Monday, July 6, 2015

"NO! NO! NO!" Grexit Upcoming (Venal German Strategy or Just Business As Usual)  Ending Horrorification of Life Under NeoLib Domination In Sight?  (Or Just One More Domino Dropping Into Bankster Muck?  Whoops! Yanis Resigns Abruptly)  Flushing the TPP!  (Jerry Lives - GRATEFUL DEAD!)

First off, the Grateful Dead "Fare Thee Well" tour went so well that they're considering doing another one next year (and they'll never fade away).


But you should have heard me scream with glee when they began with "China Cat/Sunflower/I Know You Rider," and then "Estimated Prophet" and "Built to Last!" Tears streamed down my face all evening remembering the good times and friends met at festivals. You know the CD/DVD's from this performance will be flying off the shelves. I consider just being able to hear the entire show on Sirius/XM a huge mitzvah - that will never fade away. (Never fear - I'm a long-time member of the church of Jerry and Bob. So relax!)

"Oh, the kids they laugh and shake their bones; politicians throwing stones, and it's all too clear we're on our own, saying:

Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down.

Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down."

Go to for details of how wonderful it all was.

And all the charities/foundations you can become a part of.

And remember the Dead motto:   Be Kind.

I want to add that I got to hear M.G and Trixie (Jerry's family) reminisce! Trixie's sales pitch for the show appears at the bottom of this page.

("Althea!" Who'da guessed? Kudos, Trey! You were rocking the Casbah. Jerry would have been proud.)

But everyone was.

Looks like the Greeks are saying "NO!"


61% - 39%.

Not even close, but really worrisome due to the fact that almost 40% of the country voted for more austerity cuts for the poor and working classes (and more profits for the .001%). The Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well.

From a great source with fantastic pictures of the joy and disgust from both sides, Chris Morris has commentary and this telling video.

Read our woman, Sardonicky:

Oxi to Austerity

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts called the trick two weeks ago when he advocated that they vote "No" (and thereby call Syriza's hand at the bargaining table).

The choice for the last few years has clearly been austerity or bankruptcy.

And although both are terrible ideas since John Maynard Keynes explained how to avoid them, at least you can recover from bankruptcy (and we've seen that austerity only enriches those at the top and impoverishes everyone else). Drs. Alan Gilbert and Paul Krugman are too kind (almost) in the second essay as they identify the culprits by level of intelligence.

Starvation Is The Price Greeks Will Pay For Remaining In The EU

Paul Craig Roberts

Syriza, the new Greek government that intended to rescue Greece from austerity, has come a cropper. The government relied on the good will of its EU “partners,” only to find that its “partners” had no good will. The Greek government did not understand that the only concern was the bottom line, or profits, of those who held the Greek debt.

The Greek people are as out to lunch as their government. The majority of Greeks want to remain in the EU even though it means that their pensions, their wages, their social services, and their employment opportunities will be reduced. Apparently for Greeks, being a part of Europe is worth being driven into the ground.

The alleged “Greek crisis” makes no sense whatsoever. It is obvious that Greece cannot with its devastated economy repay the debts that Goldman Sachs hid and then capitalized on the inside information, helping to cause the crisis. If the solvency of the holders of the Greek debt, apparently the NY hedge funds and German and Dutch banks, depends on being repaid, the European Central Bank could just follow the example of the Federal Reserve and print the money to secure the Greek debt. The ECB is already printing 60 billion euros a month to save the European financial system, so why not include Greece?

A conservative might say that such a course of action would cause inflation, but it hasn’t. The Fed has been creating money hands over fists for seven years, and according to the government there is no inflation. We even have negative interest rates attesting to the absence of inflation. Why will creating money for Greece create inflation but not for Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and JPMorganChase?

Obviously, the Western world doesn’t want to help Greece. The West wants to loot Greece. The deal is that Greece gets new loans with which to repay existing loans in exchange for selling municipal water companies to private investors (water rates will go up on the Greek people), for selling the state lottery to private investors (Greek government revenues drop, thus making debt repayment more difficult), and for other such “privatizations” such as selling the protected Greek islands to real estate developers.

This is a good deal for everyone but Greece.

If the Greek government had any sense, it would simply default. That would make Greece debt free. With just a few words, Greece can go from a heavily indebted country to a debt-free country.

Greece could then finance its own bond issues, and if it needed external credit, Greece could accept the Russian offer.

Indeed, if the Russian and Chinese governments had any sense, they would pay Greece to default and to leave the EU and NATO. The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin, and the threat of war that Russia and China face would go away. The Russians and Chinese would save far more on unnecessary war preparation that saving Greece would cost them.

(Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the "Wall Street Journal." He was columnist for "Business Week," "Scripps Howard News Service," and "Creators Syndicate." He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest book is The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost

Greek Resistance

July 5, 2015

Alan Gilbert


The election of Syriza was a great sign of hope for the Greek people and ordinary people everywhere. The European/American bankers are enforcing an austerity program in Greece, producing shocking youth unemployment – 65% – and driving many to suicide. Gnawing at Syriza, they seek at this moment to steal pensions.

The banks have long made “Social Democrats” their tools, as for example Hollande in France… Driving people to despair, they have created preconditions for the triumph of the extreme right. Paul Krugman, an economist who writes intelligently (almost alone) in the commercial press, puts it forcefully in the "New York Times:"

“It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency — above all, the kind of fiscal and banking union that, for example, ensures that when a housing bubble in Florida bursts, Washington automatically protects seniors against any threat to their medical care or their bank deposits.”
The bureaucrats of the EU, pressed on by Germany and the IMF, are not technocrats, but cruel, anti-democratic fools … The Syriza government, having buckled to EU pressure, has nonetheless refused to accept even more austerity and preconditions which try to force it from power. So there is, among poor people in Greece, a run on the banks, and a forced limit of a 60 euros ($67) per person withdrawal. And Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum, an appeal to democracy against the banks/EU (the corruption of the European “Community” and its leaders in opposing democracy, toward Syriza originally and towards this referendum, is unspeakable…)

There is a lot of media talk about the absence of “trust” between the EU and Syriza. What the EU has imposed on ordinary Greeks, as Joseph Stiglitz, another fine economist, also points out below, is a horror. For the Syriza leadership had worked with the EU, even accepting existing austerity, but trying to limit further abridgment of a common good at home.

The grotesque cynicism/racism of Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister as well as the German commercial press toward Greece, reported in a "Times" column by Alexander Sorkin yesterday, is startling:

“To Mr. Geithner’s dismay, however, Mr. Schäuble took the conversation in a different direction. ‘He told me there were many in Europe who still thought kicking the Greeks out of the Eurozone was a plausible — even desirable — strategy,’ Mr. Geithner later recounted in his memoir, Stress Test:  Reflections on Financial Crises. ‘The idea was that with Greece out, Germany would be more likely to provide the financial support the Eurozone needed because the German people would no longer perceive aid to Europe as a bailout for the Greeks,’ he says in the memoir.

'At the same time, a Grexit would be traumatic enough that it would help scare the rest of Europe into giving up more sovereignty to a stronger banking and fiscal union,’ Mr. Geithner wrote. ‘The argument was that letting Greece burn would make it easier to build a stronger Europe [sic…] with a more credible firewall.'”
See Andrew Ross Sorkin “The Hard Line on Greece” here.

The EU/bankers are happy to drive Greece from the euro rather than do something a) intelligent, b) non-predatory, c) humane. If this policy is Europe, Europe will die (the Right will come to power pretty shortly…) Given the power of banks over democracy and to harm ordinary people, GREXIT – Greece leaving the European Union – looks better for the Greek people by the hour.

The Greeks could heal their economy as Iceland did … But the irrational general economic terms of the European Union – no tolerance for any country to pursue an independent fiscal or monetary policy to get out of economic crisis – is destroying the benefits of cooperation (mainly:  heading off predatory nationalisms, ability to seek education throughout the Union, easy travel, acceptance of migration internally to a considerable extent, European funding of preservation of art, for example the New Acropolis Museum and the like).

The European Union has, from the first, harmed workers and does not tolerate democracy about entrance or to oppose strangling austerity. As Stiglitz puts it,

“…concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the Eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the Eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.”
After the Euro was adopted, I was visiting in Toledo, Spain on a Sunday with my family. There was a march of 4,000 workers, in solidarity with 75,000 in Madrid. Prices had tripled; wages had not gone up… Before the current crisis, as Krugman rightly says below, the financial situation of Greece in terms of debt was no worse than the UK, for long periods. What the bankers have imposed is an unnecessary crisis stealing from the livelihood – subsistence – of ordinary people.

Austerity is, in Europe and the United States, a way to cut or privatize common good-serving public programs, while shifting money to the now transnational/offshore/”citizens” only of their bank accounts, the .0001%. Since Keynes, economists have known that a stimulus like Obama’s (only bigger; his was 2/3 the needed size) can get money to employ poor people on publicly useful jobs (green jobs; teaching and the like). They spend the money domestically, with a multiplier effect – other locals are employed in sales of food, laundry, gas stations and the like – that begins to get an economy out of depression.

As Thomas Herndon, a graduate student at U Mass Amherst (previously at Evergreen State) showed, the famous Rogoff-Reinhart claim that every government with a debt ratio of 90% to Gross Domestic Product needs austerity is not only false, but fraudulent (these are “illustrious” Harvard professors, Rogoff a former Vice-President of the International Monetary Fund). This is also Congressman Paul Ryan’s theme song (Ryan – the “brains” of the Republican and much of the “Democratic” outfit, speaks, only “for the money’s sake”).

Krugman had pointed out the obvious flaw in the Rogoff-Reinhart thesis:  if a nation goes into a depression, its output will sink relative to its debt (“correlation is not causation,” to put in cliche terms). But the only way to get it out of a depression is Keynesian programs of stimulus or tax cuts to ordinary people (along perhaps with monetary easing or devaluation of currency – a stimulus to exports and, hence, employment as in Iceland).

Instead, Romney or Jaime Dimon or Robert Rubin or the many other hedge fund, Wall Street clowns of both parties often spend their “tax-relief” abroad (Romney would not even release his taxes as Presidential candidate, even though his father – George Romney – had made this a cardinal point of this in his campaign; that is because Mitt often pays no taxes at all, and at most, much less, on his $250 million “income” from stock – a tax rate for one year’s returns of 13.9% – than his gardener or cook…. When the rich buy an elevator for a fancy car at their fifth house in Aruba, no multiplier effect will occur in the United States. Similarly, when Goldman-Sachs which took its “bailout money,” spent it in China, reaped a profit, and paid it back, there was no stimulus to the American economy at all…

Herndon, a beginning graduate student in economics demanded to look at the Rogoff-Reinhart tables – they had not shared them in their famous conference paper for the IMF, being widely publicized for saying what the bankers/big money/kept politicians wanted to hear… They had made a statistical error and had incomplete data. The fraud Herndon revealed just underlines Krugman’s argument (after the repeated failures of austerity, that argument ought to have been enough, but there is gale-force money behind impoverishment of ordinary people in the U.S. and more strikingly in Europe, especially Greece.

What is happening in Greece is already happening in Spain and Italy and France – and signs point the same way in the United States, particularly for young blacks, chicanos and poor whites. Despite a wave of well-funded, belligerent rightwing economics typified by Rogoff-Reinhard – in this central and influential policy claim, these claims are as toxic as the “research” that nicotine really doesn’t harm you or that burning coal is unconnected to global warming – this fact is well known to most (honorable, literate) economists.

It is the decisive scientific point of Keynesianism (after working for Roosevelt, Richard V. Gilbert, my father, wrote about this after World War II, in Seymour Harris, ed., Saving American Capitalism).

But Krugman has now recognized, even in the "Times," that Michael Kalecki, the Polish Marxist/Keynesian theorist of economic cycles, was right in a lecture in 1942. He said there – and Krugman did not believe him until the bizarre elite response to the 2008 collapse – that the rich will oppose any programs that benefit the working classes, and will starve them to death for fear of their seeking higher wages and better conditions.

Social Democracy is thus not possible under capitalism, even though it would save it economically (did save it for a period after World War II; today, this is the history of Papandreou and the austerity “socialists” in Greece, Hollande in France – cutting government programs that help the poor, becoming isolated from and even detested among their own original supporters, and as an accompaniment/result, furthering racism and Golden Dawn, Marine Le Pen and other – literally – fascists).

Krugman has long remarked that the costs of this policy are to throw away millions of people – the long term unemployed in the US who are eligible for no further insurance – and far greater numbers in Europe. Greek youth unemployment is 60% (austerity has forced a 25% decline in GDP).

A foolish "New York Times" editorial yesterday here does not describe the impoverishment already forced on the people of Greece by “troika” austerity. One cannot look at the harms has been imposed on the Greek people – and the failure time after time of false EU/banker “predictions” that extreme cuts for the poor will lead to economic boom – and not be horrified.

So the "Times" turns its eyes away. Krugman says, below, startled I think as for a long time so mainstream and serious an economist, that he would vote no on Greece accepting the bankers’ terms. So would Stiglitz hoping for the revival of democracy. Krugman rightly (and rather kindly) refers to the phony “technocrats” of Europe as “fantasists.” Real democracy, consulting the people from below, is the nightmare of the EU/bankers

May the Greek people again stand up! We all have a common interest in standing up to the Banks and the Koch brothers/Adelsons, et al. (and the mainstream parties, including, sadly, Obama in so far as they represent them). To survive, let alone flourish, we need to be democratic internationalists

For the Greek people carry our fate, too. We should stand with them.

Alan Gilbert is John Evans professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and author of Marx’s Politics:  Communists and Citizens (Rutgers, 1980), Democratic Individuality (Cambridge, 1990), Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy (1999) and Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (Chicago March, 2012).

Gilbert's blog Democratic Individuality is a rich mine.


Yanis Varoufakis Abruptly Resigns

Tough times ahead for the leadership of Greece.

They'll need better leadership than they've had so far.

Cindy and Kevin teach us how to "flush the TPP."

Kevin Zeese

"Ray of Light" article on TPP.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dead Again - Donate Organs  (Do Some Evil?)  Abject Failure of Iraq/Afghanistan Wars Leads to Viet/Iraq/Afghan Syndrome? But Not To Worry  (Google Pulls Ads When War Reporting/Photography Shown)  Sure! They're the GOOD Guys!  And There's No Escaping Them

Suckers gonna suck.

We've got to get rid of them all.

From their final song last evening to a fantastic second night in Chicago.

Tears a-flowin' at any moment this evening.

Billy, Bobby, Mickey and Phil say this really is the last Dead show.

And they are SOLD OUT (forever).

It's hard to believe I will never dance around in a circle again with flowers in my hair among loving "strangers."

And that doesn't sound odd. It sounds glorious.

Great regrets and greater love for these guys are abounding in the country this weekend. A couple from Alaska were just interviewed on the Grateful Dead Sirius/XM station, which is running the concert and various older versions of songs all weekend long, who claimed to have used the Dead mail order for tickets for over 20 years and were ecstatic when describing how fabulous the concert was. (I just heard Bobby do a rocking version of that cowboy-type tune "Me and My Uncle," a tear-inducing "Tennessee, Jed" - poor pup! and poignant "Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance," an absolutely soul-stirring "Stella Blue," closing with a kick-ass "U.S. Blues" - the second night's show seems like Jerry's back to me - the energy and passion are just unbelievable - and Bobby! - What a touching "Stella Blue." That's why we love him. How will we go on?)

Enjoy one more night, you lucky ones!

And now back to reality. We're tracked and our activities traced to hell and back by the NSA-founded and -funded Googleized toys at all turns. "Do no evil" was their marketing strategy when we were ignorant of their all-encompassing "Total Information Awareness" plans (put on hold long ago after exposure of the associated Cheney-Rumsfeld-Weinberger-Mitchell-Hunt-Liddy-Magruder-Bush-Nixon (add your own favorite names here as it's hard to recall them all) cabal of Watergate traitors) for the USA! USA! USA! peons.

Google history, anyone? (I remember as a programmer in the 70's having technical designs for an improved search program, but being made to understand how expensive it would be to actually provide these tools to a nationwide audience, and then hearing the stories of how fairly non-technical students in college had come up with very simple ideas and could get money for a company presto-chango. Right, easy as pie - or so it was written by those in the know - for "beginners" with connections.) Funny how those of us working in the field at the start of the programming hoo-hah were so dumbfounded at the ease with which the noninvolved and generally non-onsite were able to solve the most difficult technical and business problems concerning the release of software products. Not really something that comes out of garages or dorm rooms usually (without a lot of outside help).

Julian Assange lowers the boom on where the money and talent really came from.

On a personal level, Schmidt and Cohen are perfectly likable people. But Google’s chairman is a classic “head of industry” player, with all of the ideological baggage that comes with that role. Schmidt fits exactly where he is: the point where the centrist, liberal and imperialist tendencies meet in American political life.

By all appearances, Google’s bosses genuinely believe in the civilizing power of enlightened multinational corporations, and they see this mission as continuous with the shaping of the world according to the better judgment of the “benevolent superpower.” They will tell you that open-mindedness is a virtue, but all perspectives that challenge the exceptionalist drive at the heart of American foreign policy will remain invisible to them. This is the impenetrable banality of “don’t be evil.” They believe that they are doing good. And that is a problem.

. . . Caught red-handed last year making petabytes of personal data available to the U.S. intelligence community through the PRISM program, Google nevertheless continues to coast on the goodwill generated by its “don’t be evil” doublespeak. A few symbolic open letters to the White House later and it seems all is forgiven. Even anti-surveillance campaigners cannot help themselves, at once condemning government spying but trying to alter Google’s invasive surveillance practices using appeasement strategies.

Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of U.S. power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive mega-corporation. But Google has always been comfortable with this proximity. Long before company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Schmidt in 2001, their initial research upon which Google was based had been partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). And even as Schmidt’s Google developed an image as the overly friendly giant of global tech, it was building a close relationship with the intelligence community.

In 2003, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had already started systematically violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) under its director General Michael Hayden. These were the days of the “Total Information Awareness” program. Before PRISM was ever dreamed of, under orders from the Bush White House the NSA was already aiming to “collect it all, sniff it all, know it all, process it all, exploit it all.”

During the same period, Google — whose publicly declared corporate mission is to collect and “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” — was accepting NSA money to the tune of $2 million to provide the agency with search tools for its rapidly accreting hoard of stolen knowledge.

In 2004, after taking over Keyhole, a mapping tech startup co-funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the CIA, Google developed the technology into Google Maps, an enterprise version of which it has since shopped to the Pentagon and associated federal and state agencies on multimillion-dollar contracts.

In 2008, Google helped launch an NGA spy satellite, the GeoEye-1, into space. Google shares the photographs from the satellite with the U.S. military and intelligence communities. In 2010, NGA awarded Google a $27 million contract for “geospatial visualization services.”

In 2010, after the Chinese government was accused of hacking Google, the company entered into a “formal information-sharing” relationship with the NSA, which was said to allow NSA analysts to “evaluate vulnerabilities” in Google’s hardware and software. Although the exact contours of the deal have never been disclosed, the NSA brought in other government agencies to help, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Around the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies and Pentagon-affiliated agencies “at network speed.” Emails obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about ESF.

Reportage on the emails focused on the familiarity in the correspondence:  “General Keith…so great to see you…!” Schmidt wrote. But most reports over-looked a crucial detail. “Your insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” Alexander wrote to Brin, “are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts have measurable impact.”

The Department of Homeland Security defines the Defense Industrial Base as “the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements [emphasis added].” The Defense Industrial Base provides “products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.”
Does it include regular commercial services purchased by the U.S. military? No. The definition specifically excludes the purchase of regular commercial services. Whatever makes Google a “key member of the Defense Industrial Base,” it is not recruitment campaigns pushed out through Google AdWords or soldiers checking their Gmail.

In 2012, Google arrived on the list of top-spending Washington, D.C., lobbyistsa list typically stalked exclusively by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, military contractors, and the petro-carbon leviathans. Google entered the rankings above military aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, with a total of $18.2 million spent in 2012 to Lockheed’s $15.3 million.

Boeing, the military contractor that absorbed McDonnell Douglas in 1997, also came below Google, at $15.6 million spent, as did Northrop Grumman at $17.5 million.

In autumn 2013 the Obama administration was trying to drum up support for U.S. airstrikes against Syria. Despite setbacks, the administration continued to press for military action well into September with speeches and public announcements by both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. On September 10, Google lent its front page — the most popular on the Internet — to the war effort, inserting a line below the search box reading “Live! Secretary Kerry answers questions on Syria. Today via Hangout at 2pm ET.”

As the self-described radical centrist "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman wrote in 1999, sometimes it is not enough to leave the global dominance of American tech corporations to something as mercurial as “the free market”:

The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
If anything has changed since those words were written, it is that Silicon Valley has grown restless with that passive role, aspiring instead to adorn the hidden fist like a velvet glove.

Writing in 2013, Schmidt and Cohen stated,

What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.
One way of looking at it is that it’s just business. For an American Internet services monopoly to ensure global market dominance, it cannot simply keep doing what it is doing and let politics take care of itself. American strategic and economic hegemony becomes a vital pillar of its market dominance. What’s a mega-corp to do? If it wants to straddle the world, it must become part of the original “don’t be evil” empire.

But part of the resilient image of Google as “more than just a company” comes from the perception that it does not act like a big, bad corporation. Its penchant for luring people into its services trap with gigabytes of “free storage” produces the perception that Google is giving it away for free, acting directly contrary to the corporate profit motive.

Google is perceived as an essentially philanthropic enterprise — a magical engine presided over by otherworldly visionaries — for creating a utopian future. The company has at times appeared anxious to cultivate this image, pouring funding into “corporate responsibility” initiatives to produce “social change” — exemplified by "Google Ideas."

But as "Google Ideas" shows, the company’s “philanthropic” efforts, too, bring it uncomfortably close to the imperial side of U.S. influence. If Blackwater/Xe Services/Academi was running a program like "Google Ideas," it would draw intense critical scrutiny. But somehow Google gets a free pass.

Whether it is being just a company or “more than just a company,” Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower. As Google’s search and Internet service monopoly grows, and as it enlarges its industrial surveillance cone to cover the majority of the world’s population, rapidly dominating the mobile phone market and racing to extend Internet access in the global south, Google is steadily becoming the Internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history.

If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world — in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europefor whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.

A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.

(Extracted from When Google Met Wikileaks by Julian Assange published by OR Books.)

More evidence needed?

. . . independent web sites that cover war with small budgets and large traffic depend on ad revenue. So Google pulling ads on all of the "AdSense" customers who publish war photography amounts to a massive, debilitating boycott of independent online war journalism and anti-war activism.

Of course the war party in America would love nothing more. War photography is the bane of all war makers. Images like the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked Vietnamese child fleeing a napalm attack played a major role in turning American public opinion against the Vietnam War and against war in general. Frustrated warmongers likened the subsequent anti-war public sentiment to a mental disorder, calling it the “Vietnam Syndrome.”

By the time of the Gulf War, America’s first major war since Vietnam, the Federal government, having learned its lesson, was ready to tightly regulate the war imagery that reached the American public, both through Pentagon policy and through its sway over the media. As a result, the typical visuals of the Gulf War were constant CNN video loops of crosshairs-view “precision strikes” and night-time bombardments of Baghdad that looked like an Atari video game or a 4th of July fireworks show.

What was not televised was the carnage wreaked on the ground by those blips on the screen. It wasn’t deemed fit to print either. After photographer Kenneth Jarecke captured a gruesome shot of an Iraqi soldier who was burned alive while trying to escape over the dashboard of his truck, he could not find a single major outlet who would run the picture.

The Iraqi soldier died attempting to pull himself up over the dashboard of his truck. The flames engulfed his vehicle…

After this sanitized coverage helped ensure the Gulf War’s popularity, President George H.W. Bush exulted in a speech, “And by God, we’ve kicked the "Vietnam Syndrome" once and for all!”

The US has also carefully regulated the imagery of the post-9/11 wars, especially through its embedded media program that lures journalists with access given in exchange for submission to censorship. Until 2009, the US even banned photographs of the flag-draped coffins holding the bodies of Americans being returned home for burial.

In spite of such measures, they could not stop all of the horrors of war from reaching the public through unembedded journalists and through leaks. Yet the biggest reality gut punch was delivered by images that depicted, not just the maiming of the bodies of foreign victims, but also the mutilation of American souls.

America saw its sons and daughters grinning for the camera while torturing and sexually humiliating Iraqis. It saw its young men urinating on corpses and holding a dead Afghani’s head up for the camera as though they were posing for a trophy picture with a prize buck.

Now, the war party is terrified that images such as these, combined with the abject failure of the wars, will give America an anti-interventionist “Iraq War Syndrome.” If leaks of such images can’t be stopped, at least their propagation must be slowed down.

Their problem is that media blackouts, like the one that occurred with the Gulf War torched corpse photo, have relatively little effect in an era in which anyone can post war photos to their blog and watch it go viral through social media. That is where a ubiquitous ad provider like Google can be of great service, by limiting the appearance of war photography on the millions of sites that depend on its ads.

Is that what Google is starting to do now? It is a troubling coincidence that Google’s sudden interest in the old Abu Ghraib photos happens to coincide with a Federal judge’s ruling that the government must release the remaining Abu Ghraib photos still under wraps.

Will Google give the new wave of photos the same treatment they are giving the old ones, thereby suppressing the sensation it will cause? Has Google in practice changed its motto from “Don’t Be Evil” to “Don’t See Evil?”

The US must release photographs showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge has ruled in a long…


After all, it isn’t just that Google has leaned on. I have been informed that "The American Conservative" reluctantly decided to disable "AdSense" on all its article pages after Google objected to one of those troops-urinating-on-corpses photographs appearing in its article on the scandal.

And anti-war activist Mnar Muhawesh had to blur an Abu Ghraib photo and remove a Syrian Civil War photo on her "Mint Press News" site after she received similar objections from Google.

And the troubling incidents go beyond web site ads. Google’s YouTube recently targeted Luke Rudkowski’s anti-regime alternative media project "WeAreChange" by, without notice, disabling ads on most of its YouTube videos and clearly suppressing their rate of appearance for users.

This almost completely demonetized his account and obliterated his business model. After Rudkowski filed a complaint, Google gave absolutely no reason for demonetizing any but two of the videos. Those two, which covered the subject of ISIS, contain absolutely no gore, and yet were still deemed “not appropriate for advertising at this time” due to the “sensitive nature” of their content. Again, it must be asked of Google:  exactly whose sensitivities are being protected here?

And Google even preemptively disabled ads for James Corbett’s anti-imperialist Corbett Report YouTube channel even though Corbett has never even used them.

In the last few days we noticed our YouTube numbers take a massive down turn while the majority of our new videos and…

As GooTube goes on an "AdSense" purge of alt media, we take a moment to remember that the entire "free and open" internet…

“GooTube” also took down Ben Swann’s documentary short film “Origin of ISIS”, which features’s Angela Keaton, and which attributes the rise of the terror group to US intervention in Iraq and Syria and the direct funding of US regional allies.

It has since been restored, but to reach its page on YouTube, one must first get past a page that advises “viewer discretion” because the video is “potentially offensive or graphic.” Swann’s video also contains no gore, yet still apparently did not pass the “any child in any region of the world” test. Wouldn’t want to scandalize any generous Qatari sheiks with kids, after all.

ISIS has accepted funding from government or private sources in the oil-rich nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait   —  and a large network of private donors, including Persian Gulf royalty, businessmen and wealthy families”…

In the latest episode of "Truth in Media," Ben Swann investigates the origins of the militant group referred to as the…

No Results for “US War Atrocity.” Did You Mean “US War Awesomeness”?

All this raises many questions.

If Google is already so heavy-handed against “inappropriate” voices and “sensitive content,” what can we expect from the government-connected search giant once its “trustworthiness” program is up and running, especially under the new “Net Neutrality” regulatory regime over the internet recently initiated by the FCC? A state-crony, semi-private internet Ministry of Truth? A return to the atmosphere of exclusively regime-friendly voices that characterized the era of crony print and broadcast media?

Dear Net Neutrality Proponents, You dear, sweet buffoons. I know you're quite impressed that the Federal Communications…

How true is the following assessment from Newsweek’s editorial preface for Assange’s telling of his meeting with Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt?

“They outlined radically opposing perspectives:  for Assange, the liberating power of the Internet is based on its freedom and statelessness. For Schmidt, emancipation is at one with U.S. foreign policy objectives…”
And how has that identification between the two influenced his decisions and guidance concerning company projects and policies?

How does Google’s cozy relationship with the national security state and its “key” membership in the Military Industrial Complex affect its approach toward internet content:  particularly content that may clash with US foreign policy objectives?

Finally, if Google is bent on boycotting independent, alternative media, shouldn’t independent-minded individuals seriously consider boycotting them right back?

Given Google’s record, these questions are more than fair; they are pressing. And as may become the case for many other discomfiting and subversive questions in the future, their answers cannot be found by “just Googling it.”

Also published at and Discussed by the author on The Scott Horton Show. Follow Dan Sanchez via Twitter, Facebook, or TinyLetter.

Let Google know that, whatever its motives, you don’t appreciate its stifling of independent, alternative anti-war journalism and activism. Submit a complaint to Google by using the contact methods listed here.

Tweet the hashtags #DontSeeEvil, #DontExposeEvil, or #GoogleAltDelete, tagging @Google. If you have had a similar run-in with Google "AdSense" or YouTube, send a message about it to "" If you are an artist, take part in the Google #DontExposeEvil pro-peace meme contest, launched by Bitcoin Not Bombs.

Just two days ago Google suspended "'s Adsense" account after citing a violation of its violence policy. The…

Here is an alternative to Google Search:

The search engine that doesn't track you. A superior search experience with smarter answers, less clutter and real…

More essays by Dan Sanchez:

The shoe store Doc Martens unveiled a storm-trooper-esque boot named the Assange Boot.

Go read some Sardonicky, will ya?

She's got the best reporting anywhere detailing the length and breadth of the latest public robberies.

And it looks like there will only be a brief break before they come for the rest of US.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

More Chicago un-Dead, anyone?

How about some Trey?

And for one more time:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dead in Chicago  (Conundrae Galore)  Looters Lead the Way? Orwell Sadly Triumphs  (And You Just Thought Elections Were Swamped by Dark Money  (Sekrit Money Located!))  Here's the Right-Wing's Money Honey (Leading To Question of Why No Left Wing's?)  Why Nobody Knows What's Going Into Your Food, Who's Buying the Senate?  Watch Out NC!  (No Wonder We Got Tax-Bomber/River Ruiners McCrory/Tillis in Charge of Demise)

(Listening all evening, friends, to the "Fare Thee Well" Grateful Dead Reunion (first night of three) at Soldier Field in Chicago with much regret (at not being able to attend) and deep reverence and respect for this massive effort aimed at crowd pleasing (and it's a huge crowd that has looked forward to this type tour for 20 years - since Jerry departed - sob! - for mellower fields) on Sirius/XM radio's Grateful Dead channel. And, yes, they opened with "Box of Rain" against all odds.)

Happy 4th! (Make the pledge to be an organ donor - Phil Lesh.)

Sorry that I've been down for so long, but my computer bit the dust (hoping that it's temporary, but we will see about that).

I've got some essays that are quite pertinent to our current political/economic health climate that I thought I'd share with you. Email them to your friends and share the wealth if you think they deserve more publicity.

First off - more lies about the growth in employment and decrease in unemployment (23.1% in June according to Shadow Stats):

The Reported "Good Job" News Is Bad News (John Williams - Shadow Stats)

Only the “No” Can Save Europe — James K. Galbraith

July 2, 2015

James Galbraith, a professor at the University of Texas, explains what is at stake this Sunday. This is an important article. Because of the presstitute Western press, Americans, Europeans, Canadians, and Australians have no comprehension that their own liberty, or what little remains of it, is dependent on this vote. If the Greek people accept the conditions given to them in the ultimatum from the IMF, European Union, and European Central Bank, an ultimatum supported by Washington, the precedent will be established that the greed of the One Percent prevails over the sovereignty of peoples. There is a massive Western propaganda campaign to make Greeks fearful and to use this fear to manipulate a Greek vote against their own government and in favor of the Global One Percent.

In the Western World Capitalism Has Devolved Into Looting

Paul Craig Roberts

… when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. – Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”

There’s no such thing as markets anymore – only interventions. – Chris Powell, co-founder and Treasurer of GATA

Ayn Rand is a pariah among those who believe that government is our benefactor. There are times and conditions when government can be a benefactor of the people. But not in the Western world at the present time. As Michael Hudson and I agree, Western central banks refuse to create money to finance economy recovery. Money is created only for the benefit of the oligarchs’ banks in order that the oligarchs can continue to control the governments.

In the US for the past seven years the Federal Reserve has provided cheap bank reserves for the banks to lend at a markup or to speculate with. Banks are no longer suppliers of capital for productive investments and employment. Instead banks invest in speculation, arbitrage, derivatives, financing corporate takeovers and stock buybacks. The Fed has made it unnecessary for banks to pay for deposits. Instead, the banks get free money and charge consumers with negative interest rates for making deposits. For seven years Americans have, thanks to the utterly corrupt Federal Reserve and US government, been deprived of interest on their savings. In the Western world today, savers are penalized, not rewarded.

In Greece and Europe the banks are the oligarchs’ method of control just as the Federal Reserve is in the US and the Bank of England in the UK and the European Central Bank in the EU. The same in Canada, Australia, and Japan. When an oligarchy controls the money, the oligarchy controls the country, so “Western democracy” is only a pretense. There is no democracy in the West; only manipulated democratic symbols, the manipulation of which has allowed the One Percent to acquire the lion’s share of income and wealth, depriving the economy of the consumer purchasing power necessary to maintain full employment.

I agree with Michael Hudson that southern Europe, not only Greece, but also Italy, Spain, and Portugal, are being crucified, because looting debtors is the only way banks can make money when jobs offshoring has destroyed productive investment opportunities in the US and Europe that would raise employment and GDP. The European Central Bank, Hudson writes correctly, “refuses to create money to finance economic recovery, but only to pay the oligarchs’ banks so that they can continue to control the governments.”

Below is Hudson’s article on the Greek debt situation. He explains Syriza’s strategy, which if successful will result in Greece’s departure from the EU and thereby NATO and begin the unraveling of Washington’s principle instruments of creating conflict with Russia.

As I said in my interviews with Investment Research Dynamics and with "King World News," the leaders of the current Greek government possibly could be assassinated in order that Washington prevents the unraveling of the EU and NATO. In my opinion, Greece’s departure would be followed by Spain’s and Italy’s. See: It would be the beginning of the unraveling of Washington’s empire. It is unlikely that Washington would stand for this.

Western Presstitutes Dumbfounded by Vladimir Putin’s 89% Approval Rating

Guest Column by The Saker

June 30, 2015

The Saker notes that the disapproving 11% are not pleased because they want Putin to take a more hardline policy toward the West. In other words, the country is unified in standing up to the West.

What does Vladimir Putin’s 89% rating mean?

Think Russians are tiring of conflict with the West? Not according to President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings, which hit all-time highs of 89 percent Wednesday (…) Putin’s ratings jumped from 65 percent in January 2014 to 80 percent two months later, and they’ve stayed in the 80s ever since, according to measurements from the Moscow-based Levada Center, the only independent polling organization in Russia. They’ve kept going up: In Putin’s 15 years in office, they’ve never been higher than June’s 89 percent (…) The 89 percent approval rating is also a testimony to the near-unanimity of views about Russia’s current direction.

The "Washington Post" is correct:  the Russian people do fully support Putin, especially if you consider that the 11% which are not happy with him are largely composed of Communists who blame Putin for being too sympathetic to capitalist market economy practices, nationalists who think that the Kremlin is too soft or indecisive about supporting Novorussia against the Ukronazis and maybe 1-3% (max!) who generally support the USA & EU. So in terms of the current confrontation with the AngloZionist Empire the real approval rating of Putin would be in the 97-98% range.

Marketing the ‘Russian Threat’

Finian Cunningham explains that about half of the Greek debt is due to military spending in response to the hyped “Turkish threat.” Now it is Eastern Europe and Scandinavia that are busting their budgets due to the hyped “Russian threat.” The benefactors of the “threats” are the US, UK, German, and French military industries. The victims are the dolts who fall for the hyped “threat.”

Reprinted from the Strategic Culture Foundation

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

John Whitehead warns us, correctly, that we are losing both the ability to speak freely and the ability to speak intelligently as words and their meanings are being proscribed.

The Rise and Fall of Just About Everything

By Tom Engelhardt
The rise and fall of great powers and their imperial domains has been a central fact of history for centuries. It’s been a sensible, repeatedly validated framework for thinking about the fate of the planet. So it’s hardly surprising, when faced with a country once regularly labeled the “sole superpower,” “the last superpower,” or even the global “hyperpower” and now, curiously, called nothing whatsoever, that the “decline” question should come up. Is the U.S. or isn’t it? Might it or might it not now be on the downhill side of imperial greatness?

Take a slow train - that is, any train - anywhere in America, as I did recently in the northeast, and then take a high-speed train anywhere else on Earth, as I also did recently, and it’s not hard to imagine the U.S. in decline. The greatest power in history, the “unipolar power,” can’t build a single mile of high-speed rail? Really? And its Congress is now mired in an argument about whether funds can even be raised to keep America’s highways more or less pothole-free.

Sometimes, I imagine myself talking to my long-dead parents because I know how such things would have astonished two people who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and a can-do post-war era in which the staggering wealth and power of this country were indisputable. What if I could tell them how the crucial infrastructure of such a still-wealthy nation - bridges, pipelines, roads, and the like - is now grossly underfunded, in an increasing state of disrepair, and beginning to crumble? That would definitely shock them.

And what would they think upon learning that, with the Soviet Union a quarter-century in the trash bin of history, the U.S., alone in triumph, has been incapable of applying its overwhelming military and economic power effectively? I’m sure they would be dumbstruck to discover that, since the moment the Soviet Union imploded, the U.S. has been at war continuously with another country (three conflicts and endless strife); that I was talking about, of all places, Iraq; and that the mission there was never faintly accomplished.

How improbable is that? And what would they think if I mentioned that the other great conflicts of the post-Cold-War era were with Afghanistan (two wars with a decade off in between) and the relatively small groups of non-state actors we now call terrorists? And how would they react on discovering that the results were:  failure in Iraq, failure in Afghanistan, and the proliferation of terror groups across much of the Greater Middle East (including the establishment of an actual terror caliphate) and increasing parts of Africa?

Read all of Tom's above Dispatch for even greater insight into who ru(i)ns the "foreign affairs" of the USA USA USA!.

(In 2014) Six Nonprofits Backed by Conservative Billionaire Koch Brothers Aired More Than 43,900 TV Spots.

You may have wondered how all that money was accrued to back the pro-marriage (between only a man and a woman - although she may be a girl) and anti-abortion onslaught lately?

“Rightly or wrongly, the marriage amendment was given credit in 2004 for Bush winning Ohio, and David was the attorney who made that happen."

 - Phil Burress, President of Citizens for Community Values

This may seem small-time, but it's the massing of these that you've got to watch out for.

And they've been a-massing.

Oh, and by-the-by if you want any information for the public (especially about their tax status), well(!) you're being very rude and unprofessional.

And they'll tell you that.
Just outside Cincinnati, tucked among insurance agencies, hair salons and a yoga studio, is the nexus of one of the nation’s most mysterious networks pouring secret money into elections.

“Langdon Law LLC Political, Election Nonprofit and Constitutional Law,” reads its small sign, which faces the building’s parking lot rather than the street.

On a Tuesday afternoon last month, that parking lot was empty. No one answered the Langdon Law office door. Phone calls went un-returned.

Unlike other heavy-hitting political lawyers, David Langdon doesn’t grandstand.

But don’t overlook him.

Langdon is a critical behind-the-scenes player among the small army of lawyers working to keep secret the origins of millions of dollars coursing through the American political system. Thanks to his work, this unremarkable suburb is a home base for nonprofits and super PACs that pour millions of dollars into elections.

Langdon is also an unswerving legal warrior for conservative, often Christian, nonprofit organizations that together spend millions more to influence public policy and wield great influence among evangelical voters.

Since the 2010 election cycle, at least 11 groups connected to Langdon or his firm have collectively spent at least $22 million on federal and state elections and ballot initiatives around the country, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of records.

Two such groups, nonprofit Citizens for a Working America and a super PAC with the same name, combined to spend roughly $1.1 million on the 2012 presidential election alone.

Langdon was a lead author of a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which Ohio voters passed in 2004. The U.S. Supreme Court last month heard arguments on whether the Ohio ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

He has donated thousands of work hours to Alliance Defending Freedom, which describes itself as a nonprofit Christian legal ministry and specializes in religious freedom cases.

He also represents tea party groups suing the Internal Revenue Service over what they allege was unfair scrutiny of their applications for tax exemption, based upon their names and political views.

Recently, he represented Susan B. Anthony List, a leading anti-abortion advocacy group, in a high-profile free speech case that reached the Supreme Court.

Such outside groups and evangelical voters are both poised to play kingmaker roles in the 2016 elections, and Langdon — from the perennial presidential battlefield that is Ohio — is a point of convergence.

This election cycle, the state is also the setting of a high-profile re-election bid by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who in 2013 reversed his position to support same-sex marriage.

Several conservative groups, including Citizens for Community Values, a longtime Langdon client, have vowed to  defeat  Portman. It won’t be easy. He has an $8 million war chest and a long list of endorsements, and a primary opponent has yet to emerge.

The politically active groups linked to Langdon, several of which boast deep roots in Ohio, would be well positioned to wade into the 2016 elections.

Langdon is “very influential, not very well known by the general public, but very well known in the dark shadows of politics,” said Ian James, executive director of Freedom Ohio, which advocates for a referendum to repeal the 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. “I have no doubt in my mind” that Langdon will be involved in the 2016 elections, he said.

John Green, chairman of the Political Science department at the University of Akron, agreed. “I would not be surprised if a large portion of his network, if not all of his network, were active in Ohio in 2016,” he said.
Who is David Langdon?

Those who know Langdon describe him as focused and strongly committed to values rooted in his Christian beliefs.

Langdon, now 44 and a father of six, attended the University of Akron Law School. Even then, nearly two decades ago, he was interested in litigation and politics and “really, really faith-based,” said Janeen Miller-Hogue, a colleague on the Akron Law Review during law school.

“He’s just rock solid,” she said. “He’s black and white. We both don’t like the color gray. It’s a waste of energy.”

Miller-Hogue said she valued his friendship in part because he could be trusted to keep a confidence. They lost touch after law school, she said, but added:  “I bet if I called him today and I was in a pickle he’d be the first one to help.”

Phil Burress, the head of Citizens for Community Values, said he first met Langdon through Langdon’s parents. Burress said he gave the young lawyer one of his early jobs.

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Langdon’s name pops up in Ohio news stories tied to groups with socially conservative platforms. For example, he acted as a defense lawyer for abortion clinic protesters, filed a brief in another case on behalf of the Christian Coalition of Ohio and represented groups opposing a lesbian couple’s efforts to share equal custody of their children.

In 2004, Citizens for Community Values had a prominent role in the effort for the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Ohio, written by Langdon.

Langdon disputed suggestions the ballot initiative was a bid to drive up conservative turnout to help President George W. Bush win Ohio, a hotly contested prize during the 2004 presidential election.

“The reason I do what I do is to protect marriage,” he told "The Washington Post" at the time.

In fact, Langdon, then and now a registered Republican, told the "Post" he hadn’t backed Bush in 2000. Instead, he supported Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips.

Getting the marriage amendment on the ballot was tricky, Burress said.

In an undated online profile of Langdon, the Alliance Defending Freedom said Langdon and his then-law partner, Jeff Shafer, who now works for the organization, litigated nearly 50 cases in three weeks, fending off attempts to knock the amendment from the ballot.

Voters approved the amendment, though a high-profile case challenging its legality is now before the Supreme Court. And Bush narrowly won Ohio, a critical victory that clinched his second term.

Burress points to that battle as the one that made Langdon’s name. “Rightly or wrongly, the marriage amendment was given credit in 2004 for Bush winning Ohio, and David was the attorney who made that happen,” Burress said.

Several of the groups linked to Langdon declined to talk about his work for them or how they found him. Burress, though, said he recommended Langdon to around 40 groups who work on similar types of issues, including CitizenLink, the advocacy arm of Focus on the Family. Burress also said Citizens for Community Values still works with Langdon.

The Alliance Defending Freedom profile described Langdon as “one of the great veterans of the ministry’s war to defend marriage.” It said Langdon works with groups around the country on corporate, tax and regulatory issues and to “promote stricter government regulation of sexually-oriented businesses.”

Elected officials have also sought Langdon’s counsel.

From 2005 until 2007, Langdon represented then-Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell on election matters, including lawsuits related to voting machines and ballot access, and helped develop election law policy, according to his firm biography.

Monty Lobb, Blackwell’s then-general counsel and chief of staff, said in an interview that he didn’t remember exactly how Langdon came to his attention, but they ran in the same conservative circles. The lawyer impressed him as a “bulldog” capable of providing detailed analysis of complex issues.

Lobb said he appreciated that he and Langdon shared a common conservative Christian worldview, and he recommended him to Blackwell for an outside counsel job.

Now a professor at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, Ohio, Lobb said Langdon delivered as promised and on budget. Once, he said, Langdon had promised to update him on a specific day, but the two wound up playing an epic game of phone tag.

“He still made a point of trying to reach me and follow through at 11 o’clock at night,” Lobb remembered. “I don’t think it was anything earth shattering. That’s the kind of stuff that sticks with you. He could have waited until the next day and been fine with me.”

In 2006, when Blackwell, a favorite of social conservatives, ran for governor, Langdon helped him select his running mate. He also wrote another ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment, this one on curbing government spending, on behalf of a group of which Blackwell was the honorary chairman.

“He was competent, he’s principled, and I never had any bad experience when I worked with him,” said Blackwell, who said he hasn’t spoken to Langdon in more than three years but wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.

James, the Freedom Ohio activist, said he and Langdon actually worked together nearly a decade ago on a ballot referendum issue — the only time, he said, the two have found themselves on the same side of an issue.

“I found him to be likable,” he said. “I thought he was very smart; I thought he was very strategic. For what it was, I thought he had a good sense of humor.”

Still, he said, “It was very odd when he and I were on the phone together.”

Burress said he doesn’t know everyone on Langdon’s current client list and can’t speak to the origin of the money going into elections.

But, “if I saw his client list I could probably tell you there’s no one who represents or thinks differently than we do here,” he said. “His values are strong, and he’s not going to cross over it for money.”

Burress said he’s currently working with Langdon on a project, but wouldn’t provide additional information.

When asked whether he might work with Langdon on anything to do with Portman’s re-election bid, Burress replied, “I’m not going to discuss any of that.”

Langdon isn’t going to, either.

Langdon did not return telephone calls requesting an interview. When a Center for Public Integrity reporter knocked on the door of his Cincinnati house, Langdon told her to leave.

“You’re not welcome here,” he said, calling approaching him at his home “unbelievably unprofessional.”

Nonprofit Central

West Chester, Ohio, seems an unlikely place for a campaign finance and constitutional law practice to thrive.

The suburb, population 60,000, is home to Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, though there is no obvious connection between the two. Langdon Law’s offices — the practice includes at least one other lawyer — are about three miles from a family entertainment center claiming to have “the world’s largest indoor train display.”

But the origin of the millions of dollars flowing through the nonprofits linked to Langdon Law isn’t exactly on the tourist maps.

It is impossible to say where the money comes from, but the effect is real. Many of the groups in the network were formed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which allowed corporations, unions and nonprofits to raise and spend unlimited funds to advocate for and against politicians.

Nonprofits can’t have election-related activity as their primary purpose and need not reveal their donors, making them attractive vehicles for anonymous political spending. Such groups’ politicking has proliferated since the Citizens United decision, prompting accusations that some have been formed primarily to influence elections and calls for the IRS to more aggressively regulate them.

Some of the groups have changed names. Donors to super PACs and ballot initiative groups have been publicly disclosed, but millions of dollars have flowed through nonprofits, obscuring the original source.

Over the past three election cycles, groups connected to Langdon have transferred money among themselves, adding layers that make it even more difficult to track back to the source.

The convoluted network “appears pretty clearly to be geared toward opaqueness,” said Robert Maguire, who investigates political nonprofits for the Center for Responsive Politics and has written about the groups.

Langdon isn’t the only recurring character in this network.

For instance, Norm Cummings, a former political director of the Republican National Committee who managed Blackwell’s 2006 gubernatorial bid, is on the board of New Models, a Virginia-based nonprofit that has given more than $2 million to groups with direct connections to Langdon since 2010 and paid Langdon Law $98,000 in 2010 in connection with an Ohio ballot issue. He’s also a director of nonprofit Citizens for a Working America, which received some of the money from New Models.

At one point, Blackwell’s biography listed him as chair of Citizens for a Working America. In an interview, Blackwell said he had done “some speaking for Citizens for Working America … on issues associated with getting the economy moving again,” but he said he dealt with Cummings, not Langdon, and it was some time ago.

Thomas Norris, an Ohio lobbyist, has been listed on tax filings as both the President and the Executive Director of the nonprofit Government Integrity Fund, which has given money to some of the groups connected to Langdon. He’s also chairman of the nonprofit Jobs and Progress Fund (Langdon is the Treasurer and the group uses Langdon Law’s address). Norris told the (Cleveland) "Plain Dealer" he was involved in creating the Concrete and Portland Cement Action Network, a super PAC for which Langdon is the custodian of records.

Joel Riter, a former aide to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, has also been linked to several of the groups. On its most recent tax filing, Government Integrity Fund listed him as its Chairman. He is also the Treasurer of the Concrete and Portland Cement Action Network.

Mandel, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2012. Three groups with links to Langdon or his network — the Government Integrity Fund, super PAC Now or Never PAC and Focus on the Family-affiliated nonprofit CitizenLink — spent about $2.8 million on independent expenditures supporting Mandel and opposing his opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown blasted groups that spend millions to influence elections but don’t publicly disclose their donors.

“When a handful of billionaires are able to use their fortunes to exercise disproportionate influence on elections and mute the voices of working Ohioans, we have a problem,” Brown wrote in an emailed statement. “Citizens United opened the floodgates for such incredible sums of money to be spent on elections and we need to ensure that working Americans have just as loud a voice.”

Cummings, Norris and Riter did not respond to requests for comment.

‘An excellent conservative lawyer’

A Center for Public Integrity review of federal and state election filings and nonprofit tax documents shows more than $1.3 million in payments from eight groups to the firm or Langdon since 2010. The money wasn’t all for work on elections.

For example, ActRight Legal, a legal nonprofit with close ties to the National Organization for Marriage, paid Langdon Law about $119,000 for legal services in 2012, according to its federal tax filing. The payments to Langdon Law made up more than 10 percent of the group’s total expenses that year.

Shawna Powell of ActRight Legal said Langdon was an independent contractor who worked on a civil rights lawsuit with several other firms, though she was not able to provide additional detail about it. She said his work with the organization has since ended.

Cleta Mitchell, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and a board member of ActRight Legal, described Langdon as “a quality person and a good, smart lawyer,” but said her interactions with him had been limited. She otherwise refused to discuss him, referring questions to Langdon.

CitizenLink reported paying Langdon Law about $176,000 for legal services between October 2012 and September 2013, a period that includes the 2012 election.

CitizenLink spent about $2.6 million supporting Republican candidates running for federal office that year. The group declined to comment on its relationship with Langdon or the type of work he does for them.

Langdon has also acted as local counsel for conservative watchdog group "Judicial Watch" in two cases, according to the group’s President, Tom Fitton.

“I don’t know him personally but it sounds to me like he’s an excellent conservative lawyer and it should be no surprise that several of us are going to him,” Fitton said. “If any of those groups asked me for a lawyer in Ohio, David Langdon would be a lawyer I would recommend to them.”

But without a referral, Langdon might be hard to find.

Michael Beckel and Ben Wieder contributed to this story.

This story was co-published with Politico Magazine and a version appeared in the Columbus Dispatch.

Consider the Source

Seeking to ‘out’ shadowy political organizations flourishing in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

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