would “have a much higher impact than what you are doing” — i.e., hacking and then putting the information out through other channels.

But time was of the essence. It was early 2016. If Hillary Clinton was not stopped right there and then, WikiLeaks warned, proceedings at the imminent Democratic national convention would “solidify bernie supporters behind her.” Of course, “bernie” is Bernie Sanders, the competitor who could still get the nomination. But if Assange and the Russians couldn’t raise Bernie’s prospects, WikiLeaks explained, Mrs. Clinton would be a White House shoo-in: “We think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”

In a nutshell: Knowing that Russia had the capacity to hack the DNC and perhaps Clinton herself, WikiLeaks urged it to come up with new material and vowed to help bring it maximum public attention. By necessity, this desire to hurt Clinton would inure to Sanders’s benefit. And sure enough, WikiLeaks eventually published tens of thousands of the Democratic emails hacked by Russian intelligence.

So . . . I have a few questions.

... ...

WikiLeaks, Moscow, and Bernie Sanders

First, why was there no Sanders-Russia probe? Why, when President Obama directed John Brennan, his hyper-political CIA director, to rush out a report on Russia’s influence operations, did we not hear about the WikiLeaks-Russia objective of helping Sanders win the Democratic nomination? Brennan & Co. couldn’t tell us enough about our intelligence-agency mind readers’ confidence that Putin was rootin’ for Trump. Why nothing about the conspirators’ Feelin’ the Bern?

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think there is any basis for a criminal investigation of Senator Sanders. But there appears to have been no criminal predicate for a “collusion” investigation of Donald Trump, either — not a shred of public evidence that he conspired in the Putin regime’s hacking, other than that presented in the Clinton-campaign-sponsored Steele dossier (if you can call that “evidence” — though even Christopher Steele admits it’s not). Yet, Trump was subjected to an investigation for more than two years — on the gossamer-light theory that Trump stood to benefit from Moscow’s perfidy.

Yes, of course, this cui bono claim was amplified by what were said to be Trump’s intriguing, if noncriminal, ties to Russia. To my knowledge, however, the mythical pee tape of Steele lore has never been located; it is unlikely, then, that there are any Trump photos that compare, intrigue-wise, to a shirtless Bernie boozing it up in the Soviet Union. Surely that should have been worth a FISA warrant or four.

... ...

A more serious question: Why hasn’t Assange been indicted for criminal collusion with the Kremlin — the same hacking conspiracy for which Mueller indicted the Russian operatives with whom Mueller says Assange collaborated? The same conspiracy for which the president of the United States, though not guilty, was under the FBI’s microscope for nearly three years? (emphasis added)

(End quote)
... ...

__________________________________________________​

* From RealClearPolitics: (VIDEO) Comey: "I've Never Thought" of Electronic Surveillance as "Spying"


"With respect to Barr's comments, I really don't know what he's talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign." ... "It's very concerning because the FBI, the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as spying.""








79proximity1
Editado: Mayo 8, 2019, 9:57am



"James Comey is in trouble and he knows it" |
BY KEVIN R. BROCK, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 05/07/19 09:30 AM EDT



"“Amoral leaders (referring to the president) have a way of revealing the character of those around them,” wrote Comey without a hint of irony or self-awareness. Those whom the former FBI director assembled around him probably rue the day they ever met the man. Most are now fired or disgraced for appalling behaviors that Comey found easy to manipulate to advance his decisions."



(THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL)




tick, tick, tick ...

80StormRaven
Mayo 10, 2019, 9:53pm

79: All the insight one would normally expect from a drug-addled unemployed homeless person.

81proximity1
Editado: Mayo 11, 2019, 7:26am




Steele's stunning pre-FISA confession: Informant needed to air Trump dirt before election

BY JOHN SOLOMON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 05/07/19 06:00 PM EDT




and



FBI's Steele story falls apart: False intel and media contacts were flagged before FISA (emphasis added)

BY JOHN SOLOMON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 05/09/19 03:00 PM EDT
(THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL)


“The FBI’s sworn story to a federal court about its asset, Christopher Steele, is fraying faster than a $5 souvenir T-shirt bought at a tourist trap.

“Newly unearthed memos show a high-ranking government official who met with Steele in October 2016 determined some of the Donald Trump dirt that Steele was simultaneously digging up for the FBI and for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was inaccurate, and likely leaked to the media.

“The concerns were flagged in a typed memo and in handwritten notestaken by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016.

“Her observations were recorded exactly 10 days before the FBI used Steele and his infamous dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s contacts with Russia in search of a now debunked collusion theory.

“It is important to note that the FBI swore on Oct. 21, 2016, to the FISA judges that Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” and the FBI has determined him to be “reliable” and was “unaware of any derogatory information pertaining” to their informant, who simultaneously worked for Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign to find Russian dirt on Trump.

“That’s a pretty remarkable declaration in Footnote 5 on Page 15 of the FISA application, since Kavalec apparently needed just a single encounter with Steele at State to find one of his key claims about Trump-Russia collusion was blatantly false.” …




................. Tick, .......... tick, ............. tick ............

82proximity1
Editado: Mayo 20, 2019, 10:47am




(Photo Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

"He Did It, Not Me!" | By Victor Davis Hanson| May 19th, 2019



... ...

"James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey are now all accusing one another of being culpable for inserting the unverified dossier, the font of the effort to destroy Trump, into a presidential intelligence assessment—as if suddenly and mysteriously the prior seeding of the Steele dossier is now seen as a bad thing. And how did the dossier transmogrify from being passed around the Obama Administration as a supposedly top-secret and devastating condemnation of candidate and then president-elect Trump to a rank embarrassment of ridiculous stories and fibs?

"Given the narratives of the last three years, and the protestations that the dossier was accurate or at least was not proven to be unproven, why are these former officials arguing at all? Did not implanting the dossier into the presidential briefing give it the necessary imprimatur that allowed the serial leaks to the press at least to be passed on to the public and thereby apprise the people of the existential danger that they faced?

"Why would not they still be vying to take credit for warning President Obama that Donald J. Trump was a likely sexual pervert, with a pathological hatred of Obama, as manifested in Trump’s alleged Moscow debauchery—a reprobate who used his subordinates to steal the election from Hillary Clinton and who still must somehow be stopped at all costs?

"That entire bought fantasy was the subtext of why Mueller was appointed in the first place. It was the basis for the persistent support to this day among the media and progressives for the now discredited notion of 'collusion.'

"The appointment of William Barr as attorney general has sobered the lawbreakers, and perhaps soon the media, which may not wish to go down the drain with their erstwhile FBI and CIA speaking-truth-to-power heroes.

"No longer are Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe along with a host of others insisting that they acted nobly. No longer are they in solidarity in their defiant opposition to Donald Trump.

"Now, for the first time, they are pointing fingers at one another, because they have come to realize that their prior criminality may not be rewarded, praised, or even excused, but rather prosecuted." ...

...





LOL!!!

................. Tick, .......... tick, ............. tick ............

83lriley
Editado: Mayo 20, 2019, 8:49am

Hanson is a right wing opinion shaper/propagandist. He defends Bush II's Iraq war to this day. That should give anyone pause as to his credibility. He's no more a journalist than Sean Hannity, Chris Matthews, Laura Ingraham, Joe Scarborough or Chuck Todd (insert the names of hundreds of others of TV news hosts or members of think tanks--when you see people from Cato or American enterprise Inst. or the Council for Foreign relations some propaganda's coming your way--former/current members of the CIA too). Ancient Greek history is really Hanson's thing. He should stick with that. He's not convincing anyone but the already converted. Fox News by the way has only one guy I would call a real journalist--that's Chris Wallace. The rest are actors. I have no idea why Wallace works for them. It must pay well--but he's alone and sticking out like a sore thumb. Maybe Hanson needs this because nobody's interested in his take on ancient Greek history.

84StormRaven
Mayo 20, 2019, 8:25pm

83: Hanson is barely more credible than Infowars. Only idiot cranks would cite him and expect to be taken seriously.

85proximity1
Editado: Mayo 21, 2019, 5:15am


Which facts have been disputed there?

None.

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LOL!

................. Tick, .......... tick, ............. tick ............

86lriley
Mayo 21, 2019, 10:30am

#85--what if any facts were presented in #82?

None.

LOL.

........BS,......BS,.......BS,..........

87StormRaven
Mayo 21, 2019, 8:28pm

86: proximity doesn't deal in facts, all he has are lunatic conspiracy theories suitable for a drunk unemployed homeless man screaming on the street corner.

88proximity1
Mayo 22, 2019, 1:46pm



For Sam Harris and his other fans (among whom I count myself) who enjoy a challenge, here's one:

If you've listened to Sam's 'Making Sense' Podcast, #157 - WHAT DOES THE MUELLER REPORT REALLY SAY? : A Conversation with Benjamin Wittes and you found the arguments in it convincing then I challenge you to read the opinion-essay linked below.*

It's by Kevin R. Brock, who is "a former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is a founder and principal of New Street Global Solutions, LLC."

Benjamin Wittes takes a very Clinton/Pelosi/Schumer-friendly view of things in the Russia collusion dossier in his analysis of the case as discussed with Sam Harris.

He and those who share his views should explain to us then how and why it is that men such as Kevin Brock, and Attorney General William Barr and his recently-appointed investigator, John Henry Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, have apparently come to see the implications in same fact-set very differently.

_______________________

* "Attorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice".

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................. Tick, .......... tick, ............. tick ............

89proximity1
Editado: Jun 3, 2019, 11:28am



O! How happy! O! How rare!
The couple by chance so matched,
That every ‘itch’ of one of them
Is by the other ‘scratched.’


___________________________________

Nothing else so reveals the general people's incapacities to face and overcome prejudiced bias in their reasoning than the political controversies that
so bitterly divide them today.

Not only the general public but officials in the highest places in the active and formerly-serving political class from the executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as respected members of the national press corps failed to adequately reason through the controversy of the 2000 United States presidential election in which George W. Bush and Al Gore were, respectively, the Republican and Democratic party candidates. Legal principles were trampled and plain common-sense left begging in one of the most disgraceful failures of political reason in years.

This was followed by what in popular jargon we call the "Iraq 'weapons of mass-destruction' (WMD) affair" another enormous failure of sound reasoning in which millions of people were caught up for many months before it misled them to give tacit consent to a deliberately manipulative propagandistic fraud concocted and propagated by U.S. president George W. Bush, who'd begun a pre-invasion military build-up without any careful preliminary consideration; indeed, he ordered this in a calculated manner designed to present the American public with a fait accompli of embarrassing international proportions on the Kuwait-Iraq border.

The likelihood of Iraq's holding significant stocks of dangerous chemical weapons of mass-destruction was never adequately demonstrated. Instead, weeks of searches failed to produce any reasonably sound evidence that these existed. In an amazing public blunder, Secretary of State Colin Powell was found to have relied on shoddy arguments and documentation which was revealed as false or unreliable in its assertions supporting the supposed existence of WMD. In the end, none of this was of any decisive use in heading off a disaster the consequences of which we still live today, one which has ramified and infecting, poisoning more and more areas of public discourse.

Each time, a professionally-propagandized public was wearied to the point of simply wanting to "turn the page" and leave matters in to fester. Fester they have, ever since.

Public trust is now in a battered state and with it, the integrity of virtually all of the essential political institutions, electoral and governmental, on which the nation's political life depends to work effectively. Today, it simply cannot function effectively except by surprising accident. We are in a very serious political and moral mess as a nation and we got here by betraying the habits of fair, sound, honest reasoning. Those were traded to indulge in blatant partisan prejudice for crass expedient transitory ends. We are still no where near the start of any useful work toward reversing these trends. They continue to viciously eat away at the body-politic.
___________________________________


( From The Nation )

Foreign Policy
| Robert Mueller
| Trump and Russia

How Did Russia-gate Begin?
| Why Barr’s investigation is important and should be encouraged.


By Stephen F. Cohen | May 30, 2019



“It cannot be emphasized too often: Russia-gate—allegations that the American president has been compromised by the Kremlin, which may even have helped to put him in the White House—is the worst and (considering the lack of actual evidence) most fraudulent political scandal in American history. We have yet to calculate the damage Russia-gate has inflicted on America’s democratic institutions, including the presidency and the electoral process, and on domestic and foreign perceptions of American democracy, or on US-Russian relations at a critical moment when both sides, having “modernized” their nuclear weapons, are embarking on a new, more dangerous, and largely unreported arms race.

“Rational (if politically innocent) observers may have thought that when the Mueller report found no “collusion” or other conspiracy between Trump and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, only possible “obstruction” by Trump—nothing Mueller said in his May 29 press statement altered that conclusion—Russia-gate would fade away. If so, they were badly mistaken. Evidently infuriated that Mueller did not liberate the White House from Trump, Russia-gate promoters—liberal Democrats and progressives foremost among them—have only redoubled their unverified collusion allegations, even in once-respectable media outlets. Whether out of political ambition or impassioned faith, the damage wrought by these Russia-gaters continues to mount, with no end in sight.

“One way to end Russia-gate might be to discover how it actually began. Considering what we have learned, or been told, since the allegations became public nearly three years ago, in mid-2016, there seem to be at least three hypothetical possibilities:

1. One is the orthodox Russia-gate explanation: Early on, sharp-eyed top officials of President Obama’s intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and FBI, detected truly suspicious ‘contacts’ between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians “linked to the Kremlin” (whatever that may mean, considering that the presidential administration employs hundreds of people), and this discovery legitimately led to the full-scale “counterintelligence investigation” initiated in July 2016. Indeed, Mueller documented various foreigners who contacted, or who sought to contact, the Trump campaign. The problem here is that Mueller does not tell us, and we do not know, if the number of them was unusual.

Many foreigners seek ‘contacts’ with US presidential campaigns and have done so for decades. In this case, we do not know, for the sake of comparison, how many such foreigners had or sought contacts with the rival Clinton campaign, directly or through the Clinton Foundation, in 2016. (Certainly, there were quite a few contacts with anti-Trump Ukrainians, for example.) If the number was roughly comparable, why didn’t US intelligence initiate a counterintelligence investigation of the Clinton campaign?

If readers think the answer is because the foreigners around the Trump campaign included Russians, consider this: In 1988, when Senator Gary Hart was the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, he went to Russia—still Communist Soviet Russia—to make contacts in preparation for his anticipated presidency, including meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. US media coverage of Hart’s visit was generally favorable. (I accompanied Senator Hart and do not recall much, if any, adverse US media reaction.)

2. The second explanation—currently, and oddly, favored by non-comprehending pro-Trump commentators at Fox News and elsewhere—is that “Putin’s Kremlin” pumped anti-Trump “disinformation” into the American media, primarily through what became known as the Steele Dossier. As I pointed out nearly a year and a half ago, this makes no sense factually or logically. Nothing in the dossier suggests that any of its contents necessarily came from high-level Kremlin sources, as Steele claimed. Moreover, if Kremlin leader Putin so favored Trump, as a Russia-gate premise insists, is it really plausible that underlings in the Kremlin would have risked Putin’s ire by furnishing Steele with anti-Trump “information”? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that “researchers” in the United States (some, like Christopher Steele, paid by the Clinton campaign) were supplying him with the fruits of their research.

3. The third possible explanation—one I have termed “Intel-gate,” and that I explore in my recent book War With Russia?: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate—is that US intelligence agencies undertook an operation to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump. More evidence of “Intelgate” has since appeared. For example, the intelligence community has said it began its investigation in April 2016 because of a few innocuous remarks by a young, lowly Trump foreign-policy adviser, George Papadopoulos. The relatively obscure Papadopoulos suddenly found himself befriended by apparently influential people he had not previously known, among them Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, and a woman calling herself Azra Turk. What we now know—and what Papadopoulos did not know at the time—is that all of them had ties to US and/or UK and Western European intelligence agencies. …

(emphasis added in bold-face)



90Carnophile
Editado: Jun 2, 2019, 11:55am

>87 StormRaven: proximity doesn't deal in facts, all he has are lunatic conspiracy theories

No, he's arguing against the Russia conspiracy theory, not for it. Pay attention!

91proximity1
Editado: Jun 4, 2019, 5:05am



From The National Review

by Andrew McCarthy, “The Mueller Investigation Was Always an Impeachment Probe” | May 31, 2019 12:55 PM




Competing Views of Obstruction

As noted above, the apparent contradiction between Mueller and Barr is clarified by the timeline.

To grasp this, you must first understand that Mueller and his staff are completely result-oriented. If you’ve decided to act as counsel to a congressional impeachment inquiry rather than as a federal prosecutor, the objective is to get your evidence in front of Congress, with the patina of felony obstruction.

In the Nixon and Clinton situations, the rationale for impeachment was obstruction of justice. Significantly, the issue in impeachment cases is abuse of power, not courtroom guilt. Consequently, unlike a prosecutor, a counsel to a congressional impeachment committee does not need evidence strong enough to support a criminal indictment; just something reasonably close to that, enough to enable a president’s congressional opposition to find unfitness for high office.

Once you understand that, it is easy to see what happened here.

Mueller’s staff, chockablock with progressive activists, has conceptions of executive power and obstruction that are saliently different from Barr’s (and from those of conservative legal analysts who subscribe to Justice Scalia’s views on unitary executive power).

The attorney general believes that (a) obstruction charges may not be based on exercises of a president’s constitutional prerogatives—only on obviously corrupt acts (e.g., evidence destruction, bribing witnesses); (b) all executive power under the Constitution is reposed in the president; and thus, (c) when the chief executive takes actions the Constitution empowers him to take (e.g., firing or threatening to fire subordinates), it is not the place of an inferior executive officer, such as a federal prosecutor, to second-guess them as “corruptly motivated.” Recognizing how traumatic accusing a president of a crime is for the country, moreover, Barr thinks an obstruction offense would have to be crystal-clear and serious—you don’t tear the nation apart over something about which reasonable minds could differ.

By contrast, Mueller’s staff believes that (a) the executive bureaucracy is semi-autonomous in its areas of expertise, and thus Justice Department prosecutors are supreme, even over the president, in matters of law enforcement; (b) Congress had the constitutional power to, in effect, transfer executive authority from the president to prosecutors by enacting obstruction laws that may be enforced against the president; and therefore, (c) even if a presidential action is lawful in itself, a prosecutor may allege obstruction if the prosecutor believes the president’s motive was corrupt. Furthermore, little or no consideration should be given to whether a president’s allegedly obstructive act is especially clear or serious because the president (at least if the president is a Republican) must be treated like anyone else — otherwise, the president is placed above the law. (Democratic presidents, to the contrary, are the law — see, e.g., DACA, Obamacare decrees, IRS harassment of conservative groups, Fast and Furious stonewalling of Congress . . .)

... ...



_________________________________________

(The American Spectator)

by David Catron | June 3, 2019, 12:06 AM

William Barr Is Washington’s Worst Nightmare | Nothing scares the denizens of D.C. more than an honest man




...

" Comey’s allusion to 'conspiracy theories' is particularly ironic now that we know the Russian collusion narrative he helped compose and leak to the media was the conspiracy theory that ate D.C. And the fired FBI director is by no means the only Washington insider having difficulty holding his water over AG Barr’s interest in the origins of the Russia Collusion scam. Former CIA director John Brennan has vehemently objected to President Trump’s decision to give Barr authority to 'declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General’s review.'

I see it as a very, very serious and outrageous move on the part of Mr. Trump, once again, trampling on the statutory authorities of the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the independent intelligence agencies. And it’s unclear to me what Mr. Barr is actually going to do. Is he investigating a crime?

This is an interesting question coming from a former CIA director who almost certainly orchestrated the attempted entrapment of George Papadopoulos by foreign intelligence “assets” Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, Alexander Downer, et al. The transcript of his closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee concerning these episodes reveals a series of bizarre encounters, including one in which he was given $10,000 in cash for no reason (which he never attempted to spend). Papadopoulos eventually spent 14 days in jail for misremembering some detail of these weird encounters during an interview with the FBI.

In addition to Comey and Brennan, various Democrats have questioned the Attorney General’s ability to objectively oversee an investigation into the origins of Russiagate. During a Sunday morning appearance on Face the Nation, for example, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) claimed, 'Mr. Barr has very little credibility with me.… because he time and again is not acting as our attorney general, but as a personal advocate for Donald Trump.' This is a standard talking point peddled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and every other Democrat who doesn’t think well on his feet. Predictably, Sen. Warner offered no evidence to support his claim." ...






How to parse Senator Warner's cagey reply to the following interview-question--



Margaret Brennan CBS News Face the Nation (June 2, 2019) :



“But can you unequivocally state politics played absolutely no role in influencing the decision-makers when they opened and conducted this counter-inte—?” (interrupted by Sen. Warner)

Senator Mark Warner (D. - VA.):

I saw absolutely no evidence that politics played any role—and again, if law enforcement and the F.B.I. had not opened an investigation when they had as much evidence as they did of Russian intervention, they would have been irresponsible—“




Observe the emphasis added above because only by paying close attention to the parts which are in italics and the parts which are underlined does one notice the Bait-and-Switch going on here.

The problem is simple. A clandestine counter-intelligence operation was opened under the Obama administration by U.S. intelligence agencies (C.I.A. and the D.N.I.) the design of which was to target (and apparently to discredit) Trump--both his presidential campaign and himself personally when those U.S. intelligence agencies sought to fraudulently obtain a FISA-warrant. FISA warrants concern foreign intelligence matters, beyond the borders of the U.S.; the F.B.I., however, is concerned with investigating domestic spying ( within the U.S. ) involving either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals. So, how is it that Trump and his campaign are targets of an intelligence agency's FISA-warrant application? And, if the F.B.I. is investigating Trump and his campaign, in this case, it's only as suspected agents of "collusion" with "Russia".

Warner tells us that the F.B.I. "would have been irresponsible" if ... (they) ... the F.B.I. had not opened an investigation when they had as much evidence as they did of Russian intervention

Rather than specify what is intended by "an investigation," Warner invites the listener to suppose that he means, not the supposed Trump-campaign connections with Russia-directed interference--because, if there even was a Russia-directed campaign to influence American voters (to change their minds), there were no such connections found with it to the Trump campaign, but, rather, strictly the suspected Russian interference uncoordinated with anyone in the Trump campaign.*

That is what Mueller's own two-year long inquiry ended by reporting: their investigation "did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

What we want to know is—yes or no—whether or not

“... politics played absolutely no role in influencing the decision-makers when they opened and conducted this counter-intelligence operation)—?”

Warner's answer was carefully constructed to avoid answering that question. Instead he tried to assure us that there was, so far as anything he personally saw, "no evidence that politics played any role" in the U.S. law enforcement agencies conduct, not the U.S. intelligence agencies' involvement in the FISA warrant application.

Warner emphatically did not say that, as far as he knows, "unequivocally ... politics played absolutely no role in influencing the decision-makers when they opened and conducted this...."

_______________________________


* and, on that, See "2" in the comments cited in >89 proximity1:, above.

92StormRaven
Jun 3, 2019, 4:08pm

90: No, he arguing a lunatic conspiracy theory about how the "deep state" is out to get Trump. Then again, the fact that you didn't notice this doesn't surprise me given your usual level of reading comprehension.

93StormRaven
Jun 3, 2019, 4:09pm

88: Citing Sam Harris is just another way to say that you really don't want to be treated as credible, especially given the fact that Sam Harris recently admitted that he does absolutely no research about the guests he has on his podcast and doesn't bother to do any research on the topics he is discussing.

94proximity1
Editado: Jun 5, 2019, 10:55am

>93 StormRaven:

Hilariously stupid as a comment and simply baldly and utterly false as a matter of fact. You don't even seem to care about getting this detail—something so easy to verify and so important from the point of view of a reader—correct.

Beyond that, and even funnier, is the fact that both Harris and Wittes are squarely in (the less blatantly deranged part) of your anti-Trump camp. Sam has a fairly advanced case of "TDS." Nothing so stark as "our" "margd", of course, but still he doesn't see a number of important things straight about this whole affair.

Here, however, is the key difference between Harris' interpretative failings and the position of people like you:

with more time and perspective, Sam can (and may well) actually come to reconsider and change his opinions on these issues as a result of his having come to a better understanding than he currently has. You never shall do that and every indication here indicates that this is because you're not intellectually capable of it. Harris, to his credit, clearly is.

You and some others here are in just the kind of very creepy company described here. Whenever I have an unpleasant reminder of this, I take considerable comfort in the fact that there is virtually no point of agreement in our various views on any matter of social or political importance.

95StormRaven
Jun 4, 2019, 11:28am

94: Posting while drunk again I see.

96Carnophile
Jun 4, 2019, 4:16pm

>92 StormRaven: No, he arguing a lunatic conspiracy theory about how the "deep state" is out to get Trump.

That's an established fact, not a "theory," conspiracy or otherwise. E.g., playing fast and loose with evidence and/or procedures to get a warrant, "insurance policy," etc.

97TrippB
Jun 4, 2019, 11:42pm

>94 proximity1:
Thank you for the link to the Hanson article (https://amgreatness.com/2019/06/02/tired-boring-and-dangerous-celebrity-death-wi...).

Excellent compilation.

98proximity1
Editado: Jun 5, 2019, 11:34am

>96 Carnophile:

"That's an established fact, not a "theory," conspiracy or otherwise."

Right. But, as A.G. William Barr's Justice department can indeed show unless he's thwarted, there was indeed a conspiracy going on within what is arguably the "deep state." I don't personally like this term so much but it's used to refer to a set of circumstances which are essentially just as the terms' users intend it to be understood. No serious person who knows anything at all about 20th-century U.S. politics and history doubts or denies this,

This Obama-Clinton "Russia-gate" fiasco is going to provide us with the clearest, most compelling example we've had to date of this "deep state" run amok for purely partisan political reasons. That is why those involved in it are shitting bricks as they observe and think about what's in store for them if Barr's investigation goes ahead unimpeded. People who deny there was a conspiracy have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to the acts of Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Lynch, Holder, Comey, McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

>97 TrippB:

We should thank Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson is always worthy of our attention because he regularly writes with keen insight on these matters. Attempts to laugh him off are themselves laughable.

Trump Has Become the Democrats’ Great White Whale
May 30, 2019 8:03 pm | Victor Davis Hanson


Colluders, Obstructionists, Leakers, and Other Projectionists
May 29, 2019 11:31 pm | Victor Davis Hanson

99proximity1
Editado: Jun 5, 2019, 1:49pm

Can Robert Mueller practice defamation with impunity?

"John Dowd Blasts Mueller over Selective Quotes in Mueller Report"


Could Mueller be liable for a defamation suit claim from fromer Trump lawyer John Dowd?


… “ These considerations suggest that, in varying scope, a qualified immunity is available to officers of the executive branch of government, the variation being dependent upon the scope of discretion and responsibilities of the office and all the circumstances as they reasonably appeared at the time of the action on which liability is sought to be based. It is the existence of reasonable grounds for the belief formed at the time and in light of all the circumstances, coupled with good-faith belief, that affords a basis for qualified immunity of executive officers for acts performed in the course of official conduct.” (85) — cited from RONALD A. CASS*, DAMAGE SUITS AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICERS p. 1128 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW REVIEW (Vol. 129:1110 1981)

____________________________



(85) 416 U.S. at 247-48. ( Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 247-48 (1974).)



• * Professor Cass was, at the time of publication of this article, described this way,

"Assistant Professor of Law, University of Virginia. B.A. 1970, University of Virginia; J.D. 1973, University of Chicago. Commencing in August 1981, Professor Cass will be an Associate Professor of Law at Boston University."

He is today president of Cass & Associates, PC, and Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law.


See also: pp. 31-38:
What is Truth?: True Suspects and False
Defamation

Peter B. Kutner, University of Oklahoma
in Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law
Journal
| Volume 19 Volume XIX (2008) | Number 1 Volume XIX Book 1





(from The New York Times) OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR | When Government Defames | By Aziz Huq | Aug. 10, 2017


... "But if a government official makes an intentional, false and harmful utterance, there is nothing to be done. In February, for example, hours after reporting critically on the Trump administration’s press operations, Alex Isenstadt of Politico found himself accused (apparently falsely) by anonymous White House officials of jeering at and dismissing the death of a Navy SEAL — the sort of cruel and vulgar act that might get a journalist fired. Under current defamation law, Mr. Isenstadt would have no recourse in that event.

"How did this gap in defamation law arise?

"When the government harms someone, a 1946 law called the Federal Tort Claims Act generally provides a judicial remedy. In 1988, in the Westfall Act*, Congress amended the earlier act to cover most personal injury claims brought against federal officials. These laws, however, carve out immunities for government officials when it comes to 'libel, slander, misrepresentation' as well as 'deceit.'

"Why those exceptions? Simple caution, explained Alexander Holtzoff, a special assistant in the office of the attorney general, in testimony to the House of Representatives in 1940. Better, he warned, to 'take it step by step.' Torts of the slip-and-fall variety are more straightforward than, say, a slander case. Congress would presumably get around to addressing those torts as well — except that it hasn’t.

... ...

"There is a simple solution. Congress should enact a judicial remedy for any person defamed by an official of the federal government speaking or writing to the public. To foreclose the need for burdensome discovery or depositions, liability would turn on whether a reasonable person in the official’s position would have known the statement was false (and not on what the official in fact knew). Discovery would be allowed in exceptional cases where a defense relied on factual assertions that could be tested only by careful judicial inquiry into what the official knew." ... ...



* 28 U.S. Code § 2679.Exclusiveness of remedy

28 U.S. Code § 2677. Compromise


Also related:

"Federal Employees, Torts, and the Westfall Act of 1988"
Author: Robert D. Lee, Jr.
Public Administration Review, Vol. 56, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1996), pp. 334-340 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/976374

and

Harvard Law Review (Vol. 125:1080 2012) : (Recent Cases)

(pp. 1080-87) | FEDERAL STATUTES — WESTFALL ACT — D.C. CIRCUIT HOLDS THAT U.S. OFFICIALS ARE IMMUNE FROM ALIEN TORT STATUTE
CLAIMS. — Ali v. Rumsfeld, 649 F.3d 762 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

100Carnophile
Jun 5, 2019, 9:02pm

>98 proximity1: as A.G. William Barr's Justice department can indeed show unless he's thwarted, there was indeed a conspiracy going on within what is arguably the "deep state."

Agreed. E.g., things that intelligence agents did to get the FISA warrant, etc.

101Carnophile
Jun 5, 2019, 9:35pm

CNN poll from March:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/03/26/harry-enten-forecast-mueller-repo...

Zero, repeat ZERO percent of respondents listed the "Russia" thing as the most important issue for how they'll vote in the 2020 election.

102lriley
Editado: Jun 6, 2019, 7:59am

#101--well because it's not and it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

Here are more important things:

1. getting a clearly incompetent and corrupt Trump out of office and going forward with prosecuting him on campaign and financial crimes (both state and federal) amongst other things. His buddy Cohen might be getting out of prison just about the time he's going in.
2. going all out on fixing the climate.
3. medicare for all.
4. rebuilding infrastructure.
5. getting rid of Trump's tax reform bill and going after the 1%--actually dismantling about 99% of what Donald's done the past couple years.

103RickHarsch
Jun 7, 2019, 8:06pm

>95 StormRaven: While the false post about me and 'conspiracy theories' remains unretracted or somehow supported (which is possible because you may have misunderstood something), you have no right to be taken seriously when you criticize others without specific arguments. Were you drunk when you posted something untrue about me?

104proximity1
Editado: Jun 9, 2019, 7:31am


With the following (excerpted) article, the Atlantic magazine's editors decide to shit-can the monthly's journalistic credibility, joining other national U.S. press organs suffering from terminal "Trump Derangement Syndrome."
__________________________________________________​__________________________________________________​



(Ideas)*
Bill Barr’s Dangerous Claims | The attorney general has said the intelligence community was “spying” on the Trump campaign—language that risks a panoply of harms. | Jun 7, 2019 | by April Doss**



"Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly used the word spying to refer to the counterintelligence investigation into Russian contacts with Donald Trump’s team in 2016. Barr’s loose use of language risks a panoply of harms, undermining public confidence in three vital goods: the nonpartisan nature of the intelligence community’s work, the generally robust framework for intelligence oversight, and the facts and conclusions of the intelligence community itself.

"Does Barr know what he’s saying? In a recent interview on CBS, Barr said that ‘as a lawyer, I always interpret the word treason not colloquially, but legally.’ He also touted his intelligence background from his early days at the CIA. Like lawyers, intelligence analysts are trained to carefully consider the importance of their words. Analysts and lawyers alike know that word choice makes a difference in shading, tone, and received meaning, and that the audience matters when choosing your words.

“‘Spying’ is neither a legal standard nor a term of art. None of the statutes, executive orders, or minimization procedures that govern U.S. intelligence activities refers to ‘spying.’ Each of those legal authorities uses much more precise language, such as ‘electronic surveillance,’ ‘covert action,’ or the ‘collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination’ of information.

Spying is a word that’s been shaped by pop culture, invoking John le Carré novels and James Bond movies. It also carries with it the echoes of the mid-1970s Church and Pike Committee investigations into abuses by the intelligence community (IC)—investigations that Barr says shaped his views of intelligence operations. Barr’s use of the word spying to describe a counterintelligence investigation can only have a negative effect on public perception. This is dangerous in a number of ways.” …
_________________________________________

(italics in the excerpt above as in the original text)





______________________________________


… “the Watergate break-in was part of a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage on behalf of the Nixon re-election committee” … (emphasis added)

“What prompted the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to spy on American citizens on U.S. soil in the 1960s—in violation of its own charter?” … (emphasis added)

“A glimpse of the Nixon campaign's spying and disruptions are to be found in the ” … (emphasis added)

“The next day, Nixon and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman privately discussed how ... Nixon's aides had run ‘a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage’ ” … (emphasis added)

“Watergate was an extensive campaign of political spying and dirty tricks cooked up by President Nixon and his subordinates” … (emphasis added)


“On that December day Nixon agreed to cover-up a criminally insubordinate spying operation conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff inside the National Security Council
because of the military’s strong, visceral dislike of Nixon’s foreign policy.” … (emphasis added)

”Reviving the Nixon Doctrine: NSA Spying, the Commander-In-Chief, and Excutive Power in the War on Terror | by David Cole (Georgetown University Law Center) ” ( bold-face (emphasis added)

(Here we have an example of the use of "spying" in an academic paper!)



_______________________________________________
* It's under the bullshit rubric "Ideas" that The Atlantic's editors decided to publish professor Doss's piece-of-crap editorial-opinion essay; Doss, as author of this, is a supremely interested party to the very controversies her article addresses.

** (about) April Doss : "April Doss served as Senior Minority counsel for the Russia investigation on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and, prior to that, as the head of Intelligence Law at the National Security Agency. She currently chairs the Cybersecurity and Privacy practice at the law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr."

105proximity1
Jun 12, 2019, 1:13pm





( The National Review | POLITICS & POLICY)
The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law | By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON |
June 11, 2019 6:30 AM




...

"Mueller thereby established a new but lunatic precedent in American jurisprudence in which a prosecutor who fails to find sufficient cause to indict a suspect nonetheless releases supposedly incriminating evidence, with a wink that the now-besmirched suspect cannot be exonerated of the alleged crimes. Think what Mueller’s precedent of not-not-guilty would do to the American criminal-justice system, as zealous prosecutors might fish for just enough dirt on a suspect to ruin his reputation, but not find enough for an indictment, thereby exonerating their own prosecutorial failure by defaming a 'guilty until proven innocent' suspect.

"It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mueller’s team knew early on in their investigation that his lead investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had been correct in their belief that there was “no there there” in the charges of collusion — again the raison d’être of their entire investigation.

"Yet Mueller’s team continued the investigation, aggregating more than 200 pages of unverified or uncorroborated news accounts, online essays, and testimonies describing all sorts of alleged unethical behavior and infelicities by Trump and his associates, apparently in hopes of compiling their own version of something like the Steele dossier. Mueller sought to publish a compendium of Trump bad behavior that fell below the standard of criminal offense but that would nonetheless provide useful fodder for media sensationalism and congressional partisan efforts to impeach the now supposedly not-not guilty president.

"Note again, at no time did Muller ever investigate the Steele dossier that had helped to create his existence as special counsel, much less whether members of the FBI and DOJ had misled a FISA court by hiding critical information about the dossier to obtain wiretaps of American citizens, texts that Mueller himself would then use in his effort to find criminal culpability." ...

...

"Yet the question is not merely whether a Comey, McCabe, or Mueller is atypical of the FBI. Rather, where in the world, if not from the culture of the FBI, did these elite legal investigators absorb the dangerous idea that FBI lawyers and investigators could flout the law and in such arrogant fashion use their vast powers of the government to pursue their own political agendas? And why was there no internal pushback at a supercilious leadership that demonstrably had gone rogue? Certainly, the vast corpus of the Strzok-Page correspondence does reflect a unprofessional, out-of-control culture at the FBI.

"Just imagine: If an agent Peter Strozk interviewed you and overstepped his purview, would you, the aggrieved, then appeal to his boss, Andrew McCabe? And if Andrew McCabe ignored your complaint, would you, the wronged, then seek higher justice from a James Comey, who in turn might rely on a legal opinion from a Lisa Page or a brief from a James Baker? And failing that, might a Robert Mueller as an outside auditor rectify prior FBI misconduct?" ...



106proximity1
Editado: Jun 18, 2019, 2:46pm




( —Nicolas Poussin, The Abduction of the Sabine Women, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
__________________________________________________​__________________________________________________​

The people who, too often, do the most to bring about something truly horrible are just those who are crusading against a thing, that sole thing which, as they see it, must be the most horrible thing there is—the thing which must be prevented at all costs.

Thus, the country in which vast numbers are constantly talking, terrified, about the 'fact' that some thing, call it "X", might occur or, worse, that it is occurring or has surely already occurred —that is the country in which there is the least likelihood of that "X" coming about.

For example, it is virtually impossible that in the United States today Donald Trump is actually going to do what great numbers of terrified people, within or beyond the borders of the United States, regard as "destroying American democracy."

It's far more likely that these same people, so terrified of Trump's supposed threat to democracy, so very worried about "the revenge of history," shall, in their concern, do the sort of grave and lasting harm to that democracy which Trump, in their wildest dreams, could never succeed in doing--even if he wanted to. They'll achieve that by focusing on so intently "the revenge of history" that they never notice anything else

—such as the revenge of "the revenge of history"—coming right at them.



( —Nicolas Poussin, L'enlèvement des Sabines (1634), Musée du Louvre, Paris ) (Wikipedia: (CC) Creative Commons/Public Domain)

107StormRaven
Jun 19, 2019, 4:41pm

106: You should really stop posting while drunk.

108StormRaven
Jun 19, 2019, 4:48pm

105 "Mueller thereby established a new but lunatic precedent in American jurisprudence in which a prosecutor who fails to find sufficient cause to indict a suspect"

Hanson, who is already completely discredited as a lunatic right-wing conspiracy theorist, further discredits himself by entirely misrepresenting the standard used by Mueller. This very first sentence in the passage that proximity1 posted contains a lie, which is not surprising, since virtually everything that proximity1 posts is a lie.

Mueller didn't "fail to find sufficient cause to indict a subject". Mueller followed DoJ policy in declining to indict a sitting President, which was a conclusion that was independent of the evidence he found. Conservatives have latched on to the lie that Mueller "didn't find sufficient evidence" to indict Trump because it is a convenient lie, but it is still a lie. Mueller found plenty of evidence and in the report he issued he specifically said that the reason he did not indict was because of existing DoJ policy concerning sitting Presidents.

But lying is all conspiracy theory loving loons like Hanson and proximity1 have, so they keep pushing it.

109proximity1
Editado: Jul 4, 2019, 5:56am

Russian Oligarch's* story could spell trouble for Team Mueller (John Solomon, The Hill, (Washington, D.C.)

* Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.

________________________________________

Tick........tick.............tick...............

110proximity1
Jul 17, 2019, 1:13pm



(The Hill, Washington, D.C.) Opinion | F.B.I.'s spreadsheet puts a stake through the heart of Steele's dossier ; 16 July 2019 by John Solomon, opinion contributor*

___________________________

(Excerpt)



..."lest anyone be tempted to think (Christopher) Steele's dossier is about to be mysteriously revived as credible, consider this: Over months of work, FBI agents painstakingly researched every claim Steele made about Trump's possible collusion with Russia, and assembled their findings into a spreadsheet-like document.

"The over-under isn't flattering to Steele.

"Multiple sources familiar with the FBI spreadsheet tell me that the vast majority of Steele's claims were deemed to be wrong, or could not be corroborated even with the most awesome tools available to the U.S. intelligence community. One source estimated the spreadsheet found upward 90 percent of the dossier's claims to be either wrong, non-verifiable or open-source intelligence found with a Google search.

"In other words, it was mostly useless.

" 'The spreadsheet was a sea of blanks, meaning most claims couldn't be corroborated, and those things that were found in classified intelligence suggested Steele's intelligence was partly or totally inaccurate on several claims,' one source told me."

_______________________

* "The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.

111davidgn
Jul 17, 2019, 1:16pm

>110 proximity1: Count me unsurprised on that point.

112proximity1
Editado: Jul 31, 2019, 11:00am

Another* anti-Trump lawsuit is dismissed.
___________________________________

U.S. District Court (Manhattan, New York, N.Y.) John G. Koeltl ( a Clinton judicial appointee) has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Democratic (Party) National Committee naming the Russian state as a defendant in a case brought for interference in the U.S. presidential election of 2016.

'Sovereign immunity' bars suits in U.S. courts against the Russian state in this case. In addition, the judge wrote that the Constitution's free-speech protections bar a suit against the Trump campaign or WikiLealks for publishing the details of leaked Clinton-campaign e-mail communications.

_____________________

REUTERS, 31 July, 2019 by Jan Wolfe
"U.S. Judge Tosses Democratic Party lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia, over election"

_____________________

* ("District of Columbia and State of Maryland vs. Donald J. Trump" ) | See: Post #160 of "Scandal Watch VII"


( LOL! )

113proximity1
Ago 30, 2019, 10:57am




... " the IG found that “Comey’s characterization of the Memos as personal records finds no support in the law and is wholly incompatible with the plain language of the statutes, regulations, and policies defining Federal records, and the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreements.”" ...



114proximity1
Editado: Sep 3, 2019, 11:49am


from the website " Down With Tyranny " :



" Reminder: DNC Lawyers to Court, 'We Do Not Owe Voters an "Impartial" or "Evenhanded" Primary Election' " ( posted : Thursday, August 29, 2019)



When one's own natural political "home-party" is a wretched, vile, cesspool of corruption, beating the 'opposition' is meaningless and the first order of business is cleaning up one's own political back-yard.

If that means no alternative to allowing the formal 'opposition' party (also corrupt) to electorally beat the shit out of one's corrupt party candidates unitl the message gets through, then so be it.

Voters to DNC : "Go 'die'!, Motherfuckers!"

115proximity1
Editado: Oct 27, 2019, 8:10am

RE: Entrapment —— This post (#14) is UP-DATED with commentary added Saturday, 26 October, 2019

MEANWHILE ---- Tick, tick, tick ...

116proximity1
Nov 8, 2019, 8:10am



'Coup has started,' whistleblower's attorney said in 2017 posts calling for impeachment | By Gregg Re | Fox News | 07 November 2019



"Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a 'coup has started' and that 'impeachment will follow ultimately.'

"Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, 'I predict ("@" "C(able)N(ews)N(etwork"))* will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president.' Also that month, Zaid tweeted, 'We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.'

"Amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid assured his Twitter followers that 'as one falls, two more will take their place,' apparently referring to Trump administration employees who defy the White House. Zaid promised that the 'coup' would occur in 'many steps.'



(*Note: the initials "C" "N" "N" used in series here link a LT member-name.)

117margd
Dic 17, 2019, 12:29pm

Russia’s State TV Calls Trump Their ‘Agent’
Julia Davis | Dec. 17, 2019

Russian commentators note, rightly, that “sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power," and they’re already joking about offering Trump asylum...

https://www.thedailybeast.com/russias-state-tv-calls-trump-their-agent

1182wonderY
Editado: Dic 17, 2019, 2:21pm

The story is long and not easily summarized. Here's a central nugget:

Graphika, which outlined its analysis in a report on Tuesday, said it could not say with precision who in Russia might be responsible for circulating the posts claiming to show the do-not-prosecute list. The State Department has denied that such a list existed, and Lutsenko has since sought to clarify what he reportedly told Solomon.

The Russia-based operation, which also sought to blame Britain for interfering in the 2016 election, represents a warning about the evolving methods and wide-ranging goals of disinformation as Americans enter a volatile election season, four years after Russian actors used social media to sow discord and boost Trump’s candidacy for the White House. The “known Russian operation," as Graphika called it, involved doctored visuals and sought to cover its tracks using single-use accounts on discussion forums and other crowdsourced websites, as well as on the news aggregation site Reddit.

The apparent aims of the digital deception underscore the parallels between Russia’s campaign of disinformation and the GOP’s embrace of debunked theories that paint Trump as the victim of British spooks and deep-state saboteurs.

All told, Graphika identified 44 stories launched by the operation between October 2016 and October 2019, many of them “demonstrably false, based on forged documents or non-existent interviews.” The falsehoods touched on everything from Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency in 2016 to rumors about the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, from which Russia was barred because of its state-backed doping program.

Meanwhile, Graphika’s report notes, “all were amplified by networks of fake accounts across a wide range of social platforms.”

Russian disinformation network said to have helped spread smear of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

119proximity1
Editado: Ene 1, 2020, 4:31pm

Rolling Stone magazine's staff-writer, Matt Taibbi, writes (from his own blog-page at: https://taibbi.substack.com) :



(NOTE ON A NEW BOOK)


On the Great Russia Caper | Matt Taibbi | 31 December, 2019 |

__________________________________


After the holidays, I’ll be starting a new serial book in this space, replacing Untitled-gate with The Great Russia Caper.

I spent a good part of the last three years, and much of this past summer and fall, talking to people in and around the Russia investigation. Two themes kept emerging, in conversation with everyone from targets of the investigation to government investigators to reporters bylined on “bombshell” news stories.

One is rank comedy. Elements of this story involve serious abuses of power, but the defining characteristic of the Russia controversy is the proud American ignorance of the main characters. In that respect, it’s similar to the Iraq story. That was about oil, yes, but our Commander-in-Chief also didn’t learn there was a difference between Sunnis and Shiites until a year after the invasion, saying: “I thought Iraqis were Muslims!”

The subtext of Russia-gate involves a Dr. Evil-style expansion of the surveillance state and the cynical commandeering of the news media for a xenophobic scare campaign. But the major plot twists are informed by slapstick clueless-ness.
The Russia “expert” whose dossier cripples a presidency doesn’t speak Russian (and hasn’t been there since the Buffalo Bills played in a Super Bowl). The FBI director has never heard of Gazprom. The ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee warms up for hearings on Russian interference by reading “Tolstoy and Nabokov.”

National security officials explaining the need to arm Ukraine invoke the specter of communism, dead for thirty years; the former head of the DNC worries the “communists” are “dictating the terms of the debate”; belief that the Cold War is still on runs so strong that intelligence officials blame Russia for mysterious “acoustic attacks” on American diplomats in China, Cuba, and Uzbekistan.

The idea of a Deep State plot to undermine Donald Trump is popular in Republican circles, but all this lunacy at least somewhat undermines that analysis. Russiagate turns out to be impossible to understand minus the element of sincere, if misguided or insane, belief. Investigators and then press figures reasoned themselves into one proposition, only to end up on a years-long roller-coaster embracing pee tapes and acoustic brain attacks and killer Putin-dolphins (trained for the inevitable trans-polar Russian assault).

A section of the recently-released report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz exemplifies how key players became captive to their own mind loops.

Horowitz found out key assertions about Trump-Russia collusion appeared to come from Russian oligarch and metals baron Oleg Deripaska, who in 2016 employed ex-spy Christopher Steele to help him in a lawsuit against Trump aide Paul Manafort. This was the same Deripaska whose ostensible ties to Russian intelligence would end up being central to Trump-Russia collusion theories, as he reportedly received polling data from the Trump campaign through a middleman.

In other words: when information was going to OlegDeripaska, he was an FSB villain. When it came from Deripaska, it was trusted. Why? Horowitz quoted counter-intelligence chief Bill Priestap:


Why the Russians, and (Deripaska) is supposed to be close, very close to the Kremlin, why the Russians would try to denigrate an opponent that the intel community later said they were in favor of who didn’t really have a chance at winning, I’m struggling with… I know from my Intelligence Community work: they favored Trump, they’re trying to denigrate Clinton, and they wanted to sow chaos. I don’t know why you’d run a disinformation campaign to denigrate Trump on the side.


To dig into one of the most serious investigative questions the country had ever faced – the possibility that a presidential candidate was in league with foreign intelligence – the FBI turned to an ex-spy with a reputation for “poor judgment” and a “lack of self-awareness” who happened to be on the payroll of both the rival presidential campaign and a Russian plutocrat pal of Vladimir Putin. Asked why they had confidence in this person and his sources, the sincere answer was, “Why would they lie?”

Intelligence officials launched an investigation based on a series of assumptions, then used those assumptions as a reason not to question the assumptions. As one congressional investigator put it to me, “You can’t make this shit up.”

… …

There’s no way for Americans, and especially progressives, to really appreciate what the Russia story means without going back to the domestic spying programs first exposed by reporters like Seymour Hersh in the mid-seventies.

Originally tabbed the “Son of Watergate,” Hersh’s December 1974 report about “huge” spying operations – detailed in an internal CIA document known as the “Family Jewels” – led to revelations of wide-scale domestic surveillance of antiwar and black liberation movements, assassination attempts, misinformation campaigns, surveillance of reporters, a mail-opening program, human experimentation, and other activities so revolting that Henry Kissinger, not exactly a shrinking violent when it comes to such authoritarian stuff, called it the “horrors book.” Public disgust reached the point where there were calls for the abolition of spy agencies in general.

But a second backlash after Watergate never happened. News agencies, concerned that investigative reporting had gone “too far” after unseating a president, backed off the domestic spy story. The Pulitzer Committee quietly decided not to consider Hersh’s report, because it was “over-written, overplayed, under-researched and underproven.” Of course, every last detail of the “underproven” story would turn out to be true, but that wouldn’t be known for sure until 2007, when the “Family Jewels” were finally declassified. By then, the agencies had regrouped, and the spy programs reinvigorated.

When he returned to the White House as Vice President, onetime Ford administration official Dick Cheney rebuilt the secrecy bureaucracy. Intensely concerned with restoring the powers the executive branch lost in the seventies of his bitter experience, Cheney armed all the new or revived spying programs with a protective Catch-22. Extreme measures undertaken on national security grounds would henceforth also be protected from legal challenge on the same national security grounds.

Anyone hoping to contest any of these activities – secret FISA monitoring, inclusion on a no-fly or even an assassination list, the receipt of a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding access to communications information, an ordinary criminal prosecution buttressed by secret evidence – first had to win a difficult battle to prove that any of these things had even taken place.

Once past that hurdle, there would be a second battle to see the government’s reasons for taking these actions. Then, another battle to win the right to contest them. And so on.

Throughout the last three years, this pattern has repeated, often in absurd fashion. The lowlight was probably Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of a series of Russians connected to the Internet Research Agency.

When lawyers for one of the defendants unexpectedly showed up in court, Mueller declared millions of pages of non-classified documents “sensitive,” and obtained a protective order preventing defense counsel sharing discovery evidence – with their own clients! Nobody in the ostensibly “liberal media” even blinked at this dystopian insanity.

This is the metaphor still playing itself out as Connecticut Attorney General John Durham winds up his investigation of the investigation. We’re still at the stage of fighting over how much the public is entitled to learn what secret measures were undertaken on its behalf. That it takes this long and is this difficult for even the President of the United States to learn what tools were used to investigate him should be an enormous red flag, even to those who despise Trump.

It’s my hope that if people see the long background of how such tools have been used against less prominent targets – from Muslims on the Watch List to inner-city drug defendants tried in “tip and lead” cases to Internet companies fighting long court battles just to publicly fight the secret subpoenas they’ve received from the FBI – they might start to think differently about this story.

Russia-gate is like the Iraq story in another sense. Even after we found out there were no WMDs, the intellectual argument for pre-emptive war remained. The pretext vanished but the idea persisted; we’re still over there. In the same way, the core ideas of the Russia caper are almost sure to survive Donald Trump.

In early 2017, the outgoing Obama government issued an Intelligence Assessment about Russian interference. Coverage focused on the notion that a foreign country had helped elect Trump, but the paper pushed other themes. It talked about Russian determination to fuel “radical discontent” and “dissatisfaction” among us, in order to “undermine the US-led liberal democratic order.”

The paper previewed concepts pundits would continue hammering for years:



● “Discord” in America is foreign-inspired;

● Complaints about financial inequality, wars, the inefficacy of American democracy, and other problems are also fueled by foreigners;

● There is danger in allowing crossover between the left and right populist movements appealing to these complaints;

● The free press and an unregulated Internet are the devil’s playgrounds, and the vigilance of experts is needed to protect us from foreign “disinformation.”



These ideas have pushed us into an experience straight out of Orwell: a dramatic and almost instantaneous flipping of popular assumptions. Self-described “progressives” who just a decade ago rallied behind the Dixie Chicks now gobble up scare tracts written in faux-Cyrillic texts about “assets” in our midst. The same terror before unseen threats that gripped small-town Americans after 9/11 has now conquered our urban upper classes. Donald Trump is not sufficient to explain this.

Even if public opinion doesn’t change, it feels worth writing a history of this madness. I hope future generations will be sane enough to disbelieve it.

Part one, next, begins with the Family Jewels, a War on Terror primer, and a pair of lawsuits.


© 2020 Matt Taibbi. See privacy and terms



___________________________________

My own note as addendum:

RE:

"The idea of a Deep State plot to undermine Donald Trump is popular in Republican circles, but all this lunacy at least somewhat undermines that analysis. Russiagate turns out to be impossible to understand minus the element of sincere, if misguided or insane, belief. Investigators and then press figures reasoned themselves into one proposition, only to end up on a years-long roller-coaster embracing pee tapes and acoustic brain attacks and killer Putin-dolphins (trained for the inevitable trans-polar Russian assault)."



If I didn't much admire and respect Matt Taibbi for his intelligence and his talents as a writer and journalist, the post above this addendum shouldn't be there.

But, as for the excerpt just noted hereabove, I believe Matt has overlooked or minimized the extent to which it is quite possible for both elements to be alive and active in various members of large popular movements; that is, there is nothing about "a Deep State plot to undermine Donald Trump" on one hand, and, on the other, "the element of sincere, if misguided or insane, belief" to be found in different people at work within the same large social movement or set of associated movements. That is, specifically, there is simply no reason to discount or dismiss the likely fact that, among the great variety of people who join in various ways in a grand effort to oppose and undermine Donald Trump and his presidency, some are indeed, as they themselves see it, part of an organized deep-state opposition while others are "merely" vehemently opposed to everything about Trump and are happy to ally themselves with any and all who, for whatever reasons or purposes, also oppose him. Many of these people are both completely sincere in their beliefs and, at the same time, wildly delusional as to the actual facts of the matter. These are of course not mutually exclusive as motives and centers of active interest by players in the dynamics concerned. People are emotionally and psychologically messy and complicated creatures. For me, there is a good deal of the former as well as significant degrees of the latter depending on where one looks.

120davidgn
Ene 1, 2020, 3:50pm

>119 proximity1: Thanks. Much needed.

121Molly3028
Editado: Ene 1, 2020, 4:29pm

>119 proximity1:

Rudy and his gang are going to sink the Trump Ship of State.
With friends like Rudy, no one needs any enemies. Putin can just
sit back and enjoy the 2020 show. He easily set the Americans-
destroying-America circus into motion in 2016, and it has been
working like a charm. Very little money or effort was involved.

123proximity1
Editado: Mayo 5, 2020, 5:02am


(Note: though this excerpt's flawed and shoddy editing makes me wonder about the care taken in gathering and verifying the reported facts, I'm posting it anyway, "as is," with the recognition that there may be some aspects which, like the poor writing, are questionable because, if the report's details bear out, the picture given adds importantly to and squares entirely with the sordid mess which has been steadily revealed as the state of the executive directorship at the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Obama administration.)


from Just the News (Washington, D.C.) website

FBI notes detail effort to catch Flynn in lie to 'get him fired' as Trump adviser | 'What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?' | by John Solomon | Last Updated: April 29, 2020 - 8:32pm



... ...

“Justice Department officials are investigating whether Priestap's notes were written in conjunction with meetings he had with top leaders like then-Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, officials said. A special prosecutor is reviewing DOJ's and the FBI's handling of the Flynn prosecution, which led to the former Trump adviser and retired general pleading guilty to lying to the FBI under a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia case.

“Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell filed a court motion last week saying new evidence has emerged showing Flynn was 'framed' and his conviction should be dismissed. The officials said the notes are part of that new evidence and had been withheld from Flynn's defense team for years even though they were potential evidence of innocence.

“More evidence is being produced in the next few days that will further illuminate the FBI's conduct in the case that is now at the center of the DOJ investigation, officials said.

“Among the new evidence released Wednesday night is an email chain involving former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Strzok, the lead agent in the Russia probe known as Crossfire Hurricane. In the email exchange, the two and others discuss whether the FBI has to follow its normal rules and give Flynn the customary '1001 warning' at the start of his interview that if he misled agents he could be charged criminally.

“ 'I have a question for you,' Page wrote in an email that included Strzok. 'Could the admonition re 1001 be given at the beginning at the interview? Or does it have to come following a statement which agents believed to be false? Does this policy speak to that?'

“She added: 'It seems to be if the former then it would be an easy way to just casually slip that in, Of course you know sir federal law makes it a crime to...'
“A while later, Page gets an emailed response: 'I haven't read the policy lately, but if I recall correctly, you can say it any time. I'm 90 percent sure about that, but I can check in the a.m.'

“The mere fact that FBI agents were using phrase like 'slip that in' when talking about a warning designed to protect someone's constitutional rights is certain to give Flynn's lawyers more fodder to argue in court that his January 2017 interview was a set up as Powell has argued (,(sic))
… ...




--- an outrageous and maliciously criminal conspiracy to frame-up Michael Flynn for sheer partisan political motives directed by a federal law enforcement agency working illegally at the highest levels against the Trump administration before, during and after its official inauguration..

____________________________________



(The Federalist (Washington, D.C.))

_______________________

Grassley Demands DOJ Release All Exculpatory Information On Michael Flynn | April 28, 2020 | By Chrissy Clark


"Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling on the Justice Department to release all exculpatory information related to the FBI’s handling of its case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn." ...





When this is all finished, some very important former Obama-administration and former Clinton-presidential-campaign officials are going to be charged with having committed crimes and are going to be prosecuted, convicted and sent to prison for those crimes as these revealed their parts in this stinking scandal—a scandal about which so very many Trump-hating so-called "liberal" Americans clearly do not give a fucking damn.

124proximity1
Editado: Mayo 5, 2020, 5:05am

Regarding the F.B.I.'s operation, "Crossfire Hurricane" and the interviews of General Michael Flynn,



... " 'This was a "rank setup." ' It was in essence a perjury trap, where the 'government questions a witness for the primary purpose of obtaining a statement from him in order to prosecute him later for perjury.' ”


Anyone who thinks of himself as politically "liberal" yet gives such official conduct a "pass" simply because, from a partisan point of view, in this case the victim of the official illegal misconduct is not a "friendly figure" is kidding himself about being a liberal.

125margd
Jul 24, 2020, 1:56pm

Marshall Cohen (CNN) @MarshallCohen | 12:46 PM · Jul 24, 2020:

President Trump has had monthly phone calls with Vladimir Putin since March.
(They've had 7 publicly disclosed calls during this period.)
This is the most sustained contact between the two leaders since the Trump Era began in 2017.

126Carnophile
Editado: Jul 26, 2020, 12:51am

>125 margd: My God, Trump has spoken with Putin! He has literally spoken with him! That's definitely prima facie evidence of a crime! Where's Mueller on this?!

127Carnophile
Jul 26, 2020, 12:58am

The Steele Dossier's “Primary Subsource" was a drunken analyst at the liberal think tank The Brookings Institution.
The mysterious “Primary Subsource” that Christopher Steele has long hidden behind... is a former Brookings Institution analyst -- Igor “Iggy” Danchenko, a Russian national whose past includes criminal convictions and other personal baggage ignored by the FBI in vetting him and the information he fed to Steele, according to congressional sources and records obtained by RealClearInvestigations...

Danchenko, who was hired by Steele in 2016 to deploy a network of sources to dig up dirt on Trump and Russia for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was arrested, jailed and convicted years earlier on multiple public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges in the Washington area and ordered to undergo substance-abuse and mental-health counseling, according to criminal records.
Summary: the “primary subsource” of the Steele “dossier” is a formerly jailed leftist Russian with mental issues.

128proximity1
Jul 26, 2020, 5:32am


>127 Carnophile:

..."is a formerly jailed leftist Russian with mental issues"...

Wait, about that, help me out here (I'm a Lefty-Hillary-Obama-Biden-BLM liberal)---

just to be clear, is that a bad thing?

LOL!

129margd
Ago 15, 2020, 6:18am

The Linguistics of Disinfo: How Russia Portrays Kamala Harris
August 14, 2020

...“America’s own Putin,” “Negress Taking Over America,” “Obama in a skirt returning to the White House”, “the most dangerous choice” – these are just a few headlines in the Russian media after Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, as his choice for running mate in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

...The anchor reported that U.S. President Donald Trump had “already reacted in his usual manner, calling her even more disgusting ‘omerzitel’noi’ than the previous candidate for the position, Elizabeth Warren, who he degradingly called Pocahontas.”

...However, in translating (Trump's) word “nasty,” Channel 1 misleadingly used the much more negative Russian word “omerzitel’ny.”

“For ‘nasty’, people usually say ‘protivny’, it’s almost like a bound phrase,” veteran Russia watcher and professional interpreter Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick, who has translated over 50 books from Russian into English and vice versa, told Polygraph.info. “And ‘omerzitel’ny’ is already ‘disgusting’ or ‘repulsive’ – that much stronger.”...

...RIA Novosti’s front page report about Kamala Harris was headlined: “The Washington swamp puts forward its own Putin against Trump.”

The commentary is full of minor inaccuracies. In addition, Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, is described as a “a lawyer of Jewish origin.” The report portrays Harris as “not too decent, not too trustworthy,” with “extravagant views on foreign policy,” and an “almost-doppelganger” of Putin with the ability to “hypnotize Trump, just like the Russian does.”

Writing in the Russian website Business FM, Anton Korobkov, a political studies professor at the University of Tennessee and a member of the Russian International Affairs Council, described Harris as Joe Biden’s “dangerous choice” for vice president whose main attributes are “untrustworthiness” and a “near-insane hunger for power.”...

https://www.polygraph.info/a/kamala-harris-russian-disinfo/30783955.html

130proximity1
Editado: Ago 18, 2020, 9:11am



"New York Times Manipulates F.B.I. Lawyer’s Guilty Plea To Hide Real Spygate News" | Because they were co-conspirators in the hoax, too many in the corporate media are serving as obstacles to holding the F.B.I. and other powerful government agencies accountable for their actions. | by
Mollie Hemingway
| August 17, 2020

(The Federalist)
__________________

"A New York Times reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his role perpetrating the Russia collusion hoax was tasked with framing the news that a former top F.B.I. lawyer was to plead guilty to deliberately fabricating evidence against a Donald Trump campaign affiliate targeted in the Russia probe. The resulting article is a case study in how to write propaganda.

"Adam Goldman broke, and cushioned, the news that former F.B.I. lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was to plead guilty to fabricating evidence in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (F.I.S.A.) warrant application to spy on Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page.

"His job was to present the news as something other than an indictment of the F.B.I.’s handling of the Russia collusion hoax, to signal to other media that they should move on from the story as quickly as possible, and to hide his own newspaper’s multi-year participation in the Russia collusion hoax. One intelligence source described it as an 'insult' to his intelligence and 'beyond Pravda,' a reference to the official newspaper of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. Here’s how Goldman did it.

Mild Headline With Ludicrous Spin

"The New York Times used to put every Russia collusion story it had on the front page. Then, when the narrative fell apart, the Times moved on to a new narrative of redefining America as irredeemably racist.

"Even though Clinesmith’s guilty plea is directly relevant to the false story the Times peddled for years, and even though it broke the news of his guilty plea, the publication hid the story deep in the paper and put a boring headline on it. 'Ex-F.B.I. Lawyer Expected to Plead Guilty in Durham Investigation,' as if begging readers to move on. If they didn’t, the subhead told them that the news really wasn’t such a big deal. 'Prosecutors are not expected to reveal any evidence of a broad anti-Trump conspiracy among law enforcement officials,' it claimed, without, well, evidence.

"In fact, while the charging document was brief, it revealed that while Clinesmith deliberately fabricated evidence in the fourth warrant to spy on Page, all four warrants failed to mention the information the C.I.A. gave the F.B.I. months before the first warrant was filed. That information was that Page, a former Marine officer who graduated from the Naval Academy, had been a source for the agency, sharing information about Russians the agency was interested in. In fact, he’d done it for five years." ...

131margd
Sep 26, 2020, 6:25am

Now that his boy appears to be losing:

Putin says Russia and U.S. should agree not to meddle in each other's elections
Tom Balmforth, Anton Kolodyazhnyy | September 25, 2020

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin called on Friday for an agreement between Russia and the United States to guarantee not to engage in cyber-meddling in each other’s elections.

In a statement ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, (Russian President Vladimir Putin) called for a reset between Russia and the United States and said he wanted an agreement between the two countries to prevent incidents in cyberspace.

“(I propose)... exchanging guarantees of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, including electoral processes, including using information and communication technologies and high-tech methods...One of the main strategic challenges of our time is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital sphere,” Putin said in the Kremlin statement...We would like to once again appeal to the United States with a proposal to approve a comprehensive program of practical measures to reset our relations in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).”

He proposed the two countries reach an agreement to prevent major cyberspace incidents, something he compared to a 1972 U.S.-Soviet treaty reached at the height of the Cold War to prevent incidents at sea and in the air from escalating.

He also called for the two countries to fully restore communication lines between their respective agencies to discuss key international information on security issues...

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-usa-putin/putin-says-russia-and-u-s-shoul...

132margd
Sep 26, 2020, 7:54am

Primaries in Russia...

Latest joke going around on the Russian internet:
-Did you hear Putin was nominated for the Nobel Prize?
-In chemistry, I assume?

- Garry Kasparov @Kasparov63 | 11:22 PM · Sep 25, 2020

134margd
Ene 22, 6:33am

Unlike Trump, who was unwilling to criticize Russia, (WH spokesperson Jen Psaki) @jrpsaki says
Biden has asked the U.S. intelligence community for a full assessment of:

- The SolarWinds hack
- Russian interference in the 2020 election
- The poisoning of Navalny
- Bounties on US troops

0:27 ( https://twitter.com/joshscampbell/status/1352369766707695623 )

- Josh Campbell (CNN) @joshscampbell | 4:37 PM · Jan 21, 2021

135proximity1
Editado: Ene 22, 10:39am

Obviously (to many of us, if not to Joe Biden or his fans), the world's worst thugs, dictators and scammers are relieved to be rid of Trump and delighted to have Joe Biden in his place. (Suicide-bombings are back in the M.E.---and it's only day 2 of the Biden Gang's rule.) As they'd ( i.e. Russians) favored H.R.C. over Trump, so they favored Biden over Trump. Clearly, their "control" over U.S. electoral politics is nothing like what conspiracy-addled Liberal fools had claimed and believed.

The American public remain as deeply lost in the woods as they've ever been. The Russians and Chinese have plenty to celebrate.

Since when have they failed to welcome having morons for adversaries?



136sirfurboy
Ene 22, 3:04pm

>135 proximity1: "Suicide-bombings are back in the M.E."

And when, pray tell, did they disappear?

There were 33 suicide attacks in the Middle East last year alone.

137proximity1
Feb 26, 8:57am


"Once-secret FBI informant reports reveal wider-ranging operation to spy on Trump campaign" by John Solomon | Updated: February 25, 2021 - 10:15am |

______________________



... "the memos' most explosive revelations are the sheer breadth of the FBI's insufficiently predicated dragnet targeting the Trump campaign, and the agents' clearly stated purpose of thwarting any Trump campaign effort to get dirt from Russia that could hurt his Democratic rival.

" 'The Crossfire Hurricane investigative team is attempting to determine if anyone in the Trump campaign is in a position to have received information either directly or indirectly from the Russian Federation regarding the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton,' one of the early FBI electronic communications (ECs) from Halper's undercover work stated.


You can read the memos here.
File
Halper Source Documents_final.pdf



"Ordinarily, FBI counterintelligence investigations that target Americans legally must be predicated on specific allegations that narrowly focus the bureau's spy powers on limited targets to avoid unnecessary infringement of privacy and civil liberties. But the Halper documents reveal a large, unfocused FBI search with little substantiation of alleged wrongdoing, and significant evidence that undermined the core allegations, experts told Just the News.

"Former FBI Assistant Director for Intelligence Kevin Brock said the information about Papadopoulos' foreign lobbying that the bureau used to open the Russia collusion probe failed to meet the bureau's own legal standards to justify the larger dragnet that encompassed Page and many other Trump officials.

" 'Normally when the FBI opens an investigation on a U.S. citizen, it has specific facts justifying an investigation of that person,' explained Brock, who led the implementation of many of the bureau's current rules for informants and intelligence gathering. "But here what the ECs are saying is they don't know who is involved and they are just conjecturing that someone in the Trump campaign might be in a position to receive help from Russia. You just can't open a full field investigation on conjecture.

" 'If you look at the FBI's ECs dispassionately, there is no clearly predicated basis for investigation for U.S. citizens, so it looks instead like subterfuge to justify an open-ended inquiry. The only sane, logical explanation why the Crossfire Hurricane team would doggedly perpetuate such an unfounded investigation is political bias,' Brock added.

"Brock's comments echo the words of one of the lead FBI agents in the Russia case, William Barnett, who last year told the Justice Department in a lengthy interview that there was never any credible evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and that the investigation only persisted because there was a 'get Trump' attitude among investigators.

" 'BARNETT and others joked about how the investigation into collusion could be made into a game, which they referred to as "Collusion Clue",' the DOJ summary of Barnett's interview read. 'In the hypothetical game, investigators are able to choose any character conducting any activity in any location and pair this individual with another character and interpret it as evidence of collusion.'


You can read Barnett's full memo here. File: 04518073623.pdf



"Just the News obtained the new informant documents — previously classified at the 'secret' level — after Trump ordered hundreds of Russia collusion probe documents declassified during his final 24 hours in office last month. The informant documents chronicle the efforts by the FBI to direct Halper as a confidential human source from August 2016 through early 2017.

"Halper did not return a call seeking comment on one of the phones he used when he was working for the FBI. A woman who answered said she would pass along a message. Halper also did not reply to messages seeking comment sent to private and work email addresses. The FBI national press office in Washington declined comment." ...

138Molly3028
Editado: Feb 26, 12:15pm

How can a person believe that a life-long con man, cult personality and liar is the answer to their international terror fears????? Putin and Trump are both con men.